Saturday, 20 December 2014

My Sewing Library: Part 2

Thanks so much to those who commented for the positive response to Part 1 of this little book review feature. It's great to hear that it's helped and inspired those who were looking to expand their sewing resources. So, onward...

Metric Pattern Cutting by Winifred Aldrich

What is it and who is it aimed at?

This hard-back book is all about pattern cutting, and literally nothing else. Whether you're a fashion student or a home-seamster wanting a deeper knowledge on the anatomy of a garment pattern, this is widely accepted to be the very best place to start. Aldrich takes you through drafting basic pattern blocks from scratch based on specific measurements, as well as how to adapt those blocks and how to draft pretty much every type of design feature (like sleeves, collars, cuffs etc) known to man. If you're willing to put the time in, this book gives you the building blocks to make your clothing designs a reality. However, as cute as the little illustrations are, a pretty coffee-table book this is NOT! 

Why have I got it?

This book was on the reading list to buy when I started my Fashion Design degree back in 1999! Yup, I was at uni in the 90's, *feels seriously old*! This wasn't the only pattern cutting title I bought that was on that list, but it's the only one I still own, which I feel says a lot. 

Does it include patterns?

No, but it does contain the very DNA of patterns! This book will make you the mother of patterns. Which is kind of better than including patterns, don't you think?

Have I used it and would I recommend it?

So freaking much: that's how much I've used it. I've used it to draft blocks, I've used it to figure out how to make a puff sleeve, I've used it to grade patterns into different sizes, I've used it to balance my plate on whilst I eat dinner... If pattern cutting interests you at all, then it simply must be owned. 

Built By Wendy Dresses by Wendy Mullin and Eviana Hartman

What is it and who is it aimed at?

This book is very much in the vein of Wendy Mullin's two SEW U books, however it manages to avoid repeating the content of those others. Focusing on dresses made from woven fabric, this book assumes you know the basics of how to sew and instead helps you explore your hidden designer. It covers topics like picking a garment style to flatter your body shape, how to apply print and colour to good effect and different neckline options, as well as sections you'd expect from a sewing book like picking suitable fabric types. 

Why have I got it?

After buying and loving her first two books, I flipped out with excitement when I found Mullin had written another. Then I bought it. 

Does it include patterns?

YES!!! Like the other two, this includes three multi-sized garment patterns. The three dress patterns have interesting features that makes them ripe for customisation. Inside the book are detailed instructions on how to adapt those three basics to make twenty five different styles, plus it would only take the application of a little bit of imagination to come up with quite a few more by applying her lessons in design that feature towards the beginning of the book. 

Have I used it and would I recommend it?

To be honest, no I haven't used it save for reading bits of it here and there. By the time I bought this book, I had become pretty obsessed with sewing from vintage patterns to create a rockabilly-esque style. The aesthetic of the garment styles in this book are really cute, but didn't gel with me at that time particularly, and are possibly a bit young for someone in their thirties I felt. 

However, having gone back to it recently to refresh my memory for this post, I do feel it has a lot to offer. I'm actually interested in giving a least one of the patterns a whirl, and I may make that a priority early 2015. 

What is it and who is it aimed at?

For a slightly longer review of this book, check out this previous blog post. In short, this book is aimed at beginners with a creative bent who appreciate a feminine, retro-y style. With lots of ideas for customising and up-cycling projects as well as very basic dressmaking projects, this little hard-back written by my former boss shows how to make a great impact in just an afternoon. 

Why have I got it?

I was given a free copy at the launch party. 

Does it include patterns?

Nup. The closest this book gets to patterns is showing you how to draft very basic elasticated or gathered waist skirts using your measurements. 

Have I used it and would I recommend it?

I haven't used it but then I didn't expect to because I'm not really its target readership. No doubt there are some things in here I could learn, but there are other books that appeal to me more aesthetically, both in terms of the projects and overall design of the publication. So I'm more likely to choose those when perusing my collection looking for some bedtime reading. That said, if you have a girly friend who wants to get into sewing, this would make a lovely gift. 


Mother of Reinvention said...

"Metric Pattern Cutting" is my bible. Do you have anymore of this series? I also have the childrenswear one and am on the lookout for the lingerie but they are usually quite expensive. If I could only have one sewing book this would probably be it. ;) x

Debbie said...

I love Metric Pattern Cutting too. Really helpful reviews: it's easy to be tempted by books that aren't as useful as anticipated.

Marilla Walker said...

In total agreement with you ladies! If I only had one sewing book then metric pattern cutting would be it!

Marie said...

Yep! I have Metric Pattern Cutting too! (though a later addition) I've used my childrenswear version tonnes but have yet to really delve into my ladieswear one properly as time to draft patterns hasn't been easy to come by of late.

Not one for beginners though, it's pretty heavy going for the uninitiated! Like you said, not a coffee table book by any means but I find them invaluable.

Anonymous said...

You know you love a book when you use it as a placemat for meals! Thanks for a part 2 of this series. I've never heard of the first book, but have always found that the older the book, the more information in it.

Catherine said...

Metric pattern cutting - best book ever!!!... And children swear one too :)

Catherine said...

Stupid predictive iPad thingy children's wear book not what is above ☺️

Sirinadesigns said...

I have the Metric Pattern Cutting book. I was advised to purchase it when studying pattern drafting at college and it is one of my most used books even now 10 years later. I am thinking of purchasing the childrens version now I have nieces and nephews to make for.

Unknown said...

Love your book reviews! And very happy to see Winifred Aldrich on your list. My go to book is "pattern cutting for woman's wear. But I have few more on my "to have" list. Especially the "pattern cutting for menswear" as I want to specialise in menswear in a future and I'm sure that book will be perfect :)

Anonymous said...

Really enjoying this series. I love the blouses on the cover, wish I had the know how to pattern draft. I have the built by Wendy coat book but haven't made anything from it. I want to get her one for knits.

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