Thursday, July 10, 2014

Do you Google?

Or more specifically, do you google requests for sewing techniques?  I'm wondering because I read someone's opinion specifically asking why do we need more beginner sewing books when you can google most beginner sewing techniques.  Also, you can take beginning sewing classes on Craftsy or PatternReview.  So do you google them ~ sewing techniques?

And while we're on the subject of sewing books - how many of us actually collect them and form our own sewing library?  If you do, what kind of books do you collect?  Do you think it's time that publishers of sewing books go to the next level and offer more intermediate or advanced sewing books?  What techniques would you want to see covered in these books?

In this instance I think I'm kinda lucky that I started to sew before the advent of the internet because I have a collection of sewing books both new, vintage and reference that I have studied and can look to when needed.  I do think to turn to them first...just habit.  However, when I write a post about something I always include some internet references because "googling" just seems to be the thing these days.

So if you google exactly what do you google?  And if you have a sewing library, what is the most important book(s) in your sewing library that you'd recommend to a new collector?  Finally, if you've recently started sewing, like in the last 5-7 years, what kind of sewing information are you looking for and how to you want to receive it?

These are my questions of the day.  So talk to me people, I'm really interested!

...as always more later!


81 comments:

  1. I started sewing for myself seriously about 6 years ago. Being a keen reader, I've accumulated quite a few sewing books. The three I turn to most with regard to sewing techniques are:
    The Readers Digest Complete Guide to Sewing - as the name says, it's complete. I've only rarely found this book to come up short on instructions.
    The Sewing Answer Book by Barbara Weiland Talbert - a small handbook that sits at my elbow whilst sewing. It too is pretty comprehensive and clearly written.
    Couture Sewing Techniques - mostly for sewing geek interest, as most of what I sew lies at the casual end of the spectrum.
    Sometimes one reference is not enough, especially if I'm attempting something new-to-me. I find I'll cross reference techniques across all three, then look up Google to confirm and see if there is any other way of doing something. I often come up with my own mash-up methods of executing certain techniques. Whatever works!

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  2. I google frequently. I love the immediacy of the results and how I can see many different versions so I can almost always find something in a form that makes sense to me. Also, though I'm a reader, I'm terrible at reading through directions. I like the bulletin point approach. Super detailed directions to simple techniques turn me off. As I expand my skills maybe this will change but as I master the basics, the internet is fantastic.

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  3. I do google techniques, but I also collect books and refer to them all the time. The ones I turn to most have to do with fitting. Great question! g

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  4. I occasionally Google for specific items, but like you, I started sewing before the internet. And I have the reference library to prove it! Including some books where I have two releases - and I kept both.

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  5. I absolutely google techniques. Like you, I have sewing books from way back, but I don't use most of them. I haven't bought a sewing book in awhile, though I did buy a pattern drafting book fairly recently. I guess I am more interesting in buying inspiration books. For example, I want the Charles James book from the recent Met exhibit.

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    1. Shams - you've got to get the Charles James book. I bought mine from Amazon and when it arrived I spent the afternoon drooling over it. It is amazing!

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  6. I often Google as I'm yet to find a book with more advanced techniques - adding piping to seams, lapped and hand picked zippers, bound buttonholes, boning, etc. Sometimes one will pop up in a book, but I'm ready for that book for intermediate sewers. I've just acquired the readers digest from the 70s and haven't looked at it properly yet - maybe it's the book I've been looking for?
    It's also good to Google as you can see the same technique from different points of views and with different "tricks" to get a good result.

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    1. Jodie - I have a great book for you, Adele Margolis authored a book called, Fashion Sewing for Everyone. It's a "vintage" sewing book but it has a lot of what you're looking for. There are some available on Amazon - if you want to add an amazing sewing resource to your library.

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    2. Ooh thank you I'll look it up! :)

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  7. I just did an internet search for images to help a friend locate the shut off valve for her water heater, but I don't look for sewing techniques.I'm a book gal at heart. Sarah Veblen's Visual Fitting is my new favorite book, while I refer to Power Sewing and Couture Sew Tech all the time for tech.

    I drooly want the Charles James book. I usually have one of those books on the nightstand, just for dreaming.

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  8. I google almost every new technique that I try. I rarely look at books or buy books. One of my favourite book references though, is a vintage Readers Digest complete guide to sewing. Very handy.

    I agree that most beginner sewing books are not very useful, but the pictures are often pretty and inspiring, which some people need. I'm also not confident that every beginning sewer knows to look online for tutorials. I know a few friends who are new to knitting that never thought to learn a stitch via online tutorials and videos.

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  9. Google is great when you run into something you've never done before and you want an answer NOW. But I also find that the top rated results are often not the best tutorials, especially the more general your search is.

    For example... maybe a year ago I remember googling "tips for sewing leather" and the top result was a very popular craft blog with, um, not the most refined techniques. But I think it was a very popular blog because they put up posts every day with professional looking photos. I remember one of the leather tips was "test using pins first to see if they leave holes". I'd never sewn on leather before, but it was still pretty obvious to me that pins would leave holes. DUH! In general, I get kind of annoyed with people who've done something once posting a tutorial on it. Unless it really is something that it is hard to find a good tutorial on.

