Saturday, November 28, 2009

Singer Complete Photo Guide to Sewing

I love this book for the pictures. I wouldn't say it would replace my other sewing reference books...a girl can never have enough sewing books. If you didn't have any books and can't afford to fully stock your sewing library, I would recommend buying this one first. The step by step instructions are complements to the photographs, instead of the other way around. In other words, you could accomplish a task just by looking at the photographs. The text has good information too so don't skip the reading.

Book Index/Chapter Headings:
1. The Sewing Machine
  • Explanation of sewing machine parts and specialty feet
  • Corrections for too tight or too loose stitch tension for straight & zigzag stitching
2. The Serger
  • Explanation of the parts and functioning of a serger
  • Pictures of basic stitches on 2/3-, 4/2-, 4/3/2/-, 4/3-, and 5/4/3/2- thread sergers
  • Corrections for too loose or too tight tension
  • Basics such as changing thread, starting & ending seams, stitching inside corners & slits, stitching curved edges, stitching outside corners, and removing stitches
3. Essential Equipment & Supplies
  • Uses for various machine and hand stitching needles
  • Description of all the marking tools, measuring tools, cutting tools, pressing tools
  • Special equipment: needle gripper, basting tape, bodkin, pattern weights, fusible web, etc.
  • Threads: fine vs. serger vs. polyester vs. silk vs. mercerized cotton; when to use
  • Trims & tapes, closures and zippers: nice side by side comparison for each category
4. The Pattern
  • How to take standard body measurements, read the pattern envelope and instructions
  • Nice chart with all the pattern symbols and descriptions
5. Fabric Essentials
  • Display of "easy-to-sew" fabrics--great guide for beginner regarding fabric selection
  • Pointers regarding napped & pile fabrics, sheers, twill weaves, plaids & stripes, knits and one-way design fabrics
  • Table with fabric categories comparing special seam finishes, machine needles & threads needed plus numerous examples of each fabric category
6. Classic Fabric Textures & Designs
  • Selecting patterns for, preparing fabric, layout, cutting & marking, special seam & hem techniques for: loose weaves, corduroy & velveteen, knits, sheer & silky fabrics, lustrous fabrics (satin, taffeta, etc.), lace & embroidered fabrics, and synthetic fur, suede & leathers
  • If you don't have a fabric guide book, the above 2-3 page summaries for each fabric category should give you enough guidance for any fabric you use.
  • Nice summary of choosing interfacings for various purposes and fabrics; tutorial on applying fusibles
7. Layout, Cutting, & Marking
  • Discusses lengthwise & crosswise grains, bias, courses & ribs
  • Straightening the grain (3 methods) and preshrinking fabric
  • How to layout plaids and uneven plaids, directional fabrics
  • How to cut and join bias strips
  • Marking tips using marking tools or other techniques (snips, pressing, basting, etc.)--lots of great pictures here for each tool and technique
8. General Guidelines for Pattern Adjustments
  • Minor vs. Major adjustments; shortening for petites, bust adjustments (full, small, high, and low), waist adjustments (small, large, prominent abdomen, flat abdomen, and swayback), hip adjustments (full, small, and uneven hips)
  • Photos of improper fit and how to make the adjustments to the paper pattern
9. Seams
  • Tips for plain and curved seams, encased seams (self-bound, french, mock french, flat-fell, and mock flat-fell), stretch/taped seams, seam finishes (turned & stitched and zigzag), bound seam finishes (bias, tricot, and Hong Kong)--all have step by step photos
10. Serger Seams & Seam Finishes
  • Overlock, reinforced, French, rolled, mock flat-fell, reversible lapped, gathered, mock flatlock, flatlock on a fold, stabilized seams (fusible, elastic, nonstretch, and slight-stretch)
11. Darts
  • Shaped and wide darts, how to press a dart, and how to finish a dart
12. Gathers
  • Great step by step instructions for basic gathers, gathering with elastic, and sewing elastic in a casing (waistline seam)
13. Sleeves
