Sewing A to Z
How many times have you used the old cliché, “She knows everything — from A to Z”? Well, Nancy Zieman really does know everything about sewing and she’s found a new way to categorize and simplify sewing tasks. You’ll find tons of tips and explanations in Nancy Zieman’s Sewing A to Z – a hard-cover, spiral bound 144-page tome.
In full disclosure, Nancy Zieman taught me how to sew via the PBS television show Sewing with Nancy. Really. I learned to sew from watching Nancy so I’m a huge fan and today I’m blessed to call her a friend. But that doesn’t mean I’m not still ‘awed’ by her method of teaching.
Years ago I struggled with quilt bindings then Nancy taught me how to bind a quilt. You’ll find the same easy steps on page 20. The illustrations are flawless, every step is clearly defined and if you follow them, you’ll have a binding that would pass the highly critical white-glove test. Don’t know about the white glove test? Good for you, carry on and get your binding sewn.
Another one of my favorite sections of the book is Knits. I love to wear knits, I could live in them, oh wait, I already do! Anyway, Nancy’s tips on knits are great reminders of how to select the right knit for the pattern. She reminds us that there’s a stretch guide on the back of patterns and how to use it. Then she explains how to sew the stretchy seams on both a sewing machine and serger. These tips will come in quite handy when I make a jacket from her new McCall’s pattern, 6408.
Nancy then goes on to identify common knit fabrics with names and images. This page is a great example of why Nancy Zieman is such a terrific teacher – it’s her vocabulary. Not that she speaks like a heady Ivy League grad, she knows the actual names of a zillion-types of fabric, notions and gizmos. Unlike me, who would gladly call all sewing tools, gizmos, such as the sharp gizmo, the pointy gizmo or the turning thingy. Oh no, not our Nancy. She’s had the formal training (a degree in Home Economics) and the lifelong search for more sewing knowledge. Thank heavens she’s shared all of that with us. Otherwise, I’d still be calling knits, the ‘stretchy fabrics’.
Moving on through the pages, I was stopped dead in my track when I hit ‘Wrapped Corners’ on page 128. Creating perfect collars has eluded me for years. No longer! Ha! Apparently, I should have been following Nancy’s instructions to sew, grade, press, understitch and then sew again. So that’s how you do it!
Here’s my suggestion, keep Sewing A to Z with your pattern stash. When you’re creating a garment, refer to Sewing A to Z for easier, more successful techniques than you’ll find in any pattern. You might just fall in love with garment sewing all over again.
I have my copy and I just ordered two more for my twenty-something nieces (who will be eternally grateful in the future as soon as they wise up), now get yours.
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