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Meet the Author

Hey there, can you introduce yourself?

Medium cheryl owen

I'm a craft designer and writer based in Edinburgh in Scotland. I contribute craft projects to magazines and partworks and have written over forty craft books. I've got a wide experience of most crafts but especially sewing, papercrafts and making jewellery.

Tell us a bit about the book?

The book is for those new to sewing and has simple clothing, accessories and makes for the home. There are lots of practical items to make such as various cases to keep today's technical gadgets in.

What was the inspiration behind it?

The publisher, New Holland asked me to write the book as they have published other books by me. I have a fashion background so it was great to be able to include patterns for clothes that are easy for readers to follow, even if they have never made a pattern before.

Which is your favourite project?

Can I choose two? The boxy shoulder bag, it's a good size and I think I'd use it a lot. I'd make the bird brooch to pin on the flap.

What is your craft space like?

Because I do a variety of crafts, my studio is well organised so that I can find materials quickly. I have a large plan chest for paper and card, paints in filing cabinets and other materials are kept in boxes and fabrics sorted by colour in baskets. That may not sound like a creative work space but the storage is quirky - the filing cabinets are decoupaged with maps and I've upcycled boxes by recovering them and adding vintage handles and use old factory lamps for lighting.

Have you always been creative?

I can't remember a time when I wasn't making something. I am lucky enough to earn a living from doing something I love.

When did you first start crafting?

I can't remember the first thing I made. My mother and grandmother both sewed which inspired me. My grandparents were hairdressers and even as a toddler, they let me use their old pointed hairdressing scissors to cut paper and fabric. Not exceptable nowadays, but I doubt that the blunt scissors made for children would have inspired me to create intricate papercuts and fabric appliques.

Who are your crafty heroes?

The artists Mark Hearld and Angie Lewin have both written books about their artwork, their creative process is explained in a simple style. I also love the quirky creatures made by Abigail Brown and Lucy Casson.

Where do you find inspiration?

It's a cliché to say everywhere but it's true. I usually have a notebook with me to jot down ideas and often take photos on my phone of nature and details on buildings when I am out and about.

What's next for you?

I have lots of soft toy making projects in the pipeline for magazine features. I use the pattern cutting skills that I learnt for making clothes when designing toys.

Publisher's Description

The current recession has revived a 'make do and mend' philosophy, and a raft of popular television programmes have helped make sewing the must-have skill for every young women. As a result, sewing machine sales have soared and trends for up-cycling fashion continue apace. What better way to personalise clothing and home accessories, or make your ensemble fit perfectly, than by learning to do it yourself? Crammed with expert yet simple advice and ideas, this handbook provides the novice with the basic skills to hand- and machine-stitch in order to repair, revamp and recreate. From hemming, trimming, patching, darning and applique to customizing and reinventing, every skill the beginner will need is described in detail. In addition, there are 35 simple projects to make, including a laptop case, a pair of shorts, a simple skirt, a key fob, belt and pin cushion. Each project is simply designed, and uses a range of sewing skills that are easy to master. There are hints and tips throughout to give the maker confidence in their skills. This new approach to sewing will appeal to teens who want to learn to make their own clothes, as well as embellish and alter existing clothes and accessories.


Joanna  C.
Joanna C. · Newport News, Virginia, US
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