Sewing 911

Thursday’s Book Review

Sewing 911: Practical and Creative Rescues for Sewing Emergencies
by Barbara Deckert

Book Cover

Book Cover ~ Taunton Press, © 2001

4 stars = Satisfactory

A self-help guide to fixing all sorts of sewing mishaps and accidents. It gives 280 tricks for mending things that could otherwise prove disastrous.

Introduction; 1. Accidental Fabric Injuries; 2. Shortages; 3. Defective Design Details; 4. Fitting Flaws; 5. Surface Problems; Appendixes A-D; Index.

First off, I like that this book is spiral bound. You can prop it open on your sewing table and read the instructions as you mend your sewing catastrophes.


Spiral Binding

Spiral Binding ~ Taunton Press, © 2001


It covers a wide range of sewing mishaps: flawed or stained fabric, accidentally putting a hole in your garment, running out of fabric or notions, bungled construction details, garments that are ill-fitting, accidents with the iron, and more. It gives step-by-step instructions for fixing all of these problems, with sidebars featuring additional tips. The writing is clear and concise, easy to read, and has dashes of humor scattered about.



Mending a Tear ~ Taunton Press, © 2001

Some of the solutions require a great deal of design ability, not to mention taste. The author suggests inserting a band of fabric or trim to a garment that’s too small, for example, which might look trendy if done well, but has the potential for a homemade disaster. Such a repair would have to be undertaken with extreme caution and a good eye for design.


Lace-Banded Skirt

Lace-Banded Skirt ~ Taunton Press, © 2001


Aside from that, I did not like the solutions it provided for certain problems. For fixing a large tear, for instance, it suggests stitching the rip into a narrow seam. I tried this and it looked terrible! Even in the provided how-to photos, the mend is obvious. Another method taught is to create a patch out of extra scraps of fabric. For a small hole on a very busy print, this might work. But for the example shown, and for most other fabrics, the patch is unmistakable. These kinds of mends would only be usable by someone who is incredibly thrifty and who doesn’t mind visible repairs on her clothing. They certainly would be useless for anyone making brand new clothes for herself or a client.

Also, many of the illustrations are dated. This eventually happens to any book that features modern, trendy clothing, but it’s still disappointing.


Dated Fashions

Dated Fashions ~ Taunton Press, © 2001


While this book has a great deal of good advice, not everything in it is worthwhile. Some tips must be undertaken with caution, and some provide hideous results. Even so, the vast majority of the advice is creditable. This is definitely a book to keep on hand. You’ll pray you never need to use it—because who wants to accidentally cut a hole in their fabric?—but you’ll be grateful you have it on your bookshelf should a sewing emergency arise.

I give this book four out of five stars and definitely recommend it.

Buy Now: Sewing 911

(Yesterday’s Thimble is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. Basically, this means if you click a link to an item that Amazon sells, and then buy it, I earn a small fee that helps support this website.)


Have you used this book to mend a sewing catastrophe? Were the results satisfactory? Tell us about it!

About Lisha Vidler

I am a sewing instructor living near Memphis, Tennessee.
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