Book Review: Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross

3470014422 6614f56f30 m Book Review: Weekend Sewing by Heather RossI have been pretty much over-the-moon excited about Heather RossWeekend Sewing book for a year–ever since I saw the proofs at an event at Bolt here in Portland when Heather was in town for Quilt Market. Well, it finally hit the shelves, and boy was it worth the wait!

I love that Weekend Sewing is a real sewing book. Not to dog on any of the fine sewing books out there, but many of them are definitely geared toward beginner sewers or are more on the quick craft project or learn-to-sew end of the sewing spectrum. Few are actually down and dirty sewing books. Weekend Sewing is. And that rocks. As a very experienced sewer, I am thrilled to see a more comprehensive sewing book out in the market.

Before I get into talking about the the actual sewing projects in the book, I’d like to quickly touch on one of my favorite items Heather writes about in Weekend Sewing–setting up your sewing space. This is the second book on my shelf that really does a nice job of that (Anna Maria Horner’s Seams to Me is the other one–although she has a different approach). Heather focuses on utilizing limit space effectively to creative a functional, personalize sewing space. This is something that we don’t have at our house–the dining table is the epicenter of our projects. My favorite method for organizing your sewing space that Heather discusses is using a computer cabinet to store all your goodies–including your sewing machine and ironing board. However, I also really like this compact, yet very function expandable desk set-up. (I definitely need one of those boards like in this photo up on the wall of my home office/someday sewing room, by the way.)

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So onto the projects…

There are basically three types of projets in Weekend Sewing–home decorating projects, clothing/wearables and kids stuff. Being that I’m primarily a garment and accessories sewer, the clothing/wearables projects are by far my favorites. So I’m going to focus on that section here–the homewares and kids sections have been well covered in other reviews, anyway.

This bag, for example kind of rocks my world. In fact, I really think I need to make a sweet red pleather version for myself. (The original uses leather.)

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The “Summer Blouse” really is a perfect go-everywhere blouse for, well, the summer. I had a blouse that I loved that was almost identical in design for years and years that finally fell apart last year–I’m hoping that this will be just the pattern to use in its resurrection. This would also be incredibly cute lengthened, with a belt at the waist, and maybe left sleeveless for a dressy, comfortable summer look.

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And more summer cuteness (this was a perfectly-timed release, seasonally speaking), the Trapeze Dress is freaking adorable. It’s another one that could be eaily modified–I’d like it shorted to tunic length and worn over jeans myself. (Like everyone who grew up in the Pacific Northwest in the early nineties, dresses over jeans still seem like a totally legit option. I know it looks dorky, but I am always getting the urge to combine those two things.)

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Each of the clothing projects continues this theme–easy to wear, highly-adaptable designs. And that makes me very happy, because it really demonstrates that Heather understands sewers. We don’t just want to sew up a cute project out a a book or pattern–we want to make it our own, adapt it to fit our lifestyle and what looks flattering on us. The clothing patterns each provide a great base from which we can become more creative and develop our own unique versions of the patterns in Weekend Sewing. And, from reading Heather’s blog, I’ve got to believe that it’s entirely intentional.

A few more random notes before I tell you that Weekend Sewing is a must-buy.

  • The book has large sheets of overlapping patterns. You can’t cut these out. Heather provides instruction on using tracing paper to trace them. For my Burda World of Fashion magazine patterns, I use fused together wax paper, which makes large, transparent sheets. You may want to try this out. I find it is easier to work with than tracing paper–you may too. (Honestly, it’s a good habit to get into–tracing your patterns rather than cutting–because it’s easier to make alterations if you don’t have to worry about destroying your only copy of a pattern.)
  • There are a few errors (or helpful notes that should have been included) in the book, please check the errata before you sew.
  • While the patterns I was most excited about are the more complicated ones (the shirtdress, bag, kimono dress, etc), there are plenty in Weekend Sewing that would be appropriate for complete beginners–particularly the projects in the home and kids sections. There’s also a helpful “Sewing Basics” section at the end of the book.
  • My only complaint is that there isn’t a single men’s pattern in Weekend Sewing (well, I guess there is a little boy’s shirt, but that’s not really the same). I know that the perception is that there aren’t enough men who sew or women who sew for men to justify it, but sometimes that feels like a chicken or egg scenario–I know I would sew more for Josh if there were more good patterns to sew from, and I’m sure that Josh would enjoy sewing more if there were more interesting, well-designed choices. I know Josh struggles with finding good patterns for men, and I find it irritating that if I want to make something for Josh, there are only like five decent men’s patterns out there (seriously–the selection is awful)–that gets boring pretty quickly.
  • Let’s give a hand to STC/Melanie Falick Books for continuing to strike a great balance between appealing to casual crafters and hardcore aficionados of particular mediums–they did it with Weekend Sewing, the Alabama Stitch Book, Material Obsession and Printing by Hand; and I hear that their knitting books strike a similar balance as well. This is a tough thing to do, and they just keep bringing it with great offerings.

With all that said, this is one of those books that I think most sewers would want on their bookshelf.

~Sarah



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4 thoughts on “Book Review: Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross

  1. I’ll have to check this book out….that is, if I ever get my sewing mojo back. :o (

    I completely agree that setting up your sewing space is of prime importance. Several things I couldn’t live without:
    - My big cork bulletin board to stick things on (with Snoopy on it, of course).
    - A mug rack to hang scissors and various things on.
    - My sewing chair with casters and an office floor mat to make rolling around easier.
    - Lots o’light, especially my true color lamp that lets me see the difference between navy and black.

    And a pox on those who don’t think men are worth sewing for. There are exactly three patterns available in my husband’s size (3X). I have made him the same vest three times already.

  2. Thanks for the comprehensive review — I want to check this out now! I’ve always loved Heather Ross’ fabric and know I will enjoy her book.

  3. Just a note, the pajama pants do go up to men’s sizes–I made a pair of flannel PJ’s from the Weekend Sewing pattern for my boyfriend. That still doesn’t exactly give this book a huge selection of men’s patterns, but there is one :)

  4. Pingback: sundress & weekend sewing « Living in the Fine Print

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