Sewing was one of the first crafts my mother taught me. I started by making small pillows that were supposed to be square. Soon I graduated to decorating plastic canvas and then to basic embroidery. I don’t live near my mom anymore, so most of the new skills I learn are from the internet or from books. These are the books in my sewing library.
Alabama Studio Sewing + Design: This book changed my life. I had never thought of hand-sewing jersey before or of using applique as an all over technique. I didn’t know there were hand-sewing stitches that were stretchy. I’ve made 3 garments from these patterns so far, and they are great.
Couture Sewing Techniques: If you want to learn everything there is to know about the finer points of hand-sewing garments, this is the book for you. It starts of with a history of couture, and has chapters devoted to different aspects of crafting a garment, such as seams, hems, and finishing techniques.
Fit for Real People: The basic premise of the method presented in this book is that you fit tissue paper patterns to your body. You don’t make a muslin, you don’t have to take a million measurements or learn to draft patterns. Just pin the pattern in place, make adjustments for your body, cut, and sew. Revolutionary!
Doodle Stitching: This book is all about whimsical embroidery. It starts with suggestions of several embroidery stitches to use, and then details projects to be made with these stitches. I keep this book not because I want an apron with a teacup on it, but as a reminder that not everything has to be serious and that a little colour can really spice things up.
McCall’s Easy Sewing, White Sewing Course, and The Home Handicraft Book: These are all basic sewing courses aimed at amateur sewists learning how to sew garments for the first time. They are full of tried and tested techniques, and are a great way to get started sewing.
Do you have a sewing library? What books do you keep coming back to for tried and tested knowledge?
I love books. I love reading them and buying them and owning them. And I love sharing books. Here are 2 of my recent finds. I hope they are as helpful to you as they have been to me.
The Knitter’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns is exactly what it says it is, but not in the way you think. I thought it would be a book with 20 very different sweaters. Instead Ann Budd addresses 6 basic sweater silhouettes and writes out the patterns in 6 gauges for sizes from toddler to large adult (there are a lot of tables involved). As a new designer this book is also a great introduction into the world of sweater design. I had no idea how to write a sweater pattern or how to shape a sleeve or a collar. Now I do.
How to Sew a Button: and Other Nifty Things Your Grandmother Knew is as humorous as it is informative. Erin Bried covers topics from cooking to clothes care in a lighthearted manner, drawing from information she gathered from a panel of genuine grandmothers. This book is definitely worth a read.
It rains in rings around my boots.
I bury beloved books in my jacket,
Defending them from the flood’s fury.
Later I pore over precious pages,
Impervious to plummeting droplets.
Every woman thinks that her man is the best. I am no exception. Here are some recent examples of how good he is to me.
- He got me a yarn of the month club subscription for my birthday. I have wanted this for years, but never told anyone. I didn’t even know he knew such a thing existed!
- We recently visited an artsy town near where we live. As we were walking around he:
- Found a bookstore for us to visit
- Found a yarn store for us to visit
- AND waited patiently for me in both stores.
- He cooks for me all the time. And he is a good cook.
- He does not mind me scattering my crafty stuff around his house – even though we live separately.
I think we can all agree that my boyfriend is pretty awesome.
I love to read. So today while at a consignment shop I took the opportunity to look through the books. Usually I don’t find much, although I always keep my eyes peeled for anything Tolkien wrote or any other classics that are just good to have and to have read. Today I found 6 books. I only got 4 of them because I decided that 2 of them weren’t worth my time. I got an Illustrated Sherlock Holmes (he was my favourite all growing up), A Poe Reader, and The Count of Monte Cristo. Score for me. Oh, and I found something funny:
Being a Christian and a Creationist, I found it humorizing that Darwin’s Origin of the Species was on the Fiction shelves. Just saying.