A common thread runs through them

Posted Aug. 09, 2010, at 7:01 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 12:54 p.m.

Every so often I run across a tidbit of information that may be nothing more than a rumor or wishful thinking. It usually goes something like this: Sewing machine sales have doubled in the last decade, or more young people than ever are learning to sew. I hope that’s true because publishers continue to print books that serve to inform and inspire those who have a yen to cut up cloth and stitch it into fashion, quilts or other useful items.

Here a few that came across my desk this summer:

• “The Sewing Answer Book” by Barbara Weiland Talbert, Storey Publishing, $14.95. If you already have seen Storey Publishing’s “The Quilting Answer Book,” you know that this version for those who sew is stuffed with information that will answers such questions as: When should I use a French seam and how do I make one? or How do I finish the facing around the zipper on the inside of the garment? — only two of the hundreds of questions answered in the book.

This book, in an-easy-to-take-along size, covers such topics as “Setting Up Your Sewing Room,” “Stitching Basics,” “Working with Patterns,” All About Fabrics” and many others.

• “200 Sewing Tips, Techniques & Trade Secrets” by Lorna Knight, St. Martin’s Griffin, publisher, $22.99. Having this book on your sewing library shelf is like having your own sewing coach always ready to offer encouragement through its Try It panels or assistance through its Fix-It panels in the book. Want to know how to reline a fabric handbag? This book will tell you. I also like the Make It pages in this book, especially the one for making a grocery tote bag from cotton fabric and a purse from tiny fabric sample squares.

The book also contains a section on embroidery, embellishment, applique, quilting and beading.

• “One Yard Wonders” by Rebecca Yaker and Patricia Hoskins, Storey Publishing, $20.95. These days, the stuff of life is always making incursions on the time one has to spend sewing, so this book is perfect to consult when you have only so much time to make that special gift or sweet dress for a special little girl. “One Yard Wonders” walks seamstresses through the steps of 101 projects that require only 1 yard of fabric, such as items for pets, toys, children’s clothing, bags and clothing for women. Best of all, the book comes with a packet of patterns for all the projects, a most handy feature.

• “Stitch-opedia” by Helen Winthorpe Kendrick, St. Martin’s Griffin, publisher, $24.99. This book bills itself as “the only embroidery reference you’ll ever need” and that’s pretty much the case with the possible exception of mirror embroidery, which isn’t included in the wealth of stitches the book contains. The book covers the ins and outs of stumpwork, blackwork, canvaswork, crewelwork, freestyle, hardanger and pulled work types of embroidery.

The Projects section of the book offers 30 projects to stitch, using the types of embroidery and stitches discussed in previous chapters of the book.

The stitch indexes in the book are extensive, and readers are sure to find a few they have never tried.

To learn more about these books, stop by your local bookstore or inquire at your local library.

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