The Complete Photo Guide to Clothing Construction


As an unapologetic collector of sewing books, I am always excited when a new, beautiful and truly useful sewing reference is published.  When that book is also written by a friend, and that friend is someone whose taste and skill level I trust and admire deeply, I order the book so fast that when it arrives, it leaves scorch marks on the driveway.  This is one of those books.

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Written by Christine Haynes, of Christine Haynes Patterns and City Stitching, this is your new essential sewing room reference. The book, The Complete Photo Guide to Clothing Construction, is designed as part of a larger encyclopedia series, and is a go-to guide for an entire glossary’s-worth of sewing terms and skills.  She shows you how to make multiple styles of dress, skirt, and blouse–not by walking you through each project, but by showing you each individual technique in large-format, step-by-step photos that you can totally follow and learn from.

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The whole book has a really friendly, big sister feel to it, and I am amazed at just how much information is packed in here.

I wrangled Christine into a Skype chat this week, and recorded it so you can see the two of us talk about her book(s), vintage notions, the Big 4 pattern companies, and a bunch of other stuff that made us both giggle.  Check it out:

As mentioned in the video, Christine has also incredibly generously provided a giveaway on EACH stop of her blog tour!  Every giveaway is different, and I’m tickled as could be that she sent me this awesome bundle of fabric and vintage notions, plus her favorite sewing tool:

christine haynes giveaway on whipstitch

Dreamy!!  Prize pack includes: 2.5 yds of cotton sateen home dec-weight fabric; vintage rick rack; vintage bias tape; new Clover seam ripper; two sets of vintage buttons from Whipstitch; AND, to sweeten the deal, a $50 gift certificate good for any Whipstitch online sewing course, a delicious companion to Christine’s book!  To enter, simply use the Rafflecopter below.  Then race on over to Amazon and grab your copy of the book–for reals, I bought one for myself as soon as it was available, and it already has a privileged spot on my shelf.  I think it’s a beautiful, well-thought-out book that you’ll be grateful to have as an everyday reference for garment construction.

The rafflecopter gives you THREE chances to enter and win! Be sure to follow the directions for each entry, and then click the +1 to add your name in the hat. No cheating, now! Give yourself that high five!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

99 Comments on “The Complete Photo Guide to Clothing Construction

  1. Please enter me in the drawing for the book and extra goodies. Thanks!

    • Absolutely! Be sure to use the +1 pull-down on the Rafflcopter to make sure you’re entered–the winning name will be pulled from there. Good luck! :)

  2. What a great book! I have been wanting more of that Amy Butler print too!!! It would be great to win it! :)

    • It’s so beautifully photographed! Wait til you see it. :)

  3. I will definitely add this book to my must-have list. Thanks for the chance at the great giveaway.

  4. My biggest piece of advice (and definitely the most obvious, lol) is don’t rush. I constantly resist the urge to just hurry up and finish just for the sake of finishing, but I know I will enjoy the piece so much more if I just take my time, pick things out if need be, etc. I enjoy the finished result much more if I just take the time instead of regretting not doing so later on :)

  5. What a brilliant prize! And Christine’s book looks great. I’m on a book buying ban at the moment, BUT something instructional and educational doesn’t count, right? :-)

    • Ask your local library to carry it!! Authors area always so grateful to have their books carried in the library system!

  6. Great giveaway! Can’t wait to check out that book!

  7. Ooh that looks like a great prize pack! I hope I win :)

  8. My worst sewing fear is spending tons of money on expensive fabric and then accidentally cutting it wrong and not having enough!!!

  9. I love sewing books! The whipstitch gift certificate would be super awesome too!

  10. Oh I want this book so muck, it looks perfect.

  11. another book to add to my sewing book collection, yay! can never have too many of them.

  12. Oh no, another sewing book to add to my shelves! What a terrible problem to have…haha. Love Christine’s patterns and sewing advice. Can’t wait for this book!

    • Haha! Truth. I have SO many, and not one of them is “extra”!

