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April 08, 2024

Pretty in Patchwork Holidays: Book Review

By Wendy Robards

Pretty in Patchwork Holidays, by John Q. Adams.

Back at the beginning of the year [2013] I decided to join the Pretty in Patchwork Holiday Sew A Long over on Threadbias. I wanted to have some fun sewing with others while learning new techniques. The Sew A Long required the purchase of the book and then certain projects were pre-selected by the hosts for everyone to do. I managed to sew every pre-selected project but one (the Advent Calendar in October). Please note that there are actually 32 projects in the book to choose from.

Click HERE to view the photos of each project I made with links to the post about them. Click on the photos to enjoy a larger view of each project.

I thoroughly enjoyed sewing from this book -- in large part because I did it as part of a group and everyone shared their projects and discussed any problems they were having and how to resolve them. The projects are varied. Some are more time consuming and more difficult than others (for example, the Modern Diamonds Lap Quilt is not for beginner sewists, while other projects like the gift card givers are extremely simple). One of the things I liked the most about the book was how many new skills I was able to practice.

What I learned sewing from this book:

  • Reverse Applique quilting
  • Hidden zippers
  • Envelope closures for pillows
  • Curved piecing
  • Construction of drawstring bags

Many of the projects can be adapted to other holidays or toned down for something that can be used year round. The author also included some information about personalizing projects which was really fun (check out the Fun Fun Bunting and the Read Between the Lines Pillow on my link to the photos of the projects).

The book is not without its weaknesses, however. Unfortunately there were several errors in the book which complicated construction. Because I was sewing as part of a group, these problems did not prevent me from constructing the projects ... but it did cause a few headaches. On the Fun Fun Bunting, several of the letters had to be redesigned to make them work out in the overall design. The Harvest Vine Table Runner (I renamed it as the Spring Vine), had templates which were not the correct size (Lark Crafts have since updated the error and provided new templates here). New sewists may become frustrated at trying to figure out how to correct a pattern. Errors in books like this always annoy me as I feel each project should be completely vetted before publication.

Another weakness in the book is a lack of pictures which show how to do certain construction techniques. There is some assumption that the person using the book will have basic sewing knowledge and will not need extensive explanations. Because many of these projects included new skills for me, I would have found myself floundering if it had not been for the helpful advice of more experienced sewists on the Threadbias group.

Those wishing to sew from this book should be aware that the templates at the back of the book are not all full sized. Many require copying at 200% or 400%. This book could be improved by offering full sized templates which do not require sizing.

Despite these issues, this is a sweet sewing book with lots of great projects. It is organized well and provides the opportunity to practice basic sewing skills. My favorite finished projects from the book were ALL the pillows, along with the Modern Diamonds Lap quilt, Drawstring Bags (which make great packaging for gifts), and the Spring Vine Table Runner (stay tuned for a quilt sized version of that one of these days!).

Pretty in Patchwork Holidays by John Q. Adams is recommended for advanced beginners to intermediate sewists.

★ ★ ★ ★

  • Rating System

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ = Excellent
★ ★ ★ ★ = Good/Very Good
★ ★ ★ = Okay read
★ ★ = Not recommended
★ = Ugh! Don't waste your time.

Catch all of Wendy Robard's reviews in her fabulous blog, "Caribousmom".

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Article © Wendy Robards. All rights reserved.
Published on 2013-12-30
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