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Friday, March 14, 2014

Essential Sewing Reference Tool
Book Review (and giveaway) by Patty Young and Emalee Grambo

***UPDATE: this contest is now CLOSED. The winner was.... Susan Bates! Congrats!***

If sewing is your "thing", then I'm sure you've heard of Carla Crim, a.k.a. The Scientific Seamstress. The girl is a friggin' genius... as in, she has a Ph.D in Molecular Biology! She is also one of the most clever and funny people I have ever met and vertically challenged, just like me, so when we run into each other at sewing events, we usually stick together!

Well, I was thrilled when Carla asked me to review her latest book, Essential Sewing Reference Tool, because I knew it would blow me away, like everything she does. A small part of me was even giddy that I got to receive an advance copy because I knew this was the sort of book I would come back to reference over and over again. And boy, was I right! Pssst... you can also enter to win a free copy by leaving a comment below this review!

But let's get right to it. My assistant, Emalee, and I are co-reviewing this book for you today. We decided to do this in tandem because I thought you guys would enjoy getting some different perspectives coming from two totally different points of view.

I will go first. The book starts out with what I like to call the hardware... everything you ever needed to know about sewing machines, cutting tools, notions of every imaginable kind, pins, needles and threads, oh my!  Then it goes into techniques. What would you like to learn about? Machine stitches, hand stitches, seams, hems, maybe even some stuff you've never heard of (hello there, Hong Kong Finish!)? Well, it's all here, and then some! Wanna know how to make your own bias tape or piping, install zippers, make buttonholes? Well, this is the book for you!

But, perhaps, the section I was most excited to delve into was the garment-making and pattern sections. Well, after having been designing sewing patterns for over 7 years, I have amassed a huge quantity of reference materials, from sizing charts to measurement conversions... some of them are bookmarked on my browser, others are printed out and filed away. But, whenever I need to look something up, I invariably always forget where I've saved it. Well, who needs Google, when you've got the Essential Sewing Reference Tool at your fingertips? If you are a beginner pattern-maker, this will be an invaluable tool to have... oh how I wish I had this book way back when I was just starting out!

Now, on to Emalee's review. Hers is less conversational, and more to the point (bullet-pointed and all!):

  • Visually appealing
  • Covers every area of sewing industry: Bed sizing, pillow sizing, curtains, bed skirts, table cloths, placemats, belts, bags, garment construction…
  • Pg. 46: Her way of cutting bias tape is a helpful reference.
  • Pg. 47 and 48: Awesome new way to do continuous bias tape!
  • Zipper instructions are always helpful to beginners.
  • Pg 70: Her instruction to place a toothpick under a button when sewing is great! Never heard of that! 
  • Pg. 89: Hemming a Tablecloth! Never knew that either and that is awesome!
  • The sizing charts and number conversions are super helpful to have.
  • This book has every reference you could ever need all under one cover!
Well, there ya have it, folks! I hope this review was helpful to you. And many kudos to my friend, Carla Crim, for a most excellent reference tool that we will surely use for years to come!  

GIVEAWAY!!! If you would like to enter the giveaway and receive your very own copy of the Essential Sewing Reference Tool, please leave me a comment below. We would love to know: Are you new to sewing, or pattern-making, and are looking for a book to help you kick start your business? Or are you an old pro just looking to have all those helpful reference materials in one spot? Make sure you leave us a way to contact you if you win (email, clickable link, etc.). We will draw a winner on Wednesday, March 19th.


***UPDATE: this contest is now CLOSED. The winner was.... Susan Bates! Congrats!***


60 comments:

  1. I've been sewing for about 5 years now. I try to read every sewing book I can get my hands on. I love to learn new tricks and see how sewing has evolved through the years. ssbates@gmail.com

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  2. Anonymous9:26 AM

    I more or less picked up my sewing skills here and there doing projects with my grandmother as a child. I've never been shown the proper way to do many things, so this would be a terrific reference and learning tool. jchase916@yahoo.com

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  3. I'd say I'm intermediate but there's always something new to learn!
    msjwh21 gmail

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  4. Hello, I am an intermediate that hasn't sewen in many years and am getting back into sewing.

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  5. I'd love to learn how to make piping and fine tune my skills.
    Kim - littlemissmoffittscreations(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  6. I've been sewing for years now, but sewing with knits is still a challenge. I would also love to try some pattern making.

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  7. I have been sewing for a little over 1 year now, I would like to sew more for my kids, but I need to learn a few more basics (like putting in buttonholes) and the whole interfacings thing.

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  8. As a beginner in sewing (1 year), self-taught mostly, I am always eager to learn new tips and tricks to sew efficently and master the techniques needed for each new project.

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  9. I'm dying to learn more about different feet. I'm also interested in pattern making, this book sounds like it could help!

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  10. not new to sewing, but quilting is not garment sewing and I really, really want to get good at that.

    rrregena@aol.com

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  11. I've been sewing for about 25 years on and off but have been sewing a ton more since my daughter was born almost 5 years ago. I want the book to help me adjust patterns to better fit me as I am very petite and also I don't own a sewing reference book so it would just be good to have.

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  12. I've been sewing for a little over a year but still love learning new things!

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  13. Hmmm, not a beginner, but I wouldn't call myself a pro. :) I guess kind of in between. I know this book will be so helpful!

