By far, the best part of it is the 5 patterns. They're a bit simpler than anything she offers through her store BUT are HIGHLY customizable (if that's even a word). The book is pretty much step-by-step instructions on how to construct the garment, preceeded by some nifty (albeit simple) techniques. Each chapter/section focuses on said techniques, and then when it comes time to make the clothing, the instructions include the techniques. The book does touch on some stuff that other sewing handbooks do not. Specifically, I liked chapter 5 which focuses on all things fabric. Again, it's not comprehensive BUT clearly describes the basics and has very awesome visuals that help visual learners like me. It doesn't really offer anything new or challenging (based on your choices, I'm assuming you have a more intermediate level of expertise), but the patterns are very much worth it (book is $30, patterns on Colette.com are $18 a piece...)
Confession time: I have to say that I agree 100% with you about the Colette book being a "meh" on my list. Everyone keeps raving about it but I am not convinced. I've looked it over a few times and I just can't get excited about it.
Sure, it's a pretty book, but I don't find the techniques to be revolutionary. Nor am I a huge fan of the patterns. I'm not a huge fan of *any* of the Colette patterns for that matter - hardly any of them look flattering on the models.
I read their blog and like to browse the site but I think it's just not for me in the end.
Also, I think Sarai needs to smile once in a while. That felt good to get out.
I think (based on various blog reviews, good and bad) that the Colette patterns are made for curvier women. A lot of people online with a slender body type or non-massive boobs (C cup and below) have struggled to get a good fit so they're not for everyone. That being said the site is very well designed as is the book-which I have but haven't made anything from(for the same reason as you-nothing appealed to me enough to get around to it and more importantly the sizing starts a size above mine and I can't be bothered to grade) but good on her for striking out on her own and taking on the big four (and-in her specific niche, winning!). I admire her skill and entrepreneurship.
I too haven't found any call towards Colette Patterns...They look kinda cute and lots of people love them - but I'm fairly petite too. The one thing that deters me is how much people have to fit them - numerous muslins I'm talking about.
Maybe I'm a rebel and I don't make muslins. All the fitting I do is usually straight on the paper...on vintage patterns...I've not had good experiences with modern ones. So much ease! Ugh!
But books - I love the 1951 McCALL'S COMPLETE BOOK of DRESSMAKING bought off eBay for a song. And the Couture Sewing Techniques.
The Reader's Digest Sewing Book is a great resource for all sorts of techniques and the Colette Sewing Book is nice too.
5 patterns, all are adorable.
I second that recommend for the Reader's Digest Guide to Sewing: 1970's or 80's edition. It covers the widest range of topics in well drafted illustrations to show all details clearly. It can't be topped (so far).
For a great sewing library, one book is never enough, these are good to have on hand:
--Vogue/Butterick: Step by Step Guide to Sewing Techniques (any edition): great drawings here as well, easy to understand instructions.
--A Guide to Fashion Sewing, by Amaden-Crawford (any edition): clear, step-by-steps drawings. Written for students, so it is a good way to teach yourself techniques.
--Singer Sewing Reference Library (many books); with excellent photo instructions, each book focuses on specific technique3s, written in the 80's, so knits are included along with serger techniques.
I have the readers digest book from the 70s. It was passed down to me from my aunt. I must say it is super helpful! I can't count the number of times I have it open in my sewing room.
Right now I'm in love with "Sew a Mix-and-Match Wardrobe for Plus and Petite-Plus sizes" by Kathleen Cheetham. I have made lots of garments, but my outfits don't interchange. This book has fabulous ideas for using only four patterns (which are included with the book) to create an almost infinite collection. Cheetham teaches you how to select fabrics that will grow your wardrobe, where to start and how to add pieces that will enhance what you already have. Perfect for someone like me who needs some direction for my overenthusiastic fabric-buying sprees!
I got this book for christmas http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fashion-Designers-Directory-Shape--Match/dp...
Its not a sewing book though, it contains all kinds of elements and directions on how to design your own clothing. But if you have a resonable amount of pattern you should be able to make clothing that is absolutly your own if that is what you want
I love love love books and a serious weakness. Yes the colette but I really like chic on a shoestring for accessories.
I was were you are in regards to being on the fence with needing to jump up to more intermediate skills. I purchased both Couture Sewing Techniques. Claire Scheaffer's was more advanced than Lynda Maynard's, but I continue to get a good material out of both. I picked up a bunch of Nancy Zieman's older, 90's-era books off Paperback Swap, and continue to look at more introductory books like Stitch by Stitch by Deborah Moebes for the cute projects and ideas on how to present techniques to students in the shop I work for. I learn something every day!
I try to stay clear of books with cute-sy projects that are juvenile in nature: no simple hippy skirts or stuffed toys. I just don't have any use for them, as I can make those things my self. Look for new or vintage tailoring books. Some are clearer than others in their descriptions. Tailoring seems to be one of the homemaker's skills that's been largely lost unless one was lucky enough to go to school for fashion design.
I also purchased a 70's copy of Reader's Digest to replace my mom's that I lost a while back.