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The Collector: Decorative Dressmaking

I was first introduced to this book from the mid-80s by Rachel and had to pick up a copy for myself.

This is one of those books that gives you so many amazing ideas, it’s almost overwhelming. It makes you think that there isn’t enough time in the world to sew all the cool stuff in your brain, you know?

Decorative Dressmaking by Sue Thompson focuses primarily on style details and embellishments. We’re talking about things like pintucks, piping, flounces, applique, bindings, pleats, and ruching.

One of my favorite sections is on working with stripes for different effects.

While some of the photos taken for the book are laughably dated, it’s also chock full of vintage inspiration, along with techniques and ideas illustrated with hand drawings.

There are a few copies of Decorative Dressmaking available on amazon!

Sarai Mitnick


Sarai started Colette back in 2009. She believes the primary role of a business should be to help people. She loves good books, sewing with wool, her charming cats, working in her garden, and eating salsa.



December 14, 2012 #

Oh, I LOVE this book. I can remember holding on to my library’s copy for a looong time!


December 14, 2012 #

Ha, that cat doesn’t look too pleased with its frilly collar!


December 14, 2012 #

awesome! xoxo


December 15, 2012 #

I have a copy of this book in my sewing library and it’s treasured! It is an amazing book!


December 16, 2012 #

I love this book , our local library’s copy practically lived at my house until my husband bought me my own copy. It teaches you how to use the techniques to create your own design.

Betty Jordan Wester

December 17, 2012 #

wow, this is awesome! I’m totally going to have to find a copy!


December 18, 2012 #

Brilliant. Now that’s the kinda book I want. Is there any modern equivalents?


December 21, 2012 #

I have just taken delivery of a paperback version of this book and it is fabulous! Every sewist should own one. Thank you so much for the tip off.