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Sew Everything Workshop: The Complete Step-by-Step Beginner's Guide with 25 Fabulous Original Designs, Including 10 Patterns Spiral-bound – November 8, 2007
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
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"This is the sewing book I've been waiting for! Like the hippest home-ec teacher on the planet, Diana Rupp guides readers through every step of the process. It's fun, it's inspiration, it's everything you need to know."
—Debbie Stoller, author of Stitch 'N Bitch: The Knitter's Handbook --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
It's hip (think Project Runway), it's hot (with a potential audience of 45 million), and it's coming from exactly the right publisher (remember Stitch 'N Bitch and Generation T). Introducing S.E.W, the beginning sewer's bible.
A reinvention of the postwar sewing how-to, here is a hold-your-hand guide that marries attitude and instruction, that speaks the language of today's crafters while teaching them everything they need to know from winding a bobbin to sewing a dart to customizing a pattern. Diana Rupp, the author, comes from a long line of crafters, and parlayed her passion into a career as the founder of Make Workshop, a unique DIY school that's been written about in Elle, Budget Living, BUST, Real Simple, Time Out, Vogue Patterns, and more. In S.E.W, Rupp brings the workshop home: buying the right machine; setting up a space and furnishing it with the right tools; introducing fabrics—manmade vs. natural fibers, wovens vs. knits, color theory, buying vintage fabric on eBay; the art of laying out a pattern and cutting; and becoming one with your machine, from best posture to seam allowances, buttonholes, zippers, and the finer points of hand-sewing.
Then comes the fun: 25 amazing projects, 8 with patterns included, all handled with clear, step-by-step instructions—gingham wrap skirt, gauchos, drawstring pants, silky top, downtown hobo/laptop bag, patchwork throw, dog sweater, unisex boxers, vintage apron, more. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Note that that I have no outside help while learning to sew - it's just me, the machine and the book. There are two things the book didn't get right for me:
1) She had diagrams in the instructions rather than step by step pictures. Patterns are not intuitive things to interpret to begin with and her illustrations/instructions weren't thorough enough for me to follow without guidance. It's a small detail but it matters a great deal for beginners who have no experience and no outside guidance to lean on.
2) The patterns weren't organised in any particular skill-building or level which meant that as a complete novice, I had to go through and find the beginner ones (granted they were marked but it's not ideal - one more thing to figure over and above learning to sew). They would have been much more effective had she ordered them in a way that we learned a new skill with each one as we progressed.
Ultimately, the hubby convinced me to return the book and try another one for beginners: "Love at First Stitch" by Tilly Walnes. The difference was night and day. She had pictures, and taught us skills alongside projects - so we were learning by doing. The first project was a simple scarf (without any formal pattern) - and it turned out great. It's a small teaching detail but it made a huge difference to this student. I got my confidence and excitement about sewing back - and I'm happy to say I am sticking with it.
All in all, if you're looking for a beginner sewing book I think there are others that do better than this one. This book works for some, but despite the positive reviews it didn't work for me who was literally touching a machine for the first time.
The book is chocked full of photos that give very clear step-by-step instructions to many tasks and projects. The steps are clear and concise and the patterns that are included in the book are all the inspiration and skill you need to become a great seamstress.
I've even take her Craftsy online class and she is really a wonderful instructor. If I can help one person desire to try sewing, I would recommend this book, her class and YouTube & blogs to be your guide into the super cool world of garment & craft making.