Crafty Chica's Guide to Artful Sewing

I’m so sad to admit that my sewing machine and I have been “on a break” for over a year now. I’ve been focusing on jewelry, but the for real story is that I got frustrated with my lack of skills and inability to move forward without more training. I got my sewing machine in 2003, and once I got over initial intimidation, I jumped right in embracing trial and error as the best way for me to learn. Over time, I guess I just got tired, but, rest assured, inspiration is back!

I picked up Kathy Cano-Murillo’s latest book “Crafty Chica’s Guide to Artful Sewing” last night and was unable to put it down. I had the honor of meeting Kathy many years ago when she visited Atlanta for CHA. Kathy is so nice and fun to talk to, and reading her words in print, I could totally hear her voice gently prodding me along, reminding me how much I love sewing. Her passion and creativity are abundantly clear, and her text is encouraging for the scared beginner and the seasoned pro alike!

“I’m not only going to hold your hand,” she states, “I’ll sprinkle good-luck glitter above your head.” That’s so sweet of her! The book sparkles, just like Kathy’s personality.

The thing I love about Kathy’s take on sewing is that she is super free-form and artful about it. She declares that she is not a seamstress, and it is more important that her projects are glittery and fun and full of self-expression than that they follow a strict regiment. Of course, there are structural decisions that are important when sewing, or else your piece will fall apart, but I like that she makes everything feel so free instead of painstaking.

The projects in the book range from beginner to difficult and are separated into several categories: “Power Purses,” “Wondrous Wearables” and “Embrace Your Space.” There are several projects in each category that I’m excited to try, but especially the Place Mat Purse, the Scarf Dress and the Pillow Stix. The book includes 30 projects, templates and a wonderful list of resources. Plus, scattered throughout the pages you get a happy dose of Kathy with tidbits like a list of movies that incorporate sewing, a story about a TV appearance that was almost a disaster and another story about her then friend (now husband) saving the day! Speaking of Kathy’s husband, Patrick Murillo beautifully illustrated the book…now that’s a dynamic duo!

I’m feeling inspired. I had an idea the other day for a new little something that I want to sew, and reading Kathy’s book really sealed the deal for me. To make my desire to sew even more pressing, I stumbled upon a quote from myself in the book! Scattered throughout the pages are quotes from people who have tried sewing. Some are happy and triumphant, others are ‘I tried it, I bombed, I’m done with sewing.’ Either way, collectively they illustrate the journey that is sewing…and some of the people who said they were done picked it back up again later in life and decidedly fell in love.

As I prepare for my new sewing project, I’ll leave you with this thought. In my quote (which is found on page 26, by the way!), I refer to my sewing machine as a friend. After reading “Crafty Chica’s Guide to Artful Sewing,” I can’t wait to be reunited with my dear, old friend, and I can guarantee that you’ll want to create this friendship too after you read Kathy’s book.

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