Friday, February 3, 2012

Mini Reviews: Craft Books Part 1 - Sewing & Jewelry

Title:  My First Sewing Book
Author:  Susan Akass
Source:  via Publisher (Thomas Allen)

Synopsis:

Here are 35 brilliant projects that will help you learn how to sew. If you’ve never used a needle and thread before, don’t worry – start with the Sewing Techniques section, which simply explains how to do every stitch. Then pick something to make from one of the four chapters. In the Toys chapter, you’ll find juggling animals, sock monsters and rag dolls, while in Fashion Fun, there are gorgeous bags, hair accessories and more.

Next, discover some brilliant Decorations – from hanging felt stars to pretty lavender bags. Finally, Great Gifts is packed with ideas, such as the finger puppet cards, felt egg cosies or the sausage dog draft excluder. All the instructions and cute step-by-step artworks are easy to follow; plus, each project has a grade so that you can start with easy sewing and move onto using more advanced stitches as you get better at it.
For someone new to sewing and following patterns, this is a great book.  While it shows the basics, and has very simple pattern; it does have some rather unique projects that might appeal to someone who has been sewing for a while.  I loved the how to steps and the great pictures.

I think my favorite patterns were the stuffed animals, there were definitely a few in there that I want to make for my niece.   Even though it was geared towards beginners I'll be keeping this book on my shelf and will refer to from time to time for refreshers.


Title:  Fabric by Fabric:  One Yard Wonders
Authors:  R Yaker & P Hoskins
Source:  NetGalley

Synopsis:

The best-selling authors of One-Yard Wonders are back with an all-new collection of 101 sewing projects that each require just one yard of fabric! This time, the projects are organized by fabric type. From home dec to knits, wool to flannels, corduroy to cottons, these patterns--contributed by popular sewing bloggers and designers from across North America--show how to make the most of each fabric’s unique characteristics. Waterproof coated cottons are perfect for a gym bag, wool makes a warm cap for the outdoor enthusiast, knit jersey whips up quickly into a ruffle scarf or sassy dress, corduroy makes a sturdy farmers’ market tote, and lightweight cotton voile is perfect for a little girl’s smocked sundress. Each project is shown in a full-color photograph accompanied by detailed step-by-step instructions, illustrations, and a complete cutting layout.
Of all the sewing pattern books I've found, this is probably my favorite.  It's filled with patterns from the most basic to complicated.  Projects are sorted by fabric type/weight, all using only just one yard of fabric to make it.

The book starts up with a intro to the different techniques, stitches, ins and outs of a sewing machine, basic sewing practices and some great cheat sheets!  There was a great skirt, basic smocking patterns and a scruffle scarf that I plan on making sometime this spring.  Definitely a book I'm going to add to my collection, and will easily be one I'll go back to for something fun to make.


Title:  Gothic Jewelry
Author:  Harriet Smith
Source:  via Publisher (Thomas Allen)

Synopsis:

35 step-by-step projects for gorgeous Gothic jewelry. Inspired by classic gothic literature and movies, Harriet Smith's jewelry fuses dark beauty and humorous horror imagery - and here she shows you how to craft 35 of her distinct and striking pieces. Each project is suitable for beginners to jewelry-making with all the techniques clearly explained. The materials and tools used can be found in many craft, DIY and homeware stores or located on the internet - and there are often alternatives to be found in the kitchen tool cupboard or an old toy chest - so there is nothing to stop you making them in the comfort of your own home. Make the skull earrings, bones bracelet and dead flower corsage from the 'Fabrics and Fimo' chapter; in 'Beading and Metalwork' there's a Gothic cross necklace, Sweeney Todd earrings and a barbed wire bracelet; and you can have fun with the designs in the 'Plastics' chapter - including a bat brooch and bottle-top cameo bracelet. Harriet's gothic jewelry isn't just for Goths - her pieces have wide-ranging appeal, are easy to make and fun to wear, and make a truly unique gift.
I've never really been into jewelry making, but this book has some pretty neat and unique projects that I might just have to try.  The step by step photos and details were great, and I loved how well put together the projects were. 

This is very different and will appeal to a certain type of person.  Personally a lot of pieces weren't me, but they were fun to look through.  I haven't decided if I'm going to keep this on my shelf or pass this on to one of my friends who is into jewelry making.

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