Sunday, December 26, 2010

Power Sewing Toolbox 1 & 2 book review

My Sandra Betzina Power Sewing Toolbox sewing books arrived last week.  Among the last-minute hustle and bustle all I had time to do was unwrap the books, give them a quick glance and place them on the bookshelf.

Until today.

Today I finally had a chance to look at them a bit more closely.  If you haven't added these books to your library yet, you'll want to do so. Especially after this little sneak peek.

I pre-ordered them a few months ago. True to her word, they arrived  before Christmas and each had a signed sticker on the inside cover.

Am I the only sewing-book-junkie who gets a kick out of having books signed by their authors? Having the books signed will bring a smile to my face every time I open one. Sandra Betzina may not have known who she was signing the book for but she did know it was someone who shared her love of sewing.

The books are lovely to look at.  They're large - approx. 10" x 10" - with glossy hard covers.  There is a gold elastic strap anchored to the back cover that can be used as a bookmark to keep the books closed or to hold your pages flat.

Although with the spiral binding the pages don't really need the extra help.

The print appears to be larger than what is typically found in books - I'm not sure what font was used but the type and size make for an easy to read book.

Many of the tips are only a paragraph long and are clearly numbered.  A number of full-color photographs are scattered through out the tips to help you visual what she's explaining. 

The books do contain more than just one-paragraph tips. There are also a number of more detailed techniques included. Such as adding a front stay and pocket all in one, how to set snaps using a snap setter, creative sleeve detailing, making shaped welt buttonholes and  lining a sleeve to name a few. 

The writing style is conversational. If you've ever taken one of her classes, viewed her DVDs or watched her television show, you'll be able to "hear" her as you read these tips.

Another bonus is the model garments made from her sewing patterns scattered through out the book.  I do wish there had been an index included for the patterns.  I found that I wanted to go back to some of the garments after flipping through the book but had to go page by page to find the ones I was looking for.  So, if you're like me and like to refer back to pattern numbers, keep a sticky pad close by when you're reading your books.

And look what is tucked away in the back of the book? DVDs with additional techniques. Four different techniques in each volume. Sweet!

When I first saw the email to pre-order the books I hesitated for about five seconds. Long enough to wonder if these were duplicates of the Power Sewing books I already owned and to decide that I didn't really care if they were. I mean, they're written by Sandra Betzina. How could I go wrong?

While I've barely skimmed the surface of these books I can already see that they will be a valuable addition to my sewing studio.

And whenever I sit down to sew I can flip open the front cover and smile.

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  1. I'm enjoying them but have really only had time for a quick review. I'm looking forward to delving in more deeply and also looking at the DVDs. I wish she'd included pattern numbers as well--surely Vogue wouldn't have had issues with the publicity?

  2. Nice Christmas present to self! I am glad you posted about this. I have not seen these. I have many of her books and was privileged to participate in a sewing lecture she gave. Hope you had a great Christmas.

  3. LindaC8:45 PM

    I appreciate your overview of these books. You said you didn't care if they replicated the information found in other Power Sewing books that you already owned. For those of us who do care, would you mind saying if they do. Thanks.

  4. Looks like a great addition to any sewing library!

  5. Jealous. Envy. Want.

  6. Glad to see these aren't duplicates. I'm adding them to my list.

  7. I got both volumes as gifts and I'm very happy. I plan to spend some time reading them today.

  8. I had the same thought when considering if I should pre-order. But I ordered anyway as my birthday/Christmas self gift because the Power Sewing book has been worth it's weight in gold to me. I just breezed through volume 1, but read volume 2 with pen and post-it's in hand. Now I've got to go back through volume 1 again. Haven't had time to look at the DVD's yet.

  9. Anonymous8:46 AM

    ***I mean, they're written by Sandra Betzina. How could I go wrong?****

    Oh yeah! Blink blinky blink....say no more but some people are better at marketing themselves with knowledge found elsewhere than they are at sewing.


  10. These are on my list of things to treat myself to in the new year. Thanks for such a wonderful review!

  11. They sound great. Nice Christmas pressie for yourself :)



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