Book Index/Chapter headings
This is a CD Book presented in four parts:
Part 1: Inspiration - a portfolio of growns
Part 2: Fabrication -
Part 3: Construction
Joining the Gown's Components
Ornamentation and Bustling
Part 4: Application - The making of four gowns
A romantic pionk gown
A traditional white gown
A regal medieval gown
A glamorous blue gown
PaperBack or HardBound?
Neither, it is a CD book
Does this book have clear illustrations or photographs? Yes, the print, photos and line drawings are all very clear and legible.
Would you recommend this book as a MUST HAVE?
A big, unqualified YES!! I don't normally write reviews because, with very few exceptions, I have been underwhelmed by most sewing books I've come across recently, especially those displaying photos of poorly fitted and poorly constructed garments, with the bare bones of information that can be found in any number of other books. This book is none of that, it is an absolute stunner and full of the sort of detail that one would like but rarely finds. Firstly, Ms Khalje's knowledge of the subject is breathtaking in its scope and breadth, and every one of the gowns displayed shows the meticulous and superb workmanship that is clearly her hallmark.
She begins by listing the typical fabrics that may be used in bridal wear, how they behave, how to handle the trickier ones and the best underlining to use. There is extensive coverage of lace, in particular. She then covers the construction of the toile in detail, although there is not a great deal of information on fitting. That is another book altogether and presumably anyone attempting a wedding dress, or formal dress in general, would know how to correct fitting issues. I was impressed to read of the importance of making sure that any fitting alterations made are symmetrical.
Then comes the construction of the bodice, the importance of the bodice underlining, and information on boning. Different types of sleeves are dealt with, again in detail. With both sleeves and the bodice, the importance of underlying supportive stuctures are emphasised throughout, whether it's boning, waist and other stays, elastic, interfacing, or other treatments. The skirt construction follows, again with information on underlining, lining, different hem treatments, and finally how to put the whole thing together. The last section goes through a step by step construction of four different gowns.
I can't emphasise enough the level of expertise and attention to detail displayed by the author. Her recommendations can be used on wedding gowns, but also formal wear and any wear where you wish to apply couture techniques to achieve a beautiful, well constructed effect. I intend to use this book again and again. Out of my huge arsenal, it is the one that has impressed me the most. I have been reading it thinking, so that's how you do it. Do yourself a favour and buy it.