Sunday, 27 March 2011

March Book Analysis -" The Dressmaker's Technique Bible" by Lorna Knight

Welcome to the first of my monthly book analysis, aimed at pushing me to read the books I have. And there are a lot of them, I should say. I should disclaim first and foremost I am no book critic, so all the notations are my own opinions and thoughts.
So without further ado, please welcome the book of the month:
The Dressmaker's Technique Bible by Lorna Knight was one of the first books (if not the first) I got when I started sewing. My quest to find a easy to understand, comprehensive sewing book didn't take long and after reading good, consistent reviews I decided to buy it.
One of the first things you notice about the book is the compact size and easy to browse features. It's a A5 sized packed in a spiral bound, which helps it stay open on the desk for easy reference. For me these two are massive advantages. I struggle to read books who weight almost as much as I and hate damaging normal binders by opening the book too much, so this is perfect.
The book is divided into four main sections:
1) Getting started: Clear and concise, it lays down all the necessary tools for successful dressmaking, including commonly used haberdashery. It has an interesting section on body shapes and common pattern alterations. It also gives links in clothing items to the different techniques that can be used to make it. Very good for when you working without a pattern or with missing instructions.
2) Fabric manipulation: Every type of seams and seams finishes, darts and pleats and zips are in this sections. One of the first things I did was practice all seams in some canvas to see how difficult they were and how they could best be applied.
Welt Seam - great for leathers
3) Techniques: This sections guides you through different types of waistbands, necklines, sleeves, pockets and a few more essential elements of dressmaking. Buttons are also in this chapter and I will be testing some bound buttonholes later using the book as a reference.

4) Embellishment ideas: This is the section I have yet to explore but it covers pretty much every embellishment technique there is, from patchwork and applique, to adding ribbon or beads and smocking, pipping, fringing, felting, etc.

You could be forgiven by thinking that the book is too small and that one A5 page dedicated to inserting an invisible zip or making a bound buttonhole is not enough information. But surprisingly it is, no need to fluff it up. You could basically sew from this book alone and not buy any other basic technique one (but who wants that).
I would recommend this book to both beginners and more experience sewists. Some techniques might be more challenging for beginners but that has to do with the nature of the technique, not the book instruction. For those with more experience, it's a great reference book.


  1. I have this book! It's made by a book packager (Quarto) for a publisher. Interestingly, book packagers often have more budget for expensive treatments like ring binding because they'll be selling this to publishers around the world and so can bring their unit costs down. I agree, it was a helpful book for me, starting out on my sewing career.

  2. I feel the same way about this books which is one of my primary go-tos given that it's so mini (but comprehensive) and spiral bound.

  3. This looks like a great book - I'll look out for it. All sewing books should be spiral bound!

  4. Wow! You are discovering a world for me ... I live where there are no sewing books, only patchwok. Thank you for teaching me all that!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...