A RIVER OF DUST Written by Jilanne Hoffmann Illustrated by Eugenia Mello (Chronicle Books;…
Mary Brown reviews We Love to Sew, 28 Pretty Things to Make: Jewelry, Headbands, Softies, T-shirts, Pillows, Bags & More.
The craft of sewing is enjoying a renaissance these days, as young, modern women are taking up the needle to create quilts, garments and functional items with fresh fabrics and a new sensibility.* It’s as if sewing skipped a generation or two, and is coming back into vogue. It’s fun and creative, and sewists can save money by making clothes and gifts more cheaply (and uniquely) than they can be bought. But how does a young girl get started sewing, particularly if her mom never picked it up?
Annabel Wrigley has created We Love to Sew, 28 Pretty Things to Make: Jewelry, Headbands, Softies, T-shirts, Pillows, Bags & More (Fun Stitch Studio/C&T Publishing, $22.95) to help girls acquire sewing skills while making fun sewn items. Ms. Wrigley owns a studio in Virginia where she teaches girls to sew, and says that the book is a collection of the most loved projects they’ve made in class. The projects are appealing, and the book is executed in a cute, modern style. The photographs are gorgeous. The book is intended for girls age 8 to 14, although the projects’ tween appeal might make age 12 a more appropriate cut-off.
The projects feature three skill levels, which the writer categorizes as ‘easy peasy’, ‘teeny bit challenging’ and ‘take your time, ask for help.’ So note that this voice, with phrases like ‘You will be the coolest girl in town with this adorable bag!’ may not appeal to every tween.
The projects and instructions themselves are mostly hits. The little creatures, the pom-poms and the bags are fun and doable by small hands. The small quilt and mushroom house are perhaps overly ambitious so an experienced sewist would need to be lurking nearby to provide assistance for those. The instruction photos and drawings are pretty clear and easy to follow, although there were a couple of places where the pages felt a bit cluttered.
The writer does a lovely job of encouraging girls to make the projects their own, not to strive for perfect replicas of the photos. A creative, self-starting girl can really go to town with this book, a few supplies and her own imagination. We Love to Sew, along with some fabric, needles and thread, would make a great holiday gift for a crafty girl.
* Boys and men sew, too, but the book being reviewed here is obviously targeted to girls. A boy wishing to learn to sew might want to seek out a more gender-neutral book.
Here are links to reviews of other crafts books.