bend-the-rules Sewing is a new book authored by Amy Karol. Its been all the buzz all over the web so I went out and purhased it, at full price no less, from Barnes and Noble yesterday. First of all I must say thatt I am an Amy Karol fan. She has a blog called tie-one-on that has an on-going apron making competition. In addition, I must admit, that I admire anyone who gives birth to their third child the same week as their book is published and still manages to answer e-mail and give interviews. Talk about an over-achiever!
I was pretty excited about the purchase because I had already seen some of the projects on Flickr and they looked great. I was particularly impressed with the number of baby bibs that posters had made... it seemed like any one who made one started churning them out like candy. Another project that had many postings was the Charming Handbag. There were several different sizes and they loooked like fun. Most of the comments were of the nature that they would change the bag in some way to make it useful but those semi-warm comments did not deter me.
Part 1 of the book concentrates on what you need to actually sew these projects. Amy has extensive instructions on which notions are needed, how to use them and why you should use them. She talks about using her patterns, appropriate fabrics and even how to sew on a button and make bias binding. Part 1 should be reproduced and given to anyone thinking about taking up sewing for fun or profit as it contains excellent instructions, humorous descriptions and good advice. I was particularly glad to read that she recommends having more than one pin cushion as I seem to scatter them all over the house to catch errant pins.
Part 2 contains the projects. They are pretty standard but Amy puts her own mark on them. A standard tote bag becomes interesting when one handle is shortened into a loop for the standard sized handle to slip into for carrying. An apron becomes a fashion accessory when embellished with an unusual pocket. A plain old expanse of fabric becomes a scalloped edge baby blanket in Amy's hands. I have a couple of bones to pick with the patterns. They require the sewer to execute teeny tiny fold overs of raw edges and top stitching by machine to get an adequate result. Even now I sometimes have trouble turning an 1/8" fold over of a raw edge and top stitching can run off the edge when you are working so close to it. Another tiny complaint is that with all the turning required I don't remember that she ever has anyone clipping corners for smoother turning and sharper corners.
This book is not for the experienced sewer unless you want to see what the newer sewers are doing. The patterns require a copy machine as most need to be increased in size for good results. I would give this to anyone wanting to sew something unique for themselves, their friends and family as it has such a good introduction to the equipment needed and how to use it. I am off to try a couple of the projects and I will post the results. Wish me luck.