Complete Guide to Needlework

Thursday’s Book Review:
Complete Guide to Needlework
by Reader’s Digest

Book Cover

Book Cover

4 stars = Satisfactory

A complete guide to the many arts of needlework, including embroidery, crocheting, knitting, quilting, and lace-making.

This book is both comprehensive and easy to understand, making it a rarity among textbooks. Suitable for dressmakers, quilters, and historic costumers, it covers a wide array of needlework arts and each subject is presented with clear instructions and step-by-step illustrations.


Instructions For Blanket-Stitching ~ Reader's Digest, © 1979

The chapters on embroidery have been quite useful to me. I taught myself to embroider many years ago using this book, and I glance through it whenever I need a refresher. There are several chapters on lace-making, as well, which should provide hours of entertainment for historic costumers who want to make their own trims.

Bobbin Lace

Bobbin Lace ~ Reader's Digest, © 1979

The book was published in 1979, so the photographs are obviously dated. Not many people are into macramé these days, or appliquéing their maxi-dresses with needle-lace butterfly yokes, so some of the projects might not appeal to everyone. The instructions themselves, however, are quite sound and still applicable today.

Dated Illustrations

Dated Illustrations ~ Reader's Digest, © 1979

If you can overlook the unfashionable projects and illustrations, you’ll find quite a lot of useful information in this book. It’s a great textbook for all manner of needle arts. I give it four out of five stars, simply because the dated photos and projects are unappealing. Otherwise, it’s a fantastic instruction manual.

Buy Now: Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Needlework

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Have you used this book to teach yourself embroidery, crocheting, or any other needlework? What do you think of the book—is it useful or outdated?

About Lisha Vidler

I am a sewing instructor living near Memphis, Tennessee.
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2 Responses to Complete Guide to Needlework

  1. lizy says:

    The Complete guide to Needlework has taught me everything I know and more.
    I have learned to knit, crochet, embroider and am now learning needlepoint.
    The illustrations are very clear.
    I don’t mind the out-dated patterns as they are becoming quite popular now!

    • Lisha Vidler says:

      I agree, it’s an excellent book to learn on! If you’re looking for additional embroidery stitches, try the Embroidery and Crazy Quilt Stitch Tool by Judith Baker Montano, which is very easy to use and contains a number of stitches I’d never seen before.

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