Crafty Classic: Bend-the-Rules Sewing by Amy Karol
Amy Karol's Bend-The-Rules Sewing has matured into a real crafty classic, combining all of the madcap fun of her Angry Chicken blog with doable, practical projects that make great gifts - for yourself or someone else!
Ever since my last Crafty Classic post, a review of the Jim Henson Company's Quilting with the Muppets, I've been on the lookout for another book that's worthy of that hallowed title.
It's fitting that I found the newest Crafty Classic I'd like to champion, Amy Karol's Bend-The-Rules Sewing (Potter Craft 2007), on a friend's bookshelf. This fun, un-intimidating book by the author of the runaway hit Angry Chicken blog will have you sewing in no time.
What's it about? Trumpeting a fresh approach to basic sewing, Amy Karol's projects will make even an experienced sewist squee. Every aspect of this book - the projects, the photography, the writing and illustration - are both of a very high quality and get you genuinely excited about making things.
The intro: In this quick hello from the author, you'll get a sense of her humorous, easygoing approach to craft. Amy Karol has Tina Fey's talent for mixing noble aims with a humble, humorous touch - you will not forget the image of Amy surrounded by garbage bags full of fabric.
The projects: This book is full of quick, simple projects, and helps rewire your brain so that making, not buying, is your first instinct.
Need a wallet, for example? Make one, using Amy's super-simple template. Need a baby shower gift that will a) cost very little and b) give the assembled party-goers a cute attack? The scalloped baby blanket or straight-line quilt projects in here could be just the thing.
Even better, while you're saving money and making cool stuff, you'll also learn all the core sewing skills - machine-stitching in a (genuinely) straight line, using interfacing, attaching bias binding, taking care of your machine - that you'll need to make more complicated projects later on.
But this book is also super-fun - I love the tea cozy embroidered with the message "there is a teapot under here!", and the pillow enhanced with a sweet, basic drawing of a house.
What else is there? Amy shares her tips for becoming an ace sewist, such as when to change your sewing machine needle (hint: a lot), the importance of ironing, and how staying neat while sewing will make you a happier crafter.
Plus, all the patterns for the book's projects are included. (A quick word - if you find a copy of the first edition of the book, there are some quite substantial errata. This is a classic that's all the better for having been on the market a while!)
Craft type? Sewing, with some quick embellishments, and extra encouragement to be crazy and creative! There's not much in here about using commercial patterns or sewing clothes - but a graduate of this informal course would be in good shape to start exploring those worlds.
Want to check out this Crafty Classic? Check out Indie-Bound for independent brick-and-mortar or online options - or go to Bend-The-Rules Sewing's Google Books page for info on other sources.