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April Book Reviews

The Great British Sewing Bee Book review

The Great British Sewing Bee by Tessa Eveleigh

This book accompanies the hit BBC show.  Aimed at the beginner it starts with a good introduction to the sewing supplies needed along with advice on using paper patters, finding fabrics and the basic skills needed to start sewing.  There are large colour photos and diagrams through the book making it easy to follow the instructions.  Like the show it also has historical insights, giving you the history of sewing bees, paper patterns and suits.

The majority of the book consists of projects including the infamous laundry bag from the first episode, the tie side cushion from the second show no A line skirt though.  There are 28 projects the majority of them are garments and include Tilly’s button back blouse, a pencil skirt, circle skirt, tea dress, prom dress, pyjama bottoms, tunic top, men’s waistcoat, cook’s apron, patchwork throw and Roman Blind.  The projects are rated by difficulty so you can work you way up to the more complicated ones if you are new to sewing.The Great British Sewing Bee Book review

The only pattern provided with the book is for the tunic, there’s a full size paper pattern in the back for that.  The other patterns have to be downloaded as pdfs and require taping a lot of A4 pages together, the clothing sizes range from size 8-16.  Alternatively you can scale up the patterns in the book.   I think this amount of effort required just to get the pattern would probably put a lot of people off from making most the patterns.  The publishers have however added a guide to using downloadable patterns on their site here.

This book is published by Quadrille Crafts and can be purchased here.

Keep an eye on our projects section of the site for the tie sided cushion project coming soon....

And Sew to Bed sewing projects for sleepwear

And Sew To Bed by Caro London

The first thing that jumped out at me about this book (especially after the review above) is that they provide 18 full size paper patterns with the book.  The adult patterns are classed as small, medium and large and range from a size 10 to size 18, kids patterns go from pages 3-8.  Full marks to the authors/publishers for doing this, makes it so much easier to make up the projects.

This book contains 30 gorgeous projects for nightwear or accessories made up in stunning fabrics. How to sew night wear, sew pyjamas, sew sleep wear, sew bedclothes The bed wear includes several stylish pyjamas, nightdresses and robes, my favourite is the kaftan pyjama set.  There are also several accessory projects too which include a quilted make up bag, a wash bag, a hot water bottle cover and an owl pyjama case.

The projects each have a few pages of written instructions as well as colourful diagrams and photos.  At the back of the book is a techniques section which includes hems, binging, piping, darts and seams.

The thing I love the most about this book is the vibrant fabrics used throughout, they really give something extra to the projects and make me wish I owned all the garments pictured in the book.  If you are looking to make stylish bedwear this is the book for you.

This book is published by Cico Books and can be purchased here.


Hand Quilted With Love By Sarah FielkeHand Quilted with Love by Sarah Fielke book review

With three beautiful and inspiring books already under her belt, (Material Obsession 1 and 2, and Quilting - From Little Things) Sarah Fielke has a large and expectant audience...and she’s done it again.  Hand Quilted With Love is jam packed with bright and bold quilts, pushing the boundaries of colour, fabric combinations and design. 

Sarah’s unique style leaps from every one of the 16 beautifully photographed quilt projects.  Each quilt is graded according to difficulty, ranging from beginner to advanced, and helpfully each project provides instructions for how to make the quilt bigger or smaller, which is a great way of tailoring the quilt to your own needs.  Not only does it cover hand quilting, but some of the quilts are machine quilted too, so there’s something for everyone! 

Hand Quilted with Love by Sarah Fielke book review by Quilt CandyMedallion Quilts are hugely popular at the moment, so why not have a go at Sarah’s version, called Made to Measure.  Sarah discusses how she chooses fabrics, and a whole page is devoted to the importance of a workspace. The techniques section at the back covers partial seams, needle turn appliqué, how to make bias strips and details on how to construct a quilt.  There is also a guide to hand quilting, revealing Sarah’s secrets to beautiful, defined and perfect stitches.   Templates are included and there’s a useful glossary of quilting terms, web links and addresses for suppliers.  If you want to make a quilt that’s big, bright, fun and going to get noticed, then this book is definitely for you.    

This book is published by Cico Books and can be purchased on Amazon here.

This review was written by Sarah Ashford of Quilt Candy To Stitch book review Search Press learn to sew

Start To Stitch by Nancy Nicholson, Claire Buckley and Miriam Edwards

This book is a compilation of 4 previous book published by Search Press which introduce the reader to appliqué, embroidery, patchwork and quilting.  Each of the 4 sections of the book give an introduction to the basic techniques and stitches, before then going into several projects.  There are 24 projects in total in the book.

All the projects and techniques are accompanied by step by step photos giving a good visual guide, as well as written instructions.  Start to Stitch Learn to Sew learn to quilt learn to appliqueThe book is aimed at children/teenagers but I think many of the projects would appeal to adult learners too.  The projects include several different bags, cushions, notebook covers, a phone pouch, pet quilt and cat wall hanging.

This book is a useful guide for children or adults looking to master the basics of appliqué, quilting, patchwork and embroidery.

This book is published by Search Press and can be purchased here.