When you’ve been sewing for as long as I have (30 years!), it can be hard to discover the gaps in your own knowledge. You have your own routes to the places you need to go, and time doesn’t always (or even usually) permit the kind of aimless wandering that leads you to new discoveries.
So when I was offered a review copy of (subtitled: A complete guide to machine-sewing and hand-stitching techniques), my thought was that it would be a great entry-level book to suggest to people just getting into sewing.
I wasn’t really wrong … I was just thinking too small. is a great book for people just getting into sewing, but it also revealed to me a huge blind spot of my own: turns out, I have been ignoring about 70% of what my sewing machine is capable of.
When I first started sewing, I used a machine that had a straight stitch and a zig-zag, and a buttonhole stitch that could charitably be described as “cantankerous”. My second machine was at about the same level of sophistication (albeit with a buttonhole stitch that could be described as “temperamental”). My third machine was a 1950s throwback (with cams that, while cool, I never really bothered to learn to use). So when I moved up to a brand-new machine that added a blind hem stitch to my repertoire, I patted myself on the back for joining the modern age. “Whoo-hoo, now we’re cooking with gas!” I believe I said.
As it turns, out there is SO much more I could be doing with the stitches on my machine (even leaving aside the alphabet-embroidery stuff that I’ve used exactly once). Machine darning! Sewing on buttons by machine! Shell stitching for scalloped piping! And pages and pages of stitches that might just be the key to me finally starting to sew with knits.
And I haven’t even mentioned the hand-sewing section yet … which even includes pad-stitching instructions for those of you interested in classic tailoring techniques.
So: in short, is a great book, highly recommended. Even if you’re a machine maestro, the simple instructions and clear illustrations make this worth keeping on hand as reference.