Sunday, November 6, 2011

Must Have Sewing Books

Sewing is one of the most relaxing and mind appeasing things I have done next to gardening. I love the fact that one can chop up a bunch of fabric and put it back together to create some beautiful pieces of clothing.  Now I have to admit, I am a self taught seamstress. I did not take any classes. Hence, I still make mistakes. I got my first sewing machine when I was fourteen. I remember it was such a treat. At sixteen, I made my first skirt. (And actually wore it too!) I'll post that pic soon. Since then, I have enjoyed doing projects from making my daughters dresses, and skirts, to tops and bottoms for myself. I LOVE making aprons and can spend multiple hours in a fabric store without feeling overwhelmed. EBay is a great place to buy beautiful quilting and apparel fabric at a fraction of the cost.  I notice that alot of my friends say that they would love to sew, but can't stand sifting through all the choices in a fabric store. So......I figured I'd share some books that made a difference for me in times of overload. For starters, books are a great way to find a project you want to do and stick to it. They'll help you choose the fabrics according to your project. (e.g. this skirt can be made with silk jersey, quilting cotton, etc.) The measurements are all there, and sometimes you get free patterns too. If patterns come with the book, your going to need tissue paper for transferring. (Make sure you don't cheat with any markings.) These books are great for basic sewing skills and how to's. You'll be able to use some key points throughout all of your sewing projects.
This is the mother book of sewing! Better Homes & Gardens is amazing and you can often find this book at garage sales and second hand stores. I found this particular copy for 2 bucks at a yard sale. The greatest part, this copy is in mint condition with sewing how to's from the 50's and 60's. But I can't find a date on it anywhere.

"Weekend Sewing" is definately a fun one. Not only do you get patterns, the illustrations are great. Consider 'weekend' more like 'week' for new do it yourselfers.

This skirt was such a blast to make. I bought a fabric bundle of Amy Butler off of EBay. "Free Style Handmade Bags & Skirts" was the book I used.  I call it my 'Spring Skirt.' This book is wild, showing us how to 'refurbish' old pants and even scraps.

Sewing, for some, is like learning a new language. For me, these are the most important things to do before you start a project. 1. Know your machine. By this, I mean, know what it is capable and not capable of. Most basic machines now a days have all the necessary stitches needed to make a really descent and beautiful project. 2. Learn pattern placement. Meaning, pay attention to the grain of the fabric. You don't want to spend all this time on a project that has arrow patterns going up in the front and down on the back. (Hey, that might actually be a neat thing.) 3. You do not need a serger. I do have one and love, love, love it. But you do NOT need one to make clothes. Most people think that sergers are a must. They're just faster and if you get really good, you can do some wild things. I was in my late 20's when I finally got one. I think it was much deserved:) 4. Have fun! Don't get frustrated. We're all going to make mistakes. Sewing is like everything else in life. If you make a mistake, it's one you will learn from.

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