Book reviews

Threads
“If you love fabric, you'll love Julie Parker’s meticulously researched and prepared Fabric Reference Series. Each book is thoroughly cross-referenced, making it easy to find information about a fabric’s characteristics, how it’s produced, and tips on its use for home sewers. The information is served up in small, easily digested bites, and combined with delicious swatches to give you a thorough understanding of the fabric category at hand.”

Machine Knitting News
“A set of very readable, useful books. ... Many not-so-well-written ‘trade manuals’ run into the three figures if they include samples, so these are certainly being pushed to the front of my birthday ‘wish list.’ They would make a great buy for a club library and excellent gifts for any textile student.”

Weaver’s
“Julie Parker’s background is in editing and she puts her skills to good use in making the text absolutely clear. If you’ve ever felt a little overwhelmed in a good fabric store, these books are for you.”

Creative Machine Newsletter
“I found the swatches to be very helpful. Explanations in other textile books that have eluded me before were suddenly clear, and the swatches made the difference. ... The writing style is easy to follow, accessible and entertaining, not at all dry or academic.”

Vogue Patterns
“Each spiral-bound volume in this three-book series tells you everything you ever wanted to know about wool, silk and cotton. Includes over 30 different swatches of each fiber. A must for the sewing library.”

Shuttle, Spindle & Dyepot
“Almost every fiber enthusiast is likely to confess that ‘Please touch’ is her/his favorite directional sign, and Julie Parker’s Fabric Reference Series, which also includes volumes on silk and cotton, provides the reader with a carte blanche invitation to do just that. ... Fiber lovers, enthusiasts, and knowledge seekers of all kinds will find this volume (and the others too) useful as well as fun to read and own.”

Handwoven
“Fascinating information about commercial silk fabrics accompanies the 32 swatches in this handy reference, and tips for sewing and care are included with each swatch. Written to help the home sewer judge fabric before buying, this book should also be useful to anyone weaving or printing on silk.”

Small Press
“What a wonderful book! Everything anyone could want to know about wool fabrics, from their original ‘wearer’ to the recommended cleaning process. The book provides sample swatches of good size, as well as hints about handling the vagaries of different fabrics and to what use each is best suited. There is a useful bibliography, an index of sheep breeds as well as the usual index and an extensive glossary of wool terms. A clear, simple guide in a well-organized form, this is the basic reference for all who work with wool.”

Shuttle, Spindle & Dyepot
“Part encyclopedia, part swatchbook, All About Cotton is a beautifully produced, self-published book that explores the cotton fiber and surveys a rich selection of fabrics. ... Clearly the target audience of this book is clothing designers and anyone who sews, but All About Cotton would be a valuable addition to the bookshelf of the serious fiber artist who wants to learn more about fabrics. Moreover, writers of self-published books, monographs, newsletters, or patterns as well as those planning such a project should look towards this book as a fine example of what an individual can accomplish with desktop publishing tools.”

Creative Machine Newsletter
“I can’t think of a more pleasant task than pasting in the 35 fabric samples that come with this book. The goal of the book is to acquaint you with all the properties of wool. Each page is laid out with space for the 2.5” x 4” sample, a description of that type of wool, variations, a checklist of sewing difficulty, suggested looseness of fit and style, approximate cost per yard, what to expect during construction (e.g., ‘cut single layer’), wearability, pressing tips, suggested care, and where to find it. Boxes scattered throughout tell about fabric construction, pressing, preshrinking, and much more. At the end are mail-order sources, room for your own samples, glossary of wool terms, glossary of finishes, bibliography and index. This is a near-perfect book, without which I can’t imagine sewing. I also love her All About Cotton and All About Silk. The samples are worth the extra bucks.”

