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Hi ladies,

I’m an intermediate seamstress who is starting to break into the area of formalwear. I’m really interested in buying a good book (or purchasing a good online course) that will comprehensively cover the skills of sewing women’s special occasion clothing.

Can anyone make any recommendations? I have just purchased “The Birth of the Bustier” by Kenneth D. King (he taught a class I took at FIT, amazing guy and teacher!) but I’m looking for something that comprehensively covers dress construction too.

Thanks in advance!


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    Jul 23, 2013, 01.29 PMby Shaz Pierre

    Hi, I’m also looking for a good book or course and have been unsuccessful. I have been looking at a book called Patternmaking for Fashion Design and have discovered a ton of reviews from people who were unhappy with the instructions or lack thereof. Upon reading a lengthly review of this book on Amazon, I found that person (By J.A.G. “Freelance Pattern Maker” (Queens, New York)) had recommended a few other books, that might interest you. I have copied and pasted the section of the review where J.A.G. offers advice – which I found quite useful. It seems they are some sort of industry professional.

    Part of the review and recommended books are below:

    If you are a designer wanting to make patterns for your collection, this book is a good recommendation but if you have absolutely no knowledge about the process, you may want to start with HOW TO DRAFT BASIC PATTERNS (4th Edition) by Ernestine Kopp, Vittorina Rolfo, Beatrice Zelin, and Lee Gross and after you have learned most of the basics, you can get the other book that accompanies this one titled DESIGNING APPAREL THROUGH THE FLAT PATTERN (6th Edition) by the same authors. It builds on the first book by helping you to develop more complex styles.

    For fashion design students, this book is one that you are probably using or are going to use and it’s appropriate in a college setting because you should have a professor that can instruct you on the proper way to make a pattern and that can point out any mistakes in this book and how you can correct or improve on them. A good additional read is APPAREL MAKING IN FASHION DESIGN by Injoo Kim and Mykyung Uh. I was able to borrow this from my local library and decided to invest in it after reading through it extensively. I took a patternmaking class in 2010 and the way the teacher instructed me is very similar to the method in this book (she didn’t use this book in class and was not familiar with it). It gives very good and detailed instructions and the illustrations are very good and easy to follow. One of the best things about this book is the way that the author diagrams slash and spread techniques and shows the direction for scissor placement.

    For the home sewers, I found that most of them have gained some of their knowledge from using commercial patterns which is a decent start but from a development standpoint, I think that THE PRACTICAL GUIDE TO PATTERNMAKING FOR FASHION DESIGNERS JUNIORS, MISSES, AND WOMEN by Lori A. Knowles is a good book for this category mainly because the book shows you how to develop a pattern based on a particular styles included in the book and how to change/develop some of those styles by changing a piece like a sleeve. The book has very detailed illustrations and reference styles by numbers so you can follow along. The beginning of the book has very good instructions on taking measurements on the body to develop the basic patterns and they even demonstrate the draping technique to develop the basic pattern. The book includes a really detailed measurement chart for regular, petite, and plus-sized women. There is also a menswear version of this book, which is rare in patternmaking books.

    My best advice for the individual that wants to make an occasional pattern for sewing up a garment is to go to your local thrift store or Goodwill and buy a really cheap version of the garment you want to make that fits, take it apart stitch by stitch, iron the pieces flat, trace them on paper and you’ll have a pattern. If you want more comprehensive lesson on this without taking the garment apart, refer to PART 6 CHAPTER 25 of this book. Google and YouTube are also your friends.

    See full review here: http://www.amazon.com/Patternmaking-Fashion-Design-5th-Edition/product-reviews/0136069347/ref=cm_cr_pr_hist_4?ie=UTF8&filterBy=addFourStar&showViewpoints=0

    Hope this was useful, it was for me and I may purchase some of the recommended books.

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