Book Review: Of Course You Can Sew!

Of Course You Can Sew! Basics of Sewing for the Young Beginner
by Barbara Corrigan
Published in 1971
ISBN: 978-0385076975


Some Chapter Headings:
Equipment
Fabrics
Accessories from a Straight Piece of Material
A Shift or Robe from Turkish Towels
How to Use Patterns

I liked:

  • The prose. For example, take this paragraph from the Introduction, “Haven’t you envied your friends who have an endless supply of new clothes which they’ve made for themselves? You hear tales of how an inexpensive piece of material from a remnant counter has turned into a lovely party dress, while you’ve been trying to figure out how to persuade Dad to give you still another advance on your allowance to cover a down payment on that dress you saw in the store window.”
  • The chapter on “Basic Stitches” that covers everything from threading a needle and diagrams showing how to knot your thread to explaining running stitches, back stitching and hemming.
  • Instructions on how to use a thimble (a lost art for certain!).
  • A great chapter on the basic sashes, belts, totes and headbands.
  • The “How to Use Patterns” chapter that is most thorough, including pinning, marking darts and notches, stay stitching, and facings.

My dislikes:

  • Not any really, especially when you consider this is a book for beginners.

Conclusion:
“Cute.” That’s the word I’d use to describe this book. I think it is absolutely darling. I love the way it’s written. It covers the most basic of basic (“Now place two layers of material together, and pin them together.”, page 22) while also explaining techniques like under stitching. Plus, I love the confidence it exudes when, in closing, it promises “When you have learned to make all the things presented in this book, you will be able to create an almost complete wardrobe, lacking only a coat and slacks…” (page 127).

Would I buy it for myself?
As a sewing instructor, I am considering this book. I think the progression it uses to teach sewing would work very well for beginners of any age.

Would I buy it for a beginner sewer?
Most certainly. This book would be perfect for someone that has never sewn, but is ready to start.

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