Whole Earth
“All about cotton? Close enough for me. Like Julie Parker’s other Fabric Reference books, this one explores the fiber’s transformation to fabric, its properties, uses, history, assets and limitations. The author has woven in enough trivia to satisfy the most ardent fiber-fact junkie (poplin was named for Avignon, the 14th-century “papal city”; oxford cloth came from a Scottish mill whose other fabrics were named Cambridge, Harvard, and Yale). The book reviews 42 different fabrics for individual characteristics, cost, wearability, and care. Best of all, the book can be ordered with swatches of the 42 fabrics, to attach to the pages where they’re discussed. A treat for the eyes, fingers, and understanding.”

Sew News
“A comprehensive resource you’re sure to want in your home library. All aspects of wool are covered, including its history, characteristics, specialty hair fibers, types of wool, weaves and yarns, and working with wool.”

Rags, Quarterly Review of Costume, Clothing & Ethnic Textile Books
“These books are the definitive texts for describing and discussing anything you want to know about silk or cotton, such as how the fibers are formed, fiber characteristics, and a brief history of each fiber. They come with pre-cut 2.5” x 4” swatches which the reader affixes to the designated pages. What could seem like a chore actually becomes an enjoyable and very educational experience. Two whole pages of text are dedicated to each fabric and after an in-depth definition, they are rated in numerous categories like ease of sewing, suggested styles, care and fit, wearability, cost per yard and sources. You’ll even learn what to expect from each fabric, such as ‘stretches and tears easily,’ ‘won’t hold a crease,’ ‘machine eats fabric’ and many more. The author, a former newspaper editor turned fabric junkie, has done her homework and created two books that are masterpieces visually and educationally. They are a definite must for every sewer's library and have much to offer whether you are a beginner or advanced.”

Vogue Patterns
“At last, there are two resource books available to the home sewer that provide everything you need to know about cotton and silk. ...Easy to use and a pleasure just to leaf through, these two books are definitely worthy of being included in your home library.”

Handwoven
“From batik to voile, 42 cotton fabrics are described in this informative reference book. A swatch of each fabric type accompanies information on its origin and manufacture, sewing and fitting characteristics, care, cost and wearability. Cotton’s assets, such as absorbency, and its liabilities, such as susceptibility to mildew, are discussed. A short essay links the cultivation and processing of cotton to the history of the United States through the American Revolution, the Civil War, the Industrial Revolution and the current era. Glossaries of cotton terms and finishes, a list of the word for cotton in 10 other languages, and mail-order sources are included.”

Northwest Fiber Network
“Parker has done a superb job combining all of her skills to present valuable information from the consumer’s point of view in clear, uncomplicated language.”

Sewer's SourceLetter
“Like its predecessor, All About Cotton is superbly organized and packed with useful information presented in non-technical language. I consider both books to be the best of their type.”

Sewer's SourceLetter
"Unlike many textile books, All About Silk is understandable and not at all dry. The attractive layout of the book should win an award for clarity and ease of use."

Threads
“A new concept in sewing books is not easy to come by, but Julie Parker has one and it's a winner. Her All About Silk includes real samples of 32 different silk fabrics, which clarifies in the most obvious way what a matelasse or a peau de soie actually looks and feels like. ... Great idea!”

Northwest Fiber Network
“This thorough and well-organized handbook will prove valuable to anyone working with silk, whether focusing on clothing design or construction.”

Sew News
“Information on silk’s history, the silk industry and silk’s allure and limitations are included along with some details about the Bombyx mori (silk moth), a creature whose behavior makes it as singular as the fabrics made from its cocoons. The 32 swatches give you a chance for hands-on evaluation of the various silk types before seeking one for your next silk creation. ... A readable and enjoyable exploration from the ‘soft-as-down’ habutai to the slubs and texture of douppioni.”

Costume Society of America
“Something about this book drew me into opening the cover, and from that point on I was hooked! This is no ordinary fabric dictionary. It is a visually beautiful book, enticing the reader with a clear layout, interesting graphics, and best of all, large, beautiful fabric swatches!”

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