Book Review: Singer Sewing Reference Library: Tailoring (1988)

TailoringTailoring by Singer Sewing Company
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Do you work in the sweaty back room at a dry cleaners? Do you make men’s suits for a living? Neither do I, and yet I’ll probably get more use out of this book than any of the others in the series. Part of the Singer Sewing Reference Library, Tailoring is a smaller book (127 pages) brimming with useful sewing tips, applicable to most of your garment sewing – not just suits. Each section covers basics that you probably figured out how to do on your own, only here they are, in photographic form and easy-to-understand descriptions, the right way to do things. Doing it right will not only look better, but will reduce some of your sewing frustrations and help your garments last longer. You really don’t want to spend a week on something only to have it fall apart, do you? I thought so.

Tailoring covers making parts of garments that can be transferred to blouses, dresses, coats, and other garments that you want to fit your unique body specifically. Pin fitting, pocket insertion, sleeve and collar types are covered, as well as super-basic things, such as how to press a garment so it will look its best, as well as pattern alteration, how to choose fabrics and linings, and tricks and tools professional tailors use to give your clothes a custom-made look.

You can even learn to alter store-bought garments you already own or have been eyeing in a catalog but aren’t sure of its fit.

Following are the chapters from this book.

Part 1: Tips & Tools
• Cutting & Marking Tools
• Pressing Equipment
• Tools & Stitches for Handwork

Part 2: Before You Sew
• Getting a Good Fit
• Making a Test Garment
• Preparing the Pattern
• Preparing the Fabric

Part 3: Making Selections
• The Standards of Tailoring
• Selecting a Pattern
• Selecting a Tailoring Fabric
• Interfacings for Tailoring
• Selecting Linings
• Special Notions for Tailoring

Part 4: Tailoring Techniques
• Constructing the Jacket
o Shaping the Undercollar
o Shaping the Jacket Front
o Shaping the Jacket Back
• Tailoring a Notched Collar
• Tailoring a Shawl Collar
• Tailoring Pockets
• Tailoring Sleeves
• Tailoring Hems

Part 5: Finishing Techniques
• Linings
• Interlining a Jacket or Coat
• Partially Lined Jackets
• Top stitching
• Buttons & Buttonholes

True, this book was printed in 1988, but tailoring really hasn’t changed that much in years and years, and likely, other than the advent of new tools, will remain the same for the rest of your life. Buy it, read it, use it. I found a used hardback copy in like-new condition for around $5. But it’s worth 4 times that to me. Now I can finally make that Victorian-era men’s waistcoat I’ve been promising someone for a couple of years.

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