    I collect books that dive deep into one topic and cover it well, but I've gotten burned out on the sewing books that claim to cover it all because they all seem to give the same tips. It seems like every few months a popular blogger comes out with a beginners sewing book... I guess they must sell well, but how many books on how to read a pattern and choose fabric do we need?

    I've been looking for a good tutorial on bagging a lined jacket, if anyone has one.

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    1. Sandra Betzina's, Power Sewing, is where I learned how to bag a lining. And actually it was her VHS tape probably now a DVD that taught me. Check out her website, Power Sewing, I'm sure there is something there that can help you.

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    2. this really helped it click for me

      http://grainlinestudio.com/2012/01/09/sewing-tutorial-how-to-bag-a-jacket-lining/

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  10. I google lots too. Also, because I live in South Africa, there are hardly any sewing books published. So you have to order them from overseas which is Very Expensive. I did come across Readers Digest Complete Guide to Sewing in a secondhand bookshop for $3 and boy, was that a happy day for me. So I have exactly one sewing book and use internet for the rest. I'd definitely own more books if they were readily available though. Love me a good book!

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  11. I see with Burda magazine amongst other patterns. Their instructions are quite brief and sometimes I google a particular technique.

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  12. I also have quite a 'stash' of sewing how-to books, and love each and every one. But I do prefer googling and in an instant see heaps of brilliant modern ideas ~ it's all out there ... J

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  13. I have lots of books (like you started well before the internet) but often google. It is faster than looking up the books for a technique!

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  14. I use Google a lot for sewing techniques. I am always searching for fitting techniques. My books are mainly fitting reference books. I find that I refer to the Fit For Real People series by Palmer Pletsch. I also search for other plus size bloggers to see how they address their fitting issues. I have found that the fitting books do not usually use models that are representative of the plus size sewer. I do wish that there were more books for advanced sewers. I have paid close to $100 for a fitting book that is actually a textbook. I am eyeing another advanced book but at over $1,000 on Amazon I don't think so!

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    1. This is a bit basic, but Sewing for Plus Sizes has some nice information about making pattern adjustments to sew for larger sizes that don't necessarily come in envelope patterns: http://www.amazon.com/Sewing-Plus-Sizes-Creating-Clothes/dp/1561585513

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  15. Wow! This is a topic close to my heart. I, too, wonder why there is such a proliferation of books on things that can so easily be googled. Recently I did a rather controversial post on the poor level of skill shown on blogs and websites that also sell patterns, books, and do tutorials. Many of these blogs slant toward beginning sewist/blog authors which I think is great. What I don't understand is why there are tutorials shown that are so incredibly bad when it is so easy to google something and just follow directions. It is so easy to figure out what a quality buttonhole is and how it is made. Many of these sites/blogs are written by those from a much more digitally aware generation so I am flummoxed as to why they don't do the research that is so readily available out there. Like you, Caroline, if I am going to use a technique, I get my books out, do some googling and then decide what works for me. With all the information out there we can all aspire to refining our skills. I see a lot of effort NOT being made by far too many new bloggers.

    I do have some books that I treasure. Love my Adele Margolis books. Claire Shaeffer's Fabric Guide is my go to for using the right needle, thread, stitch, etc for any fabric imaginable as well as other information For fit I love the Pivot and Slide method shown in Nancy Zieman's fitting books and refer to those all the time. For techniques, my go to, one of many, are the many issues of Threads.

    This is a great post, Carolyn, and you have asked some great questions.

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  16. Like you I started sewing many, many years ago before computers and internet. Originally my sewing books were from the Singer Sewing Library, which I have most of them still. Then Sandra Betzina produced Power Sewing and Power Sewing 2 which I immediately purchased and have acquired a few more of her books over the years and reference them frequently. The Palmer Pletsch Book-Fit for Real People is my fitting bible and have used it a lot over the years to deal with fitting issues. One other book I use a great deal is a Guide to Sewing Linings. I have several other books that get some use but not as much as those mentioned here.

    I do Google and usually directed to a blog or two/three for a specific technique. I do take advantage of the Craftsy site for classes; I do learn a few new techniques from those classes and find that I reference those classes quite a bit.

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  17. One more comment. I bookmark a lot of blog pages for helpful information and save them to a specific labeled bookmark.

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  18. Just wanted to add that I have been ordering many of the new sewing books through our library, where I work, and will do a sort of overview review of them in time. There is clearly a need for books that are simpler and clearer as far as sewing skills. Publishers would not be selling these books if there weren't a market for them. I've read a few so far and in general they are written by excited sewing enthusiasts who have been sewing a very limited amount of time but have a large blog following, not the best resume. But they seem to be beautifully photographed and artistically illustrated.Could someone do a book that shows traditional skills but in the methods the publishers are using for the newbie books? And could the author be someone who didnt' finish the dress the night before and could care less about fit? And maybe even could they iron the seams on their garments? I think the publisher who can figure this out will have a great book to sell. The only thing that comes close, imo, are some of the newer books by Nancy Zieman. They are well photographed, clear, easy to grasp, etc.

