Sewing World Magazine: a Review (& recommendation)

SW131001There are literally dozens of ‘sewing’ magazines on the racks these days, aren’t there? How on earth do you choose among them? Do you really want yet another set of a dozen felted handsewn animal finger puppets and how to recycle old newspapers into crocheted doilies?

I don’t. Not very often. I’m incredibly old fashioned and like my knitting patterns in a knitting magazine, crochet in crochet magazine and best of all, a sewing magazine which concentrates on that because, let’s face it, time is short folks. I was kindly sent a copy of Sewing World Magazine to review and received the July 2013 issue. I’m about to order the October one and a couple of back issues so that should tell you what I thought of it!

Overall the look is clean: not too much whimsy, not toooooo girly, (indeed one of the articles is about men who sew – they do!) and of course the requisite advertising which, thankfully, doesn’t dominate the copy or patterns (which happens in other magazines we won’t mention).

The contents are clearly laid out so you can skip to the pattern you’re interested in fast and in this particular issue there are:- a quilt pattern, sewing machine cover, glasses case, cushions and coasters (to practice your machine embroidery), a light voile blouse (to practice your placket insertion), a doll and bunny set and a small girls skirt made from strips that would be a good stash buster, beginners project or way to use up a jelly roll. There are also tips on beating the overlocker blues (which we’ve all had), working with chiffon and a ‘masterclass’ on adapting and fitting a shift dress.

Apart from a minor gripe about the poly dupion used in the masterclass pattern dress (which makes my skin creep just thinking about it) I thought it was a really helpful ‘hand hold’ for those who are unsure about sewing from a multi-size pattern: I’m not sure if making a muslin was covered in an earlier edition but I have to say, every time I haven’t I’ve regretted it! The Pippi style doll is very sweet, with a naive look and lots of pockets for treasures – she would be a perfect gift, if a little fiddly for those of us with little patience *cough*… the Rainbows Edge quilt is very modern and fresh but without being ghastly and garish – the Kona solids jelly roll was used and I have to say, I’m seriously tempted: it would look fantastic in our room, or covering a sofa. The best range I’ve seen in the UK are here from Cottonpatch although I’m not sure which one I will choose… Maybe I’ll have to make two? Three? There is something incredibly soothing about machining a quilt together after hours of doll’s dresses and smocking.

I have to confess: I’m not a massive fan of sewing cushion covers, bags, coasters etc. I do, sometimes, get down to it (and there’s a tutorial for a yoga bolster coming soon!) but generally, I don’t have time. They are great to get started on machine embellishment though, so who knows, I may return to it in time. Likewise, I wasn’t massively enamoured of the little girl’s skirt: it was cute but I’m spoiled by the patterns I have from Farbenmix et al.

Most usefully the patterns are printed on a separate, pull-out sheet in nice sturdy paper. No tissue paper going into holes as you trace it out! If you happen to lose it, the patterns can also be downloaded from the magazine website! I also enjoyed the piece on sewing with chiffon, written by the Fabric Godmother who also happens to have a fabulous selection of fabrics and patterns by my favourite modern pattern-makers online. Perfect.

There’s a Pattern Showcase which is a speedy way to keep up with who’s publishing what as well as website addresses: I know we can all google but frankly, it’s yet another thoughtful piece of information that tells me this magazine is written for people like me who love sewing but are short on time. Or feel short on time!

Best of all: the overlocker troubleshooting guide! What I would’ve given for this a few months ago when my trusty workhorse just would NOT PLAY. Ugh. I love my overlocker in the way that most women love chocolate: they couldn’t do without it but it doesn’t half cause some stress! Finally, after a bit of advertising and some helpful directories, there’s a large spread of Simplicity New Look patterns at a bargain price – in this case mostly for summer but the pictures are large enough to allow you to see the details and there’s a short description such as you’d give to a friend asking about the pattern.

I really enjoyed the magazine and will actually make things from it, as well as keep it for the next time I’m working with slippery chiffon on a spring blouse or my overlocker has a hissy fit – no mean feat to escape the recycling pile in this house! I wholeheartedly recommend it for people who actually love sewing best of all.


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