All sewing book reviews on this blog are not compensated, affiliate links are included.
A few years ago I challenged myself to make a dress to wear to the Kentucky Oaks (the race before the Kentucky Derby). I knew exactly what silhouette I wanted. I also knew what sleeve, skirt and bodice I wanted on the dress. The only problem with knowing exactly what I wanted was that I could not find a sewing pattern that was exactly what I wanted. I spent HOURS browsing pattern books. In the end I used 3 different patterns to make the dress and I was giddy when it turned out just like I had envisioned.
Tanya Whelan emailed me this summer asking me to review her new book “Sew Many Dresses”. When she explained a bit about the concept of the book I began thinking about my experience stitching up my Derby dress, and was instantly intrigued.
The book all about dress construction and is broken down into sections. Bodice, Skirt & Sleeve. You pick and choose which element you want in your dress from each section and end up with a completely customized dress that is EXACTLY what you want.
Want a basic bodice and a pleated skirt? Check?
Want to add sleeves to a dress? No problem…
I mean seriously, why didn’t I think of this?? (oh, I know why, I don’t have a background in apparel pattern drafting *wink*)
I love that she breaks down dress construction like a puzzle. You construct the individual elements and then fit them all together (like a puzzle).
In each section she explains how to make basic modifications to each element based on fit and design. If you’re overwhelmed at the thought of making a dress for yourself this book seems very helpful as you only have to concentrate on making one element at a time. (i.e. today make the bodice, tomorrow make the skirt, etc..)
The book includes a pullout with full size pattern pieces, explanations about fabric types and lots of suggestions for additions and modifications to basic designs.
I’ve been wanting a breezy summer maxi dress this year and haven’t found one that I like. I think I’m going to use this book and the fabric in the photos to put one together. It will be pretty simple to make the modifications to the dress I have in mind from the book for a maxi length.
You can find out more about Tanya (she’s the girl behind Grand Revival Designs) and the book on her BLOG.