Review: Cath Kidston Sewing Book

Earlier this year I bought this book for a friend. It was one of those moments when the present almost never made it – I was very tempted to keep it for myself! I did the right thing though, and I was rewarded by getting it myself as a Christmas present.

This is Cath Kidston’s new book, and it comes with pre-cut fabric, bias binding, thread and buttons to make the pocket sewing kit on the cover. Which is where my first warning comes in. Apparently there was an error with the first batch of books and the fabric provided was cut with the direction of the pattern the wrong way (as you can see with my up-side down birds!). This isn’t the end of the world but I preferred my birds the right way up. I went into a store and was given a new set of fabric (after the shop assistant initially gave me another pack of up-side down fabric). This is just something to be aware of. The faulty books were removed in stores and the new ones should be fine, but I don’t know if this happened with third party sellers.

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With that minor gripe out of the way, on to more positive things. This is a beautiful book – it’s colourful and neatly presented, with photographs and diagrams to illustrate the steps for each project. The first section is dedicated to techniques you will use in the book, and the rest of the book covers 31 different projects. These range from very simple designs, such as a scalloped pillowcase or a fold-up tray for cosmetics, to more complicated ones such as some of the bags. All the projects are labelled as easy, medium or hard so you can choose what to make according to your skill level. Although some of the designs are more complicated, none of them are too taxing.

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The projects are mostly items for the home similar to the kind of thing you can buy from Cath Kidston stores (including a peg bag, a hanging organiser and a tissue box cover). There’s also a bag section (with 7 bag designs) and a small kid’s section (with toys, pencil cases and so on). I also had a go at the scallop-edged baby towel and bib which you can see here. The projects are really well designed and I’ll be having a go at most of them at some point.

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I especially love the bag designs!

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I’ve read some reviews which complain that this book isn’t suitable for beginners. I actually think there’s a great range of beginner projects to choose from. Most of the projects are targeted at beginners, and have descriptions and diagrams to talk you through it. The only real issue for a beginner is that although the instructions are broken down, there aren’t diagrams for every single step. More pictures and diagrams would definitely help make it a bit clearer for those who haven’t used some of the techniques before.

It’s also assumed that the reader understands a few key terms (such as placing fabric ‘right sides together’). These are basic instructions, so I understand why they’re not included, but if you’ve never sewn anything before you would probably benefit from a book that’s specifically targeted at beginners. Or even better, check out Tilly and the Button’s Learn to Sew guide.

There are some great projects in this book but whether it’s for you or not really depends on what you want to make. After spending the last year learning to make clothes and how to fit them to my body (with limited success), it’s been a welcome change to make simple items which don’t require custom fitting. If you just want to make clothes then this book isn’t for you. If you’d like some fun and practical ideas for items to sew for your home then this is perfect.

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