The Hamlyn Book of Soft Furnishings. This was around 2001. Though I fantasized about making my own clothes, I had more pressing needs. Like a crotchety neighbor who told me to put up a bathroom curtain.
The Hamlyn book guided me through constructing that first wobbly-seamed curtain on the tension rod and the clip ring curtains, futon covers, and custom roller shades that followed. It helped me measure up for pillow covers 1.0 and 1.1, the versions with button or (ack!) Velcro closures.
I knew zip-up covers would be nicer, but applying zippers terrified me like an impending geometry test. Then last summer, this bold fabric I'd been eying for years at IKEA went on clearance. It was time to step up my game for pillow covers 2.0. It was time for zippers.
A class with the fabulous Anne of All Sewn Up! sewing school and a reread of the Hamlyn pillows chapter gave me the boost I needed. I pulled the zippers out of my stash, including some bright yellow ones I had painstakingly removed from plastic packaging. (Packaging that had kicked around our house long after its contents had left. Clutter = justified!)
Once I got the hang of it, I actually enjoyed applying the zippers. It's too bad we don't need any more pillow covers. Those custom roller shades don't fit our new windows, though. Maybe Hamlyn can help me out with replacements before any more neighbors complain.