We get a lot of questions about the sorts of books and patterns one should buy for a new sewist. We are so happy to be able to add Ellen Luckett Baker's 1,2,3 Sew: Build Your Skills With 33 Simple Projects to the growing list of primers for those of us finding our feet at the sewing machine, and those of us needing a little bit of fresh inspiration.
Ellen has divided her projects into chapters that each contain 3 skill building projects. The diagrams and instructions are clear and thorough and the photography has been beautifully shot and styled. It is straight forward enough for a beginner sewer at any age and is really the PERFECT book for giving along with a beginner sewing kit or sewing machine. For those of you who have your kids in one of Shelly's summer camps down at MD and want to keep your kid busy for the rest of the summer at home, get this book and a couple of yards of fabric, and you are all set.
I wanted to give the book a test run, so I chose the Tiered Bag pattern and a mid weight silk blend from the shop. The pattern calls for twill or canvas, and this would have been a far better choice for someone just gaining experience sewing bags. The silk is shifty and I managed to unravel the edges just by looking at it sideways. I had a feeling that I was in for a small challenge though, and was so pleased with both the pattern and the results. It only looks crooked in the picture. I promise. (The scribbles on the wall, however, are real.)
The pattern is well designed and contained a ton of great skill-building techniques that everyone needs to design and make their own bags: inserting lining, squaring off corners and sewing interior pockets. And with all of her patterns, Ellen offers suggestions and leaves room for modifications to make it uniquely yours. As with Jennifer Paganelli's Girl's World, I am impressed with the way that Chronicle is choosing to print up the pattern pieces. The individual projects are printed up separately on smaller sheets of quality pattern paper, so no tracing (unless you want to!) and everything fits back into its pocket.
Would you like a copy? Chronicle has generously offered one up for one commenter (US addresses only please). Are you learning to sew? Do you need a little push in the skill-building department? Do you know someone who does? Are you a big fan of Ellen and all her work at The Long Thread? Let us know and we'll pull a name next week. Thanks Chronicle!