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Catch The Sewing Bug! Review by Donna Campos

JoAnn Gagnon
Bunkhouse Books
607 Lower Hogeye Road
Waitsburg, WA 99361

Catch The Sewing Bug is a book of 25 fun and simple sewing projects for children. The 40-page book includes all the patterns and directions for the projects. The outside cover is a full-color, heavy gloss paper. The inside of the book is printed in black and white on glossy paper, but the inside front and back covers include adorable full-color pictures of the finished designs, most of which are modeled by children.

The first section of the book contains a master list of necessary supplies for all 25 projects. (Each individual project lists the materials needed just for that specific project.) The book also includes instructions on using and taking care of a sewing machine. The instructions are broken down into manageable sections and remain a handy reference throughout the completion of the projects. Required supplies include a sewing machine, all the usual tools (tape measure, pins, seam ripper, scissors, seam gauge, etc.), and various materials and threads depending on the project. Full-size patterns are included for only a few projects at the end of the book; most have measurement drawings included with the step-by-step instructions.

This book is a simple introduction to using a sewing machine. The projects are child friendly and are items of interest to most children: a sewing machine cover and pin cushion, a puppet, a tote bag, a pillowcase, and a headband, among others. There are even some projects that would be suitable for gift-giving. All are pleasantly simple, while still allowing the student to practice many sewing skills. Students in the middle elementary grades and up will enjoy these projects. This book is ideal in a homeschool setting because a parent/teacher is available to work alongside the child as needed. Both girls and boys could benefit from the skills taught in this book, although the majority of the projects have a definite feminine interest.

This book is ideal for teaching the basics of handling a sewing machine. The sections on care of the machine and the rundown of the tools involved are presented well and should not be too intimidating for most children. This book might also spark an interest in younger children as they watch older siblings or a parent sewing on a machine.

It would have been nice to see more pictures of the completed projects presented by boys. Many of the items are certainly unisex items. If they had been presented in a more neutral light (with blues and darker colors and with boys demonstrating them), the book would be much more appealing to boys. The machine information is truly wonderful, and most boys would be interested in handling such an intricate piece of machinery, regardless of the outcome of the projects.

We found the book to be very handy and easy to follow. My eight-year-old son was interested and handled several projects successfully. He is not generally bothered by the "girl vs. boy" side of things, so we did not have that hurdle to overcome. He was excited to make something for his sister's dolls and for his new baby brother.

If you use the book to make gifts, the book will pay for itself after just a few projects. The additional skills of measuring and determining the best use of material (including scraps) provide a bit of mathematical value to the product as well. Every homeschool hoping to produce self-reliant young adults should put this book to use.

Product review by Donna Campos, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, April 2007