E-Books are great, but I will never be without these essentials on my bookshelf.
The grand-daddy of them all, the Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing covers all of the basics and more. It’s the first place I go when I need to learn (or re-learn) any sewing skill. From choosing and maintaining machines, to selecting fabric, to all of the most widely used assembly techniques, this book has it all. Every so often a new edition comes out. If you have an old one, it is worth considering buying an updated version. There is more information on topics such as machine embroidery and products that have come on the market more recently.
Patternmaking for Fashion Design by Helen Joseph Armstrong If you have taken a fashion design course, you may already have this one on your shelf. More than anything else, I use it to understand how to lay out a two-dimensional shape to achieve my three-dimensional goals. If you want to understand how to make your own patterns or how to modify existing patterns to suit your needs, this book will show you how. It has been in print for many years – look for newer editions.
Serger Secrets High-Fashion Techniques for Creating Great Looking Clothes I’ll admit it. This one is pretty dated. The author pics feature a lot of shoulder pads and hair spray. But the content is great, and that’s why I keep it. The first third or so goes over the basics: choosing a machine, troubleshooting, thread choice, etc. The rest of the book shows how to use some novel techniques in specific projects. I go to the stitch reference pages all the time. Sergers can do a lot more than just bind off edges. I use this book to think about those possibilities.
Any good lay-flat Sketch Book. I find that putting pen to paper works best for me when it comes to planning my sewing projects. I like to use generous spiral bound sketch books (at least 8.5 x 11) with perforated pages. If you would rather start with a pre-drawn figure, there are lots of choices for those too. I like a blank page so I am not limited to a female adult with a specific shape. I use mine for planning home-dec, clothes, and everything else (song lyrics, anyone?) Isn’t this one from Tokidoki cute?