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Hi members!
I got to thinking that I wanted to purchase the new Colette sewing handbook and wondered if anyone has purchased it. Could you please tell me the pros and cons?

I love my Burdastyle Sewing Handbook! I can’t remember when a book released was so rich in information, ideas and patterns. What I love most? The members in our community created the examples in the book. I met several of them at the New York Book Party and couldn’t have asked for a more enriching experience. If you ever have the chance to go to one of the Burdastyle parties, GO! I traveled from Milwaukee Wisconsin just for the event and it was so worth it. If only I had more time!

Okay, that’s my spill on the Burdastyle Handbook and party. Now please let me know what books you have purchased. Would you recommend buying it and why?



28 Posts Sign in to add a post

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    Dec 12, 2011, 05.09 AMby sew4my3

    Please comment on the Burdastyle handbook as well. Pro and cons.

    Did you attend a Burdastyle Party? I would love to hear your experience.

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    Dec 12, 2011, 05.35 AMby katexxxxxx

    OK… But this is going to be a bit off the wall for most folk here! ;)

    Seventeenth-Century Women’s Dress Patterns: Bk. 1 (Womens Dress Patterns 1) Susan North, Jenny Tiramani

    This is FANTASTIC: beautifully and meticulously researched, with diagrams and plans that can be adapted to usable patterns for those with the skill and patience and an interest in making historic garments the way they were made originally. There are also beautifully detailed photographs of the original garments.

    Patterns of Fashion 4: The cut and construction of linen shirts, smocks, neckwear, headwear and accessories for men and women c. 1540 – 1660 (Books) Janet Arnold

    Another piece of fabulous historic costume research and patterning. More photographs of the original garments than in the previous three volumes.

    I’m afraid that these days general sewing manuals have to be something really special for me to consider. I’m deep into the frocking equivalent of Hear Be Dragons when I’m not right off the edge of the map altogether! My last books on modern pattern and garment construction were Pattern Magic and Pattern Magic 2 by Tomoko Nakamichi. They are REALLY special, with fantastic, beautiful ideas and very clear pictures and text, but not yer every-day frocks for work and play!

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      Dec 13, 2011, 07.39 AMby sew4my3

      Hmmm… I have not heard of the first one Seventeenth Century Women’s Dress Patterns. It sounds like it might be worth taking a look at since I love history.

      Now the last ones, Pattern Magic and Pattern Magic 2, I have and think they are awesome. Another member on here, Ged Woods ?, mentioned it one time a couple of years ago and I just had to see what all the fun was about, so I bought them. LOL

      Thanks Kate for your recommendations!

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      May 15, 2012, 12.00 AMby gedwoods

      It’s nice to see that my suggestions don’t fall off in the great darkness :) I do like the Pattern Magic books – they’re quirky and give me ideas LOL. I will look up the 17th century book, I too love history and I’ve fallen in love with the process of making corsets…

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    Dec 12, 2011, 01.38 PMby bjr99

    Great books Kate! I will have to add them to my list.

    I recently picked up Patters of Fashion 2: Englishwomen’s dresses and their construction c. 1860-1940 by Janet Arnold. Such a fantastic resource.

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      Dec 12, 2011, 06.42 PMby katexxxxxx

      Indeed. I have all of them Greedy, innit!

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    Dec 12, 2011, 03.43 PMby patti-r

    Recently purchased this for my niece: Claire Shaeffer’s Fabric Sewing Guide have many of her books, love them.

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      Dec 12, 2011, 06.43 PMby katexxxxxx

      I like the fabric sewing guide. I have a couple of others as well. Love the couture sewing one.

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      Dec 13, 2011, 07.42 AMby sew4my3

      Ooo… could you tell me a little more about her books? It’s always interesting to hear what idea’s members retain from these books.

      Thanks for sharing patti-r!

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    Dec 12, 2011, 06.42 PMby katexxxxxx

    Two new ones came today, thanks to Himself raiding my Amazon Wish List for my birthday:

    Again, both full of pix, diagrams, and scale patterns to play with, excellent text, and a wealth of Things To Make! :) :)

    2 Replies
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      Dec 13, 2011, 07.45 AMby sew4my3

      Both of these sound really great. Could you get back to me on the use of content when you get a chance to thoroughly go through them.

      Thanks again!

