What’s on Your Bookshelf?

We asked our members to share their favorite sewing books and it was so much fun to see what they had to say.  Some sent reference books and some novels about sewing.  Regardless of what you are in the mood to read or learn, there just might be some new ideas for you in the list.

Reference Books

If you are looking for some creative new embellishment ideas, Ginny suggests Folded Fabric Elegance. It has great directions and pictures. The designs can be used in quilting, on clothes or home decor. For an example of the sort of things the book covers, take a look at the pictures below to see the creative tote she made. Ginny says the ideas in the book are unique and pretty, not your run of the mill embellishments.

For more creative ideas, Ginny also suggests the book Krafttex Style. Krafttex is a paper product that acts like leather. It is often used to make the labels on store bought denim jeans. The more you wash it, the softer it gets and shows more grain like real leather. You can sew, paint, embroider, and even weave it. You can even use it as a backing for a rug or a base for a purse. It is very versatile, comes in various colors and is not expensive. This book shows great items to create, but is also very good for inspiration to spark your own imagination.

Anna Marie offers this suggestion to encourage us in sewing knits. Here’s what she had to say about the Sew U Home Stretch book….

Years ago I was very intimidated at the thought of sewing with knits. It seemed so mysterious and hard. I bought this book and the mystery was solved. It is an excellent how-to book, really comprehensive and includes multiple patterns and instructions in changing out necklines, sleeves, etc to get different looks. It has been my go-to book for sewing with knits.  These days I sew about 50-50 knits and wovens.

Jami had two resource books to suggest.

The Vogue Sewing Book is great for all types of construction information.  Where else could she find how to do arrowhead embroidery for the end of a pocket or over a pleat?  She has two versions of the book, one from the ’60s and one from the ’90s.

Her second favorite book is for inspiration. Make it Your Own by Lori Bottom and Ronda Chaney shows how to alter pattern pieces to create all kinds of collars, sleeves, necklines, and such using just a basic pattern piece.  Jami says this book has been a great source of inspiration for creating those special details that make a garment pop.

Marie’s suggestion is Nancy Zieman’s 10-20-30 Minutes to Sew. Here’s what she had to say about the book.

This book is so well-organized and in turn makes me more organized.  Learning how to find snips of time to be used, especially when wanting to finish a project. It is well worth the read.  

Novels about Sewing

Lisa Hollins lives in and affiliates with the ASG chapter in Houston, TX. but makes frequent visits to our area to check in on her mom. She says she has loved being part of our virtual Zoom meetings because they have filled the gap of sewing relationships while sheltering in place. We love connecting with ASG members from all across the US. Welcome Lisa!!

Lisa says the first book that came to mind as a favorite sewing book was Sue Monk Kidd’s The Invention of Wings. She loved reading about Charlotte being a seamstress and sewing the quilt that told her family’s story. “Mauma had sewn where she came from, who she was, what she loved, the things she’d suffered and the things she hoped. She’d found a way to tell it.” Lisa loved this beautiful story.

Sheryl’s suggestion for summer reading is The Dressmaker of Khair Khana. This book, set in Kabul, Afganistan, is the true story of a family’s survival after the Taliban takes charge of the city. Organized by Kamila Sidiqi, the women in her family create a sewing workshop to support themselves amidst the chaos of war and the Taliban’s harsh restrictions on daily life. Sheryl says she found this to be a fascinating and inspiring read.

We hope you enjoyed these book recommendations and were introduced to something new. If you have more ideas to add, hop into the comments and tell us about it!

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4 thoughts on “What’s on Your Bookshelf?”

  1. The first time I lived in Texas, I was invited to teach beginner sewing classes at one of the Dallas Community Colleges. I used Nancy’s book, “Sewing 1-2-3” as the book all students bought to use as a foundation. I was so easy to teach the classes with this book and I enjoyed teaching the class.

  2. Two books I have read relating to dressmakers. The Gown by Jennifer Robson a historical novel about the fashion house and the inside people that made Queen Elizabeth II wedding gown. The other book The Pink Suit about the fashion house that made Jacki Kennedy’s Pink Suit. Both hood reads or listen. I like Audio books so I can listen and sew!

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