New Sewer Book Guidance please!

My dad's wife wants to learn how to sew, and she wants to make clothes.
I want to get her a good basic book on sewing and garment
construction...so I need your recommendations!
My dad put me in charge of locating the best sewing machine for her,
and it needs to come from Sears (where he works - can you say "employee
discount"?) I think I will also put together a small kit of favorite
tools as well. I am going to put in a seam ripper, tailor's guage,
flexible measuring tape, chalk pencil and flat head straight pins.
Anything else that is an absolute must? I'm more in to quilting and
craft sewing...so I could be out of the loop on anything that is
essential to the garment maker!
Thanks for your advice!
Dannielle
MD, USA
Reply to
Dannielle
The Reader's Digest New Complete Guide to Sewing. It's listed at about 23 dollars on Amazon.com but you might be able to shop around since there are so many holiday sales/discounts right now.
I don't have this particular book, but I do have their Complete Guide to Needlework and can say that all their "complete guide" type books are excellent quality, good diagrams, etc. My needlework book was one of the few craft books I took with me when I moved here (Sweden) from North Carolina in 1994 so you can see that I value it!
hth
Erin (Naw, they don't bribe me to push their books, I just like them!)
Reply to
Museumbitch
I second Erin re the Reader's Digest book. The original was written mainly by Lucille Rivers, who pioneered sewing shows on PBS. In my book, she has no equal, even though she was not given much credit for writing this book.
As for other essentials in the kit, I opt for a package of waistband interfacing, an air-erasable pen for marking, and a package of trouser hooks...
Teri
Reply to
gjones2938
I prefer the older edition of the Reader's Digest book published in the 70s. IMO, it is better in describing in detail many things the new edition leaves out. DD bought one at Half-Price books for about $5.00. That is "My Bible" on sewing, although I have a large library of different types of sewing books, DVDs, videos, etc. As for sewing notions, I think the other posters covered those fairly well, except a nice selection of various color threads, regular sewing needles and a thimble. You know things do need basting many times. As for the sewing machine, I'd strongly suggest your Dad take his wife to the store and allow her to choose the machine herself, maybe with a companion(you) going along to point out some highlights of the different models, if she knows nothing about sewing. The old adage of choosing a car for someone else also applies to sewing machines. He could take her to a nice restaurant for lunch/dinner, give her a gift package with a card saying something to the effect, "We're going seine machine shopping at ------, and ---- will join us at the store to point out the differences in the models, so you can choose the one you want." Emily
Reply to
CypSew
I also like it: I have the new edition and 3 older copies! I also like Sewing for Dummies. I use both with students.
Reply to
Kate Dicey
I have the needlework book and the RD sewing book. They are both great. I buy every copy of the sewing book I come across to give to new sewing enthusiasts. The Vogue sewing book is supposed to be very good also but I don't have one of those. Taria
Reply to
Taria
I'd suggest two possibilities: Reader's Digest sewing book, or Simplicity's Simply the Best Sewing Book, which is home dec oriented, but has a good basic section on fabric, fabric handling, etc, and may be easier at first. The other book I'd recommend is Connie Crawford's Guide to Fashion Sewing. It was written for her students at FIT who had to learn to sew on the way to learning fashion design, and the format is drawing and a few sentences, another drawing and a few sentences. This adapts ready to wear sewing techniques to home sewing machine capabilities, so it's slightly different instructions than you'll find in sewing books, but it produces more professional results with less effort than the instructions in most patterns. It's the book I wish I had had when I was learning.
Are there lessons available in her area? Even a few to start with can help immensely if someone has never sewn before.
You can usually pick up a "beginning sewing" kit this time of year fairly inexpensively. In addition, she'll need a decent iron and an ironing board, a good pair of "dressmaker shears" (it's a style, sometimes also called "bent handled trimmers" in a small form) -- I like KAI -- they're light, sharp and fit the hand well. However, if she's left handed, she'll want true left-handed scissors, which KAI lefties are not.
I'd also like to see her start with a sleeve board and a pressing ham, as good pressing techniques during sewing make a much, much better looking result. Good pressing can salvage mediocre sewing, while mediocre pressing just makes good sewing look mediocre, as you know from pressing quilt blocks. But the forms of garments need a curved surface and a narrow surface in addition to an ironing board for pressing. A clapper is the third tool I think is definitely needed, but that only needs to be a piece of smoothly sanded hardwood, though the point presser/clapper combinations are quite nice.
Some URLs of what I'm talking about:
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(bigger is better; I useN5250)
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Reply to
Kay Lancaster
Most of the sewing machine stores offer Basic Sewing lessons. I have taught private basic sewing to some who have taken the group lessons and said they still didn't understand what they needed to know. So maybe a few private sewing lessons would be in order. Sometimes Hancock Fabrics, and Joann Fabrics have a bulletin board and there might be someone posting to teach private lessons. You might also check at craft stores for a bulletin board. Even better, one of her friends who sews might be willing to help her learn. It's just an idea that might save her a lot of frustration! Barbara in cold, damp SC
Reply to
Bobbie Sews Moore
I hope I don't start a ruckus with this, but left-handed tools are useless for the most part. For one thing, many of them are not of good quality. One of the advantages of being left-handed is learning at a very early age to be versitile. I once treated myself to a pair of left-handed scissors, and I ended up cutting everything wrong by the width of the blades, because I was watching the wrong side of the blades as I cut. I immediately went back to right-handed scissors, and other tools, as well. Being left-handed is not a disability; most of the students that I had were right-handed, and I simply taught them to watch my demonstration in front of me. My left-handed students stood beside and in back of me.
Teri
Reply to
gjones2938
I used to teach sewing at my local Hancock Fabric store. I found that people who bought the cheapest machines were the most likely to be frustrated - by their machine. When asked, I would tell people to buy as much machine as they could reasonably afford. I just looked at the Sears web site. All the machines I saw there under $118 were the types that frustrated my students the most. The 51-stitch and the 63-stitch machines were loved by all my students who had them. Please let us know what they got. ;)
maer
Reply to
maer
He picked the 16231, which is NOT under $118! Hopefully it won't frustrate her. I love my Kenmore machine, and have always owned Kenmore machines. I hope someday to get a Bernina or Husqvarna....but I will always keep my Kenmore workhorse!
Thank you everyone for all of your suggestions. I got her a starter sewing kit along with an assortment of needles and some flat head flower pins. I'll be shipping those off to her shortly. I hope my father remembers to get the book for her though....
Dannielle MD
Reply to
Dannielle
Along with what everyone else has said, I'd also suggest a book about fabrics, such as Sandra Betzina's "Fabric Savvy" or Claire Shaeffer's "Fabric Sewing Guide". Both are great for describing fabric and how to sew it. Marie in Mississippi
Reply to
Grannie

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