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New Complete Guide to Sewing: Step-by-Step Techniques for Making Clothes and Home Accessories Hardcover – November 11, 2010
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"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
Top customer reviews
It's truly a remarkable book, even better than the previous one. It covers any subject one can think of, and is suitable for anyone from the rank amateur who knows very little about sewing, to the seasoned pro who just needs a quick refresher or hint.
The illustrations of various projects are very good, as are the step by step instructions. They suggest a pattern to purchase for them, which some people might find annoying, but I find helpful.
I would have liked to see a bit more info on the types of sewing machines out there today, and what each type can do. Other than that, it's perfect.
Wonderful book! Just buy it!
As for the reviewer who was disappointed that the book didn't cover the machine well enough, I've learned that an author could fill an entire book covering the subject and still not tell you how to use the machine you own or intend to buy. But who's to say you'll immediately begin machine sewing? Perhaps you may lean toward haute couture techniques and want to know more about hand stitching, which this book does happen to cover. If you're looking for a 'complete' guide in sewing you have to make editorial choices because the subject is too vast for any single book. That said, my expectation of a good beginner book is one that covers the most important sewing topics with enough depth to enable the beginner to actually create garments, which this book does. In addition, this book points the new sewer toward making well-fitting garments (tailoring techniques) which makes it a very good buy. In all, the topic choices are logical with better coverage than most without being too vague (like Vogue Sewing at times), outdated, too shallow or disjointed (like the Singer books). Again, the only other beginning book I've found worthwhile is DK's Complete Book of Sewing, but even in it you'll find that some areas could be fuller, as you should expect with a general sewing book.
So, where to start? Well, the library is a great, if not the best, place. If you have a machine, look over your manual. Seems simple/silly, but they typically give you enough to get started with a straight stitch which is often all you need. If you don't have a machine you may consider Fine Machine Sewing by Carol Laflin Ahles or All About Machine Arts. Both are great books to help get acquainted with your machine before you start tackling fabric, seams, etc.
Sewing is pretty much like the ocean- there's a depth suited for every taste. You'd be amazed at how deep it goes. That said, these beginner books will get you started but you'll find there is so much more to understanding how to make a well-fitting garment- which is good and bad. It's bad because all the topics can make your head spin and you might get quite frustrated before you ever make anything that suits your taste or even fits your body. The myriad of choices are good, however, because they allow quite a bit of choices, expression and individuality to the sewer. You can spend a lot of time and a fortune learning everything there is to creating garments/fabric decor, but before you spend all your money in one place it will pay to research what different directions and concepts all fall into play for something as common and seemingly simple as the clothes on our backs. Scour the internet, your local library and people who sew first, then think of what kind of sewing you intend to try.
That being said, this is not a book that is easy to read (honestly not many sewing books are so gripping that you cannot put them down). The projects are - kind of boring and more challenging to a beginner.
It's a good book to have lying around when you need help, I highly recommend it for that.
And if you are looking for a book on how to sew with your sewing machine check out books like - Me and My Sewing Machine and Stitch by Stitch: learn to sew one project at a time. Both are very well written and go through the basics of sewing as well, it will be a lot of repetition, but for a beginner - like me - that is a good thing. Plus the projects are cuter and less overwhelming.