One of the biggest roadblocks I run into when designing patterns is trying to figure out complicated or new-to-me construction methods. Often I'm figuring out the construction methodology while I'm in the design process, and while I have pattern-making books up the ying yang, there are surprisingly few resources out there that actually walk you step by step through different methods of actually putting a garment together. Which was why I was super excited when Laurence King got in touch with me about reviewing their new title, Sewing for Fashion Designers by Anette Fischer.
This is an interesting book. It's geared towards someone who wants to make a career out of designing RTW clothing, so it includes a mix of a lot of information. It's basically a broad overview of clothing construction from start to finish; while it's not as construction focused as I was initially expecting, it does include a a good mix of general sewing basics and more specific construction information.
The first few section of the book includes information you've probably seen covered by sewing books in your library; the standard breakdown of tools, needles, thread, fabric, supplies etc. I still read these parts because you never know what new little trick you'll pick up. In the pressing section I discovered that spearmint water can be used to eliminate strong creases in fabric, as well as helping to eliminate shine from over-pressing. Who knew?! While some of the information is probably common knowledge for the average sewist, I like how specific it got when it came to things like interfacing and stabilizers. I can see how handy this would be for someone trying to get clothing into production, but I love looking at fashion from more of a RTW perspective so I ate all this up.
I also quite liked this guide to hem allowances; I bookmarked this page for later reference.
There is a lot of interesting information on commercial machines and production that I found really interesting and haven't really seen anywhere else. I dream of the day I have room for some of these weirdly specific industrial machines...
Of course no sewing manual would be complete without covering seam finishes. There were a few nuggets of wisdom in this section; I now know how to work a french seam around a sharp corner!
My favourite part of this book is the breakdown of basic and more advanced construction techniques. While it's not completely exhaustive (for that I often turn to the Reader's Digest Complete Book of Sewing), it does cover the basics of pockets, neckline and waistband finishes, fastenings and finishing touches.
There are some real gems in here. I am quite desperate to attempt this tailored waistband with zipper guard. Gorgeous guts!
Finally, the book wraps up with a primer on working with a variety of fabrics, including tricky ones like leather, fur, sequins, latex, neoprene and lace.
All in all, I really enjoyed Sewing for Fashion Designers. It's a good one to sit down and read from cover to cover and my copy is currently filled with post-its I'll be referring back to in the future. While it does cover a lot of the sewing basics you've probably encountered in books before, the focus on commercial production gives it a fresh feel, and like all Laurence King releases (see my other reviews, Draping by Karolyn Kiisel and Patternmaking by Denmic Chunman Lo) it has a clean, modern, minimalist layout that I love looking at. All the included shots of gorgeous designer detailing doesn't hurt either.
Would you consider adding this book to your library? Do you have any other suggestions for books that cover clothing construction in great detail? I love nerding about this kind of stuff, clearly.
Sewing for Fashion Designers is now available for pre-sale, and will be released on April 30th. Laurence King provided me with a complementary copy of the book to review, but all opinions are my own.