made at home – sewing book review


“made at home – a guide for simple sewing” is a book by Lisa Stickley, intended for those who just start sewing.

The book is full of step-by-step instructions on how to make a variety of items to use around the house: napkins, tea cozies (I never knew what a tea cozy is until I got this book), aprons, cushion covers, and more.

DISCLAIMER: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. I used these affiliate links to give you the option to check the book out, for yourself, if you so wish, through a well trusted seller. While I will be very glad if you decide to buy this book, the decision to do so or not, belongs to you. Thank you for reading!  

I’ll show you later on the content page, so stick around!

The projects are for quilting cotton or maybe even upholstery fabrics in some cases, as this is one of the easiest fabrics to sew with.

The title and the whole book are written in lower letters, so this is why i used the same writing style when mentioning what I’ll be talking about in this entry – see the first picture in this entry, below.

Well, i recently started sewing, as you can tell from my blog found here. Recently is a relative term at this point, but i’m still a beginner.

I found this book in an outlet for books, and it was pretty cheap, but i forgot how much i paid. The original price was 16.99 (British) Pounds, though now i see it became much more pricey. The book was printed in China.

It’s about the thickness of your palm, about 2 palms long and a palm and a half wide.

The pages are thick but the book is pretty lightweight, which is good – though i’m sure some of you might find the book a bit on the heavy side.

I think the book could have been a bit smaller from a handling point of view.

Now, speaking of the pages themselves, they have quite a lot of white space around the text. This is especially noticeable in the tutorials for really easy projects.

One of the pages where you can see this quite a lot of white, unused space is the table of contents – see below. This is not the whole page: the whole page has some borders.

Maybe this white space is to add notes? I’m not sure. There are also 2 lined pages between the chapters.

Personally, i find those pages perfect to write notes, such as “do this project in this fabric.” Or “you put the fabric for this project in [whatever] location”.

Everything starts in the basics section, where a few fabrics are described, such as tasar silk, herringbone weave, taffeta, twill, canvas and more.

These are the fabrics recommended for the best results, but a beginner will want to stay away from silk, as i previously mentioned, and use cotton or maybe canvas when they just start out.

Also, worth mentioning that all the names of these fabrics are technically a bit misleading as some of them make a reference of the fiber they’re made of – cotton, silk – and others refer to how the fiber was processed to obtain the textile – twill, herringbone weave.

I recommend you research the fabrics a bit more if you want to better understand what you’re working with.

So what does a tutorial look like? See the picture below!

In this tutorial, I learned what an antimacassar is. This is also the shortest and simplest project to make.

It’s basically like a kitchen towel that gets attached to the armchair with buttons.

Because this tutorial covers just one page, I want to mention that there are some instructions that take about 3 pages, like the pouffe on page 76.

They have pictures, or better-said drawings too, with how the fabric should be positioned, or how the item should look like at the end of that step.

Of course, for each item, you’ll also have the “list of ingredients” – how much fabric, extra things, like buttons, zippers, velcro tape, or whatever does the item require.

There are no patterns included with the book. At the end, however, there are some templates for some of the items that could need a pattern, such as aprons, hot bottle covers, tea cozies.

There are instructions on how to scale them to make the item you need.

Most other items have a rectangular shape, and since you’ll be using a woven fabric to make them, all you need is to know how to measure, cut and then you’re told how to assemble the piece.

While most of the images are drawings, there are some actual pictures throughout the book as well.

I think the drawings tie in well with the lower case style of the font used.

Please note that they imply you’ll be using a sewing machine for these projects. However, I think hand sewing them is also possible in some cases.

I find that most items are a bit basic, but keep in mind they’re meant to help you enjoy what you’re doing, doing it well, and once you get the hang of it, you can add frills, lace, do a patchwork, to get a unique item.

You can also make the items smaller or bigger, based on your needs.

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5. The explanations are good, clear, and straight to the point.

Recommending this book? YES! If you’re a beginner at sewing, definitely buy this book, if you can. Or, if you know someone who would like to start sewing.

There isn’t much non-sense and words to fluff it up. I also like that for most projects there’s also a little explanation related to how to use the item, or a bit of history behind it, like for the antimacassar above.

Even if you’re not a beginner, but you somehow never thought about making your own home decor (despite making your own clothes) this book can be useful.

I hope this review was helpful for you, and that you can decide whether you want to buy or not this made at home, as used book.

©Charly Cross 2013 – present. All rights reserved.