I nearly had a heart attack yesterday around noon when I suddenly remembered that I was slated for a book review post today for Meg McElwee’s new book Growing Up Sew Liberated. I clicked over to Elsie Marley (the first stop on the tour) and laughed outloud because she had chosen exactly the same thing from the book that I had chosen to make for Elliot! Great minds think alike I guess. And hers are absolutely adorable and lovely by the way!!!
Anyway. I was thrilled to be asked to review Growing Up Sew Liberated because I’ve been looking forward to it for a long, long time. How did they know it was at the top of my book wishlist?! I have been reading Meg’s blog since the first Celebrate the Boy series over two years ago when she guest posted with her Pilot Cap tutorial and was working on the manuscript for this book. One of my favorite things about Meg’s blog (and this book) is that her writing and designs are infused with experience from her years as a Montessori teacher. I love reading about how she has translated that training into parenting: this post about teaching her toddler son Finn to get himself a drink (with a real glass!) and this one about her story from Montesorri teacher to pattern designer are two of my favorites.
In Growing Up Sew Liberated, Meg presents some really creative sewing projects for learning, home and play…
as well as some great basic clothing patterns in multiple sizes:
These would not only make wonderful gifts but are also great wardrobe staples for those of us who sew frequently for our own children. I made the pajamas shown at the top of this post for Elliot using the Crossover Tee and Sleeping Johns patterns.
Both patterns are beautifully simple and easy to understand. Neither pattern requires a serger, although you could use it to finish the inside edges if you wanted to.
Throughout the book Meg has added wonderful tips and ideas for play, learning, and involving children in household tasks that are really inspiring. I loved the little section on how she and Patrick structure Finn’s bedtime at their house. I always find that sort of thing fascinating, especially when I pick up some new tricks.
One other thing I want to show you is how I traced my patterns from this book. Many of the pattern books that are currently available come with full-sized pattern pages, as this one does. It’s so easy to trace patterns from the sheets, which are almost always two-sided (and therefore need to be traced to be used without destroying the patterns on the other side). I buy Swedish Tracing Paper in 10-yard rolls, a material which resembles a very smooth dryer sheet more than it resembles paper and stands up well over time. You can also use newsprint (which often comes as packing material in packages) or freezer paper or even tissue paper if you’re careful (although this won’t stand up over time like tracing paper will).
I place my pattern sheet on the dining room table and then add “weights” around the pattern so it won’t move while I trace it. As you can see it doesn’t really matter if you have real pattern weights, just something to hold it down. But make sure that you label your pieces and add in all of the pattern markings as you trace so you don’t lose track of what size(s) you have. See? Easy!
I know this book will prove to be a go-to resource for me and I can’t wait to sew more of these projects. Congratulations Meg on the completion of such a fantastic book! You must be so proud!
Guess what? Made by Rae readers can get 20% off any orders from Meg’s website, Sew Liberated from now until June 15th using code MadeByRae. Thanks Meg!
Don’t miss the rest of the Growing Up Sew Liberated book tour: