Friday, August 16, 2013

Book Review: Precut Patchwork Party: Projects to Sew and Craft with Fabric Strips, Squares and Fat Quarters by Elaine Schmidt

   I love that the new book "Precut Patchwork Party: Projects to Sew and Craft with Fabric Strips, Squares, and Fat Quarters" by Elaine Schmidt utilizes the often overlooked gorgeous precut fabric squares and shows the reader how to use them to make fun and easy projects in a short time frame. What is even more exciting is that this book inspires me to cut old shirts into useable strips that I can apply to projects to upcycle old fabric into something useful. 
     These days, the selection of beautiful fabric patterns that are available in precut fabric squares is amazing. However, I do not have time to make a quilt. Thankfully this book shows the reader how to utilize some of those squares and make them into useful home d├ęcor and gift items. Most of the projects can be done in an afternoon, which is about all the time I can spend on a project with my schedule. Here is a list of the projects offered in this cute book:

Home Decor Projects

  • Reversible table runner
  • Mix and Match placemats, napkins and napkin rings
  • Patchwork Table Topper
  • Director's chair cover
  • Modern patchwork pillow and lampshade
  • Window valence and pillows
  • Modular headboard and accent pillows
  • Tea cozy, trivet, and tea towel,

Accessories, Weables, and Gifts

  • Pretty pleated purse
  • Reversible tote and clutch bag
  • Hobo bag
  • Easy, breezy little girl's dress
  • Roll and ruffle skirt
  • Snuggle Blanket and soft blocks
  • Duffle bag and pillowcase
  • Bargello Yoga mat bag
  • Tisket tasket fabric basket
  • Mommy and me aprons, pot holder and oven mitt

    The author, Elaine Schmidt, explains the difference between fat quarters, strips, squares and fat eighths to the reader, as well as how to prepare for sewing. There is also a section on sewing supplies. I really like the way the author kept this section simple.
    There is also a general techniques section that has some great photo's which offer a visual of the various techniques. I especially liked the explanation on how to make box pleats, it was simple and straight to the point. The author made the directions for this are simple and easy to follow, even for a beginner level sewer.
    Precut Patchwork Party: Projects to Sew and Craft with Fabric Strips, Squares and Fat Quarters includes projects that will appeal to a variety of different level sewers. I think that advance sewers would already know a lot of the techniques in the book but might enjoy the fun projects. It is really a matter of what a person is looking for in a project. 
     My daughter, who is a beginner sewer, loved the rosette project. It is a great way to use those left over pieces of fabric.  It would also be a great project for use with recycled fabric from old clothing.

    As you can see it is a simple project that can be completed in less than a half hour with minimal hand sewing skills. Some of the other projects are a little more complicated and I would recommend working with your child if they want to make them. 
    This book also includes a few patterns. There is a pattern for the "roll and ruffle skirt", the pot holders, the duffle bag and the pillow case.  Most of the projects are made from squares or strips, so you do not really need a pattern since the directions are so straight forward and easy to follow. 
Another great example of how is the directions are, is the tea cozy project, where all you need to do is measure the tea cozy and use pre-measured strips of fabric to sew it together.  It is a project that is easily completed in an afternoon.  I really enjoyed reading this book.  The book has a lot of straight sewing and beginner level techniques which provides a nice foundation for my daughter and I to do some of the projects together. There is also a very cute "pretty pleated purse" project that I am hoping to find time to make. That one will take an afternoon.
     I would recommend "Precut Patchwork Party" to any beginner level sewer who wants to be able to complete a cute project within a short time span. 


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