Book Review - Amy Butler's Little Stitches for Little Ones
August 21, 2008
When I posted a few months back, I had many grand plans for sewing projects for my little guy. Well, the reality of pregnancy exhaustion kicked in, and I didn't get a single thing done. Now that my little Mr. Monkey-Toes is going on 3 months and we've started to find our post-baby groove, I thought I would try to find something simple to make.
As anyone with kids (or close to kids) knows, sewing for little boys isn't nearly as fun or easy as it is for little girls. There are so many cute outfits and accessories for girls, and not so many for little boys - especially babies. With this in mind, I was skeptical when I purchased Amy Butler's new book, Little Stitches for Little Ones. I love Amy Butler's work as much as most people, but many of the baby projects and patterns out there are not gender neutral or boy-friendly. I purchased this book because a) I love Amy and b) I have oodles of friends having little girls.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that this new collection of projects was full of creative temptation, not just for gifts, but also things for my son. Sure, there are some definitely girls-only projects, but for the most part this book is composed of a wide range of gender nuetral ideas. From the beautiful photography to the helpful illustrations, you get a clear representation of the finished product for each project along with a skill level (from 1-4). Pattern pieces are stored nicely in the envelope-like cover of the book, and measurements for non-pattern projects are easy to understand and cut. Even without step-by-step illustrations, the instructions are very clear and easy to follow. The crafts themselves range from highly functional (diaper changing pad with removable bumpers) to fun and cute (quilted toy blocks). Each project is cute on its own, but all seem extremely adaptable for customization. As a glutton for sewing books, I can safely say this will probably be the most utilized in my collection.
In order to back up my review, I decided to try out one of the projects from the book. I chose a fabric photo album that is rated as a level 4 project (if a high-level project is easy to follow, then the lower level ones should be a breeze). To give you an idea of my skill, while I know my way around a machine reasonably well, I'm not an expert seamstress by any means. The difficulty level seems to have come from the technical part of this project, since you have to scan, edit and print photos on printable fabric. Butler suggests using a photo manipulation program like Photoshop, but I was able to easily lay out my images in Microsoft Word and even add captions to the photos. Cutting the pieces and sewing the whole thing together was pretty straightforward. I was a little perplexed by some of the measurements, which I chalked up to sleep deprivation induced sloppiness and easily remedied with a little trimming here and there. I also had to fiddle with attaching the pages to the cover, as my poor little machine wasn't up to the challenge of sewing all the way through the pages and cover. In the end I was extremely pleased with the finished project as well as how easy it was to put my own little finishing touches on it.
In short, Amy Butler has done it again with this new book. If you have little children, plan on having little children, have friends or family members with little children, etc, I would highly recommend this fun and inspiring book.
As a side review, I was extremely skeptical about how well the printable fabric would come out since some of my pictures had a great deal of detail. However, I found that every picture printed beautifully and without any mishap. The instructions were simple and easy, and the pictures have stayed flawless even after taking a slight beating while I sewed the book.
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