In Which Daniel Reviews a Book on Sewing (and a Giveaway!)

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My lovely friend Nicole Bennett, blogger of Gidget Goes Home and creator of The Motherhood and Jane Austen Book Club, wrote a fantastic ebook on the basics of sewing–something I want to learn to do.

Sewing School 101

It’s called Sewing School 101: Simple Tips to Get You Stitching. I’ve been so excited to share the book with you, but…it’s hard to vouch for a book on sewing when you know less than nothing about sewing. So I asked Daniel to review it for us since his sewing accomplishments far surpass mine:

Daniel Reviews a Sewing Book


The first time I sewed something was in second grade when my class made pillows. I embroidered a cloud and thunderbolt on mine along with my initials. It was a terribly ugly pillow, but I loved it. Since then, I’ve occasionally worked on small, hand-sewn projects from a pipe tobacco pouch to quidditch robes to a small purse for my oldest daughter. I find the simple rhythm of the needle to be therapeutic and relaxing. But I’ve recently become interested in larger and more detailed projects that require a sewing machine.

At first, I felt a little weird about being a man who sews. But that’s one of the great things about having a big beard and tattoos. You can get away with sewing a purse even though it might be a little weird because, hey, you still look pretty manly, right?

Anyway, I think this book is a great resource for beginners like myself. All of the instructions and descriptions are complete but not overly long. This allows you to search the book and get a quick understanding of how to do something without getting lost in details. I also think the projects included in the book are a perfect way to get started. Nicole includes a lot of great tips that I’ve already found useful.

Now, while this book is one great resource, I don’t think it’s the only resource you’ll need. But I think Nicole is clear about that, too. You’ll need your machine’s manual and perhaps a few websites and other sources of info. You’ll also need a spirit of perseverance. On the night I started working on an apron for Lucy, I spent half an hour trying to figure our how to thread my bobbin and another half hour changing two broken needles. I know the learning curve here will be steep but I’m excited about keeping on trying. And I’m happy to have this book as an outline for this endeavor.

Sewing School 2


Sewing School 101

Nicole is giving away one copy of Sewing School 101 to a Carrots reader so just leave a comment on this post to enter! Giveaway ends Thursday at midnight EST.

P.S. The winners of the Mama’s Notebooks giveaway were Karen P. and Hannah F. And for those of you who didn’t win, Mama’s Notebooks are and 10% off until July 9th at 11:59 PM with the code FORGIVE10.

Disclosure: We received a complimentary review copy of Sewing School 101. Links to the book are my affiliate link.

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  1. says

    Hi Haley! I’ve been sewing most of my life and have semi taught all my daughters. But I have one that does not live close and this would be perfect for her! Thanks for the opportunity!

  2. Alicia says

    This looks like an interesting book! I can use my sewing machine in a very basic capacity, but I would love to learn more. I frequently start sewing projects that I don’t quite have all the skills to complete, lol.

  3. Monica C says

    This would really help me get some use out of my sewing machine( which I have used exactly never)

  4. Jennifer says

    I’d love to win this! I have a sewing machine that I’ve been wanting to learn how to use. I need to make the time and dive in, so maybe this would be the push I need!

  5. Ashley P says

    I’d love to win! I was just given a sewing machine, and would love to have this book to help me get started.

  6. Kathy H says

    I’d love to win a copy! My sewing skills are very rudimentary and mostly involve basic embroidery taught to me by my great grandmother when I was 8.

  7. Stephanie says

    I’ve been trying to expand what I can make with my sewing machine, but I have not gotten very far 🙁 I would love to win this!

  8. jessie says

    *cough* hipster *ahem* 😉

    But my husband is one, too. So it takes one to know one, I guess? Great post!

  9. says

    You are so right about the beard. You can get away with just about anything and still look manly if you have a good beard 🙂

    I taught myself how to sew when my son was 6 months and I wanted to make cute cloth diapers for him on a budget. You are very right that it is a steep learning curve but once you get going you’ll find you can do so much with just rudimentary knowledge and it’s very rewarding! I highly recommend watching Youtube videos for some more complicated things like zippers or binding, it helps to see how other people do it from start to finish.

  10. Nora C says

    I taught myself, cut corners, half assed all the details and now about half the things I’ve sewn fall apart so…

    I should really learn how to do it right!

  11. says

    Hmm, I should probably get my sewing machine from my parents’ house, where it has been gathering dust. I enjoy sewing despite my lack of experience, and I have lots of projects ready to go when I make the time to sew!

