Posts Tagged ‘David & Charles’

Sewing to reinvent and upcycle your clothes

Friday, June 24th, 2011

Marion Elliot’s new book Get the most from your clothes, published by David & Charles is certainly bang on trend.  If there is a person that  has not heard about ‘make do and mend’  or ‘upcycle’ has probably spent the last few years in a cave.

The aim of this book is to make you see your wardrobe or the charity shops in a different way.  It is full of ideas of how to give a second chance to those clothes that you haven’t worn for months, if not years.

It also has a few projects for children clothes and little charms, so if you want to get your children busy this summer without spending too much, they can learn a few things with this book and proudly wear the finished project.

To my taste, most of the projects look a bit homemade.  So if you are looking for a more professional finish the photos might not inspire that much.

This book however does have good advice on fitting garments, which is crucial if you want to upcycle your wardrobe or vintage garments.  The Perfect Prepping chapter is also very useful, it teaches you among other things on what to look for when buying used clothes and how to get more out of what you buy.

Have you thought of giving a second chance to something in your wardrobe?  Have you already turned a dress into a bag?  If you would like to win a copy of Get the most from your clothes and get a few more ideas of how to reinvent your wardrobe, share a few photos of something that you have made,whether upcycled or made from scrash, in Facebook or in our Flickr group.  I will announce the winner next 29th June, 2011.  Each photo is an entry, so the more you share, the more you increase your chance to win!

Good Luck!!!

This giveaway is open only to UK and Europe.

Get the most from your clothes by Marion Elliot is published by David & Charles.  ISBN 978-0-7153-3842-1

Stitch with Love — CLOSED –

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

Have you seen a cushion or a bag or even a little kitchen towel that you almost felt in love with it as soon as you saw it?  I remember seeing a needle case made by the great-grandmother of one of my friends and wanting it to be mine so bad that I almost cursed my great-grandmother for not making one or at least not keeping it for the future generations (i.e. me, I would be even angrier if I knew there it one in the family and it is not mine!).  I find that these designs are incredibly simple, but is the tiny details that make them so pretty, like a little embroidered flower, or a hand-stitched ribbon, or sometimes is just the wear-and-tear that add that charm that no fabric or lace can provide.

But when David & Charles sent me Mandy Shaw’s latest book, Stitch with Love, I knew straight away that there was hope for me to own a needle case so cute that I will keep forever.  Stitch with Love is full of easy projects, all with pretty embroidery designs and all in that classic style and colours that will look good today and in years to come.

The projects are quite diverse, so you will find bags, cushions, aprons, journal covers, a sew tidy, Christmas decorations, gifts for new born babies, even gift tags!  I can picture myself receiving a present with this tag and ignoring the present but cherishing the tag for years (unless of course is that overlocker that I have wanted for years).

Another good thing about this book is that has instructions for both right and left handers.  I’m left-hander and it takes me forever to learn some crafts because I have to mirrow the instructions.  This time, I might have a good chance to learn without tears.  I am going to give a try to that needle roll using one of the linens that we have in shop, and regardless of how it looks when finished, I will keep it and handed down to future generations.

To pass on the love, I am giving away a copy of Stitch with Love to a lucky person.  To enter just leave a comment on this blog, and tell me if you have got something handmade by you or someone you love that you treasure and want to keep forever.  The winner will be picked next Monday 16th May, 2011 and announced in this blog.  The competition is open to all UK and European readers this time.

TStitch withLove is published by David & Charles (ISBN-13: 9780715338490)

Sewing Answers

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

A few weeks ago I received from publishers David & Charles a little book that made the somewhat bold claim on its cover “Solutions to every problem you’ll ever face.  Answers to every question you’ll ever ask”.  What was my reaction to this statement?  “I don’t need a book for that; I have Google and YouTube to answer all my questions”.  So because of my virtual ‘oracle’, I wrongly left this little book on the side to have a look at some other time (maybe when the internet connection was down).  I wish I hadn’t. Without having to log on, register for endless offers I don’t want, reset my firewall settings, do something with cookies (gone are the days they were something you ate them!), or virus scan, the Sewing Answer Book by Barbara Weiland Talbert is a wealth of information for both the gurus and beginners.

Look no further, the answers to your sewing questions are in this book.

