Great Books

Soundstitches sewing blog tailored jacketUpdated pages: One reader noted, “Wow! I am impressed! What motivates you to sew so many different projects at a time? ” That’s a good question, Carol, and I think you were looking at my Current Projects page. Those have been moved to the Finished Items page. Other pages need updating and I’ll do that soon.

Today’s post celebrates an excellent textbook first published in 1958, and updated in 1968 and 1974. The 1968 edition is one of my prized possessions. Titled simply Tailoring, author Allyne Bane worked at Ohio University after designing for Simplicity and Butterick and wrote several similar books. I do not create many tailored garments. Maybe like yours, my days are not filled with tailored jackets. (Although like me, did you show up to your first jobs wearing suits nearly every day?) Some concepts seem outdated: the book refers to “costume” — an old term for outfit — and the language is formal. Yet, I noticed that all of the fitting issues of yore are ours too — uneven hips, full arms, sloping shoulders. There are more line drawings than you’ll find in the typical “Go Girls Sewing” books in local bookstores. And every modern book on your shelf also values the process of making a muslin before tackling the expensive fabric.

So, despite its vintage copyright Tailoring remains a very valuable resource on my shelf, and I encourage you to acquire similar “old school” books when you see them in a thrift store or used bookstore. Since many did not grow up sewing, the new books concentrate on — and spend many photos on — garment construction, whereas the older ones assumed some construction experience and could focus on fit and the more demanding construction details of tailoring. Finally, textbooks of any era  are geared towards the person who has enrolled in a certificate and degree program rather than towards the weekend sewer.

I found a little more about author Allyne Bane at and have shared an excerpt here. I’m struck by the fact that she was able to adapt when jobs were scarce in her chosen field and many of us have done the same in our own economic downturn:

SoundStitches sewing blog Allyne Bane Tailoring

Tailoring, by Allyne Bane


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