Book Report: Martha Stewart’s Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts

Posted in: Reading List — By on May 6, 2012 6:59 PM

There are so many things to love about Martha Stewart’s Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts (400 pages, published in 2010) that I’ve put together this list for your convenience…

  • The first section of the book gives a really clear and thorough overview of everything you need to get started sewing. The 6-page fabric glossary, in particular, is fantastic!

  • General fabric crafts are so great to include in a sewing book, and something that I haven’t seen in many others. Martha covers your basic sewing techniques, but also talks about appliqué, embroidery, quilting, dyeing and fabric printing to give your sewing projects many more possibilities.
  • All the projects are pretty flexible in terms of dimensions and designs, but the book also comes with a CD of templates that can be used if you really like one of the finished pictures or prefer to use a pattern.
  • Martha’s introduction mentions that she made her own prom dress and wedding dress :)
  • Great overview of ribbon embroidery.  Also: How have I never heard of ribbon embroidery before?

  • Some other cool techniques in this book: Ombré dyeing, Batik, how to repair a patchwork quilt, and the section on making stuffed animals!
  • I love that this book runs the gamut from quick and dirty projects (like stencilling fabric or really easy appliqué) to more advanced ones (such as Japanese sashiko embroidery and quilting).
  • Most of the projects are things you’d actually want to make!
  • The section on sewing tools and materials at the end is very extensive, and I love that it says upfront “If you are new to sewing, there’s no need to purchase everything on this list. Instead, reference it when a project calls for something unfamiliar.” How often do sewing books say you don’t need to buy every sewing gadget under the sun?
  • This reference page on fabrics before and after bleaching is neat-o…

…Can you tell that I liked this book?

Overall, I would recommend this book as a really nice resource and source of inspiration for any beginner or intermediate sewer.  It has a great balance of techniques and projects, and the templates CD would be really handy if you like using patterns. It isn’t the cheapest book out there ($43 in Canada) but this would be a really great gift for anyone who is looking to expand their sewing skills!

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