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What are your essential sewing books?

scrubble4 | Posted in General Discussion on

Hi:  I have just indulged myself in Sandra Betzinger’s two Power Sewing Books and Kathleen Fasenella’s book.  I have learned soooooo much from all three of them. 

Some of it  I had previously learned and then forgotten; but much of it is brand new to me.  Because of my base knowledge in sewing, most of the information I am learning instantly made sense, but it wasn’t stuff I figured out on my own.  My work schedule is such that sewing classes are really tricky.  I end up feeling guilty for the number of classes that I need to miss because of a work-related, essential meetings.  So, I know now that process doesn’t work for me. 

Fortunately, I can learn from books, videos, DVDs. web sites, blogs and of course our essential Threads Mag and Gatherings.

I am wondering what are the essential books, web sites, articles in your library.  The ones you always go to when you have a problem or challenge.  An understanding of why these are your “go to” references, will help me understand their value as well.   I think most of us are parsimonious with our dollars always wanting to spend them on fabric whenever possible.  I agree checking the books out of the library to peruse is a great first step, but I need to know which books to ask my library to borrow from another library by title.  Thanks for your indulgence when and as you get a minute.  No big rush at the moment as I am still digesting these new treasures.

Thanks Scrubble4


  1. solosmocker | | #1

    Certainly those two Betzina books are very high on my list. I also like Nancy Zieman's "Fitting Finesse." Her method is clear and simple and works. Another sewing bible is "Fine Machine Sewing" by Carol Laflin Ahles. There is info in there for everyone, not just heirloom sewists. The info on sewing machine feet is unavailable anywhere else that I know of and I think I have read most of the sewing books out there. Another excellent reference is Claire Schaeffers "Fabric Guide." It has EVERYTHING in it. Those are my faves and must admit I have read them all cover to cover at least three times each. Talk about brainwashing! solo

    1. scrubble4 | | #3

      Solosmocker:  "Claire Schaeffers "Fabric Guide." It has EVERYTHING in it."

      I think I am going to check Claire's book out of the library.  I have her Couture book, which is very good, but I have a number of times people referring to her Fabric Guide.  I think it may be next on my hit list of "wishes".

      thanks Scrubble4 

      1. fiberfan | | #5

        Claire is working on a revision to "Fabric Guide".  She has posted about it to an email list I am on.  I think it should be out this fall so you  might want to wait to buy until the revision is out.


        1. scrubble4 | | #7




          Claire is working on a revision to "Fabric Guide".   

          Thanks for this information.  I think I will still check the current one out from the library, but I will now hold off on buying it until the revision comes out.  Scrubble4

  2. Jeanette | | #2

    I find Claire Shaeffer's Fabric Sewing Guide indipsensible as I always pull it out before starting a new sewing project.  It is really good helping you understand the characterstics of the fabric you are going to sew with. 


    Also all my back issues are a very valuable part of my referenc collection.


    Hope that helps

    1. scrubble4 | | #4

      Jeannette:  "Claire Shaeffer's Fabric Sewing Guide"

      Both you and Solosmocker recommend this book, so I am checking it out from the library (at least I will request it) today.  Sounds exciting and like it has a lot more in it that fabric info. 

      Thanks Scrubble4

      1. Jeanette | | #11

        yes the book also has informati on on different sewing techniques as well.   Happy reading.

  3. rodezzy | | #6

    I have several books from Simplicity, Vogue, Sandra Betzina, Liesure Arts, etc.  covering a range of topics on sewing from Home Decor to Sewing on suede, with your serger, embellishments, it depends on what I'm doing.  I utilize the internet to find patterns for quilts, and home decor.  I use my books for sewing projects and also watch sewing programs on cable TV of which I have saved on VHS tapes.  So I have a library of sewing, quilting, craft and needle arts on tapes. 

    Edited 3/11/2008 12:32 pm ET by rodezzy

    1. scrubble4 | | #8

      rodezzy:  I am not at all surprised that you have such an extensive resource library.  You always know answers that no one else has even thought about.  We are all lucky to have you here as a kind resource for us.  I am curious which are your favorite books on embellishments.  That is an area that I hope to explore once retirement arrives.  Scrubble4

      1. rodezzy | | #9

        I'll look it up tonight, I can't think of them now.  But I know I have one on embellishing quilts.  I'll check for you.  I will be organizing to sew tonight.  I have so much to do.

        1. scrubble4 | | #10

          rodezzy;  You are too busy to spend time looking that up for me tonight.  When you get some breathing time and think of it will be soon enough.  It is for when I retire which is still a couple of years away unless I win a lottery.  Having said that, I look forward to the titles.  I think embellisment is such a neat thing to do to a garment.  I love texture and embellishment so often adds texture.  Thanks Scrubble4

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