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jacket tailoring book

shif | Posted in General Sewing Info on


Does anyone know how the new book: Jackets for real people by Marta Alto, compares with the Singer Tailoring book, and Cecilia Podolak’s book/patterns?



  1. SewNancy | | #1

    Someone reviewed this book on Pattern Review. She raved about it and the companion video

    1. shif | | #2


      Thanks SewNancy, the reviews were great. Does anyone know if the book is useful enough on it's own without the Dvd?


    2. User avater
      nancynancy | | #5

      I'm Nancy2001 on Pattern Review, and I reviewed the Jackets for Real People video on that website, but I've never read or reviewed the JFRP Book.

      I think the JFRP video is worth buying because it presents some important information (collars and lapels, bound buttonholes) not covered in Cecilia Podolak's excellent Easy Guide to Jackets published by Taunton. Marta Alto, who is featured on the JFRP video, covers all the steps in sewing a taliored jacket from start to finish in a calm, clear and systematic way (unlike the frenetic, scattershot approach of Sandra Betzina). And it's very valuable to see all of the techniques demonstrated on screen, though I wouldn't recommend that anyone watch the entire three hour video in one sitting.

      That being said, I still think the Podolak book, which you can buy used on Amazon for less than five dollars, should be your primary resource. Marta Alto is talented and knows her stuff. But Cecilia Podolak is undoubtedly the leading tailoring expert today, and her 1995 book remains the state of the art.

      Edited 11/3/2006 11:16 am ET by nancynancy

      1. SewNancy | | #6

        I have had Podolak's bookfor years and pull it out every time I make a jacket. I supplement it with an excellent Threads article on lapels that I find gives me perfect results every time without ever having to rip! I don't make jackets every day, so having good resources is all important, particularly since I sew so many BWOF and we know how bad their dirctions are! I love their other books and I have the first book on tailoring that they did, but it is nothing like these new books. I think that I will purchase the video and the book when I get the extra cash. I am addictded to good sewing books.

        1. ixs | | #7

          I just got the jackets book by Marta Alto, and the fitting information is excellent; it does prepare one for understanding the concepts of pattern alteration.  And I wouldn't be scared to try it.  Have not bought the video yet, however.

          And Amazon was really good; I bought the paperback at a lot less than the hardcover book, but the new paperback edition, at that time, was delayed.  And I also bought some older sewing books that were an excellent value, especially Robert Zapp's book on couture sewing; a very informative book with excellent pictures and not that old!.

          I know that I have seen some very ill-fitting garments on TV these days.  Maybe a seamstress' eyes are more tuned to look at proper fit because we sew and understand how important good-fitting garments are. 

          1. SewNancy | | #8

            So many new sewers want to just get into it and sew right from the envelope. How many fit models are out there? Want to make your clothing look professional and fit is first on the list. Also, if you deal with all your major fit problems ahead of time the sewing is just a pleasure.
            I am about to buy that tailoring book too. I love their fit books and their old tailoring book was the first of that kind I bought.

          2. ixs | | #9

            I have many sewing videos, but some of them are very problematic; one of the major problems is really not being able to see what is happening under the presser foot, so I hesitate buying more and think I just need to practice, some more.

            I have David Page Coffin's shirtmaking video, and I think he is an excellent sewer and educator; what is he doing now?  Have the recent sewing/learning videos improved?

          3. SewNancy | | #10

            I have his pants cd and I am not impressed. I like a seaparate book with video like his shirt book. Also, while there are printable sections they are not labeled and are very hard to sort out after printing. I have some sewing videos from Peggy Sagar and they are a waste of money. Not professional production at all. Same for Kenneth Kings CD books. I had to print out and bind it and it just isn't worth it. I want the book next to me when I am sewing or on my cuttin table when I am altering a pattern. Unles you have a laptop this is not possible.

          4. ixs | | #11

            Thanks, SewNancy.  I do have LOTS OF sewing books, but sometimes, since I am self taught, the instructions don't always make sense to me.  I do have a mentor that has been wonderful through the years.  I do have the Singer/deCosse tailoring book, and it helped me construct an unlined, tailored, shawl-colored jacket that I still have, although I didn't really fit it; that was during my "just sew it up and hope it works" period.   Now I think I could fit a pattern and do a decent job with all the reading background I have, but I think it just takes a lot of practice and sewing; in other words, hands on.


          5. SewNancy | | #12

            The more I sew the better I get. How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice. The same with any skill. The various sewing discussions really help for those times when I can't find help in my library.

          6. ixs | | #13

            It's funny, but I was going to be a music major, but didn't go to college.  My 13 year old granddaughter takes piano and voice lessons and she tells me she doesn't have to practice!  I kept my mouth shut on that one, but it was very hard. 

            Yes, even the musical virtuosos practice all the time..... I took a seminar from Margaret Islander a long time ago, and was very frustrated because I couldn't do some of the things that Margaret taught, and I thought I was a pretty good sewer; put me in my place........

  2. WandaJ | | #3

    The later 2 books you referenced are great ones. I don't know about the first book. I did go into my sewing books a couple of weeks ago and pulled out "Easy Easier Easiest Tailoring" by Pati Palmer and Susan Pletsch, and it was the best refresher that I've come across in a long...time, including pattern/jacket fitting!  Its worth a try and buy! Easy reading. Simple clear and concise steps even for the tailored jacket so one could imagine how easy this would be if they followed the 'easiest' directions.

    1. shif | | #4


      Oh thanks! I understand that this new book is an update on the Easy book, so I imagine that this new one has all the info in the old one. Anybody out there know for sure?


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