Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Book Review: Power Sewing

I figured I should review this before the new Power Sewing Toolbox books arrive in the mail. For years, I thought this was a book about sewing shortcuts -- things to help you sew faster. There are some of those tips. This book is really a collection of tips to give you professional results, make things easier and ideas to spark your creativity.

The book doesn't waist any time getting to the good stuff. Chapter 1, Power Shopping gets right to the point. There's helpful info on interfacing, what to do if you run short on fabric and the sizing differences between the major brands. I'm a little confused here, because Fit for Real People: Sew Great Clothes Using ANY Pattern (Sewing for Real People series), makes some opposite claims.  I haven't sewn with all the brands yet to figure out which book is correct.

The book is organized by garment type:

  • Vests
  • Pants
  • Skirts
  • Dresses
  • Jackets

Even if you don't plan to make those particular garments, sometimes the tips will work for other clothing. For instance, I'm not a vest person, but the bias and piping information in the vest chapter can be used on sleeveless blouses or dresses. The "Anatomy of" section at the beginning of each chapter gives the construction order of the garment.

The pants chapter is my favorite. Sandra Betzina's zipper techniques are favored by many.  I love the waistband options too.  

This is the only place, aside from the Web, where I've seen info on how and why you should hang bias. The rest of the skirts chapter touches on wrap skirts, underlining (including couture), zippers, godets, yolks, waistbands and hems. But wait, there's more -- including how to line a knit skirt.

The dresses chapter will take away any fears about invisible zippers. Here is also where she covers necklines and collars. Easing sleeves is also in this chapter. (She prefers sewing with the sleeve on the bottom and letting the feed dogs help with the easing.) I got a little confused about her instructions for reducing sleeve cap ease.

Jackets is the longest chapter. It covers 29 topics related to jacket construction! My favorites are Better Buttonholes and Weighted Hems. (I'll work my way up to a Chanel jacket one day.)

This is a wonderful, but not complete general sewing reference book. It will not take the place of books like New Complete Guide to Sewing (Readers Digest) or The Complete Book of Sewing. Theres's a mix of beginner and advanced techniques, so there's something for everyone.  Everything is broken down into easy-to-understand steps.

1 comment:

Candice said...

I thought this book was based on "sewing shortcuts" as well.... I am glad to see this is a detailed book...I may have to add this to my cart on Amazon...Thanks for the reviews.