Sunday, July 5, 2020

Weekend Review: Easy Guide to Sewing Tops & T-Shirts

Easy Guide to Sewing Tops & T-Shirts / Marcy Tilton
Newton, CN: Taunton Press, c1998.
123 p.
I picked up this book at a library booksale store, for only $2. It was a great buy for that price, as there is so much useful information in it, even if it is 20 years old.

It is exactly what it says it is: focused on tops and tees, and since the author is Marcy Tilton, many of them are the more oversized styles that she is best known for. There are six chapters: on choosing the right style, pattern and fabric, and then on fit, construction and surface design. 

The information flows logically, and I like the way that this whole series is laid out. Lots of clear photographs and illustrations, and lots of good solid information with not much filler. I also like the little tips highlighted in their own boxes -- ie: the best way to get a bias facing to lay flat is to press it into the curve of the neckline before attaching it. I use this technique regularly, and yes, it does make a big difference! 

There is a lot of useful detail included, like what she calls "staystitch plus", essentially holding the fabric at the back of the foot to aid in gathering. Or a cheater FBA. Or interesting finishing details like using a strip of knit at the neckline seam which has been stretched so that it curls and looks like double piping when it's sewn down. There is even a section on dyeing, stamping, or using one pattern to make a faux twinset.

I think my favourite section was about Pattern Refinements, in which she goes over tiny adjustments you can make to a basic pattern to get a great fit -- from shaping the sides to making small changes to the armscye or shoulder, or curving a sleeve hem to get a more graceful fall, there are lots of very useful ideas that you can use immediately. I love seeing these small tips from someone who knows sewing so well, and has used many refinements that are all new to me. 

Lots to learn in this book and I'm sure that my projects will benefit right away. If you can find this book or any in this series in your own local thrift stores, or even online, they are well made. 


  1. My library has this book and I just requested it. Thanks for the post.

    1. I hope you'll find it as interesting as I did!

  2. I usually shy away from Tilton productions because while I like her styles from an artistic standpoint, they are not anything I would wear. However I'm going to check my library because this looks interesting and full of helpful techniques for any style of knit tops.

    1. I agree, I've only ever made one Tilton pattern. But this is more of a technique book and covers both knits and wovens.

  3. My gosh, I have this book but haven't looked at it in years. Obviously time I did! Once again, thank you for great review.


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