Top Five Holiday Reads for Quilters and Sewists

Best beach reads for fabric and colour lovers
*This post contains affiliate links so if you click and buy I may earn a small % at no extra cost to yourself. I use which supports independent bookshops in the UK and in the US and I only include books that I personally recommend. These links should work for both UK and US shoppers *


It's no secret that I love books! I worked as a bookseller for many years, starting out on the shop floor as an Art Books buyer. What a luxury it was to be surrounded by so many beautiful glossy editions. There are so many stunning illustrated books on quilts, textiles, sewing, colour - all the things we're interested in as quilters - but the trouble is they're not very portable if you're on the go or taking a trips. Most of them are so big and heavy! 

When we quilt we work with fabric and colour to create our quilty magic so I've scoured my shelves for you to find the perfect paperbacks on these subjects that I know you'll love. They are all of a theme but each one brings something different and unique. 


 The Secret Lives of Colour by Kassia St Clair

The Secret Lives of Colour

by Kassia St Clair

I nearly didn't include this as surely everyone has a copy of this by now! If you don't then you're missing out! This book is utterly delightful in every way. It's beautifully produced with each chapter's pages edged with the relevant shade. The colourful pages cover the surprising histories of seventy five colours, many of them now forgotten. The short sections are perfect for dipping in and out of when you're short on time. A real gem.



 The Golden Thread by Kassia St Clair Bookshop.Org UK

The Golden Thread: How Fabric Changed History

by Kassia St Clair

At first I was disappointed that Kassia St Clair's second book didn't follow the same format as her first, The Secret Lives of Colour. But ultimately I found it a more satisfying read as it delves far more deeply into its subject matter. As St Clair notes, we are surrounded by cloth and this book invites us to take a closer look at these fabrics that we see and touch every day. Definitely a  book for the curious!



 Colour travels Through the Paintbox by Victoria Finlay

Colour: Travels Through the Paintbox

by Victoria Finlay

Part travelog and part narrative history this beautifully written book delves into the history of how how paints came to be invented, discovered, traded and used. It's engaging and romantic and I ordered it immediately after reading her newest book Fabric (a Christmas gift still in hardback but you can take a look here for UK readers, here for US readers). 


 Threads of Life by Clare Hunter

Threads of Life: a History of the World Through the Eye of a Needle

by Clare Hunter

A blend of history and personal memoir, community textile artist and curator, Hunter shares the stories of men and women, through time and across the world wo have used the language of sewing to make their voices heard. This book really speaks to the magic that textiles have to hold and express both the extraordinary and the mundane. Fascinating and moving, I may just pack this and read it again.



The Fabric of Civilization by Virginia Postrel

The Fabric of Civilization: How Textiles Made the World

by Virginia Postrel

A confession - I haven't read this one yet because I am saving it for my own holiday! But here's what interested me about it: Drawing on archaeology, anthropology and economics the book takes an innovative and epic look at the hidden ways that textiles have shaped the cultural development of the world. It looks like it's full of juicy historical detail and fascinating fabric stories. I'll update you when I've read it!



 Best non-fiction paperbacks for fabric addicts

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