Some of you might be wondering why I recently decided to offer up my copy of The Great British Sewing Bee book as a giveaway. Lovely though it is, I have quite enough lovely yet unopened books cluttering up my shelves.
I’ve noticed some bloggers talk about having a cull, and getting rid of those craft books they’ve bought but never refer to. This made me consider that there’s a divide between what we need, what’s available and what we want. Gorgeous book with beautiful photos about vintage fashion? Lovely muchly, but it sits there gathering dust. Dated workhorse reference brick about the minutiae of sewing? That’s the type of friend I might ignore for months on end, then lunge towards in the face of a sewing-induced nervous breakdown. Niche book on left-handed sewing, as recently gifted to me? I can’t say I’m going to use it all the time, but I love the fact that it even exists.
I can’t decide what I think about the bells and whistles. Ring-bound titles? Just not sure I care that a book lies flat for those few seconds’ reference. Paper patterns in the back? Some have been life savers, other languish pristine and ignored. Design templates? I always like the idea of them, but then rarely trace. I know I never blow a pattern up by 500% on the photocopier.
If I had to choose two recent favourites, they would be Sew U Home Stretch and DIY Couture. Sew U Home Stretch does exactly what it says on the tin. This I like. DIY Couture is innovative yet accessible. I’m old enough to have parented the slender young models and am a bit past the cutting edge fashion, yet there’s something in Rosie’s approach that still inspires and doesn’t make me feel excluded. The book is fresh and imaginative. I think what I like about both of them is that they feel sincere.
What do you look for in a craft book, what do you hate and what do you think could be better? For anyone who’s bought my recent e-book (a sincere thank you!), did it feel as though it genuinely filled a gap? Do you even bother with physical craft books any more? Or does the thought of an e-book make you shudder?
I don’t like disingenuous blog posts, so I’m not going to pretend these are just random witterings. I’ve worked in publishing all my life. This is what I do, it runs through my veins like blood and I can’t help being fascinated. What could craft publishers do better for you?