Wednesday, November 24, 2010

It's Easier Than You Think

University brainwashed me. Every time I approach something new to learn, I study it to death. That is how I learned to sew. My mother-in-law and hubby taught me the basics and then I started to pour over patterns and sewing books. Before I would sew anything I made sure I understood the pattern down to the last detail. It drove my husband crazy that when I bought my first sewing machine instead of using it right away I read the instruction manual from start to finish.

 Eventually I signed up for classroom lessons, which were very useful for hands-on learning, but I discovered most of what was taught could be found in a good sewing book. For example, I paid for a course on how to sew a variety of zippers and buttonholes. Much to my chagrin, when I looked at one of my sewing manuals to refresh my memory, word-for-word what the teacher had taught us was in this book.

I'm still a novice even though I have moved on to couture methods of sewing. I'm extremely slow and need frequent reminders of how to turn my patterns into a wearable garment. Being able to reference the sewing books I have collected is very helpful. If you're interested in sewing and don't know where to begin I highly, HIGHLY recommend these books to get yourself started. I have spent hours pouring over most of these books or they were referred to me by sewing experts.  I've listed them in order of skill, from lowest to highest.

The Reader's Digest Guide to Sewing is the Bible of all sewing information. You'll find it in every home-ec class across North America. It is the book I refer to most often for detailed instructions on how to do EVERYTHING related to sewing. The guide also has great pictures and drawings of how to do each step. It was gifted to me by a home-ec teacher at the high-school I used to work at and I couldn't survive without it.

The Built by Wendy Guides to Sewing are wonderful books, filled with detailed information on how to sew basic garments. The best thing about these books are they come with patterns, and instructions on how to modify each pattern to give it your own unique style elements.

The designer, Wendy Mullin is based out of New York, where in 1998 she opened her first flagship retail store. Fans of her collections include Sofia Coppola, Kirsten Dunst and Michelle Williams. Check out the Built by Wendy website for inspiration. Wendy is an amazing designer and fortunately for the rest of us, she shares many of her design tricks and tips in her sewing guides. Love, Love, Love!

If you want to get fancy and learn couture techniques this book has been recommended to me time and time again. Most recently it was recommended by thedressimade, my favorite design site. Hand sewing techniques are becoming a lost art although they are truly the most beautiful methods of finishing a garment.

I feel excited just thinking about the wealth of information available to anyone who wants to try their hand at sewing, but would prefer to learn at home rather than in a classroom. Checkout these books! They are well worth it!

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