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  19. I learned to sew from scratch a couple year ago and did both - books and internet. In the beginning, I bought several books that have 'easy to sew' projects. What a waste! In theory they are good but out of 3 or 4 books, I've made maybe 2 of the projects - and that was just to start learning. You want to sew what you want - not a bunch of makeup bags! Now I don't look at them. My first stop is often blogs, followed by comprehensive reference books (I use 'The Sewing Book" and recently Colette's book on knits.) Project based books aren't as helpful. Fitting books are especially helpful.

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  20. I have a few books (both old and newer) and I have several Threads magazines that I will refer to, but I find looking for a video on YouTube really helpful. Sometimes, I need to *see* the technique actually performed before my brain *gets* what I read in one place or another

    Or, if I am having a problem specific to a pattern, I will put the pattern maker/number in Google, switch to images and nearly always find someone else who has already made the item and they usually have a blog where they describe what they did and why. (Simplicity 2766 jacket, I'm looking at you!)

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  21. I started sewing before internet but just never bought any sewing books. Now I've gotten back into sewing and will Google or YouTube any techniques I'm interested in. If I see something interesting on a blog, I'll bookmark the page.

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  22. I am an experienced sewer, but I Google sewing techniques all the time to see what pops up. II tend to look at the resulting Google images rather than web sites. Going to the site that the picture is from, can lead down so many interesting paths; tutorials, pinterest pages, designer's sites, art related sites. I also google sewing terms in foreign languages, for example "pattern drafting" and find many sites that have neat info and can be translated. I love Google! I also have a vast sewing book collection. I need something to read during the commercials of my favorite TV shows, or on car trips.

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  23. What Bunny said! I go to my trusted books first. You have to be so careful with the plethoria of awful tutorials out there. The Power Sewing Series is my go to book, and Perfect Fitting by Sarah Veblen for fitting. Also good old Fitting Finesse by Nancy Zieman, my sewing idol. Also love her 25 Best Sewing Tips, among other things.
    I follow VERY FEW blogs these days!

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  24. I started sewing two years ago, without classes or anyone to teach me. I relied (and still do) on books and web resources to guide me, although I probably lean on web resources more.

    My books are generally about fitting and intermediate or advanced techniques, but I also have some general books. I'm actually not buying any more books that begin with a diagram of a sewing machine or a picture of all the tools (seriously, I kind of figured I'd need needles, pins and a ruler), or one that shows how to pink a seam.
    My favourite books are pattern drafting textbooks.

    I'm a researcher at heart ( and by training) and so I meticulously research techniques before trying them, comparing and contrasting the information i find online and in books, and compiling my own notes on best practice. Sometimes I research too much, but I'd rather conduct informed experiments than wonder why something didn't work.

    The most valuable info for me online is discussions and photos of fitting journeys and videos demonstrating techniques, how to manipulate the fabric, drafting etc. I love the posts on this blog about comparing TNT to commercial patterns.

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  25. I learnt to sew by googling! The tutorials you can find online, and even extracts from existing textbooks are fabulous. Over the past four years (since learning to sew!) I have purchased a few books - 6 in total - 3 Susan khalje, 2 of which I have read front to back out of fascination for the couture rather than technique, 2 on drafting/patternmaking, and 1 on knits. My intentions are there to use the other books, but I just rarely do. I would take them on holidays with me to read, but otherwise I always find that I google first!

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  26. my go-tos are anything by adele margolis. i also love my pre-1970 vogue sewing book and my collection of "modern" dressmaking books from the 20s-40s. i think most "beginner" books today are missing the bits that help you take the next step. where, for example, is the truly helpful beginner tailoring book? (i am not referring to the so-called "the classic guide to sewing the perfect jacket") i'm talking about an updated, modern version of adele margolis' tailoring book! where are those books? where are the really good couture books? (call me crazy, i am NOT a claire schaeffer fan! half of her techniques always seem to go against what i've been taught by susan khalje or kenneth king) where is the really good book that includes techniques like adding structure - boning, interfacing, creating layers and engineering? i'd love to see an entry-level pattern making book. yes, i love the FIT textbook i scored, and i love to supplement it with - here she is again - adele margolis' "make your own dress patterns" - but there is room for more than one of these. how about a next-level book on knits? maybe colette patterns will take that on as their follow-up to the current release?

    all of that said, i google constantly. mostly because it gives me, at a glance, a dozen different techniques for trying something. and i am of the "it's not cheating if it works" school of sewing.

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  27. I started sewing a year ago, and I google most of the time. The books I have are from my mother. For the most part, I need an immediate answer, or I want to research the 9 different ways to finish a seam and figure out what works for me. Most books pic a couple ways of doing things or jump to projects I'm not interested in yet. So, I google and research. Granted, I've spent most of my adult life internet researching for science, so doing so for food and sewing seems like a natural step to me.

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  28. I've been reading the blog for YEARS (for real) and very rarely comment, but this topic is so interesting and close to my heart. I started sewing 15 years ago, I already had internet back then but let's say that online resources for sewing were seldom...
    Except some specialist blogs (like fashion-incubator or off the cuff), and very experienced seamstresses (like you, sunnygal studio or a newer ones such as notes from a mad housewife or Peter Lappin), I find it difficult to find quality tutorials online. I sometimes have the feeling that some bloggers each time they learn a new technique. IMO it makes no sense, as you cannot teach what you have not mastered.

