As I mentioned in my review for Weekend Sewing, here are my criteria for a crafty green book review:
How amenable is the book to using (or how easy are the instructions to modify to include) natural or recycled materials?
How appropriate is the book’s sizing for my body, if it includes adult clothing projects (I have a 42″ chest, a 36″ waist, and I’m 5′2″)?
How reader-friendly are the instructions (I have at least the basic skills for any craft, with my best skills being in sewing, probably, but since I’m self-taught in everything there are often huge gaps in my knowledge)?
Here, then, based on those criteria, is my book review of Crafty Chica’s Guide to Artful Sewing, by Kathy Cano-Murillo.
In general, I found the Crafty Chica book fairly amenable to the use of recycled materials, and not too reliant on non-natural materials like fusible interfacing, which is nice (my pet peeve is how so many projects that incorporate T-shirts instruct the usage of fusible interfacing. The substitution of a simple zigzag stitch can often eliminate this material, and in other cases, there are other strategies that avoid it). Although most of the materials that are recycled are generally what you would expect–T-shirts, button-down shirts, coats–and are usually used to refashion another article of clothing, some of the materials are less typical. I really like the skirt sewn from scarves, for instance, and the purse sewn from slide protector pages, although instead of using Sewer’s Aid, I’d suggest that you just invest in a walking foot for your sewing machine.
Since the Crafty Chica herself is not a skinny minny, I trust that her sizing, even on the clothing projects that I haven’t tried to make, are appropriate for me, and since she offers measurements, not patterns, and asks you to refashion new items from existing clothing, the instructions are very versatile–if you’re refashioning a button-down shirt into a new shirt, for instance, you’d obviously choose to start with a button-down shirt that already fit. I am disappointed, however, that there are no heavy models in the book. Their existence would help me see how some of this clothing would actually look on me.
Since the Crafty Chica is speaking to novice sewers (although her projects don’t *mostly* look like typical beginner’s projects), I mostly found her instructions very reader-friendly. In many places, however, projects really would have benefitted from even more diagrams or illustrations, something that novice sewers really do need.
Even beginning sewers can make everything in this book. Experienced sewers might find some projects too basic, but be interested in most projects, although they might choose different methods of completing them.