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The Complete Book Of Sewing Shortcuts Paperback – March 15, 1981

4.4 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Sterling (March 15, 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806975644
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806975641
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 7.8 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,239,297 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
You can tell that this was one of Ms. Schaeffer's early efforts; it doesn't have the writing panache of her recent books, and it is not lavishly photographed (the illustrations are all black-and-white drawings reminiscent of pattern guidesheet pictures). It is also not a book of "sewing shortcuts", if I had to guess I'd wager that her publisher or someone else railroaded her into naming it that. There's a word or two about how pullover dresses are easier to make than those with zippers or buttons (duh), and the some good, quick cutting advice but shortcuts it is not. The back jacket information is also heartily misleading on that score. What the book IS, though, is a good, basic-to-advanced, every-technique-listed guide to sewing methods. Want to know what kind of seam finish you need for a particular fabric or effect? She'll tell you. Some facing ideas? Ways to duplicate the appearence of designer or ready-to-wear finishes? Fastening methods? In there too. This book is MUCH more thorough (and much more clipped and concise in style) than either her "Couture Sewing" or "High Fashion Sewing Secrets". I got my copy used, for a complete bargain, especially considering how useful it is. I'd rather have a library of material within one book on my sewing shelf than many pretty books I don't use. Sure, the book is more than 20 years old, but basic machine techniques and hand sewing don't change (especially for those of us who can't afford fancy machines).

I've given it four stars, since the title and the content have little relation to one another. I'd give it five stars for just the content, though. I took the book out of the public library before I bought it, so I knew what I was getting into. Had I purchased it on the title alone, I might have been disappointed.
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Format: Paperback
I think the title of this book was not well chosen, but the information within definitely was. I am an experienced old school dressmaker, and have read many sewing books. This book goes far beyond most others in giving a wealth of information on creating a quality sewn product. The emphasis is on garment sewing, but the methods in the book can be applied to other kinds of sewing as well. The author divides the book into sections on different aspects of sewing, such as seam finishes, buttonholes, linings, etc. and then includes many different options for accomplishing a specific sewing task. Each is briefly and (for the most part) clearly explained. The book doesn't have a lot of eye appeal, as it is not on glossy paper and has no photographs. However, the simple line drawings do the job, and the text is concise and to the point. Readers who are looking for a guide to sewing with a serger will find little information here, but those who want to learn how to use a regular machine to its greatest potential have come to the right place.

The thing I like best about this book is that the author doesn't lay down rigid rules. Sewing is an art, not a science, so there is plenty of scope for independent thinking. The book shows that there is always more than one way of accomplishing a task, and gives the pros and cons of each method. Readers can try them out and decide which approach makes the most sense in their own situation. The book will give anyone who sews, or who would like to learn, the information they need to customize their sewing for a quality result.
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Format: Paperback
I wonder why such a great book is given bad reviews.

This book is a book of comparisons of all sewing methods possible for a single technique. It shows you the normal way and also how the professionals do without criticizing 'one is better than the other'. Which technique works for me might not work for somebody else. It is a matter of personal preference and way of sewing and also, the skill level.

If you are looking for a step by step beginner book, then go for New Complete Guide to Sewing by Reader's Digest. It is excellent and very comprehensive. But if you are looking for the different methods to do a collar or zippers or any other technique, to figure out what works for you, then THIS IS A GREAT BOOK!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been teaching myself to sew clothing for just 14 months now. My goal is to sew clothing that fits my body that I will be proud to wear, that looks custom not home made. I have purchased many books on fitting and garment construction both old and new. My favorites out of more than 50 at this time are: Palmer-Pletsch Fit for Real People books and sewing videos, Singer Sewing Library Series Books (Perfect Fit, Tailoring and Sewing For Style in particular) Threads magazine 1985-? volumes of past sewing articles( such as Beyond the Pattern), Louise Cutting sewing videos from threads, Sew-Fit's books Sewing without Pins and Sewing Magic, Clothing Construction 2nd ed. 1974 Mansfield/Lucas and The Complete Book of Sewing Short Cuts by Claire Shaeffer. Claire Shaeffer's book is pure gold. It is probably misnamed because it does not give shortcuts as we usually think of them, but she does help you choose the best and most effective methods for sewing your particular project, shortening that ugly learning curve. She gives you more than one sewing method for a material and design, helping you choose the best one, advice that was not really given in any other of my sources. Her book uses line drawings that make the instructions very clear. She does not include serger information, or colored pictures, but who cares! I have plenty of books with colored pictures and excellent books on sergers. I have almost mastered pattern alteration for myself and Claire Shaeffer's book is helping me to learn to make well-made custom clothing. Buy it .
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