cover image Dressmaking: The Easy Guide

Dressmaking: The Easy Guide

Helen Rhiannon. Search, $29.95 trade paper (160p) ISBN 978-1-78221-891-3

Fashion designer Rhiannon (Sew Perfect Pets) serves up a solid introduction to sewing dresses. “Must-have” tools include a sewing machine, pattern paper, and hand-sewing needles for attaching buttons. When selecting fabrics, Rhiannon recommends cotton for its affordability, crepe for its softness, and polyester satin for mimicking the sheen of silk on a budget. The author walks through how to make a sleeveless dress from the full-sized pattern sheets included with the book, offering extensive instruction on customizing the design with a curved or boatneck neckline, flared or butterfly sleeves, a fitted or gathered skirt, a collar, or pockets. Inclusivity is emphasized throughout; pattern sheet sets are provided in 19 different sizes she has devised and Rhiannon offers tips on adjusting a dress bodice for wheelchair users (the front should be shortened and the back lengthened “for a more comfortable fit”). The thorough advice sometimes borders on the obvious (“Close your eyes and put your hands on your waist and this is usually the right spot,” she writes on determining where to take one’s waist measurement), but the prose is encouraging (“We need to accept what we are born with... this is what makes us unique”), and the numerous ways to mix and match design components allow for ample customization. This primer gets the job done. (Aug.)