My Sewing Workshop – Book Review & Giveaway

Receiving a review copy this new book by C&T Publishing, My Sewing Workshop, by Annabel Wrigley, made me so excited to teach my grand daughters to sew. Wrigley wrote the book as a guid for young people to learn to sew on their own. If the girls were about 10 – 12 years old, the book would be perfect for that. Because they are much younger, I would utilize the book differently. For me, the book is the perfect outline of how to teach children to sew. It is like having a complete lesson plan with tons of projects all photographed and explained perfectly. What a treasure this book is!

Cover of the book (pc C&T Publishing)

The layout of the book is done well. Wrigley explains the process of threading a machine, the basic parts of a sewing machine, as well as the difference in the types of fabric used in the projects (cotton, felt and canvas).

The projects are earmarked as Easy Peasy, Teeny Bit Challenging, and the most difficult – Take Your Time and Ask for Help. She does an excellent job explaining safety and is sure to tell a student when they need to have the help of an adult (eg using a staple gun or hot glue gun).

A wonderful way to get warmed up with the sewing machine. (Credit to A Wrigley and CT Publishing)

This is such a great exercise. I know my five year old granddaughter would love to pick the thread color and trace the lines. I also know I wouldn’t have thought to have her go through the exercise. Wrigley moves on to a very large zig zag for the student to trace which teaches the process of leaving the needle down and pivoting at each corner. H would want to change thread colors a million times but that is the fun of it and it is certain this Grammy has thread in every color of the rainbow for her to explore.

This is genius! (Credit to A Wrigley and CT Publishing)

Hand stitching is an important part of being able to sew. There are seams to close and fun embroidery to learn. I loved this suggestion for sewing an opening closed. A while back, H was working on a little sewing project with me (I will post more on that later) and there was a bit of hand sewing to be done. I told her I would do it for her but as usual, her response was “no Grammy, I can do it”. Basically she did know how to do it but holding the project and moving the needle in and out was challenging. I think if I had her hold the object between her knees she would have been more successful.

Beyond hand stitching there are also lessons for sewing on a button, inserting a zipper and doing appliqué. This book explains it all!

Let’s check out some of the projects that are offered. The ideas are adorable and there is something for every child. (Side note here – the only area I find lacking in the book is none of the projects show a boy sewing or use masculine themes. Many of them could be adjusted toward a boy. I realize not many boys enjoy sewing but this is changing and should be encouraged in publications such as this.)

Super cute bags with appliqué. (Credit to A Wrigley and CT Publishing)

The cross body pouch shown above is classified as “Teeny Bit Challenging” so it is in the middle, skill wise. Depending on the age of the student, these ratings will sometimes be less accurate. But the book is written for independent use by a middle school child. If I were using it for H, this project would be too difficult. However there are lots of easier projects to be made.

Simple appliqué with some accent stitching. (Credit to A Wrigley and CT Publishing)

This project really appeals to me. Cupcakes are fun at any age and this would be so easy to make. Cutting out the shapes and fusing to the background, then adding the top stitching would be something a beginner could achieve and be successful. Also, one could use any shape here. (By the way, crayon books provide a great opportunity for easy appliqué stencils.) There are many more projects including a cover for a tablet or iPad, a sweet lavender sachet, and fun decorations for their bedroom. I love the yo-yo garland which uses felt to make various sizes of yo-yos. There is a fun bunting and a fabric tassel garland (no sewing needed here). I strongly recommend the book.

I could see many ways this book could be utilized. Leaders for Girl Scouts or 4-H could use this when helping kids work toward a sewing and/or crafting badge. Grammy’s such as me could teach their little ones to sew. It would be a wonderful gift for that special child or grandchild during the holidays. Wrap it in fabric instead of paper for a double gift!

If you aren’t familiar with Annabel Wrigley already, here are her social media feeds and website. She is very clever and has taught many students. Year of great experience is shared with us in this book.

To making things even more exciting, I have one copy of the e-book to give to a lucky reader! If you are interested in winning the e-book, please leave me a comment telling a memory about when you learned to sew. Who taught you? How old were you? I would love to know. If you want to read about my early experiences with sewing, check out this post. Good luck all!

16 thoughts on “My Sewing Workshop – Book Review & Giveaway

    1. Bernie Post author

      For sure Wendy – it is a great book. I am looking forward to spending some time with H and making something fun.

