Monday, May 12, 2014

REVIEW: The Complete Photo Guide to Clothing Construction

I have learned a tremendous lesson since learning to sew: I am 100% a visual learner. I really wish I had figured this out a few years ago - I could have taken advantage of Craftsy classes and various books and saved myself a lot of mistakes. Live and learn.

I follow Christine Haynes' blog and LOVE her Emery pattern, so when I learned she was writing a book I got so excited! I wasn't sure that I really needed this book, but I was wrong the minute I opened it up. 

First and foremost, if you are a visual learner like I am, you NEED this book. I cannot tell you how many times I have read through sewing books with minimal diagrams and walked away confused and frustrated. Enter The Complete Photo Guide to Clothing Construction!

To start, I want to list what makes this book so fantastic. Included in this book are:
  • 4 types of zippers: centered, invisible, lapped, and fly front
  • 6 types of hem finishes
  • 9 types of seam finishes
  • 2 types of pockets
  • 4 types of button attachment
  • 4 types of pleats
  • 2 types of collars - flat and rolled
  • 2 ways to finish with bias
  • 3 types of sleeves - set-in, flat and raglan
  • sleeve cuff and placket insertion
These techniques alone make this book worth buying, and it is full of photos to outline each step. I think my favorite section is How to Sew on Buttons. I can't remember seeing this in other sewing books, and it is so helpful to finally know the correct way to sew on a button.

The first part of the book covers basics for new sewists, but these later chapters on techniques are just brilliant. It is always nice, though, to see new techniques for things you do everyday, like sewing darts. Christine has a nice way of pinning each dart leg and then bringing them together - why haven't I thought of that before?!

I don't know why I've never tried a Hong Kong seam finish, but I'm planning to now. 

I appreciated having a formal explanation on the types of pleats. I had never really understood the difference between inverted and box until I read this and saw the photos.

There are so many techniques in this book that I have read about but never really understood until I saw all of the accompanying photos of actual hands manipulating the fabric. I am so glad that I went ahead and bought this book. The photos are wonderfully staged, and I love that she uses all independent patterns, including her own, for the garments. 

I think it is important to note that not everyone is talented at teaching, but to me, writing a sewing book is teaching at its finest. The language has to be such that complete beginners could teach themselves to sew from this book and I think Christine did a marvelous job. The language is clear and understandable, and the photos do wonders for helping us visual learners! 

Have you purchased The Complete Photo Guide to Clothing Construction? What did you think?

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