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New Sewing Books: My Visit with Sandra

July 8, 2011

I had the most wonderful treat today – partially because I hardly remember from one day to the next what I’ve done, like order new books; but mostly because they showed up today! When hubby sent me a text letting me know I had a box from Amazon today, it took me a moment to recall why — Oh Yes! I ordered some sewing books!!

For most of you it may be an everyday thing, but I’m still learning to give in to impulses for myself. Isn’t that a shame? So – I rushed home to rip open the box and found my two new books: Power Sewing, Step-By-Step by Sandra Betzina, and Shirtmaking, by David Page Coffin. So far I’ve only spent time in the first one and I want to share my first impression of this wonderful book. (Did that give anything away?) Okay – so I just spent my whole Friday evening, including over dinner, browsing through this book.

I’ve been sewing forever, but with a long period of intermittent sewing. I only took formal lessons in my 70’s home economics class and admit I wasn’t enamored at the time. I only recently took advantage of our local American Sewing Guild workshops, and hardly get the opportunity to attend the wonderful Neighborhood Groups, but these brief interactions with talented sewists or sewers or seamstresses – whichever is your preference – tickled my desire to really hone my skills. I began perusing all the wonderful tutorials and blogs out there by energetic and talented people, and as I was window shopping on the Threads site I took the buying plunge and gave myself a couple of books. (I had to pace myself with two. There are so many good ones!)

I chose the shirtmaking book because I recently made some casual shirts and discovered in my Threads back issues new ways to do old things – that’s another tasty blog topic though. I chose Sandra’s book because I’ve always been impressed by her clear and concise sewing techniques on her show, and especially one great video for installing a fly front zipper like a pro. Her book does not disappoint!! Starting with the size and the fact that it is spiral bound for use during projects, this promises to be a new fixture in my studio. Even though it was published in 2000, the techniques are so slick and useful today I wonder how I could have managed without it all this time. Topics, detailed construction techniques, and logical illustrations team to make this a definite go to reference for every sewing project.

Sandra’s examples and tips range from how to plan and shop for your next sewing project through the importance of grain lines to the drape of a skirt, how to use subtle ease techniques for good fit, efficient ways to make proper pattern adjustments, to better construction techniques for almost any garment. Every page provided a new piece of information for me that I plan to use from now on.

My favorite one right now has to be how to underline a pair of pants that also results in finished seams as well. In fact, after reviewing the section on pants, especially this technique, I know my next project I sew for myself will be a pair of slacks using this method. I am determined to incorporate photography in the process to see if I can capture my project for one of my blogs.

Sandra Betzina’s timeless book, Power Sewing promises to provide inspiration for many blog entries to come! If you do not already have this book, I recommend checking it out – no, I highly recommend this to be a staple on anyone’s shelf if you sew.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Darlene Sperber permalink
    July 9, 2011 8:55 am

    Sometimes it is fun to indulge ourselves with a book…one of my favorite things to do..After 2 years of yearning for it I just order a year of Cloth Paper and Scissors and can’t wait to get my first one. Spiral ‘how-to’ books are great so don’t forget you can have any of them spiraled at Staples for a very small fee…usually about 3 dollars depending on the size of the spiral..Enjoy the books and the knowledge gleaned from them.

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