I love collecting vintage sewing manuals and books! I’ve been collecting for years and I now have a collection of over 100 dressmaking and sewing manuals and books, the oldest of which dates from 1891 with the latest books coming from the mid 70s.
I have always loved classic styling, fabrics and fashion. I am a dressmaker and trained in bespoke tailoring at the London College of Fashion. I now own a fabric shop and sewing school, More Sewing (www.moresewing.co.uk). Sewing and dressmaking is my life! I have always looked for vintage sewing patterns but have found problems at times with the pattern fit and the quality of the paper pattern itself. Being able to draft patterns, I have always got on better with sewing books.
The books that I have fall into two categories. There are books that I love the look of, even when they are quite basic.
Then there are the more advanced and technical books, they really do teach me something and I can use the techniques I learn in designing my own patterns or using them in the classes I run.
Where do I find my books? Well, I cannot pass a second hand book shop or a charity shop without having a quick look. I also love a good jumble sale. I do not buy books on the web; I like to hold the book and look at it before I buy it. I am sure I could have a larger collection but I would probably have paid more for it and I would not have had as much fun. Quite a number of my books are from public and professional libraries. It’s sad that more and more libraries are being broken up but at least I am able to give this books a good home.
What is my favourite book? It’s not easy to pick one but I do like the Lutterloh Golden Rule book. I have two of these. If you don’t know this book, it is a book of 1/4 scale patterns that you scale up to use with a special measuring system I’ve not come across anything else like them and I love the styling and the illustrations in the book. They are hard to find and if you ever see one going cheap – grab it!