to celebrate the publication of my new book


Our colorful 1751 farmhouse will be open to the public. On view will be many of the projects that are featured in Crafting A Pattern Home along with many other things I have made over the years.

This event will be a celebration of the handmade. I hope the day will inspire you to add some pattern and color to your home.

The event is FREE. Books will be available along with some other things I have made. For more information and directions, see the EVENTBRITE PAGE HERE. Although tickets are not mandatory, it will help me get a count to know what to expect. Hope to see you here in western Massachusetts in May.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Sewing Thoughts + A New Book Present Perfect by Betz White + Giveaway

I'm not sure how many of you are sewers, sewists, quilters, seamstresses or whatever it is that people who sew are calling themselves these days. Last week, I told you a bit about my early creative journey in this post. Sewing was such a huge part of my teen and twenty years. I went to university for textiles and clothing design and it wasn't until I got my job at CEY that I really got into knitwear design. 

I still sew now, although not as much as I once did or should. I make all my own linen shirts that I wear when I want to look halfway presentable. I grew up on Vogue, Butterick, McCall's and Simplicity patterns. I've made coats, quilts, bags, suitcases, slipcovers, and more. I never write much about my sewing because it never occurred to me to.  It is just something I do when I can find time or really need to!

I was talking with my sister Laurie a few months ago. She and my sister Nancy are big sewers (Nancy works for a bridal shop right now altering and fitting bridal dresses!) I was telling Laurie how there has been this huge boom in sewing and she could not believe it. I haven't delved into too many sewing blogs but I do know that publishers are interested in acquiring sewing books. I hear sewing may be at the point that knitting was 10 years ago - ready to explode into the critical masses. Here is a listing I found of good sewing blogs - I must say, I have only heard of 1 or 2 of them - that is how out of it I am in sewing blogland. It seems that blogland and the internet has taken over where the public schools dropped sewing years ago. The most popular classes on Craftsy are the sewing and quilting classes.

It is pretty sad that most people only have the opportunity to shop at the large chain stores like Joann's. Although I am thankful for chain stores that offer up sewing goods, I miss the stores that used to carry beautiful wools, silks, and other fine fabrics. Sure you can find them on-line but there is nothing like the heady rush of pawing through exquisite fabrics. I'm lucky to have Delectable Mountain in Brattleboro near me.  

What's old is new again? Is that what they say? I guess when you live long enough, you are lucky to see trends a few times in your life! I can't believe the macrame and fringey wallhangings that are now deemed hip and mod and in.

Enough chit chat - onto today's giveaway!
If you are a crafty kind of person who has been learning about things on the internet for any length of time, you are sure to know Betz White. Betz is a sewing blogger, author of 3 books, pattern designer, Etsy shop owner, creative maker and Mom. I have admired her work for years. She teaches on Creativebug (like me) and you can watch a little video about her here. I first learned about Betz as many people did - through her appearance on Martha Stewart Living TV back in 2007. Here's a link for you about her famous cupcake pincushion. And here is a link to her appearance on Martha (video on sidebar).

Luckily for all of us, Betz has continued to design and grow her repertoire of products. She really is a woman to watch. Her current work now involves developing a line of sewing patterns - mostly very useful, well made bags but also some cute felted ornaments and softies. She has also had a fabric line. She is an mega-talented woman and mother. Check out her Etsy shop here.

Today I would like to share with you Betz' new book - Present Perfect, out just in time for "present making season." 

Published by Interweave, who seem to be expanding in the burgeoning sewing field, this paperback book includes 25 sewing projects. In the back of the book, full size patterns are included. OMG - what a tremendous value considering the cost of one single pattern these days. $26.99 is an incredibly reasonable price for 25 projects and patterns, wouldn't you agree?  

I've had this book sitting on my desk for a few weeks now and have been hemming and hawing about what projects to feature. I have most likely gone a bit overboard with the photos. What you need to know is that there is a great variety of projects included. The projects are broken into 3 chapters and I am highlighting my favorites from each one. 

