As visitors to my studio will attest, I love books! Over the years I have accumulated a wide variety of books relating to dressmaking, pattern making, fitting and alterations, fashion styling and assorted fabric and embroidery techniques. I have always enjoyed reading and, whenever I find an intriguing technique, I love to make a sample and think about how I can work my new skill into the next project.
I am often asked about the best book for beginning sewers. A couple of reasonably priced and very good selections are “Teach Yourself to Sew” and “Easy Guide to Sewing” – both published by Taunton Press.
They are both well illustrated comprehensive and with easy to understand information about basic sewing techniques. “Teach Yourself to Sew” comes with an instructional DVD as well. They are also both available as E-books.
For those interested in assessing fit and making alterations, there are many books on the market. All of them offer great information and illustrations and will most certainly guide you to a good result. I have been using the following publications with great success over a number of years – “Fit for Real People” by Pati Palmer and Marta Alto and “Fast Fit” by Sandra Betzina.
When it comes to information about fabric, my go to books have been Claire Shaeffer’s “Fabric Sewing Guide” and “More Fabric Savvy” by Sandra Betzina.
Both of these books contain descriptions of many different fabrics with suggestions for their use and what equipment and techniques will work best when using them.
My newest acquisition is “The Mood Guide To Fabric and Fashion”.
which has been published by Mood Fabrics in New York. This store came to prominence as the supplier of fabrics for Project Runway in New York.
At first glance I believe it will be another excellent reference book. It has lots of information to consider when buying fabric and deals with a lot of the newer textiles which are rapidly coming on to the market.
Another recent new addition to my library has been “Knits for Real People” by Sue Neall and Pati Palmer
– I believe this is the definitive book for working with knit fabrics and a must for all sewers.
In recent years, there have been several books published which as well as providing excellent, well presented information also include patterns which can be traced off to make a selection of garments featuring different technique elements. These are well priced and have a lot of appeal to younger sewers.
“Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing” and “Gertie Sews Vintage Casual” by Gretchen Hersch include excellent technique instruction based on tried and true techniques which focus on accuracy and quality results.
She has also recently published “Gertie’s New Fashion Sketchbook” which is great for budding designers as it contains 300 figure templates which are proportionally true to the female form and adaptable to different body types.
When it comes to good reference books that I could not do without, this would be my selection:
as well as my old favourite, very first sewing reference books:
I hope you will also enjoy some of these books – perhaps Santa might like a clue or two!