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New Complete Guide to Sewing Hardcover – October 24, 2002

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Readers Digest (October 24, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0762104201
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762104208
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 10.4 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (124 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #255,092 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"I always recommend the Reader's Digest Guide to Sewing. It's very comprehensive and very user-friendly" -Tim Gunn, "Spring Forward: Expert Fashion Advice," The Washington Post
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Reader’s Digest simplifies and enriches consumers’ lives by discovering and expertly selecting the most interesting ideas, stories, experiences and products in health, home, family, food, finance and humor. Our portfolio of products includes our flagship magazine Reader's Digest; Taste of Home, the world's largest circulation food publication; The Family Handyman, America's leading source for DIY; and a suite of Enthusiast titles including Birds & Blooms, Country, Country Woman, Farm & Ranch Living and Reminisce. Our content is delivered in multi-platforms including print, digital, books, and home entertainment products. Further information about the company can be found at --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Its very clear and easy to follow.
Flora Cervantes
While all skills levels will benefit by this reference book, it is a must have for beginner and intermediate sewers.
This is a great reference book, and I highly recommend it to anyone who sews, whatever your sewing level.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

286 of 293 people found the following review helpful By C. Michelussi on January 17, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I borrowed the 1995 edition of this book from the library, and ordered it hoping the latest 2002 edition would resemble the impressive volume of instructions and references that appeared the the earlier versions. I was very disappointed in the 2002 edition. There are 384 pages in the 2002 edition and 431 pages in the 1995 edition. In another library, the pre-1995 editions are even better with 500+ pages. They include everything you'd want to know about sewing. Unfortunately each newer edition is becoming smaller with less reference material. The section on sewing for the home such as draperies, shades, bedcovers has been replaced by a project on how to sew one type of curtain. The section on sewing for Men and Children is replaced by instructions on how to sew a shirt for a boy, and one skirt for a girl. They give details on doing different patterns instead of a reference section for Men and Children's clothing, sewing techniques. The same applied for sewing for the home. If I was interested in doing projects with patterns, I would have bought a pattern from one of many companies with far greater style selections. In a book, I expect references that the pattern cannot detail on many different parts and types of clothing. I expected the 2002 edition to be larger with even more reference on style alterations and sewing methods for different materials, garments, and interior home decor. In this century there is more variety of materials available and styles that a sewer needs to make reference to. I am debating whether I should return the latest edition, since my expectations were much more than what the book provided.
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154 of 158 people found the following review helpful By kanha on July 27, 2006
Format: Hardcover
"The book starts off assuming you know how to read and cut patterns, piece together parts, and construct clothing." I just wanted to say that the book does explain how to read and interpret patterns. In fact there are about 8 really good pages dedicated to reading patterns. I really hated how every pattern I bought wouldn't give an explanation of all the symbols they used. I didn't understand the symbols and some of the steps used in patterns until I got this book.
However the previous reveiwer was right about the book not explaining how to use a sewing machine, so I woudln't recommend getting this book if that's what you're after. If you've played with your sewing machine a bit and have figured out how to reasonably use it, then go for it.

Reasons to get the book:
-Great detailed images to follow
-shows how to properly fit a pattern and ways to fix common fitting problems
-index of stitches and how they're used
-has examples of how to sew specific garments
-explains how to execute common construction pieces like placket pockets and lapped zippers

-like previous reviewer said it did not give an overview of how to use a sewing machine (pretty bad for a "complete guide")
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89 of 89 people found the following review helpful By V. Santos on February 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book was required for a basic sewing class, and after buying the newest edition, I stumbled upon a 1978 version in the school library--which is FAR SUPERIOR!! Here's why:

LAYOUT--The graphics of the instructions are virtually the same, but the old version has a very simple layout, with instructions beneath each photo. The current version focuses on making the page look cool, which detracts considerably in being able to view the instructions clearly.

CONTENT--The current version has approximately 350 pages, while the older version has approximately 550!!!! For instance, in the old book for TOOLS, there's dedicated sections for various types of tools (scissors, needles, pressing equipment) and their uses. In the new one, all of the tools are laid together (no dedicated sections), which mostly pictures rather than information. Instead of about 7 pages it is now 2 pages. The elimination of a lot of information continues THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE BOOK!!

PROJECTS--In the current version, projects are interspersed throughout the book, assuming you will be making these projects as you go along. WRONG! At least for me, I'm not going to make the specific shirt or pants they provide instructions to. The old version has all the projects listed together at the end of the book, and there's at least double the amount of projects than the current book, most of which are still very modern even though it was written in the 70s! One cool project shows you how to make YOUR OWN PATTERN for a robe!

BOTTOM LINE--This version is like an early rough draft of the older/original edition. The amount of information and projects has been cut by about half, and the book focuses on appearance (in its layout and content) rather than simplicity for usage.
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95 of 97 people found the following review helpful By J~ on March 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover
About a year ago I decided to buy a pattern at Joann's and teach myself how to read it and sew with a reference sewing book. I bought a doggie sundress pattern b/c it looked easy. Then I spent the afternoon hand sewing the sundress w/ my book to guide me. The outfit turned out great so I decided to splurge and bought a digital sewing machine (Baby Lock-Grace). The book I used to understand pattern designs and simple techniques was,, which I found at our local library. Had it not been out of print, I would have added it to my collection.

The library also carried the outdated Readers Digest Complete Guide to Sewing book. It still provided great information, like the above book, but the outfits were way out of date. I wanted an inexpensive and up to date reference book for sewing and in November I found the newer Readers Digest edition on Amazon. I decided to add it to my wish list and received it for my birthday.

I was pleasantly surprised with this book. It includes normal instructions for pattern cutting, hemming, hand sewing, and other fundamentals as well as advanced techniques. I was surprised to see the book references specific Simplicity patterns (including the pattern number)and step by step pattern as a tutorial to teach the reader how to make a jacket, button down shirt, capri's, formal jacket I bought the summer jacket pattern (Runway by Simplicity for $1 at Joanns on sale) and am making the jacket and learning how to sew french seams at the same time!

My sewing experience: I played around on a sewing machine at the age of 12 and had no other sewing experience besides sewing stuffed animals in home ec.
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