This is an exciting post for me. Not only am I reviewing a sewing pattern book written by someone local to me but I am reviewing something a little bit special.
"Children thrive on play, so why shouldn't their clothes reflect this?"
Disclaimer: I have no connection to the publisher or authors but was kindly gifted a copy for review. All views expressed are my own. Photos Kate Whitaker.
The Fox, the Bear & the Bunny by Olive and Vince, aka Natalie Martin and Naomi Regan (published by Kyle books) is a sewing pattern book, with a difference and will really appeal to so many. Looking at the front cover, you might be mistaken, in thinking it is a children's story book. No this is a pattern book for children's clothes; children's clothes with a difference!
You will always hear me moaning about the lack of menswear patterns and the same could be said for patterns for children's wear: Limited, dull and boring spring to mind but The Fox, the Bear & the Bunny is about to change all that.
Olive and Vince was launched in 2011 selling a unique range of children's clothing. The Fox, the Bear & the Bunny is an extension of their successful business but now you can make your own!
Confession: I should have written this review last week but I so enjoyed reading it, getting inspiration and even making from it that I've not really put it down.
So what do we have? A 127 page paperback with 17 full-size, pull out patterns (age 1-5 yrs) for you to create some beautiful children's clothes. I've already mentioned the beautiful cover and the same can be said for the rest of the book: Beautiful photography, clear diagrams and almost whimsical illustrations throughout.
The first section introduces the writers before moving on to some guidance/techniques and a list of what you will need; it is brief but actually just right, having enough information for the beginner/novice sewer without re-repeating every other sewing book on the market. I get so annoyed with sewing books that have pages and pages of the same stuff. The book will be bought by people who sew, regardless of ability and don't want pages wasted, telling them the same.
The following, main, chapters; The Bunny, The Cat, The Fox, The Mouse, The Owl and The Bear are where we find the real gems. Pages and pages of instruction, diagrams and photographs to help you make some really interesting clothes. No it is not full of girls dresses! Instead we find clothes for girls and boys all with an animal theme.
From a simple pair of paw print mittens, more challenging fox faced dungarees to amazing duffle coats in various animal varieties. There is definitely something for every ability in this book.
The instructions for each garment are clear with suitable illustrations to help you with more difficult aspects. What's really nice is the instructions are obviously written by people with a passion for sewing; you can feel it throughout. They aren't 'clinical' but more friendly as they explain the steps and want you to succeed.
The pull-out patterns are well printed on good quality paper. They are clearly marked but you will need to trace off the size you want. Now I know many people don't like tracing patterns but being children's clothes they aren't too big so you don't end up with large sheets of paper everywhere. In fact tracing your pattern pieces gets you thinking about the make before you even start sewing (well it does for me). Seam allowances are included on the pattern but are 7.5mm (5/16 inch) which is a little odd and might confuse some. The standard seam allowance of 15mm (5/8 inch) has been discarded in favour of the narrower allowance as it is suitable for those using an overlocker (serger). If you prefer a larger seam allowance then just trace your pattern pieces a little larger (another good reason to trace?)
There are some nice practical makes included such as a long sleeved T shirt and shorts (and if you have children you can never have enough of those!).
The book concludes with templates for the Appliqué pieces used plus a list of suppliers.
The Fox, the Bear & the Bunny
is a really well written book and one for any sewers bookshelf. If you sew then it is a must buy and with a price of £18.99 it is excellent value. You might have noticed how much I like this book and it is true. It is different, clever and takes sewing children's clothes to the next level.
My only criticism (the only one) is that weird seam allowance I have mentioned. It might confuse those new to sewing or indeed catch you out if you expected a 'normal' allowance. However, what a brilliant book and one I know I will be returning to again and again.
My thanks to Natalie, Naomi and Kyle books for allowing me to review.
Until next time.....Happy Sewing!