I know, you’re a mom and you’re busy doing all the holiday shopping and preparations right now. I’m in the middle of it, too. You’ve got lists of all the gifts you’re giving. (You’re making some and buying some, right? Me too.) So I’m curious, have you made a wish list for yourself yet?
For the first time ever, this year I emailed Todd and S to tell them about the one thing I really want: a nice-looking backpack. Too many times now, I’ve walked into Barney’s wearing my ugly purple backpack. I carry my laptop in a backpack because I’ve really destroyed my shoulders with all the bag toting I’ve done over the years. So this year I’m going for Cool Parisian Girl instead of Geeky Tourist. The ugly purple backpack needs to be upgraded.
Anyway, being sewists and moms, I thought you might be like me and need a little help making some gentle suggestions to your loved ones about the sorts of gifts you’d really like. (Unlike the time I received a big, gaudy plastic ring from Todd. Long story, but not exactly what I had in mind.) And being readers (you are too, right?), books are always high on my list. So here are a few sewing-related books you might like to consider for your own holiday list. Because Santa delivers to grown-ups too, you know.
Three favorite books that I have and recommend:
1. Couture Sewing Techniques, Revised and Updated by Claire Shaeffer: This is a great sewing reference that can help you to add wonderful details to your sewing. I’ve referred to this book, off and on, for quite a few years now. Claire Shaeffer is one of my sewing -world heroes, and this book is a terrific how-to reference that will help you to add all sorts of high-end details to your sewing. Whether you buy the original version or this updated edition, I think you’ll use it over and over again.
2. The Art of Manipulating Fabric by Colette Wolff: This book is a sort of survey of many different fabric manipulation techniques: gathering, pleating, tucking, shirring, and quilting. This is another book that I’ve referred to many times and that really inspires me to try different techniques. If you’re interested in adding hand-stitched details and embellishments to your sewing, you’ll love this book.
3. Fit for Real People: Sew Great Clothes Using ANY Pattern by Pati Palmer: Of all the fit books I own, I reach for this book most often when I encounter fit problems in a sewing pattern. I’ve recommended it many times, and it will help you to solve all sorts of questions or problems you might encounter when you’re sewing apparel.
And here are three books on my own wish list (I don’t own them–yet!). Descriptive text comes from the publishers:
1. Love Looks Not with the Eyes: Thirteen Years with Lee Alexander McQueen by Anne Deniau: Anne Deniau was the only photographer allowed backstage by McQueen for 13 years, beginning in September 1997 and ending with the final show in March 2010. She captured McQueen working with his close circle of collaborators—including designer Sarah Burton, milliner Philip Treacy, jewelry designer Shaun Leane, and model Kate Moss—to create his meticulously produced spectacles. Her book offers an inspiring homage, through the art of photography, to the work of a great artist.
2. Louise Bourgeois The Fabric Works by Germano Celant: Over a long career, Louise Bourgeois worked through most of the twentieth century’s avant-garde artistic movements from abstraction to realism, yet always remained uniquely individual, powerfully inventive, and often at the forefront of contemporary art. She was one of the world’s most respected sculptors, best known for her public-space pieces, grand-scale sculptures of spiders so large they must rest outside. But beginning in the 1960s, she used her own clothing and that of her loved ones as components of her sculptures and designs: a reincarnation of her childhood and her past. Her art would expand into new realms in 2002 when she began to weave together scraps of iridescent-colored fabric, creating works that vary from figures of flowers to chromatic abstractions, constituting a repertoire of truly surprising interweaves. This set of images is collected here in its entirety for the first time, constituting the closest thing yet to a general catalog.
3. The Gentle Art of Stitching: 40 Projects Inspired by Everyday Beauty by Jane Brocket: This beautifully illustrated inspirational guide presents simple yet stylish stitched pieces for your home, from quilts and samplers to needlepoint pincushions and greeting cards. Each of the 40 projects reflects Jane Brocket’s “gentle” approach, which values the creative process as much as the finished object. With techniques ranging from Japanese Sashiko to traditional cross-stitch and a reimagined Victorian “crinoline lady,” plus helpful tips, this collection puts the enjoyment back in hand stitching. [P.S. I love Jane and all her books!]