As a post-PhD treat, I bought myself Martha's newest book - and I have to say, it's amazing. Not only does it outline everything you need to start sewing, but it gives detailed information on types of fabric, stitches and techniques that I had never dared entertain.
My favourite part of the book is the endless array of patterns (included on a CD) and projects - here are just some (blurry) photos of some toy rabbits, a pillowcase bag and an organiser that got me totally hooked. I have been poring over the book again and again - overcome with inspiration!
I am a self-taught (from the internet) sewer, and I would thoroughly recommend this as an inspirational and educational resource. Love it!