Thursday, March 31, 2016

Creative Journal: 5 Favorite Sewing Books

A few weeks back I shared with you about setting up a sewing notebook, and one of the sections I included in that was a creative journal. I believe that taking time to think about what you’re doing can be just as important as doing it. It’s easy at times to be carried along with what’s trending in the sewing world, but you still need to pay attention to what matters most to you. How does all this work out in real life? What do you truly enjoy when it comes to design? The more you know yourself, the more comfortable you’ll be with the choices you make in your own creative journey.

If you don't feel like keeping a separate journal, these can be things that you write about on your blog, share on Instagram, or just think about while you sew your latest project. I'll be sharing creative journal questions or topics with you here at Fabric Mutt occasionally, along with my own answers. Feel free to share your own answer in the comments below, in a blog post (which you're welcome to link up below), or in a creative journal of your own.

List five of your favorite sewing books and explain why you love them.

It's easy to overthink this sort of question, but remember, this isn't a test -- just some thoughts to get you smiling about what you love and why. I took a quick spin through my sewing library, and here are the five books that jumped out at me today...

1. The Quilter's Album of Patchwork Patterns by Jinny Beyer

This book may not look flashy, but I refer to it more than anything else in my sewing library. It has diagrams for over 4050 quilt blocks along with notes on their names and origins. I constantly go back to these pages for inspiration when I'm designing a new quilting project. See all those blue sticky notes? Always a sign of a well loved book...

2. Patchwork, Please! by Ayumi Takahashi 

Ayumi is a friend of mine, but that's not the only reason why I love her book. Her style is the essence of modern Zakka, a Japanese term for useful items that beautify your home, appearance, or life. All of these projects are sweet and approachable, and I'm constantly learning from the way Ayumi mixes fabrics and colors. I use her book for personal inspiration and as a great source for handmade gifts.

3. Savor Each Stitch by Carolyn Friedlander

This book was like a revelation to me the first time I picked it up, and I found that I couldn't put it down. If you taught a college course on modern quilting, this would be the perfect textbook. Savor Each Stitch is a thoughtful look at the artistry of quilts. Design principles are explained in detail, and a project is included to illustrate each one. The Aerial Grove Quilt above is still on my Must Make list.

4. Sweet & Simple Patchwork Gifts by Hisako Arai and Yoko Sanjo

Another Zakka favorite of mine, this book pulls me back again and again for ideas. The authors have designed 6-7 projects each using four different piecing motifs: simple squares, hexagons, log cabins, and stars & polygons. It's a great example of how you can play with a block to come up with different results, and I love that there are so many small gift options in here.

5. Chloe Tells You Sew by Chloe Owens 

I have to admit that I haven't sewn a single project from this book, but I'm still absolutely crazy about it. It reminds me of all the comics, kid's magazines, and craft books that I pored over as I child. Bright colored photos and darling illustrated characters tell fun stories that go with the projects. Technically for children, there's still plenty in here for adults to love. When my daughters aren't combing through the pages, I sneak off with this book myself for a little nostalgia mixed with the vintage style that I so love.

So what are your favorite sewing books for projects and/or inspiration? Do tell!


  1. I like your blog because there is thought behind your words. I always wondered the meaning of Zakka. Thanks!

  2. My 5 favorite Quilt books are,
    1. Quilts, Quilts, Quilts by Diana McClun and Laura Nownes - this book is so old, but has the basics! Quilt on point, how do you figure out your triangles, this is the book to look at.
    2. Sister Sampler Quilts by Anne Marie Chany - I got this from my sister Julie, she is the one who taught me to sew, taught me to quilt! I made a quilt from this book that I am planning on teaching a basic Quilt Class from.
    3. Smash Your Precut Stash by Kate Carlson Colleran and Elizabeth Veit Balderrama, I have taught two classes out of this book, love love love it!
    4. Machine Quiltmaking by Lois Smith, another oldie but goodie, she taught me how to machine quilt using my bernina sewing machine! Lucky me, I belong to a guild for a while she was in, and took classes from her at my local quilt shop. When I moved to Texas she came to our guild, fun fun fun!
    5. Seems like scrappy by Rebecca Silbaugh - I have yet to make a quilt out of this book, but there are three of them marked, fabric bought for two! What I love about this book besides the quilts is reading it! She says, "I have a bucket list of quilts I'd like to make, (C'mon, I bet you do too.)

    Thanks for sharing your Fav's Heidi, I will have to check them out!

  3. How interesting to see your inspiration books!
    I am currently loving:
    1. Sew Organized for the Busy Girl - by YOU!
    I LOVE your projects and have been making many of them. They all look so fun!
    2. Farm Girl Vintage by Lori Holt I learned a lot by making the sampler quilt
    3. Simplify by Camille Roskelley I am finding some quilts to make using precuts
    4. Simply Retro by Camille Roskelley I want to make a Swell quilt this year

    I really love looking through these for inspiration, even when I don't make anything.
    Susie ( @ SusiesSunroom)

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  5. AMAZING collection of patterns & variations of those patterns. Rather overwhelming if you're not careful and it's easy to get lost in all the variations. A great reference tool as well as a visual feast. I consider it a must for any good collection of quilting books.

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