Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Little Gem of a Book

Yesterday DH and I went for a three and a half hour one way trip to Albany and back. With that long ride and no current handwork getting done I grabbed a few sewing books to read along the way. I have, like many of you, a whole library of sewing  books that I have collected for years.  They never cease to give me pleasure. I read and re read them over and over, redundant, but that's how much I enjoy reading them. I started rereading for the umpteenth time this ancient gem from Nancy Zieman, "The Busy Woman's Sewing Book" . It came out back in the day when her shows were all about garment sewing, 1984. Her philosophy is to make help you make your sewing as easy and as professional as possible. That's not easy to do because the easy way is often the Becky Home-Ec-y way but Nancy pulls it off beautifully. Many of the techniques in this book I have used for years and you can see her collar method  and collar band tute in the tutorials on the right.

Isn't that eighties jacket a hoot? Don't let that fool you. Everything in this little book is just as pertinent today as it was back in the eighties. What shines most here is the very clear, simple, and understandable writing style. You can't not get what is being taught here. The illustrations offer perfect depictions of the points she is trying to get across and make for great clarity. 

This is the first page of one of the chapters. Other than her fly technique (I prefer Betzina's) I have learned and used all of these over and over. I particularly love the elastic waistband technique. Her chapter on blousemaking techniques cannot be beat. You will find the easiest collar stand method and lots more.

Here I am, having sewn for 52 years now and I still learn from this book every time I read it. I think because of its clarity of instuction, clear simple illustrations and Nancy's patient pleasant teaching style this is the perfect book for a beginner sewist. While the scope and size of sewing tomes like Vogue's Guide to Sewing or the Reader's Digest Guide to Sewing can be bit intimidating for a newbie, the concise size and the massive info inside make this the perfect book for the beginner sewist, IMO.  You just can't go wrong here.

At this time Nancy has republished much of the same info, albeit enhanced, in later publications but the great content and inexpensive price makes this one special. I highly recommend, NAYY. Do you have this book and do you refer to it as much as I have over the years? It's my go to for quickly locating much needed info on sewing. ....Bunny

17 comments:

  1. I have read all the Zieman books which are in my local library, lots of useful tips in them. There is one that is "Sewing tips and tricks" or something like that and it is filled with gems.

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  2. Thank you for reminding me that I have this little book tucked away. I also love her teaching style.

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  3. I, too, love the book and refer to it. I have been a Nancy Zieman fan forever.

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  4. Of all my sewing books and I like you have ton's of them, this one has always been my favorite. Not sure why, it's just such a good go to book.

    Nonie

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  5. I remember this one! Wonderful!

    I loved her show when she sewed only garments...the craft and quilt stuff not so much!

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  6. You don't so much of her work in the UK

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  7. I have to agree with you, Bunny. That book is first and foremost in my library. I have many books that I 'weed' through if I have the time, but Nancy's got it all in one place. I often use her fitting book, too.

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  8. I had this book for many years. It was retired during one of my moves. I still use many of the sewing techniques in that book.

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  9. I love Nancy Zieman's books, but that's not one I have. I'll have to check the library. Thanks for sharing!

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  10. Hi Bunny!

    I only have Nancy's Serger book but it is my Bible when it comes to doing anything on the serger!
    I watch & tape every single one of her shows & repeatedly refer to them, as I come across the specific technique she is teaching. She is a wonderful teacher...very clear & concise!

    I'm off to check out both of those tuts you mentioned.
    Hugs,
    Rett

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  11. I'm with you, love that book!

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  12. I have this book too! And almost wrote a post about her a week ago since she was a huge influence on my sewing. I will have to take it out and reread it because one of the things I loved about her teaching style was that it was so easy to follow and made such sense.

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  13. Thanks for the info! I think I'll need to get this one.

    You can buy this book for very little on Amazon.com

    http://tinyurl.com/82xdro2

    I buy many of my books as used copies on Amazon for minimal money.

    SueC56

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  14. I have this book, purchased years ago and have never cracked it open. Well I stopped sewing too, so I didn't miss anything. You can bet I'll read it and use it now. Thanks for the recommendation.

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  15. I have this book, purchased years ago and have never cracked it open. Well I stopped sewing too, so I didn't miss anything. You can bet I'll read it and use it now. Thanks for the recommendation.

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  16. I have this book, purchased years ago and have never cracked it open. Well I stopped sewing too, so I didn't miss anything. You can bet I'll read it and use it now. Thanks for the recommendation.

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  17. I used to watch Nancy's show on PBS when the kids were little. I have several of her books, with her "Fitting Finesse" as one one my favorites. My husband's great-aunt was an amazing seamstress and I believe I ended up with her copy of "The Busy Woman's Guide" after she died. I need to go pull it off the shelf and add it to my *to read soon* pile by my recliner! Thank you for reminding me of this gem, I'm sure I'll glean several new tips and techniques.

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