One of the joys of being a cheapskate is spending hours researching used sewing books on Amazon. (You could probably do this on Ebay as well.) I love reading reviews, love finding the best quality copy for the very lowest price — don’t forget to mentally add the cost of shipping — and love the suggestions that Amazon gives me when I add something to my cart.
That being said, I don’t have a ton of shelf space, so I almost always move my finds to the ‘save for later’ portion of my cart. Imagine my surprise when a book I’d thought I’d saved for later showed up on my doorstep! For $4.40, I guess it was meant to be.
Sewing 911 by Barbara Deckert is subtitled “Practical and Creative Rescues for Sewing Emergencies”. Hm, thought I. Lofty claims, thought I. Looking over this relatively slim, hardcover volume with thick, slightly glossy pages, it seemed that most of its substance came from its packaging and not its content. On the plus side, that made it very approachable, like a magazine or picture book.
Sewing 911 is spiral bound and opens with a quote from an anonymous plumber. If you’ve ever read anything by Barbara Deckert, you know she’s got a great sense of humor. I literally laughed out loud at moments while reading this book cover to cover! Yes, I read it cover to cover. There is a table of contents, but with headings like ‘Not Enough Thread’ and ‘Bungled Buttonholes’, I still had no clue what I was working with.
The text opens with Flaws and Holes–make a patch to cover them, she suggests. Okay, not rocket science. But she does break down how exactly how to make that patch, applied to both the right side and wrong sides of the fabric. Then she describes how to darn. Then how to make and apply appliques. How to make a hole a design feature. How to repair hole-y lace. And she does all this in 5 — five! — measly pages. I’m a little impressed.
Sewing 911 gets better and better from that hot start. Some of her ideas on managing running out of thread are golden! She covered fixing/masking welts, mismatched plaids, stains, floppy collars, and more. Ms. Deckert clearly Knows Her Stuff. I had so many ‘wow’ moments reading this book: not only is Ms. Deckert’s knowledge deep and wide, but she’s also incredibly creative and clearly unwilling to let a snafu or wear and tear stand between her and garment success. I feel this book is a must for a professional alterations/custom garment sewer because of the array of situations it addresses, but even for those of us who mostly sew for ourselves it is helpful to have. With books like this in your library, you’ll never be stuck or at a loss when the unexpected or undesirable happens.