Thursday, April 08, 2010

Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts

Whether you just bought your first sewing machine or have been sewing for years, Martha Stewart’s Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts will open your eyes to an irresistible range of ideas. A comprehensive visual reference, the book covers everything a home sewer craves: the basics of sewing by hand or machine, along with five other time-honored crafts techniques, and step-by-step instructions for more than 150 projects that reflect not only Martha Stewart’s depth of experience and crafting expertise, but also her singular sense of style.

Encyclopedic in scope, the book features two main parts to help you brush up on the basics and take your skills to a new level. First, the Techniques section guides readers through Sewing, Appliqué, Embroidery, Quilting, Dyeing, and Printing. Following that, the Projects A to Z section features more than 150 clever ideas (including many no-sew projects), all illustrated and explained with the clear, detailed instructions that have become a signature of Martha Stewart’s magazines, books, and television shows.

An enclosed CD includes full-size clothing patterns as well as templates that can be easily produced on a home printer. Fabric, thread, and tool glossaries identify the properties, workability, and best uses of common sewing materials. And, perhaps best of all, when you need it most, Martha and her talented team of crafts editors offer you the reassurance that you really can make it yourself.

The projects are as delightful as they are imaginative, and include classic Roman shades, hand-drawn stuffed animals, an easy upholstered blanket chest, a quilted crib bumper, French knot-embellished pillowcases and sheets, and Japanese-embroidered table linens, among many others.With gorgeous color photographs as well as expert instruction, this handy guide will surely encourage beginners and keep sewers and crafters of all experience levels wonderfully busy for many years to come.

Let me start off by saying this book intimidates me. Being a beginning fabric crafter (that is used to hand sewing and not using a sewing machine) I'm used to in depth instructions both written and illustrated or photographed and this book lacks the step-by-step photography in the projects section. There is photography, more of the finished project or atmospheric variety and there are some illustrations and close-up in process shots but not for every step, which I still feel like I need.

Being a beginner I think the most useful section to me is the glossary and basic techniques section at the beginning. It shares everything from terminology, materials and basic stitches. I think this is the section I will refer the most.

I like how the project section is alphabetical (probably why they call it an encyclopedia) and shows multiple projects and variations under each category (blankets, pillows, dolls).

I'm hoping this is a book I can grow into with time as my confidence in fabric crafts grows and I become more familiar with the process. I would not recommend this to a beginner that has barely touched a sewing machine, but I do think it makes an good overall reference that us beginners can grow into with time.

Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts was released on March 30th
Genre: Crafts
3/5 Stars
ARC provided by Amazon Vine


  1. This would intimidate me too!

  2. martha tends to freak me out no matter what the subject matter. i have a few of her cookbooks and can honestly say, aside from her mashed potatoes and one meatloaf recipe, i haven't dared much else.

    you're a brave soul for tackling the craft arena. this woman takes no prisoners--you should be proud.

    enjoy the book and i can't wait to see some pics if you whip up a few martha-esque crafts.

    nat @book, line, and sinker


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