Friday, October 10, 2014

4 Must Have Sewing Books for Beginners and More

Do you love sewn items? Wondering how to get started in sewing? Maybe you already know the basics of sewing, but want to take your skills to the next level? Today I'm sharing four of my favorite sewing books and why I love them! All of these books are great for beginners, but also perfect to keep on hand when you've become a more experienced sewer. Here we go!

1. Essential Sewing Reference Tool: All-in-One Visual Guide
If you want to start out sewing things the "right" way, and avoid a lot of beginner's trial and error, then this book will get you there. If you're not familiar with the author, Carla Hegeman Crim is also known as the Scientific Seamstress and she partners with designer Jennifer Paganelli on her Sis Boom sewing patterns. And I LOVE Sis Boom!

In any case, this little purse-sized reference book keeps a ton of valuable, and accurate, sewing information at your fingertips. No need to rush over to the computer or hunt down your phone to Google a single thing. Plus, there's an abundance of useful charts and quick reference tables that intermediate and advanced sewers will use time and again. Honestly, I wish this book had been available to me when I started out. I love gifting it to whoever I can!

2. The Colette Sewing Handbook: Inspired Styles and Classic Techniques for the New Seamstress
Oh man! Doesn't that title just inspire you to run wild at the fabric store in hopes of crafting a whole new wardrobe for yourself? If it doesn't, them take the time to page through this beautiful book online or in person and you won't be disappointed. This book talks you through the basic fundamentals to approaching a sewing project while including excellent sewing information in a gorgeous format.

I was first enticed to purchase The Colette Sewing Handbook because it includes 5 ladies sewing patterns. And in my world, that really justifies the purchase price! I was already a fan of Colette Patterns' digitally downloadable patterns, especially the Laurel, so I was thrilled to check it out. I have personally sewn the Pastille Dress and the Licorice dress from this book and was extremely happy with the results. If you are looking to sew your own clothes, you can't go wrong starting off with this must-have sewing handbook.

3. Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts
Okay, time to bring out the heavy hitter. How could I talk about sewing books without including a giant book from a giant in the craft industry? Martha certainly knows her way around a sewing machine, and proves it with this go-to reference book. The 150 "inspired projects" that are just plain fun to page through. I'm sure many, if not most, are available on Martha's website or elsewhere, but I think it's so much easier to have them organized to inspire, rather than hunting them down one-by-one online.

I love this book because it features a wide variety of sewing-related skills that will take your projects to the next level and beyond. Not only sewing, but we're talking applique, embroidery and quilting. These are facets of sewing that most sewists want to try at some point on their creative journey, and should be empowered to try. My own first sewing project was a hand-embroidered table runner that my Grandma Kay walked me through as a child. I still use those embroidery skills today. BOOM.

4. Sew What You Love: The Easiest, Prettiest Projects Ever
I LOVE this book! Author Tanya Whelan is also a textile designer with a vintage modern aesthetic that I totally go for. I've used her fabrics in several projects so I was super excited to find this book at my local library. I actually don't own it yet (it's on my Christmas list!) but I feel like I'm always requesting or renewing this book from the library...and for good reason. It contains a wide variety of surprisingly simple yet fantastic patterns that any young lady, mom or grandmother would love to try out. Bags, baby things, clothes, stuff for your home...the projects are all very fun and relevant to everyday life.

This book is a great choice for beginners and those who have the very basics of sewing down, plus those intermediate sewers who are interested in patterns with style and simplicity. If you're just thinking of picking up sewing as a hobby, I think this book will convince to take the plunge! The author's clear and concise instructions are so welcoming to novice sewers, and the charming patterns will help you have quick success with your sewing.

There you go...my four favorite sewing books and why I love them! Have you read any of these? What are your favorite go-to sewing books? I'd love to hear all about them!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Sis Boom Leighanna Pattern Review

I'm just super thrilled about reviewing this pattern! If you've been looking to sew something cute for your little girl in an afternoon or so, the Leighanna peasant pattern by Sis Boom is the perfect choice! This is a very simple project that's perfect even for the most beginningest of beginners. Plus there are a lot of opportunities to put your own creative spin on this basic dress pattern for more advanced sewists.

I really can't say enough about how easy Sis Boom patterns are to work with. Now that I've been sewing for several years, I really appreciate a PDF pattern that allows you to print off just the size that you need. So much faster and easier! Also, if you're a fan of the "mommy and me" matching outfit look, Sis Boom often features the ladies adult version of children's garments, and vice versa. In fact, I just finished sewing the Devon ladies peasant top to match my daughter's Leighanna dress and hope to write a review of it later this month. 

This pattern has a size range of 6 months to 14 years. I chose size 3/4 for my girly girl, only because she's quite narrow. Good thing you can customize the dress and sleeve length very easily with this pattern. It includes several charts to give you a guideline, along with whatever measurements you've taken. I love those charts, because my "model" is often at school or in bed when I have a chance to sew and I tend to second-guess my measurements anyway! 

I chose to use contrasting fabric for the sleeves and ruffle along the bottom hem. Really, the sky's the limit with customization here! The dress I made below was done with the bell sleeve with ruffle option, but I did lengthen the ruffle by a few inches for extra drama. It's important to note that this pattern does not require a zipper...there is only one simple elastic casing to deal with along the neckline. Truly a fast sew! But I must add that when I sew this again, I will baste down the facing before sewing the neckline casing seam, just to ease the insertion of elastic later. I found that the facing created a kind of pocket that my fancy elastic inserting tool (AKA safety pin) kept getting stuck in! 
If you're sewing the Leighanna and have any questions, don't hesitate to comment on this post and I'll help in any way I can! This pattern would be perfect for a sew-a-long and to fill out a young girl's fall/spring wardrobe. I already have another one in progress for my daughter! 

Friday, August 29, 2014

More Creating, Less Writing

Hello there! I just realized that I haven't updated my blog in quite a long while...and the reason is that I've been creating a whole more than blogging/tweeting/Facebooking about it! Rest assured, I've been a busy bee and still working on plenty of fun sewing patterns to review, the occasional sew-a-long, and household projects galore. I shall post all about it in the coming weeks and months. You can always visit me on Instagram for the latest pics! It's been a busy summer, at home with three small children. And since school is about to begin (AKA, more free time for Momma), I've reopened my Etsy shop with a few pre-holiday season items. Please check it out if you get a chance. Best wishes to you on visiting my blog! :)

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