You might say that the best way to learn to sew is to, well, sew and maybe one of the best ways to do that is to sign up for a sewing class or join a sewing club; and I agree.  But what happens when you are at home reading a pattern, or wondering what is the best interfacing to go for, or why you are doing wrong when machine-stitching a stretchy knit hem the fabric tunnels and ripples.  Well this book has those answers.

What I like the most of this little book is that it doesn’t only give you the definition of a term or lists the different types of fabrics, it also tells you why it is important to do something or why not to do it.  Do you want an example for that?  Let’s take something very simple, topstitching.  Many patterns tell you to topstitch a piece of a pattern.  I sometimes did it sometimes not, mainly because I didn’t know what the purpose of that was.  Now I know that it is to stabilize the edge of a fabric amongst other purposes, now that I know this I never fail to do it.

Do I recommend this book?  Absolutely yes.   Has it delivered what it states on its cover?  So far it has.  To test how good this book really is I have conjured up questions or and considered what would I need to do to if I ever wanted to this or that? and then looked in the The Sewing Answer Book and voilà the answer was there, prompting me to stop thinking about possible scenarios with my sewing machine and get sewing!

The Sewing Answer Book by Barbara Weiland Talbert is published by David & Charles ( ISBN-10 0715338390, ISBN-13 978-0715338391)

A wonderful waste of time

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Owning an online shop is in some ways bad news for me, or for the Belcher household if one must be honest.  I could easily click away my whole afternoon from blog to blog, passing by Etsy and Folksy shops, then back to Facebook and always with a window open for Twitter.

But on the other hand, I have a lot to thank the online community for, I get a lot of my questions answered in Twitter, amazing support in Facebook, kind words of encouragements post on on my blog and lots of inspiration from Flickr and the blogs that I read.  And let’s not forget the amazing people that I have met through social media!

So as a way to say Thank You, and to give something back to you all, I have created a Flickr group .  I am inviting you to join it to share and show off your lovely creations (and if you are up for it, the ones that didn’t come out quite as you thought).  On my side, I will be hosting regular giveaways among all  members to keep things yet more interesting.

And to start off on the right foot, our first giveaway will be The Bag Making Bible by Lisa Lam published by David and Charles.  I am sure you know about this amazing book, but can read more about it here.

The winner will be randomly selected and announced on this blog next Wednesday 1st of December (yes, we are on the last bit of 2010 already!)

Any questions, doubts and queries regarding the Flickr group please direct them to me, but don’t expect for a highly technical answer as I am still new to all this.

Good Luck and Enjoy!!


Bag heaven

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

I was very happy when I found out that Lisa Lam was writing a book, I am an avid reader of her blog and I just knew her book was going to be great!  When the publishers David & Charles asked me to review it I said “yes” before they finished the sentence; but I never thought how difficult it was going to be to review this book.  If you have already looked through the pages of The Bag Making Bible, you’re probably thinking that I am not making sense because it is such a cool book that it must be so easy to give it 5 stars.

It is true that the book is a wonderful compilation of all you need to know about how to make a bag, including what tools you do need, the techniques to master, the materials to use, everything.  So why it was so difficult for me to write a review?  Well, I have already read lots of reviews, spoken to people that already own the book including sewing tutors, who all say the book is fantastic, even Amy Butler has said wonders about it, that quite honestly I am struggling to find something new to say about it.

Perhaps if I tell you about my relationship with bags and the effect that The Bag Making Bible has had on me, you will get a bit of a different perspective of how good this book is.  I LOVE bags, this is not the typical girly thing about having lots of bags; I truly have this thing (you can call it an obsession) with bags.  Apart from the simple tote bag, I much prefer buying bags than making them (yeap I said it).  Don’t ask me why but I do. Or I did until I read Lisa’s book.

The BMB (as I call it, fingers getting tired) offers you endless possibilities of how to make your ideal bag.  It teaches you the skills to construct each part of a bag, plus it also has a few patterns that apply the techniques that are shown in clear, step-by-step instructions with useful images (not only those pretty and artistic photos that are not very helpful when you have a question midway through your project), and best of all there are tiny little tips throughout the book, a sort of post-it notes that the author has left to guide you on your way.

So my perfect bag is a real possibility, I can now modify bag patterns to make it 100% suitable for what I need and want.  Enough pockets to keep my stuff in place, but not too many that I spend hours looking for keys; a lining that is not too dark that camouflages my mobile phone; long enough handles that it can be used as a shoulder bag, but not so short that is just a handbag; nice edges to make it look professional, and well, the fabric that suits my mood!

