Top positive review
4 people found this helpful
It occupies a useful niche not duplicated in any other books I've seen ...
on July 25, 2014
There's a reason this book is still in print after a quarter of a century! It occupies a useful niche not duplicated in any other books I've seen so far. It has more focus on the practicalities of actual garment construction. [Edited to add: it's been updated a few times since 1985.]
The bathing suit construction sequence alone may save me many times the price of the book.
The book assumes you are an experienced though not necessarily expert sewer. So, it is pithy, and in some cases assumes you will take the information and run with it. (E.g. a tip about extending a facing assumes that with a clear line drawing you will be able to figure out how to do it--without a blog-like series of ten steps with photographs.)
The tips on using pearl cotton or something woolly in the loopers as very compatible in look with sweater knits are helpful, and a spur to creative design. The tips on facing to stabilize these knits are also good. The serged barrel buttons for a sweater or coat are brilliant. I feel I am much closer to being able to realize a nice-looking "blanket-stitched" coat with roll cuffs, or a sweater-jacket, after reading this book.
Some of the construction information this book supplies might be found in the instructions for a sewing pattern intended specifically for sergers, but this little book will help you adapt patterns you already own for serger use, and that's the beauty of it.
The line drawings ARE clear and in some cases more so than a photo would be. Yes, the fashions shown in some cases are dated, but the information is still helpful.
The serger information is generic, not specific to a certain brand of serger, so in some cases you are referred to your manual for machine-specific instructions. Machines do differ.
In addition to what the book DOES cover, I'd have liked some hints on how to do a few more of the common waistband treatments that employ sergers, such as serging a narrow seam allowance on the inside and topstitching or stitching in the ditch, instead of folding under and stitching by hand. That one I can figure out in the case of a full elastic waist, but when there's interfacing, a button, a buttonhole, and the ends of the waistband are sewn and turned, while the rest is serged as I just described . . . for that, it would be useful to have sequenced instructions! Also for waists with only back or side elastic! These are excellent waistlines and I'd like to know how to do them.
A few other areas could usefully be expanded. There's not much on differential feed, though what's there is correct. If you have d.f., read your manual and learn when to use it, because it's invaluable for stretchy knits--and knits are why many people own a serger.
All in all, a very good and useful book, and if the concept were expanded just a bit, it would be fantastic. Maybe it's time for the 2014 version?