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Unread 07-25-2007, 11:33 AM   #1
alrasha
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Red face "Must Have" (sewing, etc.) books for cosplay.

I was looking through books on embroidery and costume design and it occurred to me: What books do people use when doing their costumes?

Currently the only one I use is Sewing for Dummies, hehe.

Anyone?
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Unread 07-25-2007, 02:18 PM   #2
Desse
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I got "How to Make Sewing Patterns" by Donald H. McCunn. It's pretty basic, but decent. The first section is how to make a sloper to your measurements (which I skipped. The Big4 all have sloper patterns you can get and alter to fit you perfectly- giving you the added benefit of knowing exactly what alterations you need when using a pattern from that company.)

The second section, however, was the most useful for me when I was getting started, since it deals with how to alter patterns. Changing seam locations, darts, adding or removing fullness, and how to make different types of necklines and collars.

The third section deals with design elements of garments, like the fullness in a skirt, plackets, pockets, cuffs, sleeves, etc. etc.

The instructions for how to make a dress form are pretty crappy- a duct tape dummy is much better, but I liked the book overall and still refer to it sometimes.
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Unread 07-25-2007, 02:47 PM   #3
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Oooh I'm gonna have to look in to that book
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Unread 07-25-2007, 03:59 PM   #4
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The Costume Technician's Handbook by Rosemary Ingham is INVALUABLE! It has very practical advice, and has sections on pattern altering, draping, and drafting, fitting, dying, prop making, millinery, wigs, accessories, sewing terms and techniques and so much more. I have learning a LOT from this book, and can't imagine any costumer/cosplayer's library without it!
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Unread 07-25-2007, 07:21 PM   #5
Narno
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Fast Fit: Easy Pattern Alterations for Every Figure by Sandra betzina. Good for altering existing patterns to a custom fit.

I also have a book of Serger techniques that is awesome (but it's packed away and i don't remember what its called). It has all sorts of decorative stitches and just plain weird things you can do with a serger.
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Unread 07-25-2007, 07:42 PM   #6
greydragon
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I've had the "Complete Guide to Sewing" (by Reader's Digest) for several years, and it's helped me out of a few binds.

But what I'm really excited about is "Make Your Own Japanese Clothes" by John Marshall, which I just received today!!! I can't wait to start!
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Unread 07-26-2007, 12:04 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greydragon View Post
But what I'm really excited about is "Make Your Own Japanese Clothes" by John Marshall, which I just received today!!! I can't wait to start!
I use that one a lot too! Kimono are so much easier to make now.
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Unread 07-26-2007, 12:20 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by greydragon View Post
I've had the "Complete Guide to Sewing" (by Reader's Digest) for several years, and it's helped me out of a few binds.
Oh cool. I just picked that book up from a thrift store about three weeks ago. It looks very useful, I'm sure it'll come in handy someday.

That very same day I also bought "Sewing Made Easy" by Dorothy Sara w/revisions by Irene Gora. It covers basically everything you need to know:

patterns, altering, handling, lining, seams, pleats, collars, sleeves, buttonholes, zippers, pockets, ruffles, oh so many wonderful tips,

it's a handy book to have around. I'll be needing it.

-edit- I should mention the copyright date is 1969. :P
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Unread 07-26-2007, 12:24 AM   #9
Hanyaan
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Other than some of the ones mentioned in this thread, I like Vogue Sewing. A lot. It has instructions with diagrams on how to do pretty much anything you'll ever encounter with a sewing machine, an extensive alteration/correcting pattern fit section, and a huge glossary of every sewing term pretty much ever. You can get any edition and it'll still be useful. Mine is from the 80s, and it's still entirely accurate with the exception of what "modern" fashion is. (In which case it's good for a laugh.)

I also think I'd be really sad without my various costume history books. It's really useful for series with vaguely historical-inspired outfits to see what the actual clothing they're based on looks like. It's amazing how often I end up flipping through my Kyoto Fashion Institute History of Fashion two-volume set, and I have this old History of Costume Dover book that wins. It really is amazingly helpful at times.
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Unread 07-26-2007, 12:40 AM   #10
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I am *definitely* looking into some of these books. Keep the suggestions coming.
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Unread 07-26-2007, 09:21 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by HanyaanFaery View Post
Other than some of the ones mentioned in this thread, I like Vogue Sewing. A lot. It has instructions with diagrams on how to do pretty much anything you'll ever encounter with a sewing machine, an extensive alteration/correcting pattern fit section, and a huge glossary of every sewing term pretty much ever. You can get any edition and it'll still be useful. Mine is from the 80s, and it's still entirely accurate with the exception of what "modern" fashion is. (In which case it's good for a laugh.)

I also think I'd be really sad without my various costume history books. It's really useful for series with vaguely historical-inspired outfits to see what the actual clothing they're based on looks like. It's amazing how often I end up flipping through my Kyoto Fashion Institute History of Fashion two-volume set, and I have this old History of Costume Dover book that wins. It really is amazingly helpful at times.
Seconded on the Vogue Sewing book. I have my mom's from the 60s, and while it's missing the sections on sewing newer fabrics such as lycra it's still incredibly valuable; whenever I'm stumped on something I just go there.
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Unread 07-26-2007, 09:38 AM   #12
alrasha
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Wow! Thanks for all the responses! I'm most definitely going to be checking out a LOT of these books.

I picked up a book on embroidery yesterday that is really nice and detailed. It's called "The Embroiderer's Handbook" by Margie Bauer. The book contains numerous photos for each stitch so that one can visually learn how to accomplish a large amount of stitches. The book also shows the reader how to apply beads, sequins, and rosettes.
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Unread 07-26-2007, 02:50 PM   #13
SleepingDragon
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This is not a book persay... however I swear by threads magize. Articles are aviable online at http://www.taunton.com/Threads/ I can not say how many valuable articles I have found with various obscure construction methods. They usually have sections devoted to making patterns with vintage garments. Sleeve construction from the 50's and 60's has been incredibly helpful when dealing with cosplays that have sleeves that are found on no aviable patterns.

Also Sewstylish is another incredibly helpful resouce. Also aviable online at http://besewstylish.taunton.com/ (it automically redirects you to the blog) This one has a free newsletter full of helpful tips and is a new publication done by threads. Recent articles include fabric painting and stencling. Also how to make so really cool effects with different fabrics.

I believe it is threads that also has a tutorial on how to make a dress form that perfectly fits you. I can not tell you how valuable I find these web sites.

Did I mention they are free?
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Unread 07-28-2007, 09:06 PM   #14
Parasaurolophus
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For kimono-related information, The Book of Kimono by Norio Yamanaka is invaluabe. Not only is the information about the history behind japanese clothing fascinating, it has a ton of practical information on obis (types, knots, instructions on how to tie, plus tons of color pictures), the kimono types themselves, and complete step-by-step instructions (with photos) on how to correctly wear the kimono + undergarments. It also talks about the accessories that you'll need, which some websites gloss over.

While I'm all for internet research, I always pull this book out when I'm dressing in kimono, because its complete and accurate at the same time.

... I also tend to collect sewing books from used book stores. Although some of the information is the same, a lot of the older books will have historic techniques which aren't as popular today, but might help with a particular technique.
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Unread 07-29-2007, 05:13 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Parasaurolophus View Post
... I also tend to collect sewing books from used book stores. Although some of the information is the same, a lot of the older books will have historic techniques which aren't as popular today, but might help with a particular technique.
Seconding this. You can never pick up too many ancient sewing books, IMO. I have a sewing instruction/fashion dictionary book from 1939 and strangely enough it's been amazingly helpful for some of my costumes.
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