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The Colette Sewing Handbook: Inspired Styles and Classic Techniques for the New Seamstress Hardcover-spiral – November 16, 2011
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Featured Tips from The Collect Sewing Handbook: Seam Finishes
Finishing raw edges will extend the life of your garment, keeping the cut edges of your fabric from raveling and possibly destroying the integrity of your seams.
Bound Edge [pictured]
This is a method of finishing an edge, such as a neckline or sleeve hem, by enclosing it with bias tape. The seam allowance will vary, depending on the size of the bias tape you use. Use a bound edge when your pattern calls for one, such as the Taffy Blouse pattern in this chapter. You can purchase bias tape, or make your own.
A French seam is sewn twice, encasing the raw edges within the seam. It creates a very neat, narrow seam, making it perfect for sheer or very light fabrics. It's not suited for heavy fabrics, since it will create too much bulk.
Flat Felled Seam
Flat felled seams are quite strong and are found often in tailored shirts or trousers. Take a look at your favorite jeans and you'll find flat felled seams. Use this technique when extra strength or durability is needed.
A bound seam uses binding around the raw edges of a stitched seam. Because of its bulk, it can show through on lighter fabrics, so it's most often used with very sturdy fabrics such as denim, or on jackets and outerwear. It's a wonderful opportunity to use a fun color or printed binding, to add some flash to the inside of your garment.
Serging is what you will see most often in ready-to-wear clothing. Raw edges are stitched with a special machine called a serger, which holds multiple spools of thread and trims the seams as it sews. If you don't have a serger, you can try zigzag stitching over the raw edges of your seam allowance, or use your sewing machine's overlock stitch if it has one. Be aware that this uses a considerable amount of thread.
Pinked seams are simple to create, requiring just a pair of pinking shears. The zigzag pattern of the cut edge keeps the fabric from raveling. Pinked seams are commonly found within vintage garments, which goes to show that they can last. Use pinked seams on cottons and other somewhat sturdy fabrics that are not very prone to fraying.
"This book is packed full of information to help you learn everything you need to know to sew garments. It really has everything the newbie or intermediate sewer would need to either get started or take their garment sewing skills to the next level." - Brett Bara, author of Sewing In a Straight Line
"This book delivers what it promises, excellent sewing information presented in a lovely format. I highly recommend this book to sewers of all skill levels."-patternreview.com
"Mitnick not only teaches you the techniques to become a competent seamstress, but a confident one." - UK Handmade Magazine
"Update your wardrobe with the classic, feminine designs featured in The Colette Sewing Handbook." - Sew News Magazine
"This may be the first book of its kind that I actually read from cover to cover." --Darling Adventures
Top Customer Reviews
I am a big fan of Sarai's patterns, so when I saw that she was writing a book, I am sure that I pre-ordered it within an hour of the announcement.
Upon receiving the book, I noticed it was packaged without the accompanying patterns, which, as a more advanced sewist, I was most excited about. Back to Amazon it went. However, I had a replacement in two days (big thanks to Ida in Customer Service. She was so helpful!)
In my first run-through of the book, I was most impressed by the presentation of the book. The book is Colette through and through, from the writing style to the color palette, and the layout of the mini-tutorials was clear, the text concise. The book doesn't assume any background in sewing, and demonstrates hand stitching as well as the basic functions of a few machine stitches. For someone with a great deal of sewing experience, the techniques weren't a great deal of use to me.
What I was most impressed with was Sarai's approach to "thoughtful sewing". Her chapter "A Precise Plan" highlights what a lot of beginning sewists struggle with: imbuing your sewing with your identity. Her notes on defining your style were beautifully thought out, and help beginning sewists actually think about what they want to sew, and why they should (because it fits in your wardrobe!). Sarai instructs you in creating a personal croquis to experiment with how a garment will look on you, which could save a new sewist a ton of stress in creating a garment that turns out the be unflattering.
"A Fine Fabric" is, of course, the prettiest chapter, but not very ground breaking.Read more ›
The target audience of this book is total beginners, and I think they put together a very good introductory package for that kind of sewer. This book is a very user-friendly introduction, because it provides a reasonably broad overview of all the aspects of garment-making, followed by simple instructions for executing the ideas. The drawback of that targeted approach is that it is very incomplete in the information provided. For example, the chapter on fabrics covers the basics of fabric material and weave, but does not provide much detail on the best way to work with those fabrics: there are just two pages on working with denim and fabric with pile, and an inset about spraying down slinky fabrics with starch or stabilizer. The chapter on fit introduces the slashing and pivoting techniques for pattern alteration and provides step-by-step instructions for a number of common alterations such as bust and hip adjustments using only those two techniques mentioned. It brings up darts a couple times in the text, but never provides instructions for using them to adjust fit. For example, the instructions for making a larger waist uses the pivoting technique, instead of just decreasing the dart width or adding width on the side, nor does it discuss the differences between different techniques you could use. I'm sure the pivoting technique has advantages over other common methods I've seen used for alterations, but they are not explained at all.Read more ›
I pre-ordered this book, even before I saw previews of the patterns enclosed,, partly because from following the writer's blog and the great detailed, clever and thorough tutorials thereon I expected it to be a great resource, and partly because I knew it would be gorgeous - I love her aesthetic. Then after seeing the pattern previews I was dying for the book to come! I was more than satisfied in all respects - the book is thoughtfully written and beautifully photographed and laid out, and the sewing instructions and tips therein are excellent. Plus, I want to make all the patterns.....
The book made me think about planning my wardrobe in a way I hadn't before - I tend to crush on fabric, buy, make and then realise I have a skirt which goes with nothing....Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Love this book from beginning to end. The pattern instructions are so easy to follow along with.Published 1 month ago by Alexandrea Phelps
Great beginner book & go-to reference for sewing! Instructions are succinct, yet all-inclusive and are accompanied with step-by-step photos. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Snikes
It was advertised as new, but it had no patterns. Now I have to buy it again and wait until it arrives. Bummer!Published 3 months ago by Kindle Customer
I'm enjoying the book--excellent information for the beginner to the more advanced sewist. I learned to sew in Home Economic classes in high school in the early 60's. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Char Damitio
I,ve been sewing dresses and outer ware since I was 7 years old. Now in my 40's. This is a wonderful book to review basics and learn a few tricks that mom did not have. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Full time mom
This book is incredibly helpful for a beginner to the world of sewing. I have been sewing for a few years now and while I have had a lot of success with creating many things, there... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Kelsey Urgo
I'm loving this book. I'm intermediate and self taught. This fills in some blanks and your sure to be really happy with at least one of the included patterns!Published 12 months ago by Amazon Customer