Colette Sewing Handbook. It is organised as a sewing course, and I can see it as a terrific resource for the beginning sewer. I really like author Sarai Mitnick's philosophy on how sewing one's own clothes not only empowers the maker to step out of the consumer rat race, but also allows for the expression of individuality. Her emphasis is on perfectly fitted, comfortable designs that have a retro sweetness to them, but she also has lots of ideas on how to embellish and adapt the patterns to suit one's personal style. It would make a perfect gift for a new sewer, and would sit very comfortably even on the advanced sewer's bookshelf, as it includes multi-sized tissue patterns for the illustrated designs, and is so delightfully fresh and inspiring.
Marcy Tilton's Easy Guide to Sewing Tops and T-Shirts came out before she was picked up by Vogue Patterns. I was impressed by how packed it is with professional tips and information, especially on sewing with knits. I learned several new tricks. It would be another great resource for the intermediate sewer. I see that Marci Tilton has another, more recent book out that cover tops, skirts and pants, so if it is as densely packed with information as the earlier book, it would be well worth picking up.
Eva Wilson's Ornament: 8000 Years is a fascinating cross-cultural look at basic design motifs through history. The simple line drawing that illustrate the text are very clear and more useful than photographs would be, I think. Her text is succinct and scholarly, although perhaps a bit dry. She worked with actual objects from the British Museum, and seems to have had extraordinary access to the collection. (She does discretely mention that she is married to the director of the Museum.) This is a great book for a design nerd such as myself, and would certainly add to the design vocabulary of anyone who appreciates art and material culture.
sewing project that I have taken on? I finished another duvet cover, this one again made of fabric chosen to reflect the personality and tastes of the young woman, Letisha, who will use it. She has a lively, outgoing temperment and likes to paint, so her guardian chose bright pinks, purples, and greens, as well as a splashy marbled print that incorporates all the colours. Not the easiest to work with, but I thought of how the Amish use brights and darks in their quilts, and took my inspiration from that.
I took a somewhat improvisational approach, and ending up using almost all the marble print on the front panel. The back is simpler and more graphic. This will give Letisha the opportunity to choose which side she wants depending on her mood.