Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sewing for Boys - The To-Go Artist

I have been all kinds of excited about a new sewing book that came out the other week called Sewing for Boys: 24 Projects to Create a Handmade Wardrobe.

If you have a boy, or have tried to buy an article of clothing for a little boy you may have noticed that there are 2-4 times as many racks of clothes for little girls compared to boys. When it comes to clothing patterns for boys, the discrepancy is magnified about 100 times. And since I've been sewing a lot of Michael's, I was really excited about this book.

The publishers did a really good job of promoting the book. They did a big blog tour and well known crafty bloggers showed off the book and did projects from the book and gave away copies of the book. I wanted to win a copy so bad (I didn't, just FYI).

So I ordered my copy of the book and got it last week. I got my sewing machine back today and set about making my first project from the book, the to-go artist. I wanted to make it because my nephew's birthday is coming up and I thought it would make a good gift. But then I was buying fabric for it the other day and saw some fabric that I loved and decided to make one for Michael too.

Anyhow, so I'd read the instructions the day before and all I could think is that they were a mess. I was pretty sure there were a lot of errors and extremely skeptical about some of the steps and figured if they weren't wrong, they were definitely done the hard way.

So I set about making it tonight, and unfortunately, I was right. I found AT LEAST 9 errors... maybe more if I wanted to be picky. I followed the instructions, mostly, just so I could prove to myself that things were incorrect and it wasn't my "fixing" of the instructions that messed things up worse or something like that, but on a couple of things I just couldn't go on without fixing them. But the good thing here is that I have everything figured out for when I sew my nephew's up.

The thing that really pisses me off is that it's obviously that the finished one in the book clearly didn't follow the instructions either. And this is a rather simple project, so there just shouldn't be these kinds of errors here.

One of the bloggers on the book tour even did this project, but she made several changes to the overall to-go artist. She didn't comment of the wonky instructions, so I don't know if she didn't notice, or was just being nice (like her changes a lot too). I did pick up from some of the other book tour bloggers that it was light on the instructions and illustrations... they tried to put it in nice terms, but now that I have the book, I feel like I reading between the lines of their reviews better.

I want to love this book, but I can't. I don't hate it, but it has issues that keep me from loving it. I read something on one of the book tour blogger's website in an interview with the authors that the book was completed very quickly and you can definitely tell it. I also wonder if they needed to use less experienced pattern testers... advanced sewers may have glanced through the instruction more quickly than novice sewers and not caught as much as those of us that need the instructions. But  they have a flickr group and I can clearly see some of the mistakes in the one of the tester's photos, so go figure.

But I'm not done with the book! I'm still looking forward to making several other projects from the book. It's not perfect and there is a fair amount of deserved criticism about this book, but with a little determination I still think it's an ok book... and probably the best book for sewing boy's apparel out there.

So here is my to-go artist.

Closed up. Velcro tab. I just love this sail boat pattern!

Opened up. Nice idea. The paper pads fit very well. 

Look y'all!!! I got my own tags made! I feel so special and fancy now.

I love the big pocket for stowing a coloring book or extra pad of paper.

See that gap to the left of the crayons and colored pencils? Yeah, if more care had been given to the instructions, that wouldn't be there. It will not be there next time I make it. 

Cleaned out.

I was a little late on my crafty project for the week with the sewing machine in the shop. It still seems a bit off to me, so it might go back and in that case I probably won't make next week either.


Rachel said...

I have held off on buying the book because of the reviews, but I love what you made. There are a handful of nice patterns in Anna Maria Horner's book, and my favorite place is to go on etsy and search the vintage section for old patterns. Boys clothes used to be so much more exciting than they are now.

Glad to hear your machine is working again.

Celia said...

I really dislike most boy clothing options. I especially do not like that I only have options with sports or animal motifs. I don't like gender specific clothes at all. And forget it if you want something nice for a party. I am still so impressed that you can do this. I LITERALLY failed sewing, I took it for a break from my "hard" classes and FAILED. Clothes should cost a kajillion million dollars, because if I had to make my own they would be stapled together.

Michelle said...

This is awesome!!! Kristopher would LOVE something like this. I suck at that involved sewing, but if you'd ever create a etsy site, I'd buy. (hint hint hint) :)

And in comment to your comment yesterday. I do plan on waiting as long as possible to test. i don't think I can make it till the 25th like they asked, but I definitely won't jump to do it too soon...

~Jess said...

Ok, so I NEED to know where you got the nautical (particularly the knots) fabric! I'm making sailboat quilts for the boys and would LOVE to use that fabric!

I do not like when instructions are not straight foward...I would think of contacting them and letting them know how terrible they are.