Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Book Review: Complete Embellishing

I've seen Complete Embellishing by Kayte Terry reviewed on several blogs, and wanted to give my two cents as well. I've been reading through the book for a little more than a week now (remember my habit of reading craft books cover to cover? yeah. Gets time consuming!) I haven't been able to read *every* page, but I've read a lot, and what I've read - I've liked. A lot.

Physically, the book is fantastic. It's large, hard covered and has a spiral binding (hoorah for spiral binding!). It almost feels like a text book for a very cool textile class. The full color pages are yummy and easy to read. The photographs are beautiful (a few are repeated in the book) and the step by step writing is clear and easy to follow.

The first part of the book covers instructions for various embellishing techniques like appliqué and embroidery - two of my favorite things. I love that the embroidery stitch diagrams are so large! I always wondered why books make stitch diagrams so small. These are big, colorful and easy to understand.

The projects that follow in the book are fresh and stylish. Terry's background as a Visual Manager for Anthropologie comes through in the projects. They have that handmade, but uber cool feel to them. I love it.

Here are a few projects that stood out to me, and that have me itchin' to get embellishin'

The Romance Skirt - I don't know how often I'd wear a full taffeta skirt, but this project kinda makes me want to get one into my wardrobe. Appliquéd with floral fabric, free stitched and dotted with sequins, it's snazzy without being too flashy.

The Pearl Button Purse - Button projects abound in the craft world, and why not? They're fun, versatile and can use up a notion that most crafters have in mass quantity. This purse is one of the more formal button projects I've seen, and is gorgeous. A lot of it has to do with the purse she's adorned, but if you can find something even remotely close, it'd be a fun, easy project to tackle.

The Vintage Appliqué Dress is perhaps my most favorite project I've seen in a long, long time. My jaw literally dropped when I saw it and realized what she'd done. It's brilliant. She's taken bits of vintage embroidered linens and appliquéd them at the waist and neckline of a cool dress. The effect is gorgeous, and makes my embroidery-loving heart skip a beat. I'm dying to try this and maybe even tweak it a little.

Overall, I like the fresh projects, unique style and clear diagrams in Complete Embellishing. Its spiral binding and large color format are nice bonus features. If you're looking for some new ideas for a range of embellishing techniques, definitely pick it up.


  1. Great review! It really gave me a great feel for the book!


  2. Ooh! The "Romance Skirt" is calling my name! Love that. Wish I had the patience for all that handwork.
    Great review, Rach.

  3. Okay, I'm fighting the urge to run out and buy this book RIGHT NOW. Such great projects! Thanks for the review!


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