So, the book. The subtitle is: 25 Skill-Building Projects to Take Your Sewing Technique to the Next Level, which sums up the book's objective pretty nicely. Following a brief review of sewing basics and a couple of "warm-up" projects that are very simple, there are five sections, each with five projects that increase in difficulty from one to the next. The sections are: Home Decor, Patchwork and Quilting, Bags, Sewing for Children, and Clothing. Some example projects from each category are: a pillow, a quilted sewing machine cover, fabric picnic basket, a child's lovie blanket and a knit top (if you want to see what the rest of the projects are, click on the link and take a look at the table of contents). The projects in each section are clearly explained and nicely illustrated with extra tips and tricks noted along the way. For each project, she also includes suggestions for ways to change it up, so that you can put your own spin on the design. While I don't expect to like *every* project that I see in sewing books, I was pleasantly intrigued by a large number of the ones in this book and have marked a few of them to add to my ever growing to-do list.
One aspect of the book that I particularly enjoyed was the tremendous variety of techniques used on the various projects such as piping, sashiko, different types of seam finishes, photo transfers, and free motion quilting as well as many others. The range of techniques and variety of projects makes the book very educational for a beginner, while still being useful for a more experienced sewist. The inclusion of some simple quilting projects provides a nice introduction for someone who is new to quilting and doesn't know quite where to start. Most books along this topic are divided into either a sewing camp or a quilting camp, so it was nice to see quilting included here.
Patterns for the projects are provided on a CD included with the book. The patterns are provided in full scale and need to be printed on standard 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper and then taped together before use. Some people don't like having to do this, but it doesn't bother me. It is easier than trying to enlarge patterns from a book. My only real quibble with the patterns is that the sized patterns for clothing do not include a sizing chart to help you determine which size to use. If you have access to a piece of clothing to match to the pattern as a reference, this isn't a huge deal, but if you don't it can make it challenging to figure out which size to use. On the other hand, this book has one of my favorite features for craft/sewing books which is spiral binding so it will stay open and flat while you are using it, so overall, it is still a winner in my eyes.
Disclosure statement: This review copy was provided to me by Krause Publications. I received no compensation from the publisher or book author and this review contains my honest opinions about the book.