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Shirtmaking: Developing Skills for Fine Sewing [Paperback]

David Page Coffin
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
RRP: 16.99
Price: 11.89 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

20 May 1999
Why make a shirt? Because, with the skills you'll learn in Shirtmaking, you can create elegant, custom-fit garments for a woman or man that look like the best money can buy. Includes full-scale patterns for collars, cuffs, plackets, and pockets, and complete instructions for developing custom-fit shirt patterns.

Frequently Bought Together

Shirtmaking: Developing Skills for Fine Sewing + Shirtmaking Techniques [DVD] [2009] [Region 1] [NTSC] + Metric Pattern Cutting for Menswear
Price For All Three: 45.56

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Taunton Press Inc; New edition edition (20 May 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1561582646
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561582648
  • Product Dimensions: 25.1 x 20.1 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 31,564 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Choosing appropriate fabrics for sewing projects-fabrics that flow when you want drape and that aren't too stiff when all you want is character-vies with fitting as the most challenging skill in garmentmaking. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
76 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear easy to read, full of interesting ideas 26 April 2001
By A Customer
I have probably learnt more about dressmaking form this book than from any other I own, and I do own a lot. This book is clearly laid out with a lot of illustrations, and is easy to follow.
Whilst it focuses on shirts a lot of the techniques apply to everything you make. It covers why a shirt looks right when you wear it, how to make a shirt fit you the way you want, and changes to the basic shirt design that will allow you to make a truly unique garment. At the back of the book there is a reference section of posible design details.
Whilst I haven't made a shirt for a few months I refer to this book often for techniques and information on how to use pieces of sewing equipment better. I got so much more from this book that I could have expected.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars David Coffin's Shirtmaking advice 29 Oct 2011
By Skeeter
I have bought both the book and the complementary dvd, 'Shirtmaking Techniques' by David Coffin.
I had struggled with commercial patterns for several months as a beginning sewer. They are pretty useless, IMHO.Fixing collars and arms onto the tunic seemed impossible.
David Coffin makes it a lot simpler. His techniques are straightforward. That doesn't mean I didn't scratch my head a few times before things sank in. But I succeeded the other day in sewing my first really successful collar.
My advice is to start with the dvd. When you've digested that, go to the book to fill in the detail.

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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything you needed to know about shirtmaking 14 July 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Note the title - shirtmaking, not blouse-making. I made a bit of a mistake with this purchase. I was looking for help with making shirts, blouses, pyjama tops, that kind of thing. That is not what this book is about - it's about shirts, the male garment, often borrowed by women, but essentially consisting of a body, sleeves and collar, with flat fell seams and a front closure. However, the information on fabrics and construction methods is still invaluable, and the section at the back on alternative designs (moleskin, shooting shirts etc) is also great. Coffin-Page is a self-taught sewist, so his explanations are extremely clear and the book is well furnished, like all Taunton books (probably the best sewing books around), with illustrations and photographs. I now feel confident enough to have a go at making my own shirts, and also understand better the details on my Jermyn Street vintage shirts. A good buy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Should be called "Collar Making" 23 Feb 2014
Very disappointed with this book as I assumed from the title it would explain how to make shirts. It doesn't.

I really wanted something that would help me draft my own block so that I could tailor shirts to my own fit, but there is no such information. Instead, the reader is invited to trace around a shirt he likes the fit of, and use that as a pattern.

There is, however, a lot of information on collars... a LOT of information. So much that I really feel the book should be called "Collar Making"!

As others have said, there is a dearth of photos which add to the disappointment.

The book is somewhat American, and David Page Coffin is very opinionated. He talks at length about what the ideal dress shirt should look like, yet only makes a cursory mention of the European placket (aka French Placket) on page 22, and there is no real discussion of how to make one. Be aware that what is referred to as muslin is likely to be calico in the UK/Europe.

If you are interested in making your own shirts, including drafting a pattern unique to your shape, don't waste your money on this book. Just download the free pdf tutorials from Burda Style (do a google search for "burda style mens shirt block" and "burda style mens collar block".)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I appreciate this guy is an artist and wanted to do his own illustrations but they're just not good enough to follow. Every time I sit down and try and work out one of his illustrations it's a painful struggle. They're so unclear they are almost unintelligible. This book would have been great if they'd just stuck to photographs to illustrate the technical sewing descriptions. The text descriptions aren't enough and the line drawings are practically useless.

It's a great shame, but this isn't the book it could have been. There's too much fluff about different styles and shapes of collar, etc, and not enough on basic sewing techniques. I had high hopes for this book after reading the introduction, but the further you get into it the worse it gets. The final chapters are just a pure annoyance.

Both publisher and author would do well to look at "Vintage Couture Tailoring" by Thomas von Nordheim. That is an exemplary "how to" instruction manual about tailoring techniques. Clear photographs, helpful descriptions and warnings. Minimal fluff about fashion. If only Coffin's book were half as good.

I'm still looking for a good book on shirt making.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 19 Feb 2013
By Sean
After reading several reviews, I had high expectations of this book. However, on receipt, I can honestly say how disappointing it is. Granted, there is a lot of information - but it is very dated and there are a lot of basic line drawings that are not that well drawn. In this day and age, it's not hard to produce quality and this book certainly needs an update.

I'd say, don't waste your money. You can find more current and easier to follow instructions (inc. video) by doing a simple web search.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Lovely book.
Published 1 month ago by Serendipity
5.0 out of 5 stars I want to make shirts
I bought this book to learn how to make a professional looking shirt for my son who has difficulty finding shirts to fit him in the body when he has a big neck. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Susan Milford
4.0 out of 5 stars wasn't what I had hoped for
Had already got the DVD so I bought this book to complete the package. Gave the book a four star rating because it's written as though you're new to sewing, which I like. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Maralyn Williams
4.0 out of 5 stars A good reference book
This was helpful in understanding most parts of shirt make-up. It is a good reference book for a student and anyone who is making shirts for the first time.
Published 6 months ago by Buzz Read
5.0 out of 5 stars really good!
Really good book with very clear explanations.Very detailed information without being too dens.Good amount of drawings to make understand better. Just what I wanted!
Published 8 months ago by melissa
5.0 out of 5 stars Shirtmaking
This was bought as a gift and a nice gift as I struggle to find nicely designed shirts these days.
Published 11 months ago by Avai Rajendra
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational Knowledge - Beginner & Advanced alike
A superb well written tome. Written by an amateur shirt-maker who puts his money where his mouth is (the voice of experience from someone who does it at home like we do). Read more
Published 17 months ago by A. G. W. Towle
1.0 out of 5 stars a big disappointment
This book does not achieve any of the goals set by itself. The quality of the construction and sewing shown in the pictures is very poor and not even comparable to a ready to wear... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Critical customer
1.0 out of 5 stars shirtmaking
a really annoying book written by a completely opiniated tosser-I am a teacher and recommended my students check out all literature on shirts -and they all came back with the same... Read more
Published 20 months ago by nina cadzow
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just for shirts
Although this book is primarily about shirt making, the principles can be applied to other kinds of dress-making and tailoring. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Moseley
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