As the wonderful Jean Kerr once wrote ‘I buy underpants like others buy gin, wildly, recklessly….’ I am the same with craft books. My latest is ‘Chic on a Shoestring’ by Mary Jane Baxter. Here she is.
However, for the first time I thought I’d write a review. This way I will have a record of what I think is worthwhile and hopefull you’ll find it useful. Let me know though.
The book is subtitled ‘simple to sew vintage-style accessories’ and it does exactly what it says on the (vintage Golden Syrup) tin.
Now I have a severe tendancy towards 40’s-60’s stylee stuff be it music, clothes, books etc but I also have absolutely no time for books that (a) talk down to you and (b) come up with completley unrealistic or stupid projects. I also hate books that rehash the same old same old re tools, techniques etc.
Having got that off my chest, I have to say that this book….. is a breath of fresh air – yes, there is a bit on tools, yes there’s a bit on techniques but my God its written intelligently and it’s (gasp) realistic, practical and well, real. The author also has opinions and voices them which I like too. I am so fed up with these overly styled trendy books – this one is beautifully illustrated, laid out and structured but it also has SUBSTANCE! Hurrah!
The (sometimes slightly dotty, but better for it) projects span abilities but are all on the simple side (a good thing). I do quite a bit of customising and sometimes read books thinking ‘where are the new ideas’ but have come away with some great inspiration. Brilliant.
For example, I have already bought some 1940’s vintage US girl guide badges on eBay with a broochy type of affair in mind. I also love the idea re using old lace and fabrics to make a scarf – I have made a quilt for my Mum (a memory quilt but pretty) using a similar technique (remind me to blog it one day) but had never thought of using it for clothing – there’s a black lace mantilla on ebay I’m coveting right now as a result.
My verdict? A realistic, practical but lovely book whose author’s experience and enthusiasm shines through. I’m not just saying this – I have nothing to gain from a positive review, I just think that if you like vintage and can thread a needle you should have a look. Actually, even if you can’t, there’s judicious use of glue here too. And a cardboard hat I’m gagging to make, Yes, really.
Oh, and did I mention Jean Kerr?