Sunday, September 5, 2021

Weekend Review: Stress-Free Sewing Solutions


Stress Free Sewing Solutions / Barbara Emodi
Concord, CA: C&T Publishing, c2021
176 p.

I'm back after my summer break with a book review -- and fortunately it's a hit! I picked up this new title via my library and really enjoyed poring over it during the last week.

Well, in short, Barbara Emodi has done it again. She's created a very useful, practical sewing guide that is also completely in her own voice - quirky and full of tidbits from a lifetime of sewing. If you read her blog or have encountered her first book, you'll know exactly what this one sounds like. 

It's an excellent sewing companion. It's all about how to deal with sewing FAILS (Followed-All-Instructions-Letdown). She discusses specific elements of a pattern that may cause problems one by one, and points out where pattern instructions may fall down on the job. Each section starts with an explanation of the FAIL, clear photos of what a fail looks like and what you might actually want it to look like, and gives directions on a)how to fix it as far as possible now that it's a fail and then b)what to do next time to avoid a fail. This is an extremely useful setup, and will encourage sewists who have those unavoidable projects in which everything goes wrong. This is not only for beginners! 

Some topics include knit neckbands (my own most common FAIL), tower plackets, invisible zips, buttonholes, mitered seams and more -- all those little elements of a pattern that can go wrong and ruin the whole look. There are clear instructions with photos on the suggested quick fix, and better ways to do things next time you start from scratch. (ie: A Wavy Knit neckband: "Cut it off and throw it out the window. I have done just that. Feels great." haha!)

This is a great resource when something goes wrong -- no searching through tons of books or websites -- I'd say most of the common issues regular home sewists encounter are discussed here. 

Also, the final chapter, "50 Ways to Relax your Sewing" reads like one of her blog posts -- funny, offbeat, and also helpful. One of my favourites is #28: "If someone insists on handing you something to alter, put it on a shelf and forget about it." Or the practicality of #10: "Know exactly when to quit while you are ahead. Definitely stop sewing before the 'just one more thing' point if you are tired"

Something that is particularly notable about this book is that the photography is so clear, thorough, and extensive. And, the photographs of the sewing steps were all done by Emodi's husband, as this book was written during lockdown. The garment photos were taken by a local photographer and all the models are her friends and family. The quality of  all photos is excellent, but that extra personalization required by the lockdown also makes this book feel even more down home and so Barbara! I was really impressed by the practical, useful and thoughtful content as well as the presentation of the book overall.

This one is a definite recommendation for every sewing shelf. I'll be picking up my own copy soon. 


Share your comments, ideas or suggestions here -- I am always interested in hearing from readers. It's nice to have a conversation!