Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Craft book review and giveaway: Vintage Made Modern by Jennifer Casa

Yay a free book!
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

Eye candy!
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. 

Free project!
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.

Book giveaway!
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!


  1. I definitely lean towards a modern style with bright colors and geometric shapes. But I am a sucker for vintage print fabrics. It's fun to combine different styles

  2. Hey Liz! Why did I not know about your lovely blog before now?! I am looking forward to scrolling through and seeing what you've been creating! I have some vintage linens that were my grandmothers, and while I treasure them, I don't use them, they are tucked away safely. I would love some ideas as to how I could reinvent them :) Carole x

  3. I have always had a love/attraction to fabrics. But I have particular soft spot in my heart for vintage fabrics. I love finding an old set of vintage sheets/pillow cases...they seem to evoke such an emotional response for a time in the past. Additionally, I have a hard time throwing anything away and love making new things out of old things. I've turned my daughters' dresses that were too small into skirts and made change purses out of old/ripped whole foods bags. So fun!

  4. Hoping this book will provide inspiration for a bile of silk and rayon kimonos and men's ties.

  5. Hi there!
    I suppose their's an obvious reason for my commenting here- I too love vintage fabrics and craft projects! This love started as a child, when I'd go to my grandmother's house and disappear in her stacks of vintage fabrics for hours and hours. Most teenagers don't count antiquing as one of their top past times, but I do! Last week I found a vintage prom dress from the 40s, and I almost cried tears of joy when I tried it on! I have a growing stack of fabric in my room and I'd love to get some great ideas on how to use it from this book! My contact information is here:
    Thank you so much for your wonderful posts and the opportunity to win this book!

  6. i love vintage fabrics and incorporating them into my projects-sometimes a mix of old, and new : )
    thanks for the chance to win-it looks like a fun book!

  7. I love hunting through thrift stores for vintage goodies, and I'm especially drawn to retro/vintage textiles. I always want the items I make to look modern, but love to draw inspiration from the past. It'd be great to have some new ideas for what to do with my fabric stash! :)

  8. I'm fascinated with menswear fabric patterns, even their names tickle my fancy! I adore repurposing vintage fabrics into modern pieces for the home, baby, and I even dabble in stitched art! This book would be a great addition to my ever growing collection of inspirational reads! Reach me at acroak@gmail.com! Thanks again so much for doing this!

  9. I like vintage and reproduction fabrics, but need some ideas of how to incorporate them into projects. I also need to get over my fear of cutting vintage beauties! Thanks for the chance to win.

    I am ms_q on Twitter.