I'm so excited for today's post - a book review and giveaway. The mom, teacher and sewist in me all LOVE this book and think it's a must-have for any young crafter!
Our review copy arrived just before the last day of school - perfect timing for planning out some summer projects. My little sewist (age 6 1/2) has been eager to sew on her machine, but I've been a bit stumped as to how to make projects accessible, fun and appealing to her. Thank goodness for Sewing School 2: Lessons in Machine Sewing! There are over 20 projects organized into four kid-appropriate chapters: "In My Room", "Let's Go", "Time to Play", and "The Great Outdoors".
The book starts out with a series of 12 lessons to start young sewists with the basic skills they'll need to complete the projects. The book is written for children, but certainly doesn't "talk down" to its readers. I found the information to be concise, quite clear and intuitive. For example, some standard sewing terms that could be confusing were changed - "good side" vs. "right side", "one-way print" vs. "directional", and "everything else scissors".
Speaking of which, the book offers up realistic suggestions for setting up a sewing space, and supplying it with kid-appropriate tools. Again, not watering anything down - these kids are using real fabric scissors, but they are ones suggested for younger fingers. And, all the suggestions are accessible - with a few simple ground rules and supplies, anybody can get sewing. And, that's just what we did!
Little E's first job was to choose some projects that appealed to her. To help that process, all the projects in the book are rated with one, two or three stars. Always positive and supportive, the language used to describe these ratings talk about how much time the project might take (vs.level of difficulty).
Each project has a list of materials needed, and skills used in that project. Additionally, the authors provide page references to go back review those skills. Throughout the directions for each project are quotes from kids that help reinforce lessons and points. These are visually appealing, appearing in little speech bubbles with a fun font.
All the patterns for the book are located in the back in a very sturdy pocket. There is a list of all pattern pieces on the pocket for easy location. My favorite of all is that most of the pattern pieces have a picture of the completed project right on them! So, for even the emerging reader, s/he can be independent finding the necessary pattern for the project.
Little E chose the "Art-to-Go-Go" project first. Another thing I marvel at with this book is that it offers multiple suggestions for how to customize each project. So, while very much encouraging creativity, it provides guidance and support to young sewists. The directions for this project call for felt, but we found this great piece of corduroy little E wanted to use.
The authors suggest using chalk to trace and mark patterns (including "stop and start marks" when sewing "good sides" together). I discovered Pilot FriXion Ball Erasable Gel Pens and have been using them in my sewing. It marks fabric easily and disappears with heat (erasing or ironing). I LOVE this pen for sewing with a little one!
This book incorporates beautifully clear photographs to show each step of each project. All the "models" are kids, and the projects are sure to show imperfections - supporting the authors' ground rule that "nothing has to be perfect". I think it really helps young sewists see similarly-finished projects in the book.
Here's little E's completed "Art-to-Go-Go" case - customized for the materials she wanted utilizing the books' directions. Upon completion, we went out for pizza, and the art case came with us. I wish you could have seen how proud and grown-up little E was pulling out her art supplies at the dinner table.
Soon after our book arrived and little E finished her first project, we were heading out on vacation. But, look what came with us! She picked two projects, gathered all the materials and packed them up. Another appealing aspect about Sewing School 2: Lessons in Machine Sewing is that the projects are all things kids can really use. And, the materials are basic and easily-attained, never calling for anything expensive. Little E was able to "shop" my sewing supplies and fabric, and pack it all in this bag.
Little E tried out the "Extra Pocket and Belt" project as well. It was her first foray into handsewing, and I found it soooo helpful to have the book spell it out for her. I read the directions, and she followed step-by-step.
Sewing School 2: Lessons in Machine Sewing makes sewing fun, appealing and accessible to kids. Projects are clear, interesting, and manageable. Even my 6 1/2 year old could finish a two-start project within an hour or so. She is so proud of her accomplishments.
So...have I teased you enough with how wonderful and amazing this book truly is? Would you like a chance to win your very own copy?
Leave a comment telling how you learned to sew, or with whom you would use this book.
Giveaway will be open for the next week. Winner will be announced Wednesday, July 17th. Open to U.S. residents only (sorry, international readers - but PLEASE click on any Sewing School 2: Lessons in Machine Sewing or photo for the link to purchase).
And, just for fun, I'm also giving a pack of Pilot FriXion Ball Erasable Gel Pens to two lucky winners! Winners for the book and pens will be chosen at random.
Thank you to Alee at Storey Publishing for asking me to be a part of the Sewing School 2: Lessons in Machine Sewing blog tour. For more reviews of the book and chances to win your own copy, check out the full tour HERE.
Good luck and happy sewing!