A Kid’s Guide to Sewing: 16 Fun Projects You’ll Love to Make & Use (C&T Publishing, $21.95, Ages 10 and up), by Sophie Kerr with Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr, is reviewed by Mary Brown.
The author of this terrific introduction to machine sewing for kids is a kid herself! The cheerful face of young Sophie Kerr graces the cover of the book, and at first she seems impossibly precocious to possess such skills and knowledge at such a tender age. But Sophie’s co-authors are her parents, Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr, who are royalty in the world of modern quilting. This husband-and-wife quilting team have created some of the most memorable designs in the modern quilting movement, and are the co-founders of the Modern Quilt Studio. Little Sophie first learned to sew at age 3, sitting on her mother’s lap to run fabric through the machine.
Sophie’s expertise and kid credentials combine to create a book that is both factually substantial, and age-appropriate. The first portion of the book introduces the reader to the sewing machine, as well as the fabrics and notions needed to execute the projects. The information and the accompanying photos are clearly laid out and easy to follow. A girl who had no experience in sewing could absolutely get started on her own, even if her mom forgot to take Home Ec and has no idea how to operate a sewing machine!
The writer also hits the right note with the selection of projects included in the book. They are simple to construct, starting with the easiest undertaking – a pillow – and working up to the most challenging – a zippered tote. Along the way, the reader learns to sew functional items, garments and even a quilt. The finished products are cool enough for a kid to actually want to use, unlike many DIY craft books for kids, where the items are an adult’s goofy idea of what a kid might like.
The author really earns her stripes in the straightforward, clear-cut approach to the instructions. No cutesy language, no steps under-illustrated; the reader gets a full explanation that invites personal creativity as well as skill-building. This book is squarely intended for machine sewing, while many kid craft books focus on hand-stitching, under the assumption, perhaps, that machine sewing is too complicated for kids. Sophie dispels that idea, and puts machine sewing within reach for her tween peers. This book is highly recommended for the self-starting girl who wants to learn to sew.