There has been a little bit of reading lately. Not as much reading as I’d like, but I don’t do as much of many things as I would like. My crochet output has slowed down quite a bit recently, and I am focusing on getting my sewing UFOs completed. Maybe it’s due to being well and truly in the last part of the year – school holidays have just started, and I can see that the last few months will rush to a close. I’d like to freshen my slate a little. But back to the reading!
Convertible Crochet is Doris Chan’s latest book. There are a number of lovely projects in it, most made by reconfiguring motifs and attaching them in different ways. I enjoy the technical aspects of Doris’ books; the fusion of creativity and mathematics and shape and structure. Not sure what I’ll start with from this book, but in the meantime it is lovely to peruse.
The Hundred Dresses by Erin McKean has an illustration and an exposition of an iconic dress on every two-page spread. The illustrations are delightful, and Erin writes in a way that is humourous and insightful. She has obviously done her research, but his isn’t an academic book. It’s a light read that is easy to dip into and out of, and worth a look at for anyone interested in women’s fashion.
Clare Schaeffer’s Fabric Sewing Guide is SUCH a worthwhile purchase for anyone who sews! Someone asked me recently if I could do a blog post about choosing and sewing with different fabrics – seriously, I point you in the direction of this book. I was lucky enough to buy it half price at a recent craft fair and am so pleased that I now have it as a reference. It is divided into sections, with titles such as Fibre Content, Fabric Structure, Fabric Types, Interfacings and Linings, Sewing Techniques. I think that this book is a must have.
Nowadays I do a fair bit of reading on a Kindle. I am half-way through Mel Campbell’s book Out Of Shape: Debunking Myths About Fashion and Fit. It’s an interesting book too. From Mel’s website:
This volume of literary non-fiction explores the histories and cultures of clothing fit and size. It seeks to cut through the often confused discussions in the Australian and international media over whether we’re in an ‘obesity crisis’; issues of body image and self-esteem; suspicions of exclusionary fashion marketing tactics; and the contemporary passion for all things ‘vintage’ and ‘retro’.
Ultimately, it sets out to answer the question: “Why is it so tricky and unpleasant to find clothes that fit properly?”
Framed as a lively, accessible work of investigative journalism, Out of Shape is explicitly not a ‘fashion’ book. It’s geared to a general audience who don’t necessarily identify as fashion-conscious, and who struggle to feel good about buying and wearing clothes. It represents a unique and exciting investigation into a daily practice everyone participates in, which has a fascinating, sometimes bizarre relationship to commerce and pop culture.
I’ve also just read Already Pretty, by Sally McGraw. I have been dipping in and out of Sally’s blog Already Pretty for a while. From the website:
Structured as a fun and accessible self-guided makeover, Already Pretty: Learning to Love Your Body by Learning to Dress it Well is the antidote to cookie-cutter style guides. Instead of dumping you into a body type category and restricting what you can and cannot wear, this friendly, funny, body-positive book presents a highly customizable regimen to help you define and hone your own personal style. A true guidebook to crafting personal style, Already Pretty teaches women to love their bodies, dress impeccably, and embrace the philosophy that dressing well is key to living well.
I have always been a bit of a sucker for a makeover show, right back from spreads in Dolly or The Women’s Weekly to television makeover segments or programs and books like those of Trinny and Susannah. Reading both Already Pretty and Out of Shape at pretty much the same type has been quite a juxtaposition, although Already Pretty is definitely not a traditional make-over book full of “musts” but rather is about being true to yourself and how you feel in your clothes. I have also been reflecting on how these books intersect with some of the material I studied back when I completed my Women’s Studies degree, and how my own thoughts and behaviours intersect them all of them. Hmmm.
And there are a couple of new to me blogs that I’ve been enjoying and would like to share!
Fabric Tragic – a local girl who I’m now waiting to bump into at Darn Cheap Fabrics one day
Sew Manju – an English woman who makes divine dresses for herself and her daughter
He Cooks, She Sews – great garments and some mouth-watering recipes.