I have a lovely book to share with you today. It's called Learn to Sew in 30 Minutes: Machne Sewing and is by Debbie von Grabler-Crozier. Debbie regularly designs projects for magazines and websites and has a great blog Pretty Things. If you are wanting to improve your sewing skills, then I can definitely recommend your taking a look at this book. As well as containing 25 projects which build on skills learnt, there is also a useful guide to fabrics, what you need for a basic sewing kit and a wish list for extras and a guide to what's what on a sewing machine. Although I'm not a beginner, my sewing skills are quite limited, and most of what I can do has been taught to me by taking classes. So I was interested to look at the different projects and follow the progression of sewing skills. The projects are set out in 5 chapters: Knowing your Fabrics, Using Interfacing, Applique and Surface Stitching, Quilting and Patchwork and Haberdashery in Focus, finishing with one final project that pulls together many of the techniques covered. Also included at the back of the book is a pocket with a double sided actual size pattern sheet that you can use to trace some of the patterns.
I really liked the clear layout of the book, especially the Sewing 101 summary at the start of each project which explained exactly what skills you'd be learning, a list of the supplies needed to complete each project and also any new sewing terminology. I picked out four different projects to have a go at from the first three chapters of the book. I must admit that I was a little sceptical that I would be able to complete each one within 30 minutes, but I did! Each project has step by step instructions, is well illustrated with photographs and extra little tips from Debbie. It's almost as if she is sat next to you, talking you through each stage and holding your hand!
Here are the projects I made...
First was a neck pillow. I made mine using fleece and instead of making one long tube, I divided it up into 4 roughly equal parts and once I'd filled one section with rice, I machined across so the rice would stay put. I did this because the one I already had was in one long tube and I find that the filling tends to accumulate at one end. I didn't add any letters to mine.
Next was a rope bowl. I have seen these over on Instagram and have wanted to make one for ages, so was very happy to see this project. I bought some cotton rope from Amazon and used some narrow strips of Liberty lawn fabric that I had to add some colour. It was a bit fiddly at the start (as Debbie says) but once it got a bit bigger, I was whizzing away on my machine. I wonder if it's possible to make a sunhat using this technique?
After that I made a card wallet. This was incredibly quick and easy to do. I haven't ever used snap fasteners before, so I found a cheap set (again on Amazon) and was surprised at how easy they were to use and how professional it makes your finished product. I can definitely see me making lots of these as gifts. They use hardly any fabric so are perfect for using up those precious scraps.
Lastly, I sewed a sleep mask. Having been reading quite recently about how important it is to exclude all light from your sleeping environment, I thought this would be a very useful thing to make. I have done free motion embroidery before, but even if you haven't, Debbie guides you through it.
Learn to Sew in 30 Minutes: Machine Sewing is a great book - perfect for learning many basic sewing skills. It would be a good gift for anyone wanting to learn to sew and make some really nice projects in the process. It's clearly written and each project is well explained, so I think that even a child or teenager would be able to work their way through it with some adult support and feel very pleased with what they've made. I know that I am!
Learn to Sew in 30 Minutes: Machine Sewing by Debbie von Grabler-Crozier is published by Search Press and is available now.