Book Giveaway Bonanza: Sew Darn Cute

Here we are at week number 2 of our month long book giveaway bonanza! Up for review and grabs today is Sew Darn Cute: 30 Sweet & Simple Projects to Sew and Embellish by Jenny Ryan. Right off the bat you might be thinking, boy that name Jenny Ryan sure sounds familiar – well it should. Jenny is a regular contributer/blogger for Craft Magazine and Apartment Therapy, the women behind Felt Club Los Angeles as well as the moderator of the Hot Babes With Gigantic Pinecones Flickr group of which I am a proud member. Now add author to Jenny’s resume as if the other stuff was not cool enough. Not just any author, a good author with a good book. In a time when people are tightening their belt straps and being a little more choosy about what craft books they really can’t live without an adorable book like Sew Darn Cute should be on the tippy top of your wish list.

Sew Darn Cute has everything I look for in a craft book. First of all there are all the pretty pictures and colors. I want a craft book that makes me excited and ancy to craft when I flip through the pages and if a book with a ton of sewing can do that for a jewelry designer, that is saying something. Jenny hits the nail right on the head with her choice of textiles in her projects. Tiny print feed sack, polka dotted ribbons, bold 60’s flowers, chartreuse rick rack – everything I love about fabric. The way Jenny puts everything together in Sew Darn Cute is like an overload of adorableness that makes me want to dust off my Husqvarna and put the sewing pedal to the metal.

The 30 projects in Sew Darn Cute are broken down into 5 chapters each with a distinct theme. The Pretties chapter is right up my alley with the Snappy Fabric Bracelet, but I must confess that the Necklace Tank project is the one that is really catching my eye and might very well be the first project from the book I give a whirl. The next chapter is Toteables with handy items like sunglass cases, ice cream appliquéd totes and purses from pillowcases. The Nest chapter has my second favorite project from the book an Apple Tree Fabric Collage. I’m a sucker for scrap work, appliqué and mix matched fabric. Did I mention the templates for these adorable appliqués are all in the back of the book for you to use! Kid Stuff seems especially applicable to me these days so the fun projects like Square Bears and Vinyl Bibs in this chapter caught my eye. Last but not least there is the Crafties chapter with everything from aprons to sewing machine covers. Something for everyone would be a bit of an understatement when talking about Sew Darn Cute.

As a novice seamstress I appreciate all the instructions and hand holding in Sew Darn Cute. You need a basic knowledge of sewing to delve into the book, but trickier moves like inserting zippered pockets are covered. Plus several of these projects could easily be hand sewn. I’m particularly partial to the Resources guide in the book for completely selfish reasons. Under the charms and trims header Jenny directs you to Naughty Secretary Club for all your Crafty Curio needs. After all every crafty girl needs a good stash of vintage charms, buttons and doll parts to have on hand.

Now for your big chance to win a free copy of Sew Darn Cute! Leave me a comment and let me know the number one thing that draws you to a craft book. Is it the colors, pictures, author, publisher? Do you have to buy every jewelry book that Margot Potter puts out no ifs ands or buts? Do you love the pretty pictures in books put out by Chronicle? If the book is about crochet can you just about bet it will soon end up on your shelf? I’m curious what the motivation behind your craft book purchases are – since mine seem to be all over the dang place.

79 Responses to “Book Giveaway Bonanza: Sew Darn Cute”

  1. Sommer

    What draws me to a craft book? well, the author is important.
    but i think the photos on the cover are key.
    i like to flip through craft books and if i see cool projects then i am in!!!

  2. micheleleigh

    mostly i am drawn to a craft book by the pictures on the cover. i like to flip through as well to see if the projects look cool. 🙂

  3. craftydiane

    Sometimes it is the author who draws me. I love Kumiko Sudo’s books! She has some of the cutest things in them to make and I have made several. Of course I wouldn’t like her books if I didn’t like what she creates. So I do go for what the projects are inside the books, too.
    Have a Blessed Day,

  4. Gnome G

    For me, it’s all about the photos. The author is sometimes a draw, but I am totally taken in by pretty pictures. Especially on the cover.

