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Complete Guide to Sewing

4.29 of 5 stars 4.29  ·  rating details  ·  198 ratings  ·  32 reviews
s/t: Step-By-Step Techniques for Making Clothes and Home Furnishings
The best-selling bible of sewing -- fully updated to meet the needs of today's market. The constant companion of the many people who are turning to home sewing as a creative -- and money-saving -- hobby.
Paperback, 528 pages
Published December 1st 1997 by Readers Digest (first published January 1st 1976)
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Kim
My copy of this book is from the late 70s, so while some of the projects are dated, the content remains excellent, and here's why:

The Complete Guide to Sewing is just that. It is an excellent reference for self-taught sewing, including beginner and advanced techniques. The directions are easy to follow and there are numerous helpful photographs and diagrams. The older versions of this book also include a section on tailoring, which the new guide excludes - I'm almost positive - which is invaluab
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Billie
A dated but very good for those who want to learn to sew.
Aynge
Excellent guide and reference.
Peri Collins
I first got this book as gift in the late 80s as a gift so that I could learn to sew without the grade pressure of Home Ec. I whipped up denim shorts by following the techniques that were explained in text and drawings. My second project was a 2-piece ball gown that turned out great. I still look up things when patterns don't explain sufficiently. This book taught me all of the needed hand stitching and basic machine work including winding bobbins on my original mechanical machine.
Foxtower
Initially a friend was nice enough to copy a few pages so I could figure out how to set up a sewing machine I found in the dump. Since then, and several machines later, I found a copy and now use it whenever I sew.

I say "sew" loosely... I have managed to make curtains, but while I ignore all the great lessons and techniques the book contains, it remains my bible for figuring out what I need to get the job done,however roughly, from curtains to a new seat cover for the snowmobile.
jen
Most definitely the best sewing book around, and, in my opinion, this is the best edition. It literally tells you everything you could want to know about sewing and has amazing step by step drawings to guide you through. Pretty much everything I know about sewing that I didn't learn from my mom, I learned from this book. Yes!!!
Renee
I particularly like this edition because it includes a section on home decor.

I learned how to sew reading this book. While the newer additions include less on tailoring and hand stitches, this book is still exceptional. It covers everything from pattern and fabric selection, cutting out and construction from beginning to end.
Jessicakes
Jan 13, 2009 Jessicakes rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who sew
Recommended to Jessicakes by: Heather Shope
I have a 1976 edition of this book. I am always baffled by the little tricks that my mother and grandmother just know about sewing, that I've had to learn by trial-and-error. Heather gave me this book for Christmas, and trial and error no more. My favorite section is the section on tailoring...because tailoring scares me.
Victoria
Mar 06, 2011 Victoria rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Any amateur sewer!
Recommended to Victoria by: Anna Eveleigh
Absolutely brilliant book. It is extremely comprehensive and easy to understand. It is an absolute life-saver. Every time I look at it, I find a new piece of useful information. Some of the designs are amusing because they are so old fashioned but fashions change and the information in the book is still excellent.
Julie
I checked this book out of the library and it was amazingly helpful. I was able to improvise a collar (on a pattern without one) based on the pictures in this book. (I wish I could mark this as both "read" and "to-read", because I can't say that I've read the whole thing!) I highly recommend it to anyone learning to sew.
Cat Rennolds
So far, so good. The 70s home decorating in the back is hilarious...but solid in construction terms.

This is a very useful comprehensive book, clear and easy to understand with good illustrations.

There is a darning needle in the Equipment section. There are no instructions for darning.
Robert
Nov 09, 2014 Robert marked it as do-not-plan-to-read  ·  review of another edition
Prior to marrying my lovely wife, my mother presented this book along with a sewing machine to my wife. Ha! There were even sewing lessons included.

Yeah, my wife hasn't sewed much since then.

This book looks to be a rather detailed reference book, but it hasn't seen a lot of use. :)
Kristin
This is the best reference for sewing I have seen so far. It has detailed instructions for everything you ever encounter in sewing with diagrams. Much better instructions than you find on the pattern and easier to follow. Especially good for zippers and pockets.
Emilyadamc
Love this book. It so helpful through every stage of sewing, whether beginner or expert. I constantly refer to this book when I am trying a new technique or pattern. I love the old 70s decor in the back too. It is one of those books that older is better :)
Dilara
Everything you will need to know about sewing...ever! The copy I read wa printed in the 70s but almost all of the information is still relevant. If you want to learn to sew, get this book and keep it near your sewing table!
Sandra
I understand there is a newer version (this is copyright 1976). For my purposes, this is strictly reference and covers everything I know, should know and once knew. I have other resources for specialty items and supplies.
Tristain
The datedness that this book has only adds to how fantastic it is. All the pictures are of vintage clothing so it is very inspiring. Because it is made by Reader's Digest, it's simple enough for anybody to use.
Debra
This is my copy and is the original 1976 edition of the sewing classic. Full of sewing techniques, this book will never go out of style!
Nan
Mar 02, 2012 Nan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: beginning sewers, intermediate sewers, people interested in making and altering their own clothes
A really great all-purpose reference book for sewing, especially for sewing clothes. The illustrations showing common fitting issues and solutions alone is worth the price of the book.
Laura
Great resource. Have had it for years, some updating might be needed. Useful as a guide to teach self or others sewing skills, but nothing beats actually practicing!
Molly Gove
indispensible. what your grandmother who was a dressmaker would have taught you if it weren't for urbanization and you living in the big city 500 miles away.
Heather the Hillbilly Banjo Queen
This is an excellent resource for sewing. I am interested in the newer edition. The 70's just weren't my thing. :) I hope it is as good.
Erika
Nov 13, 2007 Erika rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Sewers
Shelves: sewing
Great sewing book! Easy to understand illustrations and instructions, and a ton of great topics. Good book for any sewer to have on hand.
Alison
the older editions of this book are awesome -- lots of info on tailoring, which has unfortunately been removed from more recent versions.
Judi
A good book on general sewing. Covers a lot of ground and though somewhat dated, most of the techniques are still valid.
Kathleen
Much better than the Singer Guide to Sewing--detailed illustrations as well as photographs. Costs around 35.00 however.
Malora
I love this book from the 70's and would suggest it for anyone who sews! Great pictures and simple clear instructions!
Jenny
Lots of skinny bitches in this book, but the principles hold and everything is wonderfully illustrated.
erin
bobbins, buttonholes, bedspreads, yeah, it's in there. See p.462 & 470 for my dream rooms if I were 13 again.
Andrea Alumbaugh-henry
Best sewing companion I have read. Great for the beginner to the advanced tailor.
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The Reader's Digest Association, Inc. is a global media and direct marketing company based in Chappaqua, New York, best known for its flagship publication founded in 1922, Reader's Digest. The company's headquarters are in New York City, where it moved from Pleasantville, New York.

The company was founded by DeWitt and Lila Wallace in 1922 with the first publication of Reader's Digest magazine, but
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