Or so the Latin proverb goes. I love books – books of all sorts, but I really like books about sewing, quilting and other crafting techniques. I love them because it gives me the chance to see multiple ways to see how different people handle the same issue or concern, and I can use or modify whichever technique suits me the most. Like a cook who doesn’t follow a recipe to the letter, I seldom follow a pattern completely. I am, as a friend succinctly put it, a sewing hack.
Not a hack in the traditional sense of not knowing what I’m doing, but rather a hack in the sense that if I find, know or conceive of a better way to do something, I will do it. And like a good cook will tell you, experimentation has it’s limitations – sometimes you have success, sometimes rousing failure. But it’s always interesting (fortunately for my family, if something I do in the studio doesn’t work out like I intend, it doesn’t usually affect their dinner!).
Now, a confession. Several of my general sewing books – the “how to” sew books – have been lost. I don’t know where they are or what happened to them. My guess is that they ended up either left behind in my last move two years ago, or they’re still packed away hiding somewhere. And that is extremely frustrating to me. I haven’t rebought them yet because everytime I consider doing that, I convince myself that they may yet turn up. However, I know the books very well, and which ones I like the best, so I’m going to share a list of sewing books with you today.
So, here are my top five picks for books for new sewers, in no particular order …
1. Sewing for Dummies – yeah, I hate Dummie books too, but there is some really good advice in this book and it’s well worth the price. A must have for someone who’s a complete novice. I’m not a novice and I keep this one close all the time. It’s the one book I’ve replaced because I missed it and couldn’t live without it. OK, that’s not true – someone actually gave me a second copy, and I was actually quite happy to receive it.
2. The Sewing Book – I want this book, after reading it far too long at B&N recently. It starts out fairly simple – how to interpret patterns, measurements, etc., and then gets more detailed – invisible zippers, blind hems, and so on. It’s a book that will grow with you, definitely. And it’s a great reference for those who are a little more advanced in their technique without seeming too basic.
3. S.E.W. Sew Everything Workshop – I bought this book for my daughter a year or two ago, because she wanted to learn to sew. She didn’t, but it wasn’t because of the book! It’s clear, easy to understand, and gives you some projects to practice on. I like the section on setting up your workspace – since my daughter is VERY disorganized, this was one part she actually followed, and it worked very well.
4. Simplicity’s Simply the Best Sewing Book – I don’t know if it’s really “the best” but it’s good. My mom gave me this one when she ordered it by mistake. I’ve used it a couple of times, but a friend of mine raves about it. She says it’s her “go to” book all the time.
5. Singer – The Complete Photo Guide to Sewing – This may be the only thing that carries the Singer name I would dare to recommend these days. My mother “won” an older version of this book several years ago and passed it on to me, as she didn’t feel she needed it. This has been MY go to book for ages now. I see they have an updated one, so it might be time to buy a new copy – mine’s pretty worn. I haven’t looked at this new version but the old one I have is a treasure trove of wonderful illustrations and directions – it only scratches the surface, but seriously, what book is going to be really in depth anyway?
I have to admit – I caught my husband looking at this book last night. At first I thought he was just trying to be funny, but then I realized that he’d actually read some of it. He was only in the first few pages when I emerged from my shower, and he looked thoroughly confused with the picture of the serger, but he had actually learned about bobbins, for all that he still didn’t completely understand how they work. LOL
There are a few others I want to check out but haven’t had the chance to do so just yet – Complete Photo Guide to Sewing, Sewing 101, A Beginner’s Guide to Sewing … Also, if you can get your hands on an older version of the Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing, snap it up. The new one I’m not so impressed with but the older version was incredible. I never bought one myself because I was too poor, but I must have had the library’s copy out at least half the time. LOL I have intentions to check out Half Price Books to see if I can find the older version because it’s well worth the investment of time and money.
For those who are interested in books about using your serger, I offer a short list below.
The Complete Serger Handbook
ABC’s of Serging
Serge with Confidence
Each of these books is wonderful; I don’t have enough good things to say about them. If you’re looking for something to help you with your serger and learning to use it, or if you know what you’re doing but just want a good reference, you cannot go wrong with any of these.
Hopefully soon, I will have a completed baby quilt to share with everyone. I sort of run into a small problem with it that I’m having to fix, but hopefully it will be ready to go by the end of this weekend. I can’t wait to share it!