Monday, February 21, 2011

Book Reports--Due Monday: Weekend Sewing

I tend to purchase sewing books for a few reasons. First, our library stinks and their idea of a sewing/crafting section is a handful of happy homemaker books from the Singer company. It's a big bummer. I also find that sewing books have lots of different projects in them and I like having multiple project options because I never know what might spark a new idea or catch my fancy. I also find that many of the good books have good general reference material about fabric types or sewing techniques and so as I build a library of books I build up a library of reference materials. This is not something that a pattern can offer. Lastly, books tend to cost just a bit more than some of the nicer patterns but are packed with all of the above to boot. I should probably fess up to being kind of a 'book' person in general...I just like the touch and feel of a book..oh dear, I already said lastly and then I said more. Ok, enough blathering. Now you know why I have so many sewing books and that I'm not reviewing any books because someone is giving them to me or paying me to say nice things.

On to the point: Weekend Sewing.
What I like about this book: I am very much seduced by the beautiful aesthetics of this book. It has lovely pictures and a nice, friendly, clean look. It makes me want to sew. I'm also a big fan of Heather Ross and her fabrics are of good quality, wear well and are soft. The book has a nice chatty voice and includes cute recipes and thoughts on things like sewing with kids. It has a great section on how to set up a space for sewing (which I copied almost exactly) and wonderful information on sewing basics and fabric know-how. It makes you like her even more.
There are 40 projects in the book and they run the gamut from easy to advanced, which makes it a nice book for both short and long-term projects. In total, I have completed ten of the projects, a few of them many times. I have been disappointed with only two. She also includes some unique projects, like how to make a pup tent (a simple outdoor play tent) which adds playfulness to the book. There are an additional five projects that I have dog-earred for the future but every time I open the book I see something else that would be fun to try. I think that is a sign of a good sewing book.

What I do not like about this book: I hinted at this already but I've had bad experiences with two of the patterns. One I recently posted about was the flower girl dress pattern, which came out to small and too tight. The other is a wrap skirt that I haven't blogged about yet but led to the very disappointing experience of using up 3 yards of fabric to find out that my edition of the book included errata. So, look for the second edition if you do buy or rent this book. Also, I would list one of the projects in the book as kind of stupid...putting simple applique on a tablecloth. It's just a silly one, perhaps they needed one more to make it an even 40 projects total. But, the absolute biggest downfall of this book is the way in which the patterns are displayed. the book includes patterns in the form of two large, thin sheets of paper. The problem is that the patterns are created with the intention that the reader traces the pattern they want off of the attached sheets, they are not intended to be cut out. All of this is still ok with me, I usually do that anyway. The unfortunate part is that in order to include all of the patterns on just two sheets of paper they overlap. And, not just a little bit: the flower girl dress pattern is hidden within the pajama pant pattern and crosses with the weekend travel bag pattern. It is a mess and hard to discern the lines of your specific pattern when you are trying to trace them. Nevermind how annoying it is to hunt for the grainline or any dart marks. I find it really hard to use and enough to knock the book out of platinum status for me. All of that said, I would still recommend the book just be prepared for it to annoy the heck out of you.

Final Grade: B+ for great ideas, clear instructions, playful and inspiring but a few pattern errata and poor pattern construction.


FantasyDreamKnits said...

Thanks for an insightful book review. I have this on my Amazon wishlist, but don't think I have the patience for hunting down pattern lines! Good information to know.

Little C and Little J said...

I'm glad it was helpful! Would love to know what else is on your wishlist.