Monday, August 16, 2010

Book Review: Power Sewing by Sandra Betzina

Power Sewing by Sandra Betzina

Power Sewing Step by Step by Sandra Betzina
Published in 2000, 232 pages, hardback

The chapter headings are by garment type: jacket, vest, skirt, pants, dress, etc.

There are quite a few pictures for each technique and a thorough explanation of the technique.  If you can get past the outdated garments, you will find some great sewing techniques.  Sandra credits Margaret Islander for several of the techniques described in the book.  I actually liked those techniques the least.  It makes me wonder if I would like any of the Margaret Islander techniques.  My initial impression is that the Islander sewing techniques are geared towards fast results, not fine sewing.  I used to be all for fast results but after Susan Khalje's couture sewing class, I have a real appreciation for the sometimes time-consuming couture sewing techniques.  The results are just better in my opinion.  But I digress....  I enjoyed many of the sewing techniques presented by Sandra Betzina.

Here are a few of my favorites:
  1. Eliminating seams
  2. Armhole gaposis fix (use crowding, pulling the bobbin thread, or apply fusible twill tape)
  3. Lining vests/jackets/etc. without fashion fabric curling up (so the lining is exposed)
  4. Many examples of cutting on the bias to fix certain problems with draping, fit, or edges curling
  5. How to work with the feed dogs (keeps edges matched, easing, etc.)
  6. Blocked shaping of pants legs
  7. Underlining pants for a wrinkle-free look
  8. Add extra fabric for a protruding tummy (ease into the waistband)
  9. Why front & back inner leg seams are different lengths (pants will cup the booty nicer)
  10. Zipper in a pants/skirt pocket
  11. Petersham waist facing
  12. Tailored waistband with elasticized back
  13. Flat-fell seams on pants with in-seam pockets
  14. Fixing the hip pocket on pants so they don't gape
  15. Finding the most flattering grainline for your fabric and garment style (it's not always what the pattern suggests)
  16. Faced hems
  17. Add center front length and side seam width at bust only for better bust fit in knit tops
  18. Stabilizing the neck in knit tops
  19. Better shaped V-necklines
  20. Adjusting the sleeve cap ease
  21. Contoured shoulder pads
  22. Accurate spacing of continuous button loops
  23. Cornering with a twin needle
  24. Block fusing to keep fused facings and fashion fabric the same length
  25. Establishing roll-line memory in lapels or collars
  26. Weighted hems
Sandra gives you charts for determining ease or adjustments in tops for various cup sizes.  She has several great suggestions for making tops that fit better, now matter what your bust size is.  Most of her interfacing recommendations are for Pellon products found easily in any Hancock's or JoAnn's fabric store.  The resources section is very brief and somewhat outdated.  For each garment category, the chapter starts with an outline of all the steps for constructing that garment.  You'll never depend on the pattern instruction sheet again.

I definitely recommend this book.  When I first flipped through it, I didn't think the book was worth keeping.  I think I let the outdated garments turn me off.  Look closer.  There are many gems to be found here.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you. I purchased this book earlier this year and it has been buried on my beside table for that long, however after reading your favourties, No. 17 is just what I am looking for, I need to move this book to the top of the pile.


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