Book Review: Press for Success

Author: Myrna Giesbrecht
Title: Press for Success: Secrets of Precise and Speedy Quiltmaking
Publisher: That Patchwork Place, 1996
52 pages; $12.95
(This book may be ordered, at a discount, from in association with Planet Patchwork)

Reviewed by Addy Harkavy

Press for Success: Secrets of Precise and Speedy Quiltmaking, from the Joy of Quilting series by That Patchwork Place, deserves a permanent place on every quilter's reference shelf. Myrna Giesbrecht, who's written three other well received quilting books, has done a fine job of demystifying pressing while providing information that can help any quilter do a professional job on virtually any pressing challenge.

Giesbrecht's introduction takes us from a description of seams and seam allowances to differentiating pressing from ironing -- an important distinction. She moves on to dispel six pressing fallacies that have plagued the quilting world ever since I can remember. Her reassuring refutations of dogma help lay the foundations for planned pressing.

Press for Success is full of great descriptions, tips, easy-to-follow instructions, and helpful schematics. Giesbrecht's upbeat tone and articate presentation are sure to inspire confidence in even the most timid beginner.

Topics include: Pressing equipment, iron care, pressing as you go, prewashing/storing, pressing yardage, pressing seams, what to do w/ seam allowances, speed piecing and pressing, pressing plans (and this is one of the most useful parts of the book!), finger pinning, etc.

The pressing plan concept is well developed and explained and covers most types of situations any will encounter from bias edges, straight-line designs, curved edges, diamonds and hexagons, segmented blocks and, yes, designs in which many seams meet at the center. Her section on understanding pressing plans makes it easy to develop a plan for any contingency quilters might encounter. The general explanation -- on page 16 -- is so good that it's worth photocopying and posting above an ironing board or on a sewing room bulletin board.

Another section, entitled "Understanding Traffic Patterns" is invaluable in developing a pressing plan and in helping blocks and entire quilts to "read" as intended. This is particularly helpful in understanding the block setting and borders section.

A gallery section shows fronts and backs of quilts, and a section on pressing plan exercises and solutions puts the rest of the book into useful context.

Press for Success is a book not to miss whether you're making four-patches, saw-tooth borders, tumbling blocks, eight-point stars, or sashed blocks, whether you are a beginning or advanced quilter, or whether you're looking for good books for your reference shelf.

(c)Copyright 1996 by Addy Harkavy. All rights reserved.



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