Essential Sewing Reference Tool by Carla Hegeman Crim – Book Review + Giveaway

on Mar 7, 2014 in Books | 87 comments

The Essential Sewing Reference Tool: All-in-One Visual Guide by Carla Hegeman Crim captures in a single volume answers to our what-is-this and how-do-I-do-that questions we often ask ourselves while sewing. Whether you’re a veteran sewist or new to the craft, this handy all-in-one guide covers the nuts and bolts of sewing tools and techniques with easy to follow instructions, illustrations and photographs.

I was excited when Carla contacted me about the book she’d written. I knew she was the perfect person to author this type of reference guide. The first time I sewed a Sis Boom pattern (Carla authors the patterns and instructions for Jennifer Paganelli’s designs) I was really taken with the ease of construction and thoroughness of the illustrations. Carla has a knack for knowing where we’re most likely going to need a little visual assistance and there always seems to be the perfect illustration to explain it. The Essential Sewing Reference Tool is written with same quality curation for detail.

The book includes the following sections:

  • tools & supplies
  • stitches & seam treatments
  • ruffles & bias tape
  • zippers & buttonholes
  • sewn accessories
  • home dec
  • garment making
  • sizing charts for all ages

Within each of these sections are detailed visuals including charts, photographs and illustrations. What I like most is the level of detail Carla shares. Following is a great example. Whenever I use this method to create bias tape it’s a complete mystery to me how to determine the size of the fabric piece I need to begin with in order to create the quantity I’m going to need for the project. Generally, I create WAY TOO MUCH because there’s no way in heck I want to do it again and not have enough. This chart is genius!

The Home Decor section is fabulous. It includes detailed instructions for making the basics like pillows, pillow cases, a comforter, bed skirts, curtains and table linens. We don’t buy patterns for that kind of stuff and have to figure out the dimensions and material needed ourselves. Charts with sizes and yardage requirements are included. Again, brilliant! And I like math. I just don’t like making math mistakes and coming up short on this type of project.

Carla has written a thorough and well curated reference guide. Both sewing veterans and new sewists will appreciate the trusted and detailed content contained in the book. The Essential Sewing Reference Tool is sure to be a long-time friend on your sewing room book shelf.

Discover more about Carla on her blog The Scientific Seamstress.

Sis Boom and Scientific Seamstress downloadable patterns available in the shop.

***

Stash Books provided me with a review copy of this book and is also offering a copy for giveaway (international winners will receive an e-book).

Leave a comment sharing what sewing technique you’d like to understand better.

I’ll draw a winner next week.

Happy Sewing! Kathy

    87 Comments

  1. As a beginner, there’s so much I’d like to know better. Sewing curves and inserting zippers are just two of those things. Thanks for the giveaway!

    View Comment
    Nupur

    March 7, 2014

  2. I’d like to get better at finishing seams

    View Comment
    Erin Waters

    March 7, 2014

  3. I need start shirring!
    Told it’s easy… I just haven’t tried it yet. Need to get a move on and learn how to! 😀

    Thanks for a great giveaway!!

    View Comment
    Sharon Putnick

    March 7, 2014

  4. I am new to garment sewing, and anything that can give me clear, concise details and help is what I am looking for. So I am not sure I can choose 1 thing but this early stage of my garment sewing I’m going to go with making a blouse/top.

    View Comment
    Leigh Knox

    March 7, 2014

  5. I’d like to learn more in general about garment sewing.

    View Comment
    Julie Sakai

    March 7, 2014

  6. Would like to better understand and master fine finishing techniques. Love sewing and the learning curve that goes with the action. There is always something new to do and enjoy.

    View Comment
    WILLA

    March 7, 2014

  7. Fancy seams are my downfall right now. And I still need to practice cutting and sewing curves.

    View Comment
    Christine

    March 7, 2014

  8. I would love to know more about garment making and how to adjust patterns to help them fit better! Thank you for your review and for the giveaway!

    View Comment
    Michelle

    March 7, 2014

  9. Hi,I’d love to know how to install zippers better! Thanks for sharing!

    View Comment
    Linda

    March 7, 2014

  10. Thank you for hosting this giveaway. I have been gathering fabric for little girl’s dresses for over 30 years but I would love to see if there is a better, faster way to do it.

    View Comment
    Nettie Longoria

    March 7, 2014

  11. I need to figure out how to get the tshirt neckbands perfect for my girls. Sometimes they’re right on. Sometimes they’re a miss.

    View Comment
    Laura Manning

    March 7, 2014

  12. Great review.
    I would love to learn how to instal zippers without puckering

    View Comment
    Merav Ruthman

    March 7, 2014

  13. I’d like to learn more about inserting an invisible zipper. Thanks for the generous offer.

    View Comment
    Ellen

    March 7, 2014

  14. I’m at that stage that I know enough to be dangerous and not quite enough to wing it or figure it out on my own without pictures. I’ve been looking for a good sewing reference book – I’m hoping this is the one!

