Tag Archive for sewing book

Q&A with ‘Sew in Style’ Author Erin Hentzel + Giveaway!

Today, I am excited to have Erin Hentzel. Erin just wrote a book targeted toward kids learning to sew, and it’s called Sew in Style – Make Your Own Doll Clothes: 22 Projects for 18″ Dolls Build Your Sewing Skills. (FunStitch Studio).

Erin is here to tell us more about how she started sewing, how that creative passion ultimately led to writing a book, and what’s next on her radar. Be sure the enter the GIVEAWAY at the bottom of this post.

Erin Hentzel

Erin, can you tell me how you got started with Avery Lane Designs and sewing in general?

As a child, I was surrounded by sewing. All the grown-ups around me could sew; my grandmas, my mom, aunts, older sister– even my dad could sew. I wore mostly handmade clothes as a little girl and looked forward to picking out patterns and fabrics for my new school clothes each year. I still remember these bright orange corduroy overalls that my mom made me (mind you, it was the ’70s). I loved those and wore them all the time.

I started my own sewing journey when I was 7. I attended a hand sewing class with my brother and younger sister. After that, I would sew in my room all the time. Using the patterns from sewing magazines, I taught myself how to make stuffed animals and would give them to friends for their birthdays. I would sew doll clothes by hand for my dolls and stuffed animals. I also have fond memories of sewing with my grandma and cousins in the summertime when we would visit them.

I was in 4th grade when I first learned how to use a sewing machine. In middle school, I took sewing at school and began making my own clothes. I sewed for myself throughout high school as well. It was a great skill to have when I wanted to give my clothes an updated look, to keep up with the changing fashion trends. Now they call that upcylcing, right?  In my early twenties, I worked for a local sewing machine and fabric shop. I received a real sewing education while working there. I loved my time there. Sewing has always been a huge part of my life.

As a parent, I got really into sewing for my kids. My girls wore a lot of my handmade skirts and dresses to school. I started Avery Lane Designs! when more and more preschool moms kept asking me to sew for them, and sell them these skirts and dresses. It evolved from there.

Sew in Style—Make Your Own Doll Clothes

How did you decide to go about writing a book about sewing clothing for dolls? Was this a big part of your childhood?

I’ve always loved dolls and so do my girls. I would sew matching outfits for my daughters and their dolls and stuffed animals. When I started Avery Lane, I was selling children’s clothing and matching doll clothes. It became harder to find the time to sew and sell my wares at the Saturday Markets and Street Fairs, so I began selling the patterns that I had drafted for the doll clothes through my Etsy Shop: Avery Lane.

After a few years of selling my patterns, I thought it would be cool to write a book and have it published. It’s always been kind of a pipe dream of mine to become an author. I’m sure many people have that thought. I even took a few fiction writing courses in college. I used to think about writing a children’s picture book and even sketched out pictures with story lines.  But sewing has always been my thing, writing not as much.

Sew in Style—Make Your Own Doll Clothes

What was the process of putting your book Sew in Style together?

It took me a long time to build up the courage to contact C&T about my book idea. And once I did, I wasn’t sure I’d hear back from them. I was really surprised to hear back so soon. But instead of a sewing book for adults, they asked if I would write a book for kids. As I thought about it, it made sense for me. I’ve been teaching children to sew for years and love working with kids. A sewing book for kids to sew for their dolls would also bring me back to my own beginnings. It was the perfect project for me. Drafting doll clothes patterns for children to sew would be a new challenge for me: trendy and modern styles that were also simple in construction. I really felt inspired to face the challenge.

It’s been just about 2 years since I first contacted C&T, and it’s been a wonderful learning experience. At times, I found myself without time to sew, as I wrote and edited the text part of my book. All the people at C&T were great. They’re all so personable and answered all my questions–there were a lot of questions along the way. I feel honored to have worked with so many amazing and talented people at C&T who helped to create my book.

Sew in Style—Make Your Own Doll Clothes

Erin, what’s next for you?

I have so much that I hope to do. It has literally been a dream to have sewing be a career for me. Ever since I was young, I loved sewing and had a special talent for it. I never seem to have enough time to get all the projects done that I would like and my “to-do” list just keeps growing.

