Book Review: SEWING SHIRTS WITH A PERFECT FIT by David Coffin
December 15, 2018
Thank you to the publisher for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.
Do you enjoy sewing your own shirts and blouses, but struggle with getting the right fit? In Sewing Shirts with a Perfect Fit, author, teacher, and renowned shirt-sewing expert David Page Coffin shows how you can easily transform the printed, multi-sized patterns included with the book (as well as patterns you already have) into three different customized basic shirt silhouettes--a loose fit, a trim fit, and a close fit--for both men and women.
Learn about shirts' unique fitting challenges, how to measure for each silhouette, and how to solve fit issues for all sorts of body shapes, including plus-size and athletic figures. Using his couture-inspired draping methods on both standard and custom-shaped body forms (which he also shows you how to make), David demonstrates how to adjust seams and armholes and add darts to achieve the right fit for each silhouette.
Get inspired by the four distinctive, original step-by-step shirt design and construction projects that show a variety of classic and contemporary shirt and shirtdress styles you can make with the included patterns. Sewing Shirts with a Perfect Fit will give you the skills you need to get the right fit every time!
After seeing the cover for this book I was immediately impressed that the author would even consider tackling a project as big as discussing and teaching fit techniques for such a wide range of sizes (XXXS to XXXL).
After cracking it open I was immediately impressed with the design and layout of the book. I loved reading the introduction about what to expect from the book, and I appreciate the separation of the book into two distinct parts. The first is about draping; the way David Coffin teaches sewists to achieve a perfect fit is entirely by draping. There is almost no flat pattern drafting, which may appeal to a larger audience of home sewists. The second is about learning by doing; you, the reader, will apply what you have learned from Coffin’s draping/fitting techniques to your own sewing projects, guided by Coffin step-by-step.
Sewing Shirts with a Perfect Fit is full of helpful illustrations and photographs as well. These prove very helpful because Coffin describes the fit of shirts and relies on the imagery to further communicate his point - and understanding the reasoning behind fitting shirts is essential to actually being able to customize the fit.
One point of criticism for the book, although minor and brought to the reader’s attention within the introduction, is the fact that usually home sewists are sewing for themselves and it is quite difficult to drape or fit clothing on oneself. When you’re sewing for family, friends, or clients, it is not as difficult but to truly succeed at fitting shirts on your own body, a custom dress form will eventually be necessary. These can be pricey or there are many ways to DIY a dress form that fits your measurements, too. In addition to needing a dressform, draping can sometimes feel scary to those who have not attempted it before. And if one does not already have a dressform, it is likely they have not had much or any experience with draping as a fit technique.
My favorite part is Project 3, the fitted wrapped shirtdress. The patterns are downloadable PDFs and Coffin walks you through every step, including construction of the garments. If you enjoy making shirts and blouses but struggle with getting the fit right, I’d tell you to check out Sewing Shirts with a Perfect Fit and www.shirtmakingwithdpc.com for more resources.