  5. grblog

    Since I like SO DARN MANY crafts, usually it’s cover art… but the title helps, too. I mean “Sew Darn Cute” just *begs* to be opened and thumbed through. “Button it Up” is another example…but “Origami: folded crafts for all ages” is kind of a dud. Let’s hear it for cool titles! Woot!

  6. Emily

    i am first drawn to a book by it’s bling! i see flashy crazy patters…and just start drooling. but i have to say the main draw, for me, regarding craft books is the wit and cleverness in which the book is presented. i am more likely to do more projects out of a book that is both enjoyable and wickedly funny. 🙂

  7. Jennifer Perkins - Naughty Secretary Club

    I agree about the cover but I have also found that the old adage can be true about not juding a book, you know the rest. I own great books with awful covers and vice versa. Heck I don’t love the cover of my own book. I also love books with contributing designers so that the ideas are more varied. I don’t really have an author I follow. I tend to buy a lot of books based on reviews and pictures I

  8. Heidi

    The cover usually draws in in first. Bold and bright colors. But when inside, I was a book that is going to teach me how to do something…basically by showing me…I am a super visual person so I want to see step by step what to do. Love funky, fun, hip pics!

  9. Blue Mama

    I usually buy books by either someone whose work I am already familiar with or has been recommended or reviewed by someone I know.

    Or, I’ll just randomly see a book, flip through it and buy it. But very rarely. I normally buy through Amazon and it’s usually something I’ve wanted for a while…like Sew Darn Cute! 🙂

  10. Peanut

    Those projects *do* look Sew Darn Cute!

    The #1 thing that draws me to a craft book is the cover, but when leafing through it, I get inspiration from the pictures and think to myself, “hey, I can do that!”

  11. Melody

    The #1 thing that draws me to a craft book is the pictures. I love, love beautiful photography. When the project in the pictures jump out to me I just have to have that book.

  12. Sarah

    I always check hte author first. It says a lot about what to expect from the content of the book, and sometimes it’s someone that you are already familiar with. Of course the page layout, easy instruction and color, color, color!

  13. JennyHats

    I’d say… I buy craft books that are fun colors and have big, cute pictures on the front. The colors don’t have to be loud – just appealing. And contemporary. Anything that looks like it was published in the 1970’s or designed by someone with generic Photoshop skills throws me for a loop and I’ll pass over it, haha. Or anything that looks like a textbook is bad. I like interactivity, and

  14. Christine

    Photos are definitely what attract me to certain craft/sewing books at first. Then when I pick up the book, I tend to flip through and see if there’s actually any projects in there that I really like. Full-size patterns included with the book are a total plus, and if I have to enlarge a pattern, I tend to not buy the book unless the projects are totally awesome.

  15. Joelle Dolce Bebe

    Basically Im drawn to Pretty Pictures & yummy details on the cover…

    I Love finding books by my favorite artists but I LOVE finding new work by first finding Wonderful covers that catch my attention.

    It is a sell when its filled with beautiful pictures, links & easy simple reading. straight to the point & not too wordy. Keep me interested with inspiration.

  16. Christi

    I’m a “cover girl” If the cover entices me, I’ll pick it up. But I also like to look for certain authors and of course topics. This looks like a great book!

  17. Francine

    A well designed cover that is then backed up by great photos inside always sucks me in! It doesn’t really matter the craft area, but I am partial to papercrafts and sewing.

  18. Cafe Fashionista

    I’m so in love with this book. What draws me to a craft book? The pictures. If the pictures don’t depict cute items, than I’m not going to want to make them. Therefore, it’s the pictures that have to sell me to make me interested enough in buying the book. 🙂

  19. Kristen

    I’m drawn to craft books that have photos and information. Too much of too little of either of those kills it for me. I like it to be visually appealing but I don’t want to be guessing if patterns are involved (like in my crochet/knitting books).

