New/Old Tailoring Books

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Looking for a new tailoring book?  Hope you don’t mind an old one in new wrapping because that is what you will get if you purchase either of these two “new/old” books. Both are very good books, one is more geared to womens tailoring and the new iron-in interfacing. The other shows both mens and womens suit construction, including trousers.  Neither book shows how to make patterns, only how to adjust a purchased paper pattern so that it will fit. One has photos, the other has illustrations. I find the older books’ type is easier for me to read and I prefer the larger size illustrations. One of the new books is smaller in size and the other has more space on the page because the illustrations are smaller.

The  Illustrated Guide to Sewing’s  Tailoring, A Complete Course on Making a Professional Suit,  2011, Skills Institute Press, is a reprint of Basic Tailoring from The Art of Sewing series by the editors of Time-Life Books, published 1974. It is a more detailed approach using traditional tailoring techniques. It is my favorite. The Time-Life book has been downsized in its new version. The new one measures 7 ½” x 9”, the print and the illustrations are smaller. The interesting text about the history of tailoring has been eliminated. Thankfully, tailored trousers are covered in both books.

The other spiffy “new”  book is Tailoring, The classic Guide to Sewing the Perfect Jacket,  published by Creative Publishing International also in 2011.  Its older version is Tailoring from the Singer Sewing Reference Library published by Cy DeCosse Incorporated in 1988. This is the one with the emphasis on womens wear and it has photos. The old Singer book looks like it may show how to make a man’s jacket because the cover photo shows a jacket made of a dark color fabric, but the buttonholes are the welt type usually used on a woman’s jacket and all of the instructions and photos are about womens fashion tailoring. The new book has a slightly different arrangement at times, but all of the material is there.

So it’s your choice if you want a new or an old tailoring book to hold in your hand, to place on your bookshelf, or to present as a gift. Both of the new books are under $20 including shipping and handling and I found the two older books online for considerably less. Tailoring is a craft that uses time honored techniques to create garments, only the styles change.


Photo from 1904





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