Made by Hand by Lena Corwin, photographs by Maria Alexandra Vettese and Stephanie Congdon Barnes, pub. STC Craft, 2013.
For crafters (or would-be crafters) seeking to branch out from their usual medium, this book contains a treasure trove of projects. Most of them are simple, many of them are charming, and all are laid out clearly with carefully worded instructions.
The projects included cover rotary printing, screen printing, machine sewing, hand sewing, knitting, crochet, tea dyeing, tie-dyeing, batik, marbling, appliqué, soap making, fabric painting, rag rugs (crocheted and braided), embroidery, fabric origami, brass and silk jewelry making, beading, candle making, weaving, stuffed toy making, and basketry coiling. That's a lot to pack into one book, but Corwin does a fabulous job orchestrating and unifying them.
These adorable children's leggings are hand painted. The project's intro describes how the designer, Caitlin Mociun, sewed the original adult version. Lena suggests using premade leggings, and even recommends fabric content. The instructions describe how to make leg inserts to keep the fabric taut and prevent bleed-through, how to make guide-lines with water-soluble ink before painting, and how to practice strokes on an old T-shirt. Then come the instructions for painting the leggings and drying the paint, along with tips for washing out some of the pigment if the color is too bright or saturated.
Fabric origami is a thrilling idea and full of possibilities. I am inspired to try not only these butterflies, but several other origami creatures. These instructions begin with recommendations for the size of your work space and continue with tips on how to obtain a perfect square. Starting with a light coat of spray starch, ironing each fold, and finishing the butterfly with a few stitches with needle and thread, the steps are clearly laid out with accompanying photographs.
When I dyed curtains for my study, I signed up for the Dharma Trading Company mailing list. Their variety of silk scarves and other items as well as colors of fabric paint is eye-boggling. To make a marbled handkerchief like the one at left, the steps are simple (though an extra pair of hands is helpful for larger scarves). This would make a wonderful party project for adults or teenagers.
Disclosure: Kangath received a review copy of this book from the publisher. No other compensation was provided. The opinions expressed in all Kangath's reviews are her own.
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