One of my resolutions this year is to learn how to sew. I have a vague knowledge of hemming and I own a vintage Singer Spartan sewing machine, so my only barrier to being the next contestant on Project Runway is practice. It was in this spirit that I ordered the Sew Everything Workshop by Diana Rupp.
I chose the book based entirely on Amazon reviews: People praised Rupp’s clear instructions, sense of humor, and the simple patterns included with the book. The short version: This is a great how-to-sew book.
The first half of the book gives you the low-down on everything sewing. Rupp walks the reader through each step, including choosing a machine, fabrics, cutting patterns, and different hemming techniques. Each chapter includes a bit of homework, like identifying all parts of a sewing machine from memory and going to a fabric store on a fabric scavenger hunt. Do the homework. I skipped a few assignments and regretted it. Rupp is a wise teacher.
The second half of the book contains sewing projects and their corresponding patterns. Rupp includes a range of projects that will appeal to both fashion designers and interior decorators. Each pattern lists the skills you’ll need to practice, which allowed me to find the page on darts and practice a few trial runs on scrap fabric before sewing up the wrap skirt.
One of my favorite things about the book is Rupp’s praise for Martha Stewart, who she admires not just for her sewing savvy but also for her ability to take names and get things done. Rupp likes that Stewart is a bit of a badass.
This book is great for total beginners and people like me who have only very basic knowledge. So far, I’ve sewn a pencil case and a skirt. I’ve made plenty of mistakes and what I’m making isn’t perfect, but with Rupp’s book by my side, I’m confident that I’ll soon make some fabulous garments.