I will continue to teach sewing, because I love watching kids catch the “sewing bug.” I don’t know who gets more excited about their projects: the kids or me. That’s the great thing about sewing– everyone inspires each other. I always leave class feeling inspired, and it’s awesome to have kids come back to class with projects they felt inspired to sew at home. Teaching keeps me pretty busy, especially during the summer when I offer more classes. I would love to open up a sewing studio where kids could come in after school and sew for an hour or two. And of course, I would love to write another sewing book. I have lots of designs in my head and some already in the works.

 Sew in Style—Make Your Own Doll Clothes


Do you know a child who would like to learn to sew? Leave a comment on this post telling us who it is, and we’ll choose one winner a week from the date of this post to receive a copy of Erin’s new book Sew in Style!

If winner is in U.S., they will receive a hard copy; international winner will receive an e-copy.

Blog Tour

Be sure to follow along for some fun tutorials and giveaways, as well as reviews of the book! Here’s where it’s going:

July 15: www.sewmamasew.com
July 17: www.probablycrafting.com
July 18: sweetjanesquilting.blogspot.com
July 21: www.craftbuds.com
July 22: www.sameliasmum.com
July 24: www.polkadotchair.com
July 25: www.fishsticksdesigns.com/blog
July 26: generationqmagazine.com
July 28: averylanesewing.com/the-blog

Pre-Cut Patchwork Party Author Q&A + Giveaway!

Today, we’re excited to welcome craft book author Elaine Schmidt to chat more about the process of writing her recent book Pre-Cut Patchwork Party: Projects to Sew and Craft with Fabric Strips, Squares, and Fat Quarters.

Don’t forget to leave a comment after the post for your chance to win a copy of the book!


Elaine, welcome to Craft Book Month! What’s your favorite pre-cut to sew with, and why?

I love them all and find them handy in so many ways, but I really like the 2 1/2″ width-of-fabric strips that many manufacturer’s sell as “jelly rolls” or “designer rolls”. They can be easily cut into squares or rectangles for piecing. They are perfect for quilt-as-you-go projects where you sew the strips directly to the batting and backing. (Quick way to make a placemat!) And I love using them for straight grain quilt bindings. Because all the fabric prints coordinate, yet every strip is different, you can make a quilt binding that has an eclectic mix and match look.

Can you tell me a little bit about the process of writing a sewing book?

Once you have an idea for a book, you need to approach a publisher with a proposal. Submission guidelines are on their websites so make sure to follow them in presenting your ideas. If your book proposal is accepted, a contract will be drafted for you and the publisher to sign. This contract will list everything you are required to do and a timeline of deadlines along the way.

Make sure you understand everything and discuss with the publishers any concerns or questions you may have. Also, allow enough time to work on the book! Whenever I start a book, I always think I have plenty of time to get it all done in the time allotted. But, I have found that it always takes me longer to work out designs, get all the instructions written, source supplies, and do photography if that is included than I thought it would at the beginning of the process. Depending on the book, I like to allow at least 6 months to finish everything.

When writing a book for Creative Publishing, I am given three deadlines to meet. The first is for the “dummy material”, which includes the working contents list, a manuscript for one chapter of each section of the book, step-out samples or photographs to accompany the manuscript and an art log of images for what has been written to this point. The second deadline is for one-third of the manuscript with samples or photos and an art log. And the third deadline is for the final manuscript, complete with all samples and art work and the final art log.

That’s so interesting, Elaine! How did writing this book compare or differ to writing your last book, The Complete Photo Guide to Ribbon Crafts?

Pre-Cut Patchwork Party is a project-based sewing book. Each project is an original design focusing on using pre-cut fabrics. Detailed instructions were written for each project. Step-out samples of each construction step had to be made so they could be photographed to accompany the instructions.

The Complete Photo Guide to Ribbon Crafts includes a few projects, but mostly it is focused on various ribbon techniques with suggestions on how the techniques can be incorporated into a project. It was part of a series of “Complete Guides” and gives an overview of working with ribbons like making various styles of bows, creating ribbon flowers and trims, making hair accessories, sewing with ribbons, paper crafting with ribbon, etc. So those were the main differences.

You seem to stay busy with many different aspects of the crafting business other than just writing books. How does your work with designing products, writing for magazines and TV appearances complement your role as a craft book author?

