Anna Maria Horner's new book Handmade Beginnings: 24 Projects to Welcome Baby is making it's rounds and, Hello! Here it is. Thanks Wiley! I have a lot of things to say about this book-- some of which might surprise you (or not). This is a great sewing book for people expecting children or for those with children and families to sew for. This is the sort of book that you should get even if you don't sew, to give to your mother-in-law or sister or friend with a hearty, "GO, DO, MAKE THESE THINGS FOR ME." This is the sort of book I want on my shelf.
One thing (among many) that I admire about Anna Maria is her approach to projects and pattern making. She's daring. She's tackled projects that you haven't seen before and she's done it in a clever way. Like the first book, it is full of original ideas and refashioned favourites. It is incredibly appealing to find new ideas executed by someone who knew exactly what they were doing when they put it all together (Sarah's new top is a perfect example of this). These projects don't rest on the laurels of the author's fabric lines-- they are just solid patterns. Case in point:
In keeping with my I Have No Girls sewing period, it was pretty clear I needed to make the Pretty-as-a-Picture dress immediately. You may (or may not) recognize the fabric from a failed wrap dress attempt. I pulled it apart and re-purposed the Kaufman light weight lawn (it's out of print now, but it's one of my long time favourites). The inset pieces were cut from a Japanese Handkerchief print. I was not surprised when it came out exactly as it should: adorable. I made one small modification in the final steps (making a small channel with the seam allowance for the elastic, instead of sewing the elastic straight to it), but stuck very close to the pattern and paid special attention to the instructions. It wasn't simple sewing exactly, but it sewed up pretty fast and it fits both of my small people so well (a pretty average 18 month-old and a little on the small side 2 1/2 year-old).
Another thing I appreciate about this book? The photos. You can be a book-by-its-cover person on this one. I've totally got your back. I also have a copy to give away so you can see for yourself-- just leave your comment here and I'll draw a name this weekend (Saturday evening-ish)-- open to US addresses: Congratulations to Karthika and #279! Thank you for all the great comments on the dress.. it's a good pattern, that will turn out the way you want it to. I promise. Thanks again, Wiley! Wiley is hosting a huge Giveaway Package, that if you haven't entered you might like to-- it includes the book, a sewing machine (!) and 5 yard of Anna Maria's fabric.
As an aside, if you haven't felt up the Little Folks Voile yet and you have any hankering at all to do some summer apparel sewing, I might try to find some. I love it, and I hope that it makes it's way into more and more designer collections. Manda wrote about finding it for the first time, and I couldn't agree more.