Saturday, November 26, 2016

BLC Day 26: Singer Library - Still the Absolute Best!

I remember working for So-Fro Fabrics in my late teens/early twenties and the company's heavy focus on catering to "crafty" consumers by providing tools and supplies for many different types of crafts.  This emphasis increased after being purchased by JoAnn Fabric & Crafts, which I quite frankly found to be a turn-off because I never considered myself a "crafty" person.  I loved fabric and sewing and for some odd reason, I didn't categorize sewing as being a craft.  Yes, it's about making things with your hands, but the term craft always reminded me of making things from sticks and twigs or the whole Trash to Treasure phenomenon; a rather odd thought process, I know, especially when considering the formal definitions of craft and crafty.

Fast forward decades later, I find myself exploring and enjoying many different types of crafts in my space; there is much more going on in my Sewing Room besides sewing.  In support of my exploration of those craft topics which interest me, I've purchased books to add to my growing library of reference material.  They are all grouped together by topics, with my general craft books located above my project table.

My sewing books, however, are located  right next to my sewing table so I can grab any one as needed, especially if I'm actively involved in a project and need to look up a construction technique.

Of the sewing books I own, the absolute best is still the Singer Sewing Reference Library.  This set of sewing books was published by Cy DeCosse Inc. in the eighties and early nineties, and while they may be considered "vintage" and sewing techniques do indeed evolve over time, I still find these books and the processes they demonstrated to be relevant in today's garment sewing.

And the volume titles covered so many different topics...just take a look!

My mom and I started collecting these volumes together, with a new one arriving every 2-3 months.  It's entirely likely I am missing a volume or 2, but this feels like a pretty comprehensive collection.  I'm not a fan of soft-cover or paperback books, especially as a reference source which will be opened and used often, so I love that each volume is hard-covered because they're more durable and have really held up well over the decades.

Regardless of the topic, every volume numbered exactly 128 pages.  I wondered many times how they made that magic happen, and if they missed covering some detail for the sake of meeting the page requirement.  I have to tell you, however, it certainly never felt like that was the case when looking at the details contained in each book.

Each volume is full of photos and illustrations which detail almost every aspect and step-by-step detail of a process or sewing technique.  This is like eye candy for visually-oriented learners like myself who love pictures, videos and demonstrations.

I've tagged many pages in most of the volumes I own because they also include charts and diagrams as reference tools.

I absolutely love this reference library and would not part with any one of its volumes for anything, not only for the wealth of information they provide, but because of the sentimentality they represent.  Each time I reach for a book, I think about my mom and the time I spent with her learning this craft.  I miss her.

What books or reference materials do you highly recommend to other sewing enthusiasts?

Be blessed!



  1. Ohhhh, you are talking to a real sewing reference book enthuist here. Your Singer collection is sooo impressive. I have 8 of them, so you have reminded me that I need to get back on my mad hunt for Singer reference to one day complete my collection.

    Additionally, WE ARE ALMOST THERE - ONLY 4 MORE POSTS TO GO - to complete BLC 2016. I have two of my four written, so I need to write two more. IT HAS BEEN A J-O-B and I know you'll agree. Congratulations to you in advance!

    1. Faye, I am counting the days down as I type. In fact, I'm actively writing another post and I am so glad to have met this challenge (speaking in the affirmative). It has indeed been a J.O.B. and I thank you for taking it on first and inspiring me to do likewise!