I recently purchased this book from an online bookseller. It has lots of reviews on Amazon so I won’t go into detail. Suffice to say that it is a good book to have with basic patterns that can be modified to make lots of different looks. Some of the details like armholes which are too wide , need adjusting to personal preference, but on the whole the patterns are a great fit. I made a few dresses from the A-line pattern, and also the Sweet Dress pattern , which is essentially a basic bodice dress. This one incidentally is rather generously sized.
I sew a lot for my boys – mostly shirts. I am still on the lookout for a good boy shirt pattern in the teenage sizes . I used Jalie 2111 a lot but now find it quite tedious to alter the pattern to get a good fit ( the pattern is a VERY loose style). I now have Kwiksew 2973( sizes 4-7) for my younger son and Kwiksew 2000 for my husband – both a very good fit. The boy pattern is available in short and long-sleeved versions, while the man’s shirt is actually a overshirt with long sleeves, but works well as a regular shirt with shortened sleeves.
There are apparently two different patterns in circulation by this description, the one I use has sizes 6mo to 4 years while the other is sized XS to L . Both are baby and toddler dresses with a basic bodice ; my pattern is sleeveless while the other one ( which I do not possess) has sleeves and a sash. Both appear to be out of print now.
Anyway, the sleeveless New Look 6767 is my all-time favorite pattern for little girl dresses. It has a round-necked bodice, a gathered skirt of basic rectangles, a back zip opening and cute pockets. There is also an accompanying bloomer pattern. The look can be varied by adding shoulder bows and a scallop at the waist. It comes in 5 sizes in one envelope, 6months to 4 years.
The great thing about this pattern is that it is a good fit and can be used to make lots of variations on the basic bodice dress. I have used it with back buttons instead of a zip, shortened the bodice to make a smocked front dress, created a wrap back from the basic bodice , and have plans to make a dress with a circular skirt . The only regret I have is that this pattern does not have sleeves. A point to note is that if the dress is made adhering strictly to the pattern, the skirt is really long , almost calf length, which is not really evident in the envelope illustration. I always shorten the skirt pieces when using this pattern.
Since I began this blog, I have found out that a fellow sewist has a blog in Northern England with the same title , but she specializes in historical costumes, so there should be no confusion.
I had intended to begin with a round up of all my variations on Citronille Rose, a versatile yoked tunic pattern for 3-24 months sizes. Since I haven’t photographed all of them yet, I will instead list some of the sewing books I have accumulated over the years.
Flipkart, Infibeam and other online bookstores have dramatically improved my chances of access to internationally published sewing books , including some Japanese titles . 10 years ago I could never have dreamt of owning the books I own today. My sewing library now holds, among others, the following titles:
Metric Pattern Cutting for children’s wear and baby wear by Winifred Aldrich – a really good book with useful sizing charts and plenty of information on drafting al kinds of children’s clothing. It describes how to draft basic slopers and then modify them. I tend to use the drafting instructions to modify commercial patterns that I already have( New Look 6767, my current staple) , for example the petal sleeves on this dress, and the wrap style of this one.
ShirtMaking By David Coffin – Also a very good book, but sometimes a bit rambling and conversational in style. I was already making a lot of shirts , so I bought this book for some help with collar and cuff sewing techniques. Unfortunately the information is in a scattered manner, so I can’t just flip to ‘cuffs’ or ‘collar’ when I need help. But there is a lot of information in there.
Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids by Ruriko Yamada – a Japanese book recently brought out in English as well. Very good basic kids patterns with lots of variations, 100-130 cms heights. The good thing about Japanese patterns is that they match Asian sizing better than U.S. patterns like Simplicity . I made my three year old son the size 100cm pants from this book and they fit perfectly.
I also own a few others , some not so useful. ( I tend to read reviews by other bloggers before venturing on buying a book; but occasionally a review has misled . Buying ‘The Art of Manipulating Fabric’ by Colette Wolff was , for my needs, at least, a waste of money. I won’t be using all those techniques described in almost clinical detail.Maybe I’ll review the book in detail another time. )