Book Review: You and Your Sewing Machine

You might think that You and Your Sewing Machine wouldn’t be for you because you don’t get down and dirty with your sewing machine, but you’d be wrong. This isn’t a manual on how to repair your sewing machine, but more of an informational guide to your sewing machine. It will help you better understand how it works and help you solve issues when it isn’t performing as it should.

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of


 There is a lot of helpful information in this book and before you again start thinking that this will be a boring, technical manual, I think you’ll find that You and Your Sewing Machine is a really interesting read.

First of all, I love it that Bernie uses the word “sewist” rather than “sewer” in the title. Just sounds so much more inclusive and elegant.

As Bernie explains in the Introduction, he has been a technician for over 40 years and has noticed that there is a very personal relationship between a sewist and his/her sewing machine. In the book he is trying to:

“help you gain a better understanding of your sewing machine – its needs and what it is trying to communicate to you.”

If you’ve been sewing on a particular machine for a long time, you’ll become attuned to its “everything is great and I’m loving stitching with you” noises and its “something doesn’t feel quite right and I need help” noises. This book will help you to notice when things aren’t right with your machine and explain how you can ensure that it is kept running smoothly and what to do when it isn’t. 

The book is divided into 3 sections: Getting to Know Your Sewing Machine, Maintaining Your Good Relationship, and Problems and How to Fix Them.

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of


In the first section, Bernie explains the differences between Manual, Electronic and Computerized sewing machines. I think many of us think of electronic and computerized sewing machines as being the same thing, but, as you’ll find out in You and Your Sewing Machine, there is a big difference. Bernie explains additional features on sewing machines and has a section on Questions to ask when buying a sewing machine at the end of this section, which I love! So handy!

In the second section, Bernie goes into extensive detail on sewing machine feet and when and when not to use them. I’m sure that many of us have never had anyone explain this to us before. I found this section very informative and know that I’ll be referring to it in the future.

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of


He continues on to explain about maintaining your machine so you can avoid expensive repairs. There are lots of photos showing you exactly how to clean various areas on your machine and when and where you should apply oil.

I know that most readers will find the last section on solving problems to be a lifesaver – or machine saver. Let’s face it, our machines don’t run perfectly all the time and this book is great reference for when things don’t go as we hoped. Even if this was the only section in the book that you ever looked at, it would be well worth buying this book! From tension issues to poorly wound bobbins, Bernie covers it all.

The last part of the You and Your Sewing Machine is a list of problems and possible causes and solutions. This guide will be something that you will constantly refer to when you encounter an issue with your sewing machine. 

The book is full of detailed photos and up-close shots so you can easily see the various parts and problems to which Bernie is referring.

What I really liked about this book was how the material was presented logically and in an easy to understand format. I like how Bernie explains how various parts on the sewing machine work so that you understand first and are then better able to determine what might cause a problem and how to fix it. I believe that understanding a sewing machine first is the best way to start off your relationship with it. If you don’t understand how tension works, you won’t know why it’s important to thread your machine with the presser foot up (in most cases).

Once you understand how your sewing machine operates, you’ll be better set up to keep it running smoothly.

For a closer look at You and Your Sewing Machine, click on the image below. 

If you are a true sewist, you’ll definitely want to have You and Your Sewing Machine in your library.


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