Book Reviews

I love books and have about a zillion. Since I’ve started sewing I’ve added a lot of new books to my collection. On this page you will find comments about books I haven’t blogged about as well as links to the reviews I have blogged about. Books with 3 hearts are the ones I use a lot, 2 hearts indicate books which are useful but not very comprehensive and 1 heart indicates books I don’t use very often.

I’d love to hear from you if you have any comments on these reviews or if you have any books that you find invaluable.

Fitting books

    • ♥♥♥ The Best of Threads: Fitting.  This e-book contains a number of previously published articles on fitting.  In general it takes a slightly different tack from the other books in that it is less about the adjustments you need to make for particular issues and more about how to go about fitting in the first place.
    • ♥ Fit for Real People by Patti Palmer and Marta Alto. Personally I find the tissue fitting techniques talked about in this book too complicated but I know others swear by them

General Sewing Manuals

    • ♥♥ Dressmaking Made Easy by Laura Baldt. My review is here. A 1920’s sewing manual published by the McCall company. This is a beautiful little book with lovely covers and illustrations. The instructions are clear and as techniques have not really changed much over the years surprisingly relevant to the modern sewer.
    • ♥ Colette Sewing Handbook by Sarai Mitnick A useful book for beginners, has a good chapter on fitting (see above) but apart from that doesn’t get used much. The patterns that come with it aren’t really my style.
    • ♥♥ Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing by Gretchen Hirsch.  This book is rather better than most general sewing manuals and covers some couture techniques that others miss.  I haven’t made up any of the patterns at the back of the book but there are several that are interesting.
    • ♥♥ The Great British Sewing Bee by Tessa Eveleigh.  This is a spin off from the television series and is a good basic book.  The patterns at the back are include household items as well as garments, they range from very simple projects such as a laundry bag to quite complex items (hacking jacket).

Pattern Making

Books about customising patterns to make your own style

  • ♥ Built by Wendy Dresses  This book contains patterns for three basic dresses (sheath dress, shift dress and dirndl dress) and explains how you can modify each one to achieve a number of different styles.  I didn’t like the illustrations in this book and found it frustrating that there were not better pictures or photographs of each of the dresses.
  • ♥ The Burda Style Sewing Handbook by Nora Abousteit with Alison Kelly like the built by Wendy book, this books strength is the way it demonstrates that with one basic pattern you can make numerous different garments.  Each of the patterns has been given to a number of home sewers who have chopped and changed the basic pattern to make up a version in their style. It’s interesting to see how different each of the variations is but I haven’t really found any of the garments inspiring.

Other books

  • ♥♥♥ Sew U Home Stretch by Wendy Mullin – a great book to get you started on using knit fabrics.  My review of it is here
  • Merchants and Mills Sewing Book – terrible photos in this book which really don’t do justice to the patterns .  Ruth has made some fabulous clothes from it.

My wish list:

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