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Textile Related Books FAQ: Part 1 of 3

( Part1 - Part2 - Part3 )
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Archive-name: crafts/textiles/books/part1
Last-modified: 5 Sep 1996

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
The following is the third of three lists of Frequently Asked Questions for
the alt.sewing and rec.crafts.textiles.* groups.  I plan to use the same FAQ's
for all newsgroups as long as most of the information remains pertinent to
both groups.

This FAQ covers books related to all types of sewing, fitting and drafting.  
Like most of us, I don't know all the answers; I've just collected the wisdom 
of the net and a few gems from magazines.

Any additions or comments about books in this list or books that are missing
will be appreciated and can be mailed to me.  Many of these reviews could use
a bit more organization and I'm working on it as time permits!  This FAQ is
definitely a FAQ-in-progress so please be patient!  Thanks to the many 
contributers and thanks in advance to any book reviews that are mailed in.
There are so many new books being published.

Finally, I have a friend who is making this information easily available on the 

					-Lara J. Fabans
					Adobe Systems, Inc

(c) All the material in these faqs are copyrighted by the owner
of the FAQs (which may change).  Free use is encouraged. These
FAQs are not to be reused for profit.  This copyright must be
kept with the FAQ used in it's entirety.  
The first post concentrates on general sewing questions and supply information
and restoring antique sewing machines.  The second post concentrates on
costuming and historical clothing.  The third post contains a list of books
that cover sewing, fitting and pattern drafting.

While creating this list I have concentrated on books that are easily
available.  Most books listed are in print.  Those that are out of print are
occassionally available in used book stores or from Inter-library loan
programs.  (See the "Sources For Out of Print Needlework Books:" section of
the textile FAQ).  This list does NOT cover every book available, but I have
tried to include a few comments about the most popular and most useful books.

Additionally, some books contain the label [HIST-COST].  Most of these books
are in the drafting section.  These books are particularly relevant for
historical costuming.

Some of these reviews are fairly lengthy so I have used "ctrl-L" between the
different sections of this FAQ.  Note: within the "rn" news reader you can 
      g VBS:
at the "More --##%--" prompt to go directly to book review labelled VBS: (note
that case is significant for "rn").  I have used this abbreviated form to
allow easy access to the list.

Table of Contents:

Magazines and Periodicals considered extremely useful (brief list):
	MP: Magazines and Periodicals

General sewing books suitable for complete novices:
	GSB: Suggestions for general sewing books suitable for a novice
	S: Simplicity 
	R: Rachbad

General sewing books suitable as reference for novice or intermediate sewers:
	RDCGtS: Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing
	CBoSSC: The Complete Book of Sewing Short Cuts. Claire B. Shaeffer
	FSG: The Fabric Sewing Guide. Claire B. Shaeffer
	VSB: The Vogue Sewing Book. Elizabeth J. Musheno (editor)
	SSSbS: Singer's Sewing Step by Step
	VBSbSGtST: The Vogue/Butterick Step By Step Guide To Sewing Techniques
	DE: Dressmaking Explained. Anne Ladbury.
	SS/C: Sew Smart. Judy Lawrence and Clotilde.
	SRL: the new Singer Reference Library series of books
	SB: Sandra Betzina's books. Sandra Betzina.
	NZ: Nancy Zieman's books and videos. Nancy Zieman.
	T: New books from Taunton Press
	OOP: Out of print recommendations

Sewing books on specialty topics:
	NT: Notes on Tailoring
	TT&CT: Tailoring: Traditional and Contemporary Techniques. 
		N. Marie Letbetter  & Linda Thiel Lansing
	CTT: Classic Tailoring Techniques. 
		Roberto Cabrera & Patricia Flaherty Meyers
	pointers to books in other sections
	C: Couture. Roberta Carr.
	IS: Innovative Serging (todo)
	PP: Sew Any Patch Pocket (Claire B. Shaeffer)
	SASiP: Sew Any Set-In Pocket (Claire B. Shaeffer)
	S: Shirtmaking. David Page Coffin
	NSBC: Notes on Sewing Books for Children
	MFSB: My First Sewing Book
	LS: Let's Sew, a Beginners Sewing Guide

