There are "sew" many new sewing books out lately! And a couple of very specific activewear books were produced by two of my favourite activewear sewists.
While I didn't add 'all the books' to my sewing library, it was a close thing - and it could still happen! But for now I've written a quick summary of each of my new sewing books - have a look and find out if any of these books are for you!
Sew Your Own Activewear - Melissa Fehr
As a big fan of Melissa's patterns and an avid reader of her blog, I knew before I started that this was going to be a great resource. Of course it did not disappoint! The book includes a set of sloper patterns which Melissa shows you how to adapt to the designs she shows in the book - which gives you the skills to design and draft your own patterns. Finished measurement information for each pattern is provided, and fabric requirements for each garment are included in the project pages.
The instructions are easy to follow and the illustrations are excellent. I'd recommend this book to anyone who is comfortable sewing with knits, and who wants to step up their pattern drafting skills for stretch fabric.
Sewing Activewear - Johanna Lundström
Johanna's online content is absolutely chock-a-block (that's Australian for really, really full) of information about sewing for activewear. Her book is no different! Starting with fabric types and how to recognise them, types of sewing machines, the best stitches to use, elastic, finishing techniques and SO much more - including tutorials for projects like adding thumb cuffs, waistband pockets, zips and the ubiquitous crotch gusset.
A really interesting addition to this book was the interviews with other makers, which I enjoyed greatly (it may even introduce you to makers you had not previously been aware of!)
Sewing Activewear is the perfect book if you are looking for a comprehensive resource for using stretch fabrics to create your own unique athletic clothing.
Sewing Activewear is available from Amazon.
Sewing Knits from Fit To Finish - Linda Lee
True to its title, this book starts with a chapter on knowing your knits, then graduates to sections about pattern adjustments, preparation, techniques and construction, with a chapter dedicated to activewear and lingerie. While the book doesn't include a pattern sheet, most of the garments shown are acknowledged in a pattern index at the back. There's also a resource list for fabrics and notions.
Linda's book is aimed at makers who are new to sewing with knits and are looking for information on techniques and fabrics, or those who would like to expand their existing understanding of this area of sewing.
A Beginner's Guide to Sewing With Knitted Fabrics - Wendy Ward
My favourite part of this book is the 'Techniques' section – several pages devoted to measurements, sizing, ease calculations, stretch percentages and a table of fibers and their best uses. Those few pages are already a bit dog-eared on my copy!
Wendy's book also includes a pull-out pattern sheet with multi-size base patterns. Although the contents page shows six projects, each one includes two or three simple variations that will allow you to create several different garments. The 'Peak T-Shirt' for example, gives instructions for six variations, including two dress versions. All project pages are complete with finished garment measurements, and fabric and notion requirements.
This would be an excellent resource for anyone wanting to incorporate knits into their sewing repertoire, and a great basis for creating a capsule wardrobe in comfy stretch fabrics.
I couldn't decide which one to start with, so I went with two at once!
I hope these brief reviews were helpful to you. I'd love to know about other sewing resource books on the market - please leave a comment below with your recommendations!