I believe I have mentioned my undying devotion to Carla Hegeman Crim, the Scientific Seamstress (see here and here) because hers was the first clothing pattern I ever tackled that made any sense. Patterns often seem to me to assume you know a lot about garment sewing going in, and it is safe to say that I know exactly bupkis about garment sewing. And as with many things I do not understand, I fear it, but Carla's patterns are great at explaining everything, so the shaking stops and and I can let my therapist get back to other patients.
So, I did that jumpy-up-and-downy thing when Carla announced the title of her next book: The Essential Sewing Reference Tool: All-In-One Visual Guide.
This book is exactly what is says it is: a reference tool. If you come across a pattern that gives instructions for something—say gathers or a french hem—and you aren't getting what to do, this book will tell you. If you need to add interfacing to a bag or a dress and the pattern just says "interfacing," this book will tell you about every single type of interfacing that exists, whether it is fusible or sewn-in, who makes it, and what types of applications it is best used for. Ever gone to buy elastic for a skirt and had no idea which one to get? This book will tell you. Ever had that moment where you are looking at a pattern and it comes in your size and it looks really good on the model but you conveniently forget that the model is not oddly-shaped and she also weighs about as much as your ten-year-old and then when you make the dress and put it on you resemble a large water mammal trapped in a gunny sack? THIS KINDA HELPS WITH THAT TOO. (Like, with basic pattern altering.)
I love that you can look up table linens in this book and see yardage requirements for different size tablecloths. Or all the different ways there are to sew in a zipper. Or what different types of straight pins are and what they're for. And sewing machine feet! There are so many. Who knew?
This book won't teach you how to sew and there are no projects contained within, but those are not criticisms. There was also no bribery chocolate attached to my e-copy and that damn well IS a criticism. Journalistic integrity demands that I give an honest opinion, but maybe I would have given an even more enthusiastic honest opinion if someone had seen fit to slip mama a little something. We'll never know now, will we?
Seriously though, I was very, very impressed with this book, as I have been with everything Carla has ever done. Excellent work, Carla! And thank you for letting me be a part of your book tour!
Would you like to win a copy? Leave me a comment below telling me what you'd bribe me with to give your book a good review by midnight on Wednesday, March 12 and I'll announce the winner on March 13. A U.S. winner will receive a paperback copy of the book; international will receive an e-copy.