Book Review: All Sewn Up by Chloë Owens
Fancy going on a craft magic carpet ride to a land of lushly embroidered birds, snoring pillows and cheery pom-pom slippers? The deliciously mad (that's British for 'cra-zay') All Sewn Up (Cico Books, 2012) will have you embellishing your universe (and hoarding fabrics) like never before.
Author Chloë Owens is a whiz with embroidery and appliqué, and an absolute fiend for quality vintage textiles. This collection of her favorite craft projects offers an epic amount of color and creativity for the buck (or pound!), and I can't recommend it highly enough.
Chloë will be familiar to Londoners from her cover for the The Stylist (the city's free women's mag - believe me, once you've been in The Stylist, you've made it!), as well as her frequent appearances in that proud publication's pages.
She'll be a very pleasant discovery for color-mad crafters in the USA and elsewhere - this lady has a breezy, approachable style, and a massive surplus of gorgeously craft ideas.
What's it about? This book offers up some very tasty sewing projects, including cushions, an apron, a tea cosy, and all sorts of other things that will suddenly seem very necessary.
But the best part is what she does with them, covering these utilitarian objects with gorgeous appliqué and stitchwork in rainbow colors. Someone with a little bit of confidence, good color sense and a massive fabric stash could have a ball with All Sewn Up.
The intro: the book begins with a simple introduction, in which Chloë shares her sources of inspiration, her favorite bands (she digs the Beatles) and her aim in creating this book - to teach readers how to craft while instilling a forgiving, even loving, attitude towards their mistakes along the way.
Left: The Breakfast at Tiffany's eye mask from All Sewn Up.
The projects: Lots of fun stuff for your house, your friends, and your life. There's a super-sweet rainbow-themed baby quilt, lots of pictorial appliqué, and fab cushions of the creative caliber that Chloë offers to her commission clients.
I'm especially tempted to make her Breakfast At Tiffany's eye mask, upon which she's stitched lovely lidded eyes with sequin eyeliner. It would make a fab gift for some hard-partying friends of mine!
One word of warning: you will need a sewing machine to make many of these objects, but they'd make great learning projects if you're a machine-sewing newbie.
What else is there? Illustrations by the equally fabulous Gemma Correll. This is the lady who brought us 'Pugs Not Drugs', and her droll kitties are to these pages what milk and sugar are to a good mug of tea. There's also a quickie guide to the various techniques in the book, as well as all of the templates you'll need to reproduce Chloë's designs.
Craft type? Sewing, appliqué and embroidery, just like it says on the cover. You'll emerge from this sparkly, twee boot camp a very capable practitioner of each of these crafts, I'll wager.