Friday 6 April 2012

Book Review: Sewing Made Simple

I was talking yesterday about "instructional" vs "inspirational" craft books, and today's book- Sewing Made Simple by Tessa Evelegh - definitely falls into the first category. It's an almost textbook-style beginners guide to sewing, jam-packed with facts and diagrams and detailed instructions, but it's also a very lovely looking book which made me make an actual "oooh" noise when I got the review copy in the post!

It's out in hardback at the moment (with a paperback edition due in May)... the hardback edition is bright pink, with a pretty dust jacket and even prettier floral endpapers.


Most of the pages dedicated to information and techniques are also framed with a floral border (with a different print for each chapter). If you really loathe "girly" things this book's styling is probably not going to be for you but I found it pleasingly pretty without being too twee, with a focus on bright colours and fresh-feeling patterns.

The book starts out with detailed guides to sewing supplies, including explaining the difference between all the different types of needles and pins available...

... then moves on to a short "sewing machine primer", a stitch guide, a guide to pattern making & following and using paper patterns, and information on the different types of fabrics and how to choose the best ones for your project.

The focus then switches to skills, with step-by-step instructions (all fully illustrated) on different techniques like sewing seams, adding zips and quilting. After each new skill is introduced, you get 1-3 simple projects to make to test out the technique (20 projects in total). Some of the projects have templates provided at the back of the book (most of which need enlarging by 300-400%) and the rest just require you to cut pieces of fabric to certain sizes.

The first projects are a simple blind and tote bag (when you're just sewing straight seams)...

... and the others include a mix of homeware, clothing and accessories - from a washbag (with a zip), to a cushion (with buttons and button holes) to a girls sundress (with a gatherered skirt) to an apron (with an appliqued design). Each project has a photo of the finished item, and step by step instructions with clear illustrations.

Overall, I really liked this book and I expect that my younger sister (who is just learning to sew) will attempt to permanently "borrow" it from me next time she visits! If you've just got your first sewing machine or want to branch out a bit from just sewing straight lines all the time, this may be the book for you.

Sewing Made Simple is published by Jacqui Small, RRP £25. The hardback edition is available to buy from Amazon USA, Amazon UK, and The Book Depository and the paperback edition is available to preorder from Amazon USA and Amazon UK.

I'm also delighted to be able to say that the lovely people at Jacqui Small are giving away a copy of Sewing Made Simple to one lucky reader in the UK. Pop back tomorrow for the giveaway :) 

[Disclaimer: Jacqui Small sent me a free review copy of this book, and the Amazon & Book Depository links in this post are affiliate links which means if you click on them and then make a purchase I get a very small % as a referral fee.]


JO SOWERBY said...

this may be the first book on my list to get,
jo xxx

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful book.
A perfect gift I think!

Polly Polkadot said...

At the weekend I wrote my lesson plan for my 'machine sewing for beginners' course, It sounds near identical! (wash bag with zip, button hole on cushion, apron etc. etc.)!!

~ Laura said...

Wow, now this is a book I could use!!! I just got a wonderful sewing machine at a yard sale and am not sure what to do with it!! :)

I had to put it in my cart at Amazon...but it's so pricey here! :( Pretty and useful is such a lovely combination!! Well, it will have to wait until I think of a way to make a little extra money...but it's at the top of my list now!! :) Thank you for this review!!

Unknown said...

I would love to have it :) but there is one problem - Im from Poland, not from the UK.. but is it possible that you send it to my cousin in the UK? or it doesn't work this way?? Of course, supposing I would win! hehe :)

Bria said...

I'm just getting back into sewing after many years so I could use a book like this too. Thank you for another wonderful giveaway!

Bugs and Fishes said...

It really is a lovely book, and very practical!

It's very funny that it's so similar to your lesson plan, Polly :)

Laura - I think the paperback version (due out in May) will be much more affordable. Hardbacks are lovely things to own but they can be a tad pricey sometimes.

Marysza - as long as you have a UK delivery address that should be fine.

Jennifer Lou said...

Looks a stunning book. From the UK here :) x

Kay said...

As a very much beginner this sounds good to me. I still have to learn to use a sewing machine without crying every time through sheer frustration.