Vintage Couture Tailoring

Thomas Von Nordheim, Author
Thomas von Nordheim. Crowood (IPG/Trafalgar Sq., dist.), $34.95 (160p) ISBN 978-1-84797-373-3
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If readers are intrigued by the photos of an exquisitely tailored jacket on the slipcover of this book, they may want to pick it up: the creation of that jacket forms the bulk of the text, covering nine out of the 12 chapters. This is not a typical sewing book, full of projects and tips. Instead, von Nordheim, a couture house–trained tailor who runs a successful tailoring business in London, painstakingly guides readers through the myriad steps required to measure, cut, mock up, and sew just such a jacket. The attention to detail is intense, but it makes complete sense coming from a man who observes, “traditional handcraft tailoring in its pure form is the base for all other sewing. A tailor can make a dress, but a dressmaker cannot make a tailored jacket.” The techniques presented, one assumes, can be used on other garments, although no other garment is shown. While the publishers deserve credit for including dozens of photos, the quality of these pictures can be poor, with less than professional background and lighting. American readers should also note that the book reflects its British origins in many measurements and some vocabulary. Perhaps the biggest flaw of the book, however, is also its great strength—that single-minded devotion to the pure tailoring skill needed to create a single couture jacket. Full color photos. (Jan.)
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