Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Book Review: Sew Basic

I was really impressed with this book! I have a couple of general sewing books, but this one has some info I haven't seen before. It also helped clarify some techniques that were a little confusing to me.  To be fair, some things presented were as clear as mud, but I will chalk that up to my long, steep learning curve.

The book is organized into three parts: Before You Sew, Needle & Thread and Perfect Seams. I was trying to figure out how to review the 34 skills. I've decided I won't list them all because you can see the table of contents on What I'll do is highlight the ones that made an impression on me. 

  • Grainline - simply explained; I get how to square the grain now. Really good pictures comparing the drape of the different grains
  • Making Your Mark - completely unclear! I thought the explanation of tailor's tacks lacked greatly. I'll have to turn to You Tube to understand how to make these better.
  • Pattern Layouts - useful info about using the crosswise fold

Part 3 of the book is Perfect Seams. Here is where it gets good.
  • Sew A Perfect Seam from Beginning to End - this was an eye-opener for me! I can now start seams at the very edge of my fabric without the fabric jamming in the throat plate. I also learned how to secure the end of my machine stitching without backstitching.   
  • Understitching - these are the best-ever written instructions.
  • Clipping & Notching - use the method from Threads Industry Insider Vol II
  • Pressing 101 - for this to be a basic sewing book, this was really light. Get your pressing tutorial here.
  • Ripping Out Stitches - who knew you should rip out the various types of stitches differently? Okay. maybe y'all knew, but I didn't.
  • The zipper and pleats sections were written very clearly
  • The sections on making bias strips and piping made my head spin, but I'm not above admitting reader fatigue.
In conclusion, this is a great book for beginners. I caught it on sale with free shipping, so it was a wonderful bargain. Even without a sale, it would make a great addition to the beginner's sewing library. More seasoned sewers probably know all of this stuff.

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