It all works together because everything I do involves things I love to do: sew, create with fabric and thread, and work with embellishments–the “fun stuff”, like ribbons, buttons and beads. I have great working relationships with many fabric, ribbon and embellishment manufacturers and work with them to create projects that showcase their products in the best light. Cross-marketing is very important for both the manufacturers and the retailers who carry their products. I am careful when working with any companies who are competing for the same business, and I align myself up with those manufacturers who offer beautiful, quality products.

What is one thing that would surprise most people about being a professional crafter?

I don’t think it is a surprise to anyone that you will have to work hard to be successful. And, you do not do this type of work because you want to make lots of money. You do it because you love the techniques, the products and the joy of sharing with others the excitement of making something truly unique and personal. There is no greater joy than making something with your own two hands, especially in this high tech world. Crafting and sewing are a form of self expression and bring balance to our busy lives.

I have been lucky that every job I have held has led me to the next and has been an important influence on my work today. One of my first jobs was in a retail buying office. From that, I understand what buyers consider when making decisions about the products they will carry in their stores. I have also worked as an employee for manufacturers who make products for the sewing/crafting market. From that, I understand the importance of filling the needs of the consumer with new and inspiring products, as well as the challenges faced in bringing those products to market. I have also done a great deal of marketing, education and promotion work to both retail buyers and the end consumer. All that experience and those points of view help me to understand the full picture. But, most importantly, I am the consumer. My vocation is my avocation.

Do you have any tips for helping others grow their own creative business?

The best way to grow your business is to find you passion, which is what you are good at and what makes your heart sing. Then develop yourself as a brand and work on several streams of income, like writing books and tutorials, selling products and completed projects online, licensing your designs to manufacturers, selling at local and national art shows and fairs, etc. You’ll have to wear a lot of hats, but it can be very rewarding . . . and you’ll be doing what you love to do every day.


Creative Publishing International is generously offering a copy of Elaine’s book Pre-Cut Patchwork Party to one reader! To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment on this post telling us one thing you learned about craft book publishing from our interview with Elaine. Good luck!

(Giveaway open to U.S. readers only. We’ll choose a winner one week from the date of this post.)

Craft Book Author Sian Keegan Q&A + Giveaway!

Have you ever sewn a stuffed animal? Today, we’re chatting with craft book author and stuffies expert Sian Keegan, author of the lovely new book How to Make Stuffed Animals (Quarry Books).

Sian, welcome to Craft Buds! In your book, you mention that you’ve learned a great deal of your technique through other craft books. What does it mean to you to be able to write this book and share your passion with others?

It makes me so happy to see photos of animals made from my patterns! After spending years creating custom stuffed animals, it feels great to share what I’ve learned with others.

In a lot of ways the time I spent making my 3D Pet Portraits was like my stuffed animal-making boot camp. I had to improvise techniques and patterns on the fly to create different shapes and textures for each unique pup that came through my inbox.

For visual people like myself I think a book is the best way to learn a new craft technique. In-person demonstrations are often difficult for me–a whole group of people watching one set of hands, having to digest information in one sitting through mostly verbal instruction. I like having something I can always refer back to and do problem-solving on my own.

Photo: Sian Keegan

2) Can you give me a snapshot of the process of writing this book?
I wrote the book in the summer of 2011. I started sometime in July and turned in all of the text, illustrations, and photos (by Jen Korff) by October 1st. We continued editing the text while Caitlin Keegan worked on the design. It was finished by the end of that year!
Photo: Jen Korff
What do you love about sewing and making stuffed animals?

I love seeing oddly shaped pieces of fabric come together the make a 3D form. My favorite part is stuffing the animal and adding all the details that make it come to life in the end. I kept the patterns in the book really simple with as few pieces as possible, both to make it easy for beginners and to limit the time cutting fabric and sitting at the sewing machine to get to the truly fun part.
Photo: Jen Korff
If you were teaching a friend how to make stuffed animals, what basic supplies would you recommend she add to her sewing kit right away?

Definitely invest in a super sharp pair of fabric scissors and never cut paper with them! I also suggest getting a few crochet hooks. I use the hook part to pull the animals right-side out after I finish sewing them, and the rounded bottom to push small bits of stuffing into the legs and head.

