Monday, February 18, 2013

The Colette Sewing Handbook by Sarai Mitnick

The Colette Sewing Handbook: Inspired Styles and Classic Techniques for the New Seamstress by Sarai Mitnick

I was 17 the first time I tried to sew a dress for myself -- I bought a pretty simple pattern from the fabric store, tried to follow the instructions, and ended up with a rather sack-like garment with one bust dart about an inch higher than the other.  I wore it once.

Last year, I decided to give sewing another try -- and as with any of my other creative pursuits (knitting, cooking... more knitting), I checked out stacks of sewing books from the library.  Today, I'm excited to share one of my new favorites, The Colette Sewing Handbook.

A great beginner's reference, Mitnick's guide starts at the very beginning, explaining the tools needed, such as the various types of machine needles, varieties of thread, cutting implements.

There are clear photos of basic techniques (how to sew a seam, how to create gathers) and more complicated ones (inserting a zipper and setting in sleeves).

The author's conversational tone is easy to read, and makes this a great title for a beginning seamstress interested in creating her own clothes for the first time.  But it also makes a great reference for those of us with a little more experience, including introducing some techniques that save time or create a more professional finish.  For example, I found a new way to mark the darts on my pattern pieces, that is not only more efficient, but hopefully will prevent me from ever having mismatched darts again.

The Colette Sewing Handbook is available as an ebook from VBPL's Overdrive site.  Readers/sewists may also be interested in Built by Wendy: Dresses and Design-it-Yourself Clothes: Patternmaking Simplified.  The author, Sarai Mitnick, also has a blog full of tips and techniques.

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