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Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Sewing Basics by Sandra Bardwell

Few people learn to sew from their mothers anymore but many would love to master this rewarding and enjoyable skill. "Sewing Basics" is the ultimate bible for sewing at home, making sewing accessible for all. Covering fabrics, sewing machines, hand sewing, fitting, finishing, trouble-shooting and more, it will soon have you approaching a needle and thread with confidence. Both for beginners learning how to hem and for more experienced sewers who need help dealing with difficult fabrics, "Sewing Basics" is an invaluable reference to keep on the bookshelf for many years to come. Key points include: information on choosing and using fabric and equipment for both hand and machine sewing; detailed instructions on dozens of techniques; hints on achieving a professional finish to garments; trouble-shooting tips; more than 300 photos, including step-by-steps; and, a friendly and approachable tone to appeal to both novices and more experienced sewers

This book is a must for anyone who wants to try either hand or machine sewing for the first time, or as a useful reference book to be included in a crafters library for all those little things you are unsure of but want to try!

I was immediately drawn to this book when I saw it. I love cross stitching, I can reattach buttons, mend small tears in clothes and can stitch a straight line with a sewing machine but that is about it. I would love to be able to make a cushion cover from scratch or even finish that longline waistcoat that I started in my GCSE textiles class from a paper pattern but never quite finished it. With this book I am sure that I could give it a good go.

The book starts right at the beginning: getting organised- deciding on a workspace/area, organising it and keeping it tidy, how to store and organise your 'stash' and projects. It details all the tools of the trades - detailling needles, measuring tools and making equipment and explaining the benefits of each type. This tools of the trade section is very informative and explains the use of each item and the need for variations.
The book moves on to sewing machines - how to choose a machine and then the accessories needed for different projects: the size of needle used and the different feet avaliable and their uses. There is also a list of troubleshooting problems which explains the cause and also the solution in easy steps. Fabrics and interfacing are explained in the next section - how to care for them, how to establish the straight grain, any flaws in different fabrics and when and how to use interfacing.

The book then looks at patterns - how to understand them, what they contain, how to alter a commercial pattern, how to make a pattern from an existing garment and also measurement charts. The next section looks at cutting out, tacking and basting - how to prepare the paper pattern pieces, pinning or marking out, cutting the fabric, taching, basting and thread marking and hand stitching for tacking and basting.

There is a section on basic hand and machine stitches with photographs showing each stitch before looking at how to stitch seams (straight, curved, reinforced, angled, bias, stretched and enclosed), how to creat shape and fitting projects, how to do linings, facings and hems. The book then looks at design details - how to add pockets; collars. sleevescuffs, waistbands and waistfacings, how to add fastenings (zippers, buttons and buttonholes, press studs, hooks and eyes), how to add trims, beading, applique and smocking.

One of the final sections is on embroidery - materials needed and basic stitches. The final section is on alterations - how to take in or let out, lengthening and shortening and how to patch, replace seams, zippers etc and how to refresh worn items.

The book is full of help, tips and advice and each section is jam packed with clear photographs which accompany the easy to follow text. It is suitable for complete beginners but would also be a great book for the more accomplished seamstresses as a quick check for techniques. It covers all areas of sewing and could be used to make a complete item of clothing - taking you from opening the pattern pack to the finished item.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants to try sewing for themselves - the book will soon pay for itself when you consider how much is charged to add a new zip or shorten trousers on the high street.

I received this book from the Amazon Vine program.

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