Thursday, 31 May 2012

Review: Sew Magazine Issue 36 (June 2012)

Sooo, this is the first sewing magazine I have bought.  I'd seen it advertised with a 'Mad' Men' feature, and as I love the vintage look, I just had to go buy it.  So, off I toddled to WH Smith on my lunch break last week (I'd already tried Tesco, with no success) and treat myself to a copy.  It cost £5.99 and came with a free Simplicity Lisette pattern, with patterns for a shift dress, lightweight blouse and a-line skirt.

The first feature in the magazine explains the patterns and gives ideas of fabrics to use.  I like the dress and the skirt, as styled in the magazine, especially the skirt in the floral fabric featured, so I may give these a go once I have finished off my other dress.  I'll admit I'm not too keen on the blouse, but that is just because it isn't my style - it would probably suit my older sister though.  The only real downfall with this pattern is that it only goes up to a size 14, so a little altering of the patter will be required for my top half.

The magazine has some lovely features.  As this is the first time that I have bought this particular magazine, I do not know which are the regular features, so instead I'll start with my favourites.

'Sew SOS' (which I'm guessing is a regular feature) has a lovely girl's summer dress, which is featured in Sewing Made Simple by Tessa Evelegh.  There is also a reader offer for this book to receive £7 off the publisher's price and free postage and packaging.  This feature also has a little 'how to' on gathering.  I still think that it looks easier to do it by hand, rather than with the sewing machine.

Another children's dress is featured in 'Vintage Chiffon Dress', which is a true princess dress, although when I asked my youngest niece if she would like me to make her one, she declined.  Although, it turns out that she just didn't like the colour (a sea-green/blue/turquoisey colour).  Apparently, pink will do just nicely - bossy little madam!  Anyway, this pattern was taken from Fiona Bell's Vintage Style For Kids, which can also be purchased by readers with free p&p and money off.

The Mad Men feature is not what I expected, but does have some great tips, info on where to get vintage patterns and a feature on women who make their living from all things retro, including details of how to become involved in a book that one of these women, Claire Garside, is writing.  There is also a mini-feature on corsetry, including course details for a City & Guilds Level 2 Certificate in Corsetry, which I now want to do, but unfortunately it is in Nottingham, and I'm not!

There is also a feature on millinery, including a hat made from drinking straws - trust me, it looks better than it sounds.  This feature has pieces on top-milliners, William Chambers, Jane Taylor and Gina Foster.  It also has tips and info on millinery courses, including one in York.  Yay!  My local art and design college used to run an evening millinery course and I think I may look into this a bit more - I mean, who doesn't want to know how to make a hat from straws?!

Following on from this, 'Patriotic Accessories' shows you how to make a jubilee-inspired fascinator, corsage and brooch.

I also like Lisa Steed Davey's little travel kit - perfect for me, who currently stores a needle and thread in her purse!  And I also love the applique baby vests, which I would love to make, but I don't know any babies at the moment - loads are being born in the near future though.  I love the bird and house pattern, which can be adapted to any colour, or even the pattern could be adapted - it's the idea that I really love.

Last, but not least, is my favourite part of any magazine - the giveaways, which in this issue include:
  • a Janome Memorycraft 5900 sewing machine
  • book, Pretty Nostalgic Home
  • tickets for the Festival of Quilts show in August
  • union jack bunting.
Other features and projects of note in this magazine include how to copy Black Eyed Peas' Fergie's style, what's new in the stitching world, a spotlight on top of the range machines (none of which I can afford), a column by Anthea Turner, and a bright jubilee-inspired cushion and biscuit tin.  I feel pretty let down that the biscuits in this tin are also fabric creations - what's wrong with a proper biscuit eh?  They do look good though.

There are also features on brit pop styling, satin-stitched luggage tags and an embroidered table set (coasters, mats etc.) based on Pimms.  Some vague, long ago memory makes me think that my great-grandma had some things similar to these, but that is not necessarily a bad thing.

There is an olympic torch tapestry cushion and some very expensive fabrics, together with a quilting column by Sissix's Angela Southey and advice and tips on how to take your quilting further.

My boss, Maureen liked the western-inspired embroidered cowboy book bag, and I like the article by Mary Jane Baxter recommending her crafty reads.  I have actually read one of these, The Secret Life of Dresses, by Erin McKean, and I would recommend it to anyone.  It was a borrowed copy, but I may have to buy my own so I can read it again.

Finally, the back of the magazine contains all the templates you will need to make the projects in the magazine, together with 5 jubilee-inspired cross-stitch motifs.

All in all, I have really enjoyed Sew Magazine and will be buying it again next month.  I may even treat myself to a subscription.

In the meantime . . .

Happy Crafting.


New Sew Magazine is out now!

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