Saturday, January 16, 2010

Book Review: Encyclopedia of Sewing Machine Techniques by Nancy Bednar & JoAnn Pugh-Gannon

Encyclopedia of Sewing Machine Techniques

Paperback, 336 pages
Published in 2007
ISBN:  9781402742934
$24.95 USD
Details from Amazon here

This book is organized as a reference how-to book, meaning you just look at the Table of Contents, find the technique you want, and flip to that page.  This isn't a book you would read cover to cover.  In that respect, it is an easy reference book to use. The techniques are organized by categories of usefulness: decorative and indispensable.  My only complaint about the book is the paperback binding.  It does have a sturdy cardboard cover but spiral bounding would be more user-friendly.  For every sewing machine technique you will find a summary of why and when you would use that technique, machine set-up (stitch length and width, presser foot, needles, thread, tension and other recommendations), suggested fabric choices, and additional supplies that may be necessary.  Each technique has excellent step by step full-color pictures and then a picture of the completed garment.  Although it's not necessary, a picture of the completed garment or project just gives you ideas for how you might use this technique in your own sewing.  For people using basic mechanical machines like myself, some of the techniques may also be accomplished with alternative stitches and the authors provide that information whenever possible.  Probably the best thing about this book is the inspiration you will get from it.  I am willing to try some decorative touches with my sewing because the instructions are so well-written.

Book Chapter Headings:
1. Creative Techniques
  • Applique: basic satin, bias bar, blanket, decorative, frayed edge, madeira, mola, net, reverse, shadow
  • Battenburg
  • Bobbinwork
  • Charted needlework
  • Circular embroidery
  • Cording: monk's, on scalloped edges
  • Couching: beads, sequins, cords, braids, and bulky fibers
  • Criss cross chain stitching
  • Cutwork
  • Drawn threadwork
  • Entredeux:  basic & corded
  • Embroidery: eyelet, free-motion
  • Fagoting:  traditional, bobbinwork, bundled
  • Folded flourishes:  shark's teeth, prairie points
  • Fringe:  long, short
  • Heirloom sewing (5 techniques)
  • Hemstitching:  double and single wing needles
  • Lacemaking
  • Monogramming
  • Quilting styles (numerous)
  • Ruching
  • Ruffling
  • Scallops
  • Silk ribbon machine embroidery
  • Smocking
  • Stippling
  • Tucking:  Mexican, picot-edged, single needle
2. Indispensable Techniques
  • Bias binding
  • Buttonholes: corded, bound, decorative
  • Edge finishes: picot, rolled, wire-edged
  • Gathering: basic, clear elastic, over cord
  • Hem finishes: corded, decorative stitch, double & triple needle, hemmer feet, hem stitched, raised double needle, shadow
  • Mitering corners
  • Seam finishes:  edge-stitched, flat-felled, French, Hong Kong, tricot-bound
  • Topstitching
  • Zippers: centered, invisible, placket, hand-picked 
3. Important Information
This section contains contact information for all the sewing machine manufacturers.


Photographs:  Tons!! See comments above.

Would you recommend this book as a MUST HAVE?
Yes.  Great reference book of not only decorative but essential techniques with well-written instructions and great pictures.

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