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      Dec 16, 2011, 11.18 PMby patti-r

      Yay Kate, they opened, they look like great books!!!

      Oops. Darn I pushed the wrong button by mistake.. Should get the DOH award.

      Thanks for getting back to me!!!

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    Dec 13, 2011, 09.53 PMby patti-r

    Kate can’t get the amazon URLs to open, want to see the your new books!!!!!

    sew4my3 The Claire Shaeffer Fabric Book 2ND Edition updated from her first more like a fabric dictionary takes you through all types of fabrics. It recommends how to prep the fabrics, types of uses, also gives a check list for types of needles needed, thread, interfacing, layouts, hems, edge finishes. Has sections on underlining, linings, closures (couture snaps) etc. I highly recommend this to those of you who use many types of fabrics a great reference book.

    Her "Couture Sewing Techniques books takes you through techniques used to achieve that polished look garment used by designers. ( have the old one she has a new version out) Copied this from back of book: You’ll learn how to hand stitch, finish edges and create beautiful closures, fit and shape flawlessly, sew patch and bound pockets, tailor and line jackets, and construct and embellish evening wear.

    They are available at Barnes & Noble, many other places, maybe even check your local Library.

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      Dec 16, 2011, 11.05 PMby katexxxxxx

      Patti, they are Pattern Cutting for Men’s Costume, and Vintage Lingerie. If you copy and paste the url’s they’ll show you a front cover pic.

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    Dec 29, 2011, 03.33 AMby coeurcouture

    Hi Just wondering… does the BurdaStyle Handbook have whole patterns in it? I want to buy it, but not if I have to buy lots of patterns to go with it.

    Thanks, coeurcouture

    1 Reply
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      Dec 29, 2011, 07.46 AMby sew4my3

      Hello coeurcouture,

      The Burdastyle Handbook does have the full size patterns included.

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    Dec 29, 2011, 09.03 PMby victors

    Santa very kindly brought me pattern magic 1 & 2, famous frocks and the Colette sewing handbook. Now all I need is for the kids to get back to school so I can have some uninterrupted fun with them!

    2 Replies
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      Dec 30, 2011, 01.37 AMby katexxxxxx

      I love the Pattern Magic books.

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      Dec 30, 2011, 07.17 AMby sew4my3

      Santa was very kind! You must have been very good this past year.
      I would love to hear your opinion on the Colette Sewing Handbook after you get a chance to use and review it.

      Happy sewing!

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    Jan 1, 2012, 10.21 PMby coeurcouture

    Awesome!! Thanks sew4my3

    1 Reply
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      Jan 2, 2012, 02.17 AMby sew4my3

      You are welcome.
      If you have any other questions, feel free to ask.

      Happy sewing from your friendly Burdastyle Moderator!

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    Jan 6, 2012, 01.24 PMby squarebob

    santa brought me both for christmas they are both fab and i think they compliment each other well. its like one goes into more detail on the opposite areas to the other. pros for the burda one- 5 different patterns and how it shows you how to adapt these further. con for collette do we need 3 dress patterns? its very feminine. just ordered- Little Green DressesTina Sparkles 101 Great Ways to Sew a Metre: Look How Much You Can Make with Just One Metre of Fabric! Make Your Own Clothes: Twenty Custom-fit Patterns to Sew PatternMaker with Marie Clayton

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      Jan 8, 2012, 11.01 PMby sew4my3

      Very fun! Let me know how you like them.

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      Jan 10, 2012, 04.12 PMby squarebob

      still waiting for little green dresses..
      101 Great Ways to Sew a Metre: some cute little projects and gift ideas. the name states metre but all measurements are in inches which makes me chuckle..
      Make Your Own Clothes: very plain items loads of style features will need to be added but i guess thats how you make your garment your own.. :o)

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    Jan 8, 2012, 07.41 AMby Ralf Schmitz

    i got the “golden rule” from lutterloh as a christmaspresent. it is more a pattern making system than a book but i can highly recommend it. it helps you to make (in very simple way) a pattern perfectly fitting to your own (or your clients / friends) meassures. it is very simple and easy to do and the different outfits are really great and quite basic and fashionable at the same time!

