Labour Day Weekend – for many people, it’s that last bit of summer and time to relax before the busyness of fall starts; for me, I feel like I can’t really believe that we got everything done in the summer that had to be done to prepare for fall – it’s time for a holiday!
Haven’t had a chance to write in my blog for a little while as I’ve been so busy preparing for fall. Every summer we have to complete a new fall catalogue, a new fall class schedule, see that all the buying and ordering is done so that we have lots of new notions and fabrics for the fall, prepare for the fall sewing shows across the country, and also complete our stock-taking for our year end. This is also the time that Keith has to coordinate having the servicing done for several hundred school sewing machines. This year we also had a week away at Husqvarna convention so life has been busy. Now is my holiday time and I’m looking forward to it. One nice thing about taking holidays in early September is that things are quieter and a bit more relaxing – and the weather is still good. I’m going back to work for two days this week, then it’s holiday time for a while.
I want to introduce you to my daughter, Jenny, who will be starting to contribute to this blog and our Facebook pages over the next few weeks. Jenny is my middle child, my oldest daughter, and, not that I’m biased or anything, a very lovable and creative person. Jenny is a talented violinist and last spring, she and her husband completed their Masters in Music at the University of Western Ontario in London. She has just moved to Rochester, New York, where her husband has started his doctorate at Eastman School of Music. Jenny, who has always been a very creative seamstress, is going to be doing some work for us long distance – helping with our web site, contributing some projects, and adding her point of view to this blog. I’m just hoping that she actually will have time for this, in between her practicing and performing schedule. It’s going to be great to have some input from a “Gen X-er”!
In the stores, we’re finding that there is a big resurgence in interest in sewing and that there are many young people (and some not-so-young) who want to learn how to sew. Since I love this hobby and art form so much, this makes me very happy! Recently, we received a new book aimed at these beginners, so I thought I’d write a book review on it for you – it’s a great reference guide for anyone who wants to get started with a sewing machine, or even for a more experience sewer who just wants to brush up on their skills.
Me and My Sewing Machine: A Beginner’s Guide by Kate Haxell
The write-up on the back of this book reads: “All the information you need to choose and use your first sewing machine. Packed with detailed step-by-step techniques that make sewing simple. Gorgeous projects to get you started.” And that really is what this book is all about, and it does a great job of it.
The first chapter of the book is all about how a sewing machine works, and how to choose one. It has great, clear colour photos that explain what all the parts of the machine are, and how things work together. Tension, machine accessories, needles and essential sewing equipment are all covered in detail with good illustrations. From here, the book goes on to cover what you need to know before you start – choosing fabrics and threads, pinning, cutting out, basting and pressing. One of my pet topics is how important it is to press properly if you want to have really professional looking results. I was really pleased with the pressing section as I thought it covered all the essentials, and even gives instructions to make your own tailor’s ham if desired.
The next main section of the book , “Seams Simple” is the biggest part of the book covering all different types of seams and finishes. This is a fantastic reference for both beginners and more experienced sewers – I find that even though I have been sewing for years, sometimes I still need to check a reference for a technique I don’t use all the time, and in this book, everything is written so clearly, and so well illustrated that it just takes a moment to follow the steps. This section goes over all the nuts and bolts of sewing – seams, edge finishing, trimming, hemming, buttonholes, zippers, corners and curves, ties and loops, bindings and trims and even some “fancier” techniques – ruffles, pleating, appliqué and embroidery.
Finally, the “Make Me, Make Me” section is filled with all kinds of easy-to-make projects that let you practice your new-found skills. There’s a skirt, pillow case and cushions, a shawl, tote bag and more – all really attractive and designed to reinforce the sewing skills the book has been teaching. The book finishes off with a glossary of terms so that even beginners can sound like they know what they’re doing!
All in all, I found that this book was a great addition to my book shelf. Whether you’ve been sewing for years as I have, or are just starting off or wanting to encourage another beginner, I think you’ll enjoy this book too. It definitely gets my “thumbs up”!
And now, I’m off to enjoy a relaxing holiday weekend !