You probably already know Lauren Guthrie from the first series of The Great British Sewing Bee and I'm almost certain you've come across her beautiful haberdashery, guthrie & ghani. It'll come as no surprise then that the GBSB finalist just released her first book - Learn to Sew with Lauren - and I was excited to receive a review copy from Octopus Books.
The book itself is filled with beautiful photography aided by the pretty fabric choices which I bet you can pick up from Lauren's haberdashery. To me it feels a little crowded at times, but the overall aesthetic is lovely enough to overlook this.
As the title suggests, the book is aimed at beginners, with a detailed first third comprising of all manner of information and tutorials. It guides you through the basic tools needed, how to read patterns and understand the markings, techniques like setting in sleeves, different types of zip insertions, a variety of ways to hem and much, much more.
Like most crafty books aimed at beginners it has a wide selection of simple projects, including a clasp purse, an oven glove, an apron, a bow-belt and roman blinds. My favourite of the lot are the three pictured above - a weekend bag, a pathcwork quilt and a boarder cushion.
What does set this book apart from others for beginners though, is the very welcome inclusion of dressmaking projects. Lauren has designed her book cleverly right from holding your hand on the easier projects, all the way through building up your confidence and flexing your creativity with a spot of dressmaking. The multi-sized patterms - including pyjama shorts, a yoke top, a skirt with pockets and a collared dress - are all included in full scale. They're overlapped and need tracing, but it's a small price to pay for what you get with this book.
If you're local to Birmingham and free this Saturday (6 September) then why not attend the official book launch at guthrie & ghani? Don't worry if you can't make that though, because Lauren has developed a series of workshops designed around projects in this very book!
Do you like the look of this book? I think it would make a really great gift for someone wanting to dip their toes in the stitching sea.