    2 Replies
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      Jan 8, 2012, 11.55 AMby katexxxxxx

      I have just thrown all the fancy kit and systems and STUFF to one side and gone back to basic hand drafting a skirt block from Winifred Aldritch. I have to say that for modern dress, I find almost anything can start with a few measurements and a pencil and paper. :) Same goes for most Vintage looking clothing (from the Twenties onwards).

      I like books for ideas and inspiration, and ways of manipulating the shapes, but nothing beats basic pattern drafting and fitting as a staring point.

      I tend to start from a slightly different perspective with the historical stuff: with that I’ll start with something like Diderot, Norah Waugh or Janet Arnold, a pile of reference pics, draft up a base pattern from their diagrams, and manipulate that for fit and exact style details.

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      Jan 8, 2012, 11.03 PMby sew4my3

      Oooo… I’ve always wondered about this one. Thanks for the recommendation.

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    Jan 12, 2012, 07.01 PMby jaylarodri

    I have an entire wishlist on for books I would like to purchase in the near future. I’m currently very much into Japanese pattern making and draping books. I hope to purchase those first. The ones on my wish list are books I have borrowed from the library and would like to purchase eventually. The Japanese ones are my true wish list. Here’s a link to my wish list. You are free to check it out.

    Wish List

    via @amazon

    1 Reply
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      Apr 5, 2013, 01.34 PMby Victoria Turner

      THANK YOU! This was so helpful. I’ve spent 2 days online looking at reviews etc. searching for books to teach me about fabrics and you had a great one listed on your wish list.. not to mention a few others I’m interested in

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    Jan 12, 2012, 07.05 PMby jaylarodri

    I think “Twinkle” makes great sewing books. A couple of her books are on my wish list. I’ve only read one and it had a cd with the patterns on them where you can print them out in pdf format.

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      Feb 27, 2012, 03.33 AMby sew4my3

      I agree. I have one Twinkle book and find it fun and interesting every time I go back to it.

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    Jan 13, 2012, 06.26 PMby puffykaat

    FORM, FIT, FASHION. by Jay Calderin. He is an Instructor and the director of creative marketing at the School of Fashion Design in Boston. Crazy great book! This fellow is sharp and fun.

    1 Reply
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      Feb 27, 2012, 03.33 AMby sew4my3

      I will check it out. THANKS!

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    Jan 17, 2012, 08.54 AMby ndimi

    I got spoiled this Christmas. I got: - BurdaStyle Handbook, which I love and was thrilled to receive. The first few sections on sewing and your machine are fabulous and necessary for a novice like me. However, the patterns were mostly intermediate to advanced, which made me feel concerned that I’d be making LOTS of muslins to get the patterns right. - Readers Digest Complete Encyclopedia of Sewing, which ends with a section on patchwork. Joy! The techniques and step-by-step instructions with sketches are a treasure and I can see myself using this book intensely. It includes 20 how-to’s of Simplicity Patterns, but again, a little advanced for me. - Sew Serendipity. Ahhh, now we’re talking! Simple, simple, simple. Basic sewing patterns that walk you through a variety of techniques and increasing my skill levels until I finish with a coat. THIS is the book I shall start with. So this year’s New Year Resolution (one of them) is to work my way through each book and make every pattern in them at least once. I shall start with Sew Serendipity, as it is so simple, and then “graduate” to BurdaStyle. I promise to post each one here as I finish it.

    1 Reply
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      Feb 27, 2012, 03.35 AMby sew4my3

      Thank you, thank you, thank you for a truly awesome review of the Burdastyle Handbook! This is the type of information people are looking for before purchasing a book.

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    Jan 17, 2012, 10.40 AMby katexxxxxx

    Today’s new arrival: Winifred Aldrich’s Metric Pattern Cutting for Men.

    Need to make a ‘white tie and tails’ style evening tailcoat for a six foot tall man with a 56" chest!

    Yay! Proper hard tailoring! Woot! Woot!

    3 Replies
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    Jan 25, 2012, 06.13 AMby NellyM

    Hi sew4my3,

    I bought the Colette Sewing Handbook and I love it. I haven’t sewn any clothing for years, so this book was a good start to remind me of some of the basics. The book includes chapters like “A Thoughtful Plan” (Inspiration, Editing for Your Style, Strategy, A Personalized Croquis), “A Precise Pattern” (Pattern Language, Prepare Your Fabric, Lay Out Your Pattern, Transfer the Markings, Cut Your Fabric) and “A Fantastic Fit” (What is a Good Fit?, Ease, Darts and Fullness, How to Fit, Step 1: Measure, Step 2: Trace, Step 3: Make a Muslin, Step 4: Adjust the Muslin, Step 5: Alter the Pattern, Types of Alteration).

