Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Sewing School 2 Book Review and Giveaway!


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.

As soon as she finished the project, she put it on and headed to the beach to collect shells.

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!


Niki said...

I learned to sew a tiny bit with my mom teaching me to sew a crop top when I was in middle school. I didn't sew again until I was bored in my third year of law school and bought a sewing machine on a whim. Since then, I am completely self-taught!

Margaret South said...

My daughter (11) would love this book! She is a very creative sewer and prefers to be self-taught although I'm sure she could pick up lots of helpful tips from this book.

Jessica said...

I learned to see from my mom when I was 9 or 10 (?) and I'm teaching my daughter this summer. The structure of a good book would be very helpful!

njmendel said...

We have the first Sewing School book which has a lot of great ideas for all ages. My older daughter (9) is ready to learn how to use a sewing machine to make skirts for herself and her American Girl doll.

Ruby said...

Great review! I would love to win the book or the pens! A little something for everyone :)

SoFilles said...

Wow, looks nice! I learned to sew with my grandmother. I was 12 when I made my first dress together with her. Now I want to use the book together with my daughter who just got 11 and got her own sewing machine for her birthday. So, I would like to be the lucky one ;-)

Jessica said...

My mother taught me when I was really young, and I would use this with my niece.

jessicarwarfield at gmail dot com

JJ Judd said...

I purchased my first sewing machine about 10 years ago and had an aunt show me how to use it. This book would be great for my daughter who's taken an interest in sewing.

Sewing Mom said...

Wow, looks like a great book! I learned to sew around age 11/12 with my Mom. I wanted to make a skirt for school. I've been sewing since, but increasing my skills along the way.

I would use this book with my two children. My 9 year old son made a simple quilt this past year, of course I helped a lot with cutting, lining up, etc, but he did a great job. Now to get my 12 year old to do hers. =) Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I learned how to sew from my mother and grandmother. I would use this to help my granddaughter to sew! Thank you.

(smjohns63 at yahoo dot com)

Mad About Pink said...

Hello, I must admit, I have 2 boys but I'd love to be the little girl trying these projects.
I'm a self taught sewing machine fanatic and this book is very cute.
Thank you

Anonymous said...

What a great book! My daughter (9) and son (7) love to sew. THis book looks like a wonderful resource for them to grow in their skills! Thank you.

KayoticSewing said...

Mom taught me how to use her treadle (she still has it; it's very special to her as it is a gift from her dad).

I'd love to win this book to teach sewing to my almost 7 yr old daughter M. Since I didn't start with small projects and had handholding from instructors, a book specifically meant for teaching kids to sew will work well for us.

Although I live in Canada, I also have a US shipping address. Would that be okay to enter this giveaway?

Lisa said...

Oh what a great book! My son wants to learn we got a kids machine and this looks like the perfect book! Your daughter did an excellent job! I learned to sew about 6 years ago from a patient friend.

Roselee said...

I think so - I'll check with the publisher.

Alissa said...

I would love to win this book for my daughter! She is 6 1/2 and is just learning to sew. I'm sure it would be just perfect for her. :)

Lise said...

I love your daughter's projects; what a good job she did! I have an early childhood program at home, and in the summers, the "big kids" come back (ages 6-9). This summer, they want to sew, sew, sew. I'd love to share this book with them! Thanks for the chance.

S Matherne said...

I would absolutely LOVE to give this book to my daughter! She loves the idea of sewing, but her ideas generally fall short of her expectations. I learned to sew with my mom at a young age, and I've loved it ever since. I would love to give my daughter the same experience :o)

The Girls said...

My daughter (7) likes to "sew" which to her means holding down the foot pedal. This book might help us move beyond Barbie sleeping bags as our joint sewing project.

Sherry D said...

This looks like a great book. I would love to win either the book or the pens. I will save this book for my granddaughter. It will not be long before she will be ready to sew.

Thanks for the chance.

RGOriginals said...

I just bought my daughter a sewing machine for her 6th birthday. She would love this book and it would help me in teaching her! Thanks for the opportunity to win a great book!

THM said...

My mother sewed all of her children's clothes when we were young but didn't teach any of us. I remember thinking it was very cool to have one of a kind things to wear! When I was older I tried sewing on her machine but it would jam every time I touched it so I swore of sewing all together. Then when I had children, I found out that my friend was busily sewing quilts and other fun things for them and got curious. I bought a machine with no experience and took it over to her house for lessons for months. Five years later, I'm still sewing for my kids and me! I'd love to use this book with my daughter. She loves to hand stitch!


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