Open the newspaper or tune in to the news and it is everywhere, a giant recession is looming. As a consumer – and an impoverished bookseller - I wondered what I could do to save some of my hard earned cash. The first thing I did was (grudgingly) cut back on my daily soy latte. The I started bringing my lunch to work with me instead of buying a yummy goats’ cheese and honey waldkorn, € 4,95 a pop. Then I started buying clothes second hand on eBay and Marktplaats. You’ll be amazed what you can find online!
But I wanted to go a step further, get back to basics and try making stuff myself. I vaguely remembered taking a class in high school and long, long time ago, where we were taught craft skills. It was time to dust these skills off and get to work. Looking though the craft section at ABC Amsterdam for inspiration, I found some great books to help me.
My first project was knitting. There are some books out there that really have some great designs. And I am not talking about ugly winter wonder reindeer Christmas designs, but designs that will suit any respectable woman.
Glam Knits and Vintage Knitwear for Modern Knitters are fabulous. They’re full of retro designs from the 1930s’-1960’s with a 21st century twist. They are not for absolute beginner, but if you are a devoted knitter these books are definitely for you. If you use luxurious yarns like silks, angoras and cashmere you can make these special designs even more special and for only a fraction of the price you would have to pay in the high street. What I also love about these books is that they bring back the glamor of these bygone years, and if you combine these knits with a pair of funky jeans you are ready to go.
After the kitting I tried sewing. I love TV shows like Project Runway where where you can see garments made from scratch. Honestly, I thought, I can do that! Well, actually, no way. Sewing is difficult! If you are thinking of giving it a go you will need to be well prepared by reading a book or joining one of the many sewing clubs around. I would advise you to start with a super easy project like an apron. A is for Apron is a great guide for this. From city chic to grannies and geeks, all kind of designs are provided, and with the right fabric they also make great personal gifts!
French General: Home Sewn is stuffed with 30 projects for every room in the house like pillows, travel bags, tablecloths, curtains and lavender sachets. For some great French country living right in your Dutch home this book can’t be missed!
Vogue Sewing has been a classic since 1975. The updated edition will take your sewing to another level. Great tips and tricks from the professionalthat it will help you to recreated the clothes featured in Vogue.
The book Make Your Own Clothes features 20 custom-fit patterns to sew. With this title it’s never been easier to make that little dress or cute skirt. The book comes with a PatternMaker CD so you can adjust it to your own measurements. Every thing is explained step by step to make it as easy as possible. The only difficulty you’ll have is in deciding what fabric to use!
So you have your glamorous knitted top and your nice skirt all complete, but we all know an outfit is never complete without the right accessories. The Naughty Secretary Club might have the answer. This working girl’s guide to handmade jewelry is an absolute must-have. The extravagant designs featured in this book will make sure you stand out in a crowd. And even if you are not brave enough to wear the designs this book is full of inspiration how to turn every day objects in wearable art. The book is also filled with other information that you can not live without, like how to deal with office romance. Teach Yourself Visually Jewelry Making and Beading is another great title, essential for the person who loves making jewelry. Every skill and technique you’ll ever need is featured in this glossy book with lots of step by step pictures.