Sewing In A Straight Line (+ Giveaway!)
Edit: The Giveaway is now over, and entries are closed. Thanks for reading!
Brett Bara is a crafty renaissance lady with many skills– you might know her from the TV show she hosts, Knit and Crochet Now!, or maybe as the former editor of Crochet Today! magazine. Perhaps you have seen her fabulous how-to video on making layered jello molds? But her latest project is something a little unexpected (though not if you know her!), it’s a sewing book: Sewing in A Straight Line. I scored my own copy when we had dinner at TNNA and it has inspired me to dust off my sewing machine.
Sewing in A Straight Line contains more than 25 projects to get your machines (or hands!) stitching– and whether you complete that sentence with “for the first time” or “again,” you’re sure to find inspiration inside. Brett breaks each design into straight lines only, and you’ll be surprised at just how clever she gets within that seemingly limiting challenge! The book includes patterns for round bowls, stuffed animals, and of course, that fabulous skirt on the cover–and all are made with straight lines only. Simple illustrations and well written instructions make it easy to follow even for a total newcomer, and three stunning video tutorials (for the Folded Flower Bowls, One Hour Skirt and Zippered Throw Pillow) will give you the confidence to tackle these projects. Brett believes that anyone can sew, and her book will help you do it well.
I wanted to make one of Brett’s projects as part of my book review, which meant I actually had to dismantle my yarn winding station (see how sad it is in the upper right corner of that pic?). I told myself that I could only use fabric I already have, because I actually put a moratorium on fabric purchases last year–I just haven’t been sewing at all lately. Eager to rekindle my craft love affair, I found some bold flowy fabric and went for the 1-hour skit. For the record, it took me just over two hours to sew from start to finish, but I’m pretty happy with how it came out (even if I am only going to wear it to the refrigerator).
While making the skirt I read Brett’s instructions for French Seams, and it crossed my mind to just skip that part. I definitely thought of French Seams as “hard” and “not worth the effort” but seeing the technique laid out so concisely in just a couple of steps convinced me to give it a go. It wasn’t hard, and you know what? You don’t have to be a genius to sew! But it sure helps to have some friendly advice, and Sewing in A Straight Line is full of it. Brett is honest and down-to-earth, even admitting that there were some things she didn’t know before working on the book. I think that attitude is so helpful, especially for new sewists.
With Brett’s encouragement, you’ll realize that you don’t have to be perfect to start and no one is going to know if you use a hardback book instead of a clapper. And if you don’t know what a clapper is, don’t worry– I didn’t either, till I saw Brett’s list of tools. Now I know what to call that wooden “pressing thingy” my grandma gave me. If you’re one of those people “that would love to sew, but…” erase the dot dot dot with the help of this book.
I asked Brett a few questions about sewing, and here’s what she had to say:
Fabric can add a powerful punch to basic projects–do you have any guidelines for new sewers when it comes to picking out fabrics? What about the times when you forget your materials list, are there any rules of thumb about how much fabric to buy for certain projects?
My philosophy is to choose big, bold fabrics because they really bring a simple design to life. It’s okay if you don’t have advanced skills and you only sew basic shapes, because a great fabric will draw the eye to the print and texture of the fabric, rather than the sewing. As far as buying fabric, if I don’t know exactly how much I need of something, I usually buy two yards (unless I’m making something really big like curtains or a dress). If I see a fabric I love but don’t know what I want to make with it, I buy one yard, knowing I’ll use it for something small, some day. Or just let it be part of my gigantic stash till the end of time.
Do you have any sewing craftastrophes to share?
The most painful sewing memory I have is the time I wanted to sew myself a dress for a semi-formal dance in high school. I worked and worked on it, and it just wasn’t coming out right no matter what I did. I got so frustrated that I balled it up and threw it in the trash. These days I have more of an avoidance method and if a project isn’t turning out well, I’ll just set it aside, and then leave it sitting under a pile for years.
What was the first thing you ever sewed?
Aside from little swatches and doll blankets and things, the first project I remember making from a pattern was a top I sewed in second grade, with my mom’s help. I wore it to show and tell. It rocked.
Now it’s time for you to show and tell! Brett is offering an autographed copy of Sewing in A Straight Line to one lucky Lindamade reader. To enter, leave a comment with the answer the following question (and a way to reach you!) by Midnight (CST) Friday, August 12th. What do you want to learn to sew??
I should also mention that Brett is doing a HUGE giveaway on her website, and you can enter to win your very own Singer Sewing Machine AND Serger! Click here for details! Happy Sewing!