Saturday, September 26, 2009

Sewing Books: the ones I used to get me started again this year

sewing books
These are the books I had (Burda) and quickly bought when I decided to get back into sewing this year. My impressions of each one:

Burda Naehen leicht gemacht
This is very complete, but can be slightly intimidating for the beginner. English and French versions exist, and I think the cover might be orange by now. Every time I don't understand a step in a pattern, this is my go-to book before starting a google search.

2. Sew U by Wendy Mullin
Hm. I have mixed feelings about this one. While I love how Wendy explains the steps to take a basic pattern (skirt, pants, shirt) and make it into a host of different styles with slight pattern variations and style details, I find the lack of detailed instructions disconcerting. So, even though the book is geared towards the sewing novice, it is not sufficient, in my opinion, for a beginner. Unless, of course, you don't really mind that your pieces come out crooked, because the reference to staystitching is a couple of tens of pages away from the actual instructions of how to sew your skirt etc. Also, the book does not mention altering patterns for fit at all.
I still really like the book, and find it very freeing, getting me from following pattern instructions word by word, to wanting to venture into minor style variations.

3. Sew U Home Stretch by Wendy Mullin
This book is a sequel to the previous one, and explains all about working with knit fabrics. Two different T-Shirt patterns and a dress pattern, with lots of variations. I have not actually tried a pattern from here yet, but plan to, soon. And again, I love how Wendy explains how to take a basic pattern and alter for sooo many different styles.

4. Painless Sewing by Palmer Pletsch

This is a small book, packed full with sewing tips. From how to organize your sewing space, to altering for fit, to stitching several seams continuously to not have to cut thread: loads of tips. It is not a beginners' how to learn to sew book. But I really love it, and like reading through it and apply some of their tips.

5. More Fabric Savvy by Sandra Betzina

I am really disappointed with this one. Lots of pretty pictures. And some basic fabric descriptions. But honestly: I don't think I learned a single thing in this book. Now that might be, because I grew up in a household where I chose the fabrics for my own clothes, to be sewn by my mother from an early age. Let's just say the book does not correspond to my level of knowledge about fabric. And I really don't know thaaat much about fabric. If anyone has a recommendation on a "more advanced" fabric book, I would be really interested.

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