Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Vogue Sewing

So where to start?
Well, I'm a PhD student. So I ordered a text book. I know, I know.

I bought the rather enormous Vogue Sewing and I'm still reading it. It came quite a while ago and I'm very keen, but you can't just read a textbook. Experience should have taught me this.

Published by sixth&spring books and available here

Aside from not being able to devour it like a novel, it seems really rather good. There are some wonderful looking tables and guides to fabrics, interfacings and linings. And when I need to reference it I have no doubt it'll be fabulous, but I have a sneeking suspicion that I might actually just need to get on with it and learn on the go. Maybe I could just read to the end of chapter 6 'construction basics', only 80 pages to go? Or maybe I should get started before Autumn.  Hmmm.

What have I particularly liked about it so far? Well in terms of usefulness I found chapter 4 the best for a beginner, less of it seemed to wash over me. The pages of sewing accessories (needles, threads, trims etc..) and sewing tools were actually fascinating and taught me all sorts of things I'd never thought of. For example, needles with a rounded tip are best for knitted fabrics, because they slip more easily between the yarns helping to avoid snagging. They also talk about sewing tape with measurements printed on one side to help keep stitching even, which reminded me that I'd noticed Lauren using something similar on the Great British Sewing Bee to ensure her shirring was neatly spaced. It's so nice to read something you've never heard of before and think, "actually I might have seen that somewhere, it can't be all that strange and foreign, I know what they're talking about!".  

It was first published in 1970 and the chapter where that's most noticable is the first, 'the fashion game'. I do most of my reading with a cup of tea and there were two pages in particular where I was in danger of snorting it everywhere. It's sort of charmingly rude and filled with the sort of obvious but non-PC suggestions you imagine an elderly aunt might make. For example - "If you are ten to twenty pounds overweight, you could try to lose weight". Or the wonderfully misleading "Excess weight also strains the muscles so that they cannot hold the chest, stomach, and buttocks in their proper positions; these areas then sag."  I particularly like the picture below, I'm almost surprised the overweight lady doesn't have a sad face. 

Taken from Vogue Sewing

Jesting aside, I do really like it. I don't think I'll be buying another sewing reference book for a while, this should do me wonderfully until I can see more clearly what is lacking. Even then, at £20 a pop for a book like this I might be more tempted to try the library first. Afterall, having read chapter 4 I now have a fairly long haberdashery shopping list!

p.s. I have no vested interests, nobody has sent me anything free or paid me a penny, mores the pity. 

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