Tag Archives: sewing books

Book Number 2!

It’s been a bit all go recently, what with the Knitting & Stitching show and everything, but amongst it all something very exciting happened…..

Wendy Ward book number 2

I signed the contract for book number 2!!!!

It’s been rumbling on since August and has been VERY difficult to keep to myself, so I’m glad it’s all finally official!

It’s due out Autumn 2016 and that’s all I’m going to say on the subject for now. ‘Cos I’m a tease.

The Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace

Read all about what I got up to at the Knitting & Stitching show last week over on my blog.

knittingandstitchingshow1 knittingandstitchingshow2

Another Sewing Book Photoshoot…

Last Thursday we did the 2nd photoshoot for my sewing book. Here’s a little peep behind the scenes of what was a really busy day. It’s amazing what you can do in a day with a great team!

sewing book photos

Gypsydog did a bit of photobombing again this time, but we didn’t catch her in our snapshots!

My amazing team consists of photographer Julian Ward and stylist Lauren Courtney. They seem to sprinkle a bit of magic onto whatever they’re working with, it’s great!

In case you missed it, here’s behind the scenes of the first photoshoot.

First Photoshoot for my Sewing Book!

Monday was the first photoshoot for my sewing book.  It was soooo much fun.

Julian Ward (no relation!) is the photographer and he is fantastic to work with.  He totally got what we were trying to do and made sure we got the shots we needed and more.

My good friend Lauren Courtney was styling the photos.  She has this amazing ability to arrange things and make them look fabulous.  You might remember her from her fantastic work on the MIY Workshop Christmas window which won us that prize…!

1stbookphotoshoot-webSnapshots by me and Lauren.

Which Sewing Book to Buy?

sewing booksA cull of books I had last year at a MIY Workshop sale!  Yes you can have too many craft books.

So, the Great British Sewing Bee is back for its second series and the production company are already scouring the country for potential contestants for series three.  It looks like the sewing bug is a stayer.  Obviously that’s a good thing in my book.

Talking of books….(!) as I’m writing a sewing book at the moment (see previous post), the subject of sewing books has been pre-occupying me now for quite some time and I’ve also been thinking a lot recently about craft book authors.

Lots of my students ask me if I can recommend a sewing book.  Here are my tips to finding a good sewing book.

The most important starting point is to be honest about the skills you’re starting with.  Have you had a go on a sewing machine and now feel ready to tackle some dressmaking, have you been sewing for years and now looking for some new ideas or does the sight of a sewing machine bring you out in a cold sweat?!

If you’re right at the beginning of your sewing adventures, you need a sewing book that will have really well explained techniques and easy but inspiring  projects that you will actually want to make and can work your way through step-by-step.  If inspiration is what you’re after, have a look at some of the Japanese sewing books – beautifully designed, inspiring patterns, but usually needing some good existing skills.

What kind of things do you want to make with your new found sewing skills?  Do you want to do mainly patchwork, do you want to make bags and cushions and accessories or do you want do make clothes?  Choose the book that contains the kind of projects that you actually want to make!

Just like novels, the author of the craft book will make a huge difference to the content.

Here in Brighton there is a little hub of expert craft book authors; the lovely Liz of Quilty Pleasures had her first patchwork and quilting book published last spring:

beginners guide to quilting

Julia Hincks, a colleague who teaches at the Friends Centre in Brighton has written a book all about using your overlocker:

overlocker techniques

Wendy Dolan is another Brighton based tutor who is an expert at machine embroidery and has been teaching for many years.  She is currently writing a book all about her style of machine embroidery.  Last but not least, Fiona Pullen of the Sewing Directory (OK she’s not in Brighton, but is everywhere in the world of sewing!) is in the process of writing a book about how to build a craft business. (Have a read of Fiona’s fascinating blog posts about her book writing process.)

The common thread linking all of these authors is that we are professionals and experts in our particular field.

What are the benefits of choosing books written by experts?  

