May as well dispense with formality and open with my conclusion, I'm designating Fabric for Fashion: The Swatch Book as a must buy for fashion oriented entrepreneurs who aren't textile experts (most of them).
Maybe I should start by explaining what this book isn't. It isn't a comprehensive A to Z recitation of dry textile science, stuff we had to learn in school. I think that is the biggest problem for entrepreneurs; they want to know more but most books fall in one of two camps: enthusiast and engineering. Enthusiast books are typically well researched but there's a gap between intended application and the jargon typically used in the trade. Textile textbooks on the other hand, are written by probable near geniuses who assume readers will pore over every word, memorize it and amuse genteel companions at cocktail parties with witty quotations from it. Okay, maybe not but you know what I mean. Point is, most entrepreneurs are too busy to read enough of a textile textbook to get much (if anything) out of it. Most pages seem to consist of a dense wall of text with black and white grainy photos taken in the 1970's. Business owners want a cheat sheet -the closest thing to a bullet point list they can get. If that describes you, you're going to love this one.
A frequently heard lament is the dearth of pattern making books specific to the male form. Toward addressing the oversight comes a recently released title called Patternmaking for Menswear by Gareth Kershaw, from Laurence Publishing.
Before I start though, I confess a bit of wariness. Whenever I review a book, the most frequent response is whether the book will resolve whatever ill one has or whether it is the Holy Grail/Rosetta Stone of drafting texts. Few books are that. Drafting books are no different than cook books and although few of us are professional cooks, most of us have a variety of cookbooks. As such, if this is your profession or your professional interest, you're well served to have a variety of texts that speak to your interests. If your budget requires closer scrutiny to acquire books, consider the library as an option. Keep in mind that I don't review books that I feel are without merit. This one is relatively inexpensive ($40 list) and represents good value. Oh, before I forget, how I review patternmaking books may be helpful too.
Today we have a guest entry written by textile artist Kelly Cobb, who is an assistant professor in the fashion department at the University of Delaware. Written to include the sometimes competing priorities of various readers, Kelly includes a resource list at close to further your exploration. My sincerest thanks to Kelly for this thoughtful review.
Digital Textile Design
Second Edition, $40. 192 pp
by Melanie Bowles and Ceri Issac
The universe of textile design is becoming more and more inclusive with the onset of technological innovations that allow anyone interested access to high-end printing capabilities. The potential to create custom prints is appealing and very accessible with operations like Spoonflower or Fabric on Demand. Digital Textile Design focuses on the evolving world of digital print technologies, offering tutorials and case studies geared towards “practitioners” of textile design. There are many facets of practitioner! Below, I review Digital Textile Design from three perspectives.
And now we come to the final day of our 7 day, 7 book giveaway... people, I'm thinking this one -Draping: The Complete Course- is a game changer; this book is exquisite. It would seem that many agree with me, newly published last month, it is already out of stock. Oh wait, there's a bit of confusion. Amazon shows it won't go on sale until October 1st. Either way, I recommend pre-ordering it. You want to make sure you'll get a copy when they come available. Really, you will. This is the book of the year, maybe even the book of next year. I haven't ever seen anything like this -it weighs 4 pounds! All I can say is that I'm glad I don't write draping books because this would be a tough act to follow.
Now. As a lot of you already know, I'm not too wild on draping. Not that I don't care for it, not that I don't think it's a great thing and it definitely has its uses, but I'm one of those (apparently rare?) people who can create flounces, cowls -you know, all draped styles- with paper and pencil or CAD. Frankly until I started this blog, I didn't know that everyone else couldn't because any place I'd worked, everybody else drafted exclusively too.
Before getting into this review, you can still enter to win the pattern book until late tomorrow afternoon. A winner for the Stylish dress book will be selected on Wednesday. Moving on.
Today's giveaway features the second edition of Connie Crawford's Grading Workbook. I have the hard copy, spiral bound edition, 136 pages. It is nicely formatted and illustrated, similar to the drafting book. I do think it is a low cost option to learn grading from -all explained in a clear manner as possible but there are a few issues to be aware of. Before I forget, if you're not sure of all the technical terms I'm using, you might consider perusing the grading posts on this site, they are extensive and detailed.
