Textiles books…

I thought I’d put a separate shelf on here and tell you about some of the textiles books I use and refer to – after all, you can never have too many can you? Sometimes I can get a copy into the shop and I’ll indicate if we have one in stock.


  • Winifred Aldrich – Metric Pattern Cutting (1980 ISBN 0632035366) and Metric Pattern Cutting for Menswear (2011 ISBN 978 1 405 182935). The classics on the subject and although a bit daunt­ingly tech­nical for the beginner, once you start trying to draw the shapes, it starts to make sense. Very useful if you are enlar­ging or modi­fy­ing a com­mer­cial pattern but not neces­sary if you’re not inter­ested in making your own patterns from scratch. We have a copy in stock at present.
  • Barbara Deckert – Sewing for Plus Sizes (1999 ISBN 156182840). A chance find for me, and I paid £8 for my copy, but it is well worth that for the prac­tical advice and sug­ges­tions on how to make garments fit in a flat­ter­ing manner for the larger lady.
  • Tomoko Nakamichi – Pattern Magic (2010 ISBN 978 185669 7057) and Pattern Magic 2 (2011 ISBN 978 185669 7164). These are really inspir­a­tional guides to give you ideas of the three dimen­sion­al­ity that cloth can assume in the hands of an expert. For those inter­ested in stretch­ing their pattern cutting skills really but worth a borrow from the library for any keen dress­maker.
  • Claire Schaeffer – Couture Sewing Techniques (2011 ISBN 978 160085 3357). I bought mine new and it’s been worth every penny: clear guidance and illus­tra­tions through­out. A book I would not be without.
  • Colette Wolff – The Art of Manipulating Fabric (1996 ISBN 0801984963). Just the most superb book for ideas and tech­niques to add into embroid­ery, quilting or dress­mak­ing: borrow it from the library and then go and buy a copy. Logically organ­ised, well illus­trated, covers pleats, gathers, godets, gores, smocking, tucks, darks, appliqué and quilting. A delight.
  • Fashion

  • Sandy Black – Eco-Chic: The Fashion Paradox (2011 ISBN 978 1906155 094).Thought pro­vok­ing and well written and points to the work of a number of ethical design­ers who have style as well as prin­ciples.
  • Lucy Siegle – To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing Out the World? (2011 ISBN 978 0 007264094). Another timely work on the same theme – and if you thought wearing cotton instead of syn­thet­ics was enough, read on: it’s quite shocking stuff. So you see where my reworked/reused garments are coming from?
  • Colin McDowell – Dressed to Kill: Sex, Power and Clothes (1992 ISBN 0091744644). McDowell is one of my favour­ite fashion writers. His con­sid­er­able learning is worn lightly, and he’s enter­tain­ing as well as inform­at­ive. This is a well illus­trated extended essay on what we project about ourselves in our choice of clothing. And for those of us who spend our lives here on Skye in fleeces and jeans, it’s still worth thinking about!
  • Knitting 

  • Gina Wilde -Shibori Knits: the art of exquis­ite felted knits (2008 ISBN 978 030739- 3548). Another chance find for me but some really inter­est­ing work focus­sing on using two dif­fer­ent yarn types, one of which felts and the other of which does not. 
  • Textile tech­niques

  • Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada, Mary Kellogg Rice & Jane Barton – Shibori: The Inventive Art of Japanese Shaped Resist Dyeing (2011 ISBN 978 1 56836 3967). I saw this at the house of a friend and had to go straight out and order a copy. It’s an irres­ist­ible, detailed guide to the tech­niques of resist dyeing used in Japan and I’m cur­rently eyeing up a piece of pink silk and won­der­ing whether to give it a go! Way beyond 1970s tie dyeing or batik…