Reviews
June 9, 2015 posted by littlewhitecottage

A review of ‘Fifty To Make.’ (What a cracking craft magazine!)

Magazines are a minefield aren’t they?

You stand in front of the display looking at all of the colourful offerings; some come with crafty supplies (crafty in more than just the practical sense of crafty) some are sealed and you can’t even see inside and some you pick up and say ‘Really?? That much??’ and then put it back in disgust that you could buy a new craft book for that price…

I like to buy magazines to show my sewing pupils ideas of the things that they can make. I have a range of books and magazines supplement them as they can be full of lots of different ideas and techniques that a book may not necessarily do; some books just focus on a single technique like applique, free machine/motion embroidery for example.

Each month I buy a couple of magazines and whilst I know those to steer away from I still find that some months I come across one that I’ve not seen before. ‘Fifty to Make’ was one such and although I couldn’t see the projects in detail as it was cellophane-ed sealed so I could look inside (a pet hate of mine) but it did contain loose patterns so I did forgive it and bought it. I set off home to have a look.

50 -1

I liked the projects on the front cover and my eye went to the fabrics. If I don’t like the fabrics on the front cover -they aren’t to my taste -then I generally don’t buy as I’ve found over the years that it tends to be the projects aren’t to my taste either.

There is a mixture of projects which I really like and the mixture of projects are for a range of purposes. There are items for the home, toys for children, door stops that could be either an item for the home or a toy. There are seasonal projects -summer bags and picnic carriers and everything from textile art to random things that I have no idea what there are for (folded fancies p.35, no idea what the point of those were). It isn’t a dressmaking magazine as the nearest it gets to clothes is an apron but that’s fine: this is a pure craft magazine.

There is also a range of techniques to either broaden your design horizons with or your technical sewing ability. There’s a few free machine embroidery projects which is always a favourite as its very popular still at the moment. The layered petal cushion (p.39) was in interesting idea to try (though I did feel that the fabric choice wasn’t great as it was so dark it swallowed the petals and didn’t show the layered construction off to its best) and my favourite was the butterfly brooch made by using water soluble fabric. This is something I’m definitely going to have a go at myself.

I liked the project that showed how to make something lovely out of scraps. This is really useful as anyone who sews will tell you the fabric scrap pile grows at an alarming rate and if unchecked can get quite out of control. I was surprised it was an Easter themed project (it’s currently June) but there’s nothing like being prepared I suppose.

Here are my 5 favourite projects:

50 - 1

The ever popular camper van tea cosy. This design isn’t new in itself as it’s been around for many years now but I like that you can use this pattern and instructions to then make a cushion or piece of art that you could give as a present. This is one of the projects that really lends itself to other uses such as art and home decor.

50 - 2

It’s teacher ‘Thank you’ present time again and this would make a lovely gift. I was once a teacher and would have loved to have this to hold my pencils. I like the design and the linen case fabric. It’s easy to do and a lovely idea.

50 - 3

This is a great idea for the summer and uses metal insulating fleece which makes it a very usable lunch bag carrier. You could later the size and make it large (or small) enough to hold the picnic size you would need for a day out.

50 - 5

This is a very simple project and although I don’t really like the fabric combination my children would love to have a go at making their version. I think they’s add a bit more detail but I see this as a very good children’s project that can be either hand or machine sewn.

This is my favourite project.

50 - 6

A free machine embroidered brooch made using water soluble fabric. I’ve show this to my sewing classes and they all love the idea of trying to make it. I’ve now ordered some of the soluble fabric and can’t wait to have a go.

Summing up…

It’s a fab little ‘bookazine’ (the editors term, not mine) that will keep my classes full of ideas for a couple of terms I would think. Whilst it’s not a beginner sewers magazine I do feel that that particular market is getting a bit swamped and it’s nice to come across something that just has lovely projects. It does assume a basic level of sewing competency as there are a lot of different techniques where there isn’t a detailed explanation on how to do but this I don’t see as a criticism. Too many sewing books give over half the page count it feels to telling us all what a pin is, how to thread the machine and details ‘Items for your sewing kit’ It’s actually nice to have a publication that unashamedly wants you to have some sewing experience and almost says to you from the first project ‘Right-ho, here we go then.’

Having read ‘the blurb’ at the front of the magazine there is a note saying that some of the projects may be up to 3 years old (as I said, some of the designs aren’t new) but again I don’t mind as for the price -£7.99- I’m happy with that and as far as I can see I haven’t replicated any projects in my book collection.

All the patterns come as paper patterns that you’d have to trace to make your own but this is standard.

Would I buy it again?

Absolutely. I hope they do produce another one.

It does assume a basic level of sewing competency as there are a lot of different techniques where there isn’t a detailed explanation on how to do but this I don’t see as a criticism. Too many sewing books give over half the page count it feels to telling us all what a pin is, how to thread the machine and details ;items for your sewing kit’ It’s actually nice to have a publication that unashamedly wants you to have some sewing experience and almost says to you from the first project ‘right oh, here we go then.’

 

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