Review by Ali Burdon of http://veryberryhandmade.co.uk
The author of this book, Vanessa Arbuthnott, has recently won a much-deserved silver award for her fabrics at the 2012 House Beautiful Awards, and this lovely book showcases her beautiful designs in 50 step-by-step projects to create lots of lovely things for your home.
The book is exceptionally well illustrated and wonderfully styled with lots of inspirational photographs of all the completed projects in use. There are also clear colour sketches to illustrate the different steps in the each of the projects.
The book is divided into 6 chapters: Curtains, Covers, Shades, Accessories, Pillows and finally, a very useful chapter on basic techniques which will prove very useful if you are new to sewing home accessories and soft furnishings. Additional bonuses include some introductory articles by Arbuthnott on how colours work together, how to choose fabrics for different projects, and some insights into where her inspiration comes from for her designs.
There is a good range of projects, starting with simple unlined curtains, basic envelope cushion covers and straightforward table cloths and napkins, moving on to more complicated lined curtains, ruffled pillows and fitted box cushions, if you fancy more of challenge.
The projects are fairly traditional, there's nothing in here that is hugely different or cutting edge, but if you don't have a home furnishings sewing book in your collection already then this is a beauty to start with, especially if you are a fan of Arbuthnott's fabrics. Mind you, even if you're not lucky enough to have any of Arbuthnott's designs in your fabric stash, the projects are also good enough to stand on their own; I used the hot water bottle cover instructions and some Anna Maria Horner designed flannel to good effect.
Although there are a good variety of straightforward projects, an absolute beginner would need to have built up a bit experience and confidence - especially when you are going to be cutting into lots of gorgeous, but pricey, home dec fabric - before tackling them, because the instructions are written with a bit of prior knowledge assumed. At the very least I think a beginner would need an additional basic sewing guide. In short, there's lots of inspiration here, whether you are an experienced sewer, or a beginner keen to build on skills.
The Home-Sewn Home, 50 Step-by-Step Projects for Curtains, Shades, Cushions, Pillows and more...
Vanessa Arbuthnott and Gail Abbot.