Saturday, March 1, 2008

Ex Libris Elaray

Recently, I've added three books to my sewing library. These are not new publications. All were published in the mid 90s. (Isn't anybody writing sewing books anymore?) Although the information is not new, these books of full of techniques that really should be routine to me.

Beyond The Pattern is a compilation of articles from Threads Magazine when it was in it's glory days. The articles cover basic sewing techniques, like easing a sleeve cap and binding with bias, but they provide information that isn't included on pattern instruction sheets. Some of the articles are dated (like "Introducing the Rotary Cutter) but all contain useful information. Since I don't have an archive of Threads Magazine from the beginning, I'm trying to collect all of the titles from this series.

I like the Sewing Companion Library/Easy Guide series because they go into depth on the construction of a single category of garments. This series could be used as texts for sewing courses. If someone is just learning to sew, this book, and all the Sewing Companion Library, is great because it covers techniques that are usually not in most "learn to sew" level books. If I'd had these books when I was learning to sew, techniques like stabilizing seam allowances before installing zippers would be second nature to me and not something I need to be reminded to do.

Sewing Tips & Trade Secrets is full of techniques to improve sewing. The tips are conveniently arranged into chapters/categories, e.g. Patterns, Tools, Pressing etc. A chapter on hand-stitching is included and I want to improve my hand sewing so I'm paying particular attention to this chapter. The information is presented in tip format - often less than 5 sentences - so this book is great to take along as something quick to read while waiting.

None of these books contain new, earth-shattering information. I should be using many of the techniques anyway, but I have become to lazy rushed to do. Now that I'm trying to adopt the "slow sewing" mindset, these books remind me of techniques that improve the "value" of the clothing I make.


  1. I have all of these books but really love the Taunton skirts book! You will find that they are all great additions to your sewing library.

  2. I love the Easy Guide series. I have them all and use them often. Great idea to use them as text for sewing courses.