Sunday, November 3, 2019

Weekend Review: Sew Many Dresses, Sew Little Time

Sew Many Dresses, Sew Little Time / Tanya Whelan
NY: Potter, c2015.
208 p.
How could I not buy this book? The title is kind of my personal mantra.

And I really love value for your money. This book delivers, both in value and living up to its title. It is a set of 3 skirt styles & drafting instruction for 2 more, and 7 bodices, all of which are drafted to match up perfectly in a paper doll mix-and-match kind of way -- plus there are varied sleeve styles and necklines to play with as well. That basically works out to 219 combinations, if you're a fan of all the potential styles. There are line drawings featuring some of the many combos in the in-between pages too.

Now, personally, I know I am never going to make any of the strapless or halter versions. Just not my thing. But I still enjoyed looking through them and seeing the suggestions and what they'd done with the various styles. And I saw a couple of standard fit and flares that are really my style.

The book intends for the reader to get creative and design their own dress from the building block patterns inside. Whelan shows how you can design and alter patterns and goes over basic dress construction. There are many pages dedicated to hacking a pattern's lines: dart manipulation, collars and sleeves, adding yokes and so on. There are tons of ideas for making significant drafting changes to your basic bodice once you have got one that fits well.

Since it is aimed at pattern drafting/manipulation, not just following a set pattern, I feel that this book would be best for an advanced beginner on up. Especially one that doesn't have a huge pattern library as yet. I do have a very large pattern library and so I could probably make something that I liked, similar to the styles here, from a ready made pattern already. But I still find this book interesting, well constructed, and inspiring. There is so much pattern construction information, laid out clearly and with good illustrations, to inspire a sewist to change things up a bit!

An example of a fun collar to add to a neckline
There are also clear photos that illustrate the many variations, which are all quite different from one another. The sizing is quite broad, running from 32 - 50.5" bust -- that said, the models are all youthful and slim. The bodice is also based on a B cup so if you're larger than that you'll also have to think about full bust adjustments.

If you're looking for a book that shows you how to mix-and-match and alter patterns to your style tastes, this is the one. So much great info on working with patterns, and some basic styles here that are already drafted to work together. Pattern sheets are in the back to start you off, and you could probably work with just this book for a year and still not run out of ideas. I find it really inspiring every time I take it off the shelf.

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