As part of my plan to give my friends and family handmade gifts (like wooden spoons, baked goods, and felt creatures) for birthdays and holidays, I've been learning to sew. I took a two-evening sewing class with Christine Haynes at ReForm School in Los Angeles and sewed a pillow and really enjoyed it.
I just got a copy of Jenny Ryan's new book, Sew Darn Cute: 30 Sweet & Simple Projects to Sew & Embellish, and I'm excited to start making the projects in it. Jenny's whimsical aesthetic sensibility really resonates with me: surprising and appealing color combinations, rounded simple geometry, mixing patterns with solids, pleasing textures, and designs that reveal their process of construction. Her creations are the masterful result of many years of dedication, study, experimentation, and creativity. When it comes to craft projects involving sewing, there's no one better than Jenny.
Projects include a bracelet, necklace tank top, fabric button necklace, scarf, headband, customized cardigan, eyeglasses cozy, pillowcase purse, merit badge wristlet, terrycloth travel pouch, ladylike laptop tote, recycled coasters, café curtain, checkerboard table runner, happy hostess dishtowels, patchwork travel pillow, apple tree fabric collage, monogrammed baby tee or onesie, silly snake, square bear, vinyl bib, doll quilt, spumoni stripe quilt, crochet hook cozy, knitting needle canister, pockets aplenty apron, nifty needle book, sewing machine cozy, and a wrist pincushion.
Patterns are in the back of the book, as well as a list of suppliers for hard-to-find items.
If you haven't tried crafting something recently, I recommend it. As Jenny writes in her introduction, "You're no longer at the whim of manufacturers or trends when you learn how to make things yourself. Making time to be creative truly is the gift that keeps on giving. Nothing beats the fun of holding regular craft nights with your pals or bestowing a thoughtful handmade gift on someone you love."