David & Charles £8.99
IBSN 978-1-4463-0630-7 (ebook or print on demand from Amazon - 46 pages)
Beth Studley is a great fabric and project designer, so I was excited to hear that she had written this new book, containing six small gift-sized projects featuring her lovely new range of fabric, Radiance for Makower. Radiance was inspired by antique lace and trimmings, it's a wonderful, colourful collection and these six projects shows it off perfectly. I'm a big fan of small and unusual makes, and Beth had brought a number of clever new ideas and interesting techniques together here. I love her picture garland, a new way to display photos, fabric and more using magnets to create a bunting style festoon to inspire and delight. This is so simple and easy to make, but I've not seen or thought of it before. I also love the reversible fabric bowls, a neat way to practice darts in a quick project, and I can imagine popping the bowls from one colourway to another will be extremely satisfying, storage and stress release in one!
Some projects include Y and curved seams, and some fairly complex paper piecing. The coasters and pin cushion, as with the bowls, are both a brilliant little tutorial in those aspects of patchwork that we often avoid. It is really good to give these a try, and master new skills via small items. The projects are quick to finish, but leave you with a lovely sense of accomplishment, you can make an item that's slightly out of your comfort zone in a short time and then relish in your newly acquired skill.
Even the simplest projects, those well within reach of novices and beginners are quirky enough to satisfy more experienced sewers. The final project is a simple notebook cover, which fastens with a pen rather than a button, a perfect solution to fiddly fastening and ensuring you always have a pen when you need one.
This is a lovely book full of great ideas. I'm sure it will appeal to anyone who loves making little gifts, and those of us who like a technical challenge without resorting to a full quilt.