Sewing books on home decorating:

The rest is in Part II:

Books on Fitting:
	IF: Introduction to fitting
	VF: Vogue Fitting. Sandra Lenker.
	FF: Fabulous Fit. Patricia Perry (editor)
	MYCF: Making Your Clothes Fit. Patricia Burkhart Smith.
Books on Pattern Drafting:
	IPD: Brief intro to subject of pattern drafting
	PFD: Patternmaking for Fashion Design. Helen Joseph Armstrong.
	EK: Ernestine Kopp's series of books. Ernestine Kopp, et. al.
	PPfD: Professional Patternmaking for Designers. Jack Handford.
	DD: Dress Design: Draping and Flat Pattern Making. 
		Marion Hillhouse & Evelyn Mansfield
	MPD: Modern Pattern Design. Harriet Pepin.
	AFD: Art of Fashion Draping. Connie Amaden-Crawford.
	DfFD: Draping for Fashion Design. Hilde Jaffe & Nurie Relis
	PD: Precision Draping. Nelle Weymouth Link.
	PoFPD: Principles of Flat Pattern Design. Nora MacDonald & Ann Weibel.
	HtMSP:  How to Make Sewing Patterns. Donald. H. McCunn.
	FoMFD: Fundamentals of Men's Fashion Design. Nasaaki Kawashima.
	MPCfM: Metric Pattern Cutting for Menswear. Winifred Aldrich.
	TS:  Tailoring Suits: The Professional Way. Clarence Paulin.
	S: Sleeves. Louise Todd Cape. 
	FDPS: Fashion Design for the Plus-Size. Frances Leto Zangrillo.
	GTfMD: Grading Techniques for Modern Design. 
		Jeanne Price & Bernard Zamkoff
	MNPD: Miscellaneous notes on Pattern Drafting 

	DD: Decorative Dressmaking. Sue Thompson
	MYOJC: Make Your Own Japanese Clothes. John Marshall.
	FYF: Flatter Your Figure. Jan Larkey.
	ARtW: Altering Women's/Men's Ready to Wear

	ST: How to Make Stuffed Toys. Rudi de Sarigny.
	SMG: Sew Many Gifts, Sew Little Time (Chris Rankin)
	QAC: Quilting Across Canada. Gail Hunt.

	101E: 101 Embellishments (Janet Rostocki)

MP: Magazines and Periodicals

Threads: Great source of ideas and techniques.  Covers sewing, embellishment and
quilts.  Very high quality articles and pictures.  Each issue typically has
*at least* one article about a clothing designer and one article discussing
techniques for a specific sewing topic (e.g. welt pockets, traditional
collars, cuffs, etc).  Many articles discuss techniques used in haute couture
houses or well known designer's workshops.  Some articles discuss drafting
patterns or special fitting issues. I've noticed that they've been putting the
best of their articles in books also available from Taunton Press. 
$4.75/issue. Subscription about $24 for 6 issues (one year).  
Taunton Press; 63 South Main Street; PO Box 5506; Newtown CT 06470-9976 

Sew News: Available in many fabric stores.  A number of fashion related
features that show patterns and material, several question and answer columns
and reviews, a column that shows how to copy an (expensive) designer original
for minimal cost, articles on techniques for clothing or home decorating.
$2.95/issue.  $12.95 for a one year subscription.
PJS Publications; PO Box 1790; News Plaza; Peoria, IL 61656.

