Now that it’s summertime, I find I have much more time to dedicate to my crafty pursuits. I’ve dusted off my trusted sewing machine and once again busted out my knitting needles. I love that I have the time to be creative – instead of slaving over a biology project whose destiny is the recycling dumpster, I can spend my days creating beautiful crafts. If you’re a veteran crafter or just diving into the wonderful world of DIY, everyone can enjoy these books and the projects they offer! I’ve taken these 4 for a road test and rest assured, they are all you need for a summer full of creating!
1. Stitch n Bitch, by Debbie Stoller
I consider myself a pretty crafty lady, so when the whole knitting craze hit a couple years ago (remember – Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Hudson started and it just took off?), I had to get in on it too! I tried watching videos online and I bought several knitting magazines, but I just couldn’t master the whole casting-on thing. I was down in the dumps about my inability to master this new craft, when along came a little gem called “Stitch n Bitch.” Now, I figured that any knitting book that had the word “bitch” in the title had to be good (and sassy!), so I picked myself up a copy. And guess what? The genius that is Debbie Stoller finally taught me to cast-on! Debbie is so down to earth and makes knitting so fun and hip! This book is great for beginners, but also has pattens that keep seasoned knitters intrigued and on their toes.
2. 99 Ways to Cut, Sew & Deck-out your Denim, by Faith Blakeney
If you’ve kept up with celebrity fashion (again, another pursuit that falls by the wayside during sweatpant season, aka the school year), you’ll know that denim is hitting the runway HARD. Denim vests, acid-washed jeans, chambray shirts – everyone is loving denim for summer. And, if you’re frugal like me, you have issues forking over $60 for a trendy, denim piece that you may only get a couple wears out of. The solution? A little DIY! “99 Ways…” is full of great ways to re-use those decade-old pair of jeans that you’ve hung on to. Even if you don’t have any old denim, you can just run to a thrift store and get a pair from the dollar bin for these projects. They range from simple to advanced and with 99 of them, you’re bound to be occupied all summer long.
3. Sew U, by Wendy Mullin
Better known as the fashion genius behind home-grown label “Built by Wendy,” Wendy Mullin has decided to share her wisdom with the world! “Sew U” is touted as “The Guide to Making Your Own Wardrobe,” which is a great summer project. Imagine coming back to campus sporting homemade duds that look like they’re expensive, one-of-a-kind designer pieces! This book is really great because it not only teaches you how to sew your own clothes, but also really educates you about the art of clothing design. It’s great to see a fashion designer take the time to write a book that is so informative and inspirational for young crafters. She makes sure that have a full understanding of the garments before you dig-in and create. You’ll find yourself looking at clothes you purchase in a different light, so not only will you be a creator, but also a better consumer!
4. Generation T, by Megan Nicolay
Similar to “99 Ways…”, this one shows you 108 different projects that range from very easy to very difficult and allow you to re-use your old tees. I don’t know about you, but I’ve got an unhealthy-sized collection of old t-shirts just waiting to be made into something beautiful and wearable. You can choose to refurbish the tees into new shirts, skirts, ipod cases or even a wedding dress (yes, insane, but I totally admired their zaniness!). The instructions are great and simple and make sure that they keep the supplies to a minimum, so you can use what you have around the house. This book is a great backbone and encourages experimentation, like tie dyeing the shirts after you re-create them.