Thursday, July 31, 2014

Read All About It

''What is the point of a book', thought Alice 'without pictures or conversations?' - Lewis Caroll 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland'

Well my dear Alice, for learning how to sew! Over the past couple of years I've found so many books and magazines that have given me inspiration and guidance for sewing as well as allowing me to see other people's takes on projects. 

1. Sew Magazine
This is a fantastic monthly magazine that covers everything from clothes to homewares. This is a monthly favourite for me and I count down the days to the next issue coming out (8th August if you're wondering). Each issue usually comes with a useful free gift such as a sewing pattern or a fat quarter of fabric with a project card to give you some inspiration for what to do with it! They also use an awful lot of projects from 'The Great British Sewing Bee' TV show and book. If you've been sewing for decades or if you only picked up your needle and thread last week this magazine is really for you.

2. Mollie Makes
I've only ever picked up this magazine once but if I can find it again it's definitely a must have. If you're less keen on making your pieces from scratch but love the idea of upcycling and customising then this might appeal to you more. It's slightly more expensive than Sew Magazine at around £7 per issue but it's very well produced with beautiful photography and editing. If you feel that it's a wee bit expensive they have a website and are on twitter and pinterest. I like the fact that they are so accessible online and that you can get hold of all of the templates online.

3. Love Sewing
Again I've only picked this one up once but it's another fantastic read. It's very similar to Sew Magazine in terms of some of the projects and the inspiration that they gather from the Sewing Bee. I really like the fact that they use Indie sewing pattern companies for their free gifts instead of the bigger companies as it gives you the chance to discover some interesting ideas and projects that are often based on more vintage designs. To be honest I wouldn't say that you need to pick up this as well as Sew Magaine, they are incredibly similar.

4. Dressmaking by Alison Smith
This book is brought to you by the ever reliable DK. This lists everything from basic sewing techniques through to basic and highly adaptable projects for clothing. In terms of focus this is definitely making women's clothing from scratch. It gives both hand and sewing machine techniques and fantastic clear picture instructions. The only problem is that you have to draft the patterns for the projects yourself which if you've never done can be a bit of a challenge. I would say that for basic techniques this is fabulous for beginners and for projects it's great for slightly more advanced sewers.

5. 'The Great British Sewing Bee' Books - Series 1 and 2
Ok, so I love The Great British Sewing Bee. During the last series I locked myself away on a Tuesday evening with hot chocolate and a notebook and would not be disturbed until it was over. That's devotion. My flatmates thought I was weird as hell. I have no shame. The books that accompany each series are very different. Both include projects that are made on the show but the Series 2 book is split very cleverly into 3 key aspects of dressmaking. The first book comes with one pattern for a tunic whereas the second book includes a folder which includes patterns for all of the projects in the book. Reviews for these books on amazon do point out that there are inaccuracies so make sure that you read all of the instructions really carefully before you begin.

6. The Vogue Sewing Book
There are many different editions of this book and the most recent I could find was 2001. However, the edition I have is actually from 1978! This covers absolutely everything from techniques and styles right through to how to remove stains from different fabrics. This book is a really fantastic edition to every sewer's library!

7. The Liberty Book of Simple Sewing
This pretty book is full of super easy projects for beginners! Lots of homewares and accessories with the occasional piece of clothing thrown in. Of course they show them being made in beautiful Liberty Tana Lawn but you could easily find any fabric that you liked. The patterns and templates are all drafted in the back of the book but you'll need to enlarge them on a photocopier. Definitely a good book for those who want to boost their sewing confidence!

So if you want to start sewing but don't know where to begin here's some possibilities for inspiration! Youtube is also a fantastic source for instructions on sewing that are visual and easy to follow. Professor Pincushion is particularly good!

Happy Stitching


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