Piecework: Emphasized historical crafts and reproductions of historical 
crafts.  Sewing, embroidery, weaving, etc.  Wide variety of topics similar to 
Threads' variety in earlier years.  Stresses the historical aspects of crafts 
and historically accurate reproductions.  $24 for 6 issues per year. 
Interweave Press; 201 East Fourth Street; Loveland, CO 80537; 
1-800-645-3675; (303) 669-7672 8-5 Mountain time.

Burda: see sewing FAQ
Vogue Patterns: see sewing FAQ. recommended for ideas and techniques by 
    Yvonne Wilson (yvonne.wilson@Corp.Sun.COM)
Butterick Patterns: see sewing FAQ
McCalls Patterns: see sewing FAQ
Handwoven: Interweave Press, see sewing FAQ
Spinoff: Interweave Press, see sewing FAQ

GSB: Suggestions for general sewing books suitable for a novice.

Very few books discussed in the newsgroups seem to be appropriate for a
complete novice.  Most introductory books are written for a person who has had
a minimal amount of experience, possibly in high school Home Ec classes.  For
this reason, I would suggest that people who have never sewn before consider
take an introductory class from a local community college, BOCES (vo-tech),
experimental college class or sewing store.  Or consider learning from some of
the videos available from Sandra Betzina {SB:} and Nancy Zieman {NZ:}.
Nancy's Notions includes a video rental club.

However, if you are the sort of person who prefers learning a new hobby by
reading books, your best bet may be Singer's _Sewing Step By Step_ {SSSbS:} or
several of the new books in the Singer series {SRL:}; the first book is _Sewing
Essentials_ {SRL,SE:}.  Both of these books are discussed below under general
reference books.

For anyone on a limited budget, don't forget to check used book stores and the
public library or Interlibrary Loan program.  Many public libraries have large
collections of hobby related books.

General sewing books suitable as reference for novice or intermediate sewers:


_Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing_: This is my favorite general sewing
reference.  This book is laid out as a reference book.  The reference section 
is very well illustrated and easy to use.  The illustrations are two, three or 
four color drawings.  A typical page contains a paragraph of general 
information, 6-8 illustrations and 3-5 sentences of notes under each 
illustration.  Topics include the basics of supplies, types of fabrics, fitting 
a muslin and basic construction techniques.  Other subjects include necklines 
and collars, waistbands and belts, sleves, pockets, hems, buttons, zippers, 
other closures, tailoring, sewing for men, sewing for children and sewing for 
the home.

I have found all of the sections to cover a wide variety of methods and the
instructions and illustrations are clear.  Generally every step of a technique
is illustrated so you can easily follow the pictures while working through the
method.  This book is very valuable as a thorough reference for someone who
knows the basics.  

_Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing_. The Reader's Digest Association,
Inc. Revised 1995.  Seen in most bookstores in Craft Section. ISBN 0-88850-247-8


_The Complete Book of Sewing Short Cuts_: The "shortcuts" in the title of this
book does not refer to "quick and dirty things you can do that won't really
show too much" but rather to "techniques you can use to make your garments
look professional without wasting too much time trying to figure out tricky
or complicated methods by trial and error".  I wish Shaeffer had not used
"shortcuts" in the title as I feel it implies speed rather than perfecting a

Like the Reader's Digest book, this book is a reference book that covers a
wide number of techniques.  The book is illustrated with two and three color
drawings that show the important steps of each technique.  While the
illustrations in the Reader's Digest book cover each method step by step,
Shaeffer's book has more techniques and more advanced techniques.  I have used
her procedures several times (rolled hems, set in zippers, interfacing) and
have found them generally easy to follow and well written.  Occasionally you
need to flip between sections to check on definitions, etc.  The book is a
combination of tips and techniques in a reference format.

Topics include: organization, sewing machine, basic skills, interfacing,
preliminaries, seams, hems, facings, controlling fullness, zippers, buttons
and closures, sleeves, cuffs and plackets, collars, waistlines, linings,
pockets, fashion details and special techniques for special fabrics.  

