If you're a teen or tween with an itch to stitch, there are a number of books to help build your skills (and your wardrobe). Here are a few to check out:
"I Wanna Make My Own Clothes," by Clea Hantman (Aladdin, $9.99)
This book, aimed at ages 9-12, focuses on refashioning old clothes into newer, hipper items. Got a stash of dad's old neckties? Learn to stitch them into a colorful skirt. Flared pants seem dated? Cut and sew yours into trendy skinny pants. Other tricks include making wrap skirts from old T-shirts, fashioning halter tops from scarves and jazzing up pants with cargo pockets. Many of these projects work from existing articles of clothing and require minimal sewing - none requires a sewing machine.
"Sew U: The Built by Wendy Guide to Making Your Own Wardrobe," by Wendy Mullin with Eviana Hartman (Bulfinch, $25.99)
This book, penned by a New York fashion designer and a former Teen Vogue writer, is a step-by-step guide to the basics of sewing. There's a chapter devoted to fabrics, one to patterns and another to cutting - as well as a crash course on how to shop for (and use) sewing machines. Skirt, shirt and pant patterns designed by Mullin are included, and corresponding chapters offer easy explanations and ideas about adding personal details, such as lining skirts with color-contrasting fabric and putting elastic on shirt cuffs to make puff-bottom, three-quarter-length sleeves.
Mullin's clothing line typically caters to the indie-hipster set, but this book's projects allow users to be classic or trendy.