Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Little Black Dress by Simon Henry

One question I get a lot is "How did you learn to sew?". No, I never took any serious classes. I learned the way most of us do... by sewing with my grandmother, my aunt, my mom, and various women that my mother convinced to sew with me over the years.

I also learned by the" try-and-fail or try-and-succeed method," also called the try-and-learn-a-lot. I was helped in this by having a brain that can process 3D images very well (geometry was my best math subject) and could also break down a 3D image into its respective components.

Special features on movies like "The Lord of the Rings" also taught me a lot, as did fan websites that dissected every angle of the costumes. Recently I've tapped into another internet resource - youtube videos.

And, of course, books. Books are a fantastic resource that every seamstress should utilized. Whether it's covering the basics, or the finer points of tailoring and couture sewing, you will most likely get more details out of a book than a one page ehow article.

For getting started with sewing clothing, I highly recommend the works of Simon Henry. He's done several wonderful books that cover the basics of sewing, the principles of draping a pattern and making a toile, and creating a unique, perfectly fitted and expertly finished dress. And guess what? It's so easy and so well laid out that a beginner can do it.

"The Little Black Dress" is probably the best volume to start with, as everyone needs at least one LBD, and they require far less fabric than a special occasion dress. You can easily find this book at your library, local bookstore, or Amazon ($13 new or $5.20 used!)

Intermediate to advanced seamstress? It's still a useful book. I learned some important things about sewing darts and drafting patterns from Henry's work and I've been sewing for 17 years.

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