||About the Revision
The revision and expansion of Fine Machine Sewing incorporates many additional related techniques and reflects new machine models and products that have become available since it was first published.
There are minor changes throughout the text, but major new techniques covered in the revision include:
Other changes include:
- Several methods to prepare and stitch perfect turned-edge appliqus and scalloped hems.
- New fagoting techniques, including fagoting narrow bias tubes on curves. (Only straight fagoting was covered in the original version.)
- A new chapter on replicating vintage lace and entredeux techniques, for creating heirloom garments and linens.
Fine Machine Sewing has gotten great positive response, and I know machine owners will be pleased with the new techniques, updated information, and color photography in this revision.
- Revised charts for 'Machine Settings for Decorative Techniques,' including a few minor changes for previous machine models and stitch numbers and settings for many new machine models.
- Many new garments, projects, and stitched samples, which, along with those from the original book, have been shot in beautiful color with an emphasis on close-ups of the techniques. (The hands-on shots, old and new, remain in black and white because they show up exceptionally well that way.)
- Updated 'Resources,' including 'Sources of Supply' and 'Publications.'
- An improved index to make it even easier to find a topic.
About the First Edition
This book is for all sewers who want high-quality machine stitching, finishing, and embellishing without headaches, whatever their level of expertise.
Whether I am teaching at a sewing seminar in Greensboro, North Carolina, or Kyabram, Victoria, Australia, I find that many of the frustrations experienced by machine sewers are universal. It is easy for me to empathize. I can remember years of:
Like most sewers, I blamed most of these difficulties on my sewing machine. Then, in 1981, my friend Lydia Johnson and I bought Buttons 'n' Bows, a three-year-old sewing-machine dealership/fabric store in Houston that specialized in smocking and heirloom sewing. I started teaching machine classes to sewers who, like us, not only sought perfection in their sewing but also were stitching on some of the most difficult and sheer fabrics. I researched, attended seminars, experimented, and refined, until little by little everything started to fit together. It was such a relief to learn that these common problems do not have to be inherent in machine sewing!
- fighting puckered seams and tunneled decorative stitching, especially on lightweight fabrics (was my sewing machine a lemon or was 'automatic self-adjusting tension' a hoax?);
- estimating seam-allowance and topstitching spacing (and living with less-than-perfect results) because I thought being precise would be too time-consuming;
- thinking that the only applications where I would consider built-in decorative stitches would be craft projects or children's playclothes;
- trying to copy by machine the classic look of hand techniques such as hemstitching, fagoting, decorative edgings, pintucks, and shadow work but finding both the process and the results unsatisfactory;
- struggling to machine-stitch blind hems and narrow hems that would be acceptable for something other than curtains.
My classes grew. I started teaching nationally, then internationally, and wrote for Creative Needle and then Threads magazines. (Some of the material in this book first appeared in my articles for these magazines.) I have now taught over 8,000 students at seminars and have learned from them, too. In this book, I'll share this know-how with you.
Chapter 1 explains how to control the factors that affect all machine sewing in order to get the best results with everything you stitch. (Demystifying tension alone will allow more control over your sewing results than you probably thought possible!) This chapter also covers sewing with lightweight fabrics and stitching buttonholescommon areas of difficulty. Chapter 2 explains ways to achieve precise, accurate, professional-looking results with much less effort than you might have expected.
The balance of the book presents fine finishing and embellishing techniques for creating useful, classic details such as pintucks, hemstitching, and fagoting. These details, which are achievable on most sewing machines, can be seen on fine ready-to-wear garments and home linens. Appropriate areas for these techniquessuch as collars, pockets, cuffs, and hemscan always be found on patterns as well as on purchased garments. (In this book, pattern information for photographed garments is given only for specialized patterns.) The refinements you will learn for blind hemming and narrow hemming will give you skills you can use in finishing almost any garment. To help with problem solving, each chapter ends with related questions and answers. For decorative techniques, stitch numbers and settings for many machines are provided on pp. 195-197.
The goal of this book is to get the most from the sewing machine you have, but 'What to Look for in a Sewing Machine,' on pp. 192-194, addresses the question of purchasing a machine for this type of work. It explains the features I look for most and their benefits (it will also help you understand features you may already have on your machine). 'Caring for Your Sewing Machine,' on pp. 198-199, covers maintenance as well as power surges, magnetic pincushions, and transporting your machine.
For years I have been asked to write a comprehensive book that includes the material from my magazine articles and classes. My hope is that Fine Machine Sewing will open useful and creative options for you and enable you to get greater joy than ever from all your machine sewing.