Stitch Stories

Product DetailsStitch Stories
By Cas Holmes
Retail Price: $29.95
Amazon Price: $16.47

Book Description:  Everything, from a walk in the park to an exotic trip, can provide inspiration for textile art. See how to record your experiences in sketchbooks, journals, and photographs to create personal narratives that become beautiful stitched-textile pieces. Acclaimed textile artist Cas Holmes discusses such techniques as creating layered collages, “sketching” in stitches, and working with composition and color. The result will be unique—uniquely you!


I thought that this book was very well done.  It was also very thought provoking for me as I never thought about creating art in such a way.  I am a more of a “kit” person and never really thought of designing my own projects.  this book changed my mind!  While the photos were amazing, I thought the authors text and stories she includes is what made the book worth purchasing.  I found it very motivating and inspirational.

~Reviewed by Shirley b.

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    Modern Decoupage

    Product DetailsModern Decoupage (Twenty to Make)
    By Louise Crosbie
    Search USA
    Retail Price:  $9.95
    Amazon Price:  $9.16

    Book Description:  Decoupage is one of the most popular papercrafts that has re-emerged recently. It is a traditional craft that is extremely popular in the US and is growing in popularity in the UK as a result of the trend for upcycling, altered art, etc. It has been given a complete facelift by the appearance on the market of some fabulous papers, adhesives and finishing products from companies such as Decopatch and DecoArt. It involves gluing papers on to everyday objects to give them a completely new and exciting look. It works on all surfaces, including card, metal, wood, plastic and glass, and is hugely versatile in terms of the looks that can be achieved, and the kinds of items you can transform.


    This fun book is filled with all sorts of colorful projects that are doable by every level of crafter.  The author gives clear, easy-to-understand instructions on how to use many varieties of modern decoupage techniques. There is also a good variety of projects presented, with clear photos of how the project will look when completed.

    ~Reviewed by Rosie B.

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      A-Z of Smocking

       Product DetailsA-Z of Smocking: A Complete Manual for the Beginner
      Through to the Advanced Smocker (A-Z of Needlecraft)
      by Country Bumpkin (Compiler)
      Search Press
      Retail Price: $19.95
      Amazon Price: $15.16

      Book Description:  This book features every smocking stitch, clearly explained for beginners, but also has inspiring examples and new or little-known techniques to appeal to experienced smockers. It shows how to work the stitches, read graphs, and select colors, fabric and threads. It teaches how to pleat and block a garment, gives advice on different techniques such as ribbon weaving, counterchange, template and freeform smocking and much more. It is bursting with hints, ideas and inspirational photographs. There is full advice on the fabric, needles and thread needed and a glossary of smocking terms. Interspersed throughout the book there are helpful hints for all the stitches and techniques, and beautiful photographs of smocked garments to inspire the reader to pick up a needle.


      Smocking is a traditional craft, it’s still done today the way it was in the last century, nothing new has been invented and the designs, by the very nature of the craft, have the same overall look they have always had. Of course, the fashion of the dresses to which they are applied change and the colors you might currently choose to work with might currently might be different, but the process of smocking will be the same whether you use dots or a pleater or gingham.  Though this is true, even if you are advanced in this craft, there is still much that can be gleaned from this book.  It is an excellent source of ideas, instructions,  tips, explanations, and projects.   All the projects are lovely and timeless. The instructions are clear and easy to follow.

      I am an intermediate smocker and it’s taken me a long time to reach this level of proficiency.  I’m finding smocking to be one of those skills you can’t just jump into: you have to practice and practice and practice. I’m happy to have this book to give me the incentive to keep trying.

      ~Reviewed by Jan B.

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        Tatted Lace Accessories

        Product DetailsTatted Lace Accessories
        by Donatella Ciotti
        Search Press
        Retail Price:  $17.95
        Amazon Price: $13.95

        Book Description:   In her latest book, Donatella Ciotti teaches the reader how to make tatted lace, also known as “frivolité” – a durable yet delicate form of lace constructed using a series of knots and loops. Although it has been a traditional craft for centuries, Donatella’s step-by-step instructions focus on more modern needle techniques, making the craft accessible to a contemporary audience.

        In recent years, tatted lace has come back into fashion and is now popular in high fashion design. The craft is relatively simple and easy to master following a few simple instructions. Different materials can be used, from very fine thread to cord, along with beads of different types and sizes.

        This book includes 22 gorgeous designs to make including bracelets, earrings, necklaces and brooches, illustrated and explained with diagrams and step-by-step photography to help you make the items exactly as shown, or use them as inspiration for your own designs. There are ideas for special occasions, such as weddings or christenings as well as table decorations, purses, mobile phone holders and much more.


