I found two awesome books from Amazon.com, for those of you who are interested in taking your sewing to the next level. Some of you might have already seen these, or might already know many of the techniques shown in them, but I -- personally -- was blown away with what I didn't know about sewing. Not that I knew a lot, but I certainly thought I had all the basics down and could do pretty good at sewing up a pattern. However, these two books have really changed how I look at sewing, manipulating fabric, and designing/adapting patterns to fit and flatter my own figure.
The first is "Couture Sewing Techniques" by Claire B Schaeffer. It has a wealth of information on how the couture houses design, fit, and sew their clothing. As a reenactor, I'm a big fan of Charles Worth -- the so-called "Father of Couture" -- and have always enjoyed trying to mimic not only some of his designs, but also the techniques he used. Most of those techniques are still in use today, if you compare antique and modern couture clothing. And the beautiful photos of how some of the couture garments are constructed really open the eyes of the home-sewer to the ways in which a garment can be carefully fitted and supported to best flatter the figure of the wearer.
The second is "The Art of Manipulating Fabric" by Collette Wolff. All of the samples pictured in this book are done in white cotton muslin, and they show all sorts of ways to...well...manipulate fabric. It shows, with photos, what gathering looks like when you double, triple, or quadruple the length of fabric, what it looks like when you gather into a unique shape, what shirring is, and how to handle different types of tucks. It sounds basic, but seriously, it was a fun thing to look through and get inspired about ways to embellish clothing.
So, I hope you check these out! Happy sewing!