I just learned that September is National Sewing Month! Some quick Googling revealed that Ronald Reagan declared it so in 1982 "in recognition of the importance of home sewing to our Nation." I'd say sewing and needlecraft definitely experienced a decline in popularity throughout the 80s and 90s, but are experiencing quite a revival thanks to inspiring, super creative ladies like Jenny Hart, Sarai Mitnick, Brett Bara, Mena Trott, Kristin Link, Alicia Paulson, Joelle Hoverson, and so many others.
I really can't wait to really break in my new sewing machine this fall and winter - and these six books are just the ticket to try my hand at some simple beginner projects.
1. The Colette Sewing Handbook, by Sarai Mitnick, $18.99: If you haven't heard of Colette (the patternmaker, not the French boutique!), it's a fantastic source for chic, simple patterns. Plus, their website is beautiful and I love reading their blog. Owner Sarai's personal blog is also a treat, as is her husband (Colette's 'web guy') Kenn's. I've already got Colette's free Sorbetto top pattern downloaded, printed, and ready to cut out this weekend, and I can't wait to see what the book has in store! It's currently available for pre-order and will ship in November.
2. Sewing in a Straight Line, by Brett Bara, $22.99: Author (and media personality) Brett Bara also has a gorgeously-designed blog full of inspiring content. I love the premise of this book: if you can sew in a straight line (not easy at first, to be sure), then you can create what fills the pages of this lovely book. You can also catch Brett's work over on another favorite of mine, Design*Sponge, for which she writes the Sewing 101 column.
3. The Liberty Book of Home Sewing, by Lucinda Ganderton, $17.06: Beautifully-styled photography (by Kristin Perers) and dreamy Liberty textiles abound in this book of 25 projects divided into Essential, Organizational, and Luxury categories. For a sneak peek of what's inside, click here. This one's also currently available for pre-order and should ship by October.
4. Chic & Simple Sewing, by Christine Haynes, $27.50: This book offers crystal clear instructions and lots of patterns perfect for those just starting out (raises hand), as well as advice on all the supplies you'll need and how to arrange your workspace.
5. I Am Cute Dresses: 25 Simple Designs to Sew, by Sato Watanabe, $22.95: My nearby needlecraft and fabric shop Purl Soho always has the most intriguing array of Japanese sewing and craft books, many of which are only available in Japanese. I'm not skilled enough to tackle a book by looking at the pictures and the pattern and piecing together instructions; luckily, this one's in English! The various styles of dresses offered are just so refreshingly different in this one.
6. The Burda Style Sewing Handbook, by Nora Abousteit, $19.59: It only makes sense that BurdaStyle, the largest community of people who love to sew or want to learn, would create a tome that helps readers create 'an entire wardrobe' out of just 5 changeable patterns. It's available for pre-order and will ship in November.
Have I missed any books that you'd recommend for someone just starting out?