    I definitely want to know more about garment sewing and things like setting in sleeves.

    View Comment
    ShannonL

    March 7, 2014

  15. Thanks for the giveaway! I want to learn foundation piecing better! 🙂

    View Comment
    Kerie

    March 7, 2014

  16. I sew for a living but I still need help – I’m useless at blind hemming. I’d love some clear and concise instruction

    View Comment
    Jan Morton

    March 7, 2014

  17. I always need help with anything clothing related. I try and try, but just don’t get it. this book sounds like an excellent resource…

    View Comment
    Samantha

    March 7, 2014

  18. I need to learn more about the fine details of finishing garments so they look pretty on the outside AND inside! And I would love to win this book!!!

    View Comment
    Sheri Fowler

    March 7, 2014

  19. I would like to do better facings and buttonholes.

    View Comment
    Cherie

    March 7, 2014

  20. Collars have always been a bugger for me…perhaps there is some collar magic in this edition? 🙂

    View Comment
    Theresa

    March 7, 2014

  21. Love to get better at sewing knit garments. Thanks for the chance to win.

    View Comment
    Terri H

    March 7, 2014

  22. I’ve never quite dared try and sew my own clothes – I keep meaning to take the plunge!

    View Comment
    Catriona

    March 7, 2014

  23. I would like to learn them all better. 🙂

    View Comment
    Rebeckah

    March 7, 2014

  24. I’d love to learn more about flying geese and sewing curves… it would be nice to have such a handy little helper in the house 🙂
    Thanks for the great giveaway!

    View Comment
    Katie

    March 7, 2014

  25. Zippers! I have been sewing for a long time, but I still scratch my head every time I need to put in a zipper. And I have not found a good explanation in any book or magazine I have…
    Thank you for a chance!

    View Comment
    Zrinka

    March 7, 2014

  26. I would love to learn how to fix a garment that doesn’t fit right. All too often, I’ve sewn garments that don’t fit or look right, despite filtering the pattern correctly.

    View Comment
    Austin Mochi

    March 7, 2014

  27. I’d like to be better at buttonholes. They always freak me out!

    View Comment
    Melanie Gibbons

    March 7, 2014

  28. I would like to feel comfortable with zippers.

    View Comment
    Tamie

    March 7, 2014

  29. I’d like to know more about making quality Home Dec items, especially decorative pillows.

    View Comment
    Teresa S.

    March 7, 2014

  30. I’m new to garment sewing so anything helps!

    View Comment
    Allison C

    March 7, 2014

  31. The sizing chart for all ages would come in handy when sewing for children. This sounds like a great book.

    View Comment
    Ginger

    March 7, 2014

  32. My buttonholes and zippers never come out as I would like them to. Would like to read that chapter!

    View Comment
    Linda W.

    March 7, 2014

  33. I’d love to learn it all! But especially zippers. They kinda scare me.

    View Comment
    Tiffany Sanderson

    March 7, 2014

  34. I’d like to learn to make a pretty rolled hem for scarves etc…

    View Comment
    Monika Schweinfurth

    March 7, 2014

  35. I’d love to master cutting continuous bias binding!

    View Comment
    Natalie

    March 8, 2014

  36. Oh, that matematical list was great!
    And I love to read and learn about everything regarding sewing!

    Looks like a great book!

    View Comment
    Ulla

    March 8, 2014

  37. Buttonholes! I have been sewing since I was 12 years old but have largely avoided designs that required the addition of buttonholes. Those I have made resulted in varying degrees of success.

    View Comment
    Kate Olson

    March 8, 2014

  38. Looks like a great book! Don’t know if this would be in there, but I’d like to know more about upholstering. Thanks so much!

    View Comment
    Jeanie

    March 8, 2014

  39. I need help with buttonholes! I avoid making garments with buttonholes.

    View Comment
    Jan Burton

    March 8, 2014

  40. I have such a hard time figuring yardage. I think this would be the perfect tool to help with that.

    View Comment
    Margaret R

    March 8, 2014

  41. sizing charts for all ages and choosing the right fabric due to my size 16, Viole isnt for me, neither is a bunch of floral prints. I have several patterns and have made a few things, not that I would wear out, and you couldnt tell which was the front or back. I am tackling some ” drawstring pants ” this weekend, not for PJ but for my trip to Greece, I am short too..

    View Comment
    shirley tener

    March 8, 2014

  42. You had me at the bias tape chart — fabulous. I’d like to use her information and on home sewing.

    View Comment
    Elizabethdx

    March 8, 2014

  43. I’ve never done a buttonhole….
    Thanks for the chance to win!

    View Comment
    NancyB from Many LA

    March 8, 2014

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