    And, of course, it has to be a topic I find super fun!

  20. Kat

    Pictures and color! As a chronic craftaholic, I love to flip through craft books…the pictures inspire to create and even try something new. A colorful and interesting cover also grabs my attention, making me curious about whats inside. The cover of this book is super cute and definitely the type of craft book I can’t resist.

  21. CraftFetish

    The topic depends on the “craft of the day.” I jump around a lot with crafting, one month I’ll be totally into knitting, and the next I’ll be all about sewing. As for the book content, I look for craft books that have a bunch of projects I think I would like. And detailed picture tutorials are a must because I’m a visual learner!


    Most of all, I like craft books with a vintage or retro-modern edge to them. Variety is important, too. I’m not the type to get hung up on just one type of craft. Gotta have crazy color combos and plenty of pretty pictures as well. –Leiza

  23. gerri

    i definitely love the pictures. but the book has to be unique in some way. too many mixed media books all look the same. i’m delving into sewing soon and starting on some wee projects seems like just the ticket.

  24. Amy

    I like to flick through a book. I definitely need to be grabbed by one project that I immediately want to do that second. If I want to run home and do something from the book then I’m sure I’ll find lots of other things in there when I have more time to browse properly!

  25. Jennie C.

    I love craft and sewing and crocheting books. But I’m out of bookshelf space. So, I send all my requests to the local library and hope they’ll buy them. They bought The Naughty Secretary Club!

    Anyhow, if I do buy a book – I look for how practical it is for me to make the items. If I need to purchase a bunch of supplies or tools, forget it. I prefer to craft with recycled items and

  26. Stephanie

    Ooo.. it’s all about the pictures! I like those overly saturated pics of cute projects. It completely inspires me and says “Well, hey, I can do that!”. Being a seamstress, I’m very drawn to sewing projects and learning about new techniques. Sew… I think I should win:) -Stephanie

  27. Casey

    The projects inside, definitely. I will flip through any craft book, regardless of title or cover, to see what’s inside. The projects you showed are great- especially the tank tops. My daughter heard me commenting in them, and decided that I needed to make us matching tops! I guess I’ll have to buy this one if I don’t win it 😉

  28. Garcia Family

    What draws me to a craft book is the pictures. Great pictures of the finished projects as well as lots of color. Especially if they get my creative fires going!

  29. Hippie Missy

    For me, it’s how many projects from the book I can actually see myself making. If there is only one project I’m interested in I will not buy the book.

  30. Suzy

    What draws me first is the photos in the books. Then I look for reviews and see what other people say about it and its projects. And sometimes I used my friend Flickr and see what the projects look like made by other people.

    This book I actually have my eye on. It looks like lots of fun!

  31. defenestrator

    Photos. There’s gotta be multiple photos of every project. One view of a knit project isn’t going to cut it – I need to see how it fits, how it hangs…

    And I gotta say, cutesy names for projects don’t do it for me.

    And bright colours! YAY!

  32. julie m

    I look through a lot of craft books every chance I get…all types. What draws me to a book is the details. At first I was influenced by eye candy. I soon learned the most fantastic photos are not useful without clear, complete directions on how to make the item in the photo. Now I look at the eye-candy books but put them back and buy the ones with the details.

  33. Jen

    I use the library as a sort of take-it-home preview privilege.If I’m still crazy about the book after a week or two I will go to the store and purchase it. Although the last book I bought on impulse was because it had journaling prompts and I knew I wouldn’t be able to write in it if it was from the library!

  34. Megan

    The pictures are what draw me to a craft book, too, especially the cover photos. I’ll pick it up and flip through looking at the project photos before I decide if I want it or not.

  35. my name is karen.

