Fun with Stitching by Fiona Goble (published by New Holland Publishers) contains "35 cute sewing projects to turn everyday items into works of art"... but I think a clearer description of its contents would be that it contains 35 cute embroidery patterns with lots of project suggestions to get you inspired to start stitching.
The book starts with a guide to the materials and tools you'll need to embroider the designs, a guide to basic embroidery stitches and three different methods you can use to transfer the patterns onto your chosen fabric.
Most of the book is taken up with the 35 embroidery projects - each cute motif is photographed stitched onto a suggested fabric item, e.g. a design featuring a whisk, spatula and slotted spoon is stitched onto a teatowel, a sleeping kitten is stitched onto the pocket of some kids pajamas.
There's an owl, a little toadstool house, a skipping girl, a caravan, a smiling sun and raincloud, clothes hanging on a washing line, a little boy walking a dog, a sailboat, and lots more...
All the projects have cute titles like "let them eat cake", "the cat's whiskers" and "elephants on parade" which I think definitely adds to the fun factor. The bullet points in the instructions are also shaped to look like little buttons, which is a very sweet detail, and all the embroidery patterns are full size which is always a good thing!
Each project page includes step by step instructions on how to stitch the design onto the item shown, how to add any embellishments, and suggestions for other items you could sew the design onto.
When I first flicked through this book I was a bit disappointed that it just seemed to contain embroidery patterns... but at the back there's a guide to stitching a few of the items shown so you can decorate your own: a table mat, a cotton bag, a cushion cover, a fabric lined knitting box, a child's apron and a doorstop. No templates are included in this section, but there are measurements and diagrams so you can create your own templates, plus step by step instructions on how to sew the projects.
All the motifs in this book are very cute, and not too complicated so they'd be quick and easy to stitch - great for beginners or for more experienced stitchers who just want small motifs to decorate a gift, or sewing projects that don't involve a huge time commitment.
I think this would be a perfect book for anyone with an eye for all things cute, or for anyone with kids or other young relatives they want to stitch things for, especially as there's a good mix of "girly" designs (e.g. an adorable fairy) and more boy-friendly motifs (e.g. a sailboat and a truck).
Slightly off topic - when looking up this book on Amazon I was interested to discover that Fiona Goble also wrote Knit Your Own Royal Wedding, which has been getting so much press lately! (psst - if you like the look of the knitted wedding, the Guardian have a free pattern to knit your own corgi, HERE). Clearly a very talented crafty lady!
Fun with Stitching is published by New Holland Publishers, RRP £12.99. The lovely people at New Holland are offering my UK readers a 20% discount and free postage and packaging if you buy the book direct from their website. Hurrah!
Enter the code Bugs for your 20% discount and free P&P. Offer valid until 31st December 2011 to UK residents only.
Fun with Stitching is also available from Amazon UK, Amazon USA, The Book Depository and many other bookshops.
[Disclaimer: New Holland Publishers sent me a free copy of this book to review. The Amazon & Book Depository links in this post are affiliate links]