I am very fond of both Shaeffer's book and the Reader's Digest book.  I would
be hard pressed to say which I found more useful.  Many procedures are covered
in both books and either is a very good reference.  The Reader's Digest book
has better illustrations and may be more appropriate for a novice.

_The Complete Book of Sewing Short Cuts_. Claire B. Shaeffer. copyright 1981.
ISBN 0-8069-7564-4.  $12.95 paperback. 256 pages. Sterling Publishing Company.

FSG: The Fabric Sewing Guide. Claire B. Schaeffer 

highly recommended reference.  Very detailed.  Too repetitious to just read
cover to cover (although I'm working on it!), but good as a reference.  "real"
review to be added later.  $30 paperback
NOTE: There is a new version of this book out!


_The Vogue Sewing Book_: The first edition of this book was in 1970 and the
second edition was released in 1973.  I believe it was updated and re-issued
again around 1979.  My copy is the 1973 edition and I do not know what changes
were made between the various editions.  I believe this book may be out of
print, but it is often available in used book stores.  The pictures in the
book are rather dated as they show mostly 1960-70's fashions.

This book is more like a general sewing text than RDCGtS.  It is suitable as a
reference book, although I don't think it is the best reference.  It is
illustrated with a series of two and three color drawings (typically 2-4
drawings per page) and a several sections of color photographs of 1960-1970's
fashions.  There are several large glossaries (one in the fabric section and
another in the back).  The basic subjects include supplies, fabrics (a fairly
detailed section), patterns and fitting and general construction techniques.
There is a large "handbook" section that includes details about standard items
such as hems, zippers, cuffs, waistbands, pleats, etc.  Other topics include
tailoring, couture techniques, trims, sewing for men and planning a sewing
room.  In general, Vogue Sewing Book seems to present only a few variations
for accomplishing most tasks.  Many other reference books present a wider
range of methods allowing the sewer to select the one she feels most
comfortable with.

The Vogue sewing book.  Published by Vogue Patterns.  NY, NY. copyright 1973.
Elizabeth J. Musheno, editor.  464 pages.  Often available used.

SSSbS: [ (Nancy Reynolds, c/o Adam M Gaffin)]

Singer's Sewing Step by Step: My mother taught me to sew, so I don't know what
the "best" beginning sewing book is.  I have Singer's "Sewing Step by Step."
It costs $24.95, is hardbound, has slick pages and beautiful color photos.
Here are some of the topics it covers.  (a mixture of both beginning and
advanced material.)
Essential Equipment--marking tools, measuring tools, cutting tools, etc.
Notions--thread, trims & tapes, buttons & closures, zippers
A Place to Sew
The Pattern--The pattern envelope, Inside the pattern
Fabric Essentials--handling special fabrics, sheer & silky fabrics, 
	lustrous fabrics, knits, classic fabrics, etc.
Interfacing, Layout, Cutting & Marking--preparing the fabric, laying out 
	the pattern, laying out plaids & stripes...
Fit--understanding ease; General guidelines for pattern adjustments 
Seams--encased seams, stretch seams, conventional edge finishes 
Construction basics include: Darts, Gathers, Sleeves, Collars, Waistbands, 
	Cuffs; Closures; Hems 
Tailoring (definitely advanced!) 
Sewing activewear
Sewing for children 
Machine Heirloom 
sewing Home decorating projects (This is a 100 page section!) 
This book explains things carefully without it feeling like a textbook.  The
color photographs are a delight. The home sewing section explains how to do
projects in such a way that you don't need to buy patterns to carry out the
ideas.  The nice thing about this book is that it is so comprehensive.  I am
not a beginner--I started sewing when I was 9 and just made my wedding
gown--but I recently bought this book to get extra tips and learn about
aspects of sewing which are foreign to me, such as tailoring and home
decorating.  But there's a lot of extremely basic stuff, such as how to read
the back of a pattern envelope and how to sew a plain seam.

