MY ESSENTIAL BOOKS

June 12th, 2016

These are three books which I refer to pretty much every single thing I sew. There are thousands of books on sewing and pattern making, many a lot more specialised – but these are my personal big three. The good thing about sewing books is (apart from fashion) they don’t date – 1956 or 2016 you still sew a dart the same way so it’s east to amass a collection cheaply if you keep your eye out in 2nd hand stores.

Pattern Making for Fashion Design

Originally published: 1987
Author: Helen Joseph Armstrong

Me: How do I make a sleeve puff like that? – Like a bell sleeve but less 70s? , with pleats here, here and there?
Pattern Making for Fashion Design: Like this friend, and here are 9304 pages on puffy sleeve variations

This  is like a recipe book for garments – all you need is a ruler, set square, paper and a pen and you got yourself a pattern baby!

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So many Pants, who knew?

 

It’s on Amazon here

Couture Sewing Techniques

Originally published: 1993
Claire B. Shaeffer

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Why

Don’t be put off by the word “couture” in the title, or the frothy dresses and ladies who lunch suits, there are many advanced techniques in here, but it’s a fantastic toolbox of knowledge that can be used by every level of dressmaker.

It focuses on techniques that are useful for making a unusual garment by hand, and making it look and sit perfectly, even when you are walking in wind, dancing or standing in halfway up a rocky outcrop during a photoshoot. My favourite part is when they show you sneaky peeks into the skeleton of how these fantastic confections are constructed – great for working out those “how on earth can I make my coat stick out that???” problems.

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It’s on Amazon here

Power Sewing : New Ways to Make Fine Clothes Fast

Everyone who sews has one of these kind of books – an old battered tome, maybe inserted or gifted from an older relative.  yours might be the Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing or The Vogue Sewing Book. This one is a lo-fi Black and white spiral bound book of tips and hints – the kind I consult when I come up with a random question – How do I Iron Leather?, What’s the pattern adjustment for thick thighs, how do I do this kind of zip again???

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I love all of Sandra’s books – she has a friendly engaging writing style and a great understanding of how to explain sometimes complex techniques and concepts and make them seem easy.  Sandra also understands sometimes you just need to run up something quick in a weekend  and other times your want a couture masterpiece – probably why she has been so successful.

You can buy it (updated and expanded) here

Here you have it- my top three! – What are yours?

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