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The Little Black Dress: How to Make the Perfect One for You Paperback – April 7, 2009
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Considering that my motivation for learning to sew is to make clothes that fit ME, this book is invaluable. It walks you through how to create patterns based on your own body and measurements, all 3 dresses are based off of the the pieces you cut in the beginning. The first process of making the 'body blocks' does require TWO PEOPLE, so bear that in mind.
The three dresses are: the Audrey Hepburn style dress on the cover, a wrap dress, and a Marilyn Monroe style lightly boned wiggle/tube dress.
Truly, I cannot recommend this book enough, the photos and descriptions are so easy to follow and the directions are clearly stated... and I absolutely love the methodology behind making these dresses.
The pattern drafting system is good, but this counts on having a dress form that is your exact measurements, as I could not find any information about changing the pattern for personal quirks. For example on dress forms, they can often be a strange shape around the bust, and are not helpful if you are a larger or smaller cup size than an A/B. No information was given on padding a dress form to assist with draping (i.e. putting a bra on it, or padding out the waist/hips to fit if required) Draping without changing the pattern to personal measurements is also unhelpful if you are longer or shorter in the body as the dressform. As we know, not many of us are the perfect dress form replica. *sigh* Any draped pattern needs to be checked against personal measurements, and the pattern altered accordingly.
If it was for the intermediate/advanced sewer then these things would be addressed in the book. So I conclude that this is not the target reader either.
So, my conclusion is if you want a step by step guide on how to sew a dress together, then this is great. If you want your mannequin to wear a nice dress, this is also good. As for personal pattern drafting then there are better, as for learning to sew, there are also better. And for inspiration, there are also better. Hopefully the author will make some revisions, because the concept of the book is really good. As it stands now however, disappointing.
Henry is no amateur; he knows whereof he speaks. A professional designer and dressmaking tutor for well over a quarter of a century, he mastered a range of techniques from European fashion houses before embarking on his own distinct path. After a brief but comprehensive illustrated history of its prime subject, The Little Black Dress quickly starts to talk shop, and that is where the bulk of its 175 pages comfortably resides. High quality sewing machine, serger, adjustable dress stand, tailor's scissors, and steam-generating iron with sturdy board are derigueur here.
Beginning with photographically diagrammed sewing techniques like curves, darts, finishes, seams, and hems the author walks through construction of an accurate body block then on into the dress proper. Why so much attention to a little black dress in the first place? Henry notes that if such an animal as the one essential wardrobe piece exists, this is it. Nearly every top designer has featured one, and, perhaps more than any other garment, it elegantly embodies the notion of an iconic, virtually timeless fashion staple.
Whether you're just thinking about serious dressmaking or deeply involved in the process, Henry's book should occupy an important place in your technical library.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'm an intermediate sewist. I liked the fact that the book gave 3 distinct styles that are relatively easy to sew. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Cheryl A. Stack
My wife just started taking sewing classes. She asked me to get her some books on designs and pattern making. Read morePublished on September 16, 2013 by Shane
This has been a great use to me preparing to return to study in fashion and even in the production of my own garments.Published on August 9, 2013 by Kathryn Tatti
This book is so awesome ..... It is very inspirational and instructions and pictures in this book are great....I feel that this book helps to promote my artistic side. Read morePublished on May 23, 2013 by Arnalb
I have read this book several time and still, I find something new. Great for the experienced sewer and the beginner.Published on February 8, 2013 by Ymelda L.
how to make your own sloper or "body block" and 5 projects. Beautiful classic dresses. clearly explained with lots of picturesPublished on January 5, 2013 by GlowWorm
This book rates five stars because the author explains, in clear language and numerous photographs, how to draft a body block and sleeve block. Read morePublished on July 9, 2012 by Linda