Today, dear readers, I have a book to tell you all about. If you enjoy sewing and adore the styles of the 40’s and 50’s, and always wondered how on earth they made such beautiful intricate designs back then, like the example below, then you had best read on.
Alright, so the above example isn’t from the 50’s, but the book covers how to concoct beautiful structural designs, no matter what the era.
Oh, pardon me! I have neglected to even tell you what the book was called!
The book is titled: “Practical Dress Design- Principles of Fitting and Pattern Making” by Mabel D. Erwin. And it was published in 1954!
Now, I have been going through this book (slowly mind you, I’m only on chapter 3!) as a semi-school book, for pattern construction, etc. And I LOVE IT!!! It has everything you could ever wish to know about dart manipulation, creating intricate design patterns through the manipulation of darts, and even fitting, a topic most seamstresses struggle with grasping.
To make the rest of my book review easier to read, how about I break it down into Pro’s and Con’s?
Pro’s: The book explains about dart manipulation, fitting, how to determine your proper size, etc.; it teaches you by principles, so that at the end of the course you are have guidelines that you will be able to follow for the rest of your sewing career; The book is designed to teach you the most efficient and way to create beautiful effects in your clothes; The author is considerate of economy, and instructs how to conserve materials as you learn the principles of pattern making and fitting; There is a summary at the end of every chapter, and occasionally there are assignments (A.K.A homework :P)
Con’s: The book may be hard to understand at times (just take it slow and you’ll understand eventually); Some of the assignments may be a bit too much to do at the moment materials and time-wise ( I just skip those assignments till I have the materials, and then I go back to the chapter and reread it, and then do the assignment). The book was designed to be taught in a classroom which may mean you might have to skip some assignments, or just make do with what you have around you; The chapter on pattern size includes a chart of the different sizes, but the sizes are VINTAGE sizes, not modern day 4’s, 5’s, etc. but rather 12’s, 14’s and 15’s. That doesn’t mean that the sizes are huge, it only means that the numbers are different than today’s numbers of sizes.
Now, I’m sure you’re all dying by now to know how to get the book, and what on earth I meant by a “free book” in the title.
And in case you all were wondering, no, this is not a giveaway, if that is what you thought. Rather the book is free for anyone who wishes to download it here.