I love tips and tricks and when it comes to piecing, so I leapt at the chance to review Easy Precision Piecing by Shelley Scott-Tobisch on Search Press' new releases.
Shelley is a new quilter to me but she has many years experience of teachingand she and her husband Bernie run easyprecision.com which sells their classes, retreats, books and products related to precision piecing. I'm just reviewing the book and I'm concentrating on how many tips and tricks I can pick up and put into use!
You can see from the contents, it covers all the different elements that contribute to precision in detail. There are projects, six in total, but for me, they are a secondary feature of the book. This is a resource for people who want their seam allowances to measure a scant 1/4", always have their seams nest together neatly, cut fabric accurately and get neat points on every half square triangle. The layout is well organised and highly functional - there are lots of headings, extensive cross-referencing, TIP signposts for mini tips and Precision Piecing Key sections (see the headings below with the blue background) which highlight particularly useful information.
Most of the methods and tips are don't require special resources, but I was rather taken with the idea of using an applicator pen for starch. The Easy Press Pen mentioned is not something I could find here but I did find a refillable brush pen on a favourite UK website, Cultpens.com and I'm going to try this on my next foundation piecing project. Lots of the other equipment suggestions can easily be found at home - dry iron, double-sided tape, pencils, colour clips, lingerie mesh wash bag, plastic boxes and obviously a standard paintbrush brush will work for brushing liquid starch over seams too. I like ECOS Earth Friendly plant-based liquid starch.
I found this a gloriously geeky book, full of those little details where I thought, aha! What a great idea! I found some things that I knew and lots that I didn't, along with handy reminders on basics design ideas and organising methods. A quick example - the adage, 'the bigger the number, the bigger the needle' I knew in reference to sewing machine needles, but what I didn't know that 100/16 needle is 1mm in diameter, a 90/14 is 0.9mm and so on. My sewing mind is blown! The presentation is practical rather than pretty-pretty, with an emphasis on clear photographs and detailed instructions. I easily worked my way through the whole book- it ends with some handy tips on binding. There's no index at the back, but as the cross-referencing is so extensive, I didn't miss this!
The Appleyard quilt which features on the cover is my favourite project. It features more than 700 different prints and yet the colour wash effect is so gentle. The quilt projects use the quilt block bases which are a printed paper pull-out at the back of the book. These are a guide for fabric placement and pressing and reinforcing principles repeated throughout the book, so useful for a beginner quilter who wanted to have a practice run, but they are an extra rather than the core of the book.
Thank you to Search Press for sending me a free copy to review. As ever, all opinions are my own.