Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Book Review- The Dressmaker's Handbook of Couture Sewing Techniques

 First I want to point out that this title is misleading and harps on one of my most hated misinterpretations of the word "couture".  What I was hoping for in getting this book were some wonderful finishing techniques of hand sewing done in couture.  What I found was vastly different yet still useful and good in it's own right. 

 Still having that initial bad taste in my mouth it continued to beat the dead horse by repeatedly using the word "couture" in bad context.  Those first pages made me really want to Hulk Rage but I battled through it and kept an open mind as to what the real contents of the book were and not their misgivings. 

Yes still beating the dead horse but the book showed potential with clean photos showing examples of what the contents were.  It was also helpful in explaining some different sewing room tools and perhaps some uncommon tools that the hobby seamstress was not aware existed.

Getting into the instructions in the book was easy enough.  Once again the photos very clearly demonstarted the parts of the process.  The writing was clear but the layout a little haphazard between the wording and the example photos but that is one of the dangers of a pictorial instruction books. A lot of the text gets jumbled or lost or mixed up due to trying to focus on the photos themselves instead of combining the two.  The photos can take over the entire focus of the pages turning them more graphical then informational.

My biggest complaint (after torturing the word couture) was that half the book was spent on necklines in different forms of finishing which after the first two the steps are all the same it is just the fabrications are different.  Then from the neckline they moved to the hemline doing the same thing where it was the same finishing but in different fabrications. 

The overall look of the book was pleasant and the author was a bit obsessed with Christian Dior designed by Galliano & Valentino.  Those seemed to be the prevalent designers she kept referring back to whenever there was a new chapter starting. 
To conclude this is not a bad book (except for the dead horse beating of couture) but I've seen better.  It is a good book if you want some clear examples and pictures of just finishing necklines and for waistbands.  I didn't feel their hem finishing was any better or worse then the Sewing Bible or Martha Stewart. I wouldn't buy this book, I felt I got everything I needed when I borrowed it at the Library.  It just didn't have enough to make it into my collection.

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