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Full Disclosure: I was sent a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher, but the opinions really are mine. It actually takes a bit more than a book to get me to lie to you guys. Two books might be enough, though… :p
I liked this book a lot and I definitely learned some very useful techniques from it. It’s lovingly shot and the illustrations are clear and easily understood. It’s a great introduction to sewing, as Tessa explains everything you need to be able to sew with competence. I especially liked how she broke down different kinds of fabric, like cotton, wool, linen, silk, etc. Here’s the section devoted to cotton:
Obviously there are many kinds of cotton fabric – home dec weight, seersucker, organdie, chambray, etc., and Tessa does a great job of explaining what they all are and what they’re commonly used for. And in true geek style, I really liked the section on fabric construction:
Hey, don’t judge. In my defence it’s useful information to know when you’re buying or cutting. She explains that twill (think denim, chino or gabardine) is more robust than plain weave, drapes well and doesn’t crease as badly as plain weave. But there’s way more to the book than just fabric.
Tessa not only explains where to measure for each measurement used in determining pattern size, etc, but she shows how you need to hold your body for an accurate measurement. Brilliant. And you know how patterns and clothes are made for the ‘perfect’ body shape? Well, she even shows you how to adjust for your own measurements to make totally tailored clothes:
The only thing that bothered me was the ‘patterns’ are those kind that are all shrunk down which you have to take to a copy centre to have enlarged. For myself, that means I’d never make some of the items like the ladies’ skirt – I don’t live anywhere near a copy centre. However, many of them are projects you can cut out with a ruler and scissors/rotary cutter.
In all, it’s a very useful book to have around and I’d definitely recommend it to a sewing beginner/advanced beginner. The seam techniques explained within are fantastic, covering different kinds of seams, finishes and how to neatly enclose a seam – I was pleasantly surprised to find there are more methods available besides French seam, and every technique is treated with the same comprehensive breadth.
P.S. Because the Google Overlords want to force the entire planet into using their crappy social application, my Google Friend Connect has been cancelled. But you can still get me in your Google Reader (or any other reader) by clicking on the Feedburner (RSS) link below.
© J C Excell, 2012