Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Currently I'm reading through a great sewing book and recommend it

Professional Sewing Techniques for Designers by Julie Cole and Sharon Czachor. 2nd edition. Published by Bloomsbury.

This isn't a full book review as I've only dipped into the book so far.  However, so far, I think it's great.

I saw it recommended on the Coletterie blog and DH bought it for my Christmas.  I haven't had much time to look at it until now,  more's the pity.  It could have saved a few headaches.

The title makes it clear what the premise of the book is. Designers need to know how to pattern draft and how to construct the garments they design. The three arms are necessary.

I'm not interested in garment designing but I am interested in drafting a pattern from an appropriate block,  to fit me.

I'm not at my usual things today and have missed my golf and bridge sessions as I'm not well. However, I am well enough to sit and read and blog.  Very gentle. So that gave me the chance to look at this book.

The book covers how the pattern needs to be changed to accommodate a particular design feature.

Firstly,  I checked the section on closures. I had problems with my last buttonhole (on jeans) and also with the closure on my first jacket,  where the pattern asked for fabric loops and buttons,  but these just weren't going to work. Last term our pattern cutting class covered button plackets but I still wasn't really sure of the process. This book has a very clear style and helpful illustrations. I'm sure I could go ahead and follow this process now. 

For regular machine sewn buttonholes, they suggest the width and suggest using fray check first,  before cutting the middle of the hole with a buttonhole chisel. Embroidery scissors are then used to cut off any stray thread and to finish opening the hole.

More recently, I had problems with inserting a fly-front zip closure into the jeans I made for DH. I was using a self drafted pattern and following some of the techniques I learned in my trouser techniques class, where we used the fly-front zipper with separate extension.  Unfortunately,  the tutor who drafted the pattern had missed out a seam allowance - but said the technique would work anyway. (It appeared to work on my test garment but not on the real thing - I since gather another step was described but it wasn't in our notes or diagrams and I missed it) I didn't fully understand the significance of it and didn't include it in my pattern;  I wasn't even sure where the seam allowance should have been.  This meant I had to fudge my finish to conceal the zip as it was lying too close to the edge of the fabric. The extra ½" allows the zip to sit slightly further back and it is more easily concealed. How I wish I had read the section on fly-front closures in this book!  The techniques were well described and well illustrated, for both the fly-front facing cut in one piece and the fly-front zipper with separate extension.

I can't reproduce any pictures from the book as I assume they are copyrighted material. However,  although I haven't read much of it so far, I already consider it good value. It was an expensive purchase but worth it. There is a workbook which goes with it but I feel that it's too expensive to justify - unless I win the lottery. 


  1. I've got the book somewhere as well. It is a good book, I agree.

    1. 'Somewhere'- I guess you don't use it regularly? Of course you may not need to. For me, at this stage in my sewing, it's great. Thanks.


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