Sewing Books

Okay, this is kind of filler while I'm between projects.  I'm still catching up from the weekend road trip, and I think I'm slightly under the weather.  So . . . lazy posts will have to do.

I'm a book fiend.  Fiend.  I had 50% off coupons for Half-Price Books and my brother, sister-in-law, and I hit three of them on Sunday; they found some books they really needed for graduate school and teaching, at much better prices than they'd been finding anywhere else.  Woo hoo!

I lean heavily towards nonfiction.  I've learned to check fiction out of the library or get it as a hand-me-down from someone else, but I have no qualms about spending money on nonfiction.  The history and cookbook sections will be my downfall.

I do have some sewing books but, surprisingly, not that many.  Google fills in a lot of gaps in my very gap-riddled sewing knowledge. 

I think the first sewing book I chose for myself was Sandra Betzina's Fast Fit, which is useful for a lot of basic fitting problems but is also sort of limited. I think I remember in particular that she only has one or two full-bust adjustments, and I wasn't thrilled about them.  There are some good ideas here but it's too oversimplified to be the only fit-adjustment book on your shelf.

Mom got me Nancy Zieman's Pattern Fitting with Confidence as a PBS pledge bonus.  This one definitely has its place but it's a step down from Fast Fit.  She does a pivot-and-slide technique that I think likely works best on casual clothing that doesn't expect precise fit in the first place.

I'll confess to having been an avid reader of Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing and I bought Gretchen Hirsch's Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing when it came out, but I've since resold it.  There were a lot of things I liked about it: She did a pretty good job of explaining not just what one should do in a given sewing situation, but why one should do it, and I liked that the pattern instructions highlighted key skills at the beginning.  However, I (fussily) didn't care for the bloggy, unprofessional, tone of the writing, and I thought there were some inconsistencies.  I think I might have "aged out" of her intended audience a little though, skill-wise.

I got David Page Coffin's Shirtmaking on clearance (!!) at Half-Price Books last fall.  I have not actually read it through yet but it taught me to do shirt-style sleeve plackets, and for that alone it was worth whatever pittance I paid.  It has a template and three pages of instructions just for that!

Half-Price Books was also the source of Lorna Knight's Dressmaker's Technique Bible.  I don't know that it's biblical, and I'm sure it covers the same things as most other catch-all sewing books, but it's useful and has saved me many trips running into the other room to Google something.

I recently ordered Sarah Veblen's Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting.  I don't know that I expect this to completely live up to its title but it's more thorough than Fast Fit, and I do better with lots of pictures.

Amber Jean still swears by Harriet Pepin's Modern Pattern Design.  It's impossible to get but I downloaded a .pdf of it here.

Finally, I just got Winifred Aldrich's Metric Pattern Cutting for Women's Wear by inter-library loan from Baylor University, to help with a project I've had on my mind for awhile.  Yes, I'm finally dipping my toe into pattern drafting.  It was probably inevitable. We'll see how that all goes.


PepperReed said…
Yay Books!! I just got Fitting Finesse (Nancy Zieman), Fit for Real People (Pati Palmer) and Fabulous Fit (Rasband Liechty) from the library. I want to learn how to alter patterns using the pivot method vs the slash/spread method; as I really don't want to cut any vintage pattern treasures and would prefer to not copy it twice. Have fun reading!
I never cut patterns, and I never even pin vintage patterns any more. Sometimes I don't even pin new patterns. I've just decided copying is the price I pay for the end result. But do let us know what you think of the books!