When I previously blogged about historybounding (the creation and wearing of historical garments in everyday wear), I featured the lovely and talented Bernadette Banner. Banner, a YouTube personality, is beloved within the online historybounding community so I jumped at the chance to review her book, Make, Sew and Mend: Traditional Techniques to Sustainably Maintain and Refashion Your Clothes.
Filled with lots of color photos and simple directions, Banner’s book includes lots of sewing basics while regularly tying it all back to traditional sewing methods. I’ve dabbled in a bit of beginner sewing and, as a book hoarder, I have a collection of sewing books and it’s pretty rare for any of them to include directions on hand sewing techniques since most modern sewists are expected to go straight to a machine for crafting and mending garments. However, this book is completely about the intricacies of hand sewing using the same stitches and techniques that seamstresses and tailors have been using for centuries. As a fan of hand sewing myself, I appreciated that.
As a person who thought she had a handle on the basics, I was pleasantly surprised to learn a bunch of tricks I’ll be employing in my next sewing project.
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Bernadette isn’t the only fan of historybounding that appears in this book. Readers also get to meet a diverse group of historical garment enthusiasts and learn more about their personal style and why historybounding appeals to them. I thought that was an especially lovely added touch.
Fun fact: I definitely didn’t know what a sewing thimble is actually for until I read this book. Wow. I might be a fool. (Side note: I hand sewed all of these little metal gears to a steampunk cosplay a few years ago and didn’t wear a thimble and my fingers hurt so bad I nearly cried. DANGIT.)
This deceptively simple sewing book is the perfect addition to the historical sewist’s library as well as those just getting into maintaining and mending their existing clothes. (Just ask my partner how many times I’ve resewn a button and patched a shirt for him.) I’d love to see some of her more advanced sewing techniques explained in future books.
Make, Sew and Mend is available on May 17, 2022.
I was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.