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July Reviews

Improv Sewing by Nicole Blum & Debra ImmergutImprov Sewing 101 fast, fun and fearless projects

I definitely have a new go to book – this book is brilliant!  It takes a relaxed approach to sewing encouraging you to play and experiment and not worry too much ifImprov Dress project from Improv Sewing you don’t do things exactly as the instructions say.

It starts off with a guide to fabrics, techniques and stitches and then goes into some really simple guides to making garments, either from existing garments or using simple pattern blocks.   It tells you how to make different sleeves, necklines, ruffles, pleats and trims which you can then incorporate into your own designs or make up one of the many projects in the book.

It then goes on to cover free motion embroidery, appliqué, stencilling, mixed media techniques and upcycling (there are loads of upcycling projects).  There are 101 projects in total throughout the book allowing you to practice the various techniques covered.  They are not all garments there are plenty of projects for the home, for kids and to make as gifts.   Even though it sounds like a lot of projects for 1 book they are not crammed in, they each have at least a couple of pages of instructions, photos and diagrams.  I’m amazed at how much they managed to fit into the 320 pages.

If you only buy one book this year buy this one.

This book is published by Storey Publishing

Everything Oz book review


Everything Oz by Christine Leech and Hannah Read-Baldrey

This book is the follow up to the very successful Everything Alice, by the same authors.  It follows the same format as the first book; it is a quirky selection of mixed craft projects which include sewing, paper crafts and baking. 

Allow yourself to be transported to the bright, colourful and barmy world of Oz.  You will find projects like squashed witch cupcakes, munchkin hat egg cosies, the cowardly lion hand puppet, a toto cushion and aRainbow cake from Everything Oz pretty patchwork picnic set.  There is beautiful photography and illustrations throughout the book; a lot of the projects also have step by step photos to guide you too.   This is another fabulous and fun book from Christine and Hannah, looking forward to seeing what they come up with next.

I know it’s not sewing related but I just had to share a pic of the amazing rainbow cake from the book.

For more Oz inspired projects and ideas do visit their website:

This book is published by Quadrille 

 Pre-cut combo quilts by Debra Fehr Greenway review



Pre-cut Combo Quilts by Debra Fehr Greenway

This book is ideal for people who like me don’t want to spend hours cutting before you can start sewing.   There are several books out there with projects for jelly rolls or fat quarters however this book differs from them in that its projects combine several different types of pre-cuts in the one quilt.

The first page of each project shows you which pre-cuts you want, for instance my favourite the summer’s meadow quilt requires layer cake, charm squares and jelly roll strips. 

If you would prefer to work from fat quarters there are also instructions for that too.   There are a couple projects which incorporate fabric panels as well.Quilts made from jelly rolls, layer cakes, charms squares and fat quarters

There is some cutting required but nowhere near as much as if you were not using pre-cuts, so you can start making progress pretty quickly.  The author also encourages mixing fabric

collections in the one quilt so you can use up any odds and ends of various pre-cut fabric packs you may have left from other projects.

There are bright colourful pictures, large colour diagrams and plenty of instructions throughout as well as templates in the back of the book. 

This book is published by Krause Publications 

 Review of 50 Fabric Animals by Marie Claire Idees

50 Fabric Animals – Marie Claire Idees

Marie Claire Idees is a French language magazine full of beautiful designs and projects and this book is a collection of 50 of their fabric animal projects.  The animals in this book are adorable, and many have that French chic about them.  The projects are split into 5 sections:  traditional designs, bright colours & fun designs, natural fabrics, appliqué and winter warmers.

As you would expect there are many soft toys, but there are many non-soft toy projects such as a bear wallet, a fox stole, pouches, pillows and cushions with animal appliqués.   There are templates with each project but the scales seReview of 50 Fabric Animals by Marie Claire Ideesems to vary depending on the project and unlike some books they don’t say multiply the template by x%, they give a scale on each page and you have to figure it out from there.  

That said there are some really nice projects in the book so it is worth figuring out the template sizing to give them a go.  There are only written instructions (no diagrams or step by step photos) but you do get a lot of projects because of the space saved.  It does mean that this book wouldn’t be ideal for a beginner however it is very good value for money.  With 50 projects you are sure to find several things you want to make.

This book is published by Search Press