I’m Reading

December 5, 2010 § 2 Comments

You can always follow David Coffin on his blog dedicated to sewing trousers and, like the rest of the world, you can follow him on Facebook. Just the intro to his book on trouser making has made me appreciate pants in a way I never imagined. He’s a simple guy. He considers himself an amateur- though he was an editor for Threads Magazine, and other sewers who do consider themselves professionals, think highly of Coffin.

I can’t make you read any of these books, and I know I’m suggesting more and more reading. My new library system has a ton of sewing books and I’m just going hog wild here reserving a bunch, picking them up, picking through them, suggesting some here, and then returning them just to pick up some more. I’ve got a bunch of books on Victorian dress and sewing techniques, but I’ll leave those recommends for some other day.

This trouser book is written in a way that has opened my eyes to the detailing of trouser construction. Call it what you will, but I’ve already pulled out some of my pre-pregnancy pants to inspect them the way Coffin does in his book. This is one of the funest (yes, I’m gonna say it’s a word) ways to learn new techniques.

I’m also still using (not just reading) the Pati Palmer Fit for Real People. If you have had a hard time fitting the clothes you make, consider this your primer for dressmaking. Like the Coffin book, Pati Palmer opens the readers eyes up to see fitting a commercial pattern in ways you might not have thought.

I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again. I’ve got narrow shoulder but a large bust. If I went for a pattern based on my bust, the shoulders would never fit. That’s actually why I had to pin the neck in the latest muslin. The shoulder fit wasn’t right. Pati Palmer has you fitting the back first, then the front- which I still need to get used to.

You make certain your pattern fits in the back, then you move to the front. Rather than adding tissue to your pattern to make it reach around your front, they give you a couple of ways to cut the pattern to add space where you need it, not where you don’t.

I dare you to check this book out. Especially if you’ve felt like you don’t want to sew for yourself because nothing ever fits. This is one of the books that’s really making me come out of my “I only sew for kids” rut.

This is a book with a gorgeous cover. There are no pictures inside of this book other than line drawings of pattern pieces. I’ve perused it but haven’t really taken advantage of it. I’m getting ideas for dresses, but I think I need to pace myself and come back to this one in a couple of months.

A lot of draping instruction, but not quite as much as I’ve been seeing in these draping textbooks I’ve been studying.

I really do feel like I’m studying. I read everything I can get my hands on and I’m going back and reading it again. I’m cycling through some books quicker than others, but still trying to retain the information.

Not much of a review but do what you can with the details I’ve provided. Enjoy!

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§ 2 Responses to I’m Reading

  • meg mcguire says:

    I love that you pore over these complex pattern adjusting sewing books. This is where you wade into deep water and I haven’t a clue how to follow. Every time I page through Fit for Real People I find myself needing a handbag or stuffed toy book to cleanse my mind. Why can’t I get myself into the more sophisticated levels of clothing making/pattern drafting?

    Other than Cal Patch’s book I have only been able to play ball with two books (that you should ILL if your library doesn’t have them). I want to recommend two books to you and your fellow sewists. They give a good ground game for pattern drafting (that even a dressmaking no account like me can get into):
    How to Make Sewing Patterns by Donald H. McCunn (This book is a revival from the 1970’s is one of the educating standards. It’s far more accessible than many of its counterparts)
    Sew What! Fleece by Carol Jessop (Sometimes great sewing inspiration comes from the oddest places. This was this author’s only book and it’s a fleece book…? She has the clearest system I’ve encountered for creating your own patterns. I credit it with being the only book about “pattern creation” that I retained a thing from)

    • Leila says:

      Thanks for the recommends. You’re right, inspiration can come in any form. I’ll have to check out those books.

      I’m actually thinking I need to recheck out the Fit for real people book to figure out the sway back alteration- yet another alteration for anything I want to make. The problem is coming up in everything I make that’s fitted.

      I think my inspiration is coming from the sewing book selection at the library. It’s amazing, as you can see.

      I’m also really getting into draping, which is, plainly put, faster than creating a pattern. You just have to be better about making a master copy so that the really cool top you just made yourself can be reproduced in another fabric, or attached to a skirt, etc.

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