Sunday, February 13, 2022

Weekend Review: Stitch Magic


Stitch Magic / Alison Reid
NY: Stewart, Tabori & Chang, c2011.
144 p.

This fascinating book is exactly what the subtitle says it is: a compendium of sewing techniques for sculpting fabric. It was wonderfully inspiring to look through, with some ideas appealing more to me immediately, like the pintucks on the cover and inside content page -- they are tiny tucks that look like ripples in sand. Love them! But there are also so many other marvellous ideas within. 

There are a variety of techniques here, and ones that work with different kinds of fabrics, from felts to cotton lawns. As mentioned, I am especially drawn to the pintucking, but there are a number of different ways to use it shown in the book. From crossing over one another to meandering pintucks, to corded or decoratively stitched ones, there are many ideas shared. I think this level of texture is right at my sweet spot. 

There are sections on pleating fabric to get different shapes and forms, and some of those were also unusual and of interest. Using pleats to shape a fabric as well as to give it a whole new feel were both shared -- this origami style belt, for instance, is made with fancy pleating. 

I also found the section on making cord appealing. While it doesn't talk about cord-making with a tool, it has a simplified style that home sewists can accomplish just with twisted strips of fabric, a cording foot and a zigzag stitch. I can see tons of use for quick sewn cording, and there are a number of different applications shared in the projects. 

The book is laid out clearly, with lots of full colour photos to inspire. (You can find lots of images from the book at the publisher's website). The specific technique in each section is shown in its basics, with instructions and line drawings. Then it's up to you to use that technique and experiment in many of the ways shown and explained within projects for that section. There are a variety of projects, too, at different levels, so everyone should be able to give something a  try from this book. There are a fair number of household goods and accessories in the projects, but I think that a garment maker like myself can certainly take these ideas into a clothing project. Making a pillow cover would be a great way to practice and get the feel for a technique that you can then make bigger on a garment. 

I enjoyed the creativity of this book and its straightforward presentation of advanced techniques for an adventurous sewist. I'm really interested in the idea of manipulating fabric to create something really individual, and I think that this book will be helpful in developing both ideas and the practical know-how to try them out. 

I got this in my library; if you can take a look at it too, I'd recommend it. Anyone interested in fabric manipulation is sure to find something intriguing here. 

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