  13. My greatest fear is of how long it might take once I get started!

  14. That print is begging to be made into new shams for my bed. Pick me

  15. Cutting is the scariest part of sewing! Actually, I’m always afraid I’ll muck it up. Half the time I’m afraid to just get started!

    • That’s because it’s so important! Comfort yourself with the knowledge that taking your time pays off later–in spades.

  16. I fear having the body of my garment caught by the blade of my serger. Of course it’s happened before, so now I’m super careful, but the fear lives on!

  17. Well, I mostly fear adding to my pile of 30 or so outfits that I’ve made that dont fit or I couldn’t finish!

  18. Worst fear is putting a lot of detail into the sewing all to find out it doesn’t fit at all.

    • Yes! I agree with you. Wish the Big 4 pattern companies would take more care with fitting and ease! The Lisette patterns from Liesl Gibson always fit FLAWLESSLY, though, which I love.

  19. I’m learning to sew garments so I think this book will really help me. I’ll check it out. Please let me win. I’ll make my year!

  20. I’m afraid to make pants, I will make almost anything else, cushions for the couch, quilt for my sister, shirt for my husband…but I’m deathly afraid of trying pants…I don’t know why. This year I will try to make a pair of jeans!

  21. My worst fear is cutting really nice fabric wrong!

  22. I’ve only just started sewing, but my tip is to take it slowly and follow guides if you’re stuck on what to do! There are plenty out there to help you, so don’t be afraid to search for them. I started out trying to figure it all out by myself and that was pretty silly 😀

  23. This is just what I need. A million years ago I had a great book that explained all of the little fine tailoring tips. Sadly I loaned it to a friend and never saw it again. I made a new outfit every week when I was in high school, but haven’t done nearly as much garment sewing in the last few decades, so I’ve forgotten most of what I knew. This book will bring it all back. Headed to Amazon now!

    • Ugh!! That makes me think of the scene from Out Of Africa–do you know it? Where the best friend character says that someone borrows a book from the Robert Redford character and never returns it. And the best friend asks Redford, “You’re not going to lose a friend over a book, are you?” And Redford replies, “No. But he has. Hasn’t he?” I feel exactly that way about every book I’ve ever loaned and not received back. Here’s hoping Christine’s book fills the gap on your shelf!

  24. My Biggest clothing sewing fear is DARTS! I don’t really use patterns … I’ve tried to draft my own and for my kids, that works fine. But when I’ve tried to make myself clothing, things need darts to fit correctly!

    • Christine does an amazing job with darts! She has multiple techniques and tons of photos!!

  25. I really need this book. And time. I need a lot more time. But the book would be a great start. I’m really trying to focus on improving my fitting and finishing skills this year and definitely need a resource.

  26. Hi – Biggest fear is wasting money on projects I don’t like, don’t use or mess up so bad I can’t finish it. Thanks for the giveaway.

    • Isn’t that the truth?? I think I might have let go of the money fear just because my stash has grown to absurd proportions, but the time wasted is what makes me anxious. I have to keep telling myself that the experience is always an investment!

  27. Worst fear…splitting the seams on handmade pants. The pair I have worked on are in danger ouf this!

    • Ha! Reminds me of those high school nightmares. Here’s hoping a double-reinforced seam does the trick and you’re safe! :)

    • Christine’s book has SO much great info about hemming–you’ll never have to hate them again!

  28. I love that one of the entries is to commit to sewing one garment this year! I love that there is such an amazing online community for sewing. I also love that Christine helped me find it!

  29. I LOVE LOVE LOVE notions! SO many things you can do with them! THanks for the drawing!

  30. Thanks for the chance to win! I’ve made some garments before but sometimes they just don’t “hang” right… still have lots of learning to do!

  31. Worst Fear: Finishing a project only to discover it didn’t turn out at all like my muslin and is unsaleable.
    Thanks for hosting the giveaway!

  32. fab giveaway :) I think my worst fear is making mistakes on expensive or vintage fabric I get very scared about making the first cut

    • I still have to fight the same fear every time I sew fabric I really love–I have to chant to myself that they’re not going to stop making great fabric before I can cut. But the reward of actually USING that fabric and getting to see it regularly is so much awesomer than the fear of cutting!!