Alternate comment [Diane Barlow Close]: I found
Singer's Sewing Step by Step to be greatly lacking in certain steps.  On the
points I was interested in learning more about (attaching cuffs or collars,
for example) this book would state "There are so many different methods.
Refer to your specific pattern for the best instructions."  Heck, if I could
read and follow the pattern's instructions _I wouldn't be looking for a book
like this in the first place_!!  I just found it to be too lacking for my

VBSbSGtST: [(Diane Barlow Close)]

The Vogue/Butterick Step By Step Guide To Sewing Techniques: I've been sewing
for a while but I'm self-taught and sometimes I just get caught up on the
beginner details.  I chose The Vogue/Butterick Step By Step Guide To Sewing
Techniques.  I looked at all of the others very carefully and found that this
one provided the most niggly details on the my specific problem areas
(collars, cuffs, buttonholes).

I really liked the Reader's Digest book and it was a toss-up between choosing
this one and the Vogue/Butterick one.  What made the decision for me was the
Vogue/Butterick one is a more recent publication.  The Reader's Digest book
hasn't been updated since the 70's and it shows.  The V/B book is 1989.


_Dressmaking Explained_: an alphabetical reference to a large number of sewing
terms and techniques.  While it's usually easy to find a topic, there is no
index and occasionally you have to guess what name Ladbury uses.

Illustrated with ample text and numerous black and white drawings (2-6
illustrations per page).  Since the illustrations are not labelled you
sometimes have to spend some time figuring out which illustration goes with
the text.

I use this book occasionally, but I'm not very thrilled with it.  It contains
a vast amount of information and covers many many techniques in detail.  The
alphabetical organization is sometimes handy and sometimes frustrating!  I
have found that some of the explanations are confusing or difficult to
understand.  Furthermore the illustrations are only barely adequate.  If you
have a chance to pick this book up cheaply, do so.  I would not recommend it
as a single reference book nor as a first reference book.

_Dressmaking Explained_: A-Z of terms, processes, stitches.  Ann Ladbury.
copyright 1982. Arco Publishing. $14.95. ISBN: 0-668-06460-9.  paperback.  358
pages.  A few years ago I often saw this book remaindered for about $6.  


Sew Smart with Wovens, Knits and Ultrasuede Fabric.  Also: Sew Smart Supplement
and UltraLeather Sewing Tips Booklet.  I have looked through these books, but
have not read them closely nor used them frequently.  _Sew Smart_ is almost a
cross between the Reader's Digest reference book and the _Vogue Sewing Book_.
It is basically a reference book with three color drawings.  Topics include:
sewing preparation, equipment, basic techniques, pressing, interfacing, darts,
facings, collars, sleeves, pockets, zippers, buttons and closures, tailoring,
hems, UltraSuede, knits, miscellaneous tips.  Each topic has an introduction,
description of basic styles and problems, list of techniques and list of tips.
The Supplement is a series of general tips.  This looks like a pretty good,
all around introduction and reference.

_Sew Smart_ by Judy Lawrence and Clotilde.  first printing 1977; revised
edition copyright 1982.  ISBN 0-8087-1261-6. 271 pages.  Also _Sew Smart
Supplement_ and _UltraLeather Sewing Tips Booklet_.  All available directly
from Clotilde, I don't know if they are available elsewhere.  I believe prices
are about $20 for _Sew Smart_, $8 for the supplement and $3 for the
Ultraleather tips.  Clotilde, Inc; 1909 SW First Ave; Fort Lauderdale, FL
33315; 305-761-8655


