Book Learning

I’m constantly adding links to my pinterest board titled Sewing Knowledge.  When I need help with a technique, I  look at 2 or 3 different entries because there are different ways of doing things.  I like online learning because it’s so instant – just search and there are plenty of photos, instructions, and even videos to help me figure it out.

Sometimes I get old school and open a  book. My main reference books are: The Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing published 1976 and the Singer Sewing Book revised edition published in 1972.

I also like the two softcover reference books given to me from my stepmother’s garage. Simplicity Sewing Book, published in 1962, gives you some basic information, then it takes you through the sewing of seven basic garments, and finishes with more technical information by category.  The Complete Family Sewing Book, published in 1972, was a bargain sold at the discounted price of $1.59 at Pic ‘n’ Save and features hip drawings and over 400 pages of useful fashion and sewing information.

When I was at the library recently I checked out a technique book I found,  “Power Sewing Step-By-Step” by Sandra Betzina.  Sandra has written many books, designs Today’s Fit patterns for Vogue, and teaches classes on Craftsy.

One part of her master construction methods of interest to me is the segment on flattering grainline choices for skirts.  Sandra says the best skirt for all figures has the grainline centered in the middle of each skirt panel.

When the skirt’s grainline is parallel to the center front the fullness hangs at the sides with a flat center front and center back.  It makes your hips look fuller.  If the grainline is parallel to the side seam, the fullness is over the stomach and backside which adds width to these areas.  When each skirt panel is cut with a centered grainline the fullness is evenly distributed.  Her instructions for centering the grainline on “cut on fold” pattern pieces tell you to add seam allowance and cut two pieces instead.  Hmm, I don’t think I’d want to do that.  I’d rather find a flattering silhouette by choice of skirt type: for example, the shape of an A-line skirt gives me a better line than full gathers.

As a beginner, reading too much on techniques is confusing me; I have a tendency to get bogged down in details and over think everything.  I ‘m also really bad at understanding a technique from just reading the instructions; I have to be actually following along trying to do it myself in a garment I’m working on, for it to make sense.

I enjoy browsing through sewing books, but there is no replacing your own hands on experience, keeping it simple, and learning as you go.  Do you have favorite reference books or do you search online?

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