Stitched Sewing Organizers: Pretty Cases, Boxes, Pouches, Pincushions & More by Aneela Hoey
Lynette has been bringing a variety of sewing organizers, pouches and organizers to Show and Tell over the past year or so. As you know, I like making bags. I admired and asked Lynette about the various projects as she brought them in. One day she asked me if I wanted to borrow this book. She had an extra copy. I jumped at the chance. It sat on my shelf for awhile, but today I finally har the opportunity to read it.
Short answer: great book, go buy it now.
One thing I really liked about this book were the thumbnail photos of all of the projects right at the front of the book (pg.4). The thumbnails have the page number of the project alongside.
In the Introduction the author, Aneela Hoey, says “I have become addicted to making sewing pouches over the last few years. I think it is the combination of being able to create something both stylish and at the same time practical…” (pg.7). I like this explanation, but for myself I like these types of useful organizer patterns for gifts. I like to give things I make as gifts, but I don’t always like to give a quilt on a deadline. These pouches , holders, trays and pouches make good options.
The first 25 pages cover Materials and Supplies (pg.10-13), Tools (pg.14-15), Basic Sewing Techniques (pg.16-23) and a section called “Making the Projects” (pg.24). The final 100ish pages are instructions for making the projects.
Hoey talks the materials and supplies section as items that are useful to have on hand (pg.10). She suggests using the best fabrics and discusses interfacings in such a way that makes the reader understand why she uses the products she is using. I also like that she tells us exactly what her favorite products are, including brand (pg.11), and why she likes them. The author’s instructions about vinyl are a little different than Vanessa of the Crafty Gemini, but probably work just as well. She does not mention special machine feet, which can be useful (pg.12).
Except for a few items, the tools mentioned are very basic. Every quiltmaker will have them already, which means a quick start to making most of the projects! The items I probably don’t have, and with which I am least familiar, are the fusible tape and a drawstring threader (pg.14-15). It is always good to learn how to use a new product or tool.
In the Basic Sewing Techniques section, Aneela talks about some standard machine settings she uses such as “slow speed setting,” “needle down,” etc (pg.17). I thought this approach was a clever way of getting around the tendency to try to teach people to sew in 10 pages or less. The author also includes a well illustrated tutorial on installing zippers (pg.18-19). This tutorial can easily be supplemented by some YouTube videos or in person learning with guild-mates. I liked that the author included some basic directions for trimming corners (pg.20), “sewing the gap closed” (pg.21) and inserting a magnetic closure/snap (pg.22). These are skills which are expected in some patterns, but which aren’t often covered in books. I thought they were pretty useful.
In the “Making the Projects” section, the first page covers what Aneela means by certain terms and how to use the project sheet at the back of the book (pg.24) . This means the reader has something to which to refer, if s/he does not understand some terminology.
The project part of the book is divided into four parts and starts with a section called “Small Things” (pg.25). This is where it would be nice to have more thumbnails of the projects in this section. Project include a needle book with a tie closure (pg.26-29), a fold-up pouch (pg.30-33), tape measure cover (pg.34-37), and a green tomato pincushion (pg.38-40).
One of my favorite projects from the book, the Fold-Up Sewing Folio (directions pg.42-49), kicks off the “Cases and Folios” section (starts on pg.41). Of course, it would be the longest pattern in the book up to this point! 🙂 In this section, Hooey shows how some of the smaller projects from the Small Things section can be used along with the cases and folios.
The Two-in-One Case (pg.50-54) looks like it would be a great gift. The author uses different closures on each project, including a button and button hole (pg.55-62). While a good learning experience, I would probably stick with sew-in magnetic closures despite my rule that says I should make the pattern as it reads the first time. I did buy about 30 magnetic closures at one point by accident, which are taking up space in my supplies box.
The Pouches section starts on page 63 with a lifestyle shot of all the project in this section. YAY! That works for giving me an idea of what is included in the section. It is interesting to see what can be considered a pouch! The first project is the “See-it-All Pouch” (pg.64-68) reminds me of the Crafty Gemini Roadtrip bag. I know there are a limited number of variations in all bag and pouch type projects. I am not suggesting fraud of any kind. I think it is interesting to see the difference between the two patterns. A maker could certainly add a lobster clip and D ring as suggested by Crafty Gemini to Aneela’s pattern and have a different look. The corners on Hooey’s pattern are very professional looking.
The Drawstring Pouch (pg.74) would make a great gift bag. The other projects in this section include the Triple Pouch (pg.74-82), the Boxy Pocket Pouch (pg.83-90) and the Big Zip Pouch (pg.91-94). I really like all of these projects and would consider sewing all of them. I finally noticed while reviewing this section that the project name is printed at the bottom of the pages, throughout the book, covering that project. Very useful feature!
The final project section is called Boxes and Totes. On the section’s title page, Aneela Hooey included another lifestyle photo of all the projects. Hooray! Again, I like it because it gives me a frame of reference. From this section, I especially want to try the Fabric Boxes (pg.96-100). They are great for organizing the little things that clutter up my sewing and cutting tables.
This is a great book. I can imagine making most, if not all, of the projects included. For me, this means good value for dollars spent on the book (even though it is a loan!). Because the topic is bags/pouches, I don’t mind it being a project book. I still do need the directions for making 3D items.
I would highly recommend this book if you want patterns for gift items or if you want to organized your own sewing supplies for on the go sewing. Go buy a copy now!
2 thoughts on “Book Review: Stitched Sewing Organizers”
Question: For those of us who keep making bags and pouches even though we absolutely detest fiddly-bits (who, me?)—what’s the skill level in the book? Are the instructions super-easy to follow?
I don’t see indications of difficulty on the patterns. There are a lot of drawings to go with the steps and there are definitely easier and harder projects. I haven’t made any of the projects yet, so have no personal knowledge. My friend Lynette is wearing out her copy of the book making items from it over and over.
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