Essential Sewing Reference Tool: All-in-One Visual Guide


This comprehensive, must-have book, Essential Sewing Reference Tool, by Carla Hegeman Crim, is an indispensable guide for anyone who sews (or wants to start). Organized for easy readability and usage, it covers everything you need to know whether you’re making home decor, clothing, or accessories. Contents include an extensive overview on tools and materials, step-by-step instructions on various seams and finishes, information on zipper installation, size conversion charts, more than 300 how-to photographs, and ...

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Essential Sewing Reference Tool: All-in-One Visual Guide

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This comprehensive, must-have book, Essential Sewing Reference Tool, by Carla Hegeman Crim, is an indispensable guide for anyone who sews (or wants to start). Organized for easy readability and usage, it covers everything you need to know whether you’re making home decor, clothing, or accessories. Contents include an extensive overview on tools and materials, step-by-step instructions on various seams and finishes, information on zipper installation, size conversion charts, more than 300 how-to photographs, and so much more.

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Editorial Reviews

3/24/14 Pink Chalk Studio
Carla has written a thorough and well curated reference guide. Both sewing veterans and new sewists will appreciate the trusted and detailed content contained in the book. The Essential Sewing Reference Tool is sure to be a long-time friend on your sewing room book shelf.
May/June 2014 The Applique Society Newsletter
C&T Publishing has recently released three new Reference guides packed with information quilters and sewists use on a regular basis. The Essential Sewing Reference Tool is by Carla Hegeman Crim. This all-in-one visual guide covers tools & supplies, stitches and seam treatments, ruffles & bias tape, zippers & buttonholes, sewn accessories, Home Dec, garment making, sizing charts for all ages and more. With more and more quilters jumping into stitching garments, totes and other non-quilt related items I am sure, if you are like me, you have come across more than one term you did not understand. This guide will lead you through all those issues with good illustrations, step-by-step directions including more than 300 how-to photographs.

This guide is small enough to tuck into your sewing tote, library shelf, or even a drawer in your desk. It has loads and loads of charts, photos, instructions and sidebars. It is bound with a type of binding called wire-o binding. This type of binding is nice because you can read the title on the spine like any other book on your shelf while it still allows the book to lay flat while you are using it.

May 2014
In sewing, a myriad of questions come up throughout the process. What thread? What needle? What fabric? What steps? Whenever you feel the need to "Google it" because you're unsure, you can skip the computer and just turn to a new book by Carla Hegeman Crim, Essential Sewing Reference Tool. This name is no joke - this really is the most essential sewing reference that I've ever seen.

Every aspect of what to buy and what to use in certain situations is broken down into simple charts and lists. Pictures accommodate most descriptions, such as of scissors and presser feet. In charts that show sizes that are counterintuitive or not self-explanatory, like thread weight or batting loft, there is a triangle visual on the side to show relative thickness. There is also information on things you may never have considered before, like the compositions of elastics.

Photos also accompany step-by-step directions of potentially confusing processes, like making bias strips or sewing curved seams (how do you match up a convex and concave curve??).

For those who are interested in home decor, Crim gives detailed directions and measurements for making duvet covers, comforters, bedspreads, pillows (including poufs), bed skirts, curtains, and table linens. If you're more of a wearable accessories gal, there are instructions for making fabric belts and bags.

For making clothes, the book covers how to alter what you have rather than how to start from scratch. For instance, it shows how to draw darts on a pattern, or adjust a pattern for height or girth. Crim also discusses steps for processes of clothing sewing that can be confusing, like facings, sleeves, and linings.

Perhaps the most unusual element in this book is the chart of name brands of interfacing and whether they're sew-in/fusible, woven/knit, and what fabrics they're meant for. At first I was confused by this, but then realized that it would, in fact, be super handy to have when you go to a fabric store and see a package of interfacing - how do you know if it's the right kind for your project? (I should add that the book is very portable, so bringing it to the fabric store is no big deal.) The interfacing chart is exemplary of the care and attention to detail Crim put into this book. She really seems to have thought of every aspect of the sewing process and the questions that may arise.

Library Journal
Drawing upon 30-plus years of experience, Crim (Sewn Hats) condenses all things sewing related into this quick reference. The topics covered range from tools, notions, and sewing machine feet to concise how-tos for common sewing topics such as zipper installation, hems, and seam finishes. Beginners will be able to follow Crim's step-by-step lessons, and experienced sewists will appreciate the quick refreshers on less-common techniques. The book is small enough to fit in a purse or sewing tote, making it easy to take along to the fabric store to help select the appropriate notions for a specific project. VERDICT There are plenty of large reference guides to sewing but few pocket-size ones. The balanced coverage of basic and advanced subjects, combined with the simple and useful directions, makes this a solid purchase.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781607058601
  • Publisher: C & T Publishing
  • Publication date: 3/1/2014
  • Format: Spiral Bound
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 613,225
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Carla Hegeman Crim, founder of Scientific Seamstress LLC, is a molecular biologist turned patternmaker. She has been experimenting with fabric for over 30 years. Her first book, Sewn Hats, was published in 2013. Visit Carla on the web at

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Table of Contents

Contents [Chapter title]

