December 1, 2013

Holiday Gift Ideas: Crafting and Sewing

With the holiday shopping season already in full swing, I thought I'd recommend a few books for your favorite sewing fan. I consider myself an intermediate sewer, able to make kids clothes and craft projects without a pattern, and adult clothing from altered commercial patterns. Before I buy a sewing book, I either browse the pages and projects at Barnes and Noble, or I'll borrow a book from the library and try out a project before committing to buying anything.

These are the books that made the cut and ended up in my collection:

Fabric Reference
More Fabric Savvy: A Quick Resource Guide to Selecting and Sewing Fabric by Sandra Betzina
I rely on this thorough resource all the time when selecting fabric for projects and making sure I'm using the right needle, foot, and stitch length. I can't say enough about how valuable this book has been. There are some obscure fabrics included, but overall, definitely a great reference book.

Beginner and Intermediate Sewing Projects
Stitch Savvy: 25 Skill-Building Projects to Take Your Sewing Technique to the Next Level by Deborah Moebes
I like this book for the project ideas, particularly the crafts. Be warned there are some downsides to Moebes' book (check out the Amazon reviews for info on that), but an experienced sewer can figure it all out and make some cute projects.

Projects for Your Fabric Stash
Fabric-by-Fabric One-Yard Wonders: 101 Sewing Projects Using Cottons, Knits, Voiles, Corduroy, Fleece, Flannel, Home Dec, Oilcloth, Wool, and Beyond by Hoskins and Yaker is my go-to book for sewing and crafting ideas. I've made so many projects from this book and every one has looked amazing and wowed people. I love using up my fabric stash for handmade gifts and such. This is my absolute favorite sewing book.

Home Decor
For the person who wants to make stuff for the home, like slipcovers and curtains, The Home-Sewn Home: 50 Step-by-Step Projects for Curtains, Shades, Pillows, Cushions, and More by Arbuthnott and Abbott is outstanding and thorough.

One of the best books on making cute, yet simple dresses is Built by Wendy Dresses: The Sew U Guide to Making a Girl's Best Frock by Wendy Mullin, Eviana Hartman, Beci Orpin and Dana Vacarelli. Definitely important to have experience making clothes from a pattern before trying this book since the authors don't really hand-hold. I'd say an intermediate sewer would enjoy it, but an advanced sewer might not find it useful.

Patterns and Clothing Design
For people who have more interest in the the technique and drafting side of sewing clothes, How to Design Your Own Clothes and Make Your Own Patterns by Claudia Ein is an older reference (1975) that explains quite a bit about drafting and altering patterns. The slopers are super old-school stylistically, but that's all fixable once you know the basics. I found my copy at a library book sale for a dollar and it's one of the more used books in my collection now.

Kids Clothing
Cute Clothes for Kids by Rob Merrett is a book I referred to quite a bit when my daughter was younger. I now rely on it for ideas when I'm making clothing gifts for friends' babies and toddlers. The clothes are fairly easy to make but look lovely. I'd say the results look homemade, but not cheap.

Fashion Drawing
My husband got me Fashion Drawing for Dummies a while back when I was struggling to sketch my ideas. I went to art school, but never got the hang of life drawing and didn't get an opportunity to take a fashion class. I learned quite a bit about proportion and drawing style from this book. My drawing ability isn't any better but I am more confident about my ideas when I put them to paper.

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