Everyone has their way to relax and for me it has always been with a good book. Not a novel - I tend to get too caught up in them; although over Christmas and vacation, I always indulge in a good one. No, my preference is a good non-fiction book, new sewing or knitting books in particular. A cup of tea and a roaring fire in winter, or the glider on the deck in summer, and a good book is my idea of heaven.
To indulge this passion and not break the bank, I scour the new book section of the library on a regular basis. Personally, I think the public library is one of the greatest inventions going! You go in and come out with a whole bag of books and it hasn't cost you a thing. Better yet, I often find that that new book that I thought I couldn't live without is a real dud. No harm done, just return it. Most of the time, I am entertained and then return the book. Sometimes; however, that special moment comes when you open a book, start reading and realize you have just found a treasure!
A few years ago I found the treasure: Dressmaking: The Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Making Your Own Clothes by Alison Smith. It was a big, hefty how-to book from DK publishing (you know the ones that include tons of pictures) that covered the basics on pattern alterations and provided instruction on general techniques.
DK publishing has now released it in both a paperback and ebook format and called it, Dressmaking Step by Step. While the instructions and techniques are helpful, the real treasure of the book is the 12 basic patterns that can be downloaded for free! That's right 12 basic patterns including the pencil skirt, shift dress, princess-line blouse, tailored pants, and shawl collared jacket! You didn’t and don’t even need to buy the book to download the patterns - just go to www.dk.com/dressmaking!
Having said that, you do want the book. Each variation of the basic pattern teaches a new technique such as how to add a lining, change the neckline, taper the pants and on and on... The patterns while classic are also modern - the waist line of the pants sits slightly below the waist, the blouse tapers at the waist, and the hemline of the pencil skirt is above the knee. There is even a section at the end on customizing and refashioning! I hope you enjoy this book and give one of the patterns a try.