Thursday, 8 January 2015

My Sewing Library: Part 3

Today's post is the final in my little series of sewing-related book reviews. If you didn't see the other two and are interested, Part 1 is here and Part 2 is here.

What is it and who is it aimed at?

I wrote a fuller review of this hard-back title back in March, but in short this book is aimed at everyone aside from the super-super-skilled seamster by guiding them through a multitude of garment sewing projects. It is very detailed and I'd be surprised if most people who like sewing couldn't find something to interest them and help improve their skills in this book.

Why have I got it?

I was offered a copy to review, and like a good girl I actually did write my honest and unbiased review within a reasonable time frame of receiving it. 

Does it include patterns?

Hell yes it includes patterns. Squillions of them, for women, men and children. So many that I'm not exactly sure how many, and I don't have the book with me at the moment to count them. As I mentioned in my full review of this book, it'd be unlikely that you couldn't find at least one of the patterns worth a bash. I'd recommend doing some internet research before you embark on making any of them though, as I've read a few people's comments stating they found flaws in the sizing or fit this or that pattern from this book. 

Have I used it and would I recommend it?

Nup, I haven't used it. I really should give it some attention one of these days because I'm sure I could learn a thing or two from it, but I must admit that none of the patterns appeal to me that much so I haven't scrabbled to make anything from it. It does look a thorough and detailed tome though. So if you are just getting into sewing and looking for a book to really get your teeth into, this could be a really good buy. Plus with sooo many patterns included, if you like a lot of them, it could work out great value for those alone.

by Pati Palmer and Marta Alto

What is it and who is it aimed at?

This paper-back is all about creating well-fitting clothing by tissue-fitting your pattern and making any necessary alterations before cutting into your fabric. It is only concerned with this method of fitting, but covers pretty much every figure 'quirk' you can think of. So unless your proportions miraculously match those of the Big-Four pattern companies, you're likely to find at least a small part of it useful. It also includes quite a bit of history into sewing patterns, sizing and more, so if you are sewing geek on any level, you're likely to find it interesting.

Why have I got it?

I bought it with my hard-earned pennies because I know very little about the fitting stage of sewing clothes, aside from blending between sizes and pinching excess out of the side seams.  

Does it include patterns?

No, but it will help you look at all sewing patterns with a renewed sense of potential!

Have I used it and would I recommend it?

I must admit that I owned this book for an embarrassingly long time before even opening it up. However, one of my sewing aims for 2015 is to make well-fitting garments. Since my opportunities for sewing have diminished, I'm aiming for quality rather than quantity when it comes to making myself garments. So I've cracked this book out and am currently reading it more or less from cover to cover. I'm skim-reading the parts that really don't relate to me, but still absorbing information from those sections to have a better understanding of fit in general.

But hot damn this is an ugly book! Aside from the fact that all the garments that are being made look like something worn by audience members from early episodes of Oprah, the quality of photography is not great and there's a weird mix of styles when illustration is deployed. I'd actually prefer it if this book was almost entirely illustrated, I think the techniques would be easier to decipher.

But it's not just the clothing styles and book production that looks dated, it also shows how much our funny old pastime has changed in recent years by the fact that this book deals exclusively with the Big Four pattern companies' products. With the blossoming of independent sewing pattern availability, which are often available as PDFs or in different grades of paper, I wonder how relevant the tissue-fitting method this book exclusively deals with will be going forwards. That said, these authors are incredibly knowledgeable and experienced, and anyone who takes sewing their own clothes seriously should probably own or borrow this book at some point as it includes so much useful info on how to alter patterns to correct figure 'quirks'. 

What is it and who is it aimed at?

This sizeable paper-back is another that I have previously reviewed more fully, however, in-brief: it is aimed at beginner and 'lower-intermediate' (if such a thing exists, although generally I hate categorising people who enjoy sewing in this way) sewers, but really anyone who appreciates a friendly, technical-jargon-free approach and a beautifully designed book. I feel that this book has probably permanently altered what many of us will come to expect from a sewing book, in terms of both the stylishness of the projects and the design of the book itself. 

Why have I got it?

I was luck enough to be sent a copy by the publishers to review on my blog. 

Does it include patterns?

Indeed it does! And if you are into Tilly's aesthetic, then it's wonderful to have a collection of cute and wearable patterns to bust out with crystal clear instructions and photos to hold your hand through the construction. Like all good sewing books that include patterns, the projects start at a relatively easy level and get progressively more challenging as your skills and confidence improve.   

Have I used it and would I recommend it?

I have very much enjoyed reading chunks of it before bed and stroking the beautiful pages! I will definitely be deploying the Margot pyjama bottoms and Mimi blouse patterns before 2015 is out. The others are sweet styles but either not my aesthetic or not suitable for my current lifestyle. If cocktails begin to feature more frequently in my life again, the Lilou may happen too at some stage! 

The author, Tilly, is my friend and effectively my boss since I teach workshops at her studio space. But I hope you trust that I'm not being biased when I say that if you dig the look of the clothes in this book, you'd be crazy not to put 'Love at First Stitch' on your birthday wish-list. 

So if you made it to the end of these review posts, thank you for taking the time to read them! I'll be reviewing more books in the near-ish future as I received Gertie's latest book for Christmas and was sent a lingerie sewing book at the end of the year that I haven't had a chance to look at yet. If you have any other sewing-related books that I haven't written about but would recommend, please leave a comment...


Mother of Reinvention said...

I really had high hopes for the Sewing Bee book. I don't have the first one but read that all the patterns were pdf-files which I hate so I was delighted that they had paper patterns in the second one. I bought this to use as a teaching aid as the girls wanted to sew. Two made the skater dress and we started the vintage blouse for another. The dresses were simple but missing some notches. The vintage blouse was a complete nightmare and we gave up. I have seen other reviews mentioning that the patterns seem a bit rushed and I would agree. It is a shame as this book is definitely aimed at beginning sewers and if you were just starting out you could really get put off by the problems and think it was you. Don't own the other two but have found "Fast Fit" very useful. X

tialys said...

I laughed at your comments about the Fit For Real People book as I got the 'pants' one for Christmas and my husband made some very uncharitable comments about the photographs on the front!

Rosie Sparkleneedles said...

All the garments that are being made look like something worn by audience members from early episodes of Oprah: PREACH!

Birgitte said...

Again - thanks for the round-up and reviews, I'm enjoying them! It is also inspiring me, since I have several very similar books (like Fit for real people, and another title I can't check since I'm mid-move and all the books are packed away), and I think it could be fun/interesting to compare two books on the same topic. Anyways - thanks!

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