There is nothing like getting a new sewing book for inspiring sewing and projects, and some become much loved reference materials. Admittedly the wish list on book depository is looking rather desperate and lengthy at the moment but in lieu of getting some new books here are my personal top 5 sewing books.
The readers digest complete guide to sewing 1977 Australia
Great reference book, very diagram heavy and also physically heavy so also useful for holding down curling pattern paper while figuring out exactly what is meant to be altered….
The readers digest complete guide to sewing 1982 USA
This scores a double entry as I have two copies, and there is a subtle difference between the 1982 and 1977 books. The 1982 version has wonderful ways to decorate a girls bedroom. Allegedly.
On a more serious note, for general knowledge and technique, these older books are great sources of information, especially as they assume you don’t have a fantastic automatic button hole creator and sandwich making attachment. The techniques tend to be simple and often hand done if tricky. On the downside, many of the sewing products that make home sewing much easier didn’t exist then. So expect no guidance for whizzbang chicanery.
Linda Neubauer makes sewing with silks and other difficult fabrics seem really simple, and walks you through many lace techniques and finishes. Sadly many of actual designs in the book are quite dated, and with my book being published in 2007 I expected a few more modern and racy designs. As a reference text I really value it. Did you know you can sew with toilet paper in seams to stabilise them? Works a treat and washes away any ‘fluff’ in the washing machine very easily.
The essential quilter
Again, not full of trendy projects or mind blowing designs, but a good guide on the more technical aspects of quilting and also how to use different design elements to make a quilt pop. To be honest, it inspires you to really consider sewing a wholecloth quilt. And if you’re still thinking about it, what about a modern subway map wholecloth quilt like makesomething.ca has?
Make do and mend
This reprint of the 1943 British wartime pamphlet on how to stretch ones resources further. Some of the tips are really useful, and some just make you feel guilty about wasting anything. Either way, you’ll think harder about how to use every last scrap of fabric in your stash. Or squirrel more away in case of war/hardship/zombie apocalypse.
What books should I get?