Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Book Review Bonanza! Sew Darn Cute by Jenny Ryan

Howdy! You are in part two of my Book Review Bonanza! Check out yesterday's post for a review of Susan Beal's Button it Up.

Sew Darn Cute by Jenny Ryan

I think I need a thesaurus.

I need to find a handful of words I can use in the place of "cute" in this review. Never has a book title been so spot on. Sew Darn Cute is just .... well ... SO DARN CUTE.

It's adorable! It's charming! It's delightful!

It's Jenny Ryan all over.

If you've followed Jenny's work at all (and if you haven't - you should!) you know how flippin' cute she is. She's cute in her crafting, she's cute in her clothes, she's cute in her home, and she's even cute in her dog. She's cute ... cubed! And to love Jenny's cuteness is to absolutely fall head over heals in love with Jenny's new book, Sew Darn Cute.

I think Diane a CraftyPod said it best when she reviewed SDC:

I have to say that this book comes closer than any other US craft book I’ve seen to resembling the aesthetic of a Japanese craft book. (I hope the trend continues.) The simplicity of Jenny Ryan’s designs, and the thoughtful placement of perfect embellishment details, is really refreshing.
I couldn't agree more. There's a level of cuteness in Japanese craft books that cuts right to your heart and begs even the most cynical folks to "squeeeeeee" in delight. Jenny's book hits that same vein. She's taken some traditional projects (tote bags, quilts, hand towels) and infused them with her delightfully unique adorableness that makes them truly special.

Jenny also gives loads of great beginner sewing information, so it's a fantastic book to give to someone who is new to sewing but also wants to get some fun projects on top of their instruction. There are several sweet, simple projects that sewers of any level can tackle. Let's face it, sometimes you'll find a really aesthetically pleasing craft book with cute projects, but when you sit down to actually do them you realize their cuteness does not come in the form of simplicity. Don't fret - that's not what you'll find in Sew Darn Cute. It is filled with projects you not only want to do, but that you actually can do.

There are also some fantastic adorable details in the book. Case in point: baby ric-rac with contrast stitching. It may be difficult to see in the picture above, but there are a few projects that use this contrast stitching technique with ric-rac. It's a simple over-and-under stitch, but the effect is ... I can't help but say it ... Sew Darn Cute! It kills me. Just when you thought baby ric-rac couldn't get any cuter .... leave it to Jenny to take it to a whole nutha levol.

Two projects I'm looking forward to making as soon as is humanly possibly are the Ladylike Laoptop Tote and the Nifty Needlebook. And I've got a vintage embroidered table cloth from the Knitten Kitten that would work perfectly for the Sewing Machine Cozy. I'm also swooning over the Apple Tree Fabric Collage.

Sew Darn Cute is bursting with sheer adorableness. Grab a copy today and see if you can make it past the first page without squealing, "OHMYGAWD! It's Sew Darn Cute!" Just try it - it's impossible, I tell ya!

And - just so you know - Jenny is also the mastermind behind LA's wildly successful Felt Club, as well as the founder of Home Ec at Reform School in LA (which is the only time I've ever wanted to live in California - to be able to take classes at Home Ec). She also creates amazing projects weekly for Craftzine (and has been a fantastic mentor to me there) and is the craft contributor for Apartment Therapy LA. Hot dang! I'll have what she's having!


  1. That is uh, CUTE!

    I want a copy!

  2. Heyyyy, are you giving away any copies of this? :)

  3. That's funny - I just bought this book. Is it new? I thought I was behind the times. The apple tree collage is what sealed the deal for me. So darn ... cute!!!

  4. I think I'll be putting this on my wishlist. Very cute!!

  5. What a lovely book.

    But I am actually commenting because I sent you an email a few days ago about designating some of my etsy things for Ike-a-saurus, and I have not gotten a response. Now, if you have not responded because you are too busy or whatever, then please ignore the rest of this message, and I will wait patiently.

    But . . . sometimes my emails end up in spam filters, I suspect because the four middle letters of my name spell out a not-so-nice word (stoopid filters -- it's my real name!). Anyway, my email is janalyn (at), and I really would like to help out Ike and his family.

  6. I bought this book last week and it is great! I will definitely be making things out of this one. I LOVE the fabric bracelets.

  7. what a great book with loads of ideas. I will have to check it out.

  8. This is so cute! I put it on my wishilist right after I saw this

  9. thanks so much for the book reviews rach! I really like how you did them - its so helpful to really get a feel for a book that way. I already have too many books but that won't stop me from adding one or both of these to my collection :)

  10. Thank you so much for introducing me to Jenny's work - it is utterly cute!


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