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Shirtmaking: Developing Skills for Fine Sewing Paperback – 20 May 1999

4.0 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

  • Shirtmaking: Developing Skills for Fine Sewing
  • +
  • The Shirtmaking Workbook: Pattern, Design, and Construction Resources - More than 100 Pattern Downloads for Collars, Cuffs & Plackets
  • +
  • Tailoring: The Classic Guide to Sewing the Perfect Jacket Updated and Revised
Total price: £46.11
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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: 20.1 x 1 x 25.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 29,022 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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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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Format: Paperback
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.

Skeeter
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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The author starts by saying that he wrote this book because no one else had.This book covers it's subject fully. Informative and easy to follow instructions. Invaluable for not just making shirts and blouses. Both collars and cuffs are well covered and plenty of tailoring advice. This book really starts from the beginning, choosing fabrics, tools to use through to ideas for different styles. The line drawings are more helpful than the usual photos.
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