Friday, January 18, 2013

Stitch Savvy

The #1 beginner book on my "Learn to Sew" list is Deborah Moebe's Stitch by Stitch.  (Seriously, I have such a list, right here).  So, naturally, I was happy to receive a review copy of her latest release, Stitch Savvy, which is a sequel of sorts to Stitch by Stitch.  The projects are thoughtfully designed to give you the skills to call yourself an experienced sewist.  And they run the gamut from Home Decor to Patchwork & Quilting to Bags, Sewing for Children and even Clothing (like a tailored jacket, friends, and knits - the real deal).  

For starters the book has some good things going: lay-flat spiral binding, a CD with printable full-scale patterns (no tissue paper!) and lots of photos.  Plus, it's a hardback.  I'm always a fan of that.  Looking inside, some of the photography kind of threw me off.  But, when I got past that I was definitely drawn to this quilt:

Paving Stones quilt

It's her Paving Stones quilt.  On first glance I thought it was improv pieced.  Doesn't it look so random?  But, turns out, it's constructed of one 4-segment block, made again and again and rotated.  How easy!  Deborah used a great range of values and nice variety of color, so it really looks so nicely scrappy.  

Well, I was pretty tempted, but figured I should take the opportunity to make something a little different for me.  So, I kind of pretended that I had made the quilt (because you know I did in my head) and went to see which projects were suggested as "next steps" at the end of the Paving Stones project.  You see, Deborah has drawn connections between each project and other projects in the book, so that if you find you like working with piping (say when making your footstool) you can easily find your way to the Sewing Machine Cover project, which uses piping too!  She's clever like that.

Turns out the "Next Steps"  projects after the Paving Stones quilt were a duvet cover (oops, already working on one) and a wholecloth quilt (yep, did that earlier this year).  Well, I'm a hopeless quilter.  Case closed.  So?

from Stitch Savvy

I opted to make this Reversible Girl's Dress!  I could use a half yard cut of Raindrop Poppies from Field Study by Anna Maria Horner and really show of the somewhat largescale print, without chopping it up for quilting.  

The pattern calls for 1-1 3/4 yards for the dress outer.  I wondered what size range the dress patterns included?  The only way to find out was to pop in the CD.  In a few clicks, I found the 10-page printable pattern pieces for the Reversible Dress with sizes XS - L clearly marked.  A little tape and scissor work and I had prepared the size XS dress template.  

piecing, cutting

Since my half yard wasn't enough, I pieced some Chicopee Bleeding Heart to the top half before cutting my dress pieces.  Used the same Chicopee print for the reversible side too.  Fun!  The book has pictures for every step.  Something as basic as how to arrange the fabric before cutting was so helpful to see, since I am not a garment sewer.  

I did find a hiccup, however, between steps 2 & 3.  The directions did not include the need to sew dress fronts and backs together along the side seams.  I forged ahead to step 3 and was going to do things incorrectly but started to wonder when I'd sew the side seams.  A quick read of all the remaining directions (yes, you should always do that first!) found no side seam sewing to be.  So... that's when I looked more closely at the picture for step 3 and noticed the side seams were already sewn.  Aha!  This is probably the obvious correct order for those with more experience!  

Reversible Girl's Dress

Well, regardless, the dress came together nicely!  

lovin the ric rac idea!

I especially liked the idea of adding some ric rac at the hem.  Lots of the projects have little "extras" at the end for an alternative look.  That's always a nice feature.

Chicopee bleeding heart

Not sure which side I like better.  That Raindrop Poppies print is beautiful, but this Chicopee print seems so very sweet for a little girl!

all wrapped up

So, that wraps this book review up.  To see lots more projects from the book and catch other reviews, check out the book tour going on now.  Oh, and on Wednesday, Deborah is giving away 2 copies of Stitch Savvy at the Whipstitch blog!

FYI:  This post includes affiliate links to Amazon, which I include most anytime I discuss a sewing book.  Those links mean if you purchase from Amazon I get a small commission, which I tend to use to build my sewing library. So thanks!


  1. What a sweet dress, and a great honest review. Nice work, Rachel!

  2. that is a great quilt and excelent job on your dress. Looks like i wil be adding another book to my list.

  3. I'm curious what you mean when you say some of the photography in the book threw you off?

    1. Oh, well, just sometimes the model and modeling wasn't to my taste. Basically, I think Deborah's things may have looked better styled or modeled differently. I may be sensitive to these things because I used to be a fashion buyer for an online retail clothing store. The modeling/photos would make or break our sales.

  4. You had me at "reversible!" Ha! But really, great choice in fabrics. Perfect for a summer day at the beach. The ric-rac just seals the deal.

  5. What a precious little dress ; )

  6. Great job, Rachel! Love this dress. Fabulous in these fabrics.

  7. Hi!!! I love the dress!! Both sides!!!! Thank You!!!

  8. Cute dress, you did a great job!

    Thanks for the review.

  9. Love the dress, especially that you made it reverseable and the projects in the book look great!

  10. That is such a sweet little dress ..... very cute and very practical. When looking at it I was thinking if a little girl went out in that dress and got dirty, just turn it in the other way and instant clean.

  11. eeek, this dress is to die for!!!! Totally adorable. I do love that quilt, too. I also thought it was an improv.

  12. Great book....especially like the spiral binding !
    And I love what you've done with the pattern for
    that beautiful little dress !

  13. What a super cute dress! Looks like a great book and love that the skills from one project build onto the next project. Great review!


Related Posts with Thumbnails