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Bend-the-Rules Sewing: The Essential Guide to a Whole New Way to Sew

3.84  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,222 Ratings  ·  153 Reviews
Author Amy Karol, whose Angry Chicken is one of the best-loved craft blogs on the Web, brings stitchers everywhere a down-to-earth introduction to sewing, including thirty projects so adorable and cool they’ll inspire anyone to pick up a needle and thread.

Written with Amy’s characteristic warmth and flair, you’ll find information on basic equipment and supplies, advice on
Paperback, 144 pages
Published June 19th 2007 by Potter Craft
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Bend-the-Rules Sewing by Amy KarolSew What! Skirts by Francesca DenHartogAll Washed Up and Nowhere to Run by Rosamund SnowLotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing by Lotta JansdotterPolymer Clay Creative Traditions by Judy Belcher
Desert Island List
1st out of 48 books — 18 voters
Aprons And Bibs    Over 30 Vintage Sewn And Crocheted Ideas by American Thread CompanyAprons by Joyce CheneyAprons of the Mid-20th Century by Judy FlorenceThe Apron Book by EllynAnne GeiselTen All American Novel Aprons -- Complete Cutting and Sewing ... by White Sewing Machine Co.
Sewing Aprons
6th out of 12 books — 1 voter

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,366)
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Oct 08, 2007 Erin rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
I've checked this book out from the library about 4 times thinking it's either Amy Butler's In Stitches or Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing both of which have projects more geared toward someone like myself: Happily childfree. Pretty pictures, though, and some beautiful fabric options.
Jul 04, 2007 Evan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: domestics
A wonderful resource for those that have just discovered the joy of sewing. It's filled with simple projects for beginners, and takes the pressure off following strict directions.
Feb 02, 2010 Tristy rated it did not like it
I really, really wanted to like this book more. The projects are adorable but yet again, as with many craft how-to books, the instructions are really not clear for many of the projects. It seems to be a theme with these "hipster" craft books - clear instruction are sacrificed to make the design of the book layout look pretty.
Aug 17, 2009 Lu rated it liked it
Meh. I wasn't super impressed by the techniques or the patterns included, though I'm about to start sewing some of the cute little headbands...I guess I had really high expectations for Amy since I love her blog. I'd skip buying the book, rent if from the library, or better yet, just go to her Angry Chicken blog.
Darcie Kileen
Sep 18, 2007 Darcie Kileen rated it liked it
Fun ideas for beginning-to-intermediate sewers (seamstresses?). Some of the instructions were a little lacking--I had to figure out a few missing steps on my own--but I liked the variety of projects included.
Sep 01, 2007 DeerDominique is currently reading it
Shelves: sewcrafty
I've yet to complete a project from the book, I bought the book for the kids hat pattern specifically. It is a well done book, the projects would be great for an actual novice.
Aja Marsh
i wasn't aware of her blog before getting this book from the library, but i did at first assume it would be more about garments, so my perception of the book is a bit skewed. mostly i'm not that interested in many non-garment type sewing books unless i'm after something very specific, as i'm pretty ok at just winging bags, pillows, and the like, so nothing here was really out of my league, but i liked her low-key attitude to sewing which was nice to read in the midst of a lot of books that make ...more
Camille Hoffmann
Nov 12, 2014 Camille Hoffmann rated it really liked it
I loved how casual the author was; her personality really came out, which makes it really fun to read. There were a lot of helpful tips in here, and some basic projects that, as someone who is just learning to sew, seem to be easy enough for me to try. However, I wish the diagrams were a little more clear; maybe pictures instead. She gives lots of directions, but they aren't always clear.
Aug 21, 2008 Jaimee added it
So far, I've made the bibs, the charming handbag, the pleated beauty handbag, and the no-cash wallet.... and they've all been relatively easy and fun to do. Amy Karol has written this in a generally clear way (although the hand-drawn diagrams could sometimes be clearer) and the projects are fun to do.

I really like that everything takes only a little bit of time and fabric to accomplish- it really is encouraging to have finished projects to spur you onto trying something new. It's very satisfyin
Feb 05, 2014 Lily rated it it was ok
Update. I worked on the tote bag all day today. I'm very dissapointed, not with the bag, but some of the directions and fabric measurements. The bag is really small. I didn't realize it was so small. The strap size is so thick compared to the bag. The book looks cute but the projects are just ok. I know It's bend your rules but the directions should be tweaked or other options should be given. I do plan on making the tote again but bigger and with same size straps.