    I have wide library (addicted to new releases) but my references are always the same :
    Fitting : Fitting and Pattern Alteration: A Multi-Method Approach to the Art of Style Selection, Fitting, and Alteration by Liechty
    Draping: Draping: Art and craftsmanship in fashion design (Duburg)
    Sewing: "Couture Passion" (it's French but very similar to the Reader's Digest) for the basics and to take it to the next level : Couture Sewing Techniques (Shaeffer) and Design Room Techniques (Hoffmann)
    Patternmaking: this is where I cannot narrow my choices because I need a lot of different inputs, of course there is Aldrich, the Mueller and Sohn books, Lucia Mors de Castro... But my addition to buying all the ones coming up is heavy...

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  29. I am 50 and have lots of sewing books. I especially love the vintage ones. I am disappointed by how many new sewing books are for beginners. Enough already.

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  30. I think we will always need books. Of course, I'm also a librarian, so I may be a little biased. There is a quote by the author Neil Gaiman to the effect that while Google can bring you back 100,000 answers to a question, a librarian can bring you back the right one. The same is true of books. You can't always trust what you find on the internet! I do use Google, mostly for inspiration, and to see what else is being done with this or that particular cloth, pattern, etc. But if I'm trying something new I go to books first. But because I'm a librarian, I rarely buy books anymore, mostly because I can just check them out from work! And the fact that I don't have enough room for the books I do have! Our library is starting to have a rather good collection of apparel sewing books, thanks to my requests. And sometimes a book will mention a process that I've never seen before, but won't elaborate, so I have to look it up on the internet to figure out what they are talking about.

    One reason I do have to go to the internet for answers though, is that there are very few books out there that specifically addresses sewing for plus sizes. Which is how I found your blog. And that leads me to the wonderful blogs that can be found just by googling! Seeing what others are doing inspires me to do, (or at least to want to do) more. I'm very self taught, so seeing different ways of doing certain things is good as well.

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  31. This question really had me thinking. When I first starting sewing 5 years ago I took two classes (how to use the machine & reading the pattern) from there I bought a few beginner books, which I referenced all the time for this or that. Since then I have purchased MANY more books, but in looking at them they are mostly centered around fit. I google fit all the time, I read books on fit and take every class on fit I can find. So, I guess I tend to google problems (like those v shaped drag lines in the back of my pants) and not techniques (why should I do fantastic bound seams on a jacket that I cannot move in). What has been most successful to me is a lot of blog reading, especially the plus size blogger, like yourself, that show and explain their alterations (whether they are "correct" or not). I always get a takeaway that brings me closer to the days when construction techniques will become my focus. I usually find new bloggers to follow through the side bars on the current blogs I read, which is always nice.

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  32. I am kind of old school. I have vintage and current sewing books because I like books and love holding them in my hands. I sometimes Google but not that often.

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  33. I have my first sewing books (from the 60's and 70's) and still use them! My first book is called Simplicity Sewing Book and it cost $1.00!! It says "learn to sew the fun, easy way with Simplicity's unit system of sewing. Over 200 detail photographs show how it's done. 32 full color pages of fashion inspiration". I used this book all the time and still love to look through it. I advanced from that one to the Vogue Sewing Book and have a few by Nancy Zeiman. Now I go to the library because we have a fantastic selection there. Usually I will check out a book and if I really like it (like Sewing for Plus Sizes by Barbara Deckert), I will buy it. I now mostly learn from reading blogs or if I see a post on craftgossip.com, I will pin it for inspiration. I love your blog, Carolyn, and a few more. I agree that an updated but beyond beginner book would be fabulous. Maybe one that emphasizes slow sewing (similar to the slow food movement) to get the professional results that we crave vs. the thrown together look that is mentioned above. Just because you can make something in under an hour doesn't mean you have to.... and just because you have a following on your blog does not make you an expert. Of course, I am not talking about your blog, Carolyn!! You rock!!

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  34. I buy beginner sewing books mostly for the patterns they include, like the offerings of Colette, Gertie, Made by Wendy or Tilly. I have a few vintage and modern-day sewing reference books, but they are really technical (I.E. Fit for real people).

    When I have a question, I reach for my books. Sometimes, even the books can't help me understrand a technique, so I turn to my favorite online ressources. I like the fact that I can find pretty much ANYTHING on Google on the spot, from the very basic to the more specific. When I am in the middle of a project and need an answer ASAP, that's when the online sewing community shines. I google most when I hit a snag: I try to find other bloggers who have had the same problem so I can learn from their experience. Also, as a teacher, I understand that we don't learn the same way and i'm happy for the variety the Web offers. That being said, I make an effort to look for reputable bloggers and sewists when searching for a tutorial.

    I'd love to see tried and true books be updated so they are as visually appealing as they are practical. For example, I love the Fit for real people book, but it is due for a little refresh (not just in the design department).

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  35. Books, book books. I love them and even tho I started sewing recently ( google age) I find myself always looking at print first. It's been thro a process , checked,often verified and gives me the security. Them I may search online ... Mostly just to see results of the talked teniwiques

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  36. I, too, learned to sew many, many years before the dawning of the internet. I have never used Google to look up information about sewing techniques. In fact, I use the internet to share my own sewing experiences, expertise and reviews of sewing machines - new and old on Sewing Insight.

