I’m actually acquainted with Erin Hentzel, the author of Avery Lane Design‘s book, Sew in Style. She’s a member of one of the doll clothes sewing groups that I belong to on Facebook. So when I heard about her book, I wanted to buy it and review it for my readers here on ChellyWood.com.
With its colorful illustrations and simple instructions, Sew in Style is ideal for kids who are learning how to sew for the first time. On the cover, there’s a little blurb that says, “22 projects for 18″ dolls,” and indeed, there are plenty of projects to keep a young seamstress or tailor busy.
However the first 33 pages of this 112-page book are dedicated to the fundamentals of sewing, teaching everything from pinning a pattern onto fabric, to backstitching by hand, to using a sewing machine for the first time.
In the colorful illustrations, we see a child’s hand demonstrating some of the most fundamental skills a beginning seamstress needs:
- how to fold a hem
- how to insert elastic into a casing
- how to mark fabric with a fabric pen
- how to use pinking shears
There’s also a glossary, which offers definitions and illustrations for concepts like:
- finger pressing
- wrong sides vs. right sides together
Sew in Style‘s projects range from very simple to moderately challenging. Easy projects include:
- a sleep mask made of felt and ribbons
- a pillowcase
- a headband
The most challenging projects, in my opinion, are as follows:
- a pleated skirt
- a raglan-sleeve T-shirt
- a spring top with ruffled trim
So there’s really no project in this book that a young seamstress or tailor couldn’t undertake successfully with a little guidance.
But bear in mind that I haven’t mentioned all the projects here, only a smattering of the easiest and hardest ones. There are lots more projects that lie somewhere between basic and intermediate levels of difficulty. And I should mention that the back part of Sew in Style is a compilation of wonderfully designed, actual-size (fold-out) patterns with easy-to-follow instructions. Each pattern also redirects the reader to revisit the chapter where that pattern’s project is found. Sew in Style is brilliantly organized, so even very young minds will be able to follow the directions flawlessly.
If I had owned a book like this when I was a little girl, learning to sew would have been a breeze! That’s why I purchased this adorable book for my niece, Zoe, who is turning 12 this year. She’s at just the right age where dolls still hold some interest for her, but she finds it more interesting to make things for dolls than to play with them in a more traditional sense.
Anyone who’d like to see Erin Hentzel’s other books should visit her Amazon page, or you can follow her on Twitter: @AveryLaneDesign. She also blogs at AveryLaneSewing.com.