  1. Kathleen

    I learned to sew in 8th grade home economics. I loved it and made a lot of clothes for myself and my sister. My mom never sewed but I do remember her embroidering my name on the pocket of my gym suit (anyone remember gym suits?) and I was fascinated by that. She had since told me she was just winging it! I thought it was beautiful! I’m now teaching my 7 year old granddaughter to make quilt blocks.

    1. Bernie Post author

      Oh my gosh – I forgot about gym suits. Mine was light blue. I hated gym class. Sports is definitely not my forte!!

  2. Kathy in WV

    What a neat book….I have 3 granddaughters that I’ve been wanting to get started sewing…this sounds like the perfect guide. My first memory of sewing was designing clothes for my Barbie when I was about 10 years old. I was having trouble getting the waistband on the dirndl skirt I was making and my Mom showed me how to do it and how to sew tiny little snaps on the skirt. My Aunt Julia taught me to embroider when I was about 6. My Grandmother, Emma, was a prolific quilter. I didn’t start quilting until after she passed away—I quickly learned why she was so addicted to making quilts. Thanks for a chance to win but also for introducing us to this lovely teacher and her book. Blessings from WV!

    1. Bernie Post author

      Barbie clothes are so fussy – such teeny tiny pieces. You have a great history of makers in your family. My grandma crocheted quite a bit. My mother taught me to sew. Now I want to pass this along to my grand daughters!

  3. Judi Reiss

    I was very young, about 5 or 6, when I learned to sew. My parents (yes, my Mom was a working Mom and a full partner) were ladies apparel manufacturers. School was out for the day and with no child care available way back when, I was at the factory. My Dad took a piece of off white canvas material and drew lines on it. Straight lines on the first piece and curves on the second. With black thread on a power industrial Union Special straight stitcher I began following the lines. I was told that once the fabric was under the feet, there was nothing I could do, so I had better not put my fingers under the needle! I am still hearing his voice and have never sewn my finger!

  4. Hannah W

    I have fond memories of learning to sew. My mom was an excellent seamstress and had worked for a tailor in her younger years. I played with scraps and hand sewed doll blankets while my mom was busy at her treadle sewing machine. Later I learned to sew on that same treadle sewing machine. I took home economics classes at school and learned to use an electric machine there. This all may make me sound older than I am…but my mom just had that treadle machine and used it into the 1980’s. It was just how we sewed at home. I loved the rhythm of sewing on that machine.

  5. Dawn Lunn

    Bernie, great review of what sounds like a perfect starter sew book for young ones. I learned to sew at age eight. Mom taught me to make doll clothes on her singer Featherweight. I still sew with it! Mom made dozens of doll clothes to match dresses she made for my sister and me while we napped. I still have my large red metal doll truck full of her Dollie creations. My grand kids and great grand kids have enjoyed playing with those clothes. Age eight I taught my grand daughters and nine year old grandson to sew and crochet. They all three made doll blankets and scarves and as young adults they all three can sew on a button and mend! One is an avid crocheter. My great granddaughter twins are five years old and sit with me watching sewing/quilting and crochet anxious for the day I pass them the needle!

  6. Carol Westover

    What a fantastic book! I can remember learning to sew in Jr. High School. Such fun to be had with your granddaughters. The projects in that book are perfect for beginning seamstresses! And our grandsons like to sew, especially the younger one, who asked to be taught how to use my sewing machine! He made a pillow that we still use on the living room couch!

  7. Kathie Laposata

    I joined 4-H when we moved out to the country when I was 10. I had great sewing instruction and have been sewing ever since.

  8. Kristin Sykes-David

    My mom taught me to sew at age ten. (1968)! I remember making a jumper and short puffy-sleeved blouse. She must have helped a LOT. I sewed my clothes through college, being married and having babies. Then quilting struck big time. Quilts don’t have to fit a body! I still make clothes occasionally.

  9. Kathy Harris

    My great aunt taught me to sew when I was about 15. When I was little she would sew me dresses and I loved them. This book looks like a lot of fun. Both my granddaughter and grandson have shown interest in learning to sew.

  10. Nancy Lewis

    I learned to sew when I was 8 years old from my 4-H teacher. I made an apron and even though I had to rip a lot of seams, I still have it. I even won a blue ribbon!! I would love to share my favorite hobby with my granddaughter.


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