Crafty Chica's Guide to Artful Sewing: Fabu-Low-Sew Projects for the Everyday Crafter Paperback – Feb 17 2009
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“Crafty Chica’s Guide to Artful Sewing is perfect for someone like me. I’m not a rule breaker on purpose–I just can’t follow them. With Kathy’s new book I found that what really makes every project shine is the passion that you glue behind it–that plus the glitter. This beaver says, this book is a crafty must!!!”
—Amy Sedaris, actress, comedian, and author of I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence
“Not only is Kathy an inspiration, her take on craft techniques is unique and accessible to everyone. Her style recipe is three parts happiness, two parts color, and plenty of glitter–and it works every time!”
—Mark Montano, television host, designer, and author of The Big-Ass Book of Crafts
"How to resist a six-times-plus author, columnist, and all-around thread artist who exudes 'you can do it' in every sentence of this sewing 101 tome? Don’t. Because not only does Cano-Murillo, the self-styled 'crafty chica,' fill her latest book with 30 projects for home and self but she also touts the benefits of recycling, repurposing, and bargain shopping—three activities hard to ignore in these thrift-minded times. Plus, her prose and directions are easy reads. Why not, for instance, use a ready-made tote as one of the bodies for her Power Purses? Or employ vintage scarves for the oh-so-alluring lounge pillows? Upfront, she includes the basics about sewing, from fabric to machine types, as well as encouraging sidebars from fans, a list of movies featuring crafts and sewing, and a very personal and humorous “Diary of a Crafty Chica,” tales from her own career. Generous tips are embedded on almost every page, all practical and focused on saving time and money while creating a one-of-a-kind item."
—Barbara Jacobs, Booklist
"If you're a sucker for homemade-looking fashions and home decor, pick up the book "Crafty Chica's Guide to Artful Sewing" by Kathy Cano-Murillo...The book is full of adorable fashions, quirky and funky things for your home or dorm room."
About the Author
KATHY CANO-MURILLO is an artist of all trades. The designer of the Crafty Chica product line, the author of several craft books and a forthcoming novel, a nationally syndicated columnist, and a jewelry designer featured in Target, she has conquered nearly all imaginable creative pursuits. Her work has graced the airwaves of NPR’s Weekend Edition, HGTV, the DIY network, and LifeTimeTV.com.To find out more, visit her award-winning website www.craftychica.com.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I love this book it has so many creative and relevant projects. This is the perfect book for someone who has never touched a sewing machine( but has dreams of conquering one), however the projects are innovative enough to spark the interest of an accomplished seamstress. The chica is hilarious and heartwarming and seems to have a knack for luring out the hidden craft diva that lies slumbering in each of us. Her projects are so clever and they are things we all use and need. Many of the projects are re-cons; She shows you how to use those pretty place mats and napkins that are too nice to eat off of, but you would love to showcase on your arm or couch. I came to sewing through reconstruction, and I feel it is less intimidating turn something destined for the rummage sale into something cool and useful. There are also plenty of new material projects here. I found her instructions for very simple techniques to be quite impressive, sometimes it is the simplest things that tend to be over looked in guides. You will find that the chica has overlooked nothing here and that through her simple ,clear instructions you to can uncover your crafty chica.
Do you identify with that statement? Are you looking for a sewing book to serve as a starting point and provide terminology for getting to know the art and a sewing machine? Are you a self-taught sewer who keeps handwritten notes from your sewing instructor (aka gramma or mom) or your sewing machine manual next to your machine? Then, this is a book to explore.
It would be easy to flip past the front of the book and dig into the projects, but the beginning is not to be missed because it contains some great information, including:
* reasons to sew, in case you need a little encouragement
* explains the types of fabrics and uses for them
* how to design your own fabric, including image transfers and DIY appliques
* Sewing terminology
* must-have sewing supplies
* basics of winding bobbin, loading it and threading the machine
* how to sew
* types of stitches
* threads, interfacing, embellishment
* sewing by hand
* how to use a seam ripper
Although the Crafty Chica says she's not going to hold your hand, she provides the next best thing: 30 project directions with sketches and photos of the finished item. I loved that there were full-page photos of the projects. As a librarian, I am able to flip through plenty of craft books that get ordered only to see that they are a book with sketches and little to no photos. In this blogcentric time when many are producing their own tutorials and photos, I want more from a book (whether I'm footing the bill or the library is)!
As a self-taught sewer who got lessons from my mom as she sewed, this book was great for getting down the basics and reviewing some points I already heard (heard because as a kid, I did not take notes). In fact, this book made me realize I use a seam ripper incorrectly (I just go at it with a fierce determination-oops!). The book ends with templates, resources of the materials she used on projects in her book, web sites and the index.
As for the thirty projects, which are divided into three categories (purses, wearables and housewares), the Crafty Chica's style is definitely artful, but as creative people we are never bound by another but rather inspired! I have added several of her projects to my ever-growing to-do list. She shows us how to re-purpose items (place mats into a purse and cloth napkins into pillows) and reminds us that even if the t-shirt does not fit, it can be incorporated into a funky project!
