Sew Useful by Debbie Shore is a sewing project book with some very cute and very useful projects.
8 out of 10 stars. I liked Debbie’s Sew Bunting book and I’m not even a fan of bunting flags. This book also has some really cute projects but she also has some interesting how-tos in the beginning of the book.
Table of Contents
One of the thing I love most about Debbie’s books is that they have a visual table of contents. You can see the project result right next to the page number for that project. 🙂
With a beautiful table of contents like that it’s easy to use Amazon’s search inside feature to see what the contents are.
Basic Techniques and Useful Stitches
A lot of authors put in a section like this at the beginning of the book. What they often do is show basic techniques or they waste a lot of valuable book space drawing the instructions out. This book has four pages and they are used well.
There are 23 projects in this book and I liked more than half of them. The ones I didn’t like were projects I’d done before with better patterns.
- Chair Back Caddy: I have several patterns for this type of organizer. This one hangs off the top of the chair and has short straps. It will only work on basic kitchen-type chairs. I do like the details of the edging and buttons.
- Storage Cube: I like the storage cube but it uses fabric stiffener. I’m not a fan of fabric stiffener.
- Toy Bag: This toy bag is 26″ in diameter and while I love the idea, my Mom got me a Gymboree toy bag when I was a baby and it lasted my entire childhood. It was mesh, ginormous, and I could easily see what was inside. This one pales in comparison but would be okay for a toddler to keep track of their toys for Grandma’s.
- Straightener’s Pouch: I confess; I have a hair straightener. I’m Irish with long thick hair. It’s one of those things you rarely use but still need a container for so I love this project. I just wish it was longer, specifically long enough to contain the entire straightener so I could hang it by a cup hook in the bathroom.
- Craft Caddy: I love this project and the gusseted pockets, just not how it’s presented here. She uses fabric glue and cardboard for the base. I’m not a fan of cardboard or fabric glue.
- Small Case: What I liked about this project was that the foam board base is removable so you can wash the bag which is what I do with my cosmetic bags.
- Garment Cover: I wish every sewing project book had a garment bag or two. I love them. They keep old winter clothes dust-free in the closet during summer and vice versa. I especially love making them for vintage clothing that is fragile and can easily get torn in the closet by plastic or wire hangers. This project is also easily extended; you can make the bag longer by increasing the length fairly easily.
- Iron Caddy: This would be a cool project if I toted my iron around or if my iron would actually fit this tote which it wouldn’t. The base is ironing board fabric and heat-resistant wadding/batting which is difficult to find and expensive. My iron is a nice professional iron because I sew a lot, so it’s too big to fit in here. This was my lease favorite project in the book.
- Jewellery Pouch: Note the unusual spelling is the author’s, not mine. I love this project for Christmas gifts. You can fill it with button rings made to order for the recipient.
- Garden Tote: This is an adorable garden tote but it has few small pockets and side handles. You can add top straps, but the weight of the straps might make the tote fall over.
- Dish Carrier: This is one of the coolest projects I’ve ever seen. I know at least a dozen women at church who would go ga-ga over this.
- Under Bed Storage: Sometimes what makes a project special is the little details. This project has lots of little details in the corners, the handle, the edging and even the zipper. It uses fabric stiffener, which I hate, but I would substitute something else like fusible fleece or stiff interfacing.
- Nursery Bag: It’s called a nursery bag but really it looks like a diaper holder. You stack diapers inside. You could use this for a toy bag too and plenty of other items. The author uses it to store extra toilet tissue in the bathroom.
- Knitting Needle Roll: I love this project, not for kitting needles, but for making an artist roll for watercolor brushes and tubes. You can even alter the dimensions to fit your sketchbook and brushes.
- Pen Case: When I first looked at this, I thought how adorable. Then I realized it would never fit in my messenger bag, my tote, or my purse. But if you tweak the measurements, you can make bags like this in all shapes and sizes for everything. Like rollers, hair clips, crayons, etc. The techniques used in making this bag are extremely useful.
- Hoop Basket: This project has been going around Pinterest for ages, but the Pinterest instructions are usually wrong. This makes a cute little wall hanging and it’s functional too.
- Drawer Liner: This drawer liner is made for a deep drawer but you can easily change the dimensions to fit any drawer you like.
- Toy Hammock: This toy hammock measures 16″ x 22″ so it’s not very big but you can use it for small things like stuffed animals or toy figures.
- Big Basket: This project is a medium sized laundry hamper but you could also use it as a toy box. It uses cardboard, which I’m not crazy about, but you could substitute other things or make the cardboard removable so you can still wash the basket.
- Laundry Bag: The little clothes on this bag are what makes it adorable, but there are no templates. You make them freehand. :0 What I love about this project is the suggestion the author gives on making it smaller and using it for shoes! Yep, I have a few pair of those. 😉
- Needlecraft Booklet: Really it’s a sewing kit. I love sewing kits and will add this pattern to my collection.
- Gift Wrap Pouch: This is one of my favorite projects from this book. The top is an eight inch embroidery hoop! The bottom has plenty of pockets for tags, tape, bows, bowmakers, etc.
- Sewing Machine Bag: Here is a cute project for the seamstress herself, a sewing bag to carry or cover your sewing machine.
8 out of 10 stars for a great book with some useful techniques and sewing projects.
Reviewed by Colleen.