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Famous Frocks: Patterns and Instructions for Recreating Fabulous Iconic Dresses--10 Patterns for 20 Dresses in All! Hardcover – October 12, 2011

4.1 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Sara Alm is a patternmaker and teacher at Apparel Arts in San Francisco, where she lives with her family.

Hannah McDevitt has been affiliated with Stitch Lounge and Craft Haven Collective. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

Kerrie Hess is a leading fashion illustrator who has illustrated for Neiman Marcus, Vogue, and Chanel.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 156 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (October 12, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811877914
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811877916
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1.2 x 11.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #826,702 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Right, I only just received this, and haven't made anything from it yet, so this is a limited review. I have no idea how good the patterns themselves are.

First off, size large is 37 - 30.5 - 40.5. Which is not very large at all.... I knew this, as I had taken full advantage of the limited amount of preview pages... and it's fine for me, but it still annoys me! Why so limited? I usually make or buy a medium size, and don't consider people a size larger than me to be XL - so why do the writers? Is it only 37 busts that can wear iconic frocks? Hey - wait a minute - Bette Davis was busty! In fact, I wouldn't make her frock because I don't feel curvy enough!.... ahem....

Secondly, I was a bit disappointed with the use of knits in quite a few patterns - I didn't expect the Rita Hayworth, Farrah Fawcett and STevie Nicks designs all to be in knits. A wrap dress (Fawcett) doesn't have to be knit - Stevie Nicks - well, I expected something else, it's basically a tank dress with a handkerchief point skirt - but Rita Hayworth - hello? It would likely have been silk satin, but jersey???? Easy way out. Totally unimpressed with Diana Ross's so called frock - it's basically a bit T shaped tunic cut in one piece. Madonna's frock is the like a virgin corset topped tutu skirt look. Hepburn is the cover frock. Monroe is the famous white halter on a subway grating except the skirt is gored, not gathered. Twiggy is a A line mini - duh. Bette Davis is a nice one - lots of bias sections and a sleeve flounce that extends to the back. And Jackie O's is a dress with a fitted bodice and A-line skirt. Nice.

What I REALLY DON'T like is the use of fashion sketches to show the designs - have any been made up? If so, couldn't we see photos? If not, are the patterns any good???
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By J. Newhall on October 19, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The novelty of the book was obviously enticing, but the authenticity of the outcome is just sort of close rather than an actual replica. I agree with another reviewer who questions the sizing. I'm normally a 4/6 or size small, and I'm almost finished with the Jackie O dress in medium that I believe is going to be too small. A size 6 person has to use the largest pattern available? Seems a bit off. The patterns are printed on regular paper, not pattern paper, and many of the pieces overlap, which means that you have to go in and trace them all off onto your own paper. For me, that's an invitation for crooked darts and imperfect lines! I was also disappointed that so many of the patterns are designed for knits.

The book is pretty and glamorous and has decent illustrations and directions. I'm still glad I bought it, but if you are looking for authentic replicas, keep looking.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is extremely disappointing. Some of the iconic dresses have been somewhat modernized - taking away the point of the book, but even more importantly the sizing structure is completely off. I wear a size large and the measurment provided in the book have the size large at measurements that are clearly medium. The patterns are on real paper and overlap so you either have to trace your life away or take them to a printer and print multiple copies of the same page which would get very expensive.

I think they went the "cheap" route with the entire book and what could have been a great book is just a huge disappointment.
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Format: Hardcover
I had such I hopes for this book based on the cover and description. I have not sewn anything yet but am a bit disappointed with my purchase. First of all, as mentioned previously, the sizing seems to be off. The largest size offered is a Large at 37 bust, 30.5 waist and 40.5 hip. Um, most people I know with those measurements I would not consider "large".

I was expecting replicas of the iconic garments, not modern interpretations. The modern interpretations are fine, and I'll likely sew a few, it's just not what I had in mind when I purchased the book.

There are only 10 dresses - each design has two interpretation of the design.

I'm really, really disappointed that no photos of the actual sewn garments were included in the book. There are only illustrations. Lovely drawings, but still... The Big 4 pattern companies do that at times and I've learned to be leery of the patterns that do not include sewn samples. Sometimes there is something a bit off with the design. I really hope that's not why no samples are shown in this book.

Because I didn't pay full price I'll keep the book, but I can't help but feel just a bit cheated. Hopefully I'll sew one of the dresses, it will have a fabulous fit, turn out beautifully and I'll change my mind. One can hope, right?
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I ordered this book in hopes of recreating the iconic Marilyn Monroe white dress for halloween. Once it arrived I discovered the dress wasn't even like hers. They had made their own version of the dress which ended up being much shorter. In addition to the dress being about a foot and a half shorter it also is not like a traditional pattern where you can cut out the pattern, pin it to your material and cut your material. The patterns are overlapping eachother and on both sides of the paper.

I reworked the entire pattern to add the length and make it more like Marilyn's dress and I used tissue paper to trace the patterns so I could cut them out without destroying other patterns.

My dress turned out phenomenal but it was a challenge. I wouldn't recommend this book to a beginner because I really had to think out of the box to make these patterns work. But in the end I did get what I had wanted.
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