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Bend-the-Rules Sewing: The Essential Guide to a Whole New Way to Sew Paperback – June 19, 2007
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About the Author
Amy Karol is a trained interior designer, artist, seamstress, and self-professed fabric junkie. Find her popular craft blog, Angry Chicken, on her website at www.amykarol.com.
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When I first got my hands on the book, I spent a few weeks just enjoying Amy's writing style and the very appealing pictures. Eventually, the bib project lured me in; it looked easy enough even for me, and my 2 yr. old was a frightfully messy eater so I knew I'd use my project even if it was ugly. The bib turned out adorably, and I made many more, including some for a local baby boutique.
I've also made the artsy clutch, the turtle buddy, and the simple tote. All 4 of these projects are accessible to beginners, and very rewarding to make. I especially recommend the bib for absolute beginners or for those, like me, who've been frustrated by earlier attempts at sewing. The artsy clutch is a good 2nd project; it requires some concentration and either decent spatial reasoning skills or blind faith (I went the blind faith route) but the finished product is most impressive and will convince anyone that she or he is at least competent and perhaps even skilled.
I've read through some of the negative reviews and would like to address two common criticisms. First, there are some errors and omissions in the first edition. I believe these are now corrected, but even so I would encourage anyone using the book to join the flickr group -- Amy has been very generous with advice, as have many of the other members. Also, it's a great place to post pictures of your finished objects and receive well-deserved accolades!
A second criticism involves the hand-drawn templates, which some reviewers have compared unfavorably with professionally drafted commercial patterns. For me, this approach was perfect for two reasons. First, it produces the diy, one-of-a-kind style that is so appealing. Second, it freed me from the stress of perfectionism and strict pattern-following. I'm now confident enough to make simple garments for my children. These aren't projects from the book, nor are they commercial patterns. I'm able to figure out the best way to cut and construct simple skirts, pants, and smocks without feeling like I need precise drawings and instructions.
In addition to a fun selection of funky, simple, and stylish projects, Amy's 'Bend The Rules' approach showed me a better way to think about sewing. I've gone from disliking sewing and feeling pretty hopeless about my abilities, to looking forward to sewing as a creative outlet and even, in a small way, a source of income. Thanks Amy!
Check out the Bend the Rules Sewing flickr group where people post their completed projects and you can ask Amy Karol questions!
I think a true beginner would have a lot of difficuly completing these projects successfully. I'd recommend starting with Amy Butler's In Stitches: More Than 25 Simple and Stylish Sewing Projects. The directions there are very detailed and very good. Once you've got a few projects under your belt, you'll be able to figure out what's missing in Bend the Rules. I think Bend the Rules is a worthwhile book because the projects are great, but I do wish it had been better edited.