Reading About Sewing

There are many great books that can increase your sewing skills, inspire you with fresh ideas and teach new techniques.  Reading about sewing is a great way to learn from the best in the business. It is like attending sewing classes with out the hassle and the travel.  Second hand stores are a good book source. Public libraries have many sewing volumes. Look at them all and find the ones that fit your style. 

1. Anything by Pati Palmer. She specializes in fit and explains pattern sizing

and alteration in a way that works for everybody. If you don’t fit a perfect pattern size, and nobody does, this is for you. Look for Palmer/Pletsch patterns in the McCalls catalogue. They have more detailed fitting and sewing instructions.             Palmer/Pletsch Publications       Fit for Real People        Pants for Real People        Jackets for Real People        The Serger Idea Book

2. Anything by Nancy Zieman. Her books always have very clear step by step instructions. The pictures are great. She specializes in time saving sewing. 

   The Busy Woman's Fitting Book       10-20-30 Minutes to Sew

  Essential Sewing Guide    Sewing Express       501 Sewing Hints                                  

3. Sewing Secrets from the Fashion Industry edited by Susan Huxley. How to identify ‘Mystery Fabric’, seam allowances and sewing sequences. So many pictures. This is a great reference. This is how they do it in the garment shops.

4. Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing. Back to the basics and a very good reference. It explains a lot of terms and techniques.  Give one to a new seamstress, to help her one her creative journey. 

5. Shirtmaking by David Page Coffin. This is the only book that is dedicated to the art of making the perfect shirt. Very precise directions and lots of pictures and diagrams but in the entire book he never once mentions the Western Shirt.  Isn’t that like writing a book about the birds of the world and leaving out the peacock?

6. Fantastic Fit for Everybody by Gale Grigg Hazen. She fits clothing to people that do not have perfect figures. This is fun to read. She is short, round, cute and runs through this book in a leotard. Love the body that you have and be comfortable.

7. Time-Life Books -The Art of Sewing - There are sixteen of them. They are out of print. Look for them in second hand stores. The fashions are dated but the basic techniques are wonderful. Easy to read with lots of information and ideas.

8. Sandra Betzina is another author to look for. Some of her ideas are wild, and her styles and ideas are interesting. She designs ‘Todays Fit’ patterns for Vogue. Very clear on which techniques and tools to use. She knows all about fabrics.

   Fast Fit, Easy Pattern     Alterations for Every Figure      Fabric Savvy

   More Fabric Savvy   Sewing Any Fabric

9. Singer Sewing Books - Many of these are out of print. Look for them in second hand book shops. The pictures are the best part. Close up and exact diagrams of each part of the project. They guide you through, leaving nothing out.

10. Dream Sewing Spaces - Design & Organization for Spaces Large and Small by Lynette Ranney Black. The absolute book on how to set up any size sewing space that you will love to call your own. This is a ‘must have’ book for anyone setting up a sewing area. From a garage to a closet she has designs for all size spaces.

11. The Vogue Sewing Book.  The best techniques form the finest design houses. Couture styling explained. If you really want to look like ‘a million dollars’, Vogue is the only one. Many of their ‘Retro’ styles, in their current pattern catalogues, would make great square and round dance bodices.  

12. COUTURE the Art of Fine Sewing by Roberta Carr - This is how they do it in Paris, Rome and New York. Attention to detail and a little extra time and you can have the look of the fashion runway. Couture is an attitude of always doing your best sewing and getting the finest results. Enjoy the process and enjoy the rewards.

13. Anything by Gail Brown and Tammy Young.  They are serger specialist with many different techniques that are not covered in your basic instruction manual. Sergers are great for square dance skirts because they sew really fast.                                  Innovative Serging           Simply Serge Any Fabric             Creating with Sergers      Distinctive Serger Gifts and Crafts           Sewing with Sergers

14. Life is Not a Dress Size by Rita Farro. This book sends a message to every woman about getting past the size issue and feeling good about yourself. It is a motivational tool, style guide with practical tips and serious messages about attitude and self esteem, all from the heart.

15. Any book Claire Shaeffer. How to select the right fabric for the project. Do you want to sew on velvet? She can help you. Beautiful techniques and ideas to take the fear out of sewing on unusual fabrics. Fabric Sewing Guide Couture Sewing
The Complete Book of Sewing Shortcuts High Fashion Sewing Secrets

16. Nancy Cornwell is the author to look for if you want to sew with fleece. She has tips and ideas for many types of garments and beautiful blankets. Adventures With Polar Fleece More Adventures With Polar Fleece Polar Magic

     A row of sewing books is like a row of cook books. They hold a lot of information that you don’t need every day but are very glad to have when you want it. Collect sewing books, read them like novels. Curl up with a sewing book, a cup of coffee, and dream up a new dress.