Thursday 12 June 2014

Craft Books I Love: Dressmaking by Alison Smith

Review Dressmaking by Alison Smith

Sewing is something I've always aspired to, yet only recently got around to trying out properly. I think the problem I've had is that sewing something from scratch just seems very scary, a problem I've never come across when knitting or crocheting. When learning to knit and crochet I built up my skills very slowly, starting with the basics (scarves, of course) and working my way up. For me, there seems to be a large jump between the easy sewing projects (like sewing a tablet case) to the harder ones (e.g. sewing a coat - eek!). Some sewing patterns don't help the situation either, and I felt like I needed guidance as to mastering the basic skills. Which is where this book (and my mum) come in.

For me, sewing is all about clothes. Because clothes are far more exciting than cushions or curtains, amirite? Dressmaking - The Complete Step by Step Guide by Alison Smith, covers all the important elements of dressmaking, and everything is made simple enough for complete beginners, such as myself. It begins with the absolute basics, from describing sewing equipment, different types of fabric, laying out pattern pieces and so on. This is absolutely great if you are a complete newcomer to sewing, as I feel that sometimes the very basics can be overlooked.

The book then progresses to explaining different techniques used in dressmaking. Some of the included techniques are; inserting pockets, inserting sleeves, sewing buttonholes, inserting zips, e.t.c. The best thing about this book is that all the techniques are described in a very visual way, with a photograph for each stage of the process. Personally, I find things a lot easier to understand with pictures, rather than instructions, as photographs always make it quite clear exactly what it is you have to do.

Twelve patterns are also included with Dressmaking, including the one I used to make this checked dress. As with the rest of the book, each stage involved with sewing each pattern is clearly explained with photographs for each step. This is something that I definitely benefited from, as I find some normal sewing patterns can be quite ambiguous with their instructions. Instructions are also given for altering these patterns, which opens up the number of garments possible tenfold. I also particularly enjoyed the section on altering already made items of clothing, something I can definitely see myself trying with some of my second hand finds.

As great as this book is, it's always amazing to have my mum on hand when I'm sewing. She is my sewing guru, and sewed a lot of clothes for me when I was a baby (I was such a couture baby). Thanks mum!

I'm also really interested in Tilly's book - the patterns look absolutely divine, and I like the fact that they progressively get slightly more technical throughout the book. Has anybody tried it out?

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