Clarelle had asked me for a list of my favorite sewing books awhile back. I’m just now getting around to it. I’ll be including these over a series of postings, since my list is quite lengthy.
1) My favorite book — aside from the the Bishop Method books, of course — is DECORATIVE DRESSMAKING by Sue Thompson (1985, Rodale Press, Emmaus, Pa.). ISBN 0-87857-579-0 (hardcover) and 0-87857-580-4 (paperback). I bought this book the year it was published and have yet to glean everything there is that’s in it. It is an endless inspiration to both my sewing, construction and design. This is some seriously good stuff, a lifetime of learning. In my humble opinion, one of the first REAL books that came out for serious home-sewing designers.
2) Another: LOOK YOUR BEST IN CLOTHES THAT FIT: How to Alter Patterns and Ready-to-Wear by Marie Kehr, Bishop Method of Clothing Construction. Also published in 1985. Marie Kehr was one of my mom’s fellow Bishop Method teachers. Published on plain paper, spiral bound, nothing glamorous, but a real gem. ISBN 9-934904-20-0. This book was self-published.
3) And: THE COMPLETE BOOK OF SEWING SHORT CUTS by Claire B. Shaeffer. Yes, Claire B. Shaeffer. Published 1981 by Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., N.Y.; also distributed in Australia, the UK and Canada. First paperback printing 1981. This is early Claire Shaeffer par excellence. I love this book.
4) Believe it or not: SINGER: THE PERFECT FIT, from the Singer Sewing Reference Library. Their alterations are very well done, full color photographs. Although alterations are primarily given in slash and spread, any more experienced sewer can easily translate the slash and spread alterations to pivot and slide (my preference). I like the visuals and the attention to detail in this book, and they utilize the K.I.S.S. method.
5) My FUN book: Kerstin Martensson’s KWIK-SEW METHOD FOR SEWING LINGERIE (Master Pattern Included). This is when I feel like making some sexy little underthing myself. Oh, I know I can buy it cheaper in the stores, but I love to wear undergarments and nightgowns I’ve made myself. Although some of the techniques I would do a little differently, there are other techniques that I’ve learned from this little treasure that I’ve learned to like better than what I was previously doing and still use to this day. This is pure girlie play things. First printing, 1978, ISBN 0-913212-07-5. Perhaps self-published through Kwik-Sew.
6) A COLLECTION: BISHOP METHOD OF CLOTHING CONSTRUCTION COUNCIL, INC. Self-published by BMCCC, chaired at the time by Holly Espen, in February, 1981. There were a number of these that came out at various times. This is just one of them. Talk about Pulitzer ideas for sewing, and straight from some of the most recognized Bishop teachers of the day: Louise Trammell, Shirley McKeown, Julia McCombs, Fay Hammershmitt, Audrey Childress (my mom), Pearl B. McIntosh (my mom’s peer), Kitty Rotruck (my mom’s teacher), Pat Swenson, Frances Babbin, Dorothy Martin, Ruth Schwartz, to name only a few. You’ll have to search far and wide to find (i.e., steal) this gem from someone. Like taking candy away from a baby. Another one you’ll spend a lifetime of learning. 230 pages of pure Bishop creativity — and common sense.
7) FITTING FINESSE by Nancy Zieman. Self-explanatory. A must-have referenced for any well-stocked sewing studio. The big plus: She uses pivot and slide. I love it.
8) SERGER SECRETS: High-Fashion Techniques for Creating Great-Looking Clothes from America’s Top Serger Experts. A Rodale Sewing Book. Contributors: Mary Griffin, Pam Hastings, Agnes Mercik, Linda Lee Vivian and Barbara Weiland. Edited by Susan Huxley. MUST reading for anyone who owns and uses a serger in their garment design and construction. I’ve learned so much from this book I don’t even know where to begin.
Okay, those are all the goodies I’m posting this time. I’ve got tons more that I’ll keep pulling out and bringing to my office for these mini-reviews!