Thursday, 15 June 2017

Book Review: Complete Dressmaking by Jules Fallon

Complete Dressmaking by Jules Fallon. Published by Quarto Press, an imprint of The Quarto Group (£20). Out 8th June.

Available from Amazon

I have got the chance to review a new book out this month and on dressmaking what could be more perfect.

On the inside of the fly leaf is the comment:

'There is no better compliment than when someone asks, "I love what you're wearing, where did you get it?" Any you reply "I made it myself"

This is so true to be able to make something that cannot be found on a rail in a colour and pattern that is unique to you, so special and with this new book a possibility.

Essential skills and techniques for beginners.

The book is broken down into 5 excellent sections covering:

Essential equipment - starting out this can be daunting and you could end up buying so many things you do not need when as this chapter explains a sewing machine and good sharp dressmaking scissors (no using for paper cutting). Pins, tape measure and a few other useful additions to your sewing basket.

This chapter also explains about the machine needles which is the best to use for different weights of fabric. This is knowledge worth knowing as you would never sew denim with a 75 or organza 90. The needle and correct thread are the best starting point once you have chosen your fabric.

Also included some details on the basics of a sewing machine which also come in all sorts of styles and decorative stitches. Not to mention the machine feet and what is best to use.
Thread types and trims.

Prep - How to choose the correct fabric for the pattern you intend to make. All the different types of fabric in the shops. One of the best ways is to hold the roll up and see how the fabric falls. What do you want to make, does it need to be washable or dry cleanable..

Which interfacing to use again a few types to decide on. Does the fabric need pre-washing and make sure you know the right and wrong sides.

How to read a pattern from the envelope information to the pattern pieces and placing onto the fabric correctly to cut out.

Checking measurements always best to check and recheck these as once cut too late to make alterations. Toile patterns and how to layout a pattern on the fabric, patterns and matching, pinning and marking.

Make - This is the fun part, all the pattern pieces have been cut out. Iron at the ready, machine threaded. How to create darts to enhance the shape. Gathering, pleats and tucks, seams. How to make a curved seam work with notches. How to finish the raw edges of the seams. Pockets, openings and closures, buttons and buttonholes, other closures including inserting zips. These can often fill a novice with dread but this book gives you step by step images to make it so easy.

How to insert a sleeve, facings, cuffs and collars, yokes on shirts, waistbands. Decorative features such as making your own bias binding, piping and frills and flounces.

Stretch - This section covers how to start with stretch knits such as t-shirt fabric, tips on how to stitch including using a twin needle for hems.

Finish -  This is the important chapter as you want the item to look so good no one would know you made it yourself. Bound edges, facings, under stitching and edge stitching. This ensures the facing lies flat. How to finish a hem by hand and machine. Linings for skirts and tops.

The final pages are - Resources this gives an estimate as to the quantities required to make a garment a brilliant idea as something you could copy and take with you shopping. Pressing guides how hot to have the iron etc as unlike bought clothes fabric does not come with  a label.

To sum up this book is an encyclopedia to take the fear out of starting dressmaking, clearly written with excellent images to follow. A perfect gift for a budding designer and suitable for any age group. An ideal accompaniment with a new sewing machine or to treat yourself if you are just starting out.

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