Thursday, December 22, 2011

Half-assed book review: Power Sewing

i've been looking for a decent sewing reference book for awhile. I have an older edition of The Singer Complete Photo Guide to Sewing. The photos are nice and clear but the book itself isn't very comprehensive. (I'm referring to my older edition--it appears that they may have added more stuff to the new one). I picked up Power Sewing and I think this may be what I was looking for.

First the bad not my preference: The information is organized into chapters by garment--vests, pants, skirts, dresses, jackets, etc. that means that the technique info is scattered throughout the book. for example, i have to remember that the info on lapped zippers is in the pants chapter while the centered and invisible zipper info is in the skirt chapter. this isn't altogether a bad thing, per se, since i'd imagine if i were sewing a pair of pants or a skirt it'd be nice to have much of the relevant info in one chapter and i can just follow the steps. it only becomes a nuisance if i want to do something that isn't contained in that one chapter.

the other negative is the dated-ness of the styles pictured but obviously you can sew whatever style suits you. another weird thing especially in the pants chapter is that the models are sometimes posing in oddly sexy 90s ways. i'll update this post with a photo if i get a chance. it's really fairly ridiculous. Betzina also pimps her line of patterns for Vogue quite a bit, but that is also no big deal to me. YMMV.

one additional thing to keep in mind is that this is a sewing technique book, not a fitting book. i'm pretty sure Betzina has her own fit tome which i have not yet consulted. i own Pants for Real People and have browsed Fit for Real People. I just wanted to point out that Power Sewing is not a bible of everything you ever wanted to know about sewing and that other references are probably still necessary.

otherwise, the book is pretty great. comparing Betzina's method of lining pants with the other book i bought recently, her methods seem less complicated and technical, though i have yet to try either one, of course. i also like that she starts each chapter with a one page synopsis of her method of sewing each particular garment. it's handy if you just want a quick glance on construction order if you've misplaced the pattern instructions. which of course has NEVER happened to me. ahem.

if you are serious about garment sewing, i would highly recommend this book as a reference. it's definitely much more in-depth than a book like The Colette Sewing Handbook, which I believe is aimed more toward beginners. Power Sewing is the kind of book that will be on my sewing table at all times for easy browsing whenever i want to brush up on a technique.
Spoonflower FQs
and just so i can avoid a pictureless-post, here's some FQs i got from Spoonflower.


  1. great review sara!  lovely fabrics.

  2. I hadn't heard of that book, but I appreciate the info! And I'm coveting several of those fabrics. I'm still waiting for my last Spoonflower order.



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