The Sewing Bible by Ruth Singer – a review

Though I can remember the last time I felt like jumping up and down, the reason was not a craft book.

I counted the days and tried to occupy the space in my brain where the info about this book was locked so the wait would be bearable. I hoped it would be as good as promised and I forgot to be afraid I might be disappointed.

“This book is what I wanted when I started to sew, and what I needed when I got better at sewing and wanted to learn more” says the author in her Introduction. I couldn’t agree more. For me too, this is the kind of book I would have used as a pillow should I have discovered it some four years ago and still today there are some techniques I always wanted to learn how to do but never had the patience to read the instructions put online( I am a sucker for paper, yes I am).

And I like her writing style. I really do and I wish she put more text in it. I am sure she has lots to say, lots of opinions about these techniques and the fabrics used, and the sewing rules you should break.

The instructions are very clear and you definitely get what you should do without reading the text four times and moving the book at weird angles. What I did not like so much was the fabric choice in many of the how-to pages (like the self-bound seam at page 39: you have a lot of turning, cutting and sewing over a narrow seam allowance and your fabric choice is a red and yellow cherries print – hard to see the seams and the process itself).

Also, I didn’t like it where pages were filled with pieces of fabric or thread bobbins just to occupy the space – leave me the white space, don’t confuse me.

But what I absolutely loved about it was the fair and modest way of describing tools and fabric, I liked her “buy the best you can afford” and “make friends with a local sewing machine repair shop keeper” kind of advice. And I do respect she didn’t give me thread wax brands or preached about the best chalk in town.

I learned the basics of both hand and machine sewing from my grandmother – she used an old “foot powered” Singer sewing machine and she talked about sewing in the same down to earth way Ruth Singer does. I also use pieces of soap instead of chalk (I mentioned it before in my against the rules non-bias binding tape tutorial), natural beeswax to treat thread I use in book binding projects and I do believe it is not as much your sewing machine as it is your patience with it.

Would I recommend it? I surely would. It’s a book that deserves to be on your book shelf. And do lend it sometimes to your best friend, sewing should be shared 🙂

Photos from Ruth Singer’s flickr.

  • i’ve been thinking about getting this book as i love Ruth’s flickr stream – i think you’ve sold me on it!

    and tbh photo’s of bobbins and buttons make me happy so that shouldn’t be a problem for me!

    • Sky

      Hehe, In that case happy reading! 🙂
      (And thank for the comment too!)

  • ana

    For a moment I thought that was you on the cover 🙂
    Any chance this will enspire YOU enough to write one? (blink-blink)

    • Sky

      Hehe, need a few more crafty disasters for that. (And I have some stories to tell about that too:) But thanks for thinking so highly of me – blink blink back, i raise you a smile.

  • Jo

    Hi,

    I’m interested in buying this book… thanks for the review.. however.. i’m just wondering what measurement unit does this book use? cm or inch?

    Thanks.

    • Sky

      Hello,

      Thanks for the comment:) The author uses inches as a measurement unit.

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  • I bought this book awhile back and it is the best book for simplifying sewing that I have ever read. For a beginner I would highly recommend it as a basis for learning sewing.