Under the Tree: For the sewer in your life…

We’ve got two different sewing choices here for that loved one of yours who spends a lot of time at the sewing machine. You just need to decide if your sewer is a pro or a newbie.

For the newbie:
Last-Minute Fabric Gifts: 30 Hand-Sew, Machine-Sew, abd No-Sew Projects
By Cynthia Treen
STC Craft Books
144 pages, hard cover
$24.95
October 2006

The title alone is great. Here’s a book that can help you in a pinch if your long-lost pen-pal is on her way over and you need a gift to give. And fast. Broken up into sections based on time, the book does a great job of finding the right project easy. Some of my favorite projects were listed in the “30 minutes and under” category, since I’m always deciding to make something right before I need to be somewhere.

Last-Minute Gifts goes beyond instructions on how to make a skirt or a throw pillow. The author has wonderful ideas for unusual gifts, such as fabric-covered money holders (instead of those terrible cards at the drug store that you can never quite get all the dimes to fit into) and even catnip toys.
Because a few of the gifts are simple projects or don’t require any sewing, I found this book to be very useful for new sewers or those trying to improve their skills, both on the machine or by hand. And with all of the colorful pictures, diagrams and instructions, it’s hard to get lost with this book.

For the pro:
In Stitches: More THan 25 Simple and Stylish Sewing Projects
By Amy Butler
Chronicle Books
176 pages, kinda hard cover/kinda wirebound
$24.95
July 2006

For the more-advanced sewer, this book has all sorts of ideas for inspiration. Amy has included all of the patterns needed to make ALL of the projects in her book, a huge plus if you ask me. With the wire binding on the book, it’s ready to be open and put to use right next to your Janome.

Divided into sections based on use (bedroom items, etc.), Amy compiled wonderful ideas that include not only cute purses, bags, and a scarf or two, but gromet-ready potholders, super-comfy pajama pants, and even travel organizers, the first time I’ve ever seen an item like that in a craft book.

The instructions and diagrams are dead-on, taking you step by step through the process of creating a unique piece. Her ideas are hip and young feeling, but still perfect to make for anyone on your present list.

For all the sewers in your life, check out these two books and see if they make a good fit this holiday season. Tell ‘em Lish told ya.