Amy Karol‘s book Bend-The-Rules Sewing comes out today, congratulations Amy! I was lucky enough to get a copy a little early, and I’m very glad I did. This book is for those who are completely new to sewing as well as those who know how to sew but could do with being a little bit more relaxed about it all. Amy really wants you to love sewing, and to come to have a fun and relaxed time sewing.
The first chapters start with the basics and tell you all about what you can expect and what supplies you might need (and what they are for) in a friendly and chatty tone, it’s really like a friend is telling you how it’s done. I appreciate all the care given to explaining things in a way that gives you the norm – what size sewing machine needle to use if you have no idea what you might need, how to find and understand the markings on the end of a bolt of fabric, what kind of thread to choose, what fabric widths are normal, what exactly “right sides together” means, how to sew a seam.
She takes time to talk about sewing machines, what you want to look for, where to buy them. (You can read about what machines she uses in the FAQ on her site.) She covers some things that made me cheer – why she doesn’t like interfacing and what to use instead, very detailed instructions on inserting a zipper, making your own bias tape (which will look way better than what you can buy in an average fabric store) and that it’s ok to stitch two things together without pinning them first. Amy covers everything else you might need as well, hand stitching including closures and tidy decorative stitches. She also talks about fabric paints and creating patterns using freezer paper. Instructions are accompanied by clear hand drawn illustrations.
The projects are are small and charming, all things you want for yourself and would make fantastic gifts. There are a bunch of bags – a zip pouch, basic tote (with interior pocket), wallet and three handbags. Dog collars and a kitty bed for the pets. Projects for the home include coasters, napkins, placemats, a tea cozy, table runner and two kinds of curtains. There is a lap quilt that looks like a lot more work than it is, and a pillow three ways. Amy is big on aprons, and appropriately there is a section on aprons including basic (from a tea towel), vintage and a section on making apron pockets.
The book includes a bunch of adorable things to make for children, my favorite being a puppet theater with a matching case. A smock, bib, woodland elf hat, simple jacket and soft turtle are all cute but not cutesy. All the patterns have hand illustrated instructions and include color photography of finished products. Those projects that need a pattern have easy to photocopy pages in the back with increase percentages included.
As someone who has studied sewing I love the relaxed nature of the projects. And I have to say, I’d give this book to someone new to sewing well before I’d give them a sewing reference book.