Friday, May 17, 2013

Book Review: Handsewn

I know absolutely nothing about hand stitching. I avoid it like the plague. I purchased this book to overcome my ignorance and fear. After falling in love with the Great British Sewing Bee, I realized I needed to know how to sew by hand and I was so inspired by what the finalists were able to do without a sewing machine.

So here's what I needed the book to do: cover the basic hand stitches used in garment construction: basting, slip stitch, running stitch, overcasting, tailor's tacks and hemming stitches, etc. The book does all that plus covers more. There are more than 35 "Functional Stitches" in the book. I love the large step-by-step pictures. This book has more breadth, but not necessarily depth than The Complete Book of Sewing New Edition.

Since I'm even more clueless about embellishment, the book seems awesome in this regard. Again, the large pictures are wonderful. I had no idea there were so many different types of decorative stitches and techniques. This is Chapter 3 and consists of about 40 different stitches/techniques. There's even a directory of motifs!

The information on thread, needles and pins is thoughtful. Of course there is info about hoops and frames. There are a few topics in the book that are a nice surprise, but seem odd for a book on hand sewing: measuring for drapes and dressmaking, reading sewing patterns, estimating fabric requirements for dressmaking, types of zippers and info on pressing. Maybe it's just me.

It's a good, solid book. It is extremely well organized. (Within each chapter and subsection, stitch are presented in order of skill level.) Buy it more for the information on decorative hand sewing.

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