An Open Letter To The Publisher of Sewtionary

Adobe Photoshop PDFDear Krause Publications

I’m sure you are very proud of yourselves for publishing Tasia St Germaine’s debut book, Sewtionary. How clever you must feel. How very timely. Sirs, your timing could not have been worse!

I trawled through the 101 photo-illustrated sewing tips. Arranged alphabetically. In a spiral bound format. Oh yes, indeed, it was very nice to have the book laying flat beside my sewing machine so that I could see ALL THE THINGS I HAD DONE WRONG ON PAST MAKES.

If you insist on publishing exemplary sewing books, in return I must insist that you publish them much earlier on in my sewing career. Multitudinous foul ups could have been avoided if I’d had Tasia’s remarkable reference tool to hand. 

Shame on you, sirs! Your selfishness leaves me almost speechless. Almost…

Remember my gentle wail, requesting sewing books that weren’t aimed at the total beginner? A few days after writing that, I propped myself up in bed to read The Sewtionary. I flicked through the pages slowly at first, then turning faster and faster. I couldn’t believe it. The little genius that was Tasia had written a book absolutely crammed with tips, and it wasn’t all aimed at the beginner.

Little gems and sparkling jewels of expert information nestled beside basics. Really clever little details that could make a big difference. Had you ever heard of zero stitch? Did you know how to bar tack? Ever seen ten photos and three pages of instructions on belt loops? Me, neither! And I was only on page 22! She’s like a smuggler, I thought, excitedly. Sneaking intermediate information into a beginner sewing book.

This book tells you how hair clips can help your sewing (true!), how to work with hair canvas and horsehair braid (Tasia’s clearly obsessed by hair), quilting interlining, sewing a lapped seam, making a press cloth (my own tips here)… The list goes on and on. Guys, there are two pages devoted to pre-washing your fabric!

If only I’d read The Sewtionary before… Which of my makes could Tasia have helped?

V8548 coat

When I made the V8548 coat, I initially put my sleeve heads in the wrong way. That wouldn’t have happened if I’d referred to page 192 of Tasia’s book!


I loved making my two Archer shirts, but struggled with the sleeve plackets and wish I’d had Tasia’s three pages of illustrated instructions to follow.

So, I think you can see that I wholeheartedly recommend this book. I was sent a PDF copy to review but I am sooooo ordering a hard copy to sit beside my most-loved reference tool, The Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing.

Tasia has written a wonderful, wonderful book. Is this a future classic? Let it be so!

This entry was posted in sewing, sewing and knitting, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to An Open Letter To The Publisher of Sewtionary

  1. Miss J says:

    That’s a brilliantly written review, that book sounds like a must have. I’ll go check it out!

  2. I have been looking for which books to add to my groaning sewing book shelves but was a bit worried that this would be another book on how to do basics. Thank you for the review. I am off to add it to my wishlist. x

  3. Jenna says:

    I was just wondering if I needed ANOTHER sewing book when I only look at a couple of the ones I already have, but now it’s just gone on my Christmas list. Now, if I can only get through the next few months without it!!

  4. Nilla says:

    This is the best review I’ve read so far! 😀

  5. Housevrouw says:

    Love this post! You’re not just a talented seamstress, you’re also a great creative writer 🙂

  6. heathermltn says:

    I already have this treasure! But let me add that I also love reading your blog. Fantastic review and it warms my heart seeing women supporting women. That’s such a wonderful part of this community.

  7. Melanie says:

    What a great review. I wasn’t really “feeling” this book as I didn’t quite get the concept….but I really like what you’ve had to say…it seems like it’s really useful, especially for a newbie like me!

  8. Beth says:

    Reading that has made me feel very beginner-ish! I don’t know what 90% of the things you mention are! Must check out the book! 🙂

  9. Very timely here too. I am reading Gerties book for better sewing – yes I mean I am actually reading it cover to cover – so many brilliant things I did not know about altering vintage patterns, the heartache I could have saved. If only I had read it when my lovely neighbour bought it me nearly 20 months ago. This one is going on my Christmas wish list. Great review Jo xx

  10. ohsewsimple says:

    Thanks for your review on this book- I now know what to get my daughter for Christmas (and to put on my list too.)

