Sunday, April 7, 2019

Weekend Review: Beginner's Guide to Dressmaking

The Beginner's Guide to Dressmaking / Wendy Ward
London: David & Charles, c2014.
126 p.
I heard about this book somewhere, I don't remember from whom, so checked in my library system to see if I could take a look. I was lucky enough to find both this one and her next in the interlibrary loans system, so ordered them, and have been having a lot of fun looking through and tracing patterns.

This is a pretty good beginner's book. It has 6 projects -- 2 skirts, t-shirt, dress, jacket, and pants. Four of them are knit, the others are woven. Each pattern is described and styled, and ideas for customizations and additions are shared for each one -- things like adding collars, ruffles, doing some colour blocking and so on. There are lots of variations suggested, and fun techniques shared.

There are pattern sheets all in the back to be traced; I did trace off the shirt and the dress, and I must say that the pattern sheets are almost worse than Burda! The patterns each have different colour lines but they are all quite similar, and there is such overlaying that it took a bit of study before I knew what I was doing.

The only drawback to this pretty book with modern styles is that the patterns are limited in size. As noted on the author's website:
"the patterns are printed full-scale in 5 sizes which cover the following range: bust 84-101cm (33-40″), waist 68-85cm (27-33.5″), hips 92-109cm (36-43″). Three of the patterns are for stretch fabrics so aren’t very fitted, the other three patterns are for woven fabrics and two of them are fairly fitted."

I traced the largest size of pattern for myself, and will have to see how the fit is when I get a project done. I do like the ideas for customizing, though, and noted down a couple of ideas to try. The book is well laid out, broken out into three sections - projects, techniques, and customizations - and has bright, clear, stylish photos all throughout. If you are in the size range here, I do recommend taking a look. You could make a pretty solid wardrobe out of the patterns in this book, especially if you like knits.

If you want more info about this book, including some photos of the interior, and the author's commentary, check out Wendy Ward's post that she shared when this book was first published.


  1. Sounds amazing, but definitely not in my size range. Sigh.

    1. Yes, it's too bad! Her next book has a greatly expanded sizing range


Share your comments, ideas or suggestions here -- I am always interested in hearing from readers. It's nice to have a conversation!