Kwik Sew’s Sewing for Baby is one of those all-time classic sewing books that appears on so many bookshelves, and I was keen to see what all the fuss is about, so Kwik Sew agreed to send me a copy to review (as well as a copy to win as a prize – more on this later!). I’ve since been busy testing the patterns by sewing for my 3-month-old daughter.
Now, I love this book. I really do!! It comes with a full-size master pattern printed on durable paper, and the patterns are very well drafted. The instructions are superb – very clear and easy to follow, and a novice sewer would have no problems with most of the patterns.
The first section of the book is dedicated to explaining sewing basics such as knit vs woven fabrics, how to choose an appropriate fabric, cutting, and different types of stitches. The instructions are comprehensive and each master pattern comes with detailed instructions for sewing up different versions, including the type of fabric to use – several of the patterns can be adapted for either knit or woven fabrics. There is so much variety that you can create a baby’s whole wardrobe using just this book, not to mention other items including blankets, bibs and bath towels. They have thought of everything – except, oddly, hats and shoes.
But… and it pains me to say this, because the core content of the book is so good and strong, and if you can get past this issue you’ll make some wonderful clothes… the pictures in the book are so dated. When I got my copy I thought “oh dear, there’s not very much in here that I want to sew”. But I then looked past the pictures and saw that the patterns were really good, versatile pieces. The book hasn’t been updated since 1990, and on the one hand while I think Kwik Sew would do themselves a huge favour by updating it, the fact that they haven’t had to is a testament to the quality of the patterns.
A great example is the baby hoody from the book. This uses the master pattern for a sweatshirt, and adds a hood. The picture in the book is not particularly exciting or inspiring…
…but using some funky fabric, the sewn-up article looks amazing! Mikhaela Reid, a cartoonist in New York, sewed this and blogged about it here.
Another example is this summer playsuit…
The same can be said of the girls’ dresses, which have lots of eyelet and frills in the pictures; but as the book gives instructions for a myriad of variations, it is easy enough to omit them.
All of the patterns seem very fast to sew, and none of the ones I tried (simple sundress, pair of knickers, trousers and the playsuit above) took me more than 3 hours, including tracing the pattern. Rather than cut up the master pattern I traced the pieces I needed on to Kwik Trace paper, as you can then re-use the patterns in different sizes as your baby grows.
I can see why this book is such a classic, and I can’t wait to sew more pieces from it. The book covers clothes from 0 – 18 months, after which there is a follow-up book called Sewing for Toddlers, then followed by – you guessed it – Sewing for Children.
You can buy the book here, but even better, Kwik Sew have generously agreed to donate a copy of this book (and three other baby sewing patterns) as prizes for a giveaway, so watch out for my next post which will detail how you can win your own copy!