Not Martha

bend-the-rules sewing

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.

· comments [23] · 06-19-2007 · categories:books · craft · sewing ·

23 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Heather // Jun 19, 2007 at 3:54 pm

    Yay! thanks for the inside peek, I have been looking at this book on Amazon for a while. I was afraid to reserve it without knowing what was inside. You just made my day!

  • 2 Gracie // Jun 19, 2007 at 5:42 pm

    Ohh great book! I need something like that as well.


  • 3 andrea // Jun 19, 2007 at 6:20 pm

    i made up my mind. after reading your post i think this book is exactly what i have been looking for and worth importing it – i`m in brazil.

  • 4 Joyful Abode // Jun 19, 2007 at 7:17 pm

    Wow, this looks fabulous! I always like to touch books first… I wonder if it’s in Barnes and Noble stores yet.

  • 5 megan // Jun 19, 2007 at 8:30 pm

    I suspect it will be at B&N, if not: it’s paper back and about magazine sized, and about as thick as two magazines. The sides of the cover fold back inside, rather like a dust jacket, something I suspect will keep the book looking new longer since the corners of the cover won’t curl up from use. The cover is glossy and so are the pages, and everything is colorful.

  • 6 Molly // Jun 19, 2007 at 9:35 pm

    Well. This lovely post has caused me to decide to go out and buy the book. What great marketing. :)

  • 7 Kara // Jun 20, 2007 at 5:39 am

    Thanks so much for reviewing this! I’ve been waiting for it to come out and now it just sounds perfect for my level of sewing!

  • 8 Mary Helen // Jun 20, 2007 at 6:13 am

    Oo la la! I love me a good sewing book. Just picked up Amy Butler’s In Stitches and am in love. Maybe it needs a friend. LOL

  • 9 Kelly // Jun 20, 2007 at 7:15 am

    Hooray for Amy! I’m so excited for her!
    Thanks for the detailed info on this book – it looks really great!

  • 10 Sarah // Jun 20, 2007 at 8:25 am

    Just added it to my Wish List!

  • 11 amy k. // Jun 20, 2007 at 3:18 pm

    you rock. This is the first real review I have read of my book and I am soooooooo flattered having it come from your fine self. thank you. I am so very happy you like it, I *really* want people to like sewing, and I hope this book helps.

  • 12 trae // Jun 20, 2007 at 3:54 pm

    I thought this might only be for someone who’d neve sewn before, but the more I read, the more I want this book for myself! Looks like there’s lots of info and patterns not only for novices, but those of us who have some experience as well. Thanks for the review!

  • 13 Heather // Jun 20, 2007 at 4:09 pm

    Good Job Amy! I’m gonna buy it my next Amazon purchase.

  • 14 maryse // Jun 21, 2007 at 6:16 pm

    thanks for the review. i was on the fence about it but i think i may have to get it after all.

  • 15 Shelba // Jun 25, 2007 at 6:15 am

    I went straight from here to Amazon where I bought a copy set to arrive on Wednesday! Yay!

  • 16 blair // Jun 25, 2007 at 4:53 pm

    You got it right, its such a great book! Fantastically thorough review.

  • 17 allie // Jun 26, 2007 at 12:08 am

    Now, I’m totally convinced I need this book. Thanks for the great review!

  • 18 Alix North // Jun 29, 2007 at 8:43 am

    What a useful, enticing review! I didn’t know what to expect from the book, but now I know enough to want it! I could use some relaxing…sewing usually makes me swear, and then, inevitably, cry. I say this even though I sewed my first dress at age 8. You’d think I would have chilled out by now! Perhaps Amy can help…

  • 19 Beekeebear // Jul 5, 2007 at 6:11 am

    Great review! Thanks for the good info.

  • 20 Sonja // Jul 17, 2007 at 10:02 am

    Thanks for an excellent review. You just made me want this book even more and to get (back) into sewing.

  • 21 Judy // Jan 8, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    This is a wonderful book. I love it.

  • 22 Andrea McMann // May 20, 2008 at 11:07 am

    Oh! I’m so excited to get this book! I’m going to order it on Amazon!!

  • 23 kids aprons // Aug 26, 2008 at 12:44 am


    These kids aprons are the best for painting and grade school projects. We’ve got lots of styles to choose, lots to tell you about these aprons for kids.

    Hand-made with New England craftsmanship by Benny and Willow.
    Our product line includes toddler bibs, preschooler aprons and fleece jackets.

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