Friday, June 7, 2013

Craft Book Review: Stitch By Stitch by Deborah Moebes

So, I happen to be slightly addicted to craft books. I know there are more of you out there - come on, admit it. You're sucked in by the pretty photos and promises of learning a cool new technique just like the next crafty lady wandering around Barnes and Noble. I would always go to the crafts section of any bookstore I was in and longingly sift through the newest books to see what lovely things I could make if I only bought this book. Then a few months ago it hit me - I wonder if the local library has any of these new books? This was an absolute revelation for me and I have been a card carrying library user ever since. Now when I find myself longing for a certain craft book, I see if the library has it first. This way I can peruse through it at my leisure and see if it will actually be useful for me to purchase.

Anywhoo, that brings me to a new blog series I will occasionally post about - Craft Book Reviews :) Since I love to look at them so much, I thought I would put my personal reviewing out there for others to decide if they too need these books or could use them. So I start today with Stitch By Stitch by Deborah Moebes.
I was first introduced to this book by the Design and Sew and A-Line Skirt class on Craftsy, which I'm taking :) Deborah Moebes teaches the class and she begins with an explanation of her books. She said it was designed for beginning and seasoned sewers and I decided it would be worth a look through. I borrowed it from the library and immediately glanced through to see what it was all about.

Stitch By Stitch is actually a book that is designed to teach you how to sew if you have never sewn before or to help you brush up your knowledge and skills if you learned long ago and have forgotten much of what you learned. Her goal with the book is to help you love sewing like she does since she often hears students in her classes say that they tried to learn long before in a home ec class or from their mom, but the teacher had no patience or drilled too hard on perfection so they just gave up on the idea. Deborah Moebes seeks to correct that and help overcome any big issues you may have had due to lack of understanding or the teacher's lack of willingness to answer your questions.

The book starts off by going over all the basic need-to-know information about sewing: the tools you need, tools you may want but don't have to have, the different parts of your machine, differences in fabric types, how fabric is made, etc. There is a lot of information to be had and I will even confess I learned a few things myself. The book then goes into a few small tutorials like how to make bias tape and how to make mitred corners.The mitred corners was particularly interesting for me - I've looked through a lot of books and that's not a common beginner technique that's explained. It's simple to do and it really can make a huge difference in the finish of your items.
After all the basics are covered, the projects begin. The projects are designed to be done in order as you will learn a new skill with each one you complete.
Out of all the projects, there are the ones I would like to make for myself (above pic, listed clockwise): Relaxing Eye Mask, Carport Wrap Skirt, A-Line Skirt, Piped Throw Pillow, and Cap-Sleeved Blouse. I'm most excited to make the carport wrap skirt. The photo doesn't show it off so well, but that's just because the example is such a busy print. It's a skirt that wraps around the back on both sides and ties at the waist. I've never worn this style of skirt before, but this one looks so easy I definitely want to give it a try. The A-line skirt happens to be the same skirt that is used in the Craftsy class, except in the class she shows you how to make it using a pattern you've drafted yourself - this book includes a paper pattern. The shirt is just a simple basic item that any wardrobe should have, so that one's a given. I have been thinking about making an eye mask for a while, so now I will have a pattern for one :) And the pillow is something that you don't really need a pattern for, but it's always nice to have a little instruction as you go, even if it's just sewing a square.
One of the things I like best about this book is the fact that all of the patterns are included on a cd at the back. You just put the cd in your computer and you can choose what size you need for each project (if applicable) and all the patterns are in pdf form. So, you just print out the pages, tape them together, and start your project! Detailed instructions on assembling the pattern pieces are included too. This is what really makes this book one step above in my opinion. So many craft books have small versions of the pattern pieces printed in the back that you are supposed to blow up 200% and print yourself - seriously, who does that? Since xerox machines aren't really the norm anymore, so you would have to go to a copy store and pay who knows how much to print them out. Not really my idea of convenience. I like things all to where I can do it myself at home, so this cd makes that happen.

I really enjoyed looking through this book. Even though it's designed for beginners, it has some cute projects that anyone could enjoy. I would definitely recommend this for anyone who wants to learn to sew or wants to brush up their long unused skills. Deborah Moebes does a great job of breaking everything down so you can get the most of the information at hand and I'm confident this book would really prepare you for sewing for the first time :) And I can't wait to make a few of the projects for myself!

*As a side note, I am totally loving Deborah's Craftsy class and hope to start drafting my own a-line skirt soon!

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