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Crafty Chica's Guide to Artful Sewing: Fabu-Low-Sew Projects for the Everyday Crafter Paperback – February 17, 2009

4.6 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

How to resist a six-times-plus author, columnist, and all-around thread artist who exudes “you can do it” in every sentence of this sewing 101 tome?  Don’t. Because not only does Cano-Murillo, the self-styled “crafty chica,” fill her latest book with 30 projects for home and self but she also touts the benefits of recycling, repurposing, and bargain shopping—three activities hard to ignore in these thrift-minded times. Plus, her prose and directions are easy reads. Why not, for instance, use a ready-made tote as one of the bodies for her Power Purses? Or employ vintage scarves for the oh-so-alluring lounge pillows? Upfront, she includes the basics about sewing, from fabric to machine types, as well as encouraging sidebars from fans, a list of movies featuring crafts and sewing, and a very personal and humorous “Diary of a Crafty Chica,” tales from her own career. Generous tips are embedded on almost every page, all practical and focused on saving time and money while creating a one-of-a-kind item. --Barbara Jacobs

Review

“Crafty Chica’s Guide to Artful Sewing is perfect for someone like me. I’m not a rule breaker on purpose–I just can’t follow them. With Kathy’s new book I found that what really makes every project shine is the passion that you glue behind it–that plus the glitter. This beaver says, this book is a crafty must!!!”
—Amy Sedaris, actress, comedian, and author of I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence

“Not only is Kathy an inspiration, her take on craft techniques is unique and accessible to everyone. Her style recipe is three parts happiness, two parts color, and plenty of glitter–and it works every time!”
—Mark Montano, television host, designer, and author of The Big-Ass Book of Crafts

"How to resist a six-times-plus author, columnist, and all-around thread artist who exudes 'you can do it' in every sentence of this sewing 101 tome? Don’t. Because not only does Cano-Murillo, the self-styled 'crafty chica,' fill her latest book with 30 projects for home and self but she also touts the benefits of recycling, repurposing, and bargain shopping—three activities hard to ignore in these thrift-minded times. Plus, her prose and directions are easy reads. Why not, for instance, use a ready-made tote as one of the bodies for her Power Purses? Or employ vintage scarves for the oh-so-alluring lounge pillows? Upfront, she includes the basics about sewing, from fabric to machine types, as well as encouraging sidebars from fans, a list of movies featuring crafts and sewing, and a very personal and humorous “Diary of a Crafty Chica,” tales from her own career. Generous tips are embedded on almost every page, all practical and focused on saving time and money while creating a one-of-a-kind item."
—Barbara Jacobs, Booklist

"If you're a sucker for homemade-looking fashions and home decor, pick up the book "Crafty Chica's Guide to Artful Sewing" by Kathy Cano-Murillo...The book is full of adorable fashions, quirky and funky things for your home or dorm room."
—Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Potter Craft; Original edition (February 17, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307406660
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307406668
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.4 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,287,951 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

People most know Kathy Cano-Murillo as The Crafty Chica. She has been profiled for her art and crafts in The New York Times, USA Today and NPR.

Kathy has been a writer longer than she has been a crafter, inspired in grade school by Erma Bombeck and Judy Blume. As an adult, Kathy went on to have a 13-year newspaper career at The Arizona Republic as an entertainment reporter, all while running her award-winning web site, CraftyChica.com. She has authored seven books including Crafty Chica's Art de la Soul and Crafty Chica's Guide to Artful Sewing.

In 2004, Kathy pursued her dream of writing a novel and finished her first draft for National Novel Writing Month. She wrote from 10 pm-2 am every night while her family slept, a tradition she still carries on to this day. Her manuscript sold in 2007 in a three-way bidding war to Grand Central Publishing.

Kathy's debut novel, Waking Up in the Land of Glitter released in March 2010 and her second, Miss Scarlet's School of Patternless Sewing in March 2011. She is currently writing her third book.

Kathy designs her own Crafty Chica product line through iLoveToCreate, a Duncan Enterprises Company, and she is also the Crafts Editor for BlogHer.com

Kathy's mission with her novels is to share stories about contemporary Latinas living and working in the creative arts. She lives in Phoenix, AZ, with her husband, two kids and five Chihuahuas. Her motto for life is "Crafts, drama and glitter".