    Well of course I love lots of photos inside, but the thing I love the most is seeing unique projects inside that are things I would pay for at a store… Because if they’re in the book, then that means I can learn to make them myself and put my own fun twist or details on it! 🙂

  36. chinamomxtwo

    cover art definately pulls me first- then the way the layout is presented with key photos is second. Last, if it is a craft I’m not super familiar with or need more direction, then good well thought out instructions with supply lists is crucial. This book looks so darn CUTE!! 🙂

  37. jojoebi

    I am a sucker for good pictures and interesting projects, something a bit different or a new technique, I have to buy my books online so other crafters reviews are important for me too.

  38. stacysews

    OOOh, I’d love to win this one! The thing that gets my attention – the projects. If there are at several that I’m willing to make, the book goes into my cart!

  39. Stephanie

    I am drawn to a craft book after seeing pictures of other peoples’ projects on flickr. They make the projects look so easy!

  40. aramblingfancy

    I’m always drawn to the pretty pictures, but a craft book has to have a lot of projects I want to make before I’ll add it to my shelf. Well written, easy to follow instructions and patterns that are easy to scan/print/copy are something else I look for in a book.

  41. Funky Finds

    I have been wanting this book! I look for easy to follow, step-by-step directions with good, clear photos. Crafting for dummies! Jessica

  42. sew nancy

    I was eyeing up this book last time I was at the bookstore. I was drawn to it by the cover.
    I am normally drawn by authors and the projects. Then by cover. If there are enough projects in a book I want to do then I buy it.

    I am very interested in this one.

  43. lisa

    I try to always get the Martha Stewart Holiday Magazines. Other than that, I generally don’t buy just on ‘author’ alone. I try to skim and see if there are enough projects to justify price (yes I’m cheap).

  44. geenna

    I am always drawn to the colors/pictures. The visual of a book always catches my eye.

    geennalee @

  45. Konadeb

    Jen, I agree that the cover does draw me in but… its the content that has to make me want to buy it! I look for colorful pictures and easy directions. I love to make the item and then see how close to the authors I can get the finished item. I live in Hawaii and try to bring the island flare into everything I make. Aloha

  46. Terri ( Meterr)

    big colourful photos of EVERY project draws me! I dont like books that list how to do a craft, then dont show it! Sometimes its hard to ” picture” what the authour is trying to teach!
    -Terri from Michigan

    PS.. i just read “The Naughty Secretary Club” which i wanted to read so much i had to borrow it from a library across the state!!When i went to pick it up the librarians were OHHing

  47. nikki

    The photos draw me in to begin with. And I buy it if it’s full of awesome ideas that I never would have thought of on my own.

  48. WTLM

    I’m a sucker for a book if the reviews are good. Crafters know craft books, so that’s my first step to knowing what to buy. I then check out the pictures, step-by-step instructions are a plus since I’m a visual learner. ~Flora

  49. DiSailsToo

    An absolute must for me are well-written instructions and beautiful pictures to get me motivated. After all, it’s the pics that get me wanting to do the projects in the first place, but without the instructions I am completely lost.

  50. Casey

    The cover always draws me in, if I like the colors, pictures and design of it, I will always open it up to peek inside

  51. Sewfast

    The pictures do it for me. I leaf through a book and if the pictures look like something I want to run right out and gather supplies to make…I buy it! This looks like one of those books BTW…Hope I win it!

  52. gayle

    Hi! I love this book! What draws me to craft books are, probably appealing colors first and then new ideas or new things to learn how to do. I like all kinds of crafts and I especially like to learn how to do something new.

  53. Anne

    I’m drawn to a craft book for the great tutorials and making it so much easier to picture how i want finished project to look.

  54. Prpldy

    The projects in a book are what draw me…. new projects, projects with new materials and they have to have great instructions. But I also love inspirational book….nu instructions just lots of eye candy.

  55. Handmade

    Definitely the cover, it has to be totally inspiring, then the pictures inside – there has to be variety and a range of techniques that I may not have tried before.

