Book Reviews

We Love to Sew Gifts Review & Pencil Cup

For Christmas, I bought my 10-year-old daughter We Love to Sew Gifts, by Annabel Wrigley. I’ve been following Annabel’s Instagram feed for a while now and I love the projects she does with the kids that come to her sewing studio. It’s the right balance of modern style with fun details that little girls love.

We Love to Sew Gifts Review & Pencil Cup | Radiant Home Studio

We Love to Sew Gifts Review & Pencil Cup | Radiant Home Studio

(This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no cost to you. Thanks for helping to support my business in this way!)

I’ve bought a few kids sewing books for my daughter. My biggest pet peeve with kids sewing books is when they don’t teach proper finishing techniques. The We Love to Sew books don’t do this. Annabel assumes that kids are smart enough to sew the “right” way and the projects are finished nicely, yet she still talks to them in a friendly way. One instruction starts, “Starting at the tippy top of the line…”.

The book starts with instructions for basic sewing techniques & terms. Then it includes 23 projects with varying degrees of difficulty. Annabel doesn’t shy away from teaching new techniques or using new materials in the projects. There is some appliqué, interfacing, & embroidery. She also uses felt, yarn, and oilcloth, in addition to quilting cotton and canvas fabric. The end of the book includes full-sized patterns for tracing or copying. (Check the Amazon preview. You can see several pages!)

We Love to Sew Gifts Review & Pencil Cup | Radiant Home Studio

My daughter has worked on a few projects by herself. She has a basic knowledge of sewing and was able to follow instructions on her own. This week, we worked on making the Scrappy Patchy Pencil Cups with a couple of friends.

We Love to Sew Gifts Review & Pencil Cup | Radiant Home Studio

We started with 3 girls, but one had to leave early. I think it took about 1 1/2 hours for them to finish sewing. That’s about as long as a 10-year-old attention span lasts while sewing, so it was just right for them. I pulled out a bunch of scraps that coordinated, but I think they added a few that weren’t exactly in the color scheme. 🙂

We Love to Sew Gifts Review & Pencil Cup | Radiant Home Studio

I helped with some of the cutting (they can do it, but it’s neater and faster when I do). The girls did all the sewing of the fabric strips. They also did all of the decorative stitching, which was their favorite part of the project. It allowed them to experiment with all of the fun leaf and flower stitching patterns. I did the edge sewing on the top and bottom, which they also could have done. They wanted neat lines and knew I could sew straighter.

We Love to Sew Gifts Review & Pencil Cup | Radiant Home Studio

We Love to Sew Gifts Review & Pencil Cup | Radiant Home Studio

Overall, we enjoyed the project. There was a lot of room for creativity in choosing fabrics and fancy stitches. And the girls were proud of what they made!

We Love to Sew Gifts Review & Pencil Cup | Radiant Home Studio

Based on my experience, I think a 7 to 10-year-old could do these projects with mom assisting. A 10 to 12-year-old with some basic sewing skills can manage the projects alone, and an older girl can most likely teach herself to sew using this book, the sewing machine manual, and some determination. There are several books in the We Love to Sew series, and we will definitely be purchasing more in the future!


Book Reviews, Sewing

On the Go Bags: Van Organizer

This week, I’m celebrating 2 years since I sold my first pattern. I never would have imagined that it would lead to one of my patterns would be published in a book just 2 years later. It’s is a pleasure to join the On the Go Bags—15 Handmade Purses, Totes & Organizers blog tour with some of the best bag designers in the business. These ladies have put together a beautiful book with modern sewing projects that will keep your home organized with style.

I’m also giving away a copy of the book! (This giveaway has ended! Congrats to Lunebeam!) Details are at the end of the post…but first I thought I would share a little about my inspiration for the pattern I designed.

On the Go Bags | Van Organizer | Radiant Home Studio

(This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for helping to support my business!)

I enjoy designing bags and home accessories, but I especially love creating practical items to help you simplify your life. When Lindsay shared the premise for the book—bags and organizers for specific purposes—I knew it would be fun project to work on. I spent a couple of days thinking about what would be helpful to organize around my house. Anyone with kids knows the van can get crazy messy, so I designed this van organizer to contain some of the mess! It won’t magically clean your van for you, but at least it will keep it all from rolling around the floor and out the sliding doors…

This version was made by Lindsay Connor for Art Gallery Fabrics. The new canvas is perfect for this project!

On the Go Bags | Trunk Organizer Radiant Home Studio

The pattern has a variety of elasticated pockets on each side, plus a removable divider. I wanted the inside to be big enough to carry a casserole to a potluck. A 9 x 13 dish will easily fit without the divider. Then you can pop the divider back in (it attaches with hook-and-loop tape) when you want to fill the organizer with smaller things. It’s great for the trunk, but I also thought it would be perfect to have in the front between the seats for road trip supplies. When we take long trips, there’s always a pile of stuff between the seats…and tons of trash. How great would be to throw a grocery bag in one end for trash, while the other side is filled up with snacks?

Now I’m wondering why I haven’t made another one for myself after I sent this one off to be photographed…my van is still a mess!

Here’s a sneak peek at a few of my favorite projects from the book. And thank you to Lindsay & Janelle for including me and for all of your hard work on this book!

On the Go Bags Blog Tour | Mom's Minivan Organizer | Radiant Home Studio

Would you like to win a copy of On the Go Bags—15 Handmade Purses, Totes & Organizers by Lindsay Conner and Janelle MacKay (Stash Books). The book is available this month at and January 7th on Amazon! Add it to your holiday wishlist now, and comment below for your chance to win a copy!

