Book Review "Sew Smart" by Clothilde

If you are like many sewists you have a library full of books about sewing subjects that you have collectd over time. And if you are insane about sewing, like many of my readers, self included, you read and re read these books. Lately I picked up this 312 page book to do some before sleep reading. It was worth the second go around and I did learn a thing or two.

Sew Smart is written by Clothilde and Judy Lawrence. Does anyone really know who Clothilde is? I attended an all day seminar with her about 10 years ago. Never did learn if she had a last name. I found her vivacious, assertive, and an enjoyable speaker. She knew her stuff and had all sorts of great tricks. She spotlighted some of the better notions that she sells in her catalo, including her famous pleater. She had some great garment samples as well. I bought her book at the end of the class and she autographed it for me.

What I find best about this book is it's organization. It is so easy to look anything up. The techniques are in a very logical sequence, not always the case in many books on sewing. I like that it is spiral bound, the better to open up on the table as I use it for a technique. The language is clear, simple, and direct, much like Clothilde herself. This would be an EXCELLENT reference for beginners but there is plenty of meat in here for the more experienced sewist. There are in depth lessons on collars, pockets, sleeves and more. I particularly like a few of her pressing techniques. Once in a while you get  a touch of it being out of date, but not very often. A big example of that are the 50 pages devoted to sewing UltraSuede, all the rage when the book debuted in 1984.  The book comes with a pull out of collar patterns and other things. I have never felt the need to pull it out and open it up so I don't really know what all is in there. I just leave it stapled in the book.

This is available at Amazon pretty reasonably and I would say it is a very good book to have in your library and just as good as many of the classic tomes out there. I recommend.
Now, what will I re-read next?...
The lining is connected to the facings on the BM jacket. I decided on placing a  white satin flat piping between the linen and the Bemberg lining. I think it is a nice counterpoint to the nubby texture of the linen and a nice little secret hiding inside the garment. It will make me smile when I see it. At this point I am just waiting for the organdy to finish the collar and attach it. Then a quick stitch around for the lining and done. Hopefully soon.

A few of you asked about Stauffers, where my organdy is coming from. It is located in Mt. Pleasant Mills, Pennsylvania and called "Stauffers Dry Goods"  NAYY. It is an Amish run store and primarily caters to the Amish, from there to Alaska. They certainly sell to the general public but being Amish, there are no credit cards accepted and no internet access. You can call them and they will send you samples and an order form. For all of you bundle addicts, they have bundles they sell as well. If you have seen Amish clothing, it is meant to last a long time and therefore the fabric is v. good quality. This would be an excellent source for bottomweights. No silk burnouts here! I will let you know when my order comes in. Until then,,,,,Bunny


  1. Thanks for the review, I just saw this in a used book store and I passed it by, after reading your review I will go back and get it! Can't have enough sewing books. 8-)

  2. UK Amazon offers a 2004 edition of "Clotilde's Sew Smart" for reasonable prices second hand from the USA and a very high price new in the UK! It credits it to Clotilde Lampe, and when I googled that name I found out a little more about her. I might put the book on my wwish list now I have seen your view of it.

  3. An Amish shop - sounds interesting - I will call them and see what they have and can send me. Thanks for the info.

  4. I have this book, I should give it (and all my other books) a read-through. I have a nasty habit of buying and *looking* through them, then they go on the shelf. Do I read them? Not until I'm looking for an answer on a problem. The Half Price Books that opened near where I work has NOT helped the problem.

  5. I remember who she is, but I haven't heard anything about her in years.

  6. I have had "Sew Smart" for years and have referred to it often. I used to order from Clothilde's catalogue but have not received one in quite a while.

  7. On Amazon, Clotilde's last name is shown as Yurick. There are about a dozen different Sew Smart books to choose from.

    Personally, I love your tutorials and the way you sew.

    Like you, I have many sewing books, as well as quilting, knitting and most other books of ths type.

  8. I am adding that book to my wish list right away, thanks for reviewing it (I also pick sewing books and re-read them before going to sleep, lol!)
    The piping is a beautiful detail, your work is impeccable!


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