  33. Just starting out – love your class on craftsy, and looking forward to using this book as well!

  34. My worst sewing fear = unpicking on fine silk (happened last week – snags galore!)

  35. Not a real secret but since I just finished an oil cloth tote… when working with oil cloth, I like using paper clips instead of pins, binding edges by turning the wrong side over 1/4″, then again another 1/4″ (so that the wrong side ends up looking like binding tape), and the obvious non stick foot. That last one makes the difference between me ending up bald like Homer Simpson or still with my full head of hair by the end of the project. Thanks for the giveaway!

  36. My tip is to take your time…go slowly and research each step before(operative word 😉 ) attempting something new. And keep an open mind, there is always another way you could do things, and it could be better/easier. Thank you!

  37. What a great giveaway! Thank you so much for giving us the chance to enter. ☺

  38. My worst fear is a broken zipper at a social event! But maybe with the help of the giveaway, I could avoid that!

    • You know, this was me for a looong time–I would always do a zipper over a buttonhole–but then I got a machine with an automatic buttonhole feature, and it changed my life. They’re pretty affordable, and the buttonholes always come out so great!

  39. I am new to sewing so a lot scares me! But zippers are on top of my list!

  40. I learned that if something is tricky to sew, it is a lot easier and less stressful to hand-baste it first!

  41. My sewing tip is when you have fabric with similar right and wrong sides,take it outside in natural light to see the true color; then mark the sides with tape and chalk.

  42. I so want to win! And my biggest fear right now is shirts (set in sleeves! ack!).

  43. Thank you for the giveaway. I would love to win the book!

  44. I am new at sewing and my best tip is pick right fabric for right pattern

    • oh and my worst sewing fear, is having my garment fall apart while wearing it! I sewed for a year or so and made many garments that I never wore for fear that they would fall apart. Of course that never happened and I got over that!

  45. I have the same vintage rick rack at home in a smaller size and yellow colour! It’s so cute in my little display of vintage trims and notions :)

    Can’t wait for this book. Definitely adding it to my collection.

  46. press hems while the pieces are still flat. Works great for easy things like kids clothing.

  47. Favorite tip-use lots of pins. Worst fear is fitting clothing. It’s much easier to construct clothing than to get it to fit right.

  48. My fear is getting the size wrong – pattern sizes don’t seem to correspond with dress sizes in stores. Thanks.

  49. I missed an opportunity for clothing construction class at local fabric store; so this book would be awesome!

  50. I’m super excited about this book. Thanks for the giveaway also.

  51. My worst garment sewing fear is button holes.

  52. My garment sewing fear is getting patterns to fit. My sewing skills are fine but it gets frustrating to make something that doesn’t fit. Many thanks!

  53. I have a relatively short attention span, so my biggest fear when I start a project is that I will get bored or overwhelmed and never finish. And I so dislike having unfinished projects…

  54. My favorite sewing tip is to pick luscious fabric. It provides great motivation to finish the project! Thanks for the chance to win!

  55. if there is something about sewing a garment that i dread {meaning i would rather visit the dentist] i keep practicing and practicing on scrap fabric until i conquer my fear, and sometimes even like what i feared.

  56. My biggest fear is cutting wrong the fabric!

  57. My best advice is to take it slow and to use the seam ripper when needed, instead of thinking “no one will notice that”

  58. I’m so glad I didn’t miss this! I tried to comment on my phone the other day but it hates rafflecopter thingies.

  59. The best tip I have is to read the pattern through before beginning. I can’t tell you how many times I thought I knew something, did it wrong, and then had to pick the stitches out and redo.

  60. Fairly new to sewing, there is still a fear of totally messing up any project. But I know the effort is totally worth it even if I mess up because it means I learned something for next time.

  61. My biggest sewing fear is adding zippers to garments, followed closely by darts…but I’m hoping to work through those fears this year :)

  62. My worst fear is too little time to devote to all the projects I’d like to sew!

  63. My favorite tip is to iron up your hem before construction. Sometimes you still need to adjust, but it’s much easier than trying to press a circle.