Sewing for Fashion Designers by Anette Fischer is a must-have for fashion enthusiasts. The thorough yet concise guidance is a gem for fashion lovers who want to improve their sewing skills like myself! Photos: Courtesy of Laurence King Publishing.

When I was offered the chance to review Anette Fischer’s Sewing for Fashion Designers book (available in May 2015), I was enthusiastic but a little skeptical. I have other sewing books that I really like, do I really need another 320-pages book? I was expecting to skim through the first few chapters and focusing on the last two chapters, which are about making garment details and fabric-specific techniques.

Thankfully, I was wrong. This book is now part of my Sewing Essentials collection. It is truly “an essential guide for developing the foundational skills required for innovative garment design.” The instructions and explanations are thorough, concise, straightforward, and clear. The images and illustrations never distract, only enhance and stimulate higher understanding of creating a garment with better quality. I’m really excited; I look forward to when I have enough time to do my next DIY fashion. For someone who has no formal training, I find the tips, techniques, and even additional resources Sewing for Fashion Designers provide are spot-on. Now most of the “whys” that I start to question every time I follow how-to instructions on Japanese sewing magazines or online tutorials are answered. Hallelujah! This will be a gift that keeps on giving.

Chapter One is a heavy-duty introduction chapter, the crucial of them all. Yes, it’s about setting up your “design studio” with the correct sewing tools and machinery. But more importantly, it’s about teaching the fundamentals, telling apart my left from my right. The sewing basics – what are grain lines, the difference between a sloper and a pattern, how to work with patterns, prepping fabrics, taking body measurements the correct way, and many more – are generously explained. Chapter 1 alone is a mini enlightenment for me; it’s definitely one of the better first chapter amongst other fashion design / sewing books I’ve read in the past.
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Chapter Two is about fabrics overview and how they work. Knowing the “hows” of a given fabric really sets a relevant context to understand garment constructions. Fastening and trimmings, as well as materials to support structured pieces like corsets are also covered here.
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Chapter Three is a handy reference to hand-sewing techniques and basic seams. This part is similar to other books I have, but the technical drawings and photos are clearer, taking out guesswork out of the equation. I’d say compared to some sewing books I have, this book is better. I might sell one of my other books. Hmm.

Chapter Four is when it dives into techniques of making garment details and decorations. From making gathers and pleats to constructing pockets, waistlines, and necklines, this chapter is heavy on visuals for the right reasons. Really spot on, informative and straightforward.
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Chapter Five is about fabric-specific techniques. You get overview of best technical approaches to use for patternmaking and construction of denim, knits, transparent fabrics, lace, sequined and beaded fabrics, neoprene, leather, fur, and more. This chapter gets me excited in applying the techniques from all chapters plus experimenting on mixing fabrics.
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All in all, Anette Fischer’s Sewing for Fashion Designers is a great, solid fashion design resource for me. It’s worth noting that Ms. Fischer is Senior Lecturer in 3D development at the University for the Creative Arts, Epson, a teacher on the Post-graduate Certificate Course in Innovative Pattern Cutting at Central Saint Martins, London, and also a guest speaker for the British Fashion Council seminars. More than 20 years of experience in fashion industry (she has worked with Vivienne Westwood, Givenchy, and Julien Macdonald, among others) speaks volume on this book, which I viewed amongst the best sewing books I’ve ever owned.
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For fashion educators, professionals, and enthusiasts who want to get more technical overview and ready-to-use tips and techniques of garment making, this book is totally worth it. I’m so happy to have this book; thank you Laurence King Publishing for the opportunity to review Sewing for Fashion Designers by Anette Fischer! I’m so happy to add this excellent book to my Sewing Essentials collection.

Photos: Courtesy of Laurence King Publishing

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