Dressmaking: The Easy Guide: Mix and match skirts, sleeves and necklines for over 80 stylish variations (Hardcover)

Dressmaking: The Easy Guide: Mix and match skirts, sleeves and necklines for over 80 stylish variations By Helen Rhiannon Cover Image

Dressmaking: The Easy Guide: Mix and match skirts, sleeves and necklines for over 80 stylish variations (Hardcover)


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From just 5 basic patterns elements, learn to mix and match these elements to create over 80 different bespoke garments that are unique to you. With full-size patterns to cater for dress sizes 2 to 42.

Creative Book Awards 2024 - Winner - Best Sewing Book from Crafts Beautiful Magazine

Let Dressmaker Helen Rhiannon guide you through every step of the process to help you create a classic, customized dress that’s perfect for your body and your personal style.

There’s a pattern for every size and shape (2-42). Simply choose the size closest to your own measurements, trace off your pattern pieces, create a sample in calico and alter it to your unique shape. Then, choose from a selection of basic, but beautiful, neckline, sleeve and skirt options – from classic V-necklines to flouncy Fifties-style circle skirts – to make your dress your very own.

  • Basic techniques needed are covered at the start of the book – including seam allowances, notches, cutting out, pinning, machine sewing and finishing.

  • The basic sewing kit you need is covered, as well as fabric advice and advice on lining.

  • There are 4 style options each for sleeves and necklines, including a flared sleeve, a capped sleeve, a sweetheart neckline or a boatneck; and 5 skirt options, including a fitted pencil-style skirt, a zhuzhy circle skirt, and an A-Line, with or without pleats. 

  • The 5 patterns can be put together to create 80 different dress styles; adapted to make 4 different skirts or 4 tops; or the pattern for the straight skirt can be joined to any of the bodice patterns to make a straight dress.

Let Helen take you from novice to creator of your own bespoke clothes with this exhaustive guide
Helen is an award-winning fashion designer creating beautiful, timeless, handmade gowns from her home in Swansea, Wales. Over the last 10 years, Helen has worked on a huge range of projects from prom dresses to National Costumes for pageants and bespoke dresses for Cardiff Singer of the World finalist, Natalya Romaniw, and also the international opera star, Katherine Jenkins. With a love of making beautiful, timeless dresses, Helen decided to specialize in Bridalwear and launched Helen Rhiannon Bridal in 2010.

Also a fully qualified teacher and lecturer, Helen set up the All Sewn Up sewing workshops in 2010 (www.allsewnupwales.co.uk), designed to help people learn and develop new skills, and to be creative. She runs sewing workshops regularly, teaching people how to make items such as bags, cushions, toys and garments.

Helen's first book for Search Press, Sew Perfect Pets, has sold almost 9,000 copies to date.

Product Details ISBN: 9781782218913
ISBN-10: 1782218912
Publisher: Search Press
Publication Date: August 1st, 2023
Pages: 160
Language: English
Publishers Weekly

"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."

Library Journal

"Awarding-winning Welsh fashion designer, sewist, and instructor Rhiannon (Sew Perfect Pets) has presented a wonderful, thorough guide to clothing construction. The book begins with the basics, such as buying a sewing machine and other tools, and advances to designing customized patterns to fit all body sizes and shapes. Although beginners could certainly benefit from this book, perhaps its best audience members are readers who have made enough garments to realize how much more there is to learn. This title gives an excellent discussion of different types of fabrics, their weights, and their appropriateness for various pieces. The book goes into great detail about measuring the body, adjusting a printed pattern, modifying elements of the design, and eventually creating patterns of one’s own. The author has created her own sizing method—sometimes using metric measurements—that mostly do not resemble traditional American or European sizes. For example, her sizing chart bust measurements range from 31 to 75 inches.  VERDICT Essential for libraries supporting a fashion design program. Also useful for programs such as 4-H, Extension Homemakers, and others wanting to go to the next level."