Shoben and Ward

One of my favourite books is up for a quick review next. I have had ‘Pattern Cutting and Making Up for Outerwear Fashions’ by Martin M. Shoben and Janet P. Ward  for a couple of decades. Its as a clear, well illustrated no nonsense guide to outerwear as you could hope to find. Don’t buy it if you want flashy photos of inspiring makes. Don’t buy it if you want to learn labour intensive slo mo tailoring, all horsehair and hand pad stitching. The design elements are standard, and the methods are ‘trade’.

Do buy it if you ever say to yourself ‘Surely there’s a better, quicker way to get this zip in’, or ‘Which bits of this jacket should have stay tape’.

The only annoyance I have found so far is that an illustration of a step and the instruction that goes with it is not always on the same page. This seems to be a side effect of having very large, clear drawings. Its not a big deal, but for the procedures I use quite often (and still manage to forget between times), I work myself a crib sheet, with a layout I like.

Here’s a page with some of the instructions for a collar and rever. The book is A4 size – see how great the illustrations are?

swA far cry from Burda WTF instruction style. There are some pages on techie matters like thread twist and needle size, and common stitch problems, information on seam types and neatening, and how to manipulate fabric under the machine (there is a right way?). There’s also a very useful memory jogging page on edge finishes for hems and waistbands. Outerwear block drafts are included of course. An excellent book. Get it if you can. 


About jay

I design and draft patterns
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6 Responses to Shoben and Ward

  1. Sew2pro says:

    Thanks v much for this reminder. My pattern cutting tutor always referred to this book and I said to myself a while back “One day, definitely”..


  2. mrsmole says:

    Found a used one on Amazon for $21…so now I have something really cool to look forward to! Thanks for your coverage of the best books for construction crazy seamstresses!


  3. seweverythingblog says:

    First, I love the title of the book which uses the words “making up” instead of “sewing”. 🙂 Although I rarely make outerwear items like coats and such (live in hot humid Texas), the stitch-nerd in me is responding to the great illustrations you posted. You are right about the clarity of the drawings. Like mrsmole I will have to locate this book on Amazon. Thank you for the review.


  4. Mary Beth says:

    Had to look and yes, I don’t have this one. It will be a welcome addition, esp in quick construction details. Thanks!


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