  • Description of sleeves (set-in, kimono, and raglan); instructions for sewing sleeves--flat-method and set-in
14. Cuffs
  • Sewing continuous bound placket and shirty-style plackets, attaching a cuff
15. Collars
  • Sewing pointed collar with nonfusible interfacing, round collar with fusible interfacing, lining a facing with interfacing, attaching a convertible collar, and attaching a shirt collar with a stand
16. Waistbands
  • Selvage method with fusible waistband interfacing
17. Hems
  • Topstitched, twin-needle stitched, zigzag, turned & stitched, bound, pinked and fused; how to turn up a hem, how to sew a curved hem, machine blindstitched, and serger hems (overlock a blnid hem, cover stitch hem, flatlock a sport hem)
18. Easy Edges
  • Bias neckline facing and sewing a narrow hem
19. Pockets
  • Patch pocket with square or rounded corners, self-lined and lined patch pockets, sewing a patch pocket by machine or hand, in-seam pockets, slanted pockets, welt pockets
20. Closures
  • Waistband hooks & eyes, thread eyes, measuring & marking buttonholes, machine-made buttonholes, opening a buttonhole, marking button location, sewing a shank button, hand and machine sewing a sew-through button, snaps, zippers (shortening, lapped, centered, fly-front, covered separating, exposed separating, and invisible zippers)
21. Tailoring
  • Sequence for tailoring a jacket: interfacing a jacket front and facing, shaping lapels, interfacing jacket back with fusible interfacing, interfacing jacket hem, interface & shape jacket undercollar, interface sleeves, sewing a notched collar, topstitching a tailored collar, making a custom shoulder pad and sleeve head, stitches for a tailored hem and jacket vent, lining a jacket with/without a hem vent
  • Lining a skirt or pants, including those with darts, ease or pleats
  • My FAVORITE section of the book!
22. Sewing Activewear
  • Sewing elasticized waistbands, cut-on waistband with a casing or topstitching, smooth or shirred separate waistband
  • Ribbed edges: necklines (flat or in-the-round method), lapped ribbing to a V-neckline
  • Swimsuits and leotards: adjusting the pattern, sewing one- and two-piece swimsuits/leotards, adjusting fit, elasticized edges
23. Decorator Fabrics
  • How to cut decorator fabrics, matching patterned fabrics, seams (plain, 4- or 5-thread safety stitch, narrow zigzag, and French)
24. Pillows
  • Knife-edge, mock box, flange, box (including round and box with inside corners), bolster (tailored and candy wrapper)
  • Closure options: zippers, hook & loop tape lapped closure, snap tape lapped closure,
  • Decorative edges: fabric-covered welting, twisted cord welting, ruffles, fringe,
25. Slipcovers
  • Reversible seat cover
  • Cushions: waterfall, boxed, knife-edge, boxed T-cushion
  • Futon cover
  • Parsons chair: pin fitting the pattern and sewing the slipcover
26. Window Treatments
  • Terms to know, tips for measuring, selecting & installing hardware, covering & installing mounting boards, hems (double-fold, 3 types of hem finishes)
  • Tapered scarf swags, gathered pickup valance, flat and tucked Roman shades, flat panel curtains (determining fullness and spacing), tab curtains, rod-pocket curtains, pinch-pleated draperies
27. Bed & Bath
  • Flanged pillow shams, duvet cover, gathered and pleated bed skirts, shower curtain
28. Table Fashions
  • Tablecloths (including welted and mitered hem), reversible placemats, napkins (including 6 hem options)

Paperback book
--352 pages, published in 2009, ISBN-1589234340
You can purchase this at Amazon for less than $20 USD. I actually bought mine at a Hobby Lobby store for $25 USD. I imagine Hancock's and JoAnn's Fabrics carry this book too.

Does this book have clear illustrations or photographs?
YES! The photographs are THE reason to buy this book. This book boasts 1200 full-color how-to photos.

Would you recommend this book as a MUST HAVE?
Absolutely. It is basically an encyclopedia of sewing with tons of pictures. It does include a basic overview of home decorating as well; enough to get the average person by but not enough for those that only sew for the home.

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