    The book has a very nice layout, is well written and the photos are beautiful. It contains lots of clear illustrations to detail the process of altering the pattern pieces (slash method, pivot method, fullness alteration).

    It is a mixture of a project book and a basic sewing book. The fact that the title includes the words “Sewing Handbook” might suggest it is a sewing reference type of book. It is not. I found this book very encouraging and the author includes two pages of “Recommended Reading” (General Reference, Techniques and Websites). It is a book that is best read from start to finish in my opinion. Otherwise you are going to miss some information. Even though I am not new to sewing and are familiar with the basics, I wasn’t bored reading through the pages.

    It should be noted that Colette sewing patterns are made for a cup C size and not cup B (like most commercial patterns). I haven’t started my muslin yet, but according to the size chart included in this book, the book covers quite a range of sizes and appears to be appropriate for curvier women as well. The patterns go from size 0 (Bust Measurement 33 in or 84 cm, Waist Measurement 25 in or 63 cm, Hip Measurement 35 in or 89 cm) to Size 18 (Bust Measurement 46 in or 117 cm, Waist Measurement 38 in or 97 cm, Hip Measurement 48 in or 122 cm).

    The alterations explained in this book cover the following:

    Bust: Full bust, small bust, high bust, low bust Back: Narrow back, broad back, rounded upper back, flat back, sway back Arm: Large biceps, large arm, small arm Shoulders: Sloping shoulders, square shoulders, narrow shoulders, broad shoulders, round shoulders Torso: Short-waisted, long-waisted, broad chest, narrow chest, large rib cage Derriere: Protruding derriere, flat derriere Lower abdomen and hips: Protruding lower abdomen, protruding hip bones, wide hips, narrow hips

    Not really a big deal for me, but I will mention it anyway: What caught my eye were three photos which showed an unbalanced seam (page 134, the underside of the bias tape shows uneven and loose stitching, probably a tension problem), a crooked seam (page 142, the sample for the bound seam, the seams are not straight) and an absolutely unbalanced serged seam (page 142, sample of the serged seam, the needle tension is way too loose and the upper and lower looper threads do not interlock at the cutting edge). Maybe I am nitpicking (the rest of the samples and photos are impeccable), but I like sewing books to show us good examples, not bad ones (unless the photo is used to exemplify the error).

    Other sewing books I have purchased lately (and enjoyed) include “The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting” written by Sarah Vebblen (ISBN 978-1-58923-608-0), “Sewn with Love” written by Fiona Bell (ISBN 978-1-59668-349-5), “Girls World” by Jennifer Paganelli (ISBN 978-0-8118-7444-1) and “The BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook”.

    I highly recommend the book from Sarah Vebblen about fitting garments. It is a photo guide that shows you different models and styles of garments. Through the many photos you train your eye to recognize a bad fit, drag lines and sagging of a garment. This is one of the best dressmaking books I’ve bought lately. It covers pretty much everything you need to know about fitting. I am only on page 47 and I have already learned so much about fitting.

    The books “Sewn with Love” and “Girls World” are for children clothing (girls) and accessories. I love them both. “Sewn with Love” has patterns with a vintage style (that are said to contain mistakes according to some Amazon reviewers) and “Girls World” is for girls only and has plenty of nice projects. I have already made one dress for my daughter, it fits very well and the pieces came together perfectly.


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      Feb 27, 2012, 03.45 AMby sew4my3

      I just made the purchase of the Colette Sewing Handbook and noticed the stitching images as well. LOL The garments also seemed a bit ill fitting to me, but I may be nit picking. It just makes me want to make the garments better than pictured. haha

      I will add your recommendation of Sarah Vebblen’s fitting garments to my list of books to consider for purchase.

      I have browsed through the book Girls World, but have yet to take a look at Sewn with Love. I really enjoy sewing for my nieces so books like these are fun to have available.

      Thanks so much for your thoughts and now I’m off to see your studio.

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    Jan 27, 2012, 02.37 AMby shirley04style

    hi, i Just bought the 101 Essential Tips: Basic Sewing by DK Publihing recently…It is very helpful for someone who know nothing about sewing The book is very understandable guide.

