I want to up my sewing game, so I’ve been looking for a really good sewing encyclopedia lately. I recently picked up The Sewing Book by Alison Smith (2009, DK Publishing) and I can’t put it down!
Alison Smith gives a great introduction to sewing tools and has a really extensive section on fabrics, which could teach even the most advanced seamstress a thing or two. That said, the real strength of this book is the number of techniques it covers — The Sewing Book uses a simple design to cram a lot of information in to one book.
I find that most sewing books are too project-heavy for my liking with less of a focus on techniques. Usually the projects all have a strong style and if you don’t share the same taste as the book’s author, you’re out of luck. Alison Smith puts the emphasis on teaching the basics so you have the know-how to make any project, and even her projects are simple and classic enough that you can make them your own.
Overall, this is a great read and a wonderful resource for sewers of all levels. Beginners will find this book provides a solid foundation and easy to follow instructions, and more advanced sewers can enhance their understanding of fabric and sewing. (I know that I’m looking forward to learning the right way to do lots of things I’m probably doing wrong…!)