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About Me:I'm a geeky, happy, sewing-obsessed wife, mother and crafter. I'm an American living happily in the UK with my lovely husband and tween daughter. I create handmade handbags, quilts, and other accessories. I love writing my blog and publishing craft tutorials, and I also write quilt and bag patterns. If you're looking to be featured or want other information, email me at jennaexcell(@)gmail.com
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Joanie Zeier Poole’s book on machine quilting teaches you what you need to know to start free motion quilting. FMQ can be so scary – where do you start? How much do you do? What designs work best? This manual will definitely help you find your bearings.
Chapter 1 is full of lots of tips regarding different types of quilting machines – long arm, domestic machine with frame (my dream is to own one of these!), and even a domestic machine. And don’t worry that you don’t have a long arm – Joanie explains that she prefers to work on a domestic machine and is quite happy with her results. She also discusses essential and useful attachments, accessories, and even setting up your working space.
Chapter 2 is all about planning and preparations. It helps you choose and plan quilting techniques for different types of quilts along with techniques for transferring them to your quilt. Joanie discusses fabric preperation and even when to starch (answer: lightly and often!) as well as thread and needle types and how to choose wadding.
Chapter 3 discusses the varieties of machine quilting – channel, stippling, background and echo as well as others. You’ll learn about moving from shape to shape on the quilt.
Above is an example of filler designs, and you’ll also learn how to plan and quilt designs based on straight lines – there are more than you think! She also discusses how to practice designs before sewing them.
Finally there is a small library of quilting designs for making your own. I think this is a book which would appeal to the beginner and intermediate quilter – many quilters are terrified at the thought of free motion quilting, but a little knowledge and practice will get you a long way. There are also 4 projects that aren’t very difficult and offer the opportunity to practice your free motion skills.
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© J C Excell, 2012
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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.
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© J C Excell, 2012