On the Go Bags (Dec. 2015, Stash Books)

To win a copy of On the Go Bags, leave a comment on this post telling us what style of bag is most useful in your everyday life and why. Giveaway ends 12/15 at midnight EST, and I’ll choose one random winner. U.S. winner will receive a hard copy, and winner outside the U.S. will receive an e-Book.

Find out more about the book, the designers, and the projects by following the posts at these blogs!

On the Go Bags Blog Tour

Tuesday, Dec 1: Shannon Fabrics / Sew Sweetness
Wednesday, Dec 2: Clover & Violet / Ann Kelle
Thursday, Dec 3: Radiant Home Studio / Melly Sews
Friday, Dec 4: Sew Caroline / Mia’s Creations
Saturday, Dec 5: ikat bag / imagine gnats
Monday, Dec 7: sewVery / The Girl Inspired 
Tuesday, Dec 8: Stash Books / Fabric Mutt
Wednesday, Dec 9: Pellon
Thursday, Dec 10: Simple Simon and Co / Mrs. H
Friday, Dec 11: Emmaline Bags / Lindsay Sews
Monday, Dec 13: Sew, Mama, Sew



Darling Dollies from Felt Sew Good

A few months ago, I wrote a little review of the book Felt Sew Good. I bought it for my 8 year old for Christmas. Since then, she has made dozens of gifts for her friends, starting with the smaller projects and working her way up. We have several pretty felt birds decorating our shelves, and many of her friends have received little felt animals and woven heart pouches as she has had time to make them.

Darling Dollies - Felt Sew Good | Radiant Home Studio

A couple of weeks ago, she decided to tackle one of the bigger projects—a Darling Dollies felt doll. It was beautiful when she finished and I’m so impressed with how well she managed on her own. I helped with a small bit of stitching around the hair, and I added the face. Other than that, she did everything else on her own!

Darling Dollies - Felt Sew Good | Radiant Home Studio

Darling Dollies - Felt Sew Good | Radiant Home Studio

In the process, my (almost) 5 year old daughter started coming in to the sewing room every day to admire the progress. She kept asking if we could make one for her next. Little did she know, we were planning this one as a gift for her upcoming birthday. I’m pretty sure it was her favorite gift! She hugged the doll and did a little happy dance when she opened it.

Darling Dollies - Felt Sew Good | Radiant Home Studio

I encourage you to let your children experiment with sewing. They can do a lot on their own once they have some experience. Felt is such a great material to use for practice. It is inexpensive and easy to find. I also wanted to add, please don’t be discouraged if your 8 year old isn’t ready for a project like this yet. I start my kids early, working on simple embroidery and hand stitching when they are 4 or 5. This doll is the result of 3 or 4 years of regular practice and observation, plus her natural love of making. Start with something simple and learn something new every day!

Darling Dollies - Felt Sew Good | Radiant Home Studio

P.S. If you are interested in purchasing this book, I’d appreciate it if you use my affiliate link!  Felt Sew Good: 30 Simple & Stylish Felt Projects

Book Reviews

Felt Sew Good: Book Review

Before Christmas, my husband and I spent a date night enjoying some hot drinks and searching for books our kids would love. My (almost) 8 yr. old girl loves to make gifts for her friends and is always asking to raid the fabric scraps and felt bin for materials. I wanted to find her a book that would provide her with gift ideas that were simple, but beautiful. She often makes things from her kids sewing books, but many of the items aren’t very useful. And now that she has developed some basic sewing skills, I sort of cringe at the “kid-friendly” construction techniques that leave raw edges showing.

Felt Sew Good Book Review | Radiant Home Studio

When I found Felt Sew Good on the shelf and flipped through the gorgeous pages, I knew I right away that it was the book I was looking for. It’s filled with pretty little felt projects that are simple enough for a little girl, but that will encourage her to learn proper technique and inspire beautiful craftsmanship. (Plus, I might want to make some of the projects myself!)

The book is divided into 3 sections: Gifts, decorations, and things for the home. There are several items that are fun for children including woodland finger puppets and small dolls. The home decorating items are tasteful and modern. The projects look handmade, not homemade – if you know what I mean.

Felt Sew Good Book Review | Radiant Home Studio

We decided to make the heart shaped baskets for some friends that we are planning to visit. I made the one with the light gray and deep red colors. My daughter made the other 2 baskets (mostly) on her own. Though the weaving part was illustrated nicely, she still needed a bit of help to get it all straightened out. She said that adding the flowers and stitching were her favorite part of the project, and wished the baskets were already made so she could just decorate them. Luckily for her, there is also an entire page spread with ideas for making pretty little felt flowers. I think she’ll be making dozens for her friends once she gets the weaving part figured out!

Felt Sew Good Book Review | Radiant Home Studio

One of my biggest pet peeves about craft books is when the patterns are not printed at 100%. It’s nearly impossible to enlarge patterns correctly on a home printer. And who wants to take their book to the print shop and pay more just to be able to do the projects? I’m happy to say that all of the patterns in Felt Sew Good are actual size and there is no resizing required. You can easily trace the patterns or copy a page and cut out the pattern.

Felt Sew Good Book Review | Radiant Home Studio

I rarely buy craft books (as much as I love looking through them for inspiration), but this one was too beautiful to pass up and I just had to share it with you!

What are your favorite craft books?

(if you are looking for the book on Amazon, you can find it through this affiliate link: Felt Sew Good book.)