  12. says

    I sew pretty well, by my standards, but I’d love to give this book to my daughter Rosie. She’s just starting, although you wouldn’t guess it from the Easter finery that she made for her kids this year!

  13. Laura F. says

    Too funny! I was JUST having a conversation with my mother last night about how I’m dying to learn how to sew. I think it’s such a shame that so many women in my generation do not have a skill that was considered fundamental for centuries. Reading Wives and Daughters, I was struck by and filled with envy at the descriptions of how the girls easily modernize and repurpose their dresses; it’s a lost art for many of us!
    When my grandmother got engaged to my grandfather, the first thing his mother asked her was, “Can you sew?”

  14. Piper says

    I’m a pretty competent sewer myself, but I’d love to give this book to my daughter! Thanks for hosting the giveaway!

  15. Karyl says

    I’ve been looking for a mommy-daughter sewing class, but this book sounds like a better bet since it would allow us to go at our own pace. Thanks for sharing a copy and a coupon!

  16. Genevieve says

    I want to win. I’ve been collecting pretty fabric on sale, but don’t really know how to sew things with it. Time to turn my box of fabric into something more.

  17. Allie N. says

    I also learned to sew in elementary school, but have rarely picked up a needle since. I would love to pick up sewing as a hobby and this book looks like a great resource for beginners. Thanks for sharing the review!

  18. says

    I received a sewing machine for Christmas two years ago and have yet to take it out of the box. I’m dying to learn, so this book would be wonderful to help me get started!

  19. says

    I’ve forgotten pretty much everything I learned about sewing in my theatre tech classes in college. My newish sewing machine has only been used for curtains and teething pads for my Ergobaby carrier. I’ve been wanting to learn to do more!

  20. Erin says

    I’d love to learn to sew! I can rely on my sewing husband to help with the how-to-work-the-machine part.

  21. says

    Hi Haley! I love to see and have been doing so since I was around six. I now have a five year old and I think having this book around to help me better explain things would be great. Plus, I can always learn something new and gone my craft. Love the blog!

  22. Katie says

    Literally just had a discussion with my husband about different hobbies we’d like to try, and sewing was at the top of my list! I’d love to win this book!

  23. Kate M says

    Thanks to Daniel for the review! This book sounds like it would be really helpful; I’ve only accomplished a few very simple sewing projects myself (one of them was from a “learn-to-sew” pattern and it seriously read like another language to me). I definitely have a lot to learn.

  24. Jenn says

    I could definitely use this! My sewing projects amount to some curtains and a pillow. I’m scared to branch out further without some better direction.

  25. says

    What a helpful review! I’ve been really wanting to learn how to sew better Andthis book sounds perfect. Thank you Haley and Nicole for hosting this giveaway! And thank you Daniel for the great review!

  26. Mary says

    I’d love to learn the basics of sewing! If neither of us know, my fiancé and I are up a creek haha!

  27. says

    I have noticed the ad for this ebook and the link in the bottom of your “This Week’s Miscellany” posts and I’ve been very interested. I have a sewing machine sitting at home – got it brand new for Christmas 1.5 years ago and have been too scared to try it even though I really, really want to learn to sew. I was just looking for the right resource to come along to help me! Thanks for the review, Daniel – I really hope I win, but if I don’t, I think I’ll be buying it anyway. I only wish I looked as cool sewing as you do, but alas, I’ll never be able to grow a beard…

  28. says

    I’d love a chance to win this book! I have a sewing machine, that I’ve used exactly once, to make cloth wipes – and those are already starting to fall apart (baby is only 11 weeks old)! I could definitely use a beginner’s guide!

  29. Katherine says

    My sewing skills are limited to hand-stitching buttons on, and sewing small holes shut in a semi-neat fashion. But I did inherit my grandma’s sewing machine, and I’d love to learn more about it!

  30. Kristin says

    I have never gotten my sewing machine out of the box– this would be great to win! P.S. Dad of the year, making an apron for his daughter!

  31. Tara says

    This book is exactly what I need. My daughter wants me to teach her how to sow. However, I am not very good at it.

  32. Rebecca says

    Some girlfriends and I have been talking lately about wanting to sew more, and live a more hand made life in general. Growing up, we cross-stitched and embroidered, but did little “practical” sewing. One of my summer goals is to make any basic piece of clothing for myself. It would be great to win this book and share it with all the girls!

  33. Natalie says

    I’m a total sewing noob (most projects look like pinterest fails…), I could use all the help I can get!

  34. Cathy Lohr says

    I think it’s great that you sew Daniel. Do we get to see a picture of the finished project? This sounds a great book so many of them seem to assume that the only people interested in sewing projects already know the basics.


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