        This is a beautiful book with both inspiration and patterns for a variety of accessories.  Combining a century-old craft with modern style sensibilities, this book takes daring crafters through the ins and outs of tatting. With only a small needle and some thread, do-it-yourself crafters can create earrings, necklaces,  pendants, and much more using this pattern collection.  Step-by-step instructions with photographs are easy to follow.
        ~Reviewed by Shirley B.
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          Burdastyle Modern Sewing – Wardrobe Essentials

          Product DetailsBurdastyle Modern Sewing – Wardrobe Essentials
          By BurdaStyle Magazine
          Retail Price: $29.99

          Book Description:  

          Build your wardrobe with must-have modern basics from the premier name in fashion sewing–BurdaStyle.

          BurdaStyle is a legendary brand that focuses on the fashionable and high-style sewing marketplace. Sewists know the BurdaStyle name and its reputation for high-quality sewing patterns. BurdaStyle Modern Sewing: Wardrobe Essentials includes 21 projects from the archives of BurdaStyle magazine.

          All of the must-have basics of a woman’s wardrobe are covered in this collection: jackets, pants, blouses, skirts, and dresses. The designs include versatile separates as well as combinations that further expand the possibilities for the modern woman’s wardrobe. In addition to the 21 sewing patterns, there are 9 variations. Many of the projects include illustrated step-by-step tutorials. Most of the projects are easy to intermediate, and sizes range from 2 to 14. Wardrobe Essentials includes a Burda 101 section that covers everything the reader needs to know to follow the patterns.


          I started taking sewing classes at age 11, and I have been sewing ever since.  I can be hard to fit, so sewing my own wardrobe has become an essential task for me.  That is why, when I saw this book, I knew I would treasure it.  The book includes patterns for different types of jackets, pants, blouses, skirts, and dresses, giving ideas and complete instructions for combining the different elements into lovely outfits. I’m excited to share these with my daughter who is learning to sew now, too.  This is a great book for sewists that are ready to move beyond the beginner stage.  I highly recommend it for those who want to spruce up their wardrobe.

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            Advanced Chain Maille Jewelry Workshop

            Product DetailsAdvanced Chain Maille Jewelry Workshop
            By Karen Karon
            Retail Price:  $26.99
            Sale Price: $19.88

            Book Description:

            Chain maille patterns and weaves that take jewelry design into new frontiers!

            Jewelry artists will enjoy a collection of new, less-common weaves and challenging projects that inspire and educate.

            Author Karen Karon begins by reviewing basic chain maille weaves in order to set the stage for the more complex weaves in this book. She explains techniques needed when working beyond the basics: methods for closing a weave, working with micro rings, working large scale, and using alternative materials in weaves. The book is then divided into 4 sections, each devoted to a particular type of weave: new Persian weaves, Elf-based weaves, Hybrid weaves, and Scale Maille weaves that incorporate sheet metal scales into traditional weaves for a striking effect. Sprinkled throughout the illustrated step-by-step instructions for each weave technique are valuable tips from Karen to help ensure a beautiful finished piece.


            Chain maille is typically jewelry made by connecting metal rings to one another. The word maille derives from the French word maille (mesh), which comes from Latin macula (mesh of a net). Creating something out of maille involves a few steps:

            • Wrap metal wire around a rod to make a coil.
            • Cut the coil, creating individual “jump rings.”
            • Using pliers, link the rings—one at a time—into a pattern

            Chain maille has become increasingly popular in recent years. The versatility of this medium is astounding and artists have created a variety of jewelry.  This book is really a fine instruction manual for those who are advanced chain makers. The instructions are clearly illustrated and well written, perfect for helping you learn new techniques. The illusatrations are beautiful and highlight a nice variety of chain applications.  I highly recommend it for those trying to hone their craft.

            ~Reviewed by Brian G.

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              By the Block

              By the Block
              By Siobhan Rogers
              Retail Price: $26.99

              Book Description:  Simple, sophisticated quilts sewn “by the block.”

              Today’s quilters have many demands on their time but still want to create beautiful quilts. By the Block shows the time-poor quilter how to make sophisticated, complex-looking quilts that are based on easy-to-assemble quilt blocks. The 18 quilts in the book feature modern fabric choices and clever design, but all use standard quilting techniques that are in virtually every quilter’s skill set.

              Author Siobhan Rogers has designed quilts ranging from crib- to king-size for beds as well as several large projects suitable for hanging. Four of the quilts have colorway variations that show the versatility of the basic design. The book is organized according to technique such as log cabins, half-square triangles, or curved piecing, but each project offers a new twist on the traditional methods of piecing and constructing quilts. Some of the quilt blocks are oversized, which help the quilter work efficiently, and the author offers additional timesaving tips.


