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Comment: EX-LIBRARY with standard stickers, stamps and library markings. Most likely the pages are clean, but there may be very limited underlining, highlighting and or notes but all the words are readable. Binding is tight. Book shows shelf wear and light creasing on the covers and corners. Fast Amazon shipping, plus a hassle free return policy, means your satisfaction is guaranteed. Tracking number provided in your Amazon account with every order.
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The Little Black Dress: How to Make the Perfect One for You Paperback – April 7, 2009

4.4 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Simon Henry started to sew, knit and crochet at the age of nine. A family friend, a talented seamstress and sample hand, taught him traditional techniques that she had learned in the ateliers of some of the best couture houses - techniques and skills that he still uses and teaches today. He has been designing and making couture end wedding gowns, formal wear for balls and red carpet events and tailored day- and cruisewear for over thirty years. An experienced dressmaking tutor, Simon has taught and mentored many students over the years. Simon lives in Derby, UK, with his civil partner Clive.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Guild of Master Craftsman (April 7, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1861086237
  • ISBN-13: 978-1861086235
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 0.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #648,040 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jessica Chambers on July 1, 2009
Format: Paperback
I have a growing collection of books on how to sew. This book is the one I will recommend to others. The Little Black Dress book teaches basic sewing techniques in a step by step format, from sewing a straight seam to invisible zippers to boning. The author takes a fairly conversational tone, helping to remove the fear and build your confidence as you go along.

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.

Enjoy!
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i think it is ambitious to teach so much in such a small book, but it is well done. The information is concise, well illustrated and pertinent to the production of a fine garment. So many books today use short cuts and "RTW techniques" that do not result in a quality garments. If one were to learn to sew from this book, it would result in a quality garment. Excellent reference for beginner and more experienced sewers alike.
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This book is absolutely wonderful! If I could give it 10 stars I would. Why you may ask? Because as the saying goes "A picture paints a thousand words". The photographs in the book are so clear that nothing is left up to your imagination. Minimum instructions make this book a delight to read through - there are a few typos though. The dresses are simple and beautiful. So do not pass this creative delicacy up, you'll be missing out. The Little Black Dress: How to Make the Perfect One for You is perfect for beginners and advance sewers alike.
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Format: Paperback
I am a professional designer and pattern maker and love to look at new books to see what would be good for teaching students. After seeing the rave reviews here I ordered it and was sadly disappointed. I am trying to think of the ideal reader to recommend it to, and struggle. If it is for a beginner, then important details such as pressing techniques are completely omitted. Pressing is a vital step of garment construction, so I am surprised that this is not covered when other basics, such as sewing a basic seam are.

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.
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Format: Paperback
Very empowering book for a beginner. Rather than trying to fit a commercial pattern (which is an absolute nightmare), this book teaches you to make your own. What could be more practical than having a little black dress that FITS? If you are brand new to garment construction this will not be a weekend project. Take your time to learn the sewing techniques and fit that body block until it is perfect. It will be worth the effort because you can make many different dresses from the basic three presented in this book. And the author makes that point, too, really encourages you to make your OWN LBD and gives you the tools to do so.
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There are armchair dressmakers, those who watch Project Runway, and others, those who itch to appear on Project Runway, who actually enjoy creating beautiful garments from scratch with their own hands. Without casting even slight aspersions on the former, I want to make clear that Simon Henry's The Little Black Dress: How to make the perfect one for you (2008: The Guild of Master Craftsman Publications LTD) has been written entirely for the latter. If you're really, truly committed to the nuts-and-bolts of couture, this volume will prove immensely edifying.

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.
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