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September Book Reviews

Quilt Improv By Lucie SummersImprov Quilting by Lucie Summers - Book review by Quilt Candy

If you’ve been lucky enough to attend one of Lucie Summers workshops, then you will know that Lucie is a talented, inspirational, fun and colourful quilter, and this book oozes all of these things.  Fresh, bright, modern and with fabulous photography, Lucie provides a detailed introduction to ‘Quilt Improv’ and encourages you to break the rules and have fun playing and experimenting with fabrics.  Sometimes even ditching the rotary cutter! 

The first part of the book describes various techniques such as her award winning Portholes, appliqued circles, crazy triangles and chevrons.  The second half of the book has a selection of quilt projects that incorporate these techniques.  Lucie discusses her sources of inspiration for each quilt, her fabric choices, the design plan process and the piecing map, to put the quilt together.  Each quilt has photos and illustrations; from the initial inspiration, right through to the finished quilt. 

Porthole quilts with Lucie SummersIt is great to share Lucie’s quilt journey from the start and get into her mind-set.  A General Techniques section is also included; discussing seam widths, speed piecing, pressing, assembling and finishing.  There are also ideas for quilting pattern designs and detailed instructions on different types of binding.  There are no right or wrong rules in this book, so even new quilters could attempt these techniques and projects and really have fun pushing the boundaries without worrying about accuracy and perfect points.  If you’re used to a more traditional, precise method of quilting, then this book is a great introduction to letting yourself go and having some fun.  After all, as Lucie says in the introduction, ‘we’re not saving lives here, we’re cutting into fabric and stitching it back together!’

This book is published by David & Charles

Reviewed by Sarah Ashford

The Liberty Book of Simple Sewing book review


The Liberty Book of Simple Sewing

As you would expect this book is stunning, filled with beautiful Liberty prints both in the projects and on the pages. Luckily the projects themselves are pretty too.  Aimed at beginners there are 25 easy to sew projects with step by step instructions and illustrations to follow. 

The projects include a sewing tidy (which shot straight to the top of my ‘to make’ list), sewing machine cover, cloud cushions, hanging birds, chevron quilt, chair pads, kids pyjamas, a storage bolster, foot Liberty Sewing Caddy project from The Liberty Book of Simple Sewingstool, curtain panel and more.  Many ways to introduce a stylish touch of Liberty to your home.

I particularly like how they give you the history of the main fabric featured in each project, I was amazed to read one, Pinky, had been designed by 5 year olds!   There’s also a guide to the fabrics used in the back of the book too.  There are templates for the projects in the rear of the book but they do require enlarging, most by 200%.

Another beautiful Liberty book to covet!

This book is published by Quadrille Crafts

They have kindly given us the sewing tidy project to use on our site here if you fancy having a go at it.


The Belle & Boo Book of Craft The Belle & Boo book of Craft book review

You have probably already come across the adorable Belle & Boo illustrations.   The little girl (Belle) and her pet rabbit Boo can be found on a range of stationery, homewares and clothing.  This book continues the style of those products with the cute Belle & Boo illustrations throughout the book.

The book contains 25 projects for younger children (under 8 I would say), some sewing projects, paper crafts, knitting and soap making.  The majority are sewing projects, many of which are aimed at beginners.  There is a good mix of both projects for boys and girls.  My 5 year old son has already requested the explorer’s satchel and pirate Apron for childrenplay tent!  Other projects in include a beanbag, tooth fairy pillow, nature walk bunting, soft toy Boo, beret and mittens, lollipop soaps and a patchwork bedcover.

The instructions are mainly text with the odd photo of certain stages which are best demonstrated visually.  There is a brief guide to the hand stitches you need in the back of the book.  There are also templates for the projects at the back, around half are full sized but the rest need enlarging by up to 350%. 

I think there are bound to be several projects in this book that children would love you to make for them.  I guess I had better get on with the pirate tent…

This book is published by Quadrille Crafts

Skirt-A-Day Sewing  - patterns for 28 skirtsSkirt-A-Day Sewing by Nicole Smith

If skirts form an essential part of your wardrobe then you are going to want this book.  It teaches you how to draft and sew 28 different skirts, one for each day of the month.  The book starts by taking you through the basic tools you need and techniques you will be using.  There is a useful guide to hems, seams and fastenings that you will find handy for other kinds of dressmaking too.

The next section of the book focuses on how to draft your own personalised pattern (sloper) so each skirt you make will be perfectly tailored to fit you.  The last half of the book focuses on the skirts themselves, 4 basic types of skirt: wrapped skirts, straight skirts, flared skirts and high waisted skirts.  Within these categories there are 7 different pattern variations. For each individual skirt the book shows you how to adapt your sloper and then gives step by step instructions for sewing the skirt.

There are guiding illustrations throughout plus step by step instructions, as well as photos of the finished skirts making this book easy to follow.  With so many different skirt designs there is bound to be something for everyone.

This book is published by Storey

Sew & Stitch Embroidery book review Alyssa ThomasSew & Stitch Embroidery by Alyssa Thomas

This book is written by the talented lady behind the Penguin & Fish brand, known for its adorable animal characters which are incorporated into the designs in the book.  The book starts with 30 pages of embroidery essentials, from which materials to use to the stitches.  The stitches are illustrated with large colour diagrams.

However, it is not simply a book teaching embroidery, it also gives instructions for making 20 different sewing projects incorporating the embroidery designs into them.  The projects include cushions, bags, brooches, a scarf, kids toys and a table runner. They are rated by difficulty for both the sewing and the embroidery.Embroidered owl cushion

At the back of the book is a pull out iron-on transfer sheet with 20 of the embroidery designs on it.  The other designs are shown in the book with stitch and colour guides but do require enlarging.   The animal motifs used in the designs are very cute, and having the iron on transfer sheet with the book makes it so much easier to use.

This book is published by David & Charles