Tag Archive | sewing

So much to do as SISTER OF THE BOLLYWOOD BRIDE! by Nandini Bajpal (YA book review)

book cover of Sister of the Bollywood Bride, by Nandini Bajpal. Published by Poppy/ Little Brown & Company | recommended on BooksYALove.com

As big sister Vinnie’s wedding approaches and Dad is immersed in his new start-up, Mini misses their late mother more than ever. Thankfully, the Boston teen has an entire community of Desi aunties to help her with all the planning details, since Vinnie and fiance Manish are medical students in Chicago.

Tutoring pays Mini’s fashionista bills (thrift stores plus her sewing skills equals amazing), and running with her dog Yogi on the grounds of a nearby college gives her time away from planning and time to get to know handsome Vir, the dean’s son.

The beautiful gold wedding jewelry that Mom left for them inspires Mini’s vision for the big day:
Outdoor venue? The beautiful gardens in the park where Vinnie played youth sports – check!
Food from two different regions of India? Check and… the other will get back to her (eventually?)
Dress? By her designer aunt Masi, of course. Never mind that Mini’s role model and inspiration has been oddly distant these past few years.

Worrying about whether Dad will accept her dream of attending design school (instead of law/medicine/engineering that all Indian parents want for their children), if she can actually get Manish to ride in on a horse per tradition, what Vir’s very successful father will think of her – two months to plan a summer wedding!?

Mini is determined to squeeze their budget to make Vinnie’s wedding as memorable and beautiful as any Bollywood movie extravaganza, like Mom would have done.

Family, love, fun and stress, British car enthusiasts, henna and altering bridesmaids’ outfits
And then the weather forecast changes – hurricane on the horizon!

From the author of Made in Mehendi (recommended here), another Indian-American romance to savor.

What’s your favorite wedding tradition?
**kmm

Book info: Sister of the Bollywood Bride / Nandini Bajpal. Poppy/ Little Brown & Company, 2021.
[author site] [publisher site] Personal copy; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

She writes hopeful, worried LETTERS FROM CUBA to war-darkened Poland, by Ruth Behar (MG book review)

book cover of Letters From Cuba, by Ruth Behar. Published by Nancy Paulsen Books/ Penguin Random House | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Cross the wide ocean,
earn money slowly, slowly –
bring family to safety – soon, soon!

Papa went first to Cuba, trying to make enough money so their whole family could escape the increasing peril of merely being Jewish in Poland.

Esther is the oldest child, ready to travel across the sea and help Papa grow their savings faster, 11 years old on a ship crossing the Atlantic in 1938, writing letters to her sister Malka in an old notebook until time to send them.

Always-summer Cuba means sandals instead of woolen stockings, a small village in the hills away from the city, walking and walking with their peddler’s packs to sell goods throughout the countryside where the air smells like candy from the sugar mills.

As Esther learns Spanish, she’s befriended by Francisco Chang who came from China to his uncle’s store, Doctor Pablo and Senora Graciela whose daughter died young, and Manuela’s formerly enslaved grandmother who honors the gods of her African ancestors.

Angry sugar mill owner Eduardo thinks she and Papa don’t belong here, so the young woman takes refuge in the poems of Juan Marti shared by Senora Graciela as Esther designs and sews stylish cotton dresses that become popular in Havana.

Can she make enough dresses by herself to fill the orders?
Can they earn enough money to get their family here soon?
As Europe rejects Jewish people, will Cuba still welcome them?

As powerful people like Eduardo begin echoing Hitler’s anger and lies, Esther and Papa work hard and pray harder to bring their family to safety!

What letters have shared family stories with you?
**kmm

Book Info: Letters From Cuba / Ruth Behar. Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Random House, 2020. (author site) (publisher site) Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Stitch It Simple, by Beth Sheard (book review) – whimsical home decor for you to sew

book cover of Stitch It Simple by Beth Sheard published by Taunton PressYour favorite colors
plus easy-to-personalize patterns
equals fabulous new home items sewn by you!

You will be able to beautifully Stitch It Simple  with sharp scissors, fusible interfacing, and the designer’s step-by-step instructions.

Choose complementary colors and designs for the Patchwork Chairpad, then finger-knit a cord for the Flower Garland made with its fabric scraps.

Beth has free alphabet templates for the pennant bunting here on her website, too.

Look for this late 2014 paperback at your local library or independent bookstore so you can be inspired to stitch your own fun home accessories.

Which project from the cover would you start with?
**kmm

Book info: Stitch It Simple: 25 Hand Sewn Projects to Make and Share / Beth Sheard. Taunton Press, 2014.  [author site]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk:  Colorful designs for pillow covers, wall hangings, aprons – it’s easy to Stitch It Simple  and add your own personal touches to your home.

After covering the basics of sewing, appliques, and finishing, this young British designer presents patterns and helpful hints for 25 projects to brighten up your bedroom, study, and kitchen.

Charming gift ideas include a Butterfly Mobile, Bird Tote Bag, and Kit and Kat stuffed cats which can double as bookends if you add weights before stitching shut.