For fabrics, my advice is to grab materials that speak to you right when you see them, even if you don’t have a specific project in mind. It’s convenient to buy materials for a project in one stop at the craft store, but collecting fabrics and notions over time from different places makes for a more interesting and personal finished project.
Photo: Sian Keegan
Sian, what’s next for you?

I’ve been working on patterns for more cuddly, doll-like stuffed animals (above). I’ve posted a few patterns in my shop and I hope to share more in another book at some point! I’ve also been experimenting with non-animal soft sculptures like plants, houses, and other forms, as well as quirkier items like my Birthday Shrimp (below). My background is in textile/surface design so I’m always designing 2D patterns as well!
Photo: Sian Keegan


Would you like to win a copy of Sian’s new book, How to Make Stuffed Animals?

Leave a comment on this post telling us one thing you’ve learned from our interview with Sian, and you could win!


(Giveaway open to U.S. readers only. We’ll choose a winner one week from the date of this post.)

Craft Book Month: Lindsay Sews + 13 Spools

Happy Friday the 13th! No doom and gloom here . . . we’re just popping by to share a couple more blog hop projects for Craft Book Month 2013!

Speaking of 13, have you met Amy of 13 Spools? She has a lovely blog with free quilt patterns, sew alongs and more! Amy is a friend of mine from the Indianapolis Modern Quilt Guild, and today she’s sharing her project from Vanessa Christenson’s book Make it Sew Modern (Martingale). I am in love with the fluffy texture of this Spring-Blossom wreath. Doesn’t it look just like frosting on a wedding cake?


Read more about how Amy made her wreath (hot glue, anyone?) on her blog!


I’m sharing a behind-the-scenes look at my “Baseball Curves” quilt, made for the book Modern Bee — 13 Quilts to Make with Friends (Stash Books) over at my other blog! Find out what color I chose for the binding… and then ripped off completely to start over. :) You can also comment over there to win a copy of the book before it releases on Amazon.


Visit Lindsay Sews >> Enter the giveaway!

Anna Maria’s Needleworks Notebook + Giveaway!

Today’s guest is none other than Anna Maria Horner, designer extraordinaire and author of the new book Anna Maria’s Needleworks Notebook (Wiley). The gorgeous hand-stitching book (I’ve seen it myself, and it is not to be missed!) releases mid-October, but you can pre-order now from Anna Maria or Amazon.

We’re excited to learn a little more about Anna Maria’s new book and her creative business! There’s also a giveaway at the end of this post.

Anna Maria Horner

Photo: Anna Maria Horner

Congrats on your third book release! Where did you find your inspiration for this project, and what do you love about hand stitching?

Thank you so much! I have been making embroidery and needlepoint since I was a little girl. The inspiration to collect projects for a book came about as I was just trying to figure out how I would want these disciplines presented to me as a reader/maker. It was important to me to make a book that could be just as inspiring for the novice as it is for the experienced needlecrafter. And doing that meant making sure there was lots of inspiration for the final usage of a worked piece, whether that be in a frame, a bag or a some fashionable application.

I love hand work. I love the slower pace and the connection that it has to drawing and painting. Simply said I know, but there are many crafts that I like, and only a few I love. Embroidery and other related needle crafts just happen to fall into the love category for me.

Is writing a book similar to designing a new fabric line?

Yes and not really. They are similar in the devotion I develop to each through out the process, but the language is all together different. The language of a fabric collection is almost entirely visual apart from the narrative style I attach to it with the collection name, then print and color names, and so on. I try to propel the story of the collection through those names. I think of a book as a literal conversation between myself and the reader, and in my category of sewing and how-to, it is of course also educational. The book as well has a visual element, which is in part the projects that I develop, but also the photography, how the pages feel, what the fonts look like, and all these things are speaking to the reader as well through the subconscious. So it’s important to me to get them right, so I am making my “story” unique and inspiring the reader.

Photo: Anna Maria Horner

Your designs and your career are inspiring to so many creative people. What lessons have you learned in your career that might help us?

I think having support is a huge bonus. If you have the luxury of not having to be the main bread winner in your house, then it might lighten your stress to take a few risks, or just spend a good amount of time developing your ideas. Then again, I have always found having to win a bit of bread can be pretty inspiring, too. We all work differently, so sometimes your productivity and creativity formulas are more or less a direct product of your environment. If you can, get to know what kind of conditions put you at your best and try to get there as often as possible. You might travel down a path the dries up after a while, but simply continuing to work on something will eventually bring you to what you were meant for, if you’re paying attention.

