If you’ve been reading my blog for the last couple of months, you’ll probably have seen the various nightwear projects that I’ve made from the book And Sew To Bed by Caro London (not to be confused with this book of the same name by Vanessa Mooncie – although this one looks nice too!). As I’ve now used a few of the patterns, I thought I’d write a more detailed review of the book itself to share with you.
The book includes 30 sewing projects for nightwear and accessories, for both women (S, M and L sizes, for UK sizes 10-18 – I’ve used M for all my projects) and children (ages 3-4, 5-6 & 7-8) – 12 patterns for women’s nightwear, 4 girl’s nightwear, 2 boy’s nightwear (the “boy” patterns could probably be used for girls too, but the “girl” patterns are definitely girly), and 12 accessories (ranging from a headband, to a jewellery roll, to pillows). In addition to this, there’s a section at the back of the book with instructions for the techniques used, such as French seams, using bra sliders, piping etc.
There are tear-out pattern sheets included for 18 full-size patterns. You have to trace the patterns, and the sheets are a little bit confusing because there are a lot of different lines overlapping. Each pattern is drawn in its own colour though, and personally I haven’t had any problems with tracing, but I read a couple of reviews on Amazon from people complaining that the sheets were too confusing. For the projects that don’t have a pattern, there are instructions for the size of simple shapes that you need to cut.
I’ve now sewn up three different projects from the book (pyjama trousers, dressing gown, short pyjamas), and the instructions have been fairly clear and easy to follow, if sometimes a bit brief. As some of the projects reuse the same methods, and also the techniques from the back section, the instructions will quite often refer you to other pages rather than writing out the same sections repeatedly. I can see why they’ve done this, and it probably means that you end up with more projects in the book than if everything was written out in full for all of the projects, but flipping backwards and forwards between pages can get a bit annoying, and I think there’s a risk that doing this will lead to missing out steps.
My least favourite thing about the book is the diagrams used to accompany the instructions, which I think suffer from the same problem as lots of craft books by seeming to focus more on trying to be pretty than being clear. Yes, the book needs to be nice to look at, but there are photos of the finished projects that can do that job, so I think it would be better to stick to line drawings for the diagrams as sewing patterns would.
Those are really just niggles, but I thought I’d put them out there in case any of them would be deal-breakers for anyone thinking about buying the book!
There are plenty of positives about the book. There are a nice range of different styles in the women’s section (4 nightdresses, 4 pyjama sets and 4 robes/dressing gowns), with nothing too complicated but still a few interesting details. The patterns come together really nicely and the instructions are clear and generally easy to follow. It’s also pretty good value for money if you compare it to how much you’d have to pay for individual patterns to make all the projects included in the book. Really, if you’ve got this book, then you’re probably not going to need to buy any other nightwear patterns ever (provided that you stay within the slightly limited size range obviously!).
All in all, I probably wouldn’t want to give And Sew to Bed to someone who was completely new to sewing, but I’d be happy to recommend it to anyone who has a bit of confidence in what they’re doing, and there are still plenty more projects that I’m planning to make from the book - looking through it again to write this review has reminded me quite how much there is in there!