Friday, March 20, 2015

Book Review- School of Sewing

my speedy pillowcase
if like me you purchase your books on Amazon then you know that every time you search for a book or buy a book Amazon will  recommended similar book for you to buy. This is how I came across 'School of Sewing' by Shea Henderson. what made me click the buy now button was that the book had a section called 'Your sewing machine " and with all the trouble I have had recently with my machine I wanted to read that section.
Am I happy with my purchase? Absolutely. I read the book cover to cover within two days. Its well written, easy to follow and included many informative photos. The first half of the book provides the reader with a ton of information on sewing machines, what each part is called, how to maintain your machine, the different types of machines available- mechanical, electronic and computerized. There is a round down of the different feet available and when to use each one. Next sewing supplies are discusses which ones are essential and which ones are nice to have. The book also covers fabric. The different types of fabric available and also how to pick a fabric, the author recommends quilting cottons for beginners. I agree. There is a section on interfacing- fusible v's sew in, woven v's non woven.  The section titled Driver's Ed talks about cutting and unsewing (using a seam ripper, threading a machine, stitch types ( straight, zigzag, etc) and hand sewing.
The section I found most interesting was Pressing 101. What I learnt was there is a difference between ironing clothes and pressing fabric during a sewing  project. Ironing can stretch the fabric especially when cut on the bias.
The second half of the book contains the projects. There are 12 projects each project introduces a new  technique or builds on a previously learnt one therefore each project increases in difficulty. The author suggests that you try each project in the order given in the book. Also each project has an extra credit step.
I liked the projects in this book because they are all useful items that can and will be used once made. There are bag and pillow projects, an apron, placemats and a quilt.
 I had a go at making the first project (pictured above) called 'Speedy Pillowcase'. yes it was quick. What took me the longest time was picking the fabric. The technique learnt in this lesson were French seams. The instructions were easy to follow and the step by stop photographs clearly presented each step. I had no problems or confusion while making this project.
Another thing I like to mention about the book is that the author has included comments from 8 of her students, how they felt , what they learnt, what went wrong while making the projects. This I feel removes some of the fear and loneliness associated with learning a new skill from a book because it shows how others how successfully learnt the skills you are trying to master and the problems they faced while learning.
My one negative would be that the book at sometimes felt like an advertisement for Janome.
'School of Sewing" is aimed at beginners but I feel that we can all learn something from this book. I know I did!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Hand stitching

well my sewing machine is still not working so it was perfect timing that I received the Lucky Bear plushie kit with issue 50 of molliemakes last week. This kit is an exercise in hand sewing using a variety of different embroidery stitches, my new favourite stitch is now the buttonhole wheel and scallop.