Thinking Outside the Box

      Comments Off on Thinking Outside the Box

Sometimes we get into a rut with our sewing habits–we like to make certain projects and certain styles, and the thought of something new can bring shivers.

As you read this, I’m in Hong Kong with the American Sewing Guild tour group, but I always like to take books with me on the plane to help pass the time of the seemingly never ending 14 hr. flight over the ocean. In my bag this time are three “outside the box” kind of books.

I’m really not a couture sewer, though I do have some of those skills. Working at home in my basement office doesn’t really call for any elegant garb, though I’ve always been an admirer of the techniques used in high fashion. Kenneth King is the master of couture design and his recent book Cool Couture gives us insight into the wonderful secrets of his star-power creations. Beginning with a discussion of tools and fabrics, he then goes on to share his techniques for things like the perfect sleeve, tailored pockets, piping and lots of designer embellishments like pleating, tassels, knots, etc. This one offers fabulous photos and great illustrations for each process, plus some of Kenneth’s unique humor thrown in when you least expect it.

I’m a pretty traditional sewer compared to some, but I like to think I’m open to new ideas. Susan Wasinger’s new book Fabricate is a fabulous source of inspiration for sewing play time. It’s a cross between fiber art and couture sewing, offering information on pleating, texturizing, using fabric frays, recycling sweaters and plastic bags, and much more to tempt you to say, “Hmmm…” So, next time you have an inkling to think beyond the basics, this book is worth checking out. Seventeen projects are included, or you can simply incorporate the techniques into ideas of your own.

I’ve always admired what scrapbookers can create–the clever layouts and myriad materials they use are intriguing. But, until now I was fine with just admiring. Sew Sentimental author Linda Lum DeBono uses all kinds of sewing-related things in her scrapbooking work. From zippers and ribbons to decorative stitching and buttonholes–now that’s something I can relate to. She also talks about fabric printing–a subject near and dear to my heart. So, reading about this unconventional use for my beloved sewing things is really one I can relate to.

Lest you think I’m a bit overzealous about books, I love reading them, and I also love writing them. They’re simply another way to teach people new things. I’ll be passing these books around on the plane to share with others and we’ll be learning some new-found skills and projects while flying.