BY HAND

Books to pique an interest in sewing

Posted Aug. 01, 2011, at 1:53 p.m.

Several months ago I received in the mail a sewing pattern. I added it to my pile of yet-to-be-reviewed books and there it languished until it surfaced this week. That seemed like a good omen — must be time to tell readers know about the pattern and books about sewing:

The Sweet Seams Hidden Treasure Pillows pattern contains instructions and patterns for making owl, mouse or rabbit pillow covers. Each cover, which features a secret treasure pocket, is designed to fit a 16-inch by 12-inch pillow form. Instructions and pillow pattern pieces for eyes ears and feet are printed on white paper of a weight similar to copier paper. The words identifying the pattern pieces — rabbit inner ear, or back tail feather — are printed in a large typeface making them quickly identifiable. Sewing instructions are easy to follow and include diagrams for placing ears, feet, beaks, etc. The pillows are easy enough for beginners to attempt, or could serve as project for parents and children to do together. For more information, visit http://sweet-seams.com.

“Girl’ World: 21 Sewing Projects to Make for Little Girls” by Jennifer Paganelli will have grandmothers brushing up on their sewing skills and moms wanting to learn to sew just to create the designs in this book. Patterns for the designs in the book are housed in a separate box secured to the inside of the front cover, including dresses, aprons, a skirt, bags, a pillow, a quilt and other useful and fashionable items.

Standout patterns in the book include the Penelope Ruffle-Top Purse, the Georgia Tulle Ballet Skirt and the Josie Dress. The author has illustrated the book with photographs of the projects done in a fabric line she designs. The fabrics feature bold prints and bright colors.

“Custom Couture: 32 Easy Ways to Transform Your Wardrobe with Needle and Thread” by Helen Le Berre is the perfect book for those who want to start with something from their closet and embellish it in a way that makes it unique. Many of the embellishments, such as covered buttons, beads, sequins and embroidery can be done by hand with needle and thread. Others, such as the addition of half-sleeves or ruffles, might require the use of a sewing machine.

A simple browse through the book will give anyone possessing an interest in fashion design and sewing a yen to reach into the closet for a likely item to embellish. The styles in the book are geared toward younger women, but older women also will find stitching inspiration.

Projects that caught my eye were the Disco Tunic jazzed up with bands of sequins and paillettes, the Carmen Cami with beading and fabric yo-yo details, and the Tee Time Top with cap sleeves studded with buttons in shades of black.

“Growing Up Sew Liberated: Making Handmade Clothes and Projects for Your Creative Child ” by Meg McElwee is a followup to her “Sew Liberated: 20 Stylish Projects for the Modern Sewist.” Her new book, as the title implies is geared toward sewing clothing, toys and other items for children and includes an envelope full of patterns for the projects in the book. The book also contains pattern guides and layout diagrams, and information on materials, techniques and stitching.

Clothing patterns include envelope T-shirts, pants with pockets, reversible hooded play cape and crossover T-shirts. Toy patterns include a hideaway play tent and a cloth doll. An art satchel and a scavenger hunt bag also are part of the mix.

The book’s pages are sprinkled with notes containing tips and hints for constructing projects.

“Fresh Quilting” by Malka Dubrawsky focuses on “freehand and improvisational cutting mixed with standard piecing methods to give projects fresh energy.”

The book contains 20 projects in two sections — Patchwork Projects for Home, Family and Friends; and Fresh Quilts for Wall, Bed and Baby. Standout projects for me are Nate’s Quilt with its vivid colors and off-kilter piecing, the nine-patch kitchen curtain, scrap-busting coin purse and strings attached pot holders. But every project in the book will appeal to quilters at any level of skill.

Snippets

Artist Patience Sampson will teach a floor cloth art class 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday, Aug, 4. Artist Jeanne Seronde Perkins will conduct a silk painting and nontraditional batik workshop 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Aug. 9. Both classes will take place at Woodlawn Museum, Gardens and Park, Route 172 (Surry Road) in Ellsworth.

The cost for each class is $80 museum members, $90 others, and includes materials. Participants are advised to bring a lunch.

Preregistration for the classes is required by calling Woodlawn at 667-8671.

At a farmers market in Hampden recently, I spied a woman with a tote bag over her arm that had for its handles neckties that had belonged to the late father. She had taken a purchased off-white tote bag and sewed the neckties to the bag by hand using blind stitches. She began at the bottom of the bag and stitched the tie along the bag, up along the handle and back down to the bottom of the bag. Each time she uses the bag, the woman said, she thought of her dad.

The Cashmere Goat, Camden’s newest yarn shop, has opened for business. The shop features features traditional wools, including Swan’s Island yarn, alpaca, cashmere, cotton and blends. We are fortunate to have relationships with local alpaca and cashmere goat farms.

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