Monday, May 11, 2015

Book Review-- Sew Iconic

I picked up a copy of Sew Iconic:  How To Make 10 Classic Hollywood Dresses by Liz Gregory at my local Half Price Books for $3.  I had paged through it on several previous occasions and hadn't been interested enough to buy it, but at $3, I figured, why not.
The book presents descriptions of and instructions for making ten iconic movie dresses.  It includes patterns for these dresses, but you have to trace them off the pattern sheet yourself.  (Click on any of the photos for a larger version.)
Guys, this book just made me mad.  I can't recommend it.  In fact, I would strongly recommend you don't use it.  Stay away!  It presents itself as a book for beginners, with a long introductory section on basic sewing techniques, even going so far as to define "pincushion"--
--but if you are a true beginner to the point where you don't know what a pincushion is, this book will lead you astray.  Let's consider the Julia Roberts dress, the brown-and-white polka-dotted dress from Pretty Woman.  This is the very first project in the book.  The recommended fabrics are "silk or poly-cotton."  What kind of silk?  There are many different weaves of silk, all with different properties.  Judging from the pictures of the dress, clearly the author intended something like charmeuse or crepe de chine.  Would a beginner know this?  No.  The book also recommends habotai for the facings.  This is a bad idea.  Facings typically need at least a little bit of stiffness to serve their function, and many patterns even call for the facings to be interfaced.  Habotai is about as flimsy as it comes, and would make a great lining but a terrible facing.  In short, if you are a beginner, you're not likely to achieve a good result using this book. 
I also wasn't impressed by the quality of the outfits the book presented.  For instance, the covered buttons for Faye Dunaway's fawn coast dress from The Thomas Crown Affair are lumpy:
And Kate Winslet's evening gown from Titanic looks like a costume, not evening wear.
And if you are a more advanced sewer?  Why would you be using this book, when there are so many better options open to you?

Would recommend for:  Halloween costumes, killing time.
Would not recommend for:  Pretty much everyone.

1 comment:

  1. reminds me of a few books i returned to amazon....getting a sewing book without any redeeming features or one useful tip is incredibly disappointing. most of the best sewing books i have are from the 50, 60s and my favourite all time is allen bayne...)