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The little temple of sewing knowledge I use as resources.

I learned to sew in high school home economics classes. No one was any happier about that than my Mom, whose family couldn’t afford the extra expense of a home ec class when she was in high school. We soon learned that I could make clothes that fit for a fraction of the cost of ready made garments. Clothes are manufactured so cheaply now that it’s just the opposite today.

Why sew then? Because you can get a custom fit using better fabrics than you can affordably buy. If you, like me, despise the cheap acetate linings of even the best names in ladies suits, sewing your own garments gives you an alternative. You can choose silk linings instead. For people who are squeamish about wearing clothes that are actually vintage, you can achieve vintage looks with brand new materials. Almost all the pattern manufacturers have a line of retro fashions to inspire your vintage heart.

When I first learned to sew, I had the bravado of a 16-year-old; nothing I wanted was too hard. At this point, I’m struggling to remember the basics, which makes me a little choosier about what I tackle. If you’re similarly afflicted with the bug to rejuvenate your skills, join the American Sewing Guild. If you have a local chapter, you can connect with fabulous educators who give lessons in your area. For those times that you’re home alone with the task, ┬áhaving a great sewing library helps. Here are some of my favorite sewing books.

How did you learn to sew? And what are some of your favorite resources?

The Colette Sewing Book, by Sarai Mitnick

Sewing for Dummies, by Jan Saunders

Vogue Sewing, edited by Crystal McDougald

Couture Sewing Techniques, by Claire Shaeffer

1000 Clever Sewing Shortcuts and Tips, Deepika Prakash

Threads Sewing Guide: A Complete Reference from America’s Best-Loved Sewing Magazine, edited by Carol Fresia

The Sewing Book, by Alison Smith