Books: Home sewn home + Stitch at home

by Admin on 03/09/2012

in Books, Sewing+Fabric

About the reviewer: Megan is wife to a tolerant and encouraging husband and mother to four children ranging in age from 18 years down to 5 years. She spends her days keeping company with her 5 year old daughter and her evenings cheering on the sidelines as her older sons deal with homework, sport and other teenage issues. In her quieter moments, she likes to knit, embroider, sew and cook. She’d like to have the time and talent to crochet and quilt….maybe one day.  She can be found at Notebook from home blog.

Home Sewn Home: 20 Projects to Make for the Retro Home. by Sally Walton [publisher: Guild of Master Craftsman Publications (May 1, 2012)]

The front cover of ‘Home Sewn Home’ by Sally Walton hooked me in straight away with the words “Projects to make for the retro home”. I love the idea of wearing my frilly apron in the kitchen whilst clutching my pot-holders, all handmade, of course. To complement the retro theme in this book there is a heavy emphasis on thrift shop fabrics and trimmings and all the photos showcase the author’s obviously extensive array of fabrics ready for upcycling.

The book is written in an easy to read format with twenty projects in total to complete. Most of the projects are simple and have perhaps been presented in other craft books. However, in Sally Walton’s latest offering these projects are given a distinctly vintage feel due to the 60s and 70s fabrics used. Projects include home necessities such as an ironing board cover, a doorstop, shower cap and of course, that all important pot-holder.

For each project there are step by step photographs that would really help the novice sewer. In fact, this book is designed mainly for someone just tentatively dipping their toe into the world of sewing. All terms are well explained. Hemming, bias binding and the application of various trims are all very clearly laid out with accompanying photos at the back of the book. This book assumes that the reader has little prior sewing knowledge and as such the projects are designed to be quick, straight-forward and very usable once completed. It would be the perfect book for the fledgling sewist to use as a resource and to try out skills, therefore gaining confidence with both machine and hand sewing. The clear layout and wording of this book along with the numerous photographic explanations make Home Sewn Home a great place to start a crafting journey and the retro fabric provides excellent eye candy along the way.

Stitch At Home: Over 20 Handmade Fabric and Embroidery Projects. by Mandy Shaw. [Publisher: David & Charles (April 27, 2012)]

Pictures of embroidered houses are guaranteed to get me reaching for my needle and embroidery hoop. This book concentrates on the home and house as a theme and although there is some embroidery included there is an emphasis on appliqué.

This is the second book in a series by Mandy Shaw (The first one ‘Stitch with love’).  There are around 20 projects outlined, some practical, some more decorative. There are instructions for a sewing case, a dog bed, a tablecloth and a tea cosy. The project I am most keen to tackle is a gorgeous quilt with 12 blocks to appliqué and embroider. Fusible webbing appliqué is used for this project and for most of the projects in the book. The method is well outlined and machine blanket stitching is also explained. There are tips and ideas throughout which makes this rather large quilt appear quite achievable.

Being an embroiderer at heart I was also taken with the first project in the book, an embroidered house sampler. All the stitches included in the sampler are well explained in the first part of the book and included are instructions for left handed sewers as well – very inclusive! The Cutwork cushions are also striking and although they look great using solid colours I was keen to try the same idea using a floral cut-out on a solid background. I used an old thrifted piece of blanketing and some Liberty fabric from my stash [see pic above]. It was a quick but effective project and I would definitely try the other cutwork patterns outlined in the book.

The instructions for all projects are clear and easy to understand and wouldn’t be daunting for a beginner. There are small projects (a pincushion and bunting) to make and build confidence before moving on to larger and more complicated items (beach bag and quilt). The fabrics used are muted and traditional but it is easy to imagine the same projects completed with a more vibrant palette.

The house and home image is a lovely one for many crafters and “Stitched at Home’ is full of such images, a great book to get ideas and to trigger some creativity.


[Thanks to publishers and distributors and authors for sending me books to review, whipup does not get paid to post reviews but I am an amazon affiliate] (Australians can purchase craft books online through can do books or booktopia or else browse booko for the best prices.)

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