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Crafty Chica's Guide to Artful Sewing: Fabu-Low-Sew Projects for the Everyday Crafter
I love this book it has so many creative and relevant projects. This is the perfect book for someone who has never touched a sewing machine( but has dreams of conquering one), however the projects are innovative enough to spark the interest of an accomplished seamstress. The chica is hilarious and heartwarming and seems to have a knack for luring out the hidden craft diva that lies slumbering in each of us. Her projects are so clever and they are things we all use and need. Many of the projects are re-cons; She shows you how to use those pretty place mats and napkins that are too nice to eat off of, but you would love to showcase on your arm or couch. I came to sewing through reconstruction, and I feel it is less intimidating turn something destined for the rummage sale into something cool and useful. There are also plenty of new material projects here. I found her instructions for very simple techniques to be quite impressive, sometimes it is the simplest things that tend to be over looked in guides. You will find that the chica has overlooked nothing here and that through her simple ,clear instructions you to can uncover your crafty chica.
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Format: Paperback
Kathy Cano-Murillo begins her book by stating she is not a seamstress, but she loves to sew, which is something I could have written myself.

Do you identify with that statement? Are you looking for a sewing book to serve as a starting point and provide terminology for getting to know the art and a sewing machine? Are you a self-taught sewer who keeps handwritten notes from your sewing instructor (aka gramma or mom) or your sewing machine manual next to your machine? Then, this is a book to explore.

It would be easy to flip past the front of the book and dig into the projects, but the beginning is not to be missed because it contains some great information, including:

* reasons to sew, in case you need a little encouragement
* explains the types of fabrics and uses for them
* how to design your own fabric, including image transfers and DIY appliques
* Sewing terminology
* must-have sewing supplies
* basics of winding bobbin, loading it and threading the machine
* how to sew
* types of stitches
* threads, interfacing, embellishment
* sewing by hand
* how to use a seam ripper

Although the Crafty Chica says she's not going to hold your hand, she provides the next best thing: 30 project directions with sketches and photos of the finished item. I loved that there were full-page photos of the projects. As a librarian, I am able to flip through plenty of craft books that get ordered only to see that they are a book with sketches and little to no photos. In this blogcentric time when many are producing their own tutorials and photos, I want more from a book (whether I'm footing the bill or the library is)!
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Format: Paperback
I'm so sad to admit that my sewing machine and I have been "on a break" for over a year now. I've been focusing on jewelry, but the for real story is that I got frustrated with my lack of skills and inability to move forward without more training. I got my sewing machine in 2003, and once I got over initial intimidation, I jumped right in embracing trial and error as the best way for me to learn. Over time, I guess I just got tired, but, rest assured, inspiration is back!

I picked up Kathy Cano-Murillo's latest book "Crafty Chica's Guide to Artful Sewing" last night and was unable to put it down. I had the honor of meeting Kathy many years ago when she visited Atlanta for CHA. Kathy is so nice and fun to talk to, and reading her words in print, I could totally hear her voice gently prodding me along, reminding me how much I love sewing. Her passion and creativity are abundantly clear, and her text is encouraging for the scared beginner and the seasoned pro alike!

"I'm not only going to hold your hand," she states, "I'll sprinkle good-luck glitter above your head." That's so sweet of her! The book sparkles, just like Kathy's personality.

The thing I love about Kathy's take on sewing is that she is super free-form and artful about it. She declares that she is not a seamstress, and it is more important that her projects are glittery and fun and full of self-expression than that they follow a strict regiment. Of course, there are structural decisions that are important when sewing, or else your piece will fall apart, but I like that she makes everything feel so free instead of painstaking.

The projects in the book range from beginner to difficult and are separated into several categories: "Power Purses," "Wondrous Wearables" and "Embrace Your Space.
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Format: Paperback
Crafty Chica is such an inspriration because she freely acknowledges that she too was once an inexperienced beginner. When I first held her latest book, I opened it gingerly, read it cover to cover and I have done so every day since.

I have read a lot of craft books and many of them are overly technical and inaccessible. I've put them down feeling like that craft is one I probably will never master and should probably not attempt. It never occurred to me that I just needed it explained a little better or in a less haughty tone. I don't need to feel that it is a secret club that I will never gain membership to, but that it's fun and everyone can learn if they choose to try.

And that is exactly what this book does. It lays everything out, very clearly and gives many ideas for cute projects that beginners and experienced sewers alike can have fun with. And since many of them use a base of clothing you may already have, it is a very budget-friendly way to get started.

I have told myself for years that I am going to learn how to sew and after reading this book I feel ready. Reading this sentence sealed the deal:

"Enough of the excuses. there is a reason you are reading this very sentence at this moment. It's a destiny-you were meant to sew!"

In this book Kathy is pretty much saying: 'This is what I am into. I love glitter, Mexican pop art and chihuahuas! What do you like? Well, then go do it!' She empowers everyone out there to grow and learn and try, even though it's scary at first.

Also, she very generously lists every single resource for all materials in the back. No hoarding of knowledge for this chica! So go grab this book and feel the crafty love. Make stuff and tell everyone who compliments you on it: "I made it myself!" (and Crafty Chica helped! ;)
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