My sewing machine is as busy as usual at the moment, but it's in full-on Christmas present production so that all needs to be kept secret for another couple of weeks. I'm sure I'm not the only one in that situation, am I? As I can't share my latest creations, I thought I'd talk about a couple of projects that haven't made it to my blog before. They all happen to come from the same book, so I'm going to combine them with a bit of a review.
The book in question is Handmade Style by Anna Graham of Noodlehead. It was released early last year so I'm not exactly quick off the mark with this post, but with a sewing book I prefer to wait until I've used it to make a couple of things so that I know whether or not the projects work before writing a review.
The book includes 23 projects divided into three sections - "To wear", "To carry" and "To use". It includes paper patterns where necessary, but most of the pieces in the projects I've used have been rectangles/squares and in those cases the dimensions are simply provided for cutting.
The first project I made from the book was the carry-all pincushion. Now, a pincushion might not seem like a particularly exciting project, but this is no ordinary pincushion! It's got a range of different pockets all round the sides for all your small sewing essentials, and a strap on the top to hold scissors. I made mine over a year ago, and I haven't lost my seam ripper since!
Next up, I made the double zip wallet. As the name suggests, it has two zippered openings and additional pockets and card holders on the inside. There's plenty of space for holding just about anything you could want to keep in your wallet.
My third project was the gingham tote, so called because in the sample in the book the main outer pocket (which I used the blue floral for in my version) is made in gingham. As you can probably tell, this was a more involved project than the other two but, although there were more steps to go through, the individual processes themselves weren't complicated.
I deviated slightly from the bag in the book by using a purchased leather strap instead of making the fabric strap included in the pattern. This was mainly because I made the bag as a birthday present for my Mum as a replacement for a Cath Kidston one that she'd used lot, and one of the things I knew she really liked about that bag was the fact that it had a leather strap. My version has the added benefit of the strap being removable for washing, whereas the CK one has a fixed strap, therefore meaning that I can pretend that I make better bags than Cath Kidston!
All three of these projects were really nice to sew. They're a good way to use up remnants/scraps, and a bit of a change from all the dressmaking that usually goes on around these parts.
I think that the instructions and diagrams are the kind that have a tendency to seem a bit confusing if you read them all through before starting, but then make complete sense and are easy to follow once you're actually sewing. Everything fitted together nicely, and I had no problems at all making any of the three projects.
Overall, I really like the general style of the whole book. The samples are made in a lovely range of modern fabrics, and they're beautifully photographed.
I would say that if you're only interested in sewing clothes then I don't think this would be the book for you. Although one of the sections is "To wear", it's definitely the smallest of the three, and the two garments (a simple chambray dress and a tunic) are both perfectly nice, but not anything revolutionary. I was aware of that before I bought the book though, so I'm not at all disappointed; in fact, I think there's a really nice selection of projects. A lot of them would be great to make as gifts as well - always handy at this time of year!
There are plenty more things that I'd like to make from Handmade Style. Top of the list has to be the patchwork bench, but I need to work out where I'd put it in my flat first! Have you made anything from this book?