When I first started sewing I bought myself ‘The Complete Book of Sewing’ from Amazon because it looked like a nice, easy to understand beginners kind of book that was at an affordable price. And, despite the fact that I’ll ruin the suspense at the heart of a good review, I was right!
The style of the book matches the content, which it is to say it is practical and informative rather than pretty and frivolous. It makes for an easy and accessible read with clear chapters, an index, and a glossary at the back. There are some nice images at the beginner of each chapter but within the chapter each instruction comes with a thumbnail photograph to illustrate it. To further illustrate how determined the book is to make itself easily understood there is a guide for how to read the book in its introduction!
At the beginner of the book is a full chapter on the different tools you might want, certainly more thorough than my post on essentials as it goes through the different cutting, marking, pleating etc tools you might want to use. There is also a chapter on fabric and the different qualities and uses of the different types of fabric (very useful for dressmaking, and this is something which I still have trouble figuring out). Most of the rest of the book deals with techniques including darts and pleats, necklines, hems, fastenings, and pockets. I think I found the section on the different types of pleats the most useful.
I definitely recommend this book for beginners and I got a lot of use out of it. Subsequently, I have moved on somewhat to more pretty books that I can’t resist buying and look at for the joy of looking at them and get inspired by them. I don’t think anyone would get inspired by The Complete Book of Sewing but it’s certainly useful.
‘The Complete Book of Sewing’, Dorling Kindersley, 1996, 2006.