Singer's Series:  Include:
	* Sewing Essentials 
	* The Perfect Fit 
	* 101 Sewing Secrets 
	* Creative Sewing Ideas 
	* Sewing Update No 2 
	* Sewing Pants that Fit
	* Sewing Activewear 
	* Sewing Lingerie 
	* Sewing With Knits 
	* Tailoring 
	* Decorative Machine Stitching 
	Clothing Care and Repair
	Timesaving Sewing
	Sewing for Style
	Sewing Specialty Fabrics
	Sewing Update
	Sewing Update No 1
	Sewing for Children
	Sewing with an Overlock
	Sewing for the Home
	More Sewing for the Home
	Machine Quilting

Each book is about $15.95 paperback (often available on sale!) and about
$24.95 hardback.  The hardback (?) books can be ordered by subscription for
about $15.95 + p/h.  For more information, write to:
	Cy DeCosse Inc
	5900 Green Oak Drive
	Minnetonka, Minnesota 55343

Some subjects are covered in several books, sometimes with variations in the
topics presented (e.g. swimsuits are covered differently in _Sewing with Knits_
and _Sewing Activewear_).  

All in all, these books *are* a very good *introduction* to a wide range of

SRL,SE: [MAHE@YaleVM.YCC.Yale.Edu] 
_Sewing Essentials_ from the Singer Reference library.  This one is great for
beginners, very clear and takes you step-by-step through the basics everyone
needs.  I have used it on 2 beginners, and with great results despite my lack
of teaching ability.  Pictures seem to be very helpful.

SRL,PF: _The Perfect Fit_: See comments in the Fitting section (in part 2)

_101 Sewing Secrets_: This book is a worthwhile investment for any sewer who
has a few hours of free time to read through it.  It's just a list of tips
many of which may be new.  Topics include:
	organizing your sewing room and fabric (ha!)
	dealing with short yardage
	testing (guessing!) fiber content
	pins, needles, threads, pressing aids (including improvised aids)
	freezer paper for careful piecing
	using the rub-off technique to copy a garment (quite useful!)
	flat felled seams
	tab plackets (e.g. on shirt cuff)
	button loops and other fasteners (incl. Chinese ball buttons and frogs)
	bias cut garments
	single thread tucks and darts
	edges and hems
I recommend this book for anyone who wants to grab a few more ideas.

_Creative Sewing Ideas_: This book is similar to 101 Sewing Secrets, but it
contains a number of ideas for making unique garments.  Some ideas include:
	piping, including double and triple
	unique seam edges including a ravelled seam
	some dying ideas
	some fancy buttonholes and fasteners

_Sewing Update No 2_ is similar to _Creative Sewing Ideas_ It includes a
series of several page articles written by a wide variety of people.  Some of
the topics covered include:
	Teaching Your Child to Sew
	Specialized Needles and Feet
	Computerized & Mechanical Sewing Machines: What are the Differences
	The Alure of Lace
	Large-Size Savvy
	Couture Sleeves

_Sewing Pants that Fit_: There is a review of this book in the June/July 1992
issue of Threads (#40).  The review says the book is very useful for fitting 
problems and alterations.

_Sewing Activewear_ covers a wide range of different types of materials and
techniques and thus covers each type only briefly.  I was disappointed in the
lack of depth for most of the subjects, however this book is a good intro to a
wide variety of subjects.  The sections include: 1) Getting Started, fabrics,
insulations, interfacings, supplies, notions, patterns.  2) Actionwear:
swimsuits, leotads, tights, bicycle shorts, adding zippers.  I felt that the
_Sewing With Knits_ {SRL,SwK:} book had a better (and more detailed)
introduction to sewing swimsuits (fitting, different styles, adding elastic,
etc).  However _Sewing Actionwear_ includes instructions for modifying
patterns to add custom panels or using striped material for a unique look.  3)
Comfortwear includes sweatsuits and warm-ups with several different ideas for
neck, waist and leg finishes.  4) Outerwear has short sections discussing
details like zippers, waistbands and pockets and covers a rain poncho and and
insulated fleece-lined vest or jacket.  5) Personal Style includes
suggestions for using stripes, piping, braid or customized belts to
personalize your garments.  Includes a number of tips on the length of elastic
to use for various projects.

