When I was working on Stitch by Stitch, I spent untold hours hunting for the very most perfect fabrics to showcase the projects. One night, in a rush of final decisions, I ordered yards and yards and yards of beautiful cottons to be delivered so that I could make the samples that made up the bulk of the book.
Days later, the boxes arrived, and I sifted through and chose a print here, a coordinate there, prepping for the sewing. I carefully packed my first picks and some alternates for the trip to my publisher’s to shoot the step-by-step photos for the book. When my editor and photographer and I were laying out the color story for the projects as a group, we finalized selections, and most of the fabrics I had ordered were lifted and rearranged and mixed and matched so much that I lost sight of which fabrics were from which designers and collections.
After the book came out and I was planning the blog tour, I sent a note to Bari J, asking her to be part of the tour, since I knew I’d used some of her fabrics on a very popular project (the zippered piped pillow). And then I flipped through the book, because something was nagging at the back of my head. And there was the proof: I had used LOTS of Bari’s fabrics–a whole lot. Without even realizing it, I had selected no fewer than five of her prints to be featured prominently on three different projects, and all of them are absolutely lovely.
So when Bari sent a note saying that her very first book is coming out and asking me to be part of her blog tour, I was more than pleased: I’m excited to see her style and sincerity come through in a new format, and can’t wait for those of you who don’t know her yet to meet her.
I am happiest flipping through the book and seeing that the things that I admired in her fabric designs really translate to the pages of her book. I am especially drawn to Bari’s painterly sense of color and movement, and have loved that about her fabrics as each new collection is released. That same sense of spontaneity comes through in the book, which is packed to the gills with projects and ideas and insights, and yes: inspiration.
Called Inspired to Sew, the book leads you through Bari’s own experiences with sewing in a way that I think is really personal and charming without trying too hard. She’s super approachable and friendly in her tone, and it’s clear that she’s Been There in a way that makes her like an older sister showing you the ropes. The book includes lots of instruction in different techniques, like freezer paper applique and free motion quilting, that newer stitchers have lots of questions about, and she offers it in a way that’s integrated into the projects so that you always feel as though you’re learning just what you want to learn when you want to learn it.
The photography is lovely and soothing and soft and dreamy, and features Bari’s fabrics and her aesthetic in a way that makes me want to flip through the pages over and over just to imagine myself in a bright, sunny room with the ease of a day of dreaming ahead of me. I find the whole look of the book super relaxing and enjoyable and finding that satisfied place helps me to come up with new and exciting ideas–a pretty rare combination for a book that also includes clear writing and approachable projects.
I love that there is such a wide variety of projects–Bari says that she began sewing simply to bring some beauty and creativity into her home and her life, and it’s clear that she’s written this book with the same philosophy and desire. Her warmth and clear pleasure in sewing come through, and you feel invited to try the techniques and projects she shows you. I hope it doesn’t sound super trite, but I truly think there is a project here for everyone. Bari has a long history of bag-making, so it’s no surprise that the bags are strong, well-rounded projects. I personally am really fond of the home decor projects, and love the idea behind the keepsake memory quilt–Bari really does a great job of layering fabrics and threads and images into a frame-worthy piece of fabric art that makes me want to preserve my family’s memories in a format I’ve never tried before.
Stash Books, Bari’s publisher, is GIVING AWAY a copy of Inspired to Sew to one of you, and I think you’ll really enjoy skimming the pages and dreaming up ways to bring these projects into your sewing and your home. More than anything else, I think I was most touched that Bari doesn’t make me feel pressured to do exactly her project through her writing–instead, I felt like she’d presented some inspiring ideas and then given me permission to make them my own, use the techniques to give a little twist and bring a new concept to my sewing machine, where it would easily translate itself to my aesthetic and sensibilities. Totally expecting it to do the same for you!
To enter to win a copy of Inspired to Sew, leave a comment and let me know the most inspiring sewing project you’ve ever seen. I’ll start: in Pittsburgh a few years ago, I saw a king sized yo-yo quilt that looked from far away as if it was made entirely of lace. It was amazing, and the very first time I have ever been stopped in my tracks by the beauty of a simple bed covering. What sewing has inspired you? Leave your comment by midnight February 14, and I’ll choose a winner to be announced on the blog next Tuesday, February 15.
See the rest of the Inspired to Sew blog tour at these fine establishments:
January 31, Mary Abreu: Confessions of a Craft Addict
February 1, Jennifer Paganelli: Sis Boom!
February 2, Jona Giammalava: Stop Staring and Start Sewing
Feb 3, Rashida Coleman Hale: I Heart Linen
Feb 4, Sarah Fielke: The Last Piece
Feb 5, Jenny Doh: Crescendoh
Feb 6, Cara Wilson: Cara Quilts
Feb 7, Deborah Moebes: Whipstitch
Feb 8, Monica Solorio-Snow: Happy Zombie