Photo: Anna Maria Horner

From reading your blog, it seems that you stay busy with family, design projects and teaching opportunities. Do you have any secrets to keeping a work/life balance?

It is not an easy balance, and I do get it wrong sometimes. The hardest thing for me to do is take time to take care of myself. Over this past summer though, I have demanded taking off on a run 3 to 4 times a week, which has left me feeling better than ever. Running has helped me keep my energy where it needs to be for work and for my family, even though it takes time out from both. But the payoff is much bigger than a couple of hours a week. I also find that saving slower-paced projects for evenings when I can work on them in the midst of my husband and kids is not only more enjoyable, but it lightens that daytime load.

Photos: Anna Maria Horner

Those are wise words! What’s next for you?

I always have a new fabric collection (or two) in the works as well as new sewing patterns. After the launch of the book, I will be introducing Field Study Rayons, Voiles and Velveteens, the Escape Artist bag pattern, the Flight Map quilt pattern and also some palettes of tapestry wool to continue growing my needleworks product. And there’s loads to look forward to next year, including some reprints of older fabric favorites and also linens!

Thanks for the sneak peek, Anna Maria! We can’t wait to make projects from your new book!


Wiley Craft is generously giving away a copy of Anna Maria’s Needleworks Notebook. To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below telling us one thing you’ve learned from our Q&A with Anna Maria. We’ll choose a random winner on 10/4/12.

Congrats to commenter #179, Lori!

Author Talk: Fat Quarter Shop + Giveaway!

Today we are thrilled to have the team at It’s Sew Emma Patterns and Fat Quarter Shop here to talk about their new book!

The book begins shipping today, and is called “Simply Fat Quarters.” With 10 quilt patterns that can each be made in four different sizes. Read on to learn more about the team’s self-published book and don’t forget to leave a comment at the end for your chance to win one of three copies!

It's Sew Emma (clockwise from top): Kim, Jocelyn, Sarah and Debbie

So many people have the bucket list dream to write a book, but not many realize what is involved in the process. Can you tell us a little bit about the book and your patterns business?

Here’s a little background about It’s Sew Emma! We are a dynamic team of four (Kimberly, Debbie, Jocelyn and Sarah) that design and publish patterns together. We each have different talents, tastes and specialties, which works really well. We have been publishing It’s Sew Emma patterns since 2011, which started out from one conversation in the back of a van during Quilt Market some years ago. Writing a book had always been on our minds, but it had to be the right time.

Is there a theme for the quilts/projects included in this book?

Simply Fat Quarters is geared towards using fat quarters to create quilts of all different styles and sizes. It seemed fitting to have our first book focus on fat quarters since our store is Fat Quarter Shop. There are 10 projects, and each can be made in four different sizes: crib, lap, twin and king. All are suitable for a confident beginner. Of course we think they appeal to all!

Did you work with a traditional publisher, or go the self-publishing route? What have you learned through the process?

We chose to self-publish mainly because we wanted to work on our own timeline and have complete creative control. Every step was a learning process. We researched copyrights, binding options, writing styles, distribution methods, you name it.

Establishing the pattern company while still running a fabric store did not leave much room for exploring the book idea, but we finally set a deadline for ourselves. It was a very fun and challenging process, and we like to do things fast. From idea to self-publishing, it all came together within nine months! After we decided to go the self-publishing route (very nerve-wracking to say the least), our concept, then we each submitted lots of designs to consider. After selecting our designs, we picked the fabrics for our samples, wrote instructions, did the photography, edited, tested, and edited some more. We have just finished the process, so it still feels like we’re in that dream!

Where do you find inspiration for writing new patterns? Do you have any ways to overcome the writer’s block that comes with creating designs from scratch?

Usually the inspiration for new patterns comes from fabric, a classic “chicken and the egg” situation! Sometimes you see one print that you know will be the starting point for a new quilt design, and then you take the seeds of design inspiration you’ve had sitting in your mind to do the rest. Some of us start with pencil and paper (or mouse and computer), and some start at the cutting table.

