Friday, September 11, 2015

Bead & Wire Fashion Jewelry, by Jessica Rose. Guild of Master Craftsmen Publications, 2014

This book is a great one for learning the basics of wire working. It has step by step photographs of each process, making learning the bends and turns easy. The author shows how to make and use the basic findings: jump rings, head pins, wrapped tops on large beads, clasps, earwires, loops, simple charms, and how to crimp. Then she has eighteen projects: bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and rings- rings aren’t something you find in very many jewelry making books.

While the book doesn’t go into fancier things like making a jig and creating extensively wrapped pieces, it can be the basis for a solid foundation on wire working. You can’t do the fancy stuff without mastering the basics. And being able to make your own findings can save you a lot of money when you’re making jewelry!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Book Review: Upcycle Your Wardrobe


I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I've seen some upcycling books that are 
very poorly done- poor sewing techniques, shoddy looking projects. Most of the 
projects in this book are well done, and many are quite sophisticated. The author 
demonstrates good sewing techniques, and even finishes her seams. An A+ for not 
just doing a few cuts on a shirt and calling it upcycled, and for creating things
that a person would actually buy if they found them in a store!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Review: The Handbag Workshop, by Anna Mazur. Taunton Press, 2014

Most books from Taunton Press are very good, and this one is no exception. I've looked at a lot of books and articles on making purses, and this is by far the best. Rather than yet another book on making tote bags from novelty cottons (not that there is anything wrong with those totes; I've made some myself and use them), this book demonstrates working with leather as well as cloth, inserting zippers in all kinds of places, creating multiple compartments, hard sided versus soft sided bags, lining, creating strong straps, and making all sorts of shapes of handbags. Using this book, it should be possible to turn out professional quality designer purses, in styles from wristlet to portfolio, bucket bag to slim clutch. Making designer quality handbags is a very complex process and I am extremely impressed by the detailed instructions and photographs showing the step by step process.

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Shirtmaking Workbook: Pattern, Design, and Construction Resources, by David Page Coffin. Creative Publishing International, 2015

This is an exceptional book on designing and creating shirts. It assumes you know basic sewing; this is not a book about sewing. Coffin deconstructs shirts into five different ‘blocks’ or basic shapes: dress shirt, sport shirt, knit shirt, folk shirt, and shirt jacket. He also shows various collars-so many collars!-, cuffs and pockets with glorious details. By adding these collars & cuffs to the various blocks, you have nearly limitless options in your shirt- any of which, of course, can be used in a women’s blouse just as well.

He does show some sewing tips: sewing without pins (wow), stitching seams, how to fold and put together a placket, and the best way to turn a point- essential for nice looking collars. Along the way are example shirts, designer pages and what they’ve made, how to copy an existing shirt, and pages of helpful resources: books, classes, software, and websites. There is also bonus material- mainly patterns- that will be available online but as of today (6/22/2015) only some of it seems to be working.

This is one of those books that I know I’ll turn to again and again. While not a tailoring book, the author does give a lot of tips. One thing that fascinated me was how the Duke of Windsor’s collars were made- obviously of the highest quality but a method that looks incomplete from the wrong side! It has a purpose, of course- to reduce bulk. It’s things like that that make this book so interesting. 

<iframe style="width:120px;height:240px;" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" src="//">

The above is an affiliate link. If you click through and buy something, Amazon will give me a few cents. 

I received this book free from the Amazon Vine program. 

Neither of these things influenced my review.