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SEW ... The Garment-Making Book of Knowledge

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Meet the Author

Hey there, can you introduce yourself?

Medium barbaraemodi 2017

I am a Halifax Nova Scotia (that's in Canada) sewing teacher and writer. I have taught sewing extensively in Canada, the US and Australia am a past contributing editor for Threads magazine and have written for many other sewing publications.

That's my official background but really I am just a person who was born into a strong sewing culture and has sewn most days for the last 50 years. Sewing occupies my mind constantly and I am always trying to figure out a better and easier way to do the kind of day-to-day sewing folks do in their normal lives.


Tell us a bit about the book?

This book was my opportunity to share what I have learned from all the sewing I have done and what other sewers, including those in my family, have taught me. The subtitle of the book is "What your mother would teach you about sewing if your mother could sew" and that about says it. The book is a collection of handy hints and lessons of experience. Some reviewers have said it is like having a sewing teacher in the house or that this is the book they wished they had had when they started sewing. That's sort of what I intended. In each chapter I also have a couple of garment-making techniques like how to lay out so stripes will match, how to sew a fail proof V neckline and how to make a super easy patternless zipper pocket.


What was the inspiration behind it?

This all started one night when I was reading some sewing blogs. I remember one project and the new sewer had struggled with hemming her coat. It was in wool melton and the hem was bulky. I looked at her picture and I thought to myself - there is a trick that would fix that - but I also knew that the pattern instructions just didn't have that trick in them. So right then and there I decided to write a book for new and returning sewers with some of that information, the really important stuff that makes all the difference but you wouldn't know about if someone didn't tell you.


Which is your favourite project?

I pretty much love all my projects because I love everything about sewing. If I had to choose one it might be how to match the fabric pattern perfectly on shirt pocket. It's my own method, so it is dead easy, but every time I give someone a shirt with the pocket matching like this I am just so pleased with myself. I really wanted to share that how-to.


What is your craft space like?

Ha. Because sewing and writing about sewing is always going on in my head my whole house is kind of one big sewing space. I have taken over the entire basement of my house as an official sewing area but I also have sewing books and notebooks in every other room and often set up a few machines on my dining room table too because the dog likes to lie on her bed there on sunny days. Visitors have noted that in the winter they see serger tails on the snowbanks outside my front door. My sewing life is not very well contained.


Have you always been creative?

Completely. I am a compulsive maker. My mother tells me that she lost me once when I was one - and found me sitting quietly behind the living room curtains unpicking the hem. I have done a lot of reverse sewing since then too.


When did you first start crafting?

Yup. It was a yellow flannelette night gown for my Barbie when I was 8 with blanket stitching around the neckline and hem and flowers stencilled down the front with fabric paint. Once I made that nightgown I was gone and more or less neglected other activities after that, including basics like learning my times tables and parallel parking.


Who are your crafty heroes?

Nancy Zeiman was a giant. My household came to a standstill when her show came on PBS when my kids were little. Nancy made you feel you could do anything and she was so calm. It was a hard year when we lost her.


Where do you find inspiration?

Other sewers. Social media is so important. I am so impressed by this new generation of sewing men and women and I love indie patterns. Seeing what other people are making just sets me on fire. I use Instagram a lot @bemodi and I get a lot of inspiration there too.


What's next for you?

I would like to write another book. I had a lot of general sewing thoughts to get off my chest and this first book did that for me. An attitude to sewing and empowerment as a creator of your own clothing was the theme of this book and it felt so good to write it.

However there are so many detailed techniques I would still like to share and I am thinking that another book full of those might be useful to folks.

Publisher's Description

Experienced sewing instructor and blogger Barbara Emodi shares her sewing wisdom to help readers get started, get started back up, or hone their existing garment-sewing skills. Not a sewing reference book as much as a book of experience, this book offers Barbara's thoughts, tips, and tricks on the benefits of sewing, the importance of fit, basic techniques, available tools, patterns, and materials, and so much more.

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