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  14. I've recently started sewing again after years away and now I'd like to start sewing clothes for my toddler. I need to brush up on my finishing skills and would love to learn how to draft patterns! :) courtenayaustin@gmail.com

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  15. I haven't sewing clothing in many years. Not since my girl we little. I only made clothes for them. I'm would have to say I'm probably an intermediate sewer. I'm just starting to make some clothes for myself.

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  16. I have been sewing for over 40 years but I always love learning new tips, tricks and techniques. I love Carla!

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  17. I habe been sewing for about 10 years, I started just with the wish to sew some cushions...

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  18. I consider myself an intermediate sewer - but I could use improvements on the finishing of garments.

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  19. I'm a beginning-level sewer who would like to learn to sew myself a summer dress :)

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  20. This book sounds awesome. I know I'd use it all the time. I've been sewing for about 7 years though I did learn when I was a little girl, sewing on my Grandma's treadle machine. I've learned a ton, but I'm still intimidated by certain things like putting in zippers.

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  21. I'm an intermediate sewer, but this looks like a great resource for anyone!

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  22. I've been sewing for a while, but never had any formal lessons. This book sounds like an awesome way to learn some new techniques. I love Carla, I have her Sewn Hats book already :)

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  23. Anonymous8:17 PM

    love to have a reference with tips and solutions in one place...... thanks for the opportunity....

    cree4108@yahoo. com

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  24. I've been sewing since I was a child. I love Carla's patterns so I can't wait to read her book.

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  25. This books sounds like just what I need!!! I never had much formal training, and learned things a long time ago. I really need a refresher as well as current knowledge about sewing, as I have just returned after about a 20 year hiatus while I raised children and worked full time.

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  26. I am an older seamstress who loves new tricks. Thanks for a chance to win this book.

    janphilr@gmail.com

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  27. I have sewing experience but could always use fresh ideas! I have 5 daughters that are learning how to sew, this would be a great reference to have on hand. dlb909@aol.com

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  28. A mom of 2 boys who finally got her girl in a precious granddaughter, I'm entering the world of sewing cute tops and dresses. Found the world of PDF patterns with their wealth of detailed instructions and I'm not going back to the patterns at the big box stores!

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  29. I would love to teach my kids how to sew with this book. :)

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  30. Love your writing style Patty and if this book is similar to your techniques in the ModKids sew book I recently purchased (thanks for signing it :)) it would be SEW awesome to add to my library! I enjoy teaching young girls to sew and with the addition of matching doll clothes its always a hit! Thanks for all you do and congrats on your new book!!! Ronda in Bend

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  31. Hi!
    Even though I've been sewing for almost 30 years (I can't believe I just said that!) I know there is still so much that I could learn. I'd love to have this wonderful reference book. Thanks!
    Kristie

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  32. Haven't sewn garments for several years I would like to explore new techniques and hints to create clothing that looks professional and crisp.

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  33. The biggest benefit of this book to me is having the wealth of knowledge all in one book!

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  34. I have been sewing for many years, loving it very much too!! Nothing like creating something with your hands, fun! Thanks for the giveaway. By the way loved ya on Nancy Zieman. Beautiful work!!

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  35. I'm new to sewing. This book looks like it would be helpful.

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  36. I would love to have all of my references in one place. This would be so awesome to have.

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  37. I'm not too new to sewing (have only been sewing for 3 years) but am still learning and trying new things. I have ideas in my head of patterns, but don't feel all that comfortable to just try things. I would love to eventually make patterns to sell, but am not sure the best way to get started.

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  38. Jennifer G jayhawkmama(at)gmail(dot)com2:25 PM

    I have been sewing for 8 years but I have never drafted a pattern. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  39. I've been sewing awhile, but you can always learn something new- especially from Carla ;)

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  40. Have sewn for long time...learned in Home Ec. Class in the 60's! lol New to Quilty things tho. Would loooove the book, to refresh the things I used to do often, ansd learn things that make it easier these days too! . New ideas & techniques will be fun! :)

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  41. I have been sewing a long time but always love to learn something new. And I love everything Carla does. Sivje Parish sivjegoose@comcast.net

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  42. I am a step from beginner. I have sewn a skirt with side zipper and just sewed my first dress that I can wear and have been loving it, but it had no zippers or buttons or sleeves so I am really excited to learn so much more...

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  43. I got my first sewing lessons (along with a new sewing machine) for my 13th birthday. It's been 40 years of sewing but I would really appreciate having a very good desk reference for more accurate sewing especially when adjusting patterns. Thanks!

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  44. This is exactly the kind of book I need to own. All those little tips can be extremely handy for those "doh" moments.

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  45. I have experience, but I haven't sewn for about 10 years. This book would help me to freshen up my skills, and learn some new techniques.

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    Replies
    1. I almost forgot! My e-mail is: eeck48@gmail.com

      Delete
  46. Laura Lewis3:40 PM

    My Mom visited last Thanksgiving and taught me to make a pillowcase. It was love-at-first sew for me. My first piece of clothing was a big name pattern (labelled "easy" ha ha), that I labored over for weeks. My next was Kyoko. What a breath of fresh air! I have been making Modkid patterns ever since and loving every minute. I still have a lot to learn, but am thrilled to be creating beautiful, wearable things. xo Laura sharrow42 @ gmail.com

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  47. I'm really new to sewing and need done kind of reference tools to help me along.
    Campbellamyd at gmail dot com

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