My Favorite Fashion Books, Part I: Fabrics
As a Fashion professor, I read a lot of fashion books.
Fashion textbooks, fashion biographies, fashion reference books, you name it.
To start off this particular series, I'm starting with a main building block of fashion learning: FABRICS & TEXTILES
One singular piece of advice I give to everyone wanting to pursue fashion, either as a career or a hobby, is to
ALWAYS BE BUILDING YOUR FOUNDATION OF FASHION KNOWLEDGE
Fabrics are the main ingredient to fashion apparel so the more you know about fabrics, the better choices you can make.
Let's start by getting our hands on some actual fabrics...
In a time of online shopping, knowing your fabrics is even more important. This book not only describes fashion fabrics but includes actual fabric swatches you can touch and examine, which will help you evaluate online fabric purchases.
This is one of the books I use for my college fabrics & textiles course and has become a valuable reference in my personal library as well.
The companion textbook for the swatch kit, which I also use in my college courses, is
This textbook goes into quite a bit more detail than the swatch book, but doesn't include any actual fabric swatches. It is ultimately intended to work together with the Swatch Book. Both are published in the U.K. but are appropriate for U.S. readers.
Next, for true lovers of the immersive deep dive:
A classic college fibers & textiles course textbook, this book is a very thorough, in-depth study of textiles for fashion, interior decor, and industrial uses. If you love to know all the reasons and processes behind stuff, this is for you. It uses a bit more of a scientific approach so you really get the whole picture of how fibers are created or grown, all the ways they are turned into yarns, and all the ways the yarns get turned into textiles.
The companion swatch book to this text is:
The difference of this swatch kit to the above Fabric for Fashion Swatch Book is that this kit will have you assemble the swatches and write out the pertinent information into the provided binder. This is a great exercise to really solidify knowledge while you are handling and labeling each fabric.
If assembling the book sounds like fun to you, get this one. If it sounds like a terrible chore, get the first one. To each their own!
Another solid classic reference book. This one is more geared towards the home sewer and home decor folks. I don't use this textbook in my college courses, but I do use it with private sewing students wanting a non-textbook-y reference book to keep on their shelf.
Sandra Betzina is well known in the world of home sewing this book delivers with additional info on how to handle various fabrics (like pressing, pre-treating, stitching, etc.)
That's all for now. More fashion books to come in Part 2!