My Favorite Sewing Book: Knits

The Colette Guide to Sewing Knits Professional Techniques for Beautiful Everyday Garments

by Alyson Clair

How many books about sewing basics have you owned? How many do you refer to regularly? How many have you given to your niece or aspiring sewist because you have too many that are all the same? Probably lots, if you’re like me. This is the one I refer to most. Maybe it’s because I enjoy sewing knits and want to perfect my skills; maybe because it is so straightforward with quick details and instructions. The information in this one is more useful for me than any other. I’ve not once found myself confused because of wording. It’s all written so it makes sense to me right away. 

If I’ve taken a break from sewing knits, I go back to this and skim some basic techniques and reminders, most often for finishing armholes and necklines and hemlines. Those details can make or break a nice garment. 

I don’t have a serger (yet!) so I’m so grateful that Ms Clair clearly explains how to work without one and that it’s nothing to be ashamed of (but I still really, really, really want one!) I even read the chapter about sergers and cover stitch machines, neither of which I have, and I understood everything. 

The photographs are well-done and easy to follow. Using contrasting fabrics for clarity of demonstration is something many authors overlook. I saw one try to explain applying red bias tape to red fabric with red thread …. I learned nothing. 

I’m not good at adjusting patterns to fit other than a lot of trial and error. Back to this book to remind me how with the basics. I can get more detail elsewhere, but if you already know how, these are good highlights. 

Skim the “Chapter Review” sections when you just want to get in a sewing frame of mind. 

Finally, the charts and quick-read sections are great for those of us with a short attention span.

Once you’ve marked all the sections you know you will go back to, swing over to Collete Patterns to explore their cute patterns and finished items. I haven’t bought any patterns myself, but have found plenty of inspiration there. 

Share with me your favorite book of basics. I have some favorite pattern books to share, but there are a few so I want to categorize. 


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