    There was a time when I had an entire sewing library - the complete Singer Sewing Library and a myriad of other sewing books. I read all of them cover to cover, used nearly all of the ideas and adopted the techniques and incorporated them in my own sewing practice. After a while, however, I decided that others could benefit from my collection and donated the majority of my sewing and craft books to the local school system. I also gave some of them to friends and relatives who I knew were interested in particular types of sewing. For instance, I gave a book on window treatments to a relative who had recently purchased a new home. I kept some... those that I particularly liked and others that I thought I would want to use for future reference. They include books on couture techniques, a book on making hats, one on working with leather and suede and the like.

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  37. I just googled how to sew a flat fly front. I'm not a good reader of instructions--I prefer looking at pictures. So for me being able to watch a video is wonderful.

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  38. I recently started sewing and use google a great deal. But I always consult my books first. My art school days have given me an appreciation for paper and the tactile quality of materials (which is probably why I love sewing), which means I love books. I only go to google for videos that demonstrate the techniques in the books I have. I use the internet (pinterest and google) for inspiration.

    Books I recommend:
    Claire Shaeffer's Fabric Sewing Guide- I use this book every time I buy fabric I've never sewn before.

    Palmer and Alto's Fit for Real People and Pants for Real people- They really help me to make pattern adjustments to Big Four patterns that never seem to fit.

    Threads Magazine- I always find an interesting article that either gives me inspiration or teachers me a technique I didn't know.

    Other books I have: Threads Sewing Guide, A guide to Fashion Sewing by Amaden-Craford, Colette Guide to Sewing Knits, The Complete book of Sewing Greystone publishing, The costume Technician's Handbook by Ingham and Covey, High Fashion Sewing Secrets by Claire Shaeffer.

    I would love to learn more couture and advance techniques but I need to master the basics first.

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  39. I "google" some techniques for sewing 1:6 doll clothes, youtube when I need to actually see the techniques but my books are always my reference. I learned to sew before internet too so it good to have my own "library". I do love Threads magazine for the inspiration too, especially with teaching myself.

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  40. I'm guilty of Googling...everything. It's so easy to find the answers I'm looking for. Plus, I typically get multiple methods of completing a skill in a single search, which makes turning to the internet an even more attractive option.

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  41. What a timely post! I'm working on a jacket (Vogue 8916) for my Mom. I already made a wearable muslin using this pattern and instructions but I'm doing things differently this time around. I'm using horsehair interfacing and underlining the pattern pieces with silk organza. These things are not listed in the pattern instructions, I saw the difference these techniques (and using a different interfacing) make when working on a vintage patterns like Sybil Connolly's dress a few months ago. I often wonder if google and contemporary pattern cater to the get-it-done-as-easily-and-quickly-as-possible culture that we live in rather than catering to a beginner?

    But I have to admit that I prefer the results that the time-consuming techniques found in vintage patterns. And this would be my valuable reference source.

    I do on occasion google when I am writing a blog post so that I can include a link. My sewing bible for years has been a 1980s copy of Vogue Sewing and I also refer to my copy of Reader's Digest Sewing. Other books relate to a specific project I want to work on (Chanel style jacket) and fitting issues. I do have the Pattern Magic books but will admit that they are collecting dust. My bad.

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  42. What about Pinterest? Forget Google, pins are faster. It is still the same stuff that you would find on Google, but less searching for good visuals. I collect them on my boards just in case, but I think the internet is a hit or a miss for techniques. I agree with what a previous commenter mentioned that the techniques that show up online are not always properly vetted. The author just figured it out and voila! that is how it's done. A technique can be done different ways. It is about what makes sense to you. It's hard to say there is a definitive source.
    That said, I have a library which I very rarely use because the only book I refer to is the Reader's Digest Guide to Sewing. Clearly put, good illustrations, straight to the point.
    Got my Charles Jame book- Love it!

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  43. I find that the new sewing books on the market are extremely frustrating. I learned all of the skills in these books in high school. I have been sewing for 20 years for pete's sake! I don't need to know how to make a pillow case.

    But what lights a fire under my bum is the fact that when I did want to research good sewing books, older more advanced books, I went to my Local Library. I remember going there with my mother and grandmother to find books when they were sewing and crafting.

    THE BOOKS ARE GONE. ALL GONE.

    I clearly remember shelves filled with advanced knitting crocheting and sewing books. At least 20 books in fitting and couture techniques. Books on Historical sewing, advanced knitting, knot work, embroidery, everything. Just Gone.

    Instead there was maybe 15 books, all new titles (past 10 years), all beginner stuff.

    I almost broke down and cried.

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    1. As mentioned, I work in a library. We have to constantly cull our shelves for new acquisitions. This is done by checking a computer printout of how often the book was checked out and when the last checkout was. Unfortunately, this is how some books individuals find personally wonderful get culled from the total. That being said, Library Directors are very in tune with patron requests and rely on them to know how to spend their budgets.Speak to your director and ask her for more sewing books. Better yet, give her an actual list. I am pretty sure she will listen and more than likely accommodate your wishes. Certainly, there may be budget restraints but if you are going in the library to get specific books and have gone to the trouble of requesting them from the director, you stand a much better chance than the fisherman who says they don't have enough fishing books but never speaks up.

