Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Make, Sew and Mend

I cannot exactly recall when I first came across Bernadette Banner's YouTube Channel, but it was soon after the first Covid lockdown happened.  I spent days pouring over her lovely videos, eagerly anticipating the next.  It may have began as background noise in the sewing room, but I will admit that I became distracted by the wonderful story telling and did not get a whole lot of sewing done while those videos were playing. 

Part of the draw was memories of my early days of garment sewing, focusing on much more historical silhouettes than I do these days, though my attempts were much more costume-like than historically accurate, I will be the first to admit.

So when I was approached by Page Street Publishing about Bernadette's new book, Make, Sew and Mend:  Traditional Techniques to Sustainably Maintain and Refashion Your Clothes, I was excited to see what she would have to say, especially with her general emphasis on hand sewing.

And the book does a wonderful job of running through the basics, from choosing fabrics, to the importance of pressing (I will second that!).  But the book also includes information on things like clappers and needle boards, some basics on tailoring, and reminders not to get bogged down in obsessing over perfection at each step.  So whether you are a true beginner, or a pro who wants to add another reference guide to the library, I think that this book is an excellent choice.

The inclusion of directions on darning and the most beautiful examples of patching that I have ever seen is a testament that this book successfully leads you from the creation of a beloved garment all the way to caring for and maintaining that item - which is exactly what is promised, right there on the cover of the book.

There are also some wonderful photos of antique clothing innards, which I always find fascinating.  Sure, the photos of Haute Couture gowns are glorious, but show me the insides!!  I want to see how it's all put together!

I would have loved to have this book in my library as I was first delving into apparel sewing many years ago.  Bernadette makes it clear that you can begin your sewing journey with little more than needle, thread, and cloth (and an iron, of course!).  The only reference to machine stitching is found in an image on the Dedication page, an antique hand cranked sewing machine which I believe is the very machine I have seen Ms. Banner use in some of her videos.

Congratulations to Bernadette on her first book!  I would highly recommend Make, Sew and Mend for beginners as well as highly experienced sewists that will be reminded of the joys of taking things slow and enjoying the process while paging through this book.  

Bernadette's enthusiasm is infectious, and I am going to do my best to take her advice to keep up with my mending!  Why is it so very difficult to find the motivation to secure a single button on that purchased cardigan?  I have also been reminded that cartridge pleating has been on my to-do list of techniques to try . . . will this finally be the year?!

[A review copy of Make, Sew and Mend was sent to me, but the opinions expressed here are my own.]


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