Sunday, December 2, 2012

See and Sew: A Sewing Book For Children, By Tina Davis Book Review

Wow, it's been a while since I've been here. I just haven't been motivated as of late, but now that I will be making Christmas presents this year, I decided there's no better time to jump back in to craft blogging.

So last year I started working on a doll wardrobe for two people and their two dolls. I got halfway through the list of clothes I wanted to make before time ran out and then I stopped working on it completely. :-( So I've decided to work on the wardrobes again, and now I have four more dolls added to the madness. Fun! I'm also adding in some extras as well. So I want to document my work here as well as on my doll blog.

Now I want to try to do some hand-sewing with these doll clothes because I could get more control and details in the clothes, but I wanted to get a book on hand-sewing, and when I found See and Sew by Tina Davis I jumped at it after reading the reviews of adults finding this book helpful in hand-sewing as well as kids. I got it about two days ago and finally read through it today. Here's what I thought.

The one thing that caught my attention was the bright colors on the cover and the cute vintage art. I loved that the book was hardback as well, it added to that vintage feel, but I kind of wish that I had gotten the spiral-bound book. In fact I believe I bought the last hardback book on When I first got the book and saw how big it was, I loved it and wanted to get the other two books by Tina Davis, one for cooking and one for gardening. But now I'm not so sure if I will do that, even for the cute vintage pictures.

The book has 7 chapters on actual sewing, the dos and don'ts, the techniques, etc. This is all for hand-sewing, by the way. In the first couple of chapters it teaches how to get ready for sewing by setting up a sewing basket or box, how to sew safely with techniques and when to get an adult involved if the person reading the book is a child, and how to begin with how long of thread to use and how to knot the thread. There are detailed illustrations to show how to do all of this.

The next two chapters talk about basic sewing and embroidery stitches. You will learn how to baste, sew  basic stitches, and hemming stitches, and decorative stitches. There are illustrations showing how to do each stitch with detailed explanations on how to do each as well as showing some alternatives for the stitches.

The next chapter is about how to sew on a button. I found this chapter pretty helpful as it taught how to sew on a shank button and how to sew on a non-shank button. It also teaches how to sew on snaps and hook and eyes, though this part is not really that detailed, but the pictures give you an idea of it.

After all the project pages, there is a chapter on finishes and trims. You will learn how to make pom-poms, tassels, and monograms on your finished projects. The pom-poms and tassels have a little more detail and description about them than the monogram section.

There are ten sewing projects in the book and one project on sewing on cards. Most of the projects are more for fun, at least in my opinion. Most are functional, but a lot made from felt and fleece because this a beginning sewing book and those two fabrics don't ravel. So for a child or beginner, this projects are perfect for them, but for someone a little more advanced or someone who wants to use different fabric, these projects may not be for you and you will want to try another book.

So what did I find wrong about this book? Well first of all, a lot of the information you can find in this book you can find either online or in a more detailed sewing book. So while the book is charming, if you are just looking for techniques to teach your child or you are learning on your own, then I would suggest just looking elsewhere.

The book keeps suggesting to have the patterns printed out on a copier. The thing about this that bothers me is that if you have the hardback like I do, you will have to force the book open to get it copied, possibly ruining the spine of the book.  Another thing is that in order to do the projects you have to go get the pattern copied and you have to size it up as well. I would have preferred if the book would have taught how to design your own patterns with measurements and using pictures as guide. I guess technically you could still do that, but this just kind of irritated me. Another thing that irritated me was that some of the stitches she says do for the projects she didn't teach in the book, so you'd have to look them up anyway. Again, a little irritating.

So what are my final thoughts on the book? A very cute book with tons of cute graphics, but the information is easily found elsewhere and for free. If you are just looking for techniques, go that route. However, if you like vintage and craft books, then this book would be a cute addition to your collection.  The projects aren't all that great either, that is if you are looking for something a little more fun or functional to make. However using felt or fleece is a great fabric to start with so if you just want sewing practice, then these projects are perfect for you.

I don't know if I will get the other books by Davis. I do like the look of them, but I have read they are really about the same, basic projects you can't really use and not really the information you'd need for the subject matter. I love craft books, but I think this will be the last one I get in the series, still thinking about it. If I do get the others I will of course come and do a review on it.

And on that note I am off to start planning out the doll clothes I will be making. I will be updating here again soon about what I'm doing. Take care until then, bye for now.