It's rare to find a craft book now that contains projects I haven't already seen somewhere else. We're so surrounded now with projects and tutorials that it's easy to feel like everything has already been done. Every now and then, though, I come across a book that's truly new. Sew & Stitch Embroidery by Alyssa Thomas is one of those books.
Alyssa has formal art training and works as a product designer in the children's apparel and stationary industry. She has a well-developed, recognizable aesthetic and she's kind of a jack of all textile trades. Under her brand, Penguin and Fish, she publishes embroidery patterns and kits and softie and quilt patterns, and her she has her own fabric line with Clothworks Textiles.
Alyssa applied all of her varied skills to the projects in this book and her expertise really shows. She can sew. She can draw. She can embroider. It all comes together in 20 clever projects that readers will actually want to make. Here's a taste:
Spotted Feather Tablet Sleeve from Sew & Stitch Embroidery
Owl Throw Pillow from Sew & Stitch Embroidery
I made the Sweet Dreams Dreamcatcher for my sister who is about to have a baby (!) any day now. I worked on this over the weekend and I have to say, this project was incredibly fun! Do like it?
This dreamcatcher has a nighttime theme. The book includes a daytime version and I'm going to make that one as well. In fact, almost every project includes a second variation. The pattern for the owl pillow above, for example, also includes a barn owl. There's a space-themed parachute to make for your stuffed animals, and a variation to make it rainbow/unicorn themed. So great! These extras add a lot of value and make the $24.99 cover price well worth it.
But one of the very best parts of Sew & Stitch Embroidery is the photography by Sarah Hebenstreit of Modern Kids Co. Sarah's photos knock it out of the park. The start of each of the book's three chapters shows a photo that includes all of the projects in that chapter styled together in a beautiful, minimalist way. It's sparse and bright and totally perfect. Working with Sarah has now become one of my dreams.
I also just want to give props to the publisher, D&C, for allowing Alyssa to put her Penguin and Fish logo on the front of the book. Her logo there acknowledges that this book, like all craft books now, is truly a collaboration. Alyssa has brought all that she knows from developing her own brand, and D&C has brought that to the marketplace as a book.
I loved this book and I think you will, too.
Disclaimer: The author sent me a review copy of this book, but it's awesome so there you go. The Amazon links in this post are affiliate links.