1.28.2010

Read any great books?

I can't do up a big idea today because I'm packing up to get out of here for a couple days. We're off to the big city (well, bigger than here anyway) to eat at vegan restaurants (a treat, let me tell you), watch and practice some roller derby (don't ask), catch up with an old friend (I think she's actually 3 months younger than me), get a tattoo (vegan ink! stars, I'll show you when it's done), go to the museum (super excited, I've never been to this one) and stay at a hotel with a heated indoor pool (Smootch's idea of heaven).

So, I've got to, you know, go.

But before I do, can I ask a question?

A few days ago a reader emailed to ask what book or books have been especially helpful when learning to sew, and did I have any recommendations. As it happens, I was pretty unhelpful. For a bibliophile such as myself, I do very little sewing reading. Mostly I stand at the library and flip through the old Vogue and Simplicity sewing guides, pick up a skewed version of a technique or two, and go work out how to do it at home.

Maybe you guys can help out? What sewing book has been most helpful and/or inspirational in your sewing journey? Bonus points to anyone who can remember both the title and the author :)

19 comments:

  1. I often find myself turning to my Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing, especially to flesh out meager pattern instructions. I have the 1976 edition. The illustrations and photos are of course outdated, but that's half the fun. :)

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  2. Mother Pletsch's Painless Sewing by Pati Palmer and Susan Pletsch. Although the cover looks different, I'm pretty sure this is the book my mom bought me 20 years ago. Teaches the basics, as well as some fitting. Pati Palmer has some really great fitting books, like how to alter a ready-made pattern to fit your curves or lack thereof.

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  3. I have a 1990's edition of the Reader's Digest book, and 10-20-30 Minutes to Sew by Palmer and Pletsch, both of which are invaluable to me. Ditching the work order prescribed by patterns was the best sewing technique I ever learned!

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  4. I don't have a guide to sewing, mostly because I just started out. The book that I got, that I LOVE is S.E.W. by diana rupp. She provides some patterns in the book and there are some projects that require you to make your own pattern. The projects are easy to do and look great!

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  5. I liked the Sew What series. It's easy to learn but flexible.

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  6. I'd agree with the Reader's Digest guide, I have a version from the 80s and it's my go-to book whenever I want to get my head around a new technique.

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  7. i don't have any suggestions, but i play roller derby too! :)

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  8. I'll add a vote for the Reader's Digest guide, but it really isn't written for the beginning sewist. Easy Sewing the Kwik Sew Way (by Kersten Martensonn) is great for learning the sew clothing and includes basic patterns.

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  9. I've also got a copy of the readers digest that I picked up in the op shop for $1. I refer to it a far bit but more to clarify what I think I know rather than my first point of call. I also have Seams to Me by Anna Maria Horner. She explains things very clearly and it is great for inspiration. I also regularly borrow the Sew U series of books by Wendy Mullin?? from my local library. She also has very clear explanations and relates techniques well to projects rather than having them marooned somewhere.

    You little trip sounds wonderful, can't wait to see the tatt. As soon as I've made a few more blood bank donations I'm getting another. (In Aus you can't donate blood for 12 months after getting a tattoo)

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  10. I have found the Vogue Sewing book to be an amazing resource. It may be a bit stuffy, fashion-wise, but for techniques and general knowledge it's really something!

    I just check it out of the library (over and over and over and over again).

    Enjoy your trip to the Big Smoke... ;)

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  11. I actually taught a group of middle schoolers to sew with the 70's version of the Readers Digest book. If you take the time to read the beginnings, you can learn a lot of the nuts and bolts of how sewing machines work! It was also to have a copy of the types of seams around so when I asked someone to do a particular seam they could look it up and see exactly what I wanted. (was the head of a costume shop!)
    Also, the manual that comes with your sewing machine is invaluable. Not only does it teach you all the tricks you machine can do, it prevents you from breaking your machine!

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  12. i sadly just go to the library and pick up different books until I have learned what I need to know. There is one that i really liked and have wanted to pour over and keep forever.

    Make Your Own Patterns: An Easy Step-by-Step Guide to Making Over 60 Dressmaking Patterns by René Bergh

    for techniques I just google til I find it or give up and do the trial and error method.

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  13. I learn a lot from Diana Krup Sew Everything Workshop, Bunka College Fundamental of Fashion Design, Wendy Mullin's Sew U and Cal Patch DIY clothes. But my absolute best source of sewing techniques are youtube

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  14. I'm 53 and have NEVER owned or read a sewing book. I was taught to sew on the sewing machine at age 10 by my mother and did some thread and needle sewing somewhat earlier, having been taught by my grandmother. Seam treatments I learned from the pattern instructions, mother, or home ec. I suppose that I should have a sewing book, but probably something leaning more toward couture sewing than basic sewing.

    Sorry can't help you, but I do love reading your blog.

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  15. I like Sew Subversive, mainly because it uses traditional techniques (pintucks, applique) but in modern, young ways. Youngish writing can get old, but the thorough explanations (and the idea that not everything has to be absolutely perfect) helped me out.

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  16. I found 'Seams to me' by Maria Horner very good, especially for beginers. Covers everything from differnt terms, what materials you'll need, how to sew differnt stitches/effects. And has some projects in the back that use the different skills you learn through the book.

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  17. Sewing for dummies...really.

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  18. I took home economics in high school and have a mom who taught me most of what I know. Wish I could recommend a book, however, I haven't found the best one yet. I do like to look online or the public library.

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  19. I really love the Singer Sewing Reference Library book "Timesaving Sewing". I check it out from my library all the time (in fact, I have it out right now). It shows quick techniques for finishing your sewing, a boon for mothers of toddlers. It also has a great tips on using your serger for sewing. I LOVE this book!

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