If you are a new sewer or aspiring sewer who needs a jumping off point, Crafty Chica's Guide to Artful Sewing should be added to your shopping list and then make sure your public library owns a copy, too! ;)
I picked up Kathy Cano-Murillo's latest book "Crafty Chica's Guide to Artful Sewing" last night and was unable to put it down. I had the honor of meeting Kathy many years ago when she visited Atlanta for CHA. Kathy is so nice and fun to talk to, and reading her words in print, I could totally hear her voice gently prodding me along, reminding me how much I love sewing. Her passion and creativity are abundantly clear, and her text is encouraging for the scared beginner and the seasoned pro alike!
"I'm not only going to hold your hand," she states, "I'll sprinkle good-luck glitter above your head." That's so sweet of her! The book sparkles, just like Kathy's personality.
The thing I love about Kathy's take on sewing is that she is super free-form and artful about it. She declares that she is not a seamstress, and it is more important that her projects are glittery and fun and full of self-expression than that they follow a strict regiment. Of course, there are structural decisions that are important when sewing, or else your piece will fall apart, but I like that she makes everything feel so free instead of painstaking.
The projects in the book range from beginner to difficult and are separated into several categories: "Power Purses," "Wondrous Wearables" and "Embrace Your Space." There are several projects in each category that I'm excited to try, but especially the Place Mat Purse, the Scarf Dress and the Pillow Stix. The book includes 30 projects, templates and a wonderful list of resources. Plus, scattered throughout the pages you get a happy dose of Kathy with tidbits like a list of movies that incorporate sewing, a story about a TV appearance that was almost a disaster and another story about her then friend (now husband) saving the day! Speaking of Kathy's husband, Patrick Murillo beautifully illustrated the book...now that's a dynamic duo!
I'm feeling inspired. I had an idea the other day for a new little something that I want to sew, and reading Kathy's book really sealed the deal for me. To make my desire to sew even more pressing, I stumbled upon a quote from myself in the book! Scattered throughout the pages are quotes from people who have tried sewing. Some are happy and triumphant, others are `I tried it, I bombed, I'm done with sewing.' Either way, collectively they illustrate the journey that is sewing...and some of the people who said they were done picked it back up again later in life and decidedly fell in love.
As I prepare for my new sewing project, I'll leave you with this thought. In my quote (which is found on page 26, by the way!), I refer to my sewing machine as a friend. After reading "Crafty Chica's Guide to Artful Sewing," I can't wait to be reunited with my dear, old friend, and I can guarantee that you'll want to create this friendship too after you read Kathy's book.
I have read a lot of craft books and many of them are overly technical and inaccessible. I've put them down feeling like that craft is one I probably will never master and should probably not attempt. It never occurred to me that I just needed it explained a little better or in a less haughty tone. I don't need to feel that it is a secret club that I will never gain membership to, but that it's fun and everyone can learn if they choose to try.
And that is exactly what this book does. It lays everything out, very clearly and gives many ideas for cute projects that beginners and experienced sewers alike can have fun with. And since many of them use a base of clothing you may already have, it is a very budget-friendly way to get started.
I have told myself for years that I am going to learn how to sew and after reading this book I feel ready. Reading this sentence sealed the deal:
"Enough of the excuses. there is a reason you are reading this very sentence at this moment. It's a destiny-you were meant to sew!"
In this book Kathy is pretty much saying: 'This is what I am into. I love glitter, Mexican pop art and chihuahuas! What do you like? Well, then go do it!' She empowers everyone out there to grow and learn and try, even though it's scary at first.
Also, she very generously lists every single resource for all materials in the back. No hoarding of knowledge for this chica! So go grab this book and feel the crafty love. Make stuff and tell everyone who compliments you on it: "I made it myself!" (and Crafty Chica helped! ;)
The first 41 pages of the book is giving you the basics on your sewing machine, why to sew, how to thread a bobbin, how to use a seam ripper. I found this section lacking if you are a beginner, but too much wasted space if you have experience in sewing. I wonder who this section was written for since it doesn't seem like it would benefit the beginner nor the advanced sewer.
So, then we are left with the whole point of the book: the projects. I love Crafty Chica's style. These projects don't disappoint when it comes to combining flashy color and patterns. The part that disappointed me, however, were the instructions.
Only a couple of the projects have diagrams of how they were constructed. The majority of projects are explained, in decent details. But, most people find it easier to understand something when it's shown to you and not told to you. I was disappointed with the instructions. I am an experience sewer, but I had to puzzle over what was meant with instructions such as, "cut up 12 inches". Um, from where?? Just a small black and white diagram for each project would have helped tremendously.
If you have difficulty figuring out how to do something by someone telling you how and you prefer to be shown how, this book might frustrate you. If you can figure out how to make something just by looking at the finished product, then you'll probably be fine with this book.
If you want to have a book of inspiration from a gifted artist, then this book is for you as well.
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