Book: The Singer Sewing Book

A few weeks ago The Boyfriend spotted this book in the charity shop he works in and he, very kindly, bought it for me (for a couple of £s I think!) and it’s great! It covers every technique you could possibly need. I slightly assume that home sewers had books like this in the 50s and 60s to tell them how to do the things that the pattern instructions don’t explain?!

I love, love, love the poetry of this dedication. And I wish I’d called my blog ‘a happy purpose’!

I’ve seen some other similar posts on facebook about how to plan for your sewing time by making sure your dinner is prepared before you start and you’ve done your hair and make-up ready for when your husband gets home and there’s a little of that here, but I ike the practical tips of making a date with yourself to sew (with or without friends) and planning ahead of time what you’re going to make.

I like this little guide about the different number of stitches each type of fabric needs, and which needle to use.

There are colour wheels to tell you which colours would suit you depending on your hair colour.

This is my one – I assume I’m a medium brown. It’s kind of accurate – for my blue-grey eyes I should go for 7, 9-16 and all us medium browns can wear 5 & 6 and beige, ivory and maroon. This at least includes all the blues, including turquoise which is one of the colours that makes me look the least ill. I’m thinking of adding maroon/burgundy to my palette for the Winter (though I doubt I’ll get around to it!).

This bit is a bit dubious – I’m not sure I buy into the idea that each body type has specific shapes and types of clothes they suit. I think everyone should wear what they want. Though this was written in the 50s and maybe it’s in the context of making fit adjustments.

Speaking of fit adjustments, there is a whole section on making pattern adjustments – I definitely need to get better at making adjustments, then transferring any adjustments I do make onto the flat pattern, so I think this section should be really useful.

This book covers everything you could think of – and probably some things you woulnd’t think of! There;s a section on basting and markings.

Darts and tucks.

Gathering, shirring and ruffling.

Pleats and insets.

There are tips on pressing as you sew – one of the things that helps makes look much more professional.

Seams and seam finishes.

A whole section on every sewist’s favourite thing – pockets!

Neck openings and collars.

All the kinds of sleeves you could think of.

Belts and belt loops.

This section on ‘tailoring well done’ will hopefully come in handy with my suit refashion and if I ever get around to making a coat.

This is a section I would not have thought of – cording, tubing and self-trimming.

At the end of the book is a series of fashion illustrations, demonstrating some of the techniques covered in the book.

And no book like this would be complete without a section on hand stitching!

I’m hoping this section will come in handy – it tells you how to mend things, including darning holes. I’m trying to become a bit more conscious of how I consume things and extending the life of garments by being able to mend them is definitely a step in the right direction.

I do usually google things when I’m not sure of how to do them, but I think a book like this does have a place still, as it can tell you about techniques you may not have known existing – you can’t google how to do something if you don’t know it’s a thing!


It’s also nice to own an old sewing book, too, and to see that things really haven’t changed very much; the way my Grandma sewed a french seam is the same way I would sew a french seam. I like the continuity of sewing and that those of us that do it now are continuing something that has been done by generations of women before – women who would prepare pudding before sitting down to sew!




2 thoughts on “Book: The Singer Sewing Book

  1. gingerella

    Oh I love this!! Thanks so much for sharing it with us. Just imagine how long that would’ve taken to write, and draw all of those illustrations! I might have to get a copy. What is the year of the edition you have?



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