              I am so glad I found this book. I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys quilting. The quilts are exhilarating to make– each block is different than the last.  While the quilts look complicated, they are actually pretty simple to put together as the author’s directions are easy to follow.  There are lots of examples and the clear directions should allow both the novice and experience quilter to have a wonderful time making these quilts.  I can’t wait to try different fabrics to create quilts from subtle and mushy to bold and dramatic!  I am already looking  at fabric in the quilt shops with a whole new mind set! This is one of the few quilting books I’ve read from cover to cover!   I have so many books that I use only one time….this will be one I keep referring to time and time again.

              ~Reviewed by Shirley B.

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                The Shirtmaking Workbook

                Product DetailsThe Shirtmaking Workbook
                By David Coffin
                Creative Publishing
                Retail Price:  $26.99
                Amazon Price: $14.00

                Book Description:  So you’ve made a basic shirt or two and you are looking for more options and directions… Well, you are in luck! David Page Coffin, author of Shirtmaking, a complete guide to the dress shirt, is back to help you with an amazing collection of custom detail patterns and ideas for men’s and women’s sport, knit, dress, and even simple coat and jacket shirt styles! Inside you’ll find helpful guides to drafting or draping a custom pattern, copying or converting a favorite pattern or garment into a more basic pattern ready for customizing to your heart’s content, mastering four different placket types so you can use these classic structures in ways you never imagined, understanding and reinventing most any sort of shirt and coat collar type in common use, along with how to construct them all, whether you want a couture creation or a workshop coverall. You’ll get an introduction to digital pattern-making and alteration, a close-up and thorough look inside a closetful of classic shirt-type garments, explore a host of pocket and cuff options and have access to dozens of full-size detail and even full garment patterns for printing and customizing. And, of course, you’ll learn how to finally turn those collar points all the way out like you’ve always wanted. The Shirtmaking Workbook includes extensive lists and links to further reading, supplies, and references to help make your custom shirtmaking easier and more masterful. With this unique and comprehensive workbook by your side, you’ll never wonder how to make THAT shirt again.


                What a goldmine of information for those who want to make shirts.  The techniques are top quality; very clear and up close. Coffin shows you exactly how to do them. Even a beginner should be able to follow them.  Superb job! The explanations are so clear that my sewing looks professional.   This book is well worth every cent.

                Reviewed by Shirley C.

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                  Product DetailsZentangle
                  By Jane Marbaix
                  Arcturus Publishing Limited
                  Retail Price:  $14.95
                  Amazon Price: $13.01

                  Book Description:  Aimed at beginners, this book shows how beautiful images can be created from repeating patterns. Accredited Zentangle teacher Jane Marbaix demonstrates a range of patterns one step at a time and offers a sourcebook of her own designs to inspire tanglers to try something different. Proven to reduce stress and enhance creativity in people of all ages, Zentangle does not require a background in practical art or expensive materials to produce pleasing results. Expert instruction from an accredited teacher in this fast-growing area of practical art, Zentangle provides a wide range of patterns from which tanglers can draw inspiration in an attractive, stylishly designed full-color package. Zentangle is a wonderfully mindful art form that helps us attain Zen-like peaceful states in our day-to-day lives.


                  According to founders Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas, Zentangle is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured, repeated patterns.  It increases focus and creativity, providing artistic satisfaction along with an increased sense of personal well-being.  If you tend to be a doodler, you are a natural for this art form and this book will help you.  It is full of tips for beginners and inspiring patterns that will help you stay calm and deal with living in a stressful world.

                  ~Reviewed by Rosie B.

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                    Making Clothes for Your Dog

                    Making Clothes for your Dog
                    by Tingk Lee and Yi-Hui Heish
                    Design Originals
                    Retail Price $19.99
                    Amazon Price: $14.04

                    Book Description: 

                    Make your dog the most stylish pooch on the block, with this inspiring collection of cute clothes to sew and knit for your favorite pet! Featuring dozens of fun and funky designs, there’s something here for every doggie personality. Making Clothes for Your Dog teaches you how to pamper your best friend with one-of-a-kind dog clothes and lovely designer outfits, including dresses, shirts, aprons, hats, hoodies, bandanas, capes, scarves, and even a wedding set.


                    This book is a wonderful book. Patterns include both knitting and sewing patterns for sweaters, scarves, bandana, and outfits.  You will find sporty designs for clothing as well as patterns for various accessories.   There are several that I intend to make. It is so much fun!

                    ~Reviewed by Danna D.

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