Sunday, November 27, 2022

Weekend Review: Make, Sew & Mend

Make, Sew and Mend / Bernadette Banner 
Salem, MA: Page Street Publishing, c2022
200 p.

This is a new book by the popular historical sewist/blogger Bernadette Banner. I must admit I haven't really followed her closely in the past, as hand sewing and historical costuming isn't my main area of interest. But I have certainly heard about her. So when this book showed up in my library, I had to check it out! The subtitle also caught my attention: traditional techniques to sustainably maintain and refashion your clothes. 

The book is set out in sections: Preparing Materials (fiber, cutting, pinning etc); Stitches (lots of hand stitch examples and how and when to use them); Applications (seams finishing, pressing, buttons, extras like pleats & insertions); Practical Alterations (adding pockets or sleeve gussets, hemming -- this is the entirety of the 'refashion' bits); and Care & Feeding (mending). In between these section are 5 different page long features on other sewists -- there is a range of people profiled, although all are quite young. I appreciated the attempt to widen the visibility of the sewing world, but the profiles didn't really seem to fit with the focus of the rest of the book, even if a couple did sew vintage and/or traditional clothing.

There wasn't anything here that was new to me, but it was nice to see some of the more detailed handwork talked about. And the discussion of the 'extras', including buttons and tucks, was interesting.

I thought it was a lovely book to look at, and will certainly appeal to fans of Bernadette Banner. I wouldn't recommend it to beginners, as the focus on hand sewing techniques, finishings and detail work are more likely to be of use to those who are already familiar with sewing and want to add some techniques and skills to their repertoire. Younger people who are getting into sewing via refashioning thrift finds would be better served by other titles, as this one, despite the subtitle, doesn't really go in that direction. It's a quieter and more detailed read, and sewists wanting to move toward slower sewing might really like it. 

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