The Sew Weekly Sewing Circle

Hey there lovely ladies! I have a question for you - what sewing, crafting, or vintage style books do you have that you'd recommend? I've been lucky enough to be given an Amazon voucher and I'm looking for recommendations on what to get. :-)

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Hey there! I'm building up my library (slowly, slowly) and really enjoy the following books: 
1. Anything by Adele P. Margolis. I've looked through my local library's copy of How to Make Patterns that Fit and Flatter as well as  a copy of The Complete Book of Tailoring. They. Are. Fabulous.
2. I like the Colette Sewing Handbook... mostly for the patterns in it! FIVE of them! Which is kinda a steal considering the patterns are like $16-18 a pop, and the book's full sticker price is $30.
3. Claire Schaffer's Couture Sewing Techniques is wonderful--it has very clear and easy to understand explanations on how to finish garments in a professional manner.
4. I just ordered The Art of Manipulating Fabric by Colette Wolff. I've only previewed it on but it comes highly recommended.

I've got Claire Schaffer's book.  I love dipping into it and reading.  I've yet to use some of the couture techniques but I will.  In the meantime, it's just lovely to have and pore over.  

I second the Colette Sewing handbook. Mainly for the patterns, but I find that I am still learning new techniques from her clear instructions.  I found it was pretty useful overall and I like her sections on planning your sewing, etc.

I also have How to Make Sewing Patterns in my queue but I have yet to read it.  Based on the Amazon reviews alone I picked it up - I thought it'd be a handy resource but unfortunately I can't provide feedback on it just yet.

It's more of a style book, but I absolutely love my copy of Janie Bryant's 'The Fashion File'.  She's the stylist/costume designer for the TV show 'Mad Men', and I read it cover to cover.  The illustrations inspire me!

That sounds like a really good one! Thanks for putting it out there!

 Pattern Magic 2 which is now out in English  by Tomoko Nakamichi . This is awesome.

1) The Colette Sewing Handbook - Awesome book with 5 beautiful patterns

2) Better Homes and Gardens Sewing Book - from 1962. This book shows a bunch of different ways to alter patterns for really cute vintage styles. I especially love chapter 10 "Making Evening and Cocktail Fashions" The instructions are not particularly thorough but you will be easily able to do the alterations with all of your dressmaking experience. As a bonus this book is super cheap so you could get it and others =)

3) Bags-The Modern Classics: Clutches, Hobos, Satchels & More - Not really vintage but just plain awesome. It is the only craft book I have ever gotten that I would like to make every single project.

Thanks ladies!  :-)

I've just ordered Claire Schaffer's Couture Sewing Techniques, The Art of Manipulating Fabric by Colette Wolff, and Pattern Magic.  (The Better Homes and Gardens one was out of stock, which is why it didn't make it onto the list.)

Thanks for all your advice - I'm really looking forward to pouring over my new books when they arrive (in a month or so, haha).

Please tell me you already have the Colette Sewing Handbook then Kat???!!!! It's sooooo good. You cannot live without it, honestly. Buy it now!

I must admit I don't have it.  I was very very close to buying it, but to be honest I'm not sure how much use it would be to me.  (I feel terribly guilty saying that!  Eek!)  While I adore the way it's laid out, I decided to go for a couple of more advanced technique books instead as I want to delve into more advanced stuff over the next year.

So saying though, I've never seen it in real life.  What parts do you girls find the best about it?  (I'm still toying with the idea of getting it - I'm just not 100% sure it's for me yet though.  But I'm willing to be convinced otherwise.  ;-)

Fair enough, I think the techniques it describes are not sufficiently challenging for you. I have used it to make bias binding and sew an invisible zipper, for example. BUT it is a very thoughtful book written in a lovely style, and the best bit is the 5 patterns which are full size and printed separately on the pattern paper, no tracing off a jumble of patterns required. They are lovely patterns, the same high standard as her usual patterns and the price for 5 is amazing.

Btw I bought myself a fashion history book that Mena recommended some time ago on TSW. It was written from quite an intellectual point of view but very enjoyable. I'll see if i can find Mena's post about it.


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