My goal for this next year is to teach myself some tailoring techniques and perhaps take some classes in tailoring. To that end, I have been selecting books to add to my library that will become a resource as I try out various techniques. I started this effort by checking books out of the library. (Fortunately, our local is connected to a library loan program and there seems to a large number of books on sewing available.) From this selection, I can check out book, review it, and decide if a copy deserves a place on my shelf.
David Coffin’s book, Making Trousers, came to my shelf through this process. As any good author will do, he points to references on topics that relate to his book, but weren’t applicable to what he was doing. Coffin praises Stanley Hostek as a fine tailor living in Seattle who had a series of self-published books used when he taught tailoring classes. These books originate in the mid 1970’s and their production quality shows –but the content is well-written, clear, and with the accompanying line drawings, these books have shown me techniques that I would have only gathered by watching someone do it. And now I have a permanent reference.
Hostek’s Hand Stitches is just this type of book—more of a pamphlet (It is only 40 pages long.)—but contains excellent information on the basic types of stitches needed to do fine tailoring. He details 20 different stitches. For each stitch, he states how and where the stitch is used, what type of thread to use, the size needle required, and proceeds with detailed steps on how to create the stitch.
In the introduction, Hostek describes the types of thread. He talks of linen thread and notes that it is an excellent thread to sew on buttons because of its strength. (Sigh – another topic to investigate. I don’t even know if I have seen linen thread. I certainly didn’t recognize it a tool for my sewing arsenal!) He also provides an excellent description of needles, their sizes, and their best uses.
I am pleased with my purchase and would encourage anyone wanting to explore fine tailoring to do the same.