Roost Books contacted me recently about reviewing a new craft project book they were publishing, Vintage Made Modern - Transforming Timeworn Textiles into Treasured Heirlooms by Jennifer Casa. I don't normally do book reviews but I had to say yes to this opportunity because making new things out of vintage textiles is my current passion!
Wait, this is scary!
OK I'll be honest, my very first thought when I heard about this book was "Oh no! I haven't even started selling the things I'm making from reclaimed textiles and now a book is coming out that will show everyone how to make everything and no-one will buy my new stuff!" Which is totally self-centered but, I think, a kind of common worry that makers might have in this age of copious tutorials, Pinterest, and thousands of up-and-coming makers getting online every year.
But, like most narcissistic worries, this one was unfounded and easy to cast aside as soon as I opened the book and read the introduction. I realized I'm not in competition with Jennifer Casa, we just happen to be on the same wavelength. And that's a great thing to discover and rediscover and remember and re-remember. There is room for ALL of us makers and even if we use similar materials and/or techniques as someone else. We bring our own unique eye and hand to each piece we make and that is the key. Being inspired alongside someone else who really gets why you are so excited about something like say, a tattered quilt, is really fun! And it feels good, not scary. So I settled into a comfy chair with a hot cup of tea and devoured the book in an afternoon.
I loved her words about finding that first vintage unfinished hand-sewn quilt top. I had experienced the very same heart thumping joy at realizing I was holding the careful hand work of a woman from a long time ago. Like Jennifer, I appreciated the beautiful result of an unknown person's sewing. I wondered who that person was and wanted to honor her efforts today, to take her forgotten work out of drawers and storage boxes and make something new for people to appreciate now. I wanted to collaborate with strangers from the past.
"Making pretty things from vintage treasures is a way to write yet another chapter in stories composed long ago, with you becoming part of the narrative." -Jennifer Casa, Vintage Made Modern
This book is very pretty with gorgeous, evocative photographs on almost every page. The pictures in this book give me the same feeling of contented joy as my own vintage textile collection does. The projects are sorted by which type of vintage textile you will be using such as quilt blocks, vintage pillowcases, kitchen linens, etc. The projects are mostly small and accessible to every skill level including some that kids can do. They cover the gamut from housegoods to wearables to accessories. The book includes some no-sew items as well.
The project instructions are carefully described in detailed lists. I only wish the sweet instructional illustrations were more detailed and more numerous. The publisher provided me with a PDF of a free project from the book for you to try out. I was going to make this circle scarf myself before real life intruded and I ran out of time, but I do still intend to try it soon. It's just the kind of thing I would enjoy making and wearing.
I also have free copies of the book to send to two interested readers! Leave me a comment below and tell me if you have a love affair with vintage textiles and how that manifests itself in your life. I'll choose two winners at random by 5 PM eastern time on Friday, October 24th, 2014. Please be sure your comment links to contact information so I can get a hold of you if you are a winner!