Tools and Supplies [Chapter title]
Sewing Machines [Head 1]
Sewing Machine Feet [Head 1]
Cutting Tools [Head 1]
Pressing Tools [Head 1]
Marking Tools [Head 1]
Needles [Head 1]
Needle Size [Head 2]
Needle Type [Head 2]
Specialty Needles [Head 2]
Straight Pins [Head 1]
Thread [Head 1]
Thread Fiber Composition [Head 2]
Thread Weight [Head 2]
Elastic [Head 1]
Elastic Fiber Content [Head 2]
Elastic Type [Head 2]
Elastic Style [Head 2]
Other Notions [Head 1]
Stitches and Seams [Chapter title]
Stitches [Head 1]
Hand Sewing Stitches [Head 2]
Machine Stitches [Head 2]
Seam Allowances [Head 1]
Width [Head 2]
Curved Seams [Head 1]
Simple Seam Finishes [Head 1]
Pinking [Head 2]
Straight Stitching Head 2]
Straight Stitching and Folding [Head 2]
Overcasting [Head 2]
Couture Seam Finishes [Head 1]
Flat-Felled Seam [Head 2]
French Seam [Head 2]
Hong Kong Finish [Head 2]
Hems [Head 1]
Single-Folded Hem [Head 2]
Double-Folded Hem [Head 2]
Rolled Hem [Head 2]
Faced Hem [Head 2]
Machine Blindstitched Hem [Head 2]
Hem Width [Head 2]
Hemming Hints [Head 2]
Materials [Chapter title]
Fabric [Head 1]
Fiber Composition [Head 2]
Fiber Arrangement [Head 2]
Interfacing [Head 1]
Interfacing Fiber Arrangement [Head 2]
Interfacing Weight [Head 2]
Other Fusible Products [Head 1]
Stuffing [Head 1]
Polyester Fiberfill [Head 2]
Natural-Fiber Stuffing [Head 2]
Poly Pellets [Head 2]
Batting [Head 1]
Batting Fiber Type [Head 2]
Batting Thickness [Head 2]
Gathering, Ruffles, Bias Tape, Piping, and Trims [Chapter title]
Gathering [Head 1]
Marking Gathers [Head 2]
Straight-Stitch Gathering [Head 2]
Zig-Zag Stitch Gathering [Head 2]
Attaching Gathers [Head 2]
Ruffles [Head 1]
Hemmed Ruffles [Head 2]
Double-Thickness Ruffles [Head 2]
Bias Cut Ruffles [Head 2]
Ruffle Fullness [Head 2]
Bias Tape [Head 1]
Cutting and Joining Bias Strips [Head 2]
Folding Bias Tape [Head 2]
Applying Bias Tape [Head 2]
Piping [Head 1]
Making Piping [Head 2]
Inserting Piping into a Straight Seam [Head 2]
Inserting Piping Around Corners [Head 2]
Trims [Head 1]
Flat Trims [Head 2]
Edgings [Head 2]
Fringes [Head 2]
Insertions [Head 2]
Zippers [Chapter title]
Zipper Length [Head 1]
Stitching Zippers [Head 1]
Centered Zipper Installation [Head 1]
Lapped Zipper Installation [Head 1]
Invisible Zipper Installation [Head 1]
Buttons and Buttonholes [Chapter title]
Buttons [Head 1]
Flat Buttons [Head 2]
Shank Buttons [Head 2]
Buttonholes [Head 1]
Sizing Buttonholes [Head 2]
Buttonhole Placement [Head 2]
Marking Buttonholes [Head 2]
Stitching Buttonholes [Head 2]
Home Décor [Chapter title]
Bed Coverings [Head 1]
Bed and Bedding Sizes [Head 2]
Yardage Requirements [Head 2]
Basic Comforter [Head 2]
Hemmed Coverlet or Bedspread [Head 2]
Quilted Coverlet or Bedspread [Head 2]
Basic Duvet [Head 2]
Pillows [Head 1]
Bed Pillow and Pillowcase Sizes [Head 2]
Making Basic Standard- and Queen-Size Pillowcases [Head 2]
Throw Pillows [Head 2]
Pillow Types [Head 2]
Pillow Closure Options [Head 2]
Bedskirts [Head 1]
Curtains [Head 1]
Curtain Types [Head 2]
Curtain Hanging Options [Head 2]
Curtain Length Measurements and Hem Calculations [Head 2]
Curtain Width Measurements and Fullness Calculations [Head 2]
Basic Tab-Top Curtains [Head 2]
Table Linens [Head 1]
Square or Rectangular Tablecloths [Head 2]
Custom Tablecloth Sizing [Head 2]
Round Tablecloths [Head 2]
Napkins [Head 2]
Table Runners and Placemats [Head 2]
Sewn Accessories [Chapter title]
Belts and Key Fobs [Head 1]
Belt Sizing [Head 2]
Belt Hardware [Head 2]
Belt Materials [Head 2]
Basic Fabric Belts [Head 2]
Basic Key Fobs [Head 2]
Bags [Head 1]
Types of Bags [Head 2]
Bag Fabrics [Head 2]
Optional Bag Hardware [Head 2]
Bag Closures [Head 2]
Garment Making [Chapter title]
set-in sleeves?
Making Darts [Head 1]
Adding Facings [Head 1]
Linings [Head 1]
Sewing Casings [Head 1]
Patterns [Head 1]
Selecting Patterns [Head 2]
Verifying Sizing [Head 2]
Pattern Abbreviations and Markings [Head 2]
Body Measurements [Head 2]
Ease [Head 1]
Adjusting for Height [Head 1]
Adjusting for Girth [Head 1]
Size Charts [Chapter title]
Infants', Toddlers', and Little Kids' Sizes [Table title]
Infants' and Toddlers' Vertical Measurements [Table title]
Little Kids' Vertical Measurements [Table title]
Girls' Sizes
Boys’ Sizes
Girls' and Boys' Vertical Measurements [Table title]
Misses' sizes [Table Title]
Women's sizes [Table title]
Misses' and Women's Vertical Measurements (in inches) [Table title]
Men's sizes [Table title]
Men's Vertical Measurements (in inches) [Table title]
Number Conversions [Chapter title]
Decimal/Fraction Equivalents [Table title]
Yardage to Inches to Decimals [Table title]
English to Metric Length [Table title]

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