let’s sew together – simple projects the whole family can make by Rubyellen Bratcher

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As a mother with two little ones, I completely understand Bratcher’s motivation in creating fun crafts and memorable activities to share with her daughters.  Wait till you hear their names – so unique and beautiful!  I have a list of sewing projects I desperately want to complete for and with my littles.  Halloween costumes, flannel story board pieces, and handkerchief dresses top the list.  Sadly, none of these activities have yet been completed, but both of my cutie pies are still under two years of age.  I’ve got some time and let’s sew together may just be the inspiration I need to get going and start some creative projects.

The book begins by summarizing basic sewing concepts, techniques, materials, and vocabulary.  Briefly, the author reviews steps to take to keep children safe while sewing and introduces age appropriate involvement for projects.  Each activity lists a description, skill level, materials, instructions, and notes.  Beautiful, clear, and informative images accompany the numbered steps.  Peppered throughout the book are “teachable moments” and “read it together” side bars that help parents get the most out of each project.

Bratcher’s book is loaded with all kinds of wonderful sewing projects that can be completed for and/or with young children ages two to ten.  Some of them are even geared towards children as young as two.  The skill level required ranges from absolute novice to intermediate; although more advanced seamstresses are still likely enjoy teaching the less skilled using this book.  Some projects are meant to be completed quickly, while others take a little longer, but Bratcher encourages the reader to consider all projects doable even if they have a lot of steps.  Instead of ranking projects according to difficulty she assigns them 1-3 buttons based on the expected assembly time as follows:  one button (sew quick), two buttons (make in an afternoon), and three buttons (take your time).  There is also a no sew option using small items most of us have around the house that doesn’t require any sewing at all!

Within minutes of putting my hands on the book, I  had already identified multiple crafts that my daughter and I would love!  Some of my absolute favorites include:

  • super-happy slippers:  Easy to put on shoes with tops designed and drawn by the children themselves – yes please!
  • ship-shapes fabric necklace:  A fabric necklace that is devoid of choking hazards!
  • the travel the world quilt:  A quilt they’d use all the time showing the 7 continents!  **Hubby’s Favorite**
  • fill up with fruit and veggie softies:  Cloth food!  Unlike many plastic and wood sets you can buy filled with hot dogs and condiments, this activity lets you and the kids create make believe versions of healthier options such as pears and tomatoes.

My son is still an infant, but many of these projects would likely appeal to a young boy “as is” or could be made more appealing by utilizing “masculine” fabric choices.   

In the preface, Bratcher lists saving money as a reason behind sewing her children’s clothes as opposed to buying them.  I wish I could get behind the notion of sewing for thriftiness, but in truth after pricing many of these projects and comparing them to a similar purchased product or consignment item, there is little to no savings.  In fact many of the homemade alternatives are more expensive, especially if you don’t already own some of the basic items.  The value of these projects is not in cost savings, but in spending quality time as a family, creating crafts and memories!

In summary, I really enjoyed this book and look forward to trying out several of these projects.  This book is likely to grace my bookshelves for many years to come.  After reading her introduction and previewing several of the projects, I think that readers without any sewing experience at all (myself included) are still likely to need at least an introductory sewing class.  These projects are so promising and fun looking that I want to head on over to Jo Ann’s Fabrics and sign up right away 🙂  I recommend this book for parents interested in making sewing projects with and for their children ages two and up.  Several of these projects might also inspire tweens and teens to test their hands at sewing if they have little to no experience with the craft.

Publisher Synopsis:

Simple sewing techniques make craft time fun for kids and grown-ups alike, with ideas for vintage-inspired clothes, accessories, quirky home décor, cute toys, and sweet gifts designed by the mom behind the popular parenting and craft blog Cakies.

Don’t just sew for your kids. Sew with them! Rubyellen Bratcher has invented 30 simple projects that encourage families to spend more time together through DIY activities. This mom of four learned how to sew at her local fabric shop, but soon found that her daughters were her greatest source of inspiration. Documenting her family’s daily life and DIY adventures online, Rubyellen’s blog, Cakies, has steadily grown into a destination for parents and crafters of all ages. In her first book, she offers 30 projects for kids and grown-ups to make together, including a handpainted skirt, scribbled placemats, a robot friend, easy felt party garlands, overstuffed dollhouse pillows, a gorgeous world-map quilt, and much more. Each chapter also includes no-sew projects, educational activities, play ideas, and reading suggestions to encourage imagination and learning.


About the Author:

Rubyellen Bratcher started Cakies as a craft blog documenting her growing love for sewing. She has since been named a Top Mom Blogger on Babble, and has been featured in Family Fun Magazine, Martha Stewart Living, Babiekins, Cookie magazine, Apartment Therapy, Design for Mankind, HGTV, and many other print and online venues. She is also a contributor to the popular blog A Beautiful Mess. A former elementary school teacher, she is now mama to four girls: True, Brave, Soul, and Glow. She lives in California. Her chronicle of daily life can be found at www.mycakies.com.

Book Details

Titlelet’s sew together
Author: Rubyellen Bratcher
Category: Crafts, Home, & Hobbies
My Rating: 4.5 Stars

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