As anyone who regularly stitches can attest, sewing is something that requires practise, practise and yet more practise to be good at. It’s a skill that you have to work at, one stitch at a time. But that’s not to say that a little bit of theory, research and imagination found in the pages of books new and old won’t be helpful.
Welcome to my little library of brilliant reads for any sewist, whether you’re new to needle-and-thread or a seasoned stitcher.
The Golden Thread by Kassia St Clair
If you like sewing, tailoring, embroidery – or any craft which requires careful, considered stitching, chances are you’ll be a sucker for fabric too. I have a huge collection of fabrics and spent a lot of time pouring over rolls in any and all haberdasher’s I happen upon. People become sentimental about pattern and texture – fabrics are incredibly evocative and can give rise to great waves of nostalgia.
The Golden Thread by Kassia St Clair was only very recently published, in October 2018, and has already reaped a whole host of positive reviews. It is essentially the story of fabric throughout history: in these pages St Clair visits Tutankhamun’s mummy, the silk roads and the Industrial Revolution in what is a really fascinating insight into how fabric has shaped and changed the course of society.
I'm currently listening to this book on Audible - totally absorbing and I'm actually going to buy the hard copy because the cover's lovely too.
Sewing Happiness by Sanae Ishida
Often it’s hard to know where to start; plenty of people who are only just beginning their sewing journey prefer to follow instructions on individual tasks and projects where they can create something. This lovely book boasts 20 simple projects to help build confidence while at the same time resulting in a finished product.
But that’s not all. The projects are not the only notable thing. In fact, the projects join together a memoir which is the real story of the book. Ishida lost her fast-paced corporate job after being diagnosed with a chronic illness – but being forced to slow down did come with one major benefit. Ishida rediscovered sewing and pledged to sew all of her daughter’s clothes for a year. This book binds together the emotional and practical aspects of the author’s journey.
I love this and of course, those that sew know of the therapeutic benefits.
The Sewing Machine by Natalie Fergie
You won’t find any historical nuggets or how-to gems in this novel by Natalie Fergie, but what you will have is a fictional escape that centres on – as you might have guessed from the title – the sewing machine.
Starting in the Singer factory in 1911 where machinists were striking – including Connie who goes on to sew her life history into notebooks which wait to be discovered generations later.
A super Audible listen for me, while I'm sewing!
The Complete Book Of Sewing by Dorling Kindersley
Don’t let the retro cover fool you – this is essentially a bible for anyone with a needle and thread. I refer to mine often; it is bursting with advice and direction. I can always find the answers to my questions – and often answers to questions I didn’t even know I had! One of its most winning USPs is that it is image heavy with photographs so you can see exactly what you should be doing.
Merchant & Mills Sewing Book by Carolyn Denham
Clear, detailed and simple, this volume not only boasts 15 achievable projects but also goes right back to basics with really valuable advice on tools and theory too. I love the vintage style cover. Perfect for beginners.