Title: Famous Frocks: Patterns and Instructions for Recreating Fabulous Iconic Dresses
Authors: Sara Alm & Hannah McDevitt, Illustrations by Kerrie Hess
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Terms, Techniques and Tools
The book includes 10 patterns, one for each frock.
Paperback or Hardbound? Hardbound
Retail Price: $29.95
Does the book have clear illustrations or photographs? Yes indeed. More on that later.
On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate this book in the “must have” category? I’d give it a good solid 8, maybe even a 9.
What do you like about this book? Several things. This book encompasses designs from the 1930s to the 1980s. The iconic dresses represent: Bette Davis, Rita Hayworth, Marilyn Monroe, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Audrey Hepburn, Twiggy, Diana Ross, Farrah Fawcett, Stevie Nicks and Madonna, so there is something here for most people. I’ll forgo the Marilyn, Twiggy, Stevie and Madonna, but I will definitely give Rita, Jackie, Farrah and Diana a go. It comes with 10 patterns for the dresses. The patterns come in sizes XS (bust 31″) to L (bust 37″). They are printed on paper that is akin to BurdaStyle magazine paper. Heavier than tissue, but lighter than, say, StyleArc paper. The patterns range from beginner level to one advanced level pattern. Most are in the beginner-to-intermediate range.
I like the layout of the book. Beginning stitchers can easily access the basic instructions before delving into the details of each dress. Those of us who have been sewing a while can jump right in with whichever dress style we choose. Each dress style has a brief introduction to the iconic look made famous by the wearer. There are two interpretations of the dress: the “icon” and the more modern “variation”. The pages following the introduction to the dress show technical drawings and a fashion illustration of each version, followed by cutting layouts and sewing instructions. The instructions and illustrations are quite clear and well-thought-out. The next chapter is a glossary/useful tool list. Finally comes a list of sewing resources. It’s easy to read and a very useful resource.
Another minor point is that the patterns don’t aim to recreate the iconic dresses line for line. They are more like interpretations of the dresses. Close, modernized interpretations.
So, is this book worth the money? Yes! I bought this as an advance order. I got it pretty early, perhaps even before it was officially released. I think it’s a great addition to just about any sewing library. I will make some of the patterns at some point, and I’ll review them then. In the meantime, if you are looking for a book to add to your library, or to your Christmas list, I’d definitely recommend this one.