Saturday, October 9, 2010

1,000 Clever Sewing Shortcuts & Tips

I got a few new sewing books in the mail yesterday, and while trying to wedge them in with my overflowing collection, I realized that while I'm a complete sewing-book-junkie, I rarely write about them.

And since we're getting ready for vacation and I think all sewing (other than the mental variety) is at a standstill until we return, sharing a few favorites, old and new, will give me an excuse to think about sewing and not leave the blog empty while I'm away.

Even though this book is making its way around the blogs these days, I'm going to add my own enthusiastic recommendation.

1,000 Clever Sewing Shortcuts & Tips, by Deepika Prakash and with the tips of many, many Patternreview members and experts like Susan Khalje, Kenneth King, Sarah Veblen, Anna Mazur and the late Shannon Gifford, is a great read. It's been on my bedside table for the last 2 weeks.

The way the book is organized is logical, giving you information in bite-sized portions that leave you wanting more. The chapters are Sewing Gear, Set up your Sewing Room, Design & Pattern Prep, Layout, Cutting & Marking, Fitting, Sewing, Finishing and Embellishments, but each chapter has a number of subsections, making it easy for you to find the solution to your specific dilemma.

Since the tips in the book are compiled from many sewists with many years of different experience, sometimes there are several ways to do the same thing, and a more or less "try this, and decide for yourself" attitude which I appreciate, since I tend to balk when shown the "one true way" to do anything. The section on invisible zippers is particularly telling - there are the proponents of sewing the seam, then inserting the zip, and the others, who sew the seam after the zip is inserted, and are pretty sure that's the only way.

There are tips for getting around common problems like gunk on your iron, working with knits and specialty fabrics, tips for sergers and coverstitch machines, making and using piping, turning tubes, and a lot more.

Considering the amount of time I spend on Patternreview, it's probably a very good thing that the best tips were put between covers so that I can spend some of my sewing time actually sewing, or at least reading about sewing away from the compouter, instead of reading about sewing online.

Particularly timely during October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the author's royalties and much of the money paid for the tips submitted, has been donated to breast cancer research.

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