Monday, June 3, 2013
Book Review: Skirt-a-Day Sewing
This book begins as if it is for the very very inexperienced seamstress, as if you will be sewing your first projects ever. It describes basic sewing equipment, types of needles, types of threads, woven versus interlock materials, etc., in very great detail with clear and pretty pictures. It explains seam allowances and several types of seams, several types of hems, inserting a zipper, etc. The diagrams are clear, information adequate.
The reader than goes about creating a sloper from measurements. This again is described to a novice. You are recommended to create your muslin sloper, which will then be used for all the other skirts in the book. The information is accurate, though I would have liked to see more actual fitting advice as this book is so much geared for the novice. There are some common problems that may come up in fitting, where some diagrams could be helpful, such as sway back, body shape issues, adjusting for protruding tummies, etc.
Chapters thereafter describe changes to your sloper to create the various skirts in the book. What I love is that there truly are several variations described that give quite different looks, and many of them simulate "ready to wear" styles with exposed zippers, interesting seaming, etc. There is a whole lot more here than the basic pull-on versus zipper in the back versus A-line that so many skirt books have already done. These truly area interesting variations for your basic sloper. However, given the focus of the book towards the very novice seamstress, I'm a bit concerned that someone would be overwhelmed trying to create some of these variations as they involve at times a skilled hand at sewing, e.g. the one with the curved asymmetrical darts. Even the example picture has some puckering at the darts, and a novice might end up frustrated with final his/her attempts at that. It's a fine line between enough of a challenge and a completely frustrating learning experience in the beginning.
Some of the skirts also show some challenging fabrics, such as working with velvet or aligning stripes, and I feel not enough information is given to the reader to be able to handle the nap on the velvet or the alignment of the stripes confidently. If this book were geared towards the moderate to advanced seamstress I would expect no extra help in that regard, but again the introduction and preliminary chapters make it clear this is geared towards the novice. As such, some more information on the fabrics chosen would be helpful to give the reader the very best chance of duplicating the project.
So, I give this book 4 stars as a moderate seamstress, but I would not recommend it to my most novice friend as I think she would be frustrated at the turnout of the projects if using only this book as a guide. I give it 4 stars because it is so very visually appealing (Storey publishing always has the most visually appealing books IMHO), and appeals to a modern woman (up to date styles). I love that it does not require pattern sheets with the book but rather teaches you to draft your own sloper. This gives you ultimately endless possibilities for variation (showing you several of course in the book). I do highly recommend it for those with at least basic sewing experience as a fun book.