I have been collecting sewing books for about 20 years. I started my collection with the Singer Sewing Library books back when there was an independent fabric store in every town! I really treasured these books and at $14.99 per book they were an added expense for a family of five with two little girls in diapers! So my titles were carefully chosen by what I felt I needed to learn at the time.
After a few years, I became a serious collector and since that time I have purchased as many sewing books as I could afford. Now years later, my sewing library is pretty extensive. Of course, there are still a few books that I want to add to my collection, but my list isn't half as long as it used to be. Besides, I am mostly collecting "vintage" sewing books now...y'know books written in the 40s, 50s and 60s.
Here are my top 10 favorite sewing books:
1. Vogue/Butterick Step by Step Guide to Sewing Techniques
2. The Busy Woman's Sewing Book by Nancy Zieman published in 1988 by Open Chain Publishing.
3. The Complete Book of Sewing Short Cuts by Claire Schaeffer published in 1981 by Sterling Publishing.
4. Mother Pletsch's Painless Sewing by Pati Palmer & Susan Pletsch published in 1975 by Palmer/Pletsch Associates.
5. Clothes Sense - Straight Talk About Wardrobe Planning by Barbara Weiland & Leslie Wood published in 1974 by Palmer/Pletsch Associates.
6. More Power Sewing (the original version) by Sandra Betzina published in 1990 by Sandra Betzina.
The next few books are series and I have listed the books in the series that I own.
7. The Singer Sewing Library
~101 Sewing Secrets
~Color & Design on Fabric
~Creative Sewing Ideas
~Sewing for Special Occasions
~Sewing for Style
~Sewing Specialty Fabrics
~Sewing with an Overlocker
~Sewing Update No. 2
~The Perfect Fit
8. The Taunton Sewing Library
~Easy Guide to Sewing Skirts by Marcy Tilton published in 1985
~Easy Guide to Sewing Jackets by Cecelia Podolak published in 1995
~Easy Guide to Sewing Blouses by Connie Long published in 1997
~Easy Guide to Sewing Linings by Connie Long published in 1998
~Easy Guide to Sewing Pants by Lynn MacIntyre published in 1998
~Easy Guide to Sewing Tops & T-shirts by Marcy Tilton published in 1998
9. Weekend Sewers Guide Series by Kate Mathews and published by Lark Publishing
~Weekend Sewers Guide to Sewing Dresses published in 1998
~Weekend Sewers Guide to Sewing Blouses published in 1998
~Weekend Sewers Guide to Sewing Pants and Skirts published in 1998
There is a fourth book on jackets but it is not a favorite like the other three. I did buy it to complete the set but rarely refer to it, preferring the Cecelia Podolak book from Threads more.
And the final book is:
10. Decorative Dressmaking by Sue Thompson published in 1985 by Rodale Press.
Over the next few weeks, I will "chat" about these books explaining why I like them so much and why I think they are must haves when building a sewing library...which by the way, I believe all sewists should have.
I would like to tell you a little about the last book on my last "Decorative Dressmaking" because this is one awesome book! This book is out of print and a little difficult to locate and obtain. If anyone has a copy and loves it as much as I do please let me know!
The blurb on the back of the book says:
"In the 1920s and 1930s, dressmaking was still an art. Beautiful fabrics were cut into intricate shapes with clever hand-detailing; now the clothes are avidly collected for occasional party dresses and musuem display. Unhappily, the skills and experience of the dressmakers has vanished along with their fragile silks. But Decorative Dressmaking is your chance to change all that, to bring a fresh, new approach to traditional techniques, while making yourself a complete wardrobe! Each chapter concentrates on a classic form of decoration. Clear text, bright drawings and photographs, with suggestions and sketches for inspiration, tell you how to make your flounces whirl, topstitch a classic suit, pipe a fine seam, applique a skirt, band a trouser suit, pleat a ruffle, ruffle a ruched dress and open-stitch a jacket...Decorative Dressmaking has been made with care and love for everyone who loves fine clothes."
And that about sums the book up in a nutshell.
Here are a few pages to show you what's happening inside.
I love this book because of the way it breaks down how to use a pleat, a flounce, interesting places to put piping and for a person who loves trim as much as I do ~ it is the dream book. Now this is not a "how to learn to sew" book but a how-to decorate your clothing and use your fabric in extraordinary ways book. If you ever get a chance to get your hands on a copy of this book, buy it! You will be glad that you did!
Finally a few sources that I use for finding out of print books:
Please feel free to share any other sources and to let me know about your favorite sewing book!