Have you got your hands on a copy of The Sewtionary yet? It is a a new publication that is quickly becoming a necessary reference book in every modern sewist’s arsenal of sewing tools. It is written by Tasia, of Sewaholic Patterns, who, as I’m sure you all know, is a fellow Canadian sewist and entrepreneur who I much admire. When Tasia asked me to be part of her Sewtionary Blog Tour, I was thrilled to join in!
So, in case you don’t already know her, let me introduce you to Tasia! She is the designer and mastermind behind the gorgeous Sewaholic patterns which are, invariably, classic and easy-to-wear designs with careful pattern drafting and clear, well-thought out instructions. Matt and I had the pleasure of meeting Tasia just a couple weeks ago while she was on a Vancouver Island holiday. We were inspired to no end by her enthusiasm for sewing and her business!
The Sewtionary: An A to Z Guide to 101 Sewing Techniques and Definitions, is exactly the sort of book you might expect from the woman behind such successful patterns – it is beautiful, easy-to-use (the spiral binding allows it to lay flat on the sewing table), well organized, and wonderfully logical. I’ve interviewed Tasia about her new book so that you can learn a little more about it before acquiring one for yourself (head to the bottom of the post for a giveaway of a printed copy!).
Can you summarize the purpose and content of your book and how you came to write the Sewtionary?
I was approached by F+W Media about the possibility of turning the Sewtionary page on my blog into a book. Of course I was thrilled about the idea when I first received the email! I often read books that have very good tutorials, or useful tips, but then when it’s actually time to sew a garment using the technique, I can’t remember which book had the info. The purpose of the Sewtionary is to be a sewing dictionary, an easy to use alphabetical book that makes it easy to find what you’re looking for. As well as demonstrations, I also wanted to include WHY you might want to know this skill, and examples of when it’s used. Instead of trying to have something from each letter, I picked what I felt were the most important 101 techniques and organized them from A to Z. I wanted to have all real fabric examples in the photos, instead of diagrams, so it would easy to follow along at home. Because it’s a reference book, it features a coil binding so it can lie flat when you work. (Usually I weigh down other books with my phone or a stapler or something to keep it open, and end up bending the spine.) I wanted it to be a very useful book in all aspects, from the content and images to the physical book design.
When writing your Sewtionary, what areas of the process most surprised or challenged you?
I definitely underestimated how much time it would take to sew all of those samples! There are literally thousands of samples in the book, one for every single photo. Plus the garments! For the step-out samples that I had to cut or sew during a demo, I made extras in case I screwed up or in case we need to retake the shot. And there were some samples that didn’t photograph well that I had to remake for a reshoot. That was surprising, the sheer amount of time it took to sew everything, and a good reminder to always allow extra time for new or unknown projects. The other thing that surprised me was how many people are involved in writing a book! I had an editor, a tech editor, a book designer, photographers, and of course my own writing and sewing, with Caroline’s and Corinne’s help. So many people review and edit the material, it’s an amazing amount of work. It’s given me a new respect for the book publishing industry.
Who do you imagine will find your Sewtionary most invaluable as a sewing room resource and how do you imagine it to be used?
I bet some people will read it cover to cover, just to see what’s inside! That’s what I would do if I had just bought it. I think it will be most useful later on though, when someone needs a tutorial on bound buttonholes, wants to know what a godet is, or needs to look up different seam finishes. That’s when the A-Z format will be really helpful. I’d love to see it used in a classroom setting, especially at the high school level.
What feedback about your book have you found to be most rewarding?
So far, the number one comment is that it’s so beautiful and there are so many pictures! People are loving the format of the book, especially the coil binding.
I found it very clever and also stylish how you incorporated samples sewn using your sewing patterns throughout the book – do you have plans to display these finished garments on your blog?
Some of them, yes! The border print Cambie Dress is so pretty I might use it for fresh photos on the shop page.
And, of course, do you have plans to write another book soon?
Not soon, that’s for sure! It took nearly a year from start to finish for the Sewtionary book, including writing, sewing, and editing, so it would be a while before another book would be a possibility. I’d love to wait and see if this book does well before starting the process over again. I’d also want to have a really good idea, something fresh and new, and right now I don’t have anything in my mind as good as the Sewtionary concept. It’s so rewarding to see the book out in the world now, so I could see another book in my future some day!
Tasia and her publisher have kindly offered a printed copy of the Sewtionary as a giveaway on our blog. Enter the contest by commenting on this post for your chance to win the book (Please comment about the Sewtionary – what skills do you hope to learn from it?)! And head to the Sewaholic store to buy your own (signed) copy if you don’t want to wait for the winner to be drawn :P.
The give-away will end on Wednesday, Sept. 17th. The winner will be drawn randomly from the comments on this post. Good luck!
Here is a schedule of the rest of the book tour – follow the links on the listed dates to read more about the book, enjoy tutorials and projects related to the Sewtionary and have the chance to enter other giveaways!
- Wednesday, September 10th: Thread Theory Blog
- Thursday, September 11th: Miss Crayola Creepy
- Friday, September 12th: Coletterie
- Monday, September 15th: City Stitching with Christine Haynes
- Tuesday, September 16th: Tilly and the Buttons
- Wednesday, September 17th: Madalynne
- Thursday, September 18th: Closet Case Files
- Friday, September 19th: By Gum, By Golly
- Monday, September 22nd: Lladybird
- Tuesday, September 23rd: True Bias
- Wednesday, September 24th: Four Square Walls
- Thursday, September 25th: Ada Spragg
- Friday, September 26th: Did You Make That?