Four Favorites

Sewing is a popular art these days, which means (lucky for us) there are a variety of interesting sewing books on the store shelf. Many of these books are project-related; each author sharing different ideas with their own unique style. Mmm. I can flip through such eye-candy for hours; soaking it all in; the wheels in my head a-spinning.
But there are times when you really need the nuts and bolts. You want to know, in basic terms:
What the heck is a serger?
or, What is basting?
or simply, How do I thread my bobbin?
Want to learn more about making your own patterns? Or how to sew with knits? There are great resources out there and they’re not boring encyclopedias.

My book stash has been growing the past couple of months. And my favorite additions are those that deal with the basics. So, I thought we’d wheel over to my bookshelf (or maybe I’ll wheel it over to you) to share some favorites.
Here’s a nice stack of the sewing books I own. I hope it continues to grow.
Books aren’t the same as a $3 fabric price-tag. BUT there are ways to save on cost. Depending on the size of your Joanns fabric store, you can find a nice variety of books there and purchase them with your 40% off coupon! Them = suckers. You = Winner! I also purchase books on Amazon where the price is discounted and when ordering over $25 worth, you’re eligible for FREE shipping. Not bad at all. Especially when you start thumbing through photos like these,
So , here are 4 of my recent favorites:
1. Martha Stewart’s Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts.
I know, you probably already have this book or at least you’ve heard of it. And yea, I said we weren’t talking about Encyclopedias here. But this is way more fun and current than the last stuffy Encyclopedia you read.

Don’t let the size scare you. If anything, it should excite you! Photo and project ideas galore in there. And with my Joanns coupon, I only paid about $17. Nice.

So yes, Martha’s kind of the queen of craft. Well, she’s the face of it. Her amazing staff are most of the mastermind. So whether you’re a Martha fan or not, this is a great book to own.
The book walks you through the very basics of everything from hand stitching, to fabric dyeing, to creating projects. Many great basics and many cool ideas.
And in true Martha style, every photo is beautifully artistic. You can pour over this book for hours.
There are things vintage and traditional:
and ideas that are modern:
hand sewing, beautiful colors,
drapery and skirts,
clothing ideas, and honestly hundreds more. After a 5-minute flip through, I already had 3 projects on my To-Do list.
Totally worth the money and something every shelf could use.

2. Sew U, Home Stretch by Wendi Muslin (of Built by Wendi)
This book was recommended by Rae when she posted her darling baby tights tutorial. Not sure why it took me 3 months to order the darn thing. Because, wow! It’s great!
First off, I just like the design of the book. Simple; white space.
….and lots of clever illustrations. The book is very modern and current with trends you see in stores. The book won’t teach you how to make an evening gown. But it will teach you the basics of putting a T-shirt together, making a hoodie, and most importantly… to sew with KNITS!
Yep! You guys often ask me about this. “I’m scared to sew with knits!”, you exclaim. Well don’t be! Read what Wendi has to say and you’ll be cutting through knits in no time.

She goes through each basic clothing type/style and helps you understand how each pattern piece goes together and what it should look like.
My favorite, however, is the section about Using a Serger. She’s goes into great detail and keeps it simple; down to earth. If you have serger but have been scared to try it, check out what Wendi has to say. And then, stick around for a slew of cool clothing projects.
Really fun artwork. Probably my favorite book of the group right now. Highly recommend.

Stitch by Stitch: Learning to Sew, One Project at a Time, by Deborah Moebes
Okay, want to learn how to sew? And in a language that you can understand? Then you’ll want this book. I’ve known Deborah for two years now and I haven’t figured out which I love more: her creative ideas, or her clever writing style. The lady has a gift for words, with a light-hearted punch. In this book, Deborah begins by talking about sewing, why it’s popular, and her theory on “the Sewing Gap” (so very true). She talks about the Modern Sewist,
shares funny details, such as this sewing timeline. How I love that only 2 dates exist for the last century; one of those being: Project Runway. Priorities and realities.
and then…..Deborah walks you through everything, step by step.
She even shares detailed info on how to Thread your Bobbin! Now you never have to feel silly asking about that.
What I like is about the book is that it’s built for beginners BUT even if you’ve been sewing for years, it’s refreshing to hear the basics again from a seasoned veteran.

Deborah’s goal with the book is to help you build knowledge from one project and then carry those skills over into the next one. So basically, all the projects are intertwined (and beautifully photographed).
Every project has those same detailed step-by-step photos. Lovely!
And in the back of the book is a CD full of pattern pieces.
A beautiful book and a very pleasant read. It comes out in August; you can pre-order it here.

4. Design-it-Yourself Clothes: Pattern Making made Simple, by Cal Patch
The jury’s still out on this one because I haven’t had a chance to read through it all. But I immediately fell in love with it’s style. Cal Patch designed for Urban Outfitters for years and her clever take really stands out. How darling is that shirt on the right?
The art direction of the book is current and fashion-forward. I want to share every photo with you!
There are many interesting project ideas and as the book title states, Cal teaches you how to make your own patterns for these projects. She shows you how to take your own body measurements,
then goes through the process of creating patterns. I wish there were more step-by-step photos, teaching you these pattern-making skills. The page looks like a lot of words and not enough visuals. I need to read through it more and see what I think.
It’s still one of my recent book favorites though because the clothing ideas are just simply adorable.
I may have to try this soon:
And there you go!
Some books for thought.

What’s piled up on your shelf?

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