Use the assembly method for the Owl and Pussycat Wall Tidy to create a hanging organizer with your favorite fabrics and colors, echoing what you chose for the Balloon Cushion or Tree Pillow Cover (small or large).

Whether you begin with the Mini Quilt, Hanging Elephants, or the Cupcake Apron, you’ll be inspired to brighten up your home with personalized accessories using this book filled with clear instructions, whimsical designs, and proven sewing techniques.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

At Home With Handmade Books, by Erin Zamrzla (book review) – how-to do something new

Craving a new journal in your favorite colors? Easy.
Need an itsy-bitsy notebook to slip a secret pocket? Simple.
Want to use that single unique sheet of patterned paper in a special way? Can do!

With this Fun Friday find, you can make your very own books from a wide range of materials.
Go green as you use old postcards as covers for a travel journal!
Be ready for a new school year with fabulous keepsake-gathering book featuring ziptop bags as pages.
Make all your holiday gifts with your own two hands, the paper and cover stock that you find, and some very simple tools.

Erin gives very understandable step-by-step instructions for each binding method, and you’re sure to go beyond her examples to create one-of-a-kind books that you’ll be proud to show off, share, or even sell. Of course, some will be so special that you’ll just hide them away so you can enjoy them all by yourself.

Your local independent bookstore would love to order this for you if not in stock. And ask for it at your local library so they know it’s a book that their patrons would use again and again.
**kmm

Book info: At Home With Handmade Books: 28 Extraordinary Bookbinding Projects Made from Ordinary and Repurposed Materials / Erin Zamrzla. Shambhala Publications, 2011. [author’s website] [publisher site] [Video one and two – make a tag notebook!] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My Book Talk: Recycle everyday materials into amazing personalized books as you create a Pillowcase Dream Journal or a Peek-a-Book with these clear instructions and step-by-step photos. Turn a favorite bookmark into an accordion book with space to write notes or make your travel pix into a fanfolded Travel Photo Album. Charming flutter books include a Sketch/Jot Journal, just right-sized for your jeans pocket.

Learn simple four-hole binding to make a Cut, Keep, Collage Storage Book with ziptop plastic bag pages for corralling photos and ticket stubs or use a sponge as the cover of your favorite Cleaning Hints Book. Take the outside cover of an old children’s book and rebind it with journal pages inside – ultimate recycling! The Yamato binding technique is preferred for the perfumed “Sweet Secrets Sachet Book,” while Ledger binding transforms leftover papers into a “Recycle Bin Memo Pad.”

Zamzrla explains tools, techniques, and papers as she guides you through each project and makes suggestions for variations and tweaks. Learn how to make these 28 handmade books, and you’ll always have great ideas for gifts and beautiful journals at your fingertips! (One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Little Green Dresses, by Tina Sparkles (book review) – re-fashion clothes your way

book cover of Little Green Dresses by Tina Sparkles published by Taunton PressTransform a thrift store find into haute couture with this well-designed book of clothing transformation techniques and pattern-starters.

Austin sewing wiz Tina Sparkles has turned her popular Stitch Lab classes into a book filled with easy-to-follow lessons about selecting garments and fabrics for repurposing, how to measure and create patterns, basic sewing techniques, and clever finishing touches for your one-of-a-kind outfit. (Cashmere hoodie! Suit-jacket skirt!)

Little Green Dresses  gives you 50 potential ways to reuse and recycle as you practice your sewing skills to “go green” with your own unique style.

Book info
: Little Green Dresses / by Tina Sparkles. Taunton Press, 2010. [author’s website] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Recommendation: Create your own one-of-a-kind fashions from old garments and vintage fabrics using the techniques and patterns shared by Tina Sparkles and her fashion-designer friends. Tina notes that over 17 million pounds of clothing are thrown in the trash in the United States each year, so she challenges creative gals to rescue the fabric from discards to make new-again tops, skirts, dresses, shorts, rompers, and even coats.

Learn how to make patterns, using your own personal measurements, so that each design can be custom-fitted to you. All sewing techniques are clearly explained, from making a casing for elastic to clipping seam allowances to installing a zipper.

Each design includes what pattern-making experience you need (1= straight lines only, 4= major adjustments) and the sewing skills necessary (1= sew a straight seam, 2= facings and buttonholes, 3= zippers, invisible hems). The easiest designs are first in each chapter so you can gain more skills as you make cute clothes.

If you can sew a straight seam using a sewing machine, then you can turn a silky long robe into a slinky Rectangle Tie Shrug or an Ultra Mini-Skirt (easy designs). With more experience, two large men’s sweaters become a Cashmere Hoodie and a suit coat is transformed into a Suit Skirt (complete with the suit coat buttons on the front) in skill level 2 designs.

More advanced projects see sheer curtains made into a stunning tunic, t-shirt sheets fashioned into no-side-seam leggings, and an old corduroy blanket revived as a coat.

Use the ideas and techniques in this book to change up the look of clothes in your closet, the too-large items from the vintage store, or fabric finds from swap meets and garage sales as you go green and get creative. Fashionistas – start your sewing machines!! (one of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)