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4.6 out of 5 stars29
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 7 January 2013
Sub titled: Learning the ins and outs of your machine - the book is split into two sections. Section one - Taking Control: covers mastering your materials and demystifying your machine. The second section - Increasing your Sphere of Influence has 5 chapters: Project Preparation, Hems and Edgings, Buttonholes and Zippers, Embellishments and lastly Surface and Thread Embellishments. Each section is well written and assumes you know nothing but does not patronise those that do.
As I read through the book I was inspired to go back to my machine and use those functions I have never tried, not forgetting those strange looking feet which have no instructions. At times I had to remind myself that the book was titled The Sewing Machine Classroom as it certainly contained much more. I have been sewing for close to 50 years but apart from school sewing classes (where I usually knew more than the teacher and often ended up co-teaching) I have never had any formal training. Reading this book I learnt the proper names for things and found the information on parts very informative. I now know the proper terms for things (if I can remember them all that is).
At the back there are some very useful tables for choosing the correct thread, needle, tension, stitch length and much more. I am eager to test my new found knowledge to see if I can improve my sewing results. I will definitely be referencing this book prior to sewing projects in the future. This one is staying on my shelf.
I'd recommend this book to all from those starting on their sewing journey to those who have travelled a long way.
Oh and forgot to say the spiral binding is a real plus as it lays flat to read the whole page without you needing to hold the book open.
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This book is split into 2 sections: Taking Control and Increasing Your Sphere of Influence. The first section gives in depth advice on the different fabrics, threads and needles that you can use, machine maintenance, presser feet and the most common problems. The second section then goes into different techniques such as buttonholes, zips, hems and piping.

There's a useful appendix in the back covering things like stitches, stabilizer & interfacing chart anda glossary of terms. It's all broken down into easy to follow instructions with useful tips scattered throughout and colour photos to help demonstrate techniques.

This is a fresh easy to use reference guide that would be helpful for those trying to figure out their new machine.

This review originally appeared on The Sewing Directory.
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on 22 May 2013
If like me, you are an absolute beginner, and you have a lovely new sewing machine sitting in front of you, and you haven't a clue at all how it works, then this is the book for you.

This book takes through the basics. You can't start until you understand how a sewing machine works, why you need to do certain things and why it behaves a certain way with different needles, fabrics etc.

It explains bobbin tension, and thread tension and helps you trouble shoot. You have to know all these things before you can even learn about different stitches, patterns, and start producing items that you are happy with. It explains why the fabric crinkles up when you are sewing or why the thread on the reverse side goes all knotty.

I needed a book to help me begin from the beginning because I haven't used a sewing machine since I was at school. This is before I can progress to books that has patterns to follow. There are lots of lovely books available to buy but they are all useless to you unless you know how to at least use a sewing machine. It helps you through all the problems you face, and I feel more confident that I can begin sewing.

It is packed full of so much information, and you can progress further with this book.

If you don't know how to use a sewing machine I highly recommend this book.
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on 27 September 2013
Although I've been sewing for 50 years, when I agreed to run a workshop on basic sewing machine skills, I wanted a reference book to be sure that I really knew what I was about to teach. Having spent a good while looking at the choices available and making full use of the 'Look inside' feature, I chose this one and it fully lived up to my expectations. It explains everything you might need to know - types of thread, needles, fabrics, pins,attachments, maintenance of your machine and techniques such as sewing trims and embroidery.
I like the ring binding of the book and the plentiful, relevant photographs. There are lots of useful sewing tips throughout (I now know why thread sometimes twists and knots when you're hand sewing) and comprehensive glossary.
The tone of the book is friendly, explaining clearly without assuming previous knowledge. I found the detail impressive and the layout well organised.
I don't think this book would suit a beginner looking for simple projects through which to learn basic sewing skills, but as a reference for which needle to use with a fabric, which interfacing to use, how to care for your machine, or to gain a deeper understanding of the correct way to use a machine, I think it's excellent.
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on 22 January 2014
I bought this book as it seemed to cover the areas of knowledge I was interested in and after reading the reviews most of the purchasers found it to be a good book. There was one review which did not rate it very highly and this put a seed of doubt in my mind but I decided to listen to the opinion of the majority of reviewers and purchase it.
I am only on page 22 so far and I have already learned lots of tips and pointers that I did not even know were of any significance when using my machine.
I was recently in Dunelm Mill buying some machine needles after bending two of mine and I asked an assistant if she could guide me in buying the correct needles, she couldn't help me really so I just bought universal needles and hoped for the best. I now know all about sewing machine needles, which one is best for each type of fabric and thread and that they should be changed frequently for optimum results! I now also know that there is a correct way that thread is supposed to run off the bobbin to avoid snagging and snarling.
My questions in getting to know my machine and be able to use it to it's full potential for quality results are already being answered in this book. I have found it a font of knowledge and I've only read a little into it so far. I know far more about threads, needles and machines today than I did yesterday. I'm very glad I bought it!
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on 6 June 2013
I bought this book and another on dressmaking as I hadn't sewed for many years and have just bought myself a new sewing machine. Whilst it helped quite a bit there is an awful lot of projects which I wouldn't do. The other booked covered the same sort of thing so I wasted a bit of money.

I would suggest that before buying on the internet try and have a look at this sort of book in a shop so you know what the content is.
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on 9 April 2012
Loved this book. If you own a sewing machine definitely one to buy.
Wanted help on trouble-shooting, got what I wanted and more.
Uses of different feet and techniques makes this book a must for all in my opinion.
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on 9 December 2012
I am really pleased I purchased this book as it has given me an insight into how to use my sewing machine for anything other than straight stitching. I will be purchasing the sister book sometime in the future.
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on 12 April 2013
I bought this book after reading the reviews and am delighted with it. Although I have been sewing for about 50 years and have quite a sophisticated machine (Husqvarna Lily 550) I felt I could do more and this book is going to prove extremely helpful. The text and pictures are very clear and I have already learnt quite a bit-I think it will be staying right next to my machine!
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on 24 December 2012
Fantastic book - I am still reading through the book as I learn the functions of my sewing machine - an excellent book and one I could recommend.
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