A personal blog with craft tutorials, reviews of books, films, and music, parenting advice, and opinions on society and politics.

March 29, 2017

Book Review || Bend-The-Rules Sewing by Amy Karol

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Amy Karol's 'Bend-the-Rules Sewing' is a real treat. Marketed as a book for beginner sewists (she calls them sewers - but for me it's too easy to get 'so'-wers and 'sue'-wers confused), it is the ideal partner for anyone embarking on their sewing journey. Not only that, but it offers some really special tips and tricks for advanced sewists as well.

Indeed, she introduces the book saying,
Beginning sewers have a real advantage over those who have been doing it a long time.
I call it the "why-not?" factor. New sewers tend to think differently than seasoned seamstresses. They don't know when they are breaking the rules, so they try crazy, adventurous things that can turn out fabulously... The goal of this book is to help experienced sewers loosen up and teach new sewers some basic skills.
And this is certainly what Amy achieves. Chock full of information about the basics of sewing, such as sewing machines and the tools of the trade, Amy demystifies much of what can seem daunting as a beginner: seam rippers, the correct scissors, bodkins, beeswax, the correct fabric, freezer paper - what on earth will everything be used for? Even for the advanced sewist, she makes much-hated tasks, such as seam ripping and bias tape-making seem a breeze.

What's more, she offers advice on how to really personalise your sewing projects, with tips on hand embroidery, applique, stamping, painting and marking that will make items unique and artsy.

I have been sewing for years and certainly did find some of her tips inspired, particularly the short tutorials on how to make a thread shank for buttons [39], easily inserting a zipper perfectly the first time [38], applying bias trim without that annoying edge stitching that never catches both sides of the tape [40], and making your own continuous strip bias binding [41]. Even her instructions on appliqueing make the technique seem as easy as staining a new white shirt.

The projects are also all simple and well-described, and it will be easy for anyone paging through the book to think about how they'll personalise the gorgeous items inside. My favourite projects include the 'Charming Handbag' with its handles that gather the bag when it's picked up [64] - amazing! - the 'Scalloped Baby Blanket' with some simple quilting [114], and the 'Puppet Theatre with a Matching Case' [118]. Every project comes with detailed instructions and additional tips specific to each, sometimes suggesting ways to personalise it.

So if you're looking for a new hobby or some inspiration for your old hobby (of sewing, that is), look no further than this book, which you'll be tempted to find a copy of all for yourself (since I lent this one from the local library).

Do you have a favourite sewing book you return to all the time? Let me know in the comments!