Friday, 15 February 2013

Inside my Library...

If there's anything I love more than crafting (other than my family of course!) it would be books.  I adore books, always have, always will.  My idea of heaven would be an afternoon in Waterstones with an unlimited budget.

I love all kinds of books; fiction - from Jane Austen to Jane Green, via Kelley Armstrong; cookery - my current favourite cookery book is The Hairy Dieters - seriously delicious meals that don't taste at all like "diet" food; fashion/style books and of course, crafting books.

My addiction to books is so great that I really don't know what I'd do if you told me I could never buy or even read another book again in my life.  I could give up watching television or listening to music, but I couldn't give up reading.

Given my love of books I thought it would be good to share some of my favourites with you.  I'm going to start with my collection of sewing books.

It's not huge, in fact sewing books probably form the smallest part of my "library".


From top to bottom:

Drape Drape
Vogue Fitting
Good Housekeeping Home Dressmaking
Readers Digest Complete Guide to Sewing
Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing
The Colette Sewing Handbook
The Dressmakers Handbook of Couture Sewing Techniques

As you can see, it's quite a small collection, and I would imagine most seamstresses have several - if not all - of these books in their collections.

Let's have a bit of a look at them in more detail, and why I bought them.

The book I use most is the Readers Digest Complete Guide to Sewing.  It covers (or has done for me anyway) pretty much everything you would wish to know to sew most garments, and has clear and simple drawings, like these for covered hem finishes:


I'm torn as to whether I prefer photographs or illustrations to show techniques, sometimes photographs seem to have too much detail, and illustrations too little.  However these illustrations are perfect for me.  Clear and simple, but showing everything you need to know.   It was definitely a worthwhile purchase.

I've used the Colette Sewing Handbook a fair bit too, although I've only made one of the garments - the Meringue skirt.  I like the layout of this book, in that it gradually guides you though different techniques, from fitting to finishing and accompanies each with an appropriate garment to make.  Unfortunately the garments - other than the Meringue skirt - aren't really my style, but the rest of the book makes it a worthwhile purchase. Again, the illustrations are clear.  I love this one showing how to enclose a invisible zip with a waist facing.



I've used the Vogue Fitting book a couple of times and bought it on recommendation from a friend.  I managed to find a copy on Amazon for a very reasonable price.  It seems to cover pretty much every aspect of fitting - as you would expect! - and I hope it helps when I come to start making my first trousers soon.  It's not the most exciting looking book in the world, but it does it's job!


I'm ashamed to say I haven't actually used any of the other books in my collection!

The Dressmakers Handbook of Couture Sewing Techniques is new.  I'd hummed and haa'd about buying it for a while, and it's not really what I expected.  I don't know quite what I expected, but I was a little disappointed when I started flicking through.   The first few pages show small thumbnail photos of the techniques detailed:


There are definitely lots that I will never use, but some will be useful. I particularly like this one for lining a skirt and binding the seams in one.  I think that will come in very useful, and I'm sure there will be others.


Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing is lovely.  Split into 2 parts, the first section covers technique and is written in a lovely personal way, with lots of insight into where Gertie got to where she is today.  I love this part, which contains some gorgeous illustrations by Sun Young Park.


The second part of the book contains the patterns, and this is less "me".  As with the Colette book, the garments aren't really my style.  I could see myself making the Portrait Blouse, but not really any of the others.  However as a fan of Gertie's blog it's a purchase I definitely don't regret.

I will willingly admit I bought the Good Housekeeping Home Dressmaking purely for the illustrations.  Just look at this gorgeous cover!


The illustrations inside are all black and white, but are in the same style.  There's a lovely section at the beginning on "The Total Look" showing garment shapes that are flattering for different body shapes.   I love how the ladies wearing the flattering garments are smiling and the unflatteringly dressed ladies aren't!


Drape Drape is a bit of a mystery to me in that I'm not really sure why I bought it!   I think I'd seen it talked about quite a bit around blogland and I was in need of a book fix so it hopped into my Amazon basket.  It's definitely interesting!  There are a couple of dresses I'd like to make, this one in particular,



but most of the garments are a little too "drapey" for me.  This could be one that I end up passing on to someone else in the future.

So that's my sewing library.  I'd love to know what's in yours.  Is there a book you can't live without that you'd recommend I add to mine?

5 comments:

  1. Oh I love your idea of 'I'll show you mine if you show me yours'! I have some the same as you and like you not that many sewing books ... Craft books on the other hand might be another matter. I'll have a look this weekend and come back to you x

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    1. Ooh, yes, please do! I love to have a nosy round other people's book shelves!

      I hope you're feeling better now. x

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  2. Drape Drape is EVERYWHERE! I don't have it myself either. In fact, the only one of those books that I also own is Gertie's, and I agree with you about the technique vs. style quality of the book. But it is beautifully made!

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    1. Hi Julianne! Yes, Gerties book is so beautiful I don't care that I don't really want to make any of the patterns.

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  3. Interesting! I actually don't have any of the sewing books, except for drape drape which I think of as a pattern book, almost like a Burda magazine. I just love the designs in it :)

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