Tuesday, November 26, 2013

perfectly imperfect: simple sewing book review (+ giveaway!)

in typical social media tangled web fashion, i can’t even remember how i first came across katie of the red kitchen. i know it was on instagram, where i followed the writing and development of her book like i was watching updates on the development of a baby. and i think, for her, it was.

so when she sent out the call for some bloggers who would be willing to review her book after it’s birth (!) i volunteered right away. i had watched this thing from it’s infancy, i kind of feel like a grandmom. or at least a really cool but distant aunt.

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meet katie’s adorable bouncing baby book: SIMPLE SEWING: 30 Fast and Easy Projects for Beginners.

here’s the thing: i can’t even begin to count the amount of times people have said to me “i wish i could sew” or “you need to teach me to sew”. the truth is sewing isn’t rocket science. and if you have the ability to read and the desire to learn then this book is exactly what you need—a primer for learning the basics. learning your way around fabric and notions and a machine and pumping out a couple decent projects to build your confidence and get you excited.

let’s dive in, shall we?

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the beginning of the book gives you an illustrated overview of the tools—both big and small—you’ll need, why you’ll need them, what kind to look for, and how to use them. everything from needles to irons.

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next up is a detailed explanation of the techniques you’re going to need for all the book’s projects: how to pin, how to stitch…all the basics.

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then the book is broken up into (very logical) groupings of projects, which makes it easy to find the one you’re looking for.

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and here’s where the book really shines—not only are there gorgeous full-color and full-page illustrations throughout

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each step of each project has a corresponding photo showing you exactly what to do. if you’re a visual learner this is priceless. even as an experienced sewer there are times i simply do not understand a written instruction in a pattern. it is quite true: a picture is worth a thousand words.

and at the back of the book you’ll find all the patterns for your projects, which can be traced or copied. or cut right out if you’re a rebel.

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so what did i do with my book?

my girls are some of the people who have asked me countless times “will you teach me to sew?” they want to Make Things. i even bought them their own machine. but i know my limits and a big one is that i am just NOT a teacher. i don’t have the patience, the organizational skills…i want to jump in and fix the mistakes myself, make it perfect, make it right the way i would do it.
this is tough to admit--but i even seriously entertained the thought of putting the girls in a sewing class at joann’s. how dumb is that? i feel strongly that they should learn to sew, but i convinced myself i lacked the ability to be their teacher.

this book serves as the perfect buffer. i realize now it was just what i needed. even the best of teachers uses a textbook as the basis for what they’re teaching.
this is our sewing class book.

i set ava loose on it first, and she picked the toy camera project.

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i let her pick fabrics, and helped her cut her pieces. i gave her some little tips, showed her how to organize everything and how to follow the step-by-step directions. i was there to guide and lend a helping hand, but she did it.

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at first she waited for my guidance between steps, but by the end she was off and running on her own. i’ve given her basic sewing machine instruction, so with the illustrated instructions in the book she could easily proceed without my help.

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and in the end she had a toy camera.

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an actual for real project that she made herself. are the stitches wonky? the circles less circle-y and more octagon-y? yup.

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and that’s what makes it perfect.
but we didn’t stop there. that’s the fun of a house full of kiddos. when word spreads that there’s “projects” happening…

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gigi wanted in. and the book was awesome yet again: she picked a project and fabric and we got to work. i was a little more involved this time, but we learned how to follow directions, how to measure and cut and pin…

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she sat on my lap for the sewing—official Pin Puller and Presser Foot Lifter.

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then we pushed out corners and filled our warmers with rice…

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and voila. two hand warmers. also perfectly imperfect.

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she was nervous about how hot they were (not very)

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so she donned some protective…socks.
and there you have it.

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these two little projects represent together about an hour and a half of my time and a monetary investment of $0.
but more importantly—they represent the first time we have successfully done sewing projects from start to finish together. they show me that i can teach my girls to sew, and watch it happen without frustration on any of our parts. i didn’t realize what i was missing all along was direction for me, not them.
(yes yes, there’s a “priceless” joke in here somewhere. i’ll spare you.)

so, now that i’ve touched your hearts so deeply you can’t wait to have such memory-making moments with your own offspring (or you want to learn yourself)…


you can purchase a copy of katie’s SIMPLE SEWING book from any of these retailers:

Barnes & Noble
Books & Things

you can also check out some other projects from/reviews of katie's book by visiting her website.
and be sure and swing by today's other reviewer--the incredible delia creates--and see what she did!

AND you also have a chance to win a copy of SIMPLE SEWING here by entering below!

before i go i just want to say again that this book is seriously awesome—i honestly mean it. if you want to teach someone—whether an adult or a child to sew, or you want to teach yourself you sew, this book is a must-have place to start. thanks, katie, for letting me be a part of your virtual baby shower book tour!

*please note this contest is open to US shipping addresses only. 

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1 comment:

  1. Your kiddos did a great job! Congratulations on a successful sewing experience for all!


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