Wardrobe pattern books – mainly dresses
My first post on wardrobe pattern books talked about books with casual styles. The books in this post mainly have patterns for dresses in fitted shapes. Some are in frilly-girly or modern vintage style. None include pants. A couple have jackets or coats.
Most of these pattern books emphasise pattern altering rather than wardrobe building. All have a pack of full sized patterns, usually conventional tissue.
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Patterns for several fitted-waist dresses, top and skirt. No jacket or pants. Look like warm weather styles to me :D Nothing with long sleeves among her main top and dress patterns either, and only a couple with high necks. She’s in Portland, Oregon – hmm. Obviously she doesn’t feel the cold, she wears these styles even in winter. No jacket and only one coat in her main patterns (here’s a detailed coat sew-along by Gertie). There is a pants pattern, if you’d like to add them. Don’t know about sizing in the book, but her conventional patterns go up to 46 inch bust, 48 inch hip (BMV size 24).
I haven’t seen this book but it gets excellent reviews, including for the wardrobe advice and the sewing instructions. Some fit advice. Website also has sewing techniques, fitting and pattern altering advice.
Built by Wendy Dresses
by Wendy Mullin.
Patterns for :
– raglan ‘sheath’ with front darts. Despite the name and the darts, there’s only a little waist definition, this isn’t closely fitted. Some styles with zip.
– loose shift dress with set-in sleeves.
– dress with fitted bodice (french darts), waistline seam and gathered skirt. All styles with zip.
Instructions for at least 8 versions of each pattern, plus many more suggestions. You’re expected to draft pattern pieces like collar, cuffs, pockets, facings, from instructions. Sized up to 41 inch/ 104 cm bust, 44 inch/ 112 cm hip (BMV size 20).
These are casual/ boho/ edgy dresses, not fitted and frilly girly or vintage glamour.
If you like Colette patterns this may not be for you. Or you may prefer this if you avoid closely fitted styles.
A little about body shape and fit. Instructions not for beginner sewers. Some reviewers say they had problems with fit or shape. So do make a trial version.
Combine with her other books to get a wardrobe, see my previous post.
Patterns for skirt, short-sleeved peasant style top-dress, jacket-coat. Raglan sleeves and empire waists. Up to 44 inch bust, 46 inch hip (BMV size 22).
Half a dozen variations described in detail for each pattern, plus other suggestions. Some guidance for sewing beginners. She tells you how to make a muslin to check fit, but not how to adjust it. Many hand drawn diagrams in the instructions. No discussion of wardrobe co-ordinates. Kay Whitt loves combining many prints, which is very ‘current’.
Patterns for fitted styles of blouse, skirt, dress, lined coat, bag. Shorten coat for a jacket. Sized up to 41 inch bust, 43-1/2 inch hip (BMV size 20).
Printed book with full-size traceable patterns overlapped like the patterns in Burda magazine (no seam allowances). Or e-book with download patterns. Tell you how to make a muslin, but only a couple of sentences on adjusting it to fit.
Said to be aimed at beginners (several reviewers say it’s not for intermediate or advanced sewers). Personally I wouldn’t recommend this to a beginner, even the most adventurous. Silk charmeuse and lace for a first ever project – what a recipe for misery and disaster. Only 3 of the 15 projects have the lowest skill level rating. And all those require pattern alterations and are not easy easy. The old Burda Level 1-2-3 patterns are all easier than these. Many construction steps briefly explained with no illustrations. I’m disappointed in this as a book for beginners – I was expecting something more like an update of the old Burda beginners books (not in English), which are more realistic about what a beginner can do and have many photos of technique.
The big emphasis is on making your own versions. Three guided projects for each pattern. Even more possibilities if you swap tops and bottoms around those waist seams. As a source of inspiration for variations the book is good. My guess is the book was only tested on an ‘inner circle’ of Burda Style site users, who are already happy pattern alterers and devise-your-own-method sewers.
These are attractive styles – but only if you already know what you’re doing, or don’t mind many puzzles and disappointments on your way to success.
P.S. A couple of new books since this post was written – I haven’t seen them :
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If you love dresses, here are some more pattern books. I haven’t seen these myself, and know no more than is available at Amazon. Some of these books focus on fitted styles, some have loose dartless ones. They get mixed reviews, and some patterns are only in small sizes.
Little Green Dresses
Dress Cutting [draft your own 30s styles]
Famous Frocks [simplified versions, photos of styles here]
I am Cute Dresses [photos of some styles, scroll down here.]
Chic Simple Sewing
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Each wardrobe pattern book has its own distinct character and added features. Perhaps the casuals in my previous post on pattern books aren’t to your taste. Are any of these dresses and fitted styles good as a basis for your own special type of wardrobe :D
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Books and links available January 2012
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