Book Review: Home Sewn

It’s been a while since I’ve been in this space.  So much to say not enough time so I’m just going to kick my return off with a book review.  I’ve been doing other crafting as well, but this book needs it’s online time.  It’s that good!

image credit

I received this book for review about 7 weeks ago.  What struck me immediately is how amazing the photography in this book is.   You know it has to be good when one of my colleagues remarked that even she as a non-crafter would keep this book as a coffee table book for the photography.  I’d say that’s high praise indeed.

However, as with every craft book I review, I had to look past the photos and see if Home Sewn met the standard criteria I now use for any pattern/craft book I might purchase:

  • How easy are the supplies to find?
  • How simple or complicated are the instructions?
  • Realistically, how many of these projects am I likely to make?

The author is a fan of leather … she admits that.  But even her love for leather and use in many of the projects doesn’t take away from the diversity of fabric and supplies used throughout the projects. What’s more, if leather is not your thing, it’s easy to substitute other fabrics and still end up with a gorgeous product.  For many of the projects I had most if not all of the supplies required.  She included a generous list of resources in the back of the book and what I think was really forward thinking on her part was that the list includes where to purchase supplies no matter where you are in the world.  A crafter using this book can purchase what he/she needs at any local fabric, quilt, or big box craft store.  And if you insist on going all out and using silk fabric, let’s say for the hand stitched quilt pattern, the author lists  online stores you can purchase any of the supplies from.

One of the things which turns newbies or sometimes even seasoned crafters off projects are complex instructions.  Not so with this book.  While some projects would take longer to make, that really would be attributed to the size and type of project, but not due to instructions that are hard to comprehend.   Even the way the instructions are laid out in the book make them easy to read and execute.  I consider myself a beginner sewer but was able to work through the instructions for all the projects after reading them twice.  Some projects only took one read to get the procedure down!  For projects requiring templates, the author provided the templates on her website so you don’t even have to create them yourself.

The biggest factor for me with books of these types is practicality.  How many of these projects would I likely make?  How would the projects translate to my living environment?  How many of these projects if made would I really use?  Of the 32 projects in this book, there’s only 1 I wouldn’t make and that’s because I don’t have the furniture that makes it necessary for me to make the type of chair cover shown as a project.  Other than that one, the projects are so easy to integrate in my urban apt and quite lovely to boot.  I’ve already made one, have ordered fabric for another and am about to fabric paint some canvas for a third.

This project book is a winner for me as I’m sure it will be for other sewers or sewing enthusiasts ready to take the plunge.  Well laid out, beginner friendly, aesthetically pleasing photography and projects I know I’ll enjoy making.  I’m already using my leather coasters!

Leather Coasters

disclaimer: this review was done through my affiliation with Blogging For Books.  Although I received a copy for review, the thoughts expressed are entirely my own.

I Swear … I Tried …

source: Random House

I figured since this is a crafty site, at some point, I should review a crafty book for “Blogging For Books”.  Of the ones they had for review, I selected “Little Felted Dogs — Easy Projects For Making Adorable Pups” by Saori Yamazaki.

I’m not going to lie … I tried … I tried to make these absolutely adorable pups.  I kept putting off the review as I tried to make one of these projects look like the dog I was supposed to be making but this turned out to be a case of “it’s really me, not you.”  I’ve had super problems with face shaping.  The bodies turned out fine, but I had to come to accept that face shaping was not my thing.  I just couldn’t get it right!  So since the issue was really me and not the instructions from the author, I decided to do the review anyway using my three basic review criteria for books of this type:

  • How easy are the supplies to find?
  • How simple or complicated are the instructions?
  • Realistically, how many of these projects am I likely to make?

In terms of supplies, because I’m already a fiber lover, I had all the supplies I needed to get the projects started.  The only thing I purchased was a single needle felting pen.  This was a win for me since it meant that I could use my current stash without amassing more tools and fiber to make these projects.

Where the instructions are concerned, in reading them I found them very simple.  The diagrams are clear, the instructions uncomplicated however, because I struggled with proportions in while making the faces, I didn’t complete a project I loved.  That however is more to do with my technique and ability to craft a three dimensional object, not the author’s ability to communicate clearly.  I would agree that the projects are easy to understand for beginners, just as long as these beginners don’t struggle with proportion issues like I do.   Another thing I liked about the instructions was that the author noted details the crafter should pay attention to.

With the purchase or review of any pattern books, now when I buy, I first assess how many of the projects I would make.  With this book, I would make all of them!!!   They are small, adorable, easy to convert into key-chains and would be loved by dog lovers anywhere.  Because I really love all of the projects in the book, I’m gamed to try until I make doggies that I’m happy with.

I’d really planned to do a giveaway for this book, but I’ve since decided to keep it and make my proportion issue one of my summer crafting challenges to conquer. What my challenges have also done is spur me on to practicing my felting with flat objects then moving on to more intricate pieces.  So you’ll see this book again, and most definitely with an adorable doggie or two next to it.

Have any of you tried felting?  Have you done flat pieces or dimensional pieces, or both? Is there a technique that’s been driving you crazy? Are you going to try it again?   Talk to me in the comments!  Happy Sunday!  🙂

disclaimer: this review was done through my affiliation with Blogging For Books.  Although I received a copy for review, the thoughts expressed are entirely my own.