I bought this book from the discount bookshop The Works, during one of my frequent visits where I tend to pop in to have a look round and end up buying lots of books I don't really need! One of my hobbies is sewing and crafting, and having recently finished a beginner's dressmaking course I have been keeping an eye out for any books which may help me practise my skills by making little bits and bobs for using round the house or giving as gifts.
I paid £5.99 for this book, which was great value as it's a beautifully presented hardback vintage style book, with great quality thick paper pages and lovely photography. The RRP is £16.99 which is a bit overpriced in my opinion, although I would say the book looks like a premium book, I would suggest an appropriate RRP of around £10 myself, although obviously I was happy to spend much less than this. It costs around £10 on Amazon at the moment, which is still good value in my opinion.
As I've already mentioned, the book is hardback, and has a lovely pretty pink ribbon to help keep your place. It also stays open without having to snap the spine, which is useful when following craft projects as it's not really practical trying to do things one-handed because you're using the other hand to keep the book open at the page you're trying to follow.
The blurb on the back of the book tells us it contains 50 inspirational ideas for vintage gifts, from teacup handles, button bracelets, Christmas stockings and so on. The projects can be used as gifts, and only take a couple of hours each, so they are very accessible to all skill levels. Although I primarily bought this for the sewing projects, there are in fact other little projects which anyone could do, such as a beaded door hanger, a covered notebook, and Christmas decorations.
The book is split into the following chapters:
· Basic Kit
· Made by hand
· Sewn by hand
· Sewn by machine
· Cards and packaging
The section I have used most is the sewing by hand section, as I wanted to experiment with using different stitches before I started getting to grips with the sewing machine. I have so far attempted a strawberry pin cushion, a notebook cover, and some felt gingerbread men for the Christmas tree. They are all very easy projects, with numbered step by step instructions which I find easy to follow. There is a photo of the finished result, so you know what it should look like. It also tells you at the beginning of the project what equipment you need, to help you get organised.
As I love all things crafty, I love the variety of this book as it offers different projects which require different skills. For example, although I love sewing, I also like the look of some of the made by hand projects, such as a candle teacup, or covered suitcases. Some of these ideas would be great either for giving as gifts, or if you are planning a vintage style wedding. There are ideas you could use for favours, table decorations, or for receiving cards (such as the covered suitcase).
Admittedly, not all projects appeal, for example the lampshade is a bit hideous in my opinion, and some of the projects are things more suitable for doing with kids rather than as an adult project. For example, there is a bracelet made out of buttons which would be good for keeping children entertained. I should also mention that about half of the book is taken up by the sewing sections (by hand and machine), so if you're into papercraft and general crafting, you won't get the most out of this book. This warrants a star being knocked off in my opinion, as it's fairly restrictive if (a) you don't like sewing, and (b) you don't have access to a sewing machine.
Using the book is a pleasure, and they have very thoughtfully put the chapter name at the bottom of each page, so you can see at a glance which category the project falls under. This came in handy before I had access to a sewing machine, because it avoided me getting my heart set on a project I needed a sewing machine for.
When I first bought this book, I was a bit concerned that there was no guide as to the difficulty level of each project, and I wasn't sure if I would end up wasting my time starting something that I wasn't able to complete. As it turns out, I don't think anything in this book is overly difficult, although obviously if you have an interest and history of crafting you will find the tasks easier. Even the sewn by machine projects seem fairly straightforward, on a par with the beginners sewing books I have where they start with basics such as cushions and aprons.
There are templates at the back of the book, which are very prettily presented in vintage patterns, and as it's such a lovely book you wouldn't really want to be cutting it up to get the templates. It does suggest using tracing paper or photocopying the templates to avoid spoiling the book, and in fairness the shapes are fairly basic so it's not difficult to replicate them without having to cut the book into pieces. Some books have an envelope with separate pieces of paper for the patterns, but as these are such basic templates this isn't really necessary.
I really love this book, and think it's excellent value for the money I paid. It would suit anyone learning to sew, or someone who enjoys crafting and making things, especially as gifts or for a forthcoming wedding. If I didn't already own this book, I would be very happy to receive it as a Christmas present, so if you know somebody crafty, make a trip to The Works!