Yes, I *did* make it myself!

The Great British Sewing Bee by Tessa EveleghWhether it’s the recession, the rise of Etsy / Folksy / Craftsy, or we’re just recognising the value of the handmade and unique – domestic crafts are where it’s at. We’ve written before about knitting books and groups in Westminster libraries, and tonight sees the latest TV programme from the makers of The Great British Bake Off  – The Great British Sewing Bee. We’ll have the book of the series on our shelves imminently – reserve a copy here.

As usual, your library service can furnish you with a multitude of books to help you with your sewing (or dressmaking, or embroidery, or needlework… explore what’s on offer by clicking on the links and then following the subject tag links). Here’s a small selection of recommended titles from library staff:

The Ultimate Sewing BibleGeneral books:

The Ultimate Sewing Bible by Marie Clayton
“I recommend this book because it has good illustrations and it takes you on a step-by-step lesson.”

The Complete Book of SewingDorling Kindersley’s The Complete Book of Sewing
“This is great for its clear, well photographed instructions on every technique you will ever need; zipping, piping, tucking, darting, pleating etc.”


The Stitching BookThe Stitching Book
“The perfect choice for anyone whose interest in stitching has been reawakened by current trends in home sewing… Each section is written by an expert in a particular discipline and explains the history of the technique, the materials and equipment required, and the most popular stitches used.”

The Gentle Art of Stitching by Jane BrocketThe Gentle Art of Stitching by Jane Brocket
“From the author of The Gentle Art of Domesticity, this book gives details of more than 40 projects. With techniques as varied as Japanese Sashiko, kantha quilting, traditional cross stitch and modern day ‘crinoline ladies’, there is something here for every keen stitcher.”

For those who want to take those domestic skills and apply them to the commercial field, take a look at

Handmade marketplace by Kari ChapinHandmade Marketplace by Kari Chapin
“It’s an exciting new world for crafters. Handmade is hip, creativity is what the market wants, and there are many profitable sales opportunities that didn’t exist a few short years ago… The Handmade Marketplace breaks down and makes sense of the global possibilities for marketing and selling crafts.”

And this book got enthusiastic reviews from more than one member of staff, inspiring the title of this post:

Yeah! I made it myself, by Eithne FarryYeah! I made it myself by Eithne Farry
“A great DIY book for customising your existing clothes, or for making simple clothes. Good for beginners, it’s very straight forward and has a very ‘you can do it’ attitude. A lot of fun.”
“Great for a ‘make your pattern with a sheet of newspaper and hem with wundaweb or glue’ approach.”

If you’ve found any of the above books useful, or if you’d like to recommend others, let us know!


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