Review: All About Machine Arts

All about Machine Arts: Decorative Techniques from A to ZAll About Machine Arts
by Sew News

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

All About Machine Arts / 1-57120-227-7

When I bought my embroidery machine, I also bought up pretty much every embroidery-related book that was recommended to me on Amazon. I was a little disappointed to learn that "All About Machine Arts" wasn't an exclusively embroidery book - until I opened it and started reading.

This book is *incredibly* comprehensive and helpful. I learned more about machine embroidery techniques and accessories than I did from the other dozen or so embroidery books I purchased. There's a huge wealth of information to be had here for sewing techniques as well - I've been quilting for years and there's stuff in here that I've never seen or used before, which is extremely exciting. There's also a lot of serger-related material, too, which wasn't too useful for me (I don't own a serger), but was easy to skip over to the quilting and embroidering and sewing techniques.

There's so much to love about this book - every page has half a dozen color pictures illustrating the techniques. In the section on foams and toppers, for instance, (material used between the cloth and the embroidery thread to give the final design 'lift' and definition), there are several "with" and "without" pictures showing the differences in technique. There are a lot of good tips and tricks offered, and very rarely does the information feel obvious or like "filler" material. What I like most about this book is the way all the techniques are combined and interchanged to create something beautiful - embroidery is used on quilting blocks; decorative sewing is used to finish the sides of an embroidery work; and embellishments are added subtly to just about everything. The whole feel is very holistic and brings together a variety of techniques to create simple, beautiful things.

I really can't think of anything critical to say about this book, except that maybe some of the techniques won't be so easy to perform on the cheaper, hobbyist machines (and how many hobbyists own a full-fledged serger along with the sewing machine and embroidery machine?), but that won't stem your enjoyment of this comprehensive book. If you're a quilter, I'd recommend buying this in conjunction with "The Quilter's Companion"; if you're an embroidery hobbyist, I'd recommend "Embroidery Machine Essentials" as a companion to this book (although there is a lot of overlap, naturally).

~ Ana Mardoll

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