Do you have any advice for someone who wants to write a craft book or design and sell patterns?

Research how the business works and invest in beautiful photos. A great book or pattern cover is paramount. Get together a team of great testers. Most importantly, set a deadline. You will mull over your options designs forever unless you stick to a date!


Hot off the presses, Simply Fat Quarters has arrived in stock at Fat Quarter Shop, and they are generously giving away 3 copies of the new book!

Simply Fat Quarters

Leave a comment telling us something you’ve learned from this Q&A for your chance to win. We’ll choose 3 random winners on October 3, 2012. Good luck!

Congrats to our three winners, #19 Libby G., Diane and #90 Linda S.!

Author Talk: “Improv Sewing” + Giveaway!

Today, we are thrilled to have special guests Nicole Blum and Debra Immergut, authors of Improv Sewing: A Freeform Approach to Creative Techniques! Read on for an informative Q&A on what it takes to write a craft book, and leave a comment to win a copy of their book.

Can you tell me how you met and started blogging together?

We met at Family Fun Magazine where Debra is an editor and I am a freelance crafter and stylist. We collaborated on many features and knew we worked well together. Our blog came about after we started writing Improv Sewing – an idea initiated by Debra who likes to tell how she would often see me coming in with boxes of crafts wearing something I had stitched. Debra thought she might not be the only one who would want to learn how to make clothes for themselves so asked if I would like to pitch a sewing book with her. Well, yes ma’am, I did. Improv Diary is our shared space for talking about creativity and making lovely things, as well as a few other random ideas.

With a background in creative publishing, it seems a natural fit that you would work together to write a book. How did you go about the process of pitching the book proposal to a publisher (or did it work the other way around)? Can you describe that process?

Yes, you are right, it was a natural fit. After we agreed that we wanted to pitch a sewing book, I stitched up a dozen or so things, Debra wrote a fantastic introduction and then laid out the photographed projects in such a nice way, it appeared we already had a book completed. After one false start with a publisher in New York we pitched the book to Storey Publishing. They are small but have had some great success in sewing books so we knew they would understand what we were trying to achieve. Furthermore, they are all about creative self-reliance and our concept fit right in with that. We were so fortunate to have a very quick response from them – waiting can be a killer – and they wanted it! They wanted it but wondered if we would be interested in increasing the size and breadth of the book from 30 clothing projects to 101 sewing projects that would span garment making to quick gifts. Despite that large number, we didn’t really hesitate – more projects definitely meant more work, but it also meant more fun.

Once the book deal was official, how did you divvy up the work of writing the book? With 101 projects, this surely took a great deal of time. What do you recall about those days of making the actual book projects?

Divvying up the work was a natural process – something that was obvious as we entered into the project’s first stages. We brainstormed a big list to get started with – obviously my clothing designs and other fun things I had designed over the years – and then we went to our respective corners for a while. I went to my studio where I designed, developed, stitched, and photographed and Debra started writing the core message of the book and introductions to the individual projects. As I finished developing things, I would send notes and images to Debra so she could write the instructions. In the early days, Debra was just learning to sew, which was perfect. I had to be thoughtful about the steps and process and if I was unclear or something didn’t make sense, she would catch it right away and ask all the right clarifying questions. Sometimes I had to re-develop something and sometimes I just need to explain the steps more clearly. As our deadline creeped closer, we began to meet more regularly to go over the directions, sew together, and draw up rough art to give to our illustrator. Those days feel like a while ago and I mostly remember sewing for very long stretches of time. I can safely say that Debra most likely remembers many late nights writing. Of course we wanted to projects to stand out and inspire people, but we also wanted the book to be a good read – I think we were successful.

Fast forward to the day you received a copy of the finished book in your hands. Can you describe your reaction, and any reflections on the process?

I will never forget the day that the guy delivered my ONE copy of the book (we’d have to wait a whole month before we’d see any more). It was wrapped in brown paper with a lovely piece of natural paper twine and a very kind note from our fantastic editor. My family gathered around and we looked at it and I had so many emotions and thoughts I couldn’t pin any one down. It had taken so much work and time to get to that place and then the book was in my hand – and it looked so beautiful to me!

What’s next for you both?

We have some ideas for another book that we have been tossing around, but for now, we have a lot of work to do to get the word out about this book and think we should dedicate our free time to doing just that.