Memorable Milestones includes projects for women, men and teens. New and Little features 8 projects for little ones. Happy Home features 9 projects for you guessed it - the home. The Greta Cloche is a hat made of jersey and decorated with wool felt flowers. 


Here is the "Eye Candy Glasses Case" which I think would be perfect for a phone too. I love that Betz includes sewing products in the materials listing which help to raise a handsewn project onto a higher more sophisticated level. For instance, this eyeglass case uses a magnetic snap and an interlining to make a durable case. (If you were to make this project for a phone, the magnetic closure would not be a good idea.)  

When the book first arrived, I went crazy for the Wool Courier Bag! Here's a project that you can make that would cost hundreds of dollars. Find the perfect wool plaid, mix it with a nice tweed and you will be all set to carry your laptop anywhere this winter. Again, lots of great components listed to create a really quality bag.  Betz has included so many lovely finishing details on this bag.

Here is a detail shot of the interior with its pockets. 

I love this little change purse shaped like a cup of coffee. It has a snap top closure. And look carefully......

There is a quarter treated to the embroidery technique called Shisha embroidery! How cute. 

Do you have a man to sew for? Or are you a man who sews? What guy wouldn't love a handmade toiletry bag?

For babies, Betz has included 8 great projects which would make awesome shower and baby gifts. Here are my favorites...... I am a sucker for a cute Teddy Bear. Betz used cotton terrycloth to make her ultra squishy bears with lots of hand embroidered details.

Any new mom would love this bunny set including a bib, rattle and burp cloths. So glad those days are over! but these would be a great help to any new mom. 

For more experienced stitchers, Betz includes a lovely baby quilt with teddy bear motifs. I guess Betz loves Teddies too!

I love these little finger puppets that are housed in a felt tree stump. Hours of creative playtime for little ones. These include quite a bit of hand sewing but so worth it. 

Lastly, here are two of the projects from the home chapter. This casserole carrier brings me back to the days of attending our Methodist Church Fair. These type of items were always available. Sewn by the ladies in the church and so useful, I can remember so many people toting in their hot foods for the "Family Night Church Suppers." Definitely an item that is due for a revival. Betz' version is so pretty and so well made and insulated. 

Lastly, I'll close with this special project - the Dream Home Quilt. I love the modern typographic style of this quilt and the bright and happy colors it is shown in. Betz machine quilted it with the words Dream...... but you could do whatever you like. 

So there you have some 11 project previews to Betz White's newest book Present Perfect: 25 Gifts to Sew and Bestow. There are 14 other great projects and patterns included that I didn't have space for. Betz' publisher Interweave has kindly offered a copy of Present Perfect to one of my lucky readers. Here is how you enter......

Enter the answer to the following question in the comments section of this post..... Please tell us what you plan to sew this fall or leave a listing of your favorite sewing/quilting/embroidery blog(s) to share with other readers. 
Contest ends at 11:59 p.m. on November 3rd. U.S. Residents only please. 

As always, leave an easy way to get a hold of you. Blogger id, email address, or Ravelry id. Leave an address you actually check!

Contest is over! The winner was Susan - gentledulcimer on Ravelry.


Karen Budnick said...

I have a pretty skirt pattern sitting right here waiting for me to buy the fabric. New Look pattern S0604 with very slimming side panels that I hope will look great with a plaid in between. (The only way I dare to wear plaid!) Thanks!

beth said...

I'll be sewing two quilts, some napkins, and a couple of tote bags in the months ahead. What a fun book! I really love that wool courier bag!

aggie325 said...

It wouldn't be Christmas if my girls (now young adults) didn't get a pair of handmade pajamas! So I'll be making those and some other gift items like rice filled heating pads and a teddy bear or two.

Karen said...

Right now I am finishing up a Doctor Who quilt that will be a Christmas gift for my son. Then I have flannel lounge pants to make that will also be gifts. Then I hope to learn to make a blouse for myself.

Amy Calkins said...

