As with any subject, there are hundreds and hundreds of books on sewing. These can be about techniques, stitches or projects. Then there are books for beginners or advanced sewists. Getting the wrong type of book could be confusing and a waste of your money. Good sewing books can be expensive, so it is always best to check what the book contains and what type of sewist it is for. This way you can save your money and get a great book that is suited to you. I have gathered a small collection of books, mostly on clothes, but also on techniques, stitches and accessories. Here are some of my favourites!
1) Sew Many Dresses, Sew Little Time- Tanya Whelan
This book is amazing! I got this for my birthday back in September and it is genius. As the title suggests it is all dresses, but it is completely different from any sewing book I have ever seen. Sometimes when you see a dress, you think a different skirt or bodice would look better. In this book, you choose a bodice and a skirt, then put them together to create a dress you really want. Every skirt and bodice fit together, so there is no alteration needed for different designs. According to the book, there are more than 200 combinations! This is amazing value. If you were to buy patterns for 200 dresses, it would cost a fortune. This book was about £20 when I got it. It was one of the most expensive books I had had, but it so worth it. In addition to the skirts and bodices, there are also sleeves, which fit into some of the bodices (you can’t put them on a strapless or halter neck), and necklines or collars. The necklines are usually added by slightly altering the bodice, which is easy with the step-by-step instructions. It has full size pattern pieces in the back of the book, which is spiral bound so it can lie flat on a table.
2) Love At First Stitch- Tilly Walnes (aka Tilly and The Buttons)
This book has some amazing clothes in it. There are seven different projects in this book, all of them beautiful in their own way. The book takes you through all the techniques needed as you work your way through the project. This means you have all the information in one place whilst you are sewing and you don’t have to do searching around in the book to find the relevant pages. This books also has all the full sized pattern pieces in the back. This is a great book for beginners, as it has very clear instructions for each stage of the projects and pictures to make it crystal clear. One of my favourite bits about this book is the fact that it gives the measurements of the finished garment, as well as what size to choose based on measurements. If you are halfway between to two sizes or share your measurements over two sizes, this is a real help, as you can compare your measurements to the finished size and see which would offer the best fit.
3) Sew It Up- Ruth Singer
This book is now an instant favourite of mine. The book has great pictures and instructions on a lot of the different sewing techniques. It is a hardback book and certainly weighs a ton, as do a lot of my sewing books. One thing that is noticeable about this book is the rage of techniques that it covers in 300 pages. I read several of the different tutorials of how to do different zip and buttonhole finishes and everything was very clear. The book demonstrates different ways of doing each technique, like finshing a seam, so you can find one appropriate to what you would like to make. It would be a great book for beginners looking to learn or an advanced sewist looking for a reminder. There are also some small projects which allow you to practise the techniques in the book. These include a needlebook, placemats and a purse. Even if the projects don’t tickle your fancy, it is well worth buying for the techniques.
4) The Great British Sewing Bee: Fashion With Fabric- Claire-Louise Hardie
There have been three Great British Sewing Bee books now, one to compliment each series of the show. I love that they use the patterns from the show, so that you can make the same things the contestants make. I have all three of the books and each one is beautifully presented with instructions and pictures. My favourite of the three is the one from last year’s series. The garments in this book are more modern and fashionable, as the title suggests, than the latter two books. I have make several things from this book, including: a kimono, casual trousers and the camisole top. The top is actual the top half of the jumpsuit above and the casual trousers the bottom part. There are some lovely patterns for all sorts of garments. There are a few patterns for men such as the cargo shorts or casual t-shirt. My favourite garment is the walkway dress. It is inspired by similar dresses made in the 50s and is said that one could be made in the morning to be worn to afternoon tea. It is a truly beautiful dress! The book comes with a full pack of patterns to make everything in the book. This sheets come in a separate pack from the book to keep them neat and safe.