I'm a keen sewer - as in one who sews, not a stinky pipe full of poo that runs underground ! - and I have been for years, but apparently sewing has become ultra-cool all of a sudden. Maybe it's the credit crunch that was the catalyst, as people realised it was cheaper to "make do and mend" than buy new. I've been recycling the kids' clothes for years, cutting out pretty sparkly motifs from old, worn-out pyjamas and Tshirts and sewing them over the inevitable rips and stains on clothes that are otherwise quite OK. Not only is it ecological and economical, it also means you can get totally individual and personalised clothes - although admittedly, the finished creations probably go down best with the under 12s ! Sophie and Juliette still think their customised garments are really funky so we'll see how long it lasts.
If sewing has become a new trend, the name that seems to be on most people's lips these days is Cath Kidston. People who had never picked up a needle until a few weeks ago are now gushing about how gorgeous her vintage fabrics are and how fabulous her designs are. So when the opportunity came up to review one of her books, I couldn't say yes fast enough.
Well, it's a nice book but I have to admit it's not as brilliant as I thought it would be. If you're a total novice, the first section will get you started, explaining - with simple instructions and diagrams -how to master the basics of appliqué, embroidery and the main stitches. I was surprised that Bondaweb is used systematically in the sewing instructions - although it's probably great stuff, I've always managed just fine without it so it shouldn't really be listed as an absolutely essential piece of kit.
Where I felt most let down was in the choice of designs. I expected to go through the book oohing and aahing and not knowing which project to do first. Well, I loved the Stanley the dog and the country cottage designs and the racing car, breakfast and strawberry motifs could almost certainly be incorporated into one of my projects somewhere. But do we really need a template of a circle, a flower and a star ? Surely people could make their own with a compass and a piece of paper ?! It seemed like a cop out to me and having such simple designs for four out of the sixteen templates was a waste.
Also, the title seems a bit misleading as you are not actually given instructions on how to make anything from scratch. It's all about customising and embellishing ready-made items like shopping bags or clothes. If it didn't have the name Cath Kidston attached to it, it would be a reasonable sewing book for beginners, but somehow, I just felt it didn't live up to the hype.
star rating : 2.5/5
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: Quadrille Publishing Ltd; Pocket ed edition (5 Feb 2010)