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Dressmaking: The Indispensable Guide


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Jules Fallon
Firefly Books
Fashion & Design
Dressmaking: The Indispensable Guide by Jules Fallon


A practical illustrated guide to techniques, tools and troubleshooting from a couture dressmaker.

This book is a beautifully presented and comprehensive resource for dressmakers new to the craft and for those who want to take their skills further. It features scores of step-by-step sequences showing every kind of technique, from using and adapting paper patterns, to couture-inspired seaming techniques that will take garment-making skills to a new level.

Some notable and practical features of the book are:


  • all photos illustrate the sewer's perspective from above, whether hand sewing or using a machine
  • fine details (such as a small notch) are shown in close-up photo call outs
  • photo annotations point out important details
  • lengthy descriptive captions leave no opportunity for confusion.

The contents cover the full breadth of dressmaking. The following are just a few of them.


  • Sewing Kit -- the tools and materials required, including a sewing machine, overlocker/serger, and how to choose and use them
  • Preparation -- Natural and synthetic fabrics, how to choose fabrics, prepping and handling, pre-washing, types of thread, interfacings, understanding and sizing a pattern
  • Cutting -- Laying out and pinning fabric and patterns, weighting, marking, and tacking
  • Making - Pressing is not ironing, creating shape, open and closed seams, pockets, openings and closures, zippers, sleeves and cuffs, collars, yokes, waistbands, decorative features, sewing jersey
  • Finishing -- Bound edges, facings, hems, and linings
  • Resources -- Metric/imperial conversion, sewing machine needles sizes and uses, common seam allowances, and US, UK and European size conversions.

Other valuable topics covered are the anatomy of a stitch, correcting thread tension, fixing stitches, working 4-thread jersey, what selvedge is and how grain lines work, how to measure yourself (and why), how to alter a pattern to fit, making a toile (a personalized, muslin, fitting dress).

Dressmaking: The Indispensable Guide is an essential reference.