Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Craft Book Corner: The Sewing, Stitch & Textile Bible

Today I'm excited to share the very first installment of my new feature, Craft Book Corner. The idea behind it is to share some of the books in my craft book library.  Some teach particular techniques, some have themed projects, others have solid background info worth knowing.  Why keep them hidden on the shelf when you could go check them out too?

Today's Book: The Sewing, Stitch & Textile Bible by Lorna Knight.   
The Sewing Stitch & Textile Bible is published by Krause Publications.  © 2007 Quarto, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Why I'm Sharing It: 
I find so much in the sewing world is idly mentioned with the assumption everyone knows what it means.  Most of us tend to avoid things we don't know because they sound complicated or think they'll require more experience than we have to figure out.  Is it any wonder so many people give up when they first start sewing?  But this book truly helps demystify nearly every sewing term/technique you could come across and gives you the knowledge to tackle it.

What's it about?
Like the name says, this book is a guide to techniques, materials and all things sewing related.  It's only about an inch thick, but it covers EVERYTHING.  It doesn't matter if you've got 25 yrs of experience or just bought your very first sewing machine, this book has handy sewing info for everyone.

  • What's the difference between sharps and betweens when choosing needles?  
  • When to use fabric like cotton lawn or tricks for sewing chiffon?  
  • Want to pick up techniques like how to join lace or welt seams for things like jeans?  

It's all in there.  The book is only one inch thick, but it covers hundreds of things and is in a really easy to read layout - I read it cover to cover when I first got it and it's my go-to reference guide.

What makes it helpful?
Real photos, step-by-step illustrations and the all important explanation/description for each and every item covered.  

It's clearly written and without a tone that could be patronizing to someone with experience or above someone just started out. If only all the sewing books were like this!  

I really wish I could share some of the great inside pics of the book, but I don't want to get into any potential trouble with any copyright issues (a very prickly topic).  SO, instead, I'll try to describe what makes it a great book.

What's the format?
The book is outlined in main sections and each breaks down into more specific categories. For instance:

  • The Stitch Directory then falls into hand, machine, serger and decorative stitches.  Each stitch shares a real finished photo, explains when to use it, shows how to do it and gives tips like the best notions for each.  
  • Even specialty techniques like smocking, sewing sequins and cut work (open embroidery) are covered.  All the fancy stitches and handwork you could ever want to see are included and explained with step by step illustrations.
  • The Textile Directory shows swatches of each fabric, handy descriptions and tips for project use, cutting and sewing suggestions like types of needles, thread and seams that work best.  I SO wanted to share pics of everything, but 

Extra info: 
It also covers helpful extras like fabric prep, laundry care and a glossary.  Most importantly (well, to me anyway), it tells you why and when you should use things.  So often a pattern says "Make a welt seam" or "Use ladder stitch" and 1. assumes you know exactly how to do that and 2. doesn't tell you why this is used.  Now you can find it all out with minimal effort.  

Usefulness Score: 
Definitely one to check out if you sew or ever wanted to sew!

I purchased this book for myself, with my own funds.  I was not financially compensated for this post.  The opinions are completely my own, based on my experience. 


  1. Sounds like a great go-to book for every sewer's home library. Thanks for the info!

  2. Love hearing about the different book on my favorite topic, sewing. Thanks.

  3. Thanks, I'll have to look into that book because I have no idea what a welt seam or ladder hook stitch is either! LOL


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