book review: sewing in a straight line

good morning! i am so happy to be today’s stop on the blog tour for my awesome friend Brett Bara‘s new book, Sewing in a Straight Line. and i am even more thrilled that at last i have a book to recommend to all of my beginner sewing students who ask me, “what book do you recommend for cute, simple projects?” which is a question i get all the time. i never had a go-to book to refer them to, but now i do! check out some of these projects:

and, before you go thinking “sure, you can make blankets out of rectangles, but what about CLOTHES?” i give you these:

there are also two adorable dresses, a blouse i can’t wait to make, and a cardi you could wear over everything! plus accessories, gifts, and home goods, all of which you can make without sewing a single curved seam. i am simply in love with her entire collection of pieces, and the fabrics and photos are just gorgeous.

Brett and i have known each other since the days when she was an editor (and i a contributor) at Crochet Today. i asked her a few questions about this lovely book:

cp: I love the idea of a sewing book with projects made only from straight seams. Brilliant! How did you come up with it?
BB: Why thank you! The idea popped into my head one day when I was sewing something, and it occurred to me that so much of what I sew is made with straight lines only. Meanwhile, it seemed like more and more people had been telling me they’d like to learn how to sew, but that it seemed to difficult and they didn’t know where to start. So I thought, if only more people could realize that sewing doesn’t have to be difficult — that you can actually make a lot of great stuff with very basic techniques — then all those people who want to learn to sew, could! And that’s how this book was born.

cp: I bet people will be surprised when they see just how cool and stylish these projects are, despite all being made from rectangles! I can’t wait to make some of the clothes myself. Are you wearing a whole new “Straight Line” wardrobe now, and do you have a favorite piece?
BB: My wardrobe isn’t 100% “Straight Line” yet – but I’m working on it! I think my favorite piece is the Heavy Metal Bag, because it was a challenge to design and sew (it’s made of faux ostrich vinyl), and I love how it turned out. I also really like the shirred dress because I still think shirring is just magical. All you do is change your bobbin thread, and you can create amazing shaping!

cp: Do you have any advice for beginner sewers?
BB: 1. Don’t be afraid; and 2. Take a sewing lesson.
It always bums me out when people talk about being afraid to try anything in crafting. It’s only fabric! Nothing terrible will happen if you make a mistake. Also, it really, really helps to get over the beginner hump if you take a sewing lesson, just to get the basics down and make sure you know how to use your machine. After that, you’ll be equipped to keep practicing and get comfortable sewing.

cp: What are some of your favorite fabrics, and where do you like to shop for them?
BB: My favorite fabrics are anything with a big, bold print and bright colors. I’m especially drawn to Marimekko and anything in that genre (like Ikea prints). I’m a little bit of a magpie – my eye is always drawn to the bright flashy fabrics, and I have to make sure to keep a lid on things, or I’ll become a crazy lady walking around wearing 17 different prints, living in a house with dozens of prints in every room! As far as shopping, I love the garment district in NYC. I just wander around there and it’s like falling into a rabbit hole of inspiration.


you can get to know Brett a bit more, and learn how to make her One-Hour Skirt project, in this video:

Sewing in a Straight Line by Brett Bara – How to Sew a Skirt in One Hour from Rarebit Productions on Vimeo.

Brett is having a contest on her site, where one lucky winner will score a sewing machine AND a serger! the winner will be chosen August 12, so act fast…
and if you leave a comment here, telling me what you love about sewing, i’ll choose a random winner on friday the 12th at 6pm to receive a copy of the book!
***congrats to Sydney O for winning the book!***


  1. Daisy and Daisy

    What cute cute projects! p.s. she was just featured on Craftzine’s blog….


  3. I’ve been following this blog tour and more and more I think I must get this book! What I love about sewing is creating something that no one else has, something special and unique.
    Thanks for the giveaway

  4. I love that when I sew things, I have cute and functional things that no one else has. I can create things for a specific purpose that exactly fit my design aesthetic.

  5. I love the creativity. It you can’t fin the perfect thing in the store, you can make it yourself!

  6. Sarah Edmonds

    I love being able to make clothes for my daughter that she loves and are unique.

  7. Hi Cal,

    I started sewing only a couple of months back, when I found out I was pregnant. And I love love sewing dresses and toys for my lil one and now I’m getting hooked onto sewing clothes for myself. Sewing allows me to make unique, one of kind clothes for my baby 🙂

  8. I love that sewing allows me to take a vintage frock/sheet/scrap of fabric and turn it into something modern and fabulous! Not only is this good for my wallet, it’s good for the earth, too! I would love to use this book to continue creating!

