Sew & Stow written by Betty Oppenheimer is a good book to get you organized in the new year. There are 31 sewing projects included to “carry, hold and organize your stuff, your home and yourself!”
Betty Oppenheimer has written a book with a practical approach to functional sewing. She gives you patterns and directions for the projects in the book, but also gives you alternative uses and adjustments you can do to make these patterns suitable for what you need. She gets you to think outside the box, and become self-sufficient and confident enough to make your own patterns.
There are only 192 pages in this book, but it is a wealth of knowledge. The projects in this book are divided into sections; Sew Simple – variety of simple projects to get you going, Pockets Galore – projects with pockets to organize you, Bag-a-thon – bags for different purposes, Stow it Handily – storage options, Pad and Carry – padded items to help with carrying items, Stow it Your Way – misc items for organizing etc.
Betty starts out by giving you information about selecting the correct
equipment and fabric. Even if you are a seasoned sewer, the
information she has here is a great reference. She has charts that
show what size needle to use, with the correct thread weight, and the
correct stitch length. She has information about the most common types
of fabric and their characteristics, so you can choose the correct
fabric for your project. She also goes into fabric construction, just
enough so you can understand why certain fabrics work better for some
projects, than others.
Betty discusses laying out patterns, not only the ones in this book,
but in general, giving tips and techniques for cutting, using/making
patterns, and sewing. She covers topics such as mitering corners,
making casings, using bias tape, gathering, making pleats, several
types of seams, using trims and fasteners and many other things. She covers every technique you might
need to know before sewing the projects in this book. She also has illustrations that are easy to read to help you learn these techniques.
Next Betty covers the projects. She has illustrations, which she has done herself, to help you through the projects.
As you can see in this photo, her descriptions are clear, and the illustrations are easy to read. Unfortunately my picture doesn’t do it justice!
Betty gives you tips with each project, for things that you may not anticipate. For example: for the hammock project, you may need to piece fabric together to make it extra wide to use. She give you tips and illustrations on how to accomplish that.
There is also variations and/or decorative and design options included with each project.
Betty is teaching you a new technique with each project, and gives you suggestions along the way of other projects ways that you can use these techniques. In the back of the book she has a section that goes a little more into customizing some of the projects to fit your needs. She is very encouraging, and makes you feel like she is coaching you through the entire process.
I like this book! Betty is very supportive and encouraging, and the many projects in this book will not only get you organized, but would make great gifts too!