Friends, I am sewing a Very Important Dress.
I had a slightly panicked email discussion with Poppykettle last night, when I realised that in terms of sewing advice, I'm on my own here.
The PatternReview boards can only help so much... Map the Sewintists (and my blogroll) show that the nearest social sewists are at least 500km south of my place. Spotlight is omnipresent in Auckland, but I perceive the sewing section to be shrinking by the month. Maybe I really am the only person who sews their own clothes in Auckland. Who to turn to, what to do?
Luckily, I'm a book-lover. I learn best by feeling my way through with step-by-step instructions, but I love a good solid reference book. Side note: I also love libraries, but good reference books have year-long waiting lists.
I bought Claire Shaeffer's Couture Sewing Techniques last year. It's a lovely book, with great photographs of couture clothes and details from her personal collection. This is interspersed with very detailed instruction on how various techniques were achieved.
Claire does a great job of breaking down the tasks, and encourages rather than overwhelms. You come away with a sense that couture clothes aren't impossible, but that you get out what you put in. Time, concentration, and well-chosen materials of an appropriate quality seem to be the key ingredients.
Susan Khalje's Bridal Couture makes a great companion book. It has been out of print for years, and my library has a significant waiting list for it. However, you can order a CD of the book directly from Susan at the link above. I had it about a week after ordering (very impressive considering I'm on the other side of the planet).
This book obviously focuses on wedding gowns, but it's easy to extrapolate the information to other occasion-wear. Again, there are loads of beautiful inspiration photos. I particularly liked the detailed information about different fabrics and how to use them.
Do you learn by doing? Reading? Watching? Something else? Let's talk!