  9. I love sewing. When sewing seams, especially when quilting, sew over a small piece of fabric then sew your seam and continue chain sewing butting your pieces without stopping. When finished, snip your pieces apart This eliminates the need to cut the beginning threads because they are on the little square that you can use again and again.

  10. I love that you can make something to reflect who you are in sewing! Clothes to toys to home items! thanks for the review !

  11. I love that when I am sewing, it is my own time to myself! All my kids are in bed, the house is quiet and I get to choose whatever I want for my next project and just go with it. It is truly “me-time.”

  12. I’m an avid knitter and it takes awhile to complete a project. I love sewing because you can see the results quickly and because there are sooooo many beautiful fabrics available!

  13. My favorite thing about sewing is making useful objects, ooh and the colors and the sound of the sewing machine motor.

  14. I love the creativity of sewing, I can make something unique that no one else has.

  15. I love making presents for other people! Sewing allows me to do that pretty quickly… certainly more than when I was knitting and crocheting presents. 😀

  16. sandy meyer

    Sewing is relaxing for me. Love to create and recycle material like making my scraps tuning them into rag rugs.

  17. I love making something tangible, especially as I work with software all day.

  18. I love being able to express my many different tastes with sewing. Plain or fancy, I can always make something fun!

  19. Esther Kidwell

    I love seeing my poject come together! It’s kind of magical

  20. I love seeing the finished product.


  21. I love every step of the process, the idea or inspiration, the hunt for the materials, the cutting and sewing, and finally, the finished, glorious item to behold!

  22. I LOVE LOVE sewing things that are quickly done and pretty to boot. Your book will be put to good use if I win – I promise!!! Love your website – BTW.

  23. I love being able to customize our home with unique fabrics and homemade goodies that fit our life and style perfectly!
    mcintosh dot kimberley at gmail dot com

  24. Sewing gives me a sense of accomplishment like nothing else. Nothing is quite so rewarding…except, maybe, strawberries dipped in chocolate?

  25. I love the craziness of cutting up perfectly good fabric into little pieces and then sewing it back together again.

  26. I love sewing because it keeps me sane. With 3 kids, it is a crafty pursuit that I can pursue but indulge in gorgeous fabrics and creative ideas at the same time.

  27. I love that while I create something beautiful and useful I’m relaxing and having a good time.
    Thanks for the cool giveaway!

  28. I’m a very new sewer, but I enjoy seeing a project evolve from a piece of fabric into something beautiful and useful!

  29. I love the feeling of CREATING something unique–and sometimes even useful! Haha.

  30. i love sewing because it gives me something constructive to do while my hubby’s at work and school… and with all our neighbors having babies the list of projects is never-ending!

  31. i love sewing because of the sense of creativity juice flowing and the happiness when u see the final result..

  32. What I love about sewing…it’s just fun. And you can’t worry about anything else, like work, while you’re sewing. And you get to make exactly what you want. Well, I’m just a beginner, but in theory I can make exactly what I want!

    Would love to win this, it looks so cute!

    argarg27 (at) hotmail (dot) com

  33. Thanks for the review of this book, I have been looking at it and the more reviews I read the more I need to have it!!!

  34. I love sewing because you have so much control over the final product. I often find things in the store that I like, but are too short or not the right color- being able to sew fixes all that!

  35. mirabelle

    i love the satisfaction of creating something…might not turn out right always, but when it does, it’s a great feeling.

  36. Joanna Lynne Smith

    what i love about sewing is being able to make things for cheap that cost $100 in the store!

  37. Being able to make something from scratch without buying it already made.

  38. I like to make quilts – mainly because I only have to SEW STRAIGHT LINES!!!

    Okay, the quarter-inch seams took a while to master, but I still am so happy when my seams match up!

    Hope I win Brett’s pretty book!

  39. I get a total sense of accomplishment out of sewing. I’m always so thrilled when something comes out just the way it should.

  40. What I love about sewing is the ‘zone’ you’re in when you’re creating something either by hand or using a sewing machine….it’s almost meditation!

  41. I love that I can focus when I sew. Until this year I had never been able to really make anything because my ADD got in the way. I finally have it under control and now I am able to accomplish so much. I also love the feeling of finishing a project, nothing like it.

  42. What I love about sewing….the endless possibilities. There are so many wonderful combinations out there of fabric, notions, embellishments and patterns! Thank you for the lovely giveaway. The book looks wonderful!

  43. I have only sewn a few things, but that moment when you turn the project right side out and actually see what you have. It is just exciting.

  44. Henria O.

    I love the piecing together, matching seams, and the color coordination! It’s just fun and relaxing!
    sazzyfrazz at gmail dot com

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