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    2. Also, don't fail to look into interlibrary loans. That's how I get most of the new books to read and review . Rarely do they merit buying for the library, unfortunately.

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    3. Public libraries cull their shelves every year, on a continuing basis. The criteria most often used is frequency of check-out. So, all the patrons who pop into the library, pull a book off a shelf and do their research while still in the library, without checking out the book and taking it home, are out of luck if their favorite volume is weeded out and discarded. When I worked at an information desk, sometimes I would weed the shelves then check out books that I was afraid would disappear, just so they'd have a check-out history.

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  44. I've only been sewing for about 5 years (definitely in the google age), but I still buy a lot of sewing books. Although my first instinct is to google something, I typically find better results in one of my books than I do online. My problem is that I haven't had time to read them all, so I don't always know the best/fastest way to find what I am looking for. I am a bit sad that so many of the current books are geared towards beginners - I only need so many books highlighting the parts of a sewing machine and types of needles - and I wish there were more books about historical sewing techniques, modern RTW sewing techniques, and the history of fashion. I also wish I could find more books about fit and pattern drafting/draping/clothing alterations. I feel like many of the books in these categories are written as textbooks and at a price point that isn't entirely reasonable for the home sewer. My favorite books tend to be by Betzina and Schaeffer, though I also like a lot of the Singer Sewing Library books that I have collected over the years.

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  45. I love sewing books - I guess they are also like cookbooks or gardening books, whatever is your interest you can find plenty to entertain and learn from in a specific book. I don't google much for sewing methods or techniques, although sometimes I see how somebody did a technique and make a mental note for future reference.
    My favorite sewing books by a long shot are the Singer sewing series, they are maybe 10 - 20 years old but I think they continue to reprint. Large format but thin paperbacks that cover everything you could think of . The photos are really great and the instructions are super clear. I particularly like the Sewing for the Home one - suprising how many times I have dipped into that when making curtains, pillows etc. The Tailoring one is fantastic, and they have a few like Sewing for Style where there are lots of great ideas. I also think the Power Sewing books by Sandra Betzina have tons of good info, for fitting I swear by Palmer and Pletsch or Sara Veblen pattern fitting. Lynda Maynard has a great book for techniques. The Vogue sewing books are good for general reference. And Threads magazine ! every month I learn something to add to my skill set. Yeah for books!

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  46. I have books that I do read but when I want to try something new I google - specifically YouTube because I often find it hard to follow in drawings where I learn faster and better if I can see it happening.

    Just yesterday I googled a YouTube video on how to sew in seam pockets because - gulp - I am about to sew my first pockets. Can you remember your first pockets Carolyn?

    It was a great video on FashionSewingBlogTV and was very easy to see what to do.

    I do still do love to pour over a book - but the go to for me is YouTube.

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  47. You know, I use every resource available at my disposal! Whether it's a book, Google, a blog that I recall with a tutorial, Craftsy, you name it. I do like to have a collection of books, because sometimes all the information available on the Internet does not answer a question to my liking that I might find in a book - especially when it comes to couture techniques. My first go-to source is always my Vogue Sewing book. After that, the book/website/blog I use depends on what I am looking to achieve.

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  48. I am an avid Google user, especially when it comes to sewing techniques, but I still value my books.

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  49. I do a lot of learning "on the go" leaving precious free time to sewing, though I do prefer books and have quite a library from 1940's edition of Modern Pattern Design by Harriet Pepin to the latest Coletterie book. I can't help it, I have a curious mind that never stops thinking about sewing. Google (and I do use this term loosely since I utilize all resources mentioned by others such as Pinterest, Craftsy, Burdastyle, etc) is easily accessible via Smart Phone or on the work computer at lunch, so I never have to stop learning and dreaming. I do appreciate couture techniques while I find current blogs entertaining and deserving their place. I think that personal preference should not mean exclusion of other choices. And it is also important to remember that there are new generations who have to see the magic of making before they can learn appreciation of craft. New sewing blogs are within reach for someone who is not ready to commit to often pricey classes and books. They also make it seem like if I can do it, you can do it too! And sometimes that is the step that starts a lifelong adventure. If one tutorial, as imperfect as it is, can teach one seamstress a step she was missing and get another thinking that she can try a technique she was afraid to try before, don't you think it is worth the effort of posting? I read blogs not because I look for perfection, sometimes I come across interesting ideas or great references. I love the sense of community, sharing and constant growing, not to mention that you can learn from anyone in the world this way!

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  50. I Google, although it tends to be things related to specific patterns. Like if I run into a tough spot, and I'm wondering if I can find a tutorial to help me get past it, or if someone else ran into it, too. I do have a sewing library, of about 15 or so books. Some pattern making, some inspiration, some basic references that are always good like Fit for Real People and Reader's Digest Guide to Sewing.

    I would love more advanced books. I wonder if there are particularly good ones on tailoring already? That's the area I'd like to learn more about next. And I'd love to get the Bridal couture book, even if I'm not sewing a wedding dress just to learn some of those techniques for party dresses and the like, but it's so expensive!