I'm going to try a few project
Aug 20, 2008 Amy rated it it was amazing
I recently discovered the new book, Bend-the-Rules Sewing, by Amy Karol. I am most definitely a "bend-the-rules" kind of gal when it comes to crafting. If there's a shortcut that won't ruin the integrity of my work then I'll take it!

If the name Amy Karol sounds familiar, it's probably because you've seen her blogs, Angry Chicken and Tie One On (about all things aprony). Speaking of aprons, there's some great ones in this book!

In fact, there are 30 great designs in this book (including the pillow
Jul 20, 2010 Kellie rated it really liked it
Shelves: crafting
I am a total novice and this book was easy enough to understand, fun to read, and the patterns are very cute. I hate paper patterns so I appreciate that they aren't necessary for many of the projects. I do think that Aimee Ray's Doodle Stitching book does a better job at describing how to do some of the hand stitches, but the bottom line is that that kind of stuff is hard to describe and illustrate so it might be necessary to find a video on youtube. I see that some people felt like there were s ...more
Mar 28, 2008 Melissa rated it it was ok
I changed my review of this book after trying a few of the projects. The book is full of lovely photographs & cute fabrics & is written in a fun way. There are some great tips for a beginner (including not using vintage sheets for fabric, as they are fabric blends that will not press well). However, the project instructions are very unclear. Some of the measurements are incorrect, which could lead to a lot of frustration for a beginning sewer. The ideas are good as jumping off points, bu ...more
Sep 11, 2011 Jo rated it liked it
I've had this book on my radar for some time. I love the title and the idea of bending sewing rules and doing it differently. The photographs are lovely, the tone of writing friendly and approachable. The intro & basics section is thorough & helpful for beginners. There are no patterns which is rule bending of a sort and liberating for those allergic to patterns. The book is a bit of a let down in the instructive department with minimal written and as for the diagrams...I think they woul ...more
Jun 08, 2009 Alison rated it really liked it
Shelves: craft-design
Another great sewing book, this one focusing on accessories (and a couple of pieces of kids' clothing) for those who aren't interesting in sewing clothes just yet. Karol goes over some basics of sewing and fabric, and then jumps into her patterns. They include the clutch shown on the cover, some great tote bags, and several other projects for your home. All of them are very cute, and I really enjoyed the chatty style of the pattern descriptions. The patterns themselves are presented at the back ...more
Nov 05, 2008 Juliezs rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who is interested in learning to sew!
Shelves: read-in-2008, library
If I was a brand-new to sewing person, this book would be absolutely perfect. I love her enthusiastic approach to spreading the word about how much fun sewing things for yourself, your family and home is. She admits that it probably isn't cheaper these days, but that it is still worth doing if you want to. All the basic info is in here, tools, basic seams and construction techniques, even some surface design ideas. There were a few ideas for handbags that I found to be useful and new to me, the ...more
Holly Booms Walsh
Nov 27, 2007 Holly Booms Walsh rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: beginning or hobby sewers
Shelves: crafting
This is by far the best, clearest, easiest book to get you sewing if you have never done it before, or you are rusty at it. It is a beginner's guide with tips and tricks about sewing machines, zippers, seams, interfacing, fabrics, threads, and sewing tools and terms. The tone is informal, there are lots of illustrations, and a ton of great simple projects (coasters, handbags, tote bags, makeup bags, kid's clothing, pillows, placemats, and much more) that will get you salivating to make gifts for ...more
Sep 09, 2007 Chris rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2007reads
I'm still what I'd consider a novice sewer, and some of the projects in this book seem a little beyond my current skills. But the book itself is really well made and thought out, and the pictures of the finished projects are lovely. I've already made one of the "vintage" aprons, and the small quilt is up next (as soon as I get through the knitting project I've ignored all summer, that is). I do like the author's overall idea that sewing should be less structured and more creative. So while I'm n ...more
Feb 22, 2008 LeAnne rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: any sewer
I have been sewing for awhile, not a seamstress by any stretch, and found a lot of helpful tips. Additionally, I appreciated the way this book was written. The instructions were to the point without missing any important information. I would have loved to have this book when I was younger and just learning how to sew.

The projects are wonderful and you can totally make them "your own". I would highly recommend this to anyone, regardless of sewing ability!

