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Mar 4, 2015

Book Review: Sewing for Fashion Designers



Laurence King Publishing recently sent a copy of Sewing for Fashion Designers by Anette Fischer, for me to review.

As many of you know, I have a sewing library of well over fifty sewing books, dating from the early 20th Century to the present.  Sewing books have changed a lot over the years, even if most of the techniques have not.   A good sewing book should be not only informative, but also inspirational.   It's the inspiration I have often found lacking in many of the books I own, particularly the better-known encyclopedic tomes like Readers Digest Complete Guide to Sewing and the cutesy, quilting-cotton-into-baby-bib project-oriented books which proliferate today.  Most sewing books, moreover, still address a female audience exclusively.

Right from the start it's clear that Sewing for Fashion Designers has a different mission:



This is a book for those who may be home sewers or not, but it specifically addresses readers with an interest in the fashion industry and includes techniques for both womenswear and menswear.  My male readers will find this fully inclusive approach especially refreshing and practical.











No sewing book can cover everything.  Sewing for Fashion Designers isn't geared to the sewer whose primary concern is fitting commercial patterns.  It doesn't address pattern drafting in detail.  Its focus is the basics -- machines (domestic and industrial), needles, stitches, fabric -- and clothing construction techniques: zipper insertion, interfacings, waistbands, pockets, collars, cuffs, hems, basic corsetry, etc.   Supersize the photo below to view the table of contents in detail:



I think Sewing for Fashion Designers would be ideal for a beginner or intermediate sewer who wants to approach sewing from more of a ready-to-wear perspective.  As a largely self-taught male home sewer (I took one course at the Fashion Institute for Technology, last year) who has struggled to find sewing books I could relate to, I found it comprehensive, beautifully laid out, and well written.  Its fashion industry flavor is just enough for me.  I'm not in the industry myself but I didn't notice any conspicuous gaps; the focus is sewing.

You can view more than 60 photos of the inside of Sewing for Fashion Designers and see for yourself.  Or just click on any of the photos below:



You can pre-order Sewing for Fashion Designers (release date is May 2015) here.   If you have any specific questions about the book, please ask them in a comment below.

Have a great day, everybody!

17 comments:

  1. Peter, a book called "Professional Sewing Techniques for Fashion Designers" by Sharon Czachor is a good basic sewing book that largely covers women's wear. It is comprehensive.

    I would be interested to know how it compares to the book you are looking at.

    Also what do you recommend for menswear? I find most books are geared towards women's wear, however there are some exceptions. Maybe you could do a post/review on them.

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    1. There are a few men's pattern drafting books, the Coffin books and, now, this one. Not to be overlooked is "Sewing For Men & Boys" from the 1970s (by Simplicity). Used copies can always be found on Amazon and eBay.

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    2. Thanks Peter, i have pattern drafting, and david coffin's books on shirts and pants. I am going to pick up a copy of the FIT book on menswear, I hear that is an excellent book on menswear tailoring

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  2. Thanks for the pics Peter, just like standing in my local book shop and flicking through the pages!

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  3. Hi Peter, appreciate the review.

    Laurence king have cornered the market on interesting sewing books and this one seems very interesting.

    Although I have much to learn,I'm not drawn to the cutesy books with patterns that remind me of children's clothes, this might be a purchase...

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  4. Thanks for all the photos and the contents page; I shop books by how I can access the contents, and these are pretty clear. The page on pattern placement was intriguing: I don't know that I've seen that before. I will get my library to buy this one.

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  5. Thanks for the book information, it looks very interesting, as I too am not interested in beginner or the cutsie-childish sewing books that are so common now. I have David Coffin's shirt and trouser books, also a couple of books that include basic tailoring for men, and a bunch of vintage books for all-around basic sewing information. I wonder, could this replace some of the vintage books so my shelves aren't so stuffed?

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  6. It sounds like a good book. It's better to cover the sewing comprehensively than to try to be all things to no one.

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  7. Hello from another Lappin - although I am pretty sure we are not related. I stumbled across your blog and am enjoying it.

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  8. Thanks for the review. I'd like to know why the measures for so many sewing supplies are different. My sewing students always want to know the logic of button sizes, tape widths, etc., and the ones that aren't obvious have me stumped. Why can't we get more 36 inch wide fabric, for example? Why is the modern fabric typically 44 inches wide?

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    1. For many modern clothing applications, 44" results in less waste. 36"fabric for many women's wear sizes results in considetable waste. Over the last 3 decades, there has actually been a trend towards 58" & 60" fabrics. Once wider looms became readily available, why not use them?

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  9. Photo-heavy books are really the best for sewing. Many books in the past had a lot of description and few photos or line drawings. Any book that masters the art of showing much with less of the confusing written description will always succeed.

    Too many sewing modern books suffer from one major problem: no methodology. The older books were written by people who learned methods and then passed these methods on. Today you get a pick-and-mix approach. A student needs to be focused down one path, not faced with a crossroads wondering which way to turn. The tailoring houses have it right, teach a methodology, master it and then look to variations if you need them.

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  10. Hi there. I'm a female heading into costume design in September. I have two books by Winifried Aldrich for womenswear and am considering getting the one for menswear to help me in my studies next year.

    I'm just wondering if you have any of hers and what do you think of them? Thanks.

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    1. I don't Antonia, but perhaps someone else does. Have you check out reviews on Amazon or Pattern Review?

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    2. Will have to try Pattern Review as I've not been on it yet! I know they're pretty good even though they're old, I would have just liked your opinion :)

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  11. This book looks interesting, though I have to wonder if perhaps it will just be a compilation of what I already own (40 years of sewing for myself with a couple of tailoring courses too).

    I suspect it would be a great book for a newbie, or anyone in need of establishing a library. I'm getting a bit picky regarding library additions for myself. As a female I have no specific need for the menswear information, but I am very happy to hear that menswear is prominently featured. Its about time!

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