Summer Sewing Reads–Part 2

June 23, 2011 07:23 by ehouston

I managed to get through all four of the books I mentioned here last week in under 5 days. However, I did not return any of them on my weekly trade out trip back to the library. There are just too many cool projects to try, so I am keeping them as long as I can. Even though I have not started any of those projects yet I wanted to go ahead and let you know about one of the last couple of books I brought home. Lotta Jansdotter’s, Simple Sewing is pretty cool.

Lotta Jansdotter\'s Simple Sewing

Image from Chronicle Books

Lotta’s book is filled with fun projects and super cool fabrics. (I keep searching, but I have yet to find anything close to these cool patterns for a price that I can afford. Especially for home crafting. wuh-wah!) For me, the home projects were the most inspiring. But, while I will most likely create my own take on her patterns, the information she provided about proper fabrics for different uses was invaluable. I guess I never thought about how flammable typical cotton is, which is what I had picked out of my stash for some oven mitts. Rut-Row! I just figured that the handling would be minimal and it could take it. I am guessing that my hard work would have gone down in flames, or at least some nasty singes. So, I am on the hunt for wools and linens to make these the right way. Oh yeah, another thing I have to search for! I am considering customizing her pattern for the Simple Drawstring Backpack to accommodate the few things I need when taking my toddler somewhere I would rather not lug the whole baby bag or stroller. Lotta’s version is cute, but I think some extra interior pockets or dividers to keep things organized would be helpful. Especially when you are trying to get to something, like a snack, fast before you have a toddler thrashing around on the ground in front of you. This is definitely another book that has inspired me to take care of some of the lingering issues projects around here. One last comment on Lotta’s book involves the styling of the photos. I found a few of them kind of odd or funny. Maybe it’s just something lost in translation, eh?


Here is the cute backpack I would like to modify. The picture of someone peering into a closed window raised some eyebrows around here.????


I love the elephant print of the bag on the left, but I cannot think of a single guy I know who would be caught dead holding that thing. Maybe, only maybe, if it was being used for baby supplies could I see that happening.


I have to think that showing a plate full of peas on a placemat outfitted with chopstick slots is supposed to be tongue in cheek. Right? This isn’t some kind of crazy Seinfeld episode, is it?

I will have to report on the last book I completed in a post next week. With all these projects to finish I am a little behind on, well, lots of things these days.


Kitsch Krafts

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Summer Sewing Reads–Part One

June 15, 2011 07:01 by ehouston

I finally remembered to get signed up for a library card.  This was only after attending a Mommy, Music and Me class at a local branch weekly for almost three months.  For some reason I never could remember to bring the application form, I had downloaded and completed at home, in with me to finalize the transaction.  All is well, though, since I ended up finding a branch much closer to our house and we are now making weekly visits not only for books, but music and videos too.  And, the one week limit on the videos is a God send!  Between what plays for the Little Guy in the car during our weekly errands and what I allow at home, I end up pretty tired of whatever is the current obsession.  Right now that would be Thomas the Tank Engine, otherwise known in our house as TOM!

Last week I decided that the Little Guy would not be the only one to benefit from our weekly excursions to bookland.  I wanted to get my craft on and bone up on my sewing skills.  Being late to the game on nearly every trend I also wanted to finally check out all those cool sewing books that have come out over the last few years by several trendy fabric designers, turned author.  I guess I am the only one, which suits me just fine, since everything I wanted was right there for the taking!  I was able to bring home Amy Butler’s, In Stitches, Anna Maria Horner’s, Seams To Me, Lotta Jansdotter’s, Simple Sewing and one other I had not heard of before, Celine Dupuy’s, Simple Sewing with a French Twist.  Eye candy to say the least and if I had perused these in a book store I would have probably dropped a lot of cash just to bring them all home and really take some time with them.  Fortunately, my library card saved me so much dough.  Here is a quick review of what I have discovered so far:

Image taken directly from Amy Butler's Site

Amy Butler’s, In Stitches has been a lot of fun to read through.  Although it states that it’s geared toward the beginning or intermediate sewer, I did find that some of the instructions and descriptions were a little difficult to follow.  However, after reading through things a couple of times I could usually figure out what she was trying to convey.  I just don’t know if I could have gotten to that end point if I did not already have a history with a sewing machine.  Otherwise, I really enjoyed how the book was stylized and of course it was all put together in a way that made me want to redo my whole house.  Wah-wah….  Since we are not quite ready to sell, I decided that I would try my hand at the ruffled pillow on the front cover to spruce up our formal living room.  She also included instructions for a pot holder, which has inspired me to get off my duff and create something nice for our kitchen, as well.  I have been complaining for months that our oven mitts look like they are used for gardening and we are in dire need of a few trivet style hot pads for the table.  Why it never occurred to me to make my own is, well… beyond me???  As soon as I get to those items on my never ending to-do list I will be sure to share the results.  In the mean time, I would recommend her book and her site for inspiration of your own.  I am also going to try to hunt down her other books soon!

Seams To Me

Image taken directly from Anna Maria Horner's site

Anna Maria Horner is a designer I have been following for some time through her blog.  Her life seems like that out of a creative person’s dreamland.  A lovely family, home and a super fun job!  I’m sure it’s not all hunky-dory all the time, but it’s fun to live vicariously through her words and photos.  Plus, like Amy Butler, Anna Maria creates some wonderful fabrics.  I am currently reading through her book, Seams to Me, and it has really helped me come to the realization that there are much better ways to do some things.  For instance, her instructions for binding a quilt were, at first, confusing, but when I realized where she was coming from it all clicked.  For years I have been that person trying to match up the front and back sides of seam binding tape in order to catch both while stitching through the edge of a quilt.  Outside of sewing the whole thing by hand it had never dawned on me to sew down one side with the machine and then hand stitch the other side for a nice finished look.  I know, I know….you are all letting out a resounding DUH!, but I am totally self (and a little mom) taught, and it simply had not gone through my mind yet.  Her instructions are very easy to follow and she adds some funny little quips throughout.  I would highly recommend this book to someone that wants to sew, but has never attempted it before.   I am not finished with this one yet, but so far I think I will be jumping on the Cozy Cubes and the Pin Cushion Caddy projects to help tidy up my sewing space.  Plus, they are both easy projects that require little fabric and will help me incorporate some of my vintage bits into my space.  Yeah!  Free book, free idea, and with my supplies on hand, free item for my home!  You know me and the budget…hee!

I hope to do more than glance through the other two books before the end of the week.  As soon as I do, I will get the second part of this review posted.  That is if I don’t get to sidetracked by fun sewing projects between now and then.  What are you guys working on this summer?

Kitsch Krafts

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