Monday, March 09, 2009

Sometimes I sew ...

I don't just knit (although my kids would tell you I do!). Here are some basic sewing books that I've found that are quite good ...

  1. Alvarez, Beverley – Kids Can Sew: Fun and Easy Projects for Your Small Stitcher – Barron’s Educational Series, Inc (Hauppage, NY). 2004. Barron’s does a great job with producing craft books for kids that are attractive, well-laid-out and have fun, doable projects. This one focuses on using a sewing machine to make all kinds of fun things to wear and use. The directions are a bit minimal, so you do have to have a little experience with sewing to use this book.
  2. Cantrell, Alice – Sewing with St. Anne – Little Way Press (Twain Harte, CA) 2002. I really like the clear, clean explanations of hand- and machine-sewing in this book. The projects are very cute and useful. Again, I think this one errs on the gender-specificity of its presentation. Boys should also learn to sew!
  3. Cantrell, Alice – Tea & Cake with the Saints: A Catholic Young Lady’s Introduction to Hospitality and the Home Arts – Little Way Press (Twain Harte, CA) 2007. This book has great little projects to make a house a loving place of beauty of creativity.
  4. Cherry, Winky – My First Doll Book: Hand-sewing – Palmer/Pletsch Publishing (Portland, OR). 1994. This innocuous book will have a child sewing his/her own dolls in no time thanks to the simple, clear and direct instructions. Creativity is encouraged by describing different ways to do the face, clothes, hair, etc. Don’t let its size fool you.
  5. Cherry, Winky – My First Embroidery Book: A Name Sampler – Palmer/Pletsch Publishing (Portland, OR). 1994. A great first step with embroidery is stitching on gingham – the squares make for easy positioning of stitches and regularity of stitch size. Another great, easy to follow stitching book that has tons of great advice and information.
  6. Cobb, Mary – A Sampler View of Colonial Life – Millbrook Press (Brookfield, CT). 1999. This is the kind of cross-curriculum book I love to use in my home-educating adventures: this one combines American History and needlework by explaining the history of the colonial sampler and teaching the reader how to make the sampler (from making the cloth through the stitching and on to creating other stitching projects like a copy book).
  7. Davis, Tina – See and Sew: A Sewing Book for Children – Stewart, Tabori & Chang (New York) 2006. This is a fun, spiral-bound volume that starts with the basics and really teaches children (both boys and girls!) how to hand-sew. I particularly like the retro look of this book which gives the idea of hand-sewing as being a traditional, homey well-loved craft for children.
  8. Fryer, Jane Eayre – The Mary Frances Sewing Book – LACIS Books (Berkley, CA) 1997. Reprint of a volume from the early 1900s that teaches how to sew through a story about a little girl and her imagination. Lovely, vintage feel with interesting projects, aimed at older girls or adults.
  9. Gagnon, JoAnn & Corrie Gagnon – Stitches & Pins: A Beginning Sewing Book for Girls – Bunkhouse Books 2002. This is a great project book from a homeschooler and her daughter. The projects are useful and include great, clear instructions.
  10. Kanamori, Miyako – Happy Gloves: Charming Softy Friends Made from Colorful Gloves – Penguin Group (New York). 2007. This is one of the cutest books I’ve seen in a long time. All the projects in this book – for making squirrels, chipmunks, ducks, dolls and even teapots – are created from knitted gloves! And are they cute!
  11. Karol, Amy – Bend-the-Rules Sewing: The essential guide to a whole new way to sew – Potter Craft (New York) 2007. Fun and funky projects that gently lead the reader not only toward sewing but also give the reader the confidence to go beyond the projects and create your own!
  12. Llimos, Anna – Easy Cloth Crafts in 5 Steps – Enslow Publishers (Berkeley Heights, NJ). 2005. This is a great fabric craft book for pre-sewing fun – the projects go from easy to hard (although none is too hard) and use glue, staples or tape to make the objects. This one is fun for the younger kids who are too little for real sewing. The projects are fun too!
  13. McAllister, Buff – Sewing with Felt: Learn Basic Stitches to Create More Than 60 Colorful Projects – Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA). 2003. The wonderful thing about learning to sew with felt is that you don’t have to worry about fraying edges and you can just worry about stitching the felt to the background. This book walks the reader through every step of the way – encouraging the reader to go beyond the wonderful projects shown. This is beautifully illustrated and the directions are clean and clear.
  14. Nicholas, Kristin – Kids’ Embroidery: Projects for Kids of All Ages – Stewart, Tabori & Chang (New York). 2004. Nicholas was former creative editor for knitting yarn company Classic Elites Yarn and famous for her colorful designs. Here she brings her beautiful color-sense to a step-by-step book on embroidery, explaining all the basic stitches and suggesting amazingly fun projects. If you only get one book for your kids to learn embroidery, you should get this one!
  15. Rothschild, Sharon Franco – Sweater Renewal: Felting Knits into New Sweaters and Accessories – Potter Craft (New York). 2008. So you have a pure wool sweater you accidentally shrank or you see a sweater in a thrift store that has beautiful colorwork but is the wrong size – this book will help fix the situation. Rothschild has over two dozen projects that demand that you find wool sweaters to shrink. These projects get the creative juices flowing to go beyond her clear directions and start creating your own recyclables.
  16. Ryan, Jenny – Sew Darn Cute: 30 Sweet and Simple Projects to Sew and Embellish – St. Martin’s Press (New York). 2009. For simple, but fun, sewing projects, this book is one of the best. The projects are practical (glass case, laptop bag and bibs to name just a few) while developing a sewing skill-base. This book includes patterns for making a crochet-hook case and a multi-pocket crafting apron. Very cool!
  17. Sadler, Judy Ann – Kids Can Do It: Embroidery – Kids Can Press Ltd (Tonawanda, NY). 2004. This is a beautifully illustrated, step-by-step guide to embroidering. An added bonus: the projects are cool!
  18. Sealey, Maricristin – Kinder Dolls: A Waldorf Doll-Making Handbook – Hawthorn Press (Gloucestershire, UK) 2001. A classic! This one leads the reader step-by-step through the process of creating the beautiful cloth dolls that are a traditional gift for all children in Germany. These dolls are gorgeous and come in all sizes. Beautiful!
  19. Stapleton, Dorothy – Kids Can Quilt: Fun and Easy Projects for Your Small Quilter – Barrons Educational (Hauppauge, NY). 2004. This book might even get me quilting. The projects are fun and look doable with the great illustrations and directions. My 8-year-old daughter can’t wait to start – always a good sign!

There are tons of others too ... but these are the ones I particularly like. The Winky Cherry and Tina Davis ones are lots of fun!