Famous Frocks: The Little Black Dress: Patterns for 20 Garments Inspired by Fashion Icons
by Dolin O'Shea
8 x 11 in, 176 pages
$22.64 on Amazon
My good friend and fellow crafter Dolin O'Shea of Lulu Bliss has her first book out, Famous Frocks: The Little Black Dress published by Chronicle Books. I recently wrote up a book review and had an interview with Dolin on the site, Racked SF. Dolin's been one of those friends who has impeccable fashion sense and can make just about anything in the world. If I saw her wearing a cute dress or top, more often than not it was something she had just sewn up. She spent over a decade as a patternmaker for the Gap companies and has worked previously at all three entities: Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic. Now Dolin brings her sewing and fashion know-how to a new kind of sewing book. Famous Frocks features famous little black dresses over the decades. Learn how to sew up Audrey Hepburn's Sabrina Dress or Kate Moss' sexy lace dress of the millennium. The book comes with step-by-step instructions and 10 full dress patterns with sewing variations to make 20 garments in all. All of her LBD dress patterns are modernized for the gal of today and would look oh so perfect for holiday parties. l also love the colorful dress variations where she includes separates from tops to skirts that are perfect for a novice sewer. The patterns in this book can take you through the work week to weekend cocktail parties!
If you are in the Bay Area, come to Alameda on October 11 for a book signing party for Famous Frocks!
The Sewing Room
2434 Webb Avenue
Alameda, CA 94501
Saturday, October 11th
more info on Facebook
Check out the book trailer to see what Famous Frocks has inside!
Read my interview with Dolin O'Shea:
How would you describe your style?
Streamline classic with a bit of vintage flair and I love color. Which is why it is kind of funny that my first book is about the LBD, but is also the reason why I wanted to offer colorful variations of all the LBD projects.
Who is your style icon?
The 1920's actress Louise (Lulu) Brooks. Growing up in the 1980's when it was all about big permed hair, I tried to transform my stick straight and baby fine hair into what was popular. Total fail! Then one day, while I was in high school, I saw a black and white postcard of Louise Brooks and her famous bob, it was hair love at first sight. So from then on I have almost always had some form of a bob hair cut.
If you could live in any decade, which one would it be and what would you be wearing?
his is a really tough question for me, there are things about each decade that I love. If I had a different body type, I would have totally loved to have lived in the 1920's and worn some of those beautiful flapper dresses. The styles of the 1950's suit my body type better, so I tend to stick with those.
What tips do you have for someone who is interested in learning how to sew?
Take a class to learn the basics and get used to using a sewing machine. Then start with some simple projects. Home decor items like pillows, napkins and aprons, are good places to start. Once you feel comfortable with the basics, I think that the simplest go-to garment to make would be an A-line skirt. When I taught sewing, the A-line skirt class was always a popular one. Also remember to be easy on yourself. Sewing in general takes quite a bit of practice to master and your first projects may not be perfect. I am still learning new techniques all the time.
How long have you been sewing? What made you interested in working in fashion?
I have been sewing for about 23 years. I started when I went off to study fashion design right out of high school. I grew up with a mother who sewed a lot, but whenever I would want her to show me how to sew it would end up in a mother/daughter spat (me being a teenager who knew it all). So I knew the very basics when I off to college. I have always had an interest in clothes. As a little girl I would never really "play" with my Barbie's, but was always changing their clothes and trying to create my own fashions for them. I also remember loving to draw dresses and designing dorm rooms, as a little girl. (I had a silly fantasy of going to a boarding school.) So, it was either study fashion design or architecture. While in fashion design school I discovered that you could have a career as a pattern maker and fell in love with that. Basically, I sort of got to be an architect for clothing. I always would explain to people what a pattern maker does is create the "blue print" for a garment.