What inspiring and clever ideas! I will be sewing several dresses for my daughter who needs to look a bit more professional at work these days. I'm using Colette's new pattern Dahlia, as well as Darling Ranges by Megan Nielsen.

Sally said...

Oh, I love Betz White! This book looks like so much fun. I'l be sure to order it for the library at work today.
As for sewing projects: baby quilts!!! (as well as other baby accessories). I'm going to be a grandma in April. I have so many projects planned. Also, I've just ordered a new commuter bike and may delve into a project or two from Kathy McGee's new book The Happy Bicycle. So many projects, so little time!

Sarah said...

I'm hoping to make quilted pillows for my new couch and loveseat.

JackieLemon said...

The projects in this book are really lovely.
I am making project bags and I want to finish up a quilt or two this winter.

Dani Girl in CO said...

I plan on sewing some knitting project bags from some focus fabrics I have in my stash. But first I need to finish the placemats I started 3 months ago!
danigirlCO on ravelry.

Debbie said...

I'm planning to sew an I Spy quilt for my new Grandson. thanks!
gussek on Ravelry

Patty said...

Planning to sew a leather hobo bag/satchel from a hide gifted to me.

adodds said...

I have been thinking about this quite a lot. I have beautiful pieces of fabric leftover from my appliqué quilts and I might make small notions bags for my knitting group. We are only 10 total so I think it is quite doable for Xmas presents. Just deciding on the pattern!

Anonymous said...

I have plans to make a few jumpers for the darling granddaughter. Nine months already! And I hope to make some Christmas pillowcases for ConKerr Cancer.
Sent 30 to them for their Sept. Miles of Smiles fundraiser.

Joanne aka madammarple (Rav id)

Lisa said...

I'm planning a black jumper with some BRIGHT accents.

Anonymous said...

This book looks like it has great projects. I need to unearth my sewing machine. First thing is to hem some pants and I have a skirt I would like to make. I also need to make a banner. Then there is some wonderful fabric I bought in India that is waiting for me to get creative. gnlmutti at gmail.com

Joanne LaCour said...

This summer I gathered several large remnants of various weight fabrics, several work together...my intention is to make tote bags/market bags with from a modifified pattern on the purl soho site and to make rice and lavender hot packs to get me and others thru the winter.

Queen of the World said...

I am determined to finish the quilt for the cottage this fall so that next spring it can be on the bed.
Can't WAIT.

Ann said...

I plan to make a lap quilt!i want to make a lap quilt!

Hilda said...

I'm planning on making some stuffed "monsters" for twin grandsons from felted wool sweaters. I've used Betz White's pattern for aprons, and I'm going to have to look for this book if I don't win it! Thanks for the giveaway!

Hilda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I have been sewing fun flannel pillow cases for my grand kids. Haven't been at my machine in a long while and it was an enjoyable time. I'm starting to think of new projects.
gentledulcimer on ravelry

Gerri said...

Not sure I'll get it done but thinking of some new pjs for the DH for Christmas. It's been years since I did more than my annual summer tote bag. Got two done this year.

Thanks for the blog suggestions. That should get me going.


Savannagal said...

Planning to sew a magazine and glasses caddy to hang from my bed. Part of the caddy lays between the mattress and the box spring, and then part hangs along side the bed so one can quickly store their reading materials and glasses. I always like to read a little bit before I go to sleep.

Gretchen said...

I'm sewing my first skirt and hopefully a few Christmas gifts if I don't run out of time. Thanks for the review of this great new book.

Chris said...

I plan to sew a flannel shirt or two. Why didn't I keep all the flannel shirts I've sewn over the years? Also plan to finish a batik quilt. Probably some holiday table runners.

tjf said...

I am looking forward to some fall sewing. I have a couple of quilts for gifts, baby receiving blankets, a skirt and some little pencil/cosmetic bags. I like the looks of the projects in Betz's book.

tjf said...

Sorry, I forgot to leave my email! You can remove one of my comments to make it fair!

Heston Folks said...

Sewing time was non-existent this past summer. I hope to sew a sundress this fall, so that I am all ready when the warm weather returns next year!