Book Review: Crafty Chica’s Guide to Artful Sewing

img_2199For as long as I’ve owned this URL, I have been aware of and admired Kathy Cano-Murillo. So when she begins her book, Crafty Chica’s Guide to Artful Sewing, by stating she is not a seamstress, but she loves to sew, I am further drawn to her because I could have written that!

Do you identify with that statement? Are you looking for a sewing book to serve as a starting point and provide terminology for getting to know the art and a sewing machine? Are you a self-taught sewer who keeps handwritten notes from your sewing instructor (aka gramma or mom) or your sewing machine manual next to your machine? Then, this is a book to explore.

It would be easy to flip past the front of the book and dig into the projects, but the beginning is not to be missed because it contains some great information, including:

  • reasons to sew, in case you need a little encouragement
  • explains the types of fabrics and uses for them
  • how to design your own fabric, including image transfers and DIY appliques
  • Sewing terminology
  • must-have sewing supplies
  • basics of winding bobbin, loading it and threading the machine
  • how to sew
  • types of stitches
  • threads, interfacing, embellishment
  • sewing by hand
  • how to use a seam ripper


Although the Crafty Chica says she’s not going to hold your hand, she provides the next best thing: 30 project directions with sketches and photos of the finished item. I loved that there were full-page photos of the projects. As a librarian, I am able to flip through plenty of craft books that get ordered only to see that they are a book with sketches and little to no photos. In this blogcentric time when many are producing their own tutorials and photos, I want more from a book (whether I’m footing the bill or the library is)!

As a self-taught sewer who got lessons from my mom as she sewed, this book was great for getting down the basics and reviewing some points I already heard (heard because as a kid, I did not take notes). In fact, this book made me realize I use a seam ripper incorrectly (I just go at it with a fierce determination). The book ends with templates, resources of the materials she used on projects in her book, web sites and the index.

The Projects
frocktopAs for the thirty projects, which are divided into three categories (purses, wearables and housewares), the Crafty Chica’s style is definitely artful, but as creative person we are never bound by another but rather inspired! I have added the laptop case, although mine would be a camera case, the chop top frock, which is a men’s button down turned into a summer top (I just have to get a men’s shirt) and the photo collage to my ever-growing to-do list.

pillowsAnother project that caught my eye was Lush Life Lounge Pillows (aren’t the names the best?!) which are made from cloth napkins dressed with a large button. Last year when I made pillows for my futon out of cloth napkins, it did not occur to me to dress them up with some embellishments! Among other things, I now know to use the seam ripper correctly and use my button stash!

If you are a new sewer or aspiring sewer who needs a jumping off point, Crafty Chica’s Guide to Artful Sewing should be added to your shopping list and then make sure your public library owns a copy, too!

Web Site: CraftyChica
Twitter: CraftyChica

I am a crafting librarian, if you are an author of a craft or personal finance book for women and would like to send me a copy to review on this site, please contact me at

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