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Obscure Reviews I review various things. enjoy?

made at home - sewing book review

Charly C.


If you read my blog over at Obscure Journey, you'd already know i started sewing or making clothes and not only. Of course, i needed [and wanted] a few books to guide me on how to make certain items and not only. 

below you can see a part of the collection of books i had at some time in 2019/2020. I gave away a few of these books, as i'm not interested in ALL the possible crafts that use needles and thread or yarn. 


"made at home - a guide for simple sewing" is a book by Lisa Stickley, intended for those who just start sewing.

The book is full of step-by-step instructions on how to make a variety of items to use around the house: napkins, tea cozies (I never knew what a tea cozy is until I got this book), aprons, cushion covers, and more.

I'll show you later on the content page, so stick around!

The projects are for quilting cotton or maybe even upholstery fabrics in some cases, as this is one of the easiest fabrics to sew with.

The title and the whole book are written in lower letters, so this is why i used the same writing style when mentioning what I'll be talking about in this entry - see the first picture in this entry, below.

I found this book in an outlet for books, and it was pretty cheap, but i forgot how much i paid. The original price was 16.99 (British) Pounds, though now i see it became much more pricey. The book was printed in China.

made at home sewing guide book lisa stickley

It's about the thickness of your palm, about 2 palms long and a palm and a half wide.

The pages are thick but the book is pretty lightweight, which is good - though i'm sure some of you might find the book a bit on the heavy side.

I think the book could have been a bit smaller from a handling point of view.

Now, speaking of the pages themselves, they have quite a lot of white space around the text. This is especially noticeable in the tutorials for really easy projects.

One of the pages where you can see this quite a lot of white, unused space is the table of contents - see below. This is not the whole page: the whole page has some borders.

made at home sewing guide diy book lisa stickley

Maybe this white space is to add notes? I'm not sure. There are also 2 lined pages between each of the chapters. Personally, i find those pages perfect to write notes, such as "do this project in this fabric." Or "you put the fabric for this project in [whatever] location".

Everything starts in the basics section, where a few fabrics are described, such as tasar silk, herringbone weave, taffeta, twill, canvas and more.

These are the fabrics recommended for the best results, but a beginner will want to stay away from silk, as i previously mentioned, and use cotton or maybe canvas when they just start out.

Also, worth mentioning that all the names of these fabrics are technically a bit misleading as some of them make a reference of the fiber they're made of - cotton, silk - and others refer to how the fiber was processed to obtain the textile - twill, herringbone weave.

I recommend you research the fabrics a bit more if you want to better understand what you're working with.

So what does a tutorial look like? See the picture below!

made at home sewing guide diy book lisa stickley

In this tutorial, I learned what an antimacassar is. This is also the shortest and simplest project to make.

It's basically like a kitchen towel that gets attached to the armchair with buttons.

Because this tutorial covers just one page, I want to mention that there are some instructions that take about 3 pages, like the pouffe on page 76.

They have pictures, or better-said drawings too, with how the fabric should be positioned, or how the item should look like at the end of that step.

Of course, for each item, you'll also have the "list of ingredients":

  • how much fabric,
  • what type of needles, thread, stitch type
  • extra things: buttons, zippers, velcro tape, or whatever else the item requires.

There are no patterns included in the book. At the end, however, there are some templates for some of the items that could need a pattern, such as aprons, hot bottle covers, tea cozies.

There are instructions on how to scale them to make the item you need.

Most other items have a rectangular shape, and since you'll be using a woven fabric to make them, all you need is to know how to measure, cut, and then you're told how to assemble the piece.

While most of the images are drawings, there are some actual pictures throughout the book as well.

I think the drawings tie in well with the lowercase style of the font used.

Please note that they imply you'll be using a sewing machine for these projects. However, I think hand sewing them is also possible in some cases.

I find that most items are a bit basic, but keep in mind they're meant to help you enjoy what you're doing, doing it well, and once you get the hang of it, you can add frills, lace, do a patchwork, to get a unique item.

You can also make the items smaller or bigger, based on your needs.

Rating and recommending

4.5 sewing needles out of 5. The explanations are good, clear, and straight to the point. What more can one ask? 

do i recommend this book? YES! If you're a beginner at sewing, definitely buy this book, if you can. Or, if you know someone who would like to start sewing, show it to them!

There isn't much non-sense and words to fluff it up. I also like that for most projects there's also a little explanation related to how to use the item, or a bit of history behind it, like for the antimacassar above.

Even if you're not a beginner, but you somehow never thought about making your own home decor (despite making your own clothes) this book can be useful.

©Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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