Wednesday 8 May 2013

Book Review: The Gentle Art of Stitching

Today's book is The Gentle Art of Stitching: 40 Projects Inspired by Everyday Beauty by Jane Brocket.

It's a large hardback, with a canvas-wrapped cover that has a lovely texture.

Judged purely on the cover I would have guessed the projects in this book were colourful with a slightly vintage-y feel... and, guess what, they are!

There are a few introductory pages, explaining Jane's sewing philosophy and the chatting about the supplies you'll need for the projects in the book. I think "chatting" is definitely the right word, as Jane's style is lovely and personal, talking about what she likes to use, how she stores her supplies, etc.

Then the rest of the book is divided into short chapters that each include a few projects that use the same (or similar) techniques: Sashiko, Needlepoint, Seasonal Kantha (quilt projects), Fabric Flower Arrangements (stitched pictures), Stitching on Felt, Half-crazy Patchwork, Suffolk Puffs, Lessons in Stitching (samplers), On the Edge (decorative edgings), Busy Daisies (projects using lazy daisy stitch), Vintage Embroidery, Literary Cross Stitch, and Button Cards.

Each chapter has some introductory text, discussing the history of the technique used, how Jane has used it as inspiration for the projects, etc. Lots of the chapters also include recommendations for books and websites for you to check out if you're interested in learning more about a certain technique.

Most of the projects are quite beginner-friendly, with small projects like this felt pincushion...

... and these button cards:

And larger projects like this patchwork cushion...

... and this embroidered edging:

This quilt made from vintage embroidered linens is especially awesome - a simple idea, but very inspiring!

It's a bit of a shame that several of the project chapters are "variations on a theme" design-wise, for example the needlework chapter includes these two cushions...

... and these pincushions:

I do like the design of these, but a bit more variation would have been nice.

I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing that the book contains some simple projects and ideas (sometimes a simple project is exactly what you want!) but if you're a seasoned stitcher you might not find this book challenging enough to suit you. However, if you're new to sewing or looking to explore some new techniques this would be a great book to add to your collection.

The Gentle Art of Stitching is published by Collins & Brown. RRP £20.00. It's available from Amazon UK, Amazon USA, The Book Depository and many other bookshops.

[Disclaimer: Collins & Brown sent me a free review copy of this book. The Amazon & Book Depository links in this post are affiliate links]


Anonymous said...

No, that one's not for me. It's one of those style over substance books. The styling overall looks pretty but the projects tend to be nothing much and there is nothing much to get your teeth into. Far too many of them around - they end up in the discount book shop.

Liz Smith said...

I received this book as a gift. I am a beginner sewer and I found the gentle tone very relaxing and felt encouraged. However I was only really interested in the half crazy patchwork project. I made two pillow covers adapted from her idea and I really love the results. I may not do other projects but I might explore elsewhere the other techniques she describes. Lovely book.

Bugs and Fishes said...

Anon - I do like my craft books to be inspirational and pretty as well as having practical projects in them (they are such nice things to flick through and read) but I do know what you mean!

I think it can also be tricky sometimes for people who do a lot of crafting to find books that have enough in them to get their teeth into, with so many books aimed at beginners.

I'd say this one is definitely a "taster menu" of lots of different sewing techniques, which isn't going to be for everyone :)

Liz - thanks so much for your comment, it's great to hear from someone who has a copy of this and has actually made one of the projects! I really love how your cushion turned out, the blues you've used are so pretty x

Kay said...

I like the look of this, especially as it covers a few kinds of craft. I also have a bit of a thing about pincushions and seems to have a few!

Bugs and Fishes said...

Kay - I don't actually own or use a pincushion! I really must make one for myself sometime :)