Wow, I must be a bit psychic (that, or it’s a coincidence, but that’s not so fun, right?) as my new book (The Party Dress) was waiting for me when I got home on Friday. I read it cover to cover that evening and here are my thoughts (having only read it, not tried it out):
- The dresses are great – there should be something here to suit everyone.
- There are good ideas for personalising the dresses and making different variations on them.
- It’s written in a very positive way – he has an upbeat, friendly and encouraging tone, which is exactly what a beginner needs.
- Gorgeous colour photos throughout with some fun photoshoots (giant white rabbits, anyone?).
- Embellishment tutorials that you could use on many different projects.
- I’m not convinced his examples are perfectly-fitting (there is some wrinkling) – surely this should be the priority in a book about how to make dresses that fit you perfectly? I suspect taking greater care and being more of a perfectionist would help.
- The instructions aren’t always clear – sometimes I was reading them and couldn’t fully understand what he meant and the photos do not always help. I generally use more than one book when reading up on techniques, anyway.
- I would disagree with some of his recommendations on what suits the different body shapes – for example, that short people should wear longer lengths, in fact they often make you look even shorter and tend to dwarf shorter ladies (I speak from experience!). I’m not saying short women should never wear long gowns, but you have to do so carefully!
And this point is neither positive not negative, but something for anyone considering this book to be aware of:
- It does contain four dresses (and a basque top, which is used as the bodice/pattern for the dresses and can be made up separately). Considering the prices of patterns, you wouldn’t be able to buy four patterns for the £10 the book costs (I got it cheaper on Amazon Marketplace, so look out for copies there!), so I consider it a good deal for that alone (plus the block, bow and fabric flower tutorials), but some people might expect more from a book that is specifically about creating ‘the perfect’ party dress. Having said that, I do think that whatever your figure, at least one of these styles should suit you, and Simon Henry does give ideas for variations, so you could make four different takes on the same dress.
Anyway, overall, I would recommend this book, though I doubt it has much to offer the more experienced stitcher except for, perhaps, inspiration.
The other weekend happening – Priscilla Queen of the Desert: The Musical … Bloody amazing!! So, so much fun! Uplifting songs and story, amazing performances and a bus on stage – what more could you ask for? I had a fabulous time. Oh, and the costumes were out of this world – I never in my life thought I would ever watch a stage full of dancing men dressed up as cupcakes. Yep, I’m serious. If you get the opportunity, I heartily recommend this show and challenge you to leave it without a massive grin on your face!
And, lastly, back to dressmaking – the promised pictures of the wrap-over, nearly complete – the bias binding is all on now, though the hemming isn’t yet done and neither is the closure. I’ve tied a scrap of leftover bias around the waist and I quite like the effect, so I think I’m going to sew that at the wrap-overs and tie it at the back. I did originally try this with a wide strip of the blue poplin to create a large bow at the back, but this created too much bulk around the waist. My only slight concern is that adding this red bias changes the lines on the dress – does it spoil the shape?
(Sorry the photos aren’t fab – my camera is still being dead and the Boy’s one refused to work, too! Only bad thing about my phone – rubbish camera.)