Improv Sewing book cover

Free Projects

Storey Publishing was gracious to share two free projects from the book, including the:

Reverse applique t-shirt

Reverse applique ottoman cover



Storey is giving away a copy of Improv Sewing to one lucky Craft Buds reader. To enter to win, just leave a comment on this post about something you’ve learned from this Q&A. Giveaway limited to North America. We’ll choose one random winner a week from today’s post!

Congrats to commenter #30, Samantha!

Craft Book Author Angela Yosten + Giveaway!

Today we are excited to welcome Angela Yosten, author of the new book “Stop. Go. Quilt. Sew!” Read on to learn more about how she got started writing a book, as well as some creative ways she went about promoting the new release. There’s also a great giveaway at the end of this post!

Angela, congrats on the release of your new book, “Stop. Go. Quilt. Sew!” Can you tell me how you began a relationship with C&T Publishing?

I first came in contact with C&T Publishing when I designed a project for Moda Bake Shop’s book, “Fresh Fabric Treats” which was published by Stash Books/C&T Publishing. I had several ideas swimming around in my head for books and decided I would send in a couple of book proposals. “Stop. Go. Quilt. Sew!” was actually my second book proposal submitted to Stash. After that, I contributed two block designs to “Modern Blocks” and I am now working on my second book.

Sewing for boys is often a challenge. Do you have any tips for how to choose colors and fabrics that will appeal to boys of all ages?

I like to stick with the KISS method for boys’ fabrics: Keep It Sew Simple. Geometric prints, dots, stripes, zig zags, plaids are all great options for boys prints. I especially like to find the grunge and raw styled prints for boys, something with texture. Absolutely no florals of any kind. You don’t want them to be embarrassed; it must have that “cool” look to it if it is handmade.

Stop Go Quilt Sew

Do you have a favorite part of the book writing process? How did you handle the long wait from the time you created the projects until the book was released and you could finally talk about it?

I actually love the entire process of writing a book. It is amazing to me how much actually goes into creating a book. If I had to pick one particular part, it would have to be coming up with all the designs. I love sketching out ideas and figuring out how a project will come together. It is that “Ah ha” moment that really gets me going.

The wait from the time all the projects have been created and sent to the publisher to the time you can actually mention the book’s name, what it is about, or even a sneak peek is unbelievably hard. You want to be able to share with everyone what you are working on every night and weekend, and you can’t. I was recruiting my kids and even my husband to critique my work just so I could show someone. As soon as I would finish a project, I would run into the living room late at night, grab my husband, and say, “Come look! Come look! Tell me what you think!”

Once the projects are sent to the publisher, it is a little easier to keep quiet… out of sight, out of mind. That is until the design layout of the book comes, and then it starts all over again. But it is not that long after that you can start talking about it.

Angela Yosten Book release

After a book releases, there is quite a bit of promotion involved, both on the part of the publisher and the author. What kinds of things have you done to help get the word out about your book?

Being that this was my first book, all my own, I wanted to have a big party to celebrate the launch of my book, so I held a Book Launch and Signing Party at a local coffee shop in our town. I also held a blog tour and invited some friends in the industry to review my book. C&T does a lot for their authors as well to help promote the book which has been awesome!

Stop Go Quilt Sew


We have a big giveaway today, courtesy of Angela! The prize is a complete collection of 7 patterns from Angela Yosten Patterns. Leave a comment with something you’ve learned about our Q&A with Angela for your chance to win!

Congrats to winner #29, Tonia J!

International entries welcome, and we’ll choose a winner one week from today!

Don’t forget to work on your craft book project and link it up the last week of September for our Craft Book Month party with prizes!

Review: Improv Sewing + Giveaway

Improv Sewing book cover

Improv Sewing: A Freeform Approach to Creative Techniques is a new book from Storey Publishing filled with “101 fast, fun and fearless projects” to sew and love. The sheer number of projects is enough to get excited over, but the variety of techniques (from upcycling to reverse applique) is a huge bonus.

Improv Sewing book table of contents

Authors Nicole Blum and Debra Immergut show off 101 sewing projects in the same style of those on their blog that are suited for beginners and intermediate sewists. The freestyle approach to sewing includes appliqued and stitched motifs, based on simple designs, several of which require no pattern pieces. Many also feature recycled and upcycled materials. Projects in the book include embellished dresses, tunics, scarves, skirts, accessories, pillows, curtains and more.

