I have been looking forward to reviewing Patchwork Please! by Ayumi Takahashi (Interweave/F+W Media; $22.95). This book is coming out soon (April 9th), so you certainly have time to get your copy fresh off the presses! Before I get into my book review, I also wanted to tell you that there's in fact a sew along beginning for this book, and you can find all the details of that right here. There will be fun and prizes to be had by all!
First off, I wanted to tell you that I am very choosy with my sewing books; I pick ones that have either skills that I would like to learn, or creative ways of getting to finished projects. I usually veer away from overly-basic projects, or things that you've already seen everywhere else. That being said, I was really looking forward to this book.
The projects inside are Zakka-type sewing projects, and a good amount of them are paper-pieced projects at that, which really made me happy! If you have never done paper-piecing before, you would still be able to complete a project from the book, as there is a beginning chapter that walks you through all the steps of a block, using easy-to-follow illustrations. The templates are all nicely done, and the blocks are at a level where someone new would be able to accomplish them (i.e. no curved templates or stars here!).
I decided to make the 'Happy Hexagon Trivet' from the book. This trivet uses one paper-pieced template to assemble the front of the project. It's scrap-friendly and can accomodate small scraps, so you can have a lot of fun digging through your scrap stash to make it. For mine, I decided to use an Echino fussy cut for the center, and Kona solids for the rings in the hexagon.
My only hurdle was that this template from the book, like a good amount of the other templates, need to be enlarged (in this case, to 143%). I have never done this on my printer before (I have an all-in-one printer/scanner/copier), and I had to do some research into how this could be done. In the end, my printer actually has a heading under my copy screen where I can enlarge or reduce the percentage. It also took some finagling to get the entire template on one page (since I was making it larger). But, I somehow managed to do it. If you don't have a copier at home, an easy fix would be to take the book to an office supply store (Kinko's, Office Max, etc.) and have them help you enlarge the page that you need.
I am completely happy with my trivet! It came together in less than 3 hours, and I used some cool variagated Aurifil Thread from my Tula Pink thread box (available at iHeartTulaPink - they also have the small boxes). Instead of batting in the middle, I used a bit of Pellon Thermolam and Pellon Wonder Under so that I could skip the spray baster. The instructions made it very the project very easy, and it was a lot of fun!!
Here's what the actual trivets from the book look like. My favorite part of the book is that it is divided into sections - for the kitchen, for kids, for the home, for going places, and for crafting. There is a potential gift-giving sewing project for every need and occasion! And because most of the projects are smaller (besides the quilt), you can finish in a day or an evening.
It is very fun to see an author with a fresh sense of fabric style, and Ayumi has some great fabric combinations and choices throughout the book. I especially loved seeing all the Japanese fabrics and text fabrics in all of the projects! I wish I had her flair for combining things!
Another of my favorite projects are these boxed supply or cosmetic bags (this is the Triangle Patchwork Box Pouch). They're very cute and funcational, and the triangles on the sides make them unique and very Zakka-ish!
I will definitely be keeping this book on my book shelf. In my mind, the projects are especially great for Christmas gifts, and I can't imagine anyone not squealing with delight over getting a handmade gift made out of one of these patterns! These projects would be also great to make for a Flickr swap surprise...the possibilities are endless!!
So, now that you know that you need this book, I'd pop on over and order it pronto!