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4.6 out of 5 stars158
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 3 October 2010
As a bloke with no sewing skills I found this book really good value. Not only does it tell and show you what things like seams and hems look like, but also how to set your 'generic' machine to sew them. It's a bit like a Haynes Manual - shows you before and after and also 'wrong' and 'right' sides. I have used it to alter trouser leg lengths and to make from a pattern, a dressing gown.

If you need one book either for yourself or as a present for someone buying or owning a sewing machine, this is it. Fancy techniques are no good unless the fundamentals are understood - the book excells at this. It is also very readable.

Recommended.
Ian, Hampshire
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on 13 January 2012
My 11 year old daughter has been wanting to haul the sewing machine out of the garage and "have a go" for ages! The in-laws helped her get the machine running and I purchased this book based on its clear layout and good reviews. My daughter read the book through and in a weekend we made the skirt for our forthcoming holiday. The instructions are clear and apart from a couple of instances when we had to read through a couple of times, it was relatively easy. I was suprised that an 11 year old could mitre corners and put a zip in with no prior experience. We were also helped by a delightful fabric shop owner who ensured we had all the correct equipment before starting. Can't wait for the next project now! This book with its easy clear layout, good pictures and "non technical" wording has really inspired my daughter. A great purchase.
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on 3 December 2010
This is a great book for those new to sewing. It tells you the basics of using your sewing machine and all the sewing techniques that you may stumble across in patterns that you don't yet know how to do are explained clearly. It also tells you things such as what size needles to use on different types of fabrics and the difference between a seam and a hem. Some have marked the book down because they don't like the patterns at the back, but you don't get this book for the patterns, you get it because it will help you to become a more confident sewer, the fact that there are patterns is just an added bonus. I have gained a lot from having this book.
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on 3 September 2014
I am sure this is a great book - if you buy the paper version. On a Kindle, the pictures are too small and you have to keep flicking back and forth to try and match the pictures and the text.

From what I could see the book itself looked pretty good, and I am quite tempted to buy it in paper format. Just annoyed at having wasted money on a book I can't really read.
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on 20 December 2011
I love this book SO much. I hadn't sewn anything for ten years, but felt like trying it out again and bought a few books off of amazon. This is my favorite amazon purchase in a long time! It explains all basic and semi-advanced techniques you need to sew properly, from seams and hems to buttonholes, and it does so in a clear and concise language, broken down in simple steps with dedicated images to every step. It looks like a teenagebook on the cover, but I can tell that I will be using this book as a reference over and over again in my future sewing. Thank you so much Kate Haxell, you did a magnificent job with this book! I finally feel confident sewing again.

Coming back to add that I made the apron in the book, just to get things started, and it turned out great. I agree with comments saying the patterns aren't the most appealing, but they are useful when you need a simple project to try out all the techniques in the book. Thank you, Kate Haxell, I love this book!
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on 15 June 2010
When I saw this book at Waterstones, I bought it straight away because the wordings of the book and pictures are so clear and very easy to understand. This book is great for beginners. Kate made sewing very easy, interesting and understanding to follow. The book shows you step by step on how to sew from the basics to the nearly "difficult", but with Kate's explaination it is easy peasy to follow. Good book and an all rounder!!
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on 8 November 2010
I have other sewing manuals, but this one is laid out beautifully, simple techniques and easy to follow, clear instructions and pictures. Really helpful for a beginner and some nice projects in the back of the book. I am very happy with my purchase.
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on 29 August 2011
I like using a sewing machine because one can see the result very quickly, but I really don't know much of the machine itself except for the absolute basics. I have browsed through this book a few times and started reading it for real from the beginning, and already I feel more confident. I have learned some very vital things, thread tension to mention one, and am looking forward to reading the manual of my own, future sewing machine; words you would never have heard me utter pre-Kate.

This book is thorough without being heavy to read and for its price it is a gem. I happily recommend it to anyone who is prepared to invest a bit of time into learning some theory on their tool, instead of possibly destroying expensive materials and losing interest in sewing. Not all of the practice projects seem like they are for me, but I view them as an unexpected bonus to the tough stuff, so five stars out of five!
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on 23 March 2013
I needed a book on the basics of using a sewing machine. I hadn't used one since school and that was a long time ago. I'm still working my way through it but have found it invaluable. With my sewing machine manual and this beginners I guide beside me I feel confident to try things. Well worth a read if you're just starting out like me...
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on 20 June 2011
This book does exactly what its title suggests - it gives a clear beginners guide to sewing machines and explains many of the sewing terms you're likely to come across in sewing patterns where a certain level of knowledge is often assumed. The pictures are a great help in illustrating various types of hems, seams and finishes and all are shown in an easy to follow step by step guide. A really good starter manual for novices. Would highly recommend.
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