Good afternoon. I have a real corker of a craft book to share with you today, oh yes! If you're a lover of Liberty print fabrics and want to add a few stylish touches to your home, then you may want to take a look at The Liberty Book of Simple Sewing, published this week by Quadrille Publishing.
There are 25 home projects in the book, all beautifully photographed to showcase the fabrics. They range from the everyday (table mats, several different cushions, curtains and throws...
Cloud cushions: a great way to practice curved seams
... to the more unusual (pet beds and dog leads, bike seat covers, rag dolls and covered letters).
The premise of the book is that if you can sew a straight line of stitches then you can tackle a larger number of the projects. If you're brave enough to try curved seams and a bit of slip stitching, then you can master the majority of them. This is true....up to a point. There are indeed projects that require no actual sewing at all,
Fabric covered letters: I love the styling in this shot
but some that demand quite a few different techniques such as inserting a zip, quilting and applying bias binding to corners.
This seems like a simple project but is actually quite involved
The complexity of some projects in the latter category could be a little daunting to a total beginner. For this reason, I think the book may have benefited from having a difficulty rating at the beginning of each project stating just how simple the project is (or not as the case may be).
Many of the projects use simple strips, squares and rectangles of fabric, requiring nothing more taxing than measuring dimensions. For other projects, templates are provided which have to be enlarged from anything from 120% to 400%. And for larger patterns you're required to scale the patterns up on dressmakers paper. This is my only major gripe with the book - who on earth is going to be bothered to do that? I really wish the book had included a set of full scale templates and patterns. Even one large sheet with different templates in different colours (like you get in Burda Magazine or in a Japanese sewing book) would be an improvement. At least then you'd have something you could work with immediately, even if it is a pain to trace it.
Despite this, there are plenty of projects that could easily be undertaken without having to make a special trip to the photocopy shop - 14 in fact. And the instructions are well explained and clearly illustrated. I particularly like the way the book shows you how to achieve a little taste of Liberty style without going too over the top, such as adding strips of fabric to the hems of curtain panels or pillow cases or covered buttons and a belt to a raincoat.
Now, I've actually done this exact thing for a friend of mine. Not with Liberty fabric unfortunately (although I really wish I'd thought of that), but I changed her old raincoat buttons for covered ones and made some matching bias binding for the cuffs and neck edge. It's a great introduction to refashioning if you don't have much sewing experience. With this book as a guide, you can even make a co-ordinating dog lead!
Overall, I think the Liberty Book of Simple Sewing is very inspirational. You can't fail to be inspired seeing achievable home projects made with such beautiful fabrics. The fabrics really are beautiful and it's a pleasure to read because of this. The book would make a lovely present, especially for somebody new to sewing looking for stylish ideas. Well, the good news is, I have a review copy to give away to one of my readers! Yippee.
If you'd like an opportunity to win the book, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post. The giveaway is open worldwide and closes at midnight GMT on Sunday 22nd September 2013. Please make sure you leave your email address if it's not linked to your Blogger profile so I can contact you if you're a winner. I leave you with my favourite project form the book - a sewing machine cover! Good luck everybody. x