Super Stitches Sewing

Super Stitches

A Complete Guide To Machine-Sewing And Hand-Stitching Techniques

Nicole Vasbinder

Not a lot of sewing going on in my world right now. In fact, I had not one, but TWO wadders yesterday as I try to convince my sewing mojo to return. In the meantime I’m doing a lot of reading, of course, including some sewing related material. My new favorite title to add to my crafty book collection is Super Stitches Sewing which is devoted entirely to the very things holding our clothing (and other things) together.

Usually this subject matter is relegated to a chapter in a sewing book or a few pages in the manuals that come with our machines. Super Stitches Sewing is divided into three sections: Machine Stitches, Hand Stitches, and Tools and Equipment. Each entry includes a key to the difficulty of the stitch, common uses, what needles to use and other great information. My favorite thing is that the book is entirely in color. I find craft books with black and white photos really frustrating for some reason. The illustrations on how to sew each stitch are really helpful and sometimes revelatory, especially in the hand-stitching section.

Super Stitches Sewing is a perfect addition to my sewing library, but I doubt it will make it onto the actual shelf. I plan to keep it as close to my machines as possible.

I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Begging Forgiveness

Please forgive the lack of posting here. I started a new job in February and after  almost 8 months of unemployment (where I settled into a very nice groove), I am still getting used to actually having to be somewhere everyday along with the non-traditional hours of the retail industry.

But this hasn’t affected my reading schedule and I have several books to review and hope to do so soon. Also, I now work in fashion retail and my current wardrobe is far from adequate for this situation, so I may live up to the name of this blog and post some sewing as well.

Thank you, readers, for your patience!

Handmade Chic

Fashionable Projects That Look High End, Not Homespun
by Laura Bennett

There has been an explosion of books and blogs lately as a part of a DIY (do-it-yourself) movement. Now, with just a little money and time, you can recreate designer looks at home without mortgaging it in the process. Sometimes, though, even at the hands of highly skilled artisans, the resulting items look a little too “homespun” and not like the things you see on current runways. And that’s fine for people who want that look, but there is a void in the market for chic diy books.

Laura Bennett’s latest book fills that void. Best known for her sleek, elegant designs on season 3 of Project Runway, Bennett has compiled a collection of accessories that are easy to make and incredibly stylish. What I loved most about it is the inclusion of materials that many shy away from: leather, fur (faux or real), feathers, and beads. Her instructions for buying and using them definitely take the intimidation factor away. The 40 projects include covers for electronics (e-readers, iPads, etc.), wallets, purses, and much more, including embellishing ready-to-wear garments.

This book is a valuable addition to any sewing and craft book library, especially my extensive one!

Illustrated Guide to Sewing Couture Techniques

Edited by Peg Couch
Some books on sewing couture are as intimidating as the techniques themselves. That’s why I love this book series. They do a great job of making sewing your own clothes less intimidating.
Assuming that the reader has some previous experience and is ready to take on more complex projects, not a lot of time is spent on the basics. Because fabric choice is important in couture, the beginning of the book gives a background on the care and handling of fine and specialty textiles.
The middle section covers fit and gives extensive instructions on taking measurements and manipulating the pattern to achieve perfection.
The last part of the book is dedicated to the actual techniques that make a garment couture, including the all important art of handstitching. Although I don’t require it, I was especially happy to see instructions for left-handed seamstresses.
I will definitely add this to my growing sewing library because I rarely see such easy-to-understand directions for couture techniques. This book makes me feel that I can confidently tackle them.

Nina Garcia’s Look Book

What to Wear for Every Occasion
by Nina Garcia

The bookstore where I worked for the past 11 years recently closed. So I am embarking on a new job search. The other day while fretting over having to update my resume, it occurred to me that not only do I not have an outfit to interview in, my current wardrobe is only appropriate for a Starbucks employee. Because of the dress code at my former job, my closet is full of black polo style shirts and khakis. Right now the only social invitation I can accept from you is one where I’ll be making lattes at your dinner party. (And I can, because I am Starbucks/Seattle’s Best trained).

It’s hard to know where to start when your wardrobe has so many holes in it, so I’m turning to my library of fashion books to help me out. I chose this one for no other reason than it was the first that I laid my eyes on. While it really does cover what’s appropriate for certain occasions (job interview, a Netflix night, volunteering, etc.), it also gives some pointers on the appropriate etiquette in those situations. 

It wasn’t very helpful in setting up a core wardrobe, but once I have that in place, I will refer back to this on how to put it together. And as always, the illustrations by Ruben Toledo are divine!

Illustrated Guide to Sewing: Garment Construction

A Complete Course on Making Clothing for Fit and Fashion

I own a lot of books about sewing and fashion, but rarely do I just sit down and read them. Mostly I use them when I need to know something specific. For this one, however, I actually sat down and looked through it from cover to cover and noted some of the things that differentiate this from other books.

This book is for a beginner and they do a very thorough job of taking you through the construction of a garment. Some of the things that stood out to me:

  • Explanations of the different type of machine stitches. That’s usually only in the manuals that come with the machine
  • The illustrations of hand sewing were very detailed and helpful
  • Assurances that space shouldn’t be an issue when setting up your sewing area
  • Guide to the use of color and pattern to enhance different body types. That’s usually in books about fashion, not sewing
  • Detail about how to straighten fabric and concise and clear instructions on preparing fabric to sew
  • Rudimentary instructions for altering patterns made the process seem not so intimidating
  • Directions on pinning patterns to fabric and matching plaids and checks. Good for those of us who are slaves to the pattern instructions
  • Shows how to assemble five basic garments based on logic not pattern instructions
  • Includes men’s clothing
  • After showing basics, goes into more details with seams, zippers, pockets, etc.

Good for a beginner and also a great addition to any sewing library. 

Miss Scarlet’s School of Patternless Sewing

by Kathy Cano-Murillo

The “Crafty Chica” has done it again with a fabulous novel about creativity and perseverance. I thoroughly enjoyed her first book in the series, Waking Up in The Land of Glitter, which not only featured women who took their crafting seriously, but also had a plot that would appeal to people who have no interest in the hobby.  Miss Scarlet’s School of Patternless Sewing achieves the same, masterfully.

Scarlet Santana has a brilliant mind and a degree in engineering that could easily bring in enough money to afford her any creature comfort she desires.  But Scarlet instead, much to her family’s dismay, has decided to follow her heart and become a fashion designer. Until her big break comes, she toils away as a design assistant and blogs about her favorite designer and inspiration. When she gets a chance to study at a prestigous (and expensive) design program, she opens a sewing school to help raise the money to attend.

This is a novel about sewing and secrets. The secrets (acknowledged and dormant) that bring her students to her class. Secret love. Secret ambition. At first it seems that this book has a lot of subplots, and it does, but Cano-Murillo is able to keep the reader from being overwhelmed and tie everything up at the end. Granted as a crafty-inclined person, I thoroughly enjoyed that aspect, but aside from that, this was an inspiring story about being true to yourself.