My Favourite Sewing Books
I love learning. That would explain why I graduated from three universities, one college and a private learning institution. Sounds odd when you say it that way. So you would be right to guess that I also love books, podcasts, and YouTube videos too. Well, it appears I am not the only one who loves books.
In episode 44 my co-host Alethia Hudson and I did something we have never done before on That Sewing Blab. We reviewed our favourite sewing books. We invited viewers to come on screen and tell us about their favourite books. We were lucky to have some of the most talented sewist and bloggers I know come on the show to talk about their favourite books. We had so many people come on the show, it was our longest show yet, that I did not get a chance to share some of my favourite books. Below you can find a list of my favourite sewing books and a list of a few “Favourite Sewing Books” lists from some of my favourite bloggers and websites.
One of the suggested textbooks for my design class was the book 9 Heads1 by Nancy Riegelman. I liked it so much I got the companion book Colours for Modern Fashion 3. I am not an artist, so these books helped me improve my fashion drawing (and continue to do so). These are mammoth books packed with lots of information. I look forward to doing a video review of them soon. Fashion Design Drawing Course 2 by Caroline Tatham and Julian Seaman was a helpful book for when I first started trying to sketch my designs. Fashion Designer’s Handbook for Adobe Illustrator 4 by Marianne Centner and Frances Vereker was indispensable for helping me to do my flat drawings of garments. Fashion Details: 1,000 Ideas from Neckline to Waistline, Pockets to Pleats 5 by Macarena San Martin is fantastic to flip through for design inspiration. Want to spice up a simple skirt with a new waistline or pocket detail? This book can spice up your design with photos of unique detailing.
Patternmaking for Fashion Design 1 by Helen Joseph Armstrong and Metric Pattern Cutting for Women’s Wear 3 by Winifred Aldrich were two of my first patternmaking books. Armstrong’s book teaches you all the basics and gives lots of great examples. It is the perfect book for a beginner, and it covers almost everything you would want to know starting out. I am surprised this book is still in one piece as I still refer to it. Aldrich’s book is the one I used to create my first blocks and although it is a little more advanced than Armstrong’s book I use it often. Aldrich has a series of books including the ones shown here: Pattern Cutting for Women’s Tailored Jackets: Classic and Contemporary 4 and Metric Pattern Cutting for Menswear 5. Dress Pattern Designing: The Basic Principles of Cut and Fit 2 by Natalie Bray is an older book that I find myself referring to often as it shows some lovely pattern alterations, especially the collars and sleeves.
I do not use these patternmaking books as much as the ones listed above. These books are more advanced, and some designs serve more as inspiration as I feel they are a bit too fashion forward and at times abstract. The Pattern Magic books (1-3 and Stretch Fabrics4) by Tomoko Nakamichi are fantastic if you want to push your patternmaking further. It is no wonder you can see images from these books all over Pinterest as they are so beautifully graphic. I love the interesting collar and pocket details in the books. The Transformational Reconstruction Books by Shingo Sato 5 & 6 are mind-bending fun but are a little more out there. I love that they come with DVDs as well. I am looking forward to doing a video review of these books, and showing off the garments I created that were inspired by them.
Simplicity Sewing Book by Simplicity 1, The New Sewing Essentials 2, Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing 4 are fantastic sewing books for beginners and act as a good reference for the more advanced too. High Fashion Sewing Secrets from the World’s Best Designers: A Step-By-Step Guide to Sewing Stylish Seams, Buttonholes, Pockets, Collars, Hems, And More 3 by Claire B. Shaeffer has a long title, but it says it all. There are lots of other books that are good for sewing, but these books, and YouTube videos, and what I learned from my amazing teachers at Massey University have helped me complete every project I have started.
Fit and Pattern Alterations
When I worked for a talented local Canadian designer, Fitting and Pattern Alteration 1 by Elizabeth L. Liechty and Della N. Pottberg-Steineckert was one of her favourite books. After a fitting with a client if she needed fitting information this was THE book. I bought it soon after she showed it to me as I recognised the gem that it was. It lists many of the fitting issues you would run into and explains more than one way in which you could fix the pattern. Genius. Professional Pattern Alterations Made Easy 2 by Kerstin Martenssonis not as meaty yet I still find that I refer to its clear drawings and straightforward instructions.
Grading is my new obsession. At school, we started out paper grading our patterns and then later once we got our brain around that we used computer CAD software to grade. I learned a lot in those classes but have not graded more than one size up or down and was in need of a refresher, so I got these books. I am now experimenting with grading multiple sizes for the pattern I make on the computer and look forward to showing off my skills when I sell my first pdf pattern in a couple of months. Concepts of Pattern Grading: Techniques for Manual and Computer Grading 1 by Kathy K. Mullet is a great book that a beginner grader could use. You would have to be comfortable with working with patterns before it would make sense. Grading Techniques for Modern Design 2 by Jeanne Price is a great book as it breaks down the steps of grading different styles. Now I just need to practice, practice, practice.
These are some of my favourite books. The hardest thing about this post was narrowing down the books I would choose. I plan to do video reviews of these books and more starting next week. I’ll link each review as I release it to this post.
Part Two of Three
This is the second in a series of blog posts which will deal with Book reviews. The series will include:
- Part One: That Sewing Blab’s Book Review
- Part Two: Overview of my favourite books and further resources
- Part Three: On-going series. Individual thorough review of individual books.
I have also listed a few “Favourite Sewing Books” lists from some of my favourite bloggers and websites.
Blog Colette – 50 Favorite Sewing Books https://blog.colettehq.com/inspiration/50-favorite-sewing-books
Pattern Review – Over 20 pages of in-depth reviews https://sewing.patternreview.com/cgi-bin/allreviews.pl?tf=b
Threads Magazine – Top 10 Sewing Books http://www.threadsmagazine.com/item/24217/top-10-sewing-books
So Sew Easy – Best Sewing Books Recommended by Our Readers http://so-sew-easy.com/best-sewing-books-as-recommended-by-our-readers/
The Sewing Directory – Our Top 10 Sewing Books http://www.thesewingdirectory.co.uk/best-sewing-books/
Gertie’s Blog for Better Sewing – Building a Sewing Library http://www.blogforbettersewing.com/2010/03/buliding-sewing-library.html?m=1
Melly Sews – 5+ Great Books for Sewing and Patternmaking http://mellysews.com/2013/07/5-great-books-for-sewing-and-patternmaking.html
Japanese Sewing Books – with detailed book reviews http://www.japanesesewingbooks.com/list-of-book-reviews/
As readers of this blog will know I co-host an internet sewing show called That Sewing Blab every Tuesday night at 7:30 pm EST with my co-host Alethia Hudson @sewmuchtalent. We are blessed to be able to interview fabulous people who love to sew on our show. You can watch previous shows on our Crowdcast page or on the Duelling Designs YouTube channel. For the most up to date information on That Sewing Blab, please visit our That Sewing Blab Facebook Page.
Keep a look out next week for the first video featuring an in-depth book review as part of the third part in the Sewing Book Reviews series in which we crack open a different book each week.