This week’s musing asks… What is the last book that you learned something from? What book was it, and what did it teach you?
It is entirely likely friends and readers are sick to death of hearing about my sewing adventures. I sympathize. I can’t wait to be less focused on sewing for a bit, but I trudge on.
The success I’ve had in modifying a pattern and completing a muslin mockup of my dress for our Klingon wedding performance in April is in large part thanks to How to Use, Adapt, and Design Sewing Patterns: From store-bought patterns to drafting your own: a complete guide to fashion sewing with confidence by Lee Hollanhan. The copy Chris got me for Christmas is destined to be dog-eared.
I’ve mentioned it in a couple posts, but I cannot say enough good things about it.
One thing I’ve found in learning crafts in general and sewing specifically is most instructions assume a certain level of familiarity with the basic skills and terminology. This book starts at the beginning of it’s subject matter assuming no knowledge and even includes a section in the back with basic sewing techniques.
Now, I didn’t go into this a total novice, but I being primarily self taught, I would not have known to iron my pattern pieces (who would think you could iron paper?) or how serrated scissors are the best option for silky fabrics. Clear illustrations and color photography show things I’d always thought I’d need an experienced sewer to teach me in person. Like laying out patterns on stripped or patterned fabric. Now, I haven’t tried it yet, but I feel like I could do it referencing the pictures in the book.
Hands down, the most useful part of the book for my needs is the chart with all the body parts to be measured for comparison to the pattern measurements complete with explanation and diagrams. I wouldn’t have known where to start without those seventeen points of reference. Add the section showing how to modify store bought patterns made my project possible. Now, I will say, the part on modifying pattern pieces was only the start of what I ended up having to do. Both the shape of the dress and my body shape differ substantially from the examples, but apply the principles I learned in the book, some common sense and geometry got me where I needed to go.