I borrowed this book from my library and
May 14, 2013 Sarah rated it liked it
Shelves: craft-sewing
A pretty good, simple introduction to the basics of sewing. I'm excited to try some of these projects once I get over my fear of my sewing machine, and in the meantime I may even sew some of the simpler ones by hand. My biggest problem with this book is that the projects are not photographed well - in many cases the one small photo doesn't even show the entire item. Also, the author's explanations of the steps involved to make each project seem sparse. I'll update my rating though, if necessary, ...more
Jessie (saxgrl1)
Aug 02, 2009 Jessie (saxgrl1) rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: sewers
Shelves: crafts
This is the first book I got when I bought my new sewing machine. I've done a few projects out of it (bib and soft turtle buddy). The pictures and ideas are great. Instructions are simple and easy for a return sewer. There are lots of helpful information at the beginning like supplies (with descriptions), fabric tips, sewing definitions and basic sewing techniques. There are a variety of projects that can fit most people's lives from bags to childrens wear to placemats to aprons. Definately wort ...more
Mar 29, 2013 Heather rated it really liked it
I love cute craft books, however I rarely buy them or I'd have a houseful! What's great about this one is full of simple, attractive projects that even the sewing neophyte (like me, the perpetual sewing beginner) can complete. I did one easy project when I first got this book, then life got busy. I think it's high time that I tried another one, it's been a couple years since I flipped through the pages.

Amy Karol's voice throughout this book make going through the steps of each project a fun read
Oct 16, 2008 Allanna rated it really liked it
THIS book is a book that makes me WANT to sew ... and makes me think that maybe I COULD manage to sew something without wanting to rip my eyeballs out.

I'm so glad that I found this at our local library. I'd been wanting to read it for AGES.

There are some cute sewing ideas, even for people who've been successfully sewing for years. And the directions are written with sweet humor and are so clear!

This sewing manual is my favorite so far. ^_^
May 13, 2008 Megan rated it really liked it
Fun and nicely designed--great photography and cute projects. I have just started sewing, and sometimes I'm not quite sure what she means and I have to figure it out--a little more explanation would be helpful. I made art smocks for my girls for Valentine's day using the little unfinished jacket pattern and they turned out wonderfully. I like that she encourages you to find your own sense of creativity to create your own style of sewing.
Kelly Cooke
Sep 29, 2008 Kelly Cooke rated it it was amazing
This book is really great. I amazed myself by starting and nearly finishing the "swing swing smock" in ONE evening. This would be my second project completed since the drawstring bag I made in seventh grade home economics. I would have finished it last night, but my bobbin ran out of thread and I have to call someone to remember how to put more on. Liz!

This book is also why I have not been reading. I've been sewing!
May 19, 2009 Michelle rated it really liked it
Shelves: craftybooks
Lots of basic sewing tips (yes, even I learned something from them and I don't normally peruse those parts of the sewing books) and projects. Cute pillows, placemats, bags, aprons and yes, blankets. Once again I am hampered by my lack-of-time problem.

Bend-the-rules Sewing
Aug 16, 2008 Mimi rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: crafters and people that need to chill out
Recommended to Mimi by: Adam Jones
Shelves: art-craft, charming
Amy has the most amazing way of helping you feel comfortable around a sewing machine. Her projects are simple but ever so charming and useful. This book is perfect for those of us (ahem!) that over think our craftiness and end up not making anything at all!

My plan is to work my way through each project and use the results either to keep or use as gifts. By the end I wshould be a pro! (That's not too much to take on is it? Sheesh.)
Sep 19, 2007 Sara rated it liked it
Shelves: sewing
The one thing I was didn't really like about this books is that she gives you measurments for the patterns, so you have to measure and cut everything yourself. It makes it a bit of a pain when you don't know how many yards of fabric you need and I'm not that good at doing the math. When I took the book with me to the fabric store it took the ladies cutting the fabric for me a while to figure out how much fabric I needed.
Jan 24, 2008 Inder rated it liked it
Shelves: prettystuff
I LOVE Amy Karol - check out her blog, The Angry Chicken. There are some great ideas in this book. The only reason it's getting four stars from me rather than five is that I wish it went a little FURTHER ... it's a great book for beginners, but it just needs a few more challenging projects to keep the interest of those of us who have a little more skill and were hoping for full-on Amy Karol awesomeness.
Jun 12, 2008 Lisa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crafty
love this book. i bought it in a hormonal snit near the end of my pregnancy when i decided i wanted to learn to sew. it covers the basics nicely. i'm a fly by the seat of my pants sort of girl who gets frustrated with patterns and lots of steps, so her method of instruction works nicely for me. if you want a lot of detail and step by steps, it might not be the book for you.
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