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    1. Look for anything by Norah Waugh. She did a series of books on men's and women's tailoring, based on Victorian methods. Very approachable, and very comprehensive. Also she has one on underwear (petticoats, corsets, etc.) that it took all my virtue not to steal from my college costume shop.

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  51. So many great thoughts and answers here!

    I started sewing over 30 years ago as a wee girl with my mother and grandmother. Tim Berners-Lee might have had the initial thoughts of something internet-like but it would have been all conceptual. Knowledge came in person or by book.

    For myself, I love books as resources and videos are often extremely useful too. I taught myself to crochet entirely from youtube videos, but I love the Singer reference books, and have a small library of about 30 books from different series and authors. Every time I visit my BFF (who lives in another city) I spend a day picking over her sewing library and reading the new books that she's purchased since last time I visited.

    Why do people want books so much when there is so much available, usually for free, on the internet? For a lot of people it's the authority that a published book appears to have. But greater than that, there is the value proposition that comes with expense. It's a very real phenomenon and is used to great effect across sales and marketing in all industries and, simply put, it says that the more a thing costs, the more likely the perception is that it is of high quality. Now we all know that's not always the case, but we've also all heard the saying "you get what you pay for".

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  52. I am definitely thankful to have the internet to access all sorts of sewing inspiration and goodness with plenty of images to help out, but I definitely prefer a beautiful old sewing book. That being said, I tend to get distracted by all the other stuff in the book, so perhaps I should just stick with a quick googling. Case in point, when I pick up a new-to-me book, I ready the darn thing cover to cover like a novel . . . I just love that there are so many different ways to create a garment – it’s fascinating!!

    I have been thinking quite a bit lately about the massive amount of new books/patterns focused on beginners. This is great in some ways, especially if it gets more people involved in sewing, but I really am longing for more in-depth and challenging stuff to be released. It seems like a bunch of those newbies should be ready for intermediate or even difficult project now that a few years have passed . . .

    Until then, I will devour as many couture technique books as I can get my hands on!

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  53. I google - and use youtube a lot. I started sewing seriously about 4 years ago and I have learnt most things from indie patterns (very good and offen illustrated guidelines) and from other sewing blogs. I'm a visual learner when it regards sewing, som I really like to see it done and here youtube videos are great. I learned how to use my serger on youtube and recently I made weltpockets after having watched it done a few times on youtube. I own a few sewingbooks as well but a lot of them are too basic. Last weekend I found some vintage sewingbooks in a secondhand store - they are fare better than the new one I've bought because they are more ambitious about sewing skills.

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  54. I have always loved books and now have quite a selection of sewing books that I have seen recommended - many of them'vintage'. I'm a beginner at garment sewing but did sew curtains etc. I majored in science and that left the sewing side totally neglected. I particularly value some of the pattern drafting, altering and firing books I have. They've all been mentioned earlier. I've bought a few of the newer books too but agree that we need a step up to the next level. I'm very much pre-Internet and am perhaps not so completely comfortable as younger users; I am computer literate, though. I do Google but feel that the results can be hitty missy though I've come across some really good ones. I like a You Tube video as sometimes that's the nearest to having someone demonstrate to you. I've enjoyed some on line classes but haven't found them all useful. I also enjoy some bloggers and have my own blog (sewanneuk.blogspot.co.uk), which is to help me chart my progress and which I think I should use more to help me remember how I achieved a particular result. And I'm very lucky that I have found a local sewing class where I can ask about specific techniques. So any available resource, but I love my books!

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  55. I like books. I can set them at the machine and write in them if I need to. They don't disappear when people delete or make their blogs private. I don't have nearly as many distractions as I do when googling, or decisions in if it's a good tutorial or not. Our local library has exactly zero books of any level on sewing or needlework, unless they've added the ones I culled from my personal library. Interlibrary loan is good IF you know what you're looking for. I'm also disappointed in most current book offerings. While the photos are much prettier, they often leave out some wonderful information. There have been some nice ones, like Pattern Magic, and anything by Kenneth King, Claire Schaeffer, Sandra Betzina, etc. Otherwise, most of my most useful books are vintage. And I'd buy a coverstitch book in a heartbeat if one came out.

    I do like well-done video tutorials for things that are hard to describe in words or a few pictures, like bagging linings, knitting, spinning.

    In short - books for their permanence on my shelf and wonderful older techniques often left out of new books, on-line tutorials for things involving new fabrics/notions/unclear pattern instructions, video for things involving actions that aren't easily shown in a few photos or in words.

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  56. I'm normally a book person-I love to read. However, I am a hands on and visual learner. I have a small collection of sewing books, purchased as a result of a suggestion by one of the Craftsy instructors. I wished I had saved my money. They hold invaluable information, I'm sure, but I prefer dvds (I own several), youtube videos and internet tutorials. I also subscribe to the e-edition of Threads. If I purchase any instructionals in the future, it won't be a book.

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  57. Grew up with books, so that's the first thing I go for. Plus, what if you are sewing somewhere with no access to a computer? or a cellphone? or electricity? I'd recommend anything by Adele Margolis (oop, but readily available used ... and I think Dover Books have done a reprint). Any 1970s books on sewing knits have comprehensive instructions for a great many techniques that translate well to wovens. And Gertie's book.

