Sew Everything Workshop
Handicrafts have made an incredible resurgence in the past few years; everyone I know (and their mama) knits or crochets. There are plenty of hip, modern knitting and crocheting books to go along with the trend, to show people things they actually might want to make. Sewing has come a long way as well, but unlike the other crafts, books for modern young women who want to sew their own clothes are few and far between (not considering books about reconstructing old clothes, of which there are lots of great ones). Thankfully, Diana Rupp, founder of the Make Workshop in Manhattan, has come out with _Sew Everything Work_shop, a one-stop-shop for those beginning sewers who want to learn everything they need to know, as well as more advanced sewers who want project ideas.
The first half of the book is aimed at getting beginners completely comfortable with all the sewing terms and skills needed to make anything. Sections on how to choose (and then get acquainted with) the right sewing machine, basic sewing skills (from threading your machine and stitching your first seam to more advanced skills like inserting a zipper and making buttonholes), to choosing the right fabric for your project are all essential for the beginning sewer, or to give the experienced sewer a refresher course for things you might have forgotten.
The rest of the book is given over to projects, and Rupp really goes all out with the amount and quality of things you can sew from the book. Four sections - clothing, accessories, home, and gifts - with easily identifiable difficulty levels, from very easy to advanced beginner, include projects like Cuddle-Up Cardigan, Tender is the Nightie, Naughty Secretary Skirt, Tokyo Tie Bag, and Handy No-Frills Apron. Some projects are described in the book, but eight projects come with multi-sized patterns, which Rupp explains how to use. Speaking of sizing, Rupp’s guidelines for S-M-L are fair, and she even tells you how to enlarge or shrink a pattern, if need be. Word to the wise, though, the guidelines for the sizes are true, so don’t be afraid to alter a pattern to your body.
Rupp’s motto is “Make things with love and what you make will be loveable.” After reading Sew Everything Workshop, even someone who is convinced they could never make their own shirt or purse will be sewing with ease and panache. As a sewer with over a year of experience, I found Rupp’s book and project ideas equally useful; I made the Flouncy Tank Top and Tote-ally Awesome bag and love them both. I plan on using the book even more in the future, and I thank Rupp for finally making a sew-it-yourself book for the modern sewer.