Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Confessions of a Sewing Book-aholic

To paraphrase the title of Sophie Kinsella's chic-lit novel 'Confessions of a Shopaholic' I have to say "Hello, my name is Claire, and I am a sewing book-aholic".

Karen recently about 'Long Live The Craft Book' and how despite her deep love for her Kindle, she still feels a "need to invest in a physical book that I can love, stroke and put on a bookshelf". Amy of 'Sewing by the Book' has spoken about 'Reading Sewing Books on a Kindle' where she's compared a paper vs. a digital version of a book - and the digital version failed to live up to it's expectations. Suzy of 'SuzySewing' is doing a monthly book analysis, and Amy of 'Dianaandme' is reviewing books weekly, and in her own words "If I come to the conclusion that the book is useful, but not for me, I will stick it in a giveaway and see who wants it.".

This got me thinking about my own not-so-little sewing library.

Sewing Books -
 I'm definitely gonna need a stronger bookshelf!

I currently own 46 books and 6 DVDs (one interactive DVD comes bundled with the David Page Coffin 'Making Trousers' book). And, *gulp* more are on their way to me in the post (hehe).

I catalogue my bibliophilic addiction at where I can log details of my stash using their free service. You can even see which other site members own the same book - or who has a title(s) on their wish list. Plus, from each book's own page there's links to different stores that might sell them. This is very helpful (or bad if you consider the impact on my purse-strings!) especially in the case of out-of-print and vintage titles such as 'Dorothy Moore's Pattern Drafting and Dressmaking' (a tome I acquired from the US Amazon site last June after spying it on Peter's blog), or for older editions of the popular covers-all-bases-for-basics book by the  '*The Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing'.

There is some feeling in the blog-i-verse that older editions of the Reader's Digest book have better coverage on aspects of basic tailoring than newer copies. (Perhaps I'll do a read up on both my copies and report back?)

Old and New (Side by Side) - Copy Sewing Equipment Pages Patterns - Cutting and Markings
My 2 editions of 'Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing' book side-by-side
A quick flick through shows me that some sections are very updated (centre picture),
and some are virtually the same (right picture).

My purchasing is worse when I am browsing my favourite blogs (like Miss Celie's Pants), and I spot a tasty looking morsel - the excitement elicited by the fellow blog's own enthusiasm immediately has me reaching for my PayPal login details and before you know it wham, bam thank you mam I've ordered myself a copy of 'Singer Sewing Reference Library - Sewing Activewear' (blimey just checked and copies are going for less than 50p!).

Have I actually sewn any activewear? Umm... nope (not yet anyway)! But, I do have a lovely warm fuzzy feeling in my tummy when I look at my new ** IKEA Lack bookshelves and see the books there - ready for when I need to reference something. It's quite satifsfying to know I can grab a book and snuggle up on my sofa to read-up on a technique or method. I love the internet, but it's very cosy  to have a mug of coffee and biscuit in hand with the telly on in the background and to slowly flick through the crsip pages in my hand :)

I've stalked you my pretty and now I OWN you mwahahahahah!

I've been in the sad(?) habit of stalking used book sites for copies of rarer items, such as 'Fundamentals of Draping & Pattern Drafting' by Moira Doyle, (as I'd heard good things about it). The price was way to high initially, and only 1 or 2 used copies ever seemed for sale anywhere. Then early this May there were like 10 or 12, and the price had dropped to around $10-$15 USD (whereas before I was looking at $70-$80). So, I have concluded that as the book is aimed at college students that it must have been the end of their course and people were selling-up on texts they no longer needed. (This is the publisher's site with details of that book and the author's other title - 'The Essentials of Pattern Grading', it's a handy site 'cos you can preview quite a few pages from the books without having to buy them). Now, all I need is the FIDM Ruler to go with the grading book grrrr - it's so hard to get hold of it from the US. The FIDM people want you to fax/email them your credit-card details BEFORE they'll tell you how much shipping to the UK is - like that's a very secure financial thing to do (NOT!).

Sewing DVDs -
The DVDs

Mind you on the other side of the book-coin some very accomplished bloggers have their own books in the pipeline Gertie, and Kathleen are 2 that I know of - and other bloggers and sewists are having their work featured in the new BurdaStyle book due out in November this year- so people are transitioning from the flat-screen to the printed page (kinda like technological progression in reverse, yet I have not doubt the foray into publishing will reach a wider and equally appreciative new audience).

Some other interesting sewing-book links:
• Tanit-Isis Sews - My sewing library… 
• Singer and Sew (Julie) - On My Shelf
• Erica B's DIY Style!  - Sewing Book Reviews and My Sewing Library
• Gertie's Blog for Betters Sewing - Building a Sewing Library
• delfinelise - Books!
• Greenapples (StitchyWitch) - Books for sewing beginners

    *The eagle-eyed amongst you will spot that I own 2 editions of this title, the latest version (white cover with blue spots) plus the vintage copy dating from 1981 - though there are even earlier editions still out the to be had for very little cash! Used copies of old editions are going for less than a fiver on Amazon UK (and from only $1.23 on the American site!).
    **Hubby and I am midst a long project to turn the junkyard that is our spare bedroom into a fresh and lovely bed sewing room all for moi! I've had over 10 different tester pots of green paint, and I have STILL yet to find the perfect shade *sighs*


    1. I too am completely off the wagon when it comes to my sewing book addiction. I tend to focus more on 'inspirational' titles, mainly those with big glossy pictures of couture clothes, or historical costume books. I also have a growing patternmaking library... I just bought Pattern Magic and Pattern Magic 2 and I love them to pieces!

    2. Yes, I completely understand you! I also have a slight sewing book addiction! And what frustrates me is that sometimes I only lightly browse the book I buy. That's why I started the monthly analysis, to force me to read them and review them! Thank you for linking me :)

      I need to check I never heard of it before but it sounds great.

    3. What a great collection of books Claire! I must admit I have very few, just a couple of patternmaking books from tech and an old issue of Vogue Sewing that was my Mum's. I could easily be converted though, especially as it is so easy to buy online...!

    4. Try Guilford Green (Benjamin Moore). It's a grayed out pale olive. I absolutely love it.

      I love books. I don't have many sewing books but I'm looking to add some.

    5. Hi Claire, it was so lovely meeting you today. I totally get you about sewing books. I can't get enough of them. I have loads, and I keep buying. Is there a cure....though come to think of it, I needeth no curing...


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