Top critical review
71 people found this helpful
Not exactly 'complete'
on 10 January 2014
This book certainly has a lot of photos, and plenty of pictures of good/poor fitting. The author does have a very particular style though - make muslins over and over again (she says she averages 3-5 per garment) until you get a good fit! I don't know about other home sewers, but this certainly isn't practical for me - I wanted a reference that explained how to get it right the first time, and this book doesn't cover that.
I was also disappointed that a number of subjects I would have expected in a 'complete' guide were entirely missing:
- Tips for making adjustments to already existing garments
- Any kind of fabric-related considerations (bias cut garments, stretch, etc), and how to modify patterns to suit fabrics they were not originally intended for
- Male clothing of any kind (despite several of the acknowledgements being for male sewers)
- Pointers for fitting yourself beyond 'ask a friend' (the book focuses almost exclusively on fitting 'customers')
- Using interfacing/boning/padding to add structure/definition (the only structural item mentioned was shoulder pads - lots of)
- Photos of finished garments showing the effect of particular decisions/recommendations (though there were line-drawings)
- Fitting considerations related to fastenings (zips, buttons, clasps)
- Drawing up patterns from a garment that you know fits well
- The explanation of the relationship between a muslin and a flat pattern could have done with more explaining than 'if you mark it up carefully, it works'
Instead, the book is structured in the form of a basic introductory section, followed by a number of 'case studies' where all of the steps and adjustments for fitting a particular garment to a particular body type are described. Credit - she does use 'real women' as models, complete with sloping shoulders, slouches, and not insignificant bellies. I would say the book might be useful for someone who finds it difficult to figure out why a garment pulls or has excess fabric in a given place. Personally though, I found the book was excessively based on a trial-and-error philosophy, and not enough on maths and materials.