Monday, December 6, 2010

Book review and give-away: Little Girls, Big Style

Little Girls, Big Style: Sew a Boutique Wardrobe from 4 Easy Patterns
by Mary Abreu
Stash Books, 2010
128 pages, plus tear-out patterns

This book contains full-size patterns for 23 projects for little girls sizes 2-6.  The emphasis is on “boutique” clothing that “merges personality with a custom fit.” The book includes only four garments: a basic bodice, a peasant top/dress, pants and a skirt. BUT... and this is a big BUT… the patterns are almost infinitely adaptable, so you can create your own look very easily by altering the length, adding a ruffle or embellishment, changing the scale of the fabric print, or mix-and-matching something from one project to another.

All the full-size patterns are at the back of the book on perforated sheets you can tear out:

I’d almost buy this book for the photography alone. Where did they find so many cute, cute, cute little girls to model? (Okay, one of them is Mary’s daughter.) But not this cutie:

Photo courtesy of Mary Abreu
Because Stash Books are a new division (or “imprint”) of C&T Publishing, you can also count on them to be well designed, well edited, and carefully tested. Stash is dedicated to creating books for modern sewists that celebrate “fabric arts for a handmade lifestyle.”
There’s a size chart with chest, waist and hip measurements, so you can find the right size or add a bit extra or a bit less to fit your little girl perfectly. And with each basic garment, there is a page of 5 to 7 little line drawings to show how you can adapt the basic pattern to create just the look you want:

This is followed by detailed instructions for each variation, such as this one, the Barely Basic Top/Dress:

The written instructions are very concise and clear, and there are lots of photos to aid visual learners:

A description of basic techniques (backstitching, buttonholes, casings for elastic, shirring, topstitching, etc.) will keep even inexperienced garment sewers on track. Numerous tips scattered throughout the book add more valuable information to make things easier.

I met author Mary Abreu at International Quilt Market last month, and was lucky to score one of her books, and get it autographed! 

There’s only one thing about this book I don't like: my girls are already too big to fit in these patterns. Sigh. 

Mary dedicated this book to her late mother, and her darling daughter is featured in the photo on the cover. How neat to see generations of women connected by the craft of sewing! Mary is also a gifted journalist; she’s worked as an editor, writer and art director at newspapers and magazines in the Southeastern U.S., and won a Bronze award from the Parenting Publication of America for a story published in 2007. To learn more about Mary, click here.

Read more about Mary’s adventures on her blog, Confessions of a Craft Addict. Check out the Flickr group and Facebook page for more inspiration and insights.

I have a copy of Little Girls, Big Style to give away to one lucky blog reader! Leave a comment after this post telling me why you need this book; I’ll pull one person’s name at random at noon EST Saturday, December 11. If you sign up to follow my blog (see the sidebar on the right side of my blog and look for the "FOLLOW" button), I'll put your name in the hat a second time. And if you help me spread the news about my give-away through your blog, Facebook or Twitter, leave me a comment about that, and I’ll put your name in the hat another time!

This post is stop two on the Blog Tour for Mary’s book. So you have a lot more chances to win by checking in to the following blogs in the days ahead:
I have another fabulous book to give away next week, so please come back and visit me then.

We have a winner! Kat wins Little Girls, Big Style.