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September Book Reviews

The shirt off his back by Juliet Bawden

The Shirt Off His Back Juliet BawdenThis innovative upcycling book makes use of a material we all have around us – Mens shirts. Those of us with men in the house will undoubtedly have no longer used shirts lurking at the back of wardrobes. Those who don’t have a shirt wearing male to acquire shirts from can pick them up fairly cheap from the charity shop. Plus of course there is no reason why women’s shirts can’t be used for these projects either.

The projects in this book are cleverly categorised by type of shirt used to make them: businessmen’s shirts, creative men’s shirts, outdoorsy men’s shirts and sporty men’s shirts. The projects include soft toys, quilted duvet cover, a beach bag, storage boxes, and a pretty peg bag and they make use of the whole of the shirt including, cuffs, collars and buttons.

The instructions for each project are set over several pages with large step by step photos to guide you as well as a photo of the finished project plus any templates you need are at the rear of the book.  The book is easy to follow and would be suitable for all levels of experience.

This book is published by Jacqui Small LLP


Roses in Silk & Organza Ribbon by Di Van Niekerk

Roses in silk and organza ribbonI have to admit when I first saw this book I was a little unsure how you could fill a book on making Silk & organza ribbon roses, and quite what you would use them for. However, once I opened the book I was wowed! The roses in this book are truly stunning and can be used for a range of projects including quilts, fibre art, embroidery, card making, clothing embellishment, to add to bags, jewellery boxes or jewRoses in silk and organza ribbonellery.

The book starts by covering techniques and materials; there is also a stitch gallery too. Then each chapter covers a few different roses, and other designs which work well with the rose such as birds, butterflies and other flowers. Each project tells you what materials, threads and needles you will need and then tells you how to make each part of the rose with photographic aids. If you put together all of the projects in the book you can great a gorgeous sampler (template in the back of the book.)


This book is published by Search Press


Stitch, Cloth, Paper & Paint by Angie Hughes

Stitch, Cloth, Paper & PaintThis book is a great guide to those who are new to mixed media, introducing you to the different materials and techniques and encouraging you to experiment. It starts by discussing the materials you can use and what to do with them.

The author then guides you through different techniques with projects that you can easily do. The book breaks it down into simple steps so the projects don’t look too daunting. I’ve often admired mixed media projects but always thought they would be a bit too complicated, or too much work to do myself but this book really does show how easy it is. There are nice easy to follow photos of the techniques and projects too.Stitch, Cloth, Paper & Paint

For anyone wanting to try experimenting with mixed media projects this book is a great place to start.


This book is published by Search Press


Simply the Best Sewing Book by Simplicity

Simplicity Simply the Best Sewing BookThis book is a reworked/updated version of the bestseller published 20 years ago (which has sold over 1 million copies). It is billed as the essential reference guide for home sewers. It covers understanding patterns, buying tools & materials, fitting, universal basics, sewing techniques and sewing with special fabrics. There are also some patternless projects at the rear of the book as well as a very detailed glossary.

The book itself is in a useful spiral bound format so you can easily leave it open on the page you are working from whilst sewing. There are detailed descriptions and advice accompanied by coloured diagrams and pictures. The only thing that makes it seem a little dated to me is that there are no photos in the book at all. I’m used to glossy photograph filled books and the lack of photos did make this look a little drab in contrast. That said it is a very useful reference guide that I will certainly be keeping hold of.

This book is published by Anova