Improv Sewing ruffled dress

The “Ruffled Dressy Dress” is a cute and comfy dress pattern embellished with texture, but there are several variations on this concept, including a simple two-piece shift dress. With clothing for women, men and kids, the book offers a diverse variety of patterns.

Improv Sewing rainbow mobile

Feeling the need for some home decor? The “All-Weather Applique Mobile” pairs bright fabrics with whimsical shapes and machine embroidery, for a darling project that would suit a nursery or creative space.

Improv Sewing fused plastic wallet

The authors of Improv Sewing have a definite bent toward upcycling, and many of their projects show how to use free or inexpensive materials in a new way. This “Fused Plastic Wallet” has decorative stitching and is sized perfectly to slip your cash and a few credit cards inside.

Improv Sewing Reverse Applique Tee

This men’s reverse-applique tee is simple and stylish, with an organic design embellished on the lower front of the shirt. Kids and beginning sewists can learn this technique of reverse applique and hand-stitching to make clothing, accessories and home decor.

Free Projects

Storey Publishing was gracious to share two free projects from the book, including the:

Reverse applique t-shirt

Reverse applique ottoman cover


Would you like to win a copy of Improv Sewing? Just leave a comment on this post to be entered to win. We’ll choose one random winner on Wednesday, July 4, 2012. Check out the rest of the Improv Sewing blog tour at:

June 29: http://unanimouscraft.com/
July 10: http://www.craftfoxes.com/

Congrats to our giveaway winner, commenter #52 Fenna, who said: “Cool book! I like upcycling stuff–it’s a great way to re-use!”

Book Review + Giveaway: Mend It Better

Mend it Better: Creative Patching, Darning, and Stitching by Kristin M. Roach is a new release from Storey Publishing that celebrates a well-worn piece of clothing and teaches the reader how to make it new again. In a society that flocks to the new and discards what is old, the advice in this book is simply refreshing.

Kristin got her start in mending pre-loved clothing for her blog Craft Leftovers. Although she wasn’t always in love with the craft of sewing, she learned from her grandmother to artfully wield a needle and thread.

Mend It Better book contents

The book covers techniques like patching, darning (fixing holes in knit fabric) and caring for clothing. You’ll also get a quick history lesson, to show you how sewing has progressed over the years – particularly mending clothes.

Mend It Better Buttons

Buttons, snaps and zippers are among the notions that Kristin breaks down in an approachable, meaningful way. Gorgeous photography of vintage notions throughout this book pairs perfectly with the author’s sage advice. You’ll learn how to confidently tackle a split seam, a sweater snag and a torn buttonhole without tossing the garment.

Mend It Better Repurposed Mending Bag

Project tutorials, such as The Repurposed Mending Bag, are paired with the techniques as they are discussed. The idea of having a dedicated bag for mending is not lost on me, and would save my husband’s buttonless shirts from an endless pile of to-dos on the floor.

Mend It Better Hemline

Kristin and 21 contributors show the reader how to make an old garment dance again. Have you ever tossed a skirt that no longer fits? This clever project shows how to let down a hem by adding a patchwork border. This clever detail completely “makes” the skirt in a way that makes it hard to imagine the garment without it.

Mend It Better Rickrack Skirt Updo

Another favorite project in the book is the Rickrack Skirt Updo, meant to cover up a random spattering of ink spots. There are plenty of “why didn’t I think of that?” moments in this book.

Mend it Better is a visual reference that you will love to have around to help guide your sewing efforts. Chances are that this book will teach you something new and you’ll be inspired to revisit your wardrobe and give that old ______ a second chance. And on a side note, this book is a padded hardcover – the only book of it’s kind that I’ve ever held – and it’s just fun to hold.


Would you like to win a copy this book? Storey Publishing is giving a copy to one lucky reader!

  1. Enter to win by leaving a comment about your must-have sewing notion or tool.
  2. For an extra entry, “Like” Storey Publishing on Facebook and leave a second comment.

Giveaway open to U.S. residents only, and we’ll choose a winner on Monday 3/12. Good luck!

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