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The Art of Manipulating Fabric Paperback – October 1, 1996

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Editorial Reviews Review

Those who knit, crochet, or embroider have long had sources to which to turn for in-depth instructions on specific stitches and stitch combinations. Now there is such a reference for the sewer--an encyclopedic approach to gathering, shirring, ruffling, tucking, pleating, and quilting and their myriad variations. Filled with hundreds of diagrams and crisp black-and-white photos, this volume explains in detail how to achieve a tremendous range of three-dimensional fabric effects. This is not a book of particular projects; this is a book of instruction and inspiration for anyone who has ever wielded needle and thread. --Amy Handy

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Krause Publ; 1st edition (October 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801984963
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801984969
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 0.7 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (185 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,415 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

A great source of techniques to create multiple manipulations of fabrics.
M. Judd
I was amazed by the many different ways of using a simple fabric and making it a gorgeous item !!
Will take time to learn, but is beautiful and gets your attention right now.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

397 of 400 people found the following review helpful By allison taylor on June 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
In the author's words, "this is a book of ideas about sewing cloth" but what it really is, is an awesome collection of information from a thousand different sources on the techniques sewers have used since fabric was invented, to change the surface of an initially flat textile. Wolff brings little techniques of fabric manipulation from the background to the spotlight by isolating each technique, cataloging its unique features, separating the technique from end product associations, and exploring the sculptural possibilities without regard to where application will be. For any home or professional sewers who currently (or hypothetically) maintain folders of "pleating ideas," "interesting darts," or "photos of ruffles" get this book, and fast. Save yourself the chore of assimilating all the diagrams and photos and captions because Wolff has done it so thoroughly you will find yourself engrossed just reading about the humble little fabric tuck. Granted, no technique by itself makes wearable art or couture clothing, but these are the manipulations that make up the experimental stuff on the runways and in the exclusive boutiques. Learn what they do to a plain textile and you're primed to exploit fabric, for whatever purposes your little heart desires. Wolff's chapters cover: controlled crushing (gathering, shirring), supplementary fullness (making ruffles, making flounces, making godets), systematic folding (pleating, smocking, tucking), filled reliefs (cording, quilting, stuffing), structured surfaces (darts), and mixed manipulations (combinations). If you're a collector of books on dyeing or embroidery or exquisite cut, you really owe it to yourself to add this viewpoint to your library.Read more ›
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163 of 165 people found the following review helpful By Sharron on September 10, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book puts in one place all the different ways you know how to work fabric: pleats, gathers, darts, etc. All the little things you learned over the years and never got to categorize, plus a few new ones you didn't think of yet. This lady deserves a standing ovation for putting together what so many of us know, but never put to paper. The fact that all the work is done on white material adds to the ability to see exactly what she is doing; no prints or stripes to detract from the simplistic beauty of worked fabric. This book is good for any one, be you beginner or experienced sewing hand. It has, in a short 2 weeks, become one of my favorite books and earned the top shelf honors!
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103 of 105 people found the following review helpful By jinjer larsen on June 26, 2003
Format: Paperback
As one reviewer notes, this book focuses on "old fashioned" methods like shirring, trapunto, pleating, etc. but the originality and creativity of the examples are an inspiring display of how traditional methods can be used to create a really dramatic, unique look.
Wolff demonstrates many ways to manipulate the large scale texture of the fabric, and the result is NOT something for the timid dressmaker. In fact, many of the examples seem to be from quilts and home-decoration.
(It must have taken her a couple years just to make the hundreds of beautiful muslin samples, which are clearly photographed in black and white! ) I also think these techniques would be great for handbags, high-drama evening wear, and clothing for people who love texture (like me).
Many of her amazing techniques are labor intensive, often hand-sewn, but worth it, I think!
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66 of 66 people found the following review helpful By K8Conner on March 11, 2009
Format: Paperback
I'm really not exaggerating. Nor do I often (ever) write book reviews. I knew I wanted to do something "creative," I had tried classes in various things that were fun but not quite "there." Interior design, color theory, drawing, drafting, art history, and even two in MS Access database design! And then I saw this book in the flesh at a store and bought it on the spot (sorry Amazon!) I read it straight through, unable to put it down. Afterward, I wanted to see and own all the muslins. I wanted to put them together into sculptural objects. I wanted to know all the things that Ms. Wolff knows about fabric and sewing. I wanted more books, some fabric, and my ancient Singer. I wanted to do it having no idea where I'd end up! So beyond all the lessons in how to do particular things that the book contains, it inspired a passion in me to work with cloth. It built a fire inside me about possibilities, and I began to see the book as beckoning me to try, with cloth as the medium. I grew up as a child threading my Grandmother's needle but hadn't sewn myself since high school.
All this was two years ago, and in the interim I have been working hard on my new passion and have created (and modified many times over!) a design all of my own. I'm entering juried fiber arts shows, and selling pieces. I work on this every day. And in addition to the motivation to start, this book's details are a central reason why I could realize my design. I would not have been able to do it without one of the very last things in the book--how to create a round spherical form to an exact size by darting a flat circular piece of fabric. When I bought the book, I never knew that this part of it would make all the difference.
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