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      Feb 27, 2012, 03.46 AMby sew4my3

      That’s interesting. I have heard this recommendation from a few people in the past for beginners. It must really be a great book.


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    Feb 22, 2012, 04.45 PMby mickeygirl

    I got “Built by Wendy Dresses” by Wendy Mullin.

    I am having so much fun looking at all the patterns and different styles.

    I have not tried the patterns included yet. I should probably draft my own pattern sloper since the armhole is going to huge if I add onto the side seams like she says.

    2 Replies
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      Feb 27, 2012, 03.53 AMby sew4my3

      I have the book “Sew U: The Built by Wendy Guide to Making Your Own Wardrobe” and really enjoyed that one, so I will have to take a look at this one too.


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      Feb 27, 2012, 09.24 AMby katexxxxxx

      I looked at this one as a teaching tool. I wasn’t impressed with the sizing advice, so gave it a miss. Drafting the armscye is always a bit problematic on plus sizes. You tend to need to draft according to measurements and then adjust for the figure. This is especially true of armscye and sleeves, so be careful. There’s a balance to be made between fit when the garment is on and getting a heavy arm through an armscye that fits.

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    Feb 27, 2012, 10.26 AMby sew4my3


    Thanks for the advice.

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    Apr 6, 2012, 01.01 PMby mickeygirl

    I really want the book “How to make sewing patterns” by Don McCunn. He is a really nice old man who just wants to sell his book. It does not tell how to sew just how to make a pattern to fit your own body (or someone you know). He has some other books too.

    Also I like the price. $25 USD, free shipping. I remember I paid over $100 for Armstrong book when I was taking a course. Sorry just can not afford $100 anymore for books. People should offer a CD version perhaps. The Bra Maker Manual comes in CD that is cheaper only still a bit much for me $40. The only problem is some CD books will only work for a while or when you put in a password. This is a problem when you get a new computer or if a friend wants to borrow it to look at. I find I really want to look at a book before I buy it.

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    Apr 7, 2012, 10.09 AMby Ashley Colette

    I’ve had the Colette sewing book for about 3 months now and I absolutely love it, it comes with 5 patterns for vintage dresses that are fairly easy to make and it shows you step by step how to make each one. Even the dress on the cover is included. This book has a lot of vital information you need to sew. I would say the book is for beginners and the advanced seamstress like myself. It’s very easy to understand like the burdastyle book is. The bursa style book is definitely my next purchase, I was going to buy it for my BlackBerry playbook but id rather have it as a regular book as it is very interesting and helpful from what I read and I’d also like to be able to use the patterns it comes with…if any. I’d say if you love your Burdastyle handbook you would definitely looking even the Colette handbook. Enjoy and happy sewing!

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    May 15, 2012, 12.07 AMby gedwoods

    My favorite sewing books, I think, are the David Page Coffin books – “Shirtmaking” and “Making Trousers for Men and Women” – two very different books but real gems. Coffin’s books are exquisitely structured to help make complex tasks easier, with lots of explanations about why things are done a certain way. For shirtmaking, his book is pretty well indispensible, and for disentangling the challenges involved in making quality trousers, his second book is also hard to beat. I hope he develops additional books, but it has been a number of years since the last one, so I don’t know if he plans to.
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    May 15, 2012, 04.37 AMby littleleecy

    I recently purchased the latest edition of “Vogue Sewing” and it’s fantastic! A great resource guide to have on hand (especially when you can’t jump on to the Burda Learning Pages). A great buy, useful for beginners and advanced sewers. Covers almost everything, even a bit of info about fabrics, and basic pattern manipulation.

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    Jul 24, 2014, 11.11 AMby kasigrzyb

    Agree. It`s rly useful for me us beginners. Good job and I hope will be more art. like this.

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    Jul 24, 2014, 12.18 PMby karolinakal

    I purchased lately “Fifty Shades of Grey”. Very good book

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    Nov 9, 2014, 12.59 PMby Gustav Klimt

    Here are books about sewing:

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    Feb 17, 2015, 09.46 AMby yena

    helloo everyone, i would suggest you to purchase colette sewing handbook of lLLADYBIRD it is full of new dresses and new ways of sewing with easy and simple techniqs you can easly understand it.

    • This is a question
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