_Sewing Lingerie_ covers both intimate apparel such as underwear and slips and
sleepwear and loungewear such as robes and night clothes.  The book has four
sections.  1) Getting Started discusses patterns, fabrics, laces, elastic and
threads.  2) Basic Sewing Techniques includes tips for pattern layout and
cutting, a couple of treatments for seams, a couple of edge and hem
treatments, and applying lace and elastic.  3) Intimate Apparel includes a few
pages on slips, camisoles, panties, French bikinis, teddies, sports bras and
leggings.  4) Loungewear and Sleepwear covers nightgowns, pajamas, boxer
shorts, robes and kimonos.

_Sewing With Knits_ includes an interesting combination of simple clothing
from knit materials and advanced techniques to use with knit fabrics.  The
sections include: 1) Getting Started discussed fabrics, patterns, interfacings
and elastics, and cutting out the patterns.  2) Basica Sewing Techniques
includes seams and seam finishes, hems, ribbed edges and bound edges.  3) Easy
Wardrobes includes a few pages on standard patterns such as tank tops,
T-shirts and pullovers, skirts, pants and cardigans.  4) Easy Design
Variations is a section of interesting ideas such as cowl neckline variations,
modified V necks, plackets, different types of pockets, elasticized
waistbands, layered and slashed garments, and making and using twisted knit
trims.  5) Specialty Knits includes napped fabrics, sweater knits, two way
stretch knits and swimsuits and leotards.  I feel that this is a better
introduction to sewing swimsuits than the _Sewing Activewear_ book.  Also look
at Threads issue #29 June/July 1990 which has an article on sewing leotards
and exercise clothing.  The section on swimsuits includes guidelines for the
amount of stretch in patterns and the lengths of elastic to use.

SRL,T: _Tailoring_: See comments in the Tailoring section

_Decorative Machine Stitching_ includes sections on: 1) Getting Started
discussed supplies, materials, specialty threads and needles, presser feet,
stabilizers, embroidery hoops. 2) Basic Stitches discusses a number of
different stitches and methods including decorative stitch patterns,
decorative topstitching, twin needle stitching, satin stitching, and couching.
3) Appliques discusses methods of machine applique.  4) Heirloom sewing
includes short introdutions to cutwork, fagoting, hemstitching laces and hems,
pintucks and French Hand Sewing (by machine).  5) Free motion sewing in an
introduction to free motion embroidery, thread sketching and thread painting,
and making and using battenberg lace.

SB: [MAHE@YaleVM.YCC.Yale.Edu] 

_Power Sewing_ and _More Power Sewing_ by Sandra Betzina.  My personal
perennial reference is Power Sewing by Sandra Betzina. It's not that you
wouldn't learn a lot by reading it straight through.  But it really shines by
its discussion of small precise topics, in the vein of how to do a perfect
lapel.  And it has a good range of topics, from specific fitting problems to
categories of details like pockets or collars.  I've rarely found any other of
those specifics that I like better elsewhere. [mahe]

Sandra is an extremely clear and entertaining teacher, and this reflects it.
She covers a variety of topics from fit to mitered corners, which are culled
from her column (in the San Francisco Chronicle at least).  If you have read
her columns and not quite gotten the point, it's because the wonderful
illustrations by Amy Maeda get censored, so try the book.  This is the book
you want to use when you can't figure out what the pattern company wants you
to do.  As a matter of fact, one of Sandra's principles is to ignore the
pattern directions and just do what you know is right - this is the book that
teaches you what's right.  For example, you should just find out how to make a
really great welt pocket, and do that everywhere you want a welt pocket.  Or
figure out how to ease the sleeve, or how to add ease to it.  (Sandra makes an
exception for Issey Miyake, by the way, and she is right on that too) [mahe]

This is the best book for pointers on recovery.  Of course, it's best to
follow her advice from the start.  But if you don't and you get yourself into
trouble, she can usually help you recover.  She understands what you go
through, and she doesn't try to conceal the fact that she often doesn't buy
enough material, or sometimes messes up something.  The Saga of the White Suit
at the end of the 2nd book is priceless, it had me on the floor (it was under
'project burnout'). [mahe]

The books contain copies of articles so each topic contains a number of
articles that are short one or two page descriptions of specific problems and
solutions.  The articles are arranged by subject. The first book has a general
index; the second book does not. 

