I really loved the tone of this book and wanted to be able to give it high marks. Unfortunately, after actually sewing through some projects (or attempting to), I find the book doesn't quite reach the level of its aspirations.
It is supposed to be for the rank beginner, but while the tone is comforting and encouraging, it'd be more helpful to have more direct advice sometimes and better pictures that correspond to the trickiest steps in a project. (We nearly-rank beginners need these things.)
To wit: the eye mask is in the book to teach about sewing curves, and while she shows you how nasty it looks when curves are poorly sewn, the author doesn't give many clues about how to do better on curves, other than to watch the seam-line on the machine. The photo shows a straight edge on the machine throatplate, not a curved edge.
Also on the eye mask: The pattern is supposed to have notches/marks about where to put the strap edges. None print on the patterns.
Another reviewer has pointed out errors and typos. I'll forgive typos: errors in a book for beginners is a bigger issue. Pages 114-116 discuss making handles for the tote bag, and there are at least two errors. On page 114, #1, it says handle pieces should be 3 inches wide, double the width of the finished handle. Then it says use .5 inch seam allowance on long edges on each side of handle. If you subtract .5 + .5 from 3 inches you get 2 inches...so the original 3 inch-strips are not double the width of the finished handle.
On page 116, #1, the author says to cut 1.5 inch strips of fabric, two for each handle (the reversible one). Well, if you do that, then use the .5 inch seam allowance called for, you are going to get .75 finished handles. The handles in the photos are clearly wider. So she probably means cut 3 inch strips of fabric, use the .5 seam allowance, and get a 2 inch finished handle size.
The bags turn out very cute--but again, watch that final assembly. Make sure the handles are sandwiched *between* the inner layer and the outer one!
Finally, I tried to make the A-Line skirt. Thank goodness I used muslin. First issue is that the pics for this item, from a rank beginner's view, aren't very helpful. Attaching the waistband to the skirt body was completely counter-intuitive, and the photos don't help at all. Also, there are no notches on the patterns, though the instructions refer to matching them.
Bigger issue: sizing is completely wonky. I have a size 38ish hip, so I printed the size 10, per the author's sizing chart. The result was a HUGE skirt. I've since printed the size 6, and size 8 patterns. I've pulled an A-line skirt from my closet that fits beautifully to compare to the muslin and patterns. All the patterns still look huge (there's very little size difference between the 10 and the 6). And there's no information about how to adjust the sizing (Internet searches indicate that's not really a beginner's activity anyway).
Soooo...I did buy the book in part because it included patterns for classic projects, and patterns are expensive. But at least one pattern is turning out to be not at all useful. (Remember, the book is targeted at beginners, not experienced sewers who know in a beat how to adjust a pattern.)
That said, I did need the author's instructions for putting in a zipper in the middle of a pillow (though most pillows call for side zips) and those instructions were clear and correct.
Publishers don't want to pay copy editors these days and there probably wasn't time to test the projects out on beginners the way test kitchens check recipes. The book would've benefited from those steps. I recommend really reading through all the instructions, checking the indicated measurements and cuts against the descriptive language and double-checking if something seems illogical. And use cheap fabric the first time through...