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Essential Sewing Reference Tool: All-in-One Visual Guide Spiral-bound – March 1, 2014

4.2 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Carla has written a thorough and well curated reference guide. Both sewing veterans and new sewists will appreciate the trusted and detailed content contained in the book. The Essential Sewing Reference Tool is sure to be a long-time friend on your sewing room book shelf. (Pink Chalk Studio, 3/24/14)

Drawing upon 30-plus years of experience, Crim condenses all things sewing related into this quick reference. The topics covered range from tools, notions, and sewing machine feet to concise how-tos for common sewing topics such as zipper installation, hems, and seam finishes. Beginners will be able to follow Crim's step-by-step lessons, and experienced sewists will appreciate the quick refreshers on less-common techniques. The book is small enough to fit in a purse or sewing tote, making it easy to take along to the fabric store to help select the appropriate notions for a specific project. VERDICT There are plenty of large reference guides to sewing but few pocket-size ones. The balanced coverage of basic and advanced subjects, combined with the simple and useful directions, makes this a solid purchase. (Library Journal, 2/15/14)

C&T Publishing has recently released three new Reference guides packed with information quilters and sewists use on a regular basis. The Essential Sewing Reference Tool is by Carla Hegeman Crim. This all-in-one visual guide covers tools & supplies, stitches and seam treatments, ruffles & bias tape, zippers & buttonholes, sewn accessories, Home Dec, garment making, sizing charts for all ages and more. With more and more quilters jumping into stitching garments, totes and other non-quilt related items I am sure, if you are like me, you have come across more than one term you did not understand. This guide will lead you through all those issues with good illustrations, step-by-step directions including more than 300 how-to photographs.

This guide is small enough to tuck into your sewing tote, library shelf, or even a drawer in your desk. It has loads and loads of charts, photos, instructions and sidebars. It is bound with a type of binding called wire-o binding. This type of binding is nice because you can read the title on the spine like any other book on your shelf while it still allows the book to lay flat while you are using it. (The Applique Society Newsletter, May/June 2014)

In sewing, a myriad of questions come up throughout the process. What thread? What needle? What fabric? What steps? Whenever you feel the need to "Google it" because you're unsure, you can skip the computer and just turn to a new book by Carla Hegeman Crim, Essential Sewing Reference Tool. This name is no joke - this really is the most essential sewing reference that I've ever seen.

Every aspect of what to buy and what to use in certain situations is broken down into simple charts and lists. Pictures accommodate most descriptions, such as of scissors and presser feet. In charts that show sizes that are counterintuitive or not self-explanatory, like thread weight or batting loft, there is a triangle visual on the side to show relative thickness. There is also information on things you may never have considered before, like the compositions of elastics.

Photos also accompany step-by-step directions of potentially confusing processes, like making bias strips or sewing curved seams (how do you match up a convex and concave curve??).

For those who are interested in home decor, Crim gives detailed directions and measurements for making duvet covers, comforters, bedspreads, pillows (including poufs), bed skirts, curtains, and table linens. If you're more of a wearable accessories gal, there are instructions for making fabric belts and bags.

For making clothes, the book covers how to alter what you have rather than how to start from scratch. For instance, it shows how to draw darts on a pattern, or adjust a pattern for height or girth. Crim also discusses steps for processes of clothing sewing that can be confusing, like facings, sleeves, and linings.

Perhaps the most unusual element in this book is the chart of name brands of interfacing and whether they're sew-in/fusible, woven/knit, and what fabrics they're meant for. At first I was confused by this, but then realized that it would, in fact, be super handy to have when you go to a fabric store and see a package of interfacing - how do you know if it's the right kind for your project? (I should add that the book is very portable, so bringing it to the fabric store is no big deal.) The interfacing chart is exemplary of the care and attention to detail Crim put into this book. She really seems to have thought of every aspect of the sewing process and the questions that may arise. (Lovesewing.com, May 2014)

About the Author

Carla Hegeman Crim, founder of Scientific Seamstress LLC, is a molecular biologist turned patternmaker. She has been experimenting with fabric for over 30 years. Her first book, Sewn Hats, was published in 2013. Visit Carla on the web at www.scientificseamstress.blogspot.com
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Product Details

  • Spiral-bound: 128 pages
  • Publisher: C&T Publishing; Spi edition (March 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 160705860X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1607058601
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #664,527 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Spiral-bound
I purchased this book because I have purchased several of the author's sewing patterns, and I love how she is able to pack a wealth of detailed information in such a clear, easy to read way. This book is appropriate for all skill levels of sewing. The book starts out by offering basic information on necessary sewing equipment and terminology. It also includes chapters for more specialized information, such as trims, closures, home decor sewing, and garment sewing.

There is so much information packed in this little book, and it's really easy to navigate with color-coded sections marked in the upper right hand corner of each page. My favorite part of the book are all of the tables. There are an abundance of quick-reference tables for common sewing tasks that give standard bedding sizes, table linen dimensions, size charts, and so much more! And at the very end of the book there is a page of conversions to quickly convert decimels to fractions, yards to centimeters, and yards to inches to decimals.

I would highly recommend this book for anyone who sews. The information is clear, easy to read and understand, and useful to everyday sewing needs. It will be such a time-saver sitting next to my sewing machine, as I will be referring to it often.
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Format: Spiral-bound Verified Purchase
I am an old-school seamstress. The author teaches the "right" way to gather, to insert zippers, and sew a true rolled hem. There are more extensive books out there. However, the author packs a lot of accurate information into 123 pages. What I love about this book is that it is a quick-reference. If you are new to sewing, this book will answer a lot of your questions without being too overwhelming.
The illustrations are small, but very clear and easy to understand. Bigger illustrations are available in bigger sized books, but those books tend to stay on the shelf. This one is meant to be picked up and used.
In sum, as a sewing teacher, I would recommend this for students. It is portable and very well organized. You could easily slip it into your purse as a reference at the fabric store when picking out fabrics and notions.
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Format: Spiral-bound Verified Purchase
I wish I had realized this book was only 6x9 inches before I purchased it. The information is excellent, however the diagrams are small. For instance the diagrams of the different types of presser feet are so small it is difficult to distinguish one type from the other. Otherwise, an excellent resource with lots of good information.
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Format: Spiral-bound Verified Purchase
One for your purse or sewing bag and one for home! Carla is a wonderfully talented author and designer. This reference book will become your go to resource for your sewing technique and measurement reference questions!
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Format: Spiral-bound Verified Purchase
I am by no means an experienced seamstress, hence why I purchased this book. I figured some I may have known, but would be a quick and easy reference. I purchased the kindle edition and because I fell in love, I want to purchase a hard copy when I'm paid next. This a book that IMOH needs to be on my book shelf. I read it cover to cover and learned so many new things. I actually all this time have been sewing on bias tape wrong. No wonder it falls off or doesn't catch all material! There are many more things I learned, that I either didn't know or been doing wrong (like gathering, zippers, special hems). I also enjoyed all the quick reference measurements, and the chart to convert metrics into the US system.

I do like how in the kindle edition you can blow up the diagram boxes to read the content easier.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book offers a wonderful general introduction to sewing for anyone starting out! It also has detailed and reliable measurements charts for those who are more advanced and ready to draft and grade by size, their own garments! This little book packs a lot of helpful information into a small concise package that is easy to keep at hand. I reference mine all the time and wholeheartedly recommend it!
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