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    1. Oh oh oh, and Janet Arnold's books on historical fashion -- she went to the Victoria & Albert Museum and sketched from actual garments, 1500s-1930s, there are four volumes -- have amazing information in them. There are some accessories in there, too. V. useful for costumers, and for tailors.

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  58. I learned to sew, taught by my mom...via the Bishop Method! Late 50's and 60's almost everyone was taught Bishop! First the importance of Grainline!!! Then unit construction!
    The first makes were torn, not cut, in order to really "get" the grainline importance! There needs to be a new edition of that book!

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    1. Denise - I have two of the Bishop books and they are treasured resources. It's amazing how much information is contained in those slim volumes!

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  59. I google but I also use my sewing library extensively to learn from. My two favorite sewing resources are amongst my oldest books. The Vogue Book of Sewing Copyright 1975 and Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing copyright 1976. I like both of these books because of there complete often step by step instructions of how to do something. I have other resources in my library too that get used often. I love that there are places to take classes or learn a new technic well someone is showing you in tutorials and on youtube.Personally it's good to have many choices in our sewing tool kit. I would love to see publishers move into having more advanced and intermediate sewing books.

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  60. I am a googlista...I have acquired several sewing reference books which I keep close, but my cell phone is closer and go for that first. Just today I was googling collar and collar stand application.

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  61. Depending on my mood I either google for sewing techniques and or look through my pile of sewing reference books. I am a very visual learner so seeing a technique done on you tube can cause me to have an aha moment. I'm also know about enough about sewing to recognize if the you tube technique is worth my while. I won't deny that I have been known to take a sewing reference book to bed with me.

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  62. Interesting! Every sewing technique I know I have learnt from reading pattern instructions, before Google even existed! Even now though I would tend to have a look through my patterns before thinking about switching on my computer. The only sewing books I have are the Pattern Magic series by Tomoko Nakamichi, which don't have anything about techniques either, you're supposed to know it already! but are all about fabric and pattern manipulation; I love them and have learnt a lot from them about the mechanics of transforming a flat 2D piece of fabric into a visualised 3D design.

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  63. Ooh! I'm in the 5-7 year bracket of sewists since I bought my first sm in 2008.

    I guess I am driven by convenience. If I'm thinking/plotting a sewing project while in front of a computer, then I google first. If I'm in the craft lounge or not at my desk/laptop, I turn to my books. I am VERY selective about on line sources, and often what I do is find what book someone references for where they learned a technique and hope i have it in my library or can find the technique or tutorial on Threads, Craftsy (depending on teacher) or a source that has been professionally vetted.

    Aside from a few general books, my sewing library tends to have more specialized/specific topics - sewing on leather, sewing on knits, tailoring, lining, lingerie, corsetry, etc, etc. My book buying habit tends to be specific to what I am planning on sewing and my anticipated learning needs for that project. So, there are definitely holes in my collection. But I find that I get the more in-depth information and better techniques for a given project when I buy this way.

    One of the books that I use and wish was about twice as long and perhaps differently organized is The Dressmakers Handbook of Couture Sewing Techniques by Lynda Maynard. I view it as a selection of better/intermediate techniques that are really well explained and photographed - for example, she has instructions on a piped shirt cuff and a boned shirt cuff, but not a best technique for sewing a plain shirt cuff; neckline finishes are covered pretty exhaustively, but there is only one zipper technique. I get that what she was doing was covering her list of best couture techniques only, but I wish that LM would expand the book so that it was more broadly a best techniques from intermediate to couture. It seems like there is a hole in the market for those of us who are not beginners but who don't want to make every garment a couture masterpiece.

    Hope you are having a great weekend!

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  64. I have been collecting sewing books/videos/DVDs over the past 20+ years. I have close to 200 in my collection. The 3 books that I turn to the most are "Couture Sewing Techniques" by Claire Shaeffer, "Fit for Real People" by Pati Palmer/Marla Alto, and "The Fabric Sewing Guide" by Claire Shaeffer. They are usually very close to my sewing cabinet and I refer to them often.

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  65. By the way, the oldest sewing books that I have are a series of books (13) from the Women's Institute of Domestic Arts and Science in Scranton, PA. My husband's grandmother (hubby is 71) took a sewing correspondence course in 1910 and these were her textbooks complete with patterns. I also have some Singer Sewing books dated 1915 from Mary Brooks Pickens who wrote the first Singer sewing manual. Also have some from the 1930's and 1940's that my late mother-in-law gave me when she went into a nursing home back in 2001. I love all of my books and continue to order more.

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    1. Love Mary Brooks Pickens - I only own one book of her's because I've wanted the Domestic Arts and Sciences series but last time I looked at it (years ago) it was more than I could afford. You have a very serious collection indeed!

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  66. I Google for techniques, but I also buy tons of sewing books, including beginning books. I think it's not that we need more beginner books, I think it's that more of these books sell vs advanced books.

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    1. I've heard that that's been the argument but I don't buy beginner sewing books and neither do a lot of my sewing friends...so obviously there is a market for more advanced books, it's just not being serviced...and I wish it was!

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  67. I think I start off using my books and then google if I can not find what I am looking for. My Palmer/Pletsch books are my go too. However, my Patternmaking books get more use.

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