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I was intending to have this review up and live on May 5th, but with the new job and general costuming and planting craziness of the season, I am running behind. I was recently asked to review this book, and I wanted to share the results with you. I was also given an extra copy to offer to one of my readers as well. So, if you are interested in winning an electronic copy of Sewing and Fitting with Darts by Heather M. Claus, just post a message below with an email address for contact. I will announce the winner on Friday, May 17, 2013.
This book would be great for any beginner interested in learning how to better fit a garment by using darts. It covers many different types of darts, the areas of the garment that you would use them, and how they will help the garment better conform to your shape.
I have been sewing for years, and I am very familiar with the use of darts to fit shirts, jackets, and dresses. I don't often make pants beyond bloomers for Renaissance garb and pajamas, so it was very interesting to see just how many areas of a pant could be manipulated by a well placed dart. The detailed drawings were very helpful in visualizing where the darts would go and what affect they would have on the garment. She even took the time to create diagrams outlining the proper way to actually sew a dart in the fabric. I can't tell you how much frustration this caused me early on in my sewing endeavors. The seam ripper was a dear friend of mine until I figured it out. When both the right and the wrong ways are printed side by side for you to see, it's very easy to tell why you should be sewing the darts in a particular way. The author also goes over pressing, hiding, and removing darts as well. It really does cover the basics of what anyone would need to know about darts in an easy to ready, practical voice.
There are also helpful links to the 365 Days of Sewing forum where you can ask questions about each section of the book if you get stuck or need clarification. In order to view the discussion board, you do have to register for an account with the website as well as apply for membership for that particular group. It isn't instant access, so it may take a small amount of time for a moderator to approve new members. Please don't get discouraged. Once you are added to the group, you will have access to all of the different discussions from each chapter of the book.
After reading about each of the kinds of darts, I am most interested in trying the radiating dart. It has a very distinctive look, and I think it could add a bit of style as well as fit to a nice jacket or shirt. I am also really intrigued to see a couple of the upcoming volumes listed at the end of this book. The two that really caught my eye were: Volume 2 - Sewing Easy & Elegant Capes and Wraps and Volume 5 - 10 Gorgeous Vintage Details to Add to Your Contemporary Sewing Projects. I can't wait to see what kind of materials are included in these books.