Book Review: Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids

I’m going to start this off with full disclosure.  Tuttle Publishing contacted me and asked if I would review some of their sewing books here on my blog.  Having flipped through a couple of them in the past, I was happy to do so.  The books were given to me by Tuttle, but the opinions here are completely my own.

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I’m starting off this week with the first title that caught my attention, Happy Homemade: Sew Chic Kids by Ruriko Yamada.  Put a cute kid on the cover and that’s all the marketing strategy you need for me.  Three of them, wearing my current favorite color palette, and I’m all in.  Fortunately, the rest of the book didn’t disappoint either.

If a beginning sewer were to pick up this book and flip through it, they might assume it was for a more intermediate skill level.  The sheer amount of information and diagrams could be intimidating at first glance.  But that’s exactly why this book would be great for anyone.  The sections on basic tools, needles and thread and sewing machine tips bring a newbie up to speed on what they need to know to get started, then the explanations on how to deal with the pattern pieces and fabric bring it home.  My advice is to read it through before deciding whether it fits into your skill level.

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The book starts out with some basic information on sizing, then dives right into the simple, clean photos of each garment.  I’m not just saying this – I love every single project.  I kept deciding on a favorite, then turning the page to find another.  I did finally narrow it down to four.

This sweet little dress could be made in so many fabrics and worn with leggings, with a top underneath or all by itself.

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This top is really my absolute favorite thing in the whole book.  There’s just something so fun about it.

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The author didn’t forget about the boys either.  I remember when my son was small it was always tough to find things to make for him.  These shorts are simple but easy to customize.

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This shirt is classic, and yet just a little different with the stand-up collar.

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There are 20 projects included in this book.  Needless to say, in order to provide full-sized patterns for each one they needed to be printed in such a way that they would all fit in one envelope.  That means they are overlapped and printed on both sides, so you need to plan on tracing all of the pieces.  If you’ve ever tried to use one size from a multi-size pattern, you know that’s probably going to make your life easier in the end anyway.  You also need to add a seam allowance, which is easy enough since you’re already tracing and is detailed in the book.  The one thing I found odd was that the suggested seam allowance was 3/8”.  I’ve always been told to use 5/8” with garments, but since you’re adding it yourself you can do whatever is comfortable for you.

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I’ll admit, I was a bit puzzled when I read the instructions for the first project.  Steps 2 and 4 are on the page, but no others.  It wasn’t until I spotted the guide telling me make it according to the instructions on another project, substituting the two steps, that it all made sense.  Rather than repeat they just redirect.  Again, it cuts down on what would otherwise be an enormous book.  There are handy flip-outs on the inside of the front and back covers to help keep your place when you need to go back and forth.

The layouts for cutting the pattern pieces are very clear and the diagrams for how to complete each step are very helpful.  Like my cookbooks, I want my sewing books to have lots of pictures.

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Overall, I really love this book.  The garments fit kids sizes 2 through 8, and I don’t currently have anyone to sew for that fits that demographic.  However, all of the projects are so simple and classic, I feel like it’s a book I can pull off the shelf a few years from now and none of it will be outdated. 

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Next week I’ll be reviewing Happy Homemade: Sew Chic by Yoshiko Tsukiori.  Have you sewn with any of the Happy Homemade books?