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