cover image Improv Sewing: 101 Fast, Fun, and Fearless Projects 

Improv Sewing: 101 Fast, Fun, and Fearless Projects 

Nicole Blum & Debra Immergut. Storey, $19.95 paper with flaps (320p) ISBN 978-1-60342-740-1

This large volume, packed with full-color photographs, is a must-add for sewers who want to work outside the parameters of paper patterns and precise measurements. “It’s about enjoying the journey as your thread travels across the fabric,” Blum and Immergut write, “...and in the end, you’ll have made something lovely and wonderful.” This soothing, empowering style of teaching sewing is a nice contrast to the more rigid directions promoted in other recent sewing books (e.g., 1-2-3 Sew and Sewing in a Straight Line). Blum and Immergut show how to use measurements to draft five basic designs—a two-panel dress, a four-panel dress, a two-panel skirt, a wrap skirt, and a stretch panel skirt (all in Chapter 3)— which then become the basis for dozens of variations in the rest of the book. A concise, basic overview of sewing techniques and how to measure accurately round out the initial help. From there, readers will learn techniques such as bias-binding, ruffles, and ruching to add details to their clothes. As their subtitle promises, there are more than 100 patterns here, making this a deeper resource than many beginning sewing books. One caution: the vast majority of these patterns employ knit fabric. The authors provide a good overview of working with knits, in their typical calm, empowering style, but those who hate working with knit will be disappointed by its prominence. This book is well worth the price; there’s lots to daydream about and run across the needles. (May)