No matter how dedicated and disciplined an author, discrepancies will creep in. For example, the grade stack of the neck point at the bottom of pg 35 is correct but in a later section on page 54, it is not. That said, scale is everything. My disputation amounts to something on the order of 1/32nd to 1/64th of an inch -something only professional graders will fuss about (and fuss we do). I only bring it up in the event that you follow the instructions step by step and your result doesn't look exactly like the illustration on page 54. If it looks like the one on pg 35 instead, you're doing fine.
Today's giveaway features a popular title that has been given away at least twice previously on this site, and that would be Patternmaking Made Easy by Connie Crawford. This being the brand new third edition, it would be an excellent choice if you're looking for a friendly, hands on, yet professional guide to learn patternmaking as applied to industry.
As you would imagine, I'm a bit particular about drafting books but then, so is everyone else. There is a caveat though; most people tend to prefer whatever book they cut their teeth on which usually means the default text that was required in school. However, once you've been around awhile, you're able to be more discriminating because the requirements of your job or your product depend on it. Toward that end, I wrote a post on how I review patternmaking books which you really should read. This is not to say that other books don't serve a purpose because most books do get the basics right. What you need outside the classroom is the certainty of performance.
Textile Visionaries: Innovation and Sustainability in Textile Design is the third giveaway in our 7 day series and a prize it certainly is.
I describe the text as a series of profiles of 36 textile artists who use a variety of contemporary methods to embellish fabrics in sustainable and futuristic ways. I don't know that you remember me saying this but textile production is extremely complex and intellectually rigorous and this text is certainly a testament of it. Processes are just as varied as the artists, methods encompass cutting edge technology, weaving, surface design, sustainability and dimensional manipulation.
For example, one artist is Margot Selby, an adherent of zero waste. She designs and produces textiles that are used to manufacture her products. The waste from these products are recycled to produce still other items -such as the jacket seen at lower right.
Today's featured title is Fashion A to Z: An Illustrated Dictionary, a handy reference with over 2,000 entries. This isn't a book you will sit down to read although it is fun to page through but will want to use to spot check any ambiguities you may be experiencing when producing a line. Not sure what someone means when they mention AQL? It's in there. And sure, you can also look it up in a search engine but then you'll need to wade through a lot of competing and contradictory information, most of it having nothing to do with the apparel industry.
Is this book the ultimate solution? Nope but it's a great start. I wish many of my customers had a topical dictionary. You'd be amazed at how many people don't know what a collar is -for example, a ribbing edge that finishes off a t-shirt neckline is not a collar. And you, like me, probably won't agree with some of the definitions. For example...
One of our long time forum members and occasional guest author here is Esther Melander. A long time pattern maker and grader, she also has her own blog. She has recently published a simple (but not simplistic) book of forms called The Organized Fashion Designer. A brief synopsis is:
The forms included in this manual can be used to create a simplified tech pack. I f you create a complicated product, you may need a more detailed tech pack that is professionally prepared by a technical designer. A simple tech pack can also help those just starting out in the sewn product industry or even advanced home hobbyists. Detailed explanations follow so that you will know how to fill out each form. Some forms are meant for your own use and some are intended for use by contractors.
There are 3 types of forms (with plenty of crossover). The first are in house forms used to collect and organize information. This would include forms for measurements, grade rules, style number management and quality specifications.
As I mentioned yesterday, we have a review written by Jasonda Desmond (Dotty Logic), maven of all things textile and design related. Jasonda is a long time member of our forum and designed the masthead of Fashion-Incubator. Without further ado, here is Jasonda's review.
Digital Textile Design by Melanie Bowles and Ceri Isaac focuses on creating surface designs for fabric using digital mediums (Photoshop, Illustrator) and touches on a wide variety of related subjects.
The 20 surface design tutorials make up about half the content. There is a strong focus on techniques that are currently in fashion, such as “engineered" prints – for example, a design created based on a photograph of a necklace, where the print is placed around the neckline of the shirt, to create a trompe l’oeil (optical illusion) effect, something that has been popular on the fashion runways for the last few seasons.