book review: vogue/butterick guide to sewing
A few years ago, one of my New Year's goals was to master my fear of the sewing machine. The goal wasn't to get good at sewing, it was just to get over my fear. Well, I did a lot of sewing, but it was torturous at times. So I walked away from it for a while. Rarely would I go to the sewing machine, opting for hand sewing whenever possible.
But, as I've mentioned, I've done more machine sewing lately. Which is why I was so excited when Sterling Books offered to send me a copy of their newly revised Vogue/Butterick Step-by-Step Guide to Sewing! This (thick!) book is full of useful information about home sewing, and in the last month it has been my go-to book for sewing advice.
This book originally came out in 1989, and both my mom and I remember it from then. This latest edition has updates and more illustrations, but the fact is that good sewing is timeless, and clearly these folks know what they're talking about.
Although the title calls this a Step-by-Step book, this won't tell you how to make something from start to finish. Instead it's organized alphabetically, with the steps listed out for each particular process. You can see some of the table of contents above, plus there's a full index at the back.
So, need help preparing an applique? They've got that. You want to figure out how to layout pattern pieces? You're covered. Want pocket options? This book has lots. You're doing some special binding? That's here too.
Included in the topics are a few things that aren't as extensive as I'd like them to be, such as quilting, but that's not what this book is about. This is about sewing. Think clothes and bags and more clothes. But with those things come lots of little details that are explained here in detail and with good, classic illustrations.
Now, let me tell you how this book helped me out and inspired a project, which I'll share with you tomorrow. I was making a little bag (which isn't ready for internet eyes) and I wanted eyelets along the top. The bag was thin-ish fabric, so when I tried to install some large eyelets/grommets, this is what happened:
Maybe this doesn't look like a huge problem to you, but you may notice that this eyelet isn't attached to a bag. That's because it wouldn't grip without thicker fabric or more layers. I was stuck and frustrated and I couldn't find any in a hurry that would work. Grrr. I picked up my Guide to Sewing book and looked up eyelets to see if they had installation tips, and found this:
Hand-worked eyelets. It felt crazy at first, but it worked. I read how to do it, and I did it. And my bag was saved! After all the eyelets I stitched, I wasn't sure that I'd want to do much more of it, but actually, it's kind of relaxing. So I made a little project, which I'll share with you tomorrow, complete with how to work those eyelets!
If you're looking to expand your sewing knowledge or are looking for a handbook (of the classic, non-YouTube variety), pick up the Vogue/Butterick Step-by-Step Guide to Sewing at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.