The Bag Making Bible by Lisa Lam is published by David and Charles click here to buy it.

Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts and….

Friday, September 10th, 2010

Almost everybody that knows me will know that I am a huge fan of Martha Stewart, so when this book arrived a few days ago I knew I was on a good start.

If you are familiar with Martha Stewart’s books, The Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts follows the same great formula.  This book has been well thought out and all of the information is very well organised and structured; so well in fact that this might be one of the best sewing reference books that you will find.  For me, what makes a good reference book is not just the photos, but how easy you can find what you are looking for, this book has both, lots of cool pictures and easy to follow layout.

The book is aimed at both the newcomer and seasoned crafter alike, starting from explaining the different types of fabrics, and moving on to tips on setting up a sewing area, through to basic techniques, including hand sewing, appliqué, different types of embroidery (yes, it also includes sashiko too!), quilting, patchwork, dyeing fabric, and even printing.  It comes with a CD that includes all the patterns and templates needed for the projects in the book.  So there is no need for guessing shapes, sizes or risk of damaging the book trying to get a photocopy of a pattern!

The projects are many and varied and to be honest quite a few of them you will find on Martha Stewart’s website; but if you are a little bit like me, I much prefer having all of those instructions, tips and photos in a beautiful hard cover book.

The projects are very creative and inspiring.  Reading through the book over last few evenings I found myself saying several times in my most affirmative and almost imperative tone “yes, I am going to make this bag, after this patchwork cushion cover, and these felt book cover are just perfect Christmas presents, but first I must make this pincushion too, I need it for all this sewing (by this moment my tone has changed and I sound a bit more like I am reading a letter to Santa), and our bathroom towels would definitely look nicer if I add this little touch…OMG Japanese sashiko patterns, I have always wanted to learn…”

Of the long list of pretty things that I want to make from this book, I might only get around to making a few, but I know that time and time again I will look to this book for some inspiration and a bit of guidance too.

Well I close for now, I must get started with one of those pincushions.

Lizzet xx

Martha Stewart’s Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts is published by David and Charles click here to buy it.

We’ve got a winner!

Friday, August 20th, 2010

As any other blogger, I love when people leave comments or when they write to me about something they have read on my blog,  and I want to say Thank You to all of you who have taken the time to do it.  You must agree with me and the comments for this last giveaway were just fantastic.  Isn’t it great that we all are loved?

But before we get too mushy, lets announce the Simple Sewn Gifts winner:

Janet Morgan who wrote

I think the best present I received, though not actually a gift was inspiration from my dad who made clothes for me. He died when I was young, but I do believe this is where my love of sewing and other crafts came from him. My daughters increased this passion especially when they were young and we crafted together. Hopefully when my grandchildren get a bit older, I can continue this love with them.

Simple is better

Friday, August 13th, 2010

A few days ago I received one of the latest craft books published by David and Charles, Simple Sewn Gifts by needlecraft expert Helen Philips.  As I was looking at the 25 projects the only thing I could think of was of all those vintage little treasures that from time to time we come across in a bazaar or at many of the vintage shops at Etsy.

The projects in this book are, as the title suggests, simple but they are also full of charm.  It is a perfect book for a beginner, but also a more experience crafter can benefit from the lovely ideas in this book.

Vintage style pincushion, scissor fob & needlebook

The book is divided in to 3 chapters, At home, Loved Ones and Get Festive.  Basically you can make gifts for any occasion all year around.

One of my favourite projects is the Dolly’s Cosy Quilt, which reminds me of some of the quilts that were on display as part of the past Quilts exhibition at the V&A, perhaps a bit more simple but very charming indeed.  It is a lovely quilt that is embellished with buttons, yo-yos made of contrasting fabric and cross-stitched daisy flowers and elephants.

Dolly's Cosy Quilt

There is also a lovely rabbit that I am sure it could become a little someone’s best friend.  You will find great things for the house too and even a little gift for your pet.  After all they are our unconditional friends.

All of these projects, as well as the book itself, would make lovely presents that will be treasured for years to come.  If you are as nostalgic as I am, leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of this book and tell me what are of the most unforgettable presents that you have ever received.

Bunny Cuddles

The winner will be chosen at random Thursday 19th August and published on this blog on 20th August.

Simple Sewn Gifts by Helen Philipps is publish by David and Charles, click here to buy it.