  56. That Christine

    The cover has to be eye catching true, but it’s the content, specifically the text, that really sells me on a book. Many times I give a cursory glance at the projects and ifnone or two catch my eye I start rreading the text. Nothing sells a book to me like text that is chatty and informative. I love a book that talks to me like I was sitting in a room and chatting with my girlfriend as we

  57. Halle

    The first thing that makes me pick up the book is the cover art. I then flip through it to decide if it has enough content that I’d use to warrant the purchase.

  58. Stephanie

    There have to be projects that aren’t found everywhere – you know, something different! This looks like a great book with tons of inspiration!

  59. Anonymous

    I usually flip through the pages to see if the projects in it are suitable for me but sometimes the cover design will do the trick. The genre of the craft sometimes will also help

  60. SewitlittlethingS

    I am a very very visual person. So obviouly color and clear pictures make my day. But projects with an extra humpf is a must, some book comes with too simple project and that is it..I want the books to have a series of evolving techniques. A book for me needs to help me feel that I learned and got better at something by the end of it (specially with the stiff prices now a days).
    Sew darn cute

  61. Sarah S

    I’m a sucker for good photos and visual instructions. Craft books are totally addictive and this one looks fantastic.

  62. Jennifer Perkins - Naughty Secretary Club

    Man o’ man I have never had so many people enter a contest. You kids must really want this book. don’t forget we have 3 more Mondays in March which means 3 more contests.

    I love everyone’s input. It seems like pictures are the biggie. I like step by step pictures too since I am such a visual learner and hardly ever actually read the instructions. I also hate ugly staged product

  63. luluvision

    the number one thing that draws me to a craft book are the projects in the book. First, are they do-able for me and of interest to me? Second, do the instructions seem clear? And third, lots of photos! It doesn’t matter if any book as the second and the third, it really must pass the first one! And this book looks like it has lots of do-able projects of interest to me! I hope I win! wooooo!!!

  64. Twinkie Lover

    I have to say, what draws me to a craft book first is the title. Anything with “retro” or “vintage” in it will catch my eye, and of course, “naughty!” 😉 After that, it’s pictures.

  65. Ginny

    For me, lots of pictures is a huge plus. I also like them to have a good amount of ideas & then easy to read instructions/tutorials. The pictures is the biggest draw though I think.

  66. Andrea M.

    I guess I’m like everyone else. The cover and the pictures are my first draw. If it is cute enough, then I open it and check out the projects. The projects have to be good-not just a rehashing of every other craft book out there. I am happy to say that I am usually strong enough to put a book back on the shelf if it does not have fresh new ideas. Sew Darn Cute has been on my Amazon wishlist

  67. trisha too

    oh, gosh, it depends. if i’m “into” something and searching for a specific, then the subject. if not, then the pics, of course!


  68. Marianna

    What doesn’t draw me to craft books? I can just splay myself out in the craft isle of any library or book store for hours on end.

    I guess, the spine of the book is the first thing I look at, so a good title or funky font is the first thing that catches my attention. Then, I’d have to say that good clear instructions with sketches, diagrams, and pictures is important to me. Also the

  69. angeltreats

    I can’t resist craft books with really nice photos. Think Amy Butler. And I love books that have quick projects because I never seem to have enough time to complete bigger projects these days! What puts me off is when more than one or two projects are for kids. Don’t get me wrong, I like kids, but I don’t have any (and I don’t really know anyone who does, despite being 28!) so I have no one

  70. Jennifer Perkins - Naughty Secretary Club

    Ya know its funny up until 9 months ago when I got knocked up books with kids projects turned me off too.

    I agree I also like innovative kitschy projects. It never ceases to amaze me how many books rehash the same old stuff.

    There is also a look and aesthetic I love in a craft book and blog and sew darn cute totally has it.

    I also love a mix of projects jewelry,

  71. sherri s.

    Am I too late for this giveaway? I was just pondering buying this book! I look for clear instructions, pretty photography, and I do love books from Melanie Falick and from Chronicle. Thanks for the giveaway!

  72. Natalie Servant

    #1 thing? At least 1 project that I *HAVE* to make. And if it’s got a few others that I’d love to make it’s definitely coming home with me.


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