Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Sewing Room Library

Part of my sewing room includes a library of sewing books and magazines. I gain not only inspiration from my books and magazines, but also alot of useful instruction! I love collecting the A-Z books - the instructions in these manuals are so easy to understand! I have learned and perfected many stitches by using the A-Z books.  The step by step picture instructions make it easy to learn a technique or to help a friend who is trying to learn sewing, quilting or embroidery. 
The subjects of my books cover a wide range of sewing. I have books about Civil War sewing, Classic Sewing for Children, Christening Gowns, Heirloom Embroidery, Machine Embroidery and collecting Vintage Sewing Tools and Trinkets.
I also have a wide range of books with patterns, such as the Martha Pullen books, and all of Mildred Turner's Mimi's Heirloom Sewing books, which give detailed instruction on so many Heirloom Sewing Techniques!

I keep a few of my books close at hand on my design table - they serve not only for instruction, but inspiration!
I have an extensive collection of magazines in my sewing room. I have collected many Creative Needle magazines, SAGA news, Australian Smocking & Embroidery and I own every single issue of Sew Beautiful magazine since the Premier Issue! I try to purchase large notebooks for my magazines and keep them categorized by season, making it easy to refer to them when looking for a pattern or even when a little inspiration is needed!
I have alot of books and magazines that I love, but I think my most prized and most used book in my sewing room is Elizabeth Travis Johnson's The Complete Book of Sewing For Children. I have referred to this book more than any other book in my sewing room when I have needed help with a placket, need general information on a technique or have a sewing problem I can't solve.
This book is not only very informative for sewing techniques, but it's also very special to me because Miss Elizabeth personally signed the book for me! 
When I moved to Tennessee 17 years ago, I joined The Grand 'Ol Smockers SAGA (Smocking Arts Guild of America) group in Nashville, TN. It was there that I met Elizabeth Travis Johnson, as she was a member of our group. What a wonderful lady! Everything that you hear good about her is true - she was a dear lady and she is very much missed! 
I had the honor on several occasions of going to lunch at her house where I got to see her extensive trunk collection of beautiful, classic Children's clothes! I was in awe and absolutely in my element to be in the very presence of a sewing icon!  Miss Elizabeth was a joy to have in our group as she shared so many sewing tips and techniques with us - I cherish my book and the memories that I have in knowing her personally. 

What are some of your favorite books in your sewing library?


Goosegirl said...

Laurie, I love how you have your SBs. I need to do this for mine. I was given the entire collection by a friend of my mother's and I have them all out of order. Thank you for the great idea!

Michie' said...

Thanks for sharing your collection. There is nothing quite like going back through the old magazines and books!

Personalized Sketches and Sentiments said...

How wonderful to have that time to sew and learn from someone you admire.

Blessings & Aloha!
(I hope to look into purchasing a smocking pleater... cant remember if I asked you this when I first found your blog, but do you recommend a particular pleater? I did re-watch your tutorial on how to get your fabric started on your pleater, but was wondering how easy is it to get all the thread and needles set up on the pleater? The pleater should have a basic info or directions sent with it, correct? And also, I see that you have the wooden base that houses the threads. If you have time, I would love to hear from you regarding my bazillion questions! Thanks for all your help. mgbotelho21@gmail.com )

Vanessa said...


Thank you for sharing your favorite sewing books. I have many, many of the same and love them, too. I remember longing for Kitty Benton's when I was expecting my daughter (we didn't know the gender because, even though we had several ultrasounds, she had her hands over the important parts during every one of them). My husband surprised me with a copy after Sarah was born. Though I was unknowingly sewing heirloom clothing for my daughter, I didn't discover the active heirloom sewing community or until she was a tween. Thus, I had never heard of Elizabeth Travis Johnson or her book, in time to buy a copy of the book fresh off of the press. I recently bought a nearly pristine used copy for under $40. What a find!! Happy sewing :)


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