John-Paul Flintoff: Sew Your Own : Reviews

John-Paul Flintoff


Sew Your Own

The true story of one man’s attempt to survive economic meltdown, tackle climate change and find the meaning of life – by making his clothes

John-Paul Flintoff sew in copyright Dwayne Senior

Photo: Dwayne Senior, The Sunday Times

INCLUDING: why his wife won’t always allow him to wear his home-made clothes in public.

FEATURING: film stars Richard Gere and Daryl Hannah, politicians and campaigners, criminals and priests, the Victorian essayist John Ruskin, injured New York-based sweatshop operatives, British TV’s celebrated petrol-head Jeremy Clarkson and the anti-road protestor who stuck a pie in his face, members of the ancient guild of spinners, dyers and weavers, the Quaker philanthropist Elizabeth Fry, call-centre workers in Bangalore, the author’s wife’s 98-year-old great aunt Peggy Parker, a “naked yoga” teacher, prince Charles’s own Savile Row tailor, a “personal shopper”, the German army of the First World War, Mahatma Gandhi, the Buddha, Jesus Christ and Vivienne Westwood.


Be the change

I’m sitting on the Northern Line, on the City branch, in the middle of rush hour, on a carriage crowded with people dressed in smart clothes, with expensive accessories.

I used to be just like these p…

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Cor, look at this fine bit of sewing

Sew Your Own: What is it?

BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour

Listen to me explain myself to Jane Garvey.


Sew Your Own: the pop-up book

As a keen book maker, I have become increasingly interested in how physical books are different from ebooks, and one of the best examples of that is the pop-up.

Handmade Sew Your Own fully open

Exponents of origami will share my enthu…

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Nettle underpants

(NOTE: Sew Your Own was first published under the title Through The Eye Of A Needle by Permanent Publications)


Warning: Sew Your Own can change your life

Sew Your Own reader Joe McAllister with his treadle-powered machine.jpg

“Look what you’ve done to me!” wrote Joe McAllister, of north east London. After finishing Sew Your Own, he went out at once to buy a hand-powered sewing machine.

“I bought it off eBay for 99p, picked…

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Sew Your Own : Reviews

Sew Your Own book cover

“What a great read!” – Blue Peter

“Very funny, I hope it does well” – Jane Garvey, Woman’s Hour

“Meet the man who made his underpants from nettles” – Mary Ann Sieghart, BBC World Service

“I couldn’t put it down. It was moving and utterly brilliant” – Rachael Matthews, Cast Off

“Wonderful, amazing, funny and warm! And inspiring!” Tom Hodgkinson, author of How To Be Free

“I really enjoyed it” – AJ Jacobs, author of The Year of Living Biblically

“Charming… As an intellectual might say, it works on lots of different levels. There is a spiritual journey here, but also lots of hi-jinks and good jokes” – Molly Scott Cato, author of Green Economics

“Brilliantly heart-warming, laugh-out-loud story… the kind of book that word of mouth can’t spread fast enough” – Knitting magazine

“I think it is chic to have darned your own clothes” – India Knight, The Sunday Times

“He makes yarn from plastic bags and sews his clothes on a Twenties treadle-powered Singer machine. Now he wants to take on climate change and anti-social behaviour with crochet hooks” – Evening Standard

“Excellent account of making his own outfit (even down to woollen underpants)” – Easy Living magazine

“Compelling… For Flintoff, enlightenment comes neither through religion nor political affiliation – but in making clothes… an inspiring eulogy to DIY” – The Financial Times

“I don’t really understand what you are doing, but I wish you every success” – Vivienne Westwood

“It seems, and I’m grinding my jaws as I type this, that his time has come” – Harriet Green (the author’s wife) quoted in The Observer