The Perfect Fit: The Classic Guide to Altering Patterns Paperback – Aug 1 2005
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'Illustrations are clear and plentiful providing lots of expert assistance for all levels of dressmaking, including problem areas. A must-have reference book.' Sew Today --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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The book is stuffed with pictures. There are tons of pictures showing "average" body parts, and bodies on both sides of average. It was really easy to look at the pictures and say "Those are my arms. That's what my inner thigh looks like." I also didn't have to try to figure out how to perform each alteration, because there are detailed pictures that show every single line, snip and slide. It covers a wide range of alterations, explaining adjustments for shoulders, arms, waist, hips, thighs, bust, abdomen, and seat. Each adjustment section is then divided into minor adjustments and major adjustments, shows procedures for doing both, and includes the maximum recommended amount of adjustment so you don't distort your pattern. For each variation from average, the book includes a chart the explains the fitting goal, flattering styles and details, unflattering styles and details and common pattern adjustments. It helps you start out by choosing a pattern that is likely to flatter your body without a lot of adjustments. Finally, I felt like the book avoided judgemental labels like skinny/fat, large/flat, which I appreciated.
My only (extremely small) issue with this book is that some of the fashion photos are outdated. This must be a later edition of a previously published book. Although it is copywritten 2005, some of the clothing styles look like mid to late 1980's. This absolutely does not affect the information in the book, since it is talking about alterations, not choosing fashions. However, it came up just a couple times, such as the author's enthusiastic embrace of shoulder pads, and a complete lack of discussing bootcut pants and where they fit on the body-type spectrum. On the whole, it was a very small issue. Just don't look too closely at their fashion plates at the beginning of each chaper!
All in all, this book is fabulous. If you want a coffee table book about current fashions, skip it. If you want a book that will help you make your clothing fit, this is the one! It's the first alteration book that I have purchased, and I can't see needing anything else. It is clear, complete, and so easy to follow.
The photos make it easy to see the problems and the drawings make it easy to see the solution. I highly recommend it.