  11. lovelucie1 says:

    Fabulous review! I’m requesting this for my Birthday!

  12. Aubergine Kenobi says:

    Dear Karen, this is the BEST review of this book I have read so far! You really have sold it for me!

  13. Tanya says:

    Lovely review, very funny. I pretty much rely on Reader’s Digest too and t’internet, and I must admit I wasn’t especially interested in this until your review. I wonder how many people, like me, you’ve swayed?

  14. Jo says:

    BY FAR the best review of this book I’ve seen! I’d been wondering why on earth I would bother getting it, and all of a sudden it feels like an absolute must-have!

  15. Katie says:

    Of all the reviews on this blog tour, yours has convinced me it’s a good buy. Getting a pro-looking belt loop has always eluded me! Onto the Xmas list I think,

  16. maevef2014 says:

    Karen, you may have changed my mind about this book. I had pondered buying it then read a review or some remarks of how it was very basic so decided against it. Now I’m not so sure. If someone of your sewing abilities thinks it’s good then maybe……. I also use the readers digest as my first stop for info.

  17. onejolie says:

    This is the second review that I’ve read and thought, wow, I could really use that information. I want to make a button-down shirt with sleeve plackets, but I’m scared because I’ve done neither. Now I’ll *have* to buy this book first!

  18. LOL!! I’ve my own copy in hand. Couldn’t wait to order, as soon as I read up on the preview. Undoubtedly, the very best sewing decision I’ve made! 😉

  19. Barbi says:

    By far, the best blog review of The Sewtionary yet, and I’ve been following them all. Tasia should send you a thanks because I was on the fence about buying before today. I particularly loved how you referenced your own projects. Well done! Can’t wait to get my copy now!

  20. Najah says:

    As soon as I’m done sewing a time machine, I will stash this book in its zippered pockets and come pick you up for a quick trip to our early sewing days. Thank you for the preview. I can’t wait to get a copy!

  21. HI . I have nominated you for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award. Please check out more information here:
    and let me know if you decide to participate! Thanks! 🙂 <3

  22. Rochelle New says:

    That’s it. I’m officially sold thanks to your rave review. Adding this book to my amazon wish list right now…

  23. Connie says:

    Ok I want the book now too. I’ve read other reviews and was considering it, now I am sold on it.

  24. Lyric says:

    I’ve got mine! This review has actually contributed to my looking at it for future projects.


  25. Amanda says:

    Great post! Will be on my Christmas list!

  26. Amanda says:

    Ps. No way you could improve on that powder blue coat! Ever!

  27. Claire says:

    Not for beginners! Awesome. Wonderful review 🙂

  28. Karen, you are a writing genius! Just superb and witty

  29. Love the review 😀 And it’s good to know it has cleverly snuck in intermediate stuff too. She’s a very talented woman 🙂
    I’m with Amanda though, no way you could improve on that blue coat *adores*

  30. Catherine says:

    i love my readers digest book and if you say that those two are on par, then heck! im gonna have to get serious about buying the Sewtionary!

  31. Joen says:

    Great review would love to have Sewtionary to my sewing reference library!

  32. tinygoldenpins says:

    You need to be hired by all the publishing companies. I HAD NO INTENTION OF ORDERING THIS BOOK AND I AM DOING IT TODAY!!!!


  33. Pingback: Nadelbernds September | nadelbernds*nähkästchen

  34. Joen says:

    Thanks for the review – I have the book on my wish list (i.e. Christmas list) I have order the Readers Digest Complete Guide to Sewing (found a great buy on a used copy) and cannot wait for its arrival. Love your Archer shirt – have this pattern and it is on my fall sewing list!

  35. Pingback: Sew: 2017 #fabricresolutions {WIN Weekly Prizes from Cora the Stash Management App} – Ask Sarah

  36. Pingback: #fabricresolutions | Cora - Sew Your Fabric Stash

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.