Handmade Beginnings

handmade-beginnings.jpgToday, Kate shares a great resource for getting your craft on:

For much of my life, I could sew on a button and mend small tears, but I didn't have the slightest idea how to tackle a real sewing project. My grandmother sewed and my mother occasionally used her sewing machine, but the skills and interest seemed to have skipped my generation. And then, two years ago, I suddenly became intrigued by the idea of learning to sew. I read up, bought a simple sewing machine, and plunged in. My projects to date have included several sets of napkins, a simple bag, a pillow, some basic summer dresses for my daughter...and lots of crooked seams and asymmetrical corners. I love the work, though, and the joy of picking fabrics and watching them come together into something both pretty and useful.
As part of my sewing journey, I recently discovered Handmade Beginnings, a wonderful book of sewing patterns for babies and toddlers. The author -- sewist and six-time mother Anna Maria Horner -- offers an attractive and inspiring collection of clothing, quilts, maternity items, and toys, all with directions that are easy to follow (unlike many sewing books!). The book also features a spiral binding -- a feature too often neglected by publishers -- which allows the book to lie flat while you work from it. I tackled the Henny Penny and Six Chicks project, a toy that includes a soft and stuffed mother chicken and six baby chickens, each attached to the underside of her wings with velcro. The project was fun and the product is adorable, making me all the more certain that I will try out others of Horner's designs.