Sunday, June 6, 2010

Handmade Beginnings by Anna Maria Horner - Book Review


At first glance I wasn't too excited by this book, purely because we have no plans for anymore babies in this house. Apart from the odd gift I assumed there wouldn't be anything I would want to make. That was until I actually looked at the projects and realised just how wrong I was.

The book is divided into 5 chapters, beginning with a very brief introductory chapter that quickly discusses sewing tools, fabric choices, taking measurements etc, then it is straight into the projects.


Chapter one is all about sewing for the mum to be. Projects include a nice roomy bag, slippers, a thankyou notebook and a range of cleverly designed maternity pieces that are suitable for all stages of pregnancy and post birth breastfeeding. With Anna Maria's guidance you can even make them for everyday wear without a baby bump in sight. I can definitely see myself making the wrap around style tunic.


The next chapter is about baby clothes. Including a super sweet pair of booties, pants designed for easy nappy/diaper changes, a sleeping bag/sack, a dress and a jacket. The great thing about these designs is that apart from the dress, they are all unisex.


The next chapter is what Anna Maria calls family sewing. this is acknowledging that a new baby involves and is celebrated by the whole family. Projects range from some super cute thankyou notes to a baby dolls set to help older siblings adjust. There is also a dad friendly messenger style nappy/diaper bag and a quilt which makes a feature of dresden plates and is large enough for the whole family to sit on.


The final chapter is all about the nursery. Here you will find patchwork toys such as stacking cubes and a mother hen and her chicks and decorator items like a nap pillow, a mobile and wall letters. There is also two more quilts. One a play quilt and one a cot/crib sized quilt.

The book, like her first, is well laid out and progresses naturally from one project to the next. It is not aimed at beginners, in that it devotes virtually no space to the mechanics of how to sew, but that is not to say a beginner could not successfully tackle some of the projects.
Notes are given on colour and fabric choices for each project and numerous clear diagrams support the instructions. The photography is stunning and as mentioned earlier there are lots of projects to make even if you don't have a baby on the way. it would be also quite easy to simplify a lot of the projects and still get a great result if time was a little short.

My only wish is that for some of the projects more photographs would have been helpful. For example pictures of the insides of the bags to show compartments, pockets etc and an extra shot of the wrap dress/tunic to illustrate how it wraps.

Full size pattern pieces are included in a pocket at the back on sturdy paper, however you will need to trace these off the use them as they overlap on the pages.

Final verdict is a great book regardless of whether there is a baby around or not. I really want to make the wrap tunic and my husband has been eyeing off the messenger bag. My daughter loves the doll set and there are enough nephews/nieces around to benefit as well.

Handmade Beginnings: 24 projects to welcome baby.
by Anna Maria Horner
Published by Wiley Publishing
ISBN: 9780470497814

Happy Making