A book written by an expert, an experienced teacher or someone with years of experience working in an industry means that you will benefit from that experience, they will share hints and tips with you that they have picked up along their travels, or unique techniques that they have devised for themselves.  You will also find practical how-to books written by these authors will contain instructions that are pitched at exactly the right level because they know their audience – they have been working with people just like you for years.

The way I look at it is this……would you want to learn to drive a car from someone that had just passed their driving test?  No, me neither!

Incidentally, one of my trusty old favourite sewing books that I’m always recommending to students is the “Readers Digest Complete Guide to Sewing”.  You can read my review of it here.

Happy sewing!  And safe driving….!!!

My Sewing Book – behind the scenes….

I’m sure most of you must know by now that I’m in the process of writing a sewing book.  Something I’m chuffed to bits about and have wanted to do for a long time, but not something that happened overnight.

I thought I would share a bit of behind the scenes with you about how the book came about, what’s going to be in it and what is the reality of actually writing it!

The whole process started months ago with me sending a proposal for a book idea to a few publishers.  A book proposal needs to give an overview of what your book will be about (including a suggested contents list), who it’s for, why you’re writing it and what makes you the best person to write it!  Piece of cake eh?  NO,  you can see that even at this early stage, the process needs some focussed thought and work.  I found some useful guides to writing book proposals on the websites below:

The main players in the UK craft book market are:

Now, if you’re fancying the idea of penning a craft book bestseller with £££ in your eyes, let me next dispel that myth.  Unless you’ve appeared on TV, you’re not going to get rich writing books!  My main reason for writing a sewing book is that I want to put all my years of teaching and previous experience working in the fashion industry into a project that can reach a wider audience, by writing a quality dressmaking book that will equip you with the necessary skills to make sewing your own clothes a way of life.  Like a whole series of MIY Workshop classes and workshops condensed into one place!

My book is going to be a combination of sewing techniques and pull-out full size patterns.  The deadlines are really tight to get it published later this year so I’ve got to be super-duper organised to do this alongside running MIY Workshop. Here is the nerve centre of sewing book operations….

book-nervecentre

This contains all my thoughts, plans, rough drawings, fabric swatches and notes for every section of the book.  I’d better not loose it!

One of the best bits about writing a sewing book is all the sewing I get to do.  It may sound obvious, but the day-to-day running of MIY Workshop doesn’t leave an awful lot of time for sewing so it’s been sooooo nice having the workshop to myself occasionally and making lots of things.  Thankfully, I haven’t needed to trawl the country’s fabric shops to make my book samples as I have a wonderful shop for dressmaking fabric right on my doorstep in Brighton.  Ditto fabrics is a dressmaker’s heaven and Gill the owner has been kind enough to let me make regular visits to her unit rather than the shop so that I can look through the full range of her fabric stock.  What an Aladdin’s cave of fabric, I was like a kid in a sweet shop on my first visit and was a bit over-awed at first, but I soon got going. Here’s Gypsydog vetting my fabric choices……

fabricshopping

The next exciting stage is the first photo shoot, which is happening at MIY Workshop in a few day’s time!

Incidentally, although I’m totally obsessed with my sewing book at the moment, I have worked on another book: My Fashion Label is a book I wrote about fashion design for kids and is beautifully illustrated by Robyn Nield whose fashion illustrations have appeared in Vogue.  Contrary to my current book, this one was a very long project which I first got involved with in 2010.  It’s finally out in August of this year and here’s a sneaky preview of the cover……pretty fab, no?!

myfashionlabel-cover-web

Exciting Book News!!!!

books

I have some exciting book news that I’ve been bursting to share for weeks and now I finally can……..I’m going to be writing a dressmaking book with patterns for David and Charles!!

This is something I have been working towards and wanting to do for a long time,  so to say that I’m happy is a bit of an understatement.  I can’t reveal too many more details now, but I’m sure I’ll be able to share titbits of the process with you as it develops.  It’s an horrendous timetable, but it will be worth it and will definitely be keeping me out of mischief for the next few months!

None of it would be possible without the support of my students, customers, readers and followers so a massive thank you to you all.

The work starts now!  Exciting.