Book Review: Stitch – Step by Step Stitch-stepbystep image Full view

Book Review: Stitch – Step by Step

There is one particular brightly coloured book that I have admiring in bookshops for quite some time, and a few months ago I was delighted to find a copy  had been donated to the Stitch and Craft Library.  I grabbed it immediately and soon realised it would make for a great review. The book I’m talking about is Stitch – Step by Step, by authors Maggi Gordon and Ellie Vance.


Stitch-stepbystep imageStitches in the photograph (Left to Right, Top to bottom)
Continental Tent Stitch, Diagonal Tent Stitch, Half-Cross Stitch
Gobelin Stitch, Encroaching Gobelin Stitch, Cushion Stitch


Firstly, let’s talk about the cover.  This is one of a series of ‘Step by Step’ books published by Dorling Kindersley Limited; This is Stitch (blue cover), the others are titled Sew (pink cover), Knit (purple cover), Crochet (turquoise cover) and Quilting (red cover).

The book is really modern and colourful throughout and it makes you want to just get started and to have a go at all the different stitches included (there are over 200!).  It starts off with an excellent chapter on all the tools and materials you need to accomplish what is in the book, and explains everything really clearly.  I found the section on threads and yarns really informative with regards to which to choose for what sort of stitch.

The following chapter is a hugely useful photo gallery of all the stitches in the book, so if there’s something in particular you want to learn you can skip right to it. You can also use this chapter to quickly remind yourself of what a particular stitch looks like.  There’s a huge variety of stitches covered in the book, from surface embroidery to openwork, smocking, beadwork, needlepoint and Florentine work which was the one that particularly interested me.

The section following the photo guide is quite a short one about the embroidery basics, i.e. how to get started if you are a beginner.  There is a similar beginner’s section before the chapter on needlepoint, with information on getting started working with needlepoint designs.

The majority of the book works through each of the different types of stitching mentioned above, going step by step with clear descriptions and multiple photos for each stitch.

Nearer the back of the book there is also a section on finishing your work, again with plenty of photos.

I found the variety of content brilliant and the book is really informative – I went straight for the section on Needlepoint designs as it’s something I am interested in learning more about.  Within 5 minutes, I had learnt that there are at least 3 different ways to do a diagonal stitch, and in 30 minutes, I knew how to sew each of them, and the difference between them and when each would be used.  I spent the next few hours trying out some of the other stitches in this section and had a really enjoyable afternoon doing so.

I would really recommend this book for its depth of content if you are someone who already likes stitching or is interested in learning.  There is plenty for beginners, and Stitch –Step By Step is also wonderful if you are an improver looking for something new to have a go at or just want to remind yourself how to do a particular stitch.  I think I am going to continue creating samples of all the stitches for my own development and reference. This is one of those books that I think would be a very useful addition to my bookshelf so I will be putting it on my birthday list!

You can find Stitch – Step by Step and many other craft resources and patterns in the Stitch & Craft Library

Reviewed by Jo, who is an avid cross-stitcher, in addition to managing the Stitch and Craft Library.

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