The address is:
  Power Sewing
  185 Fifth Avenue
  San Francisco, CA 94118
  voice (415)386-0440  fax (415)386-0441
Prices are $16.95 for volume I, $19.95 for volume II, and $3.00 postage & 
handling. (March 1992)


_The Busy Woman's Sewing Book_ , _The Busy Woman's Fitting Book_ and _Slacks
Fitting Book_ by Nancy Zieman.  $9.95 each.  Book + video $34.95.  From the
creator of the _Sewing with Nancy_ show on PBS.  Several people including
[ (Eleanor Midkiff)] have reported that they find
Zieman's books useful and helpful. Zieman also has a large number of videos
and her store even has a video rental program.  The rental program is not
cheap, but I believe it is a good way to get a vast amount of instruction in a
short period of time.  Nancy's Notions; 333 Beichl Ave; PO Box 683; Beaver
Dam, WI 53916-0683; 1-800-833-0690.


Taunton Press has two new books called _Great Sewn Clothes_ and _Fit and
Fabric_.  Each is paperback, 128 pages, about 140 photos, about 60 drawings
and $16.95 ($29.95 for both).  From the information in the ads, these appear
to be books that contain approximately two dozen articles from the first four
years of Threads magazine.  I've read most of these articles and referred to a
number of them when trying to perfect a technique.  All are well written and
well illustrated.  If you do not have access to the first four years of
_Threads_, these book are probably very useful and interesting! Taunton Press;
63 South Main Street; Box 5506; Newtown, CT 06470-9976; 1-800-888-8286


The following books have been recommended in various places, often in articles
in Threads magazine.  Most are out of print.

Clothing for Women (Lippincotts Home Manuals). Laura I Baldt. c. 1927.
Includes draping, etc. (Ref: Threads #15, pg. 10) 

The Dressmaker. Butterick. 1911. (Ref: Threads #15, pg. 10) 

Dress Design: Draping and Flat Pattern Making. Hillhouse & Mansfield. (Ref:
Threads #15, pg. 10) Definitely Wonderful!!  Lots of draping examples.

Sew the French Way. Line Jaque. c. 1961. (Ref: Threads #15, pg. 10)

Complete Book of Dressmaking. Ann MacTaggert. c. 1975. (Ref: Threads #15, pg.

Clothing Construction. Evelyn Mansfield. c. 1953. (Ref: Threads #15, pg. 10)

Modern Tailoring for Women. Francis Mauck. c. 1948 (Ref: Threads #15, pg. 10)

Creative Dressing. Kaori O'Connor. c. 1980. (Ref: Threads #15, pg. 10) 

Modern Dressmaking Made Easy. Mary Brooks Picken. c. 1940. (Ref: Threads #15,
pg. 10) 

Women's Institute of Dress Design. series of books from 1910 - 1930.

There are a couple of other out of print series.  Time-Life did a series on
sewing back in the 1960's and Vogue did one in the late 60's or early 70's.  I
have seen some of the Vogue books and they seem to be fairly interesting and

Diane Barlow Close recommends _Draping and Designing With Scissors and Cloth_,
1920's and 1930's.  This is a two volume set from The Women's Institute
series, used by coutures of the era.  A reprint is now available from: Body
Blueprints; 1734 Scott St., St. Helena, CA 94574.  $18.95 + $2 s/h each vol.

End of Part 1

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