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The Art of Manipulating Fabric [Paperback]

Colette Wolff
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 33.95
Price: CDN$ 21.28 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Book Description

Oct. 1 1996

The possibilities for three-dimensional manipulation of fabric - gathering, pleating, tucking, shirring, and quilting woven materials - are seemingly endless. To describe them all would be to describe the entire history of sewing.

In The Art of manipulating Fabric, Colette Wolff has set herself just this task, and she succeeds brilliantly. Working from the simplest possible form - a flat piece of cloth and a threaded needle - she categorizes all major dimensional techniques, show how they are related, and give examples of variations both traditional and modern. The result is an encyclopedia of techniques that resurface, reshape, restructure and reconstruct fabric.

  • More than 350 diagrams support the extensive how-tos, organized into broad general categories, then specific sub-techniques
  • Handsome photos galleries showcase the breathtaking possibilities in each technique and aid visual understanding by emphasizing the sculptured fabric surface with light and shadow
  • Textile artists and quilters, as well as garment and home decor sewers, will expand their design horizons with the almost limitless effects that can be achieved


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From Amazon

Those who knit, crochet, or embroider have long had sources to which to turn for in-depth instructions on specific stitches and stitch combinations. Now there is such a reference for the sewer--an encyclopedic approach to gathering, shirring, ruffling, tucking, pleating, and quilting and their myriad variations. Filled with hundreds of diagrams and crisp black-and-white photos, this volume explains in detail how to achieve a tremendous range of three-dimensional fabric effects. This is not a book of particular projects; this is a book of instruction and inspiration for anyone who has ever wielded needle and thread. --Amy Handy

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
In the author's words, "this is a book of ideas about sewing cloth" but what it really is, is an awesome collection of information from a thousand different sources on the techniques sewers have used since fabric was invented, to change the surface of an initially flat textile. Wolff brings little techniques of fabric manipulation from the background to the spotlight by isolating each technique, cataloging its unique features, separating the technique from end product associations, and exploring the sculptural possibilities without regard to where application will be. For any home or professional sewers who currently (or hypothetically) maintain folders of "pleating ideas," "interesting darts," or "photos of ruffles" get this book, and fast. Save yourself the chore of assimilating all the diagrams and photos and captions because Wolff has done it so thoroughly you will find yourself engrossed just reading about the humble little fabric tuck. Granted, no technique by itself makes wearable art or couture clothing, but these are the manipulations that make up the experimental stuff on the runways and in the exclusive boutiques. Learn what they do to a plain textile and you're primed to exploit fabric, for whatever purposes your little heart desires. Wolff's chapters cover: controlled crushing (gathering, shirring), supplementary fullness (making ruffles, making flounces, making godets), systematic folding (pleating, smocking, tucking), filled reliefs (cording, quilting, stuffing), structured surfaces (darts), and mixed manipulations (combinations). If you're a collector of books on dyeing or embroidery or exquisite cut, you really owe it to yourself to add this viewpoint to your library. Read more ›
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-have for the serious sewing room! Sept. 10 1998
By Sharron
Format:Paperback
This book puts in one place all the different ways you know how to work fabric: pleats, gathers, darts, etc. All the little things you learned over the years and never got to categorize, plus a few new ones you didn't think of yet. This lady deserves a standing ovation for putting together what so many of us know, but never put to paper. The fact that all the work is done on white material adds to the ability to see exactly what she is doing; no prints or stripes to detract from the simplistic beauty of worked fabric. This book is good for any one, be you beginner or experienced sewing hand. It has, in a short 2 weeks, become one of my favorite books and earned the top shelf honors!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How many ways can you sculpt a piece of fabric? May 29 2003
Format:Paperback
Amazing! Colette Wolff has presented innumerable techniques in which simple fabric may be gathered, shirred, ruffled, flounced, given godets, pleats, smocked, tucked, corded, quilted, and stuffed, and how one may use these provocative and remarkable methods of sculpting fabric using combinations of the above.
In using simple white cotton muslin, Colette presents to the student a visualization of precisely what one may expect of the diverse manipulations of fabric. A seamstress may take a plain piece of fabric and transform it into a work of art. This book is for the student who desires to go beyond simple seams. Each section is explained comprehensively and given a distinct black and white photo so that one may ascertain the accuracy of one's project.
A must-have for the serious seamstress interested in artistic needlework. Happy sewing!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Clearly-writtena and well-illustrated, this book not only inspired a number of designs to be executed in fibre, but also in metals. A wood-working friend of mine borrowed it and is adapting some of the techniqiues to carving and inlay techniques. This is an excellent "how-to guide" that actively encourages the reader to apply and adapt these techniques to expand their range of capabilities.
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