The shop is open
1, 2, 3 Sew Winners

1, 2, 3 Sew - Book Review and Giveaway


If you are not familiar with Ellen Luckett Baker and her blog, The Long Thread, take a moment and go familiarize yourself. Please. You will not be disappointed.

Back? Great.

Ellen's book, 1, 2, 3 Sew, Build Your Skills with 33 Simple Projects is one of the best beginning sewing books out there. It's also fantastic for intermediate sewers, too. It's organized so that you can increase your skill set project by project. Brilliant, no? The projects are divided into 11 groups, each with 3 different entities.  The first project teaches you one thing and the next project builds on the skills you've already learned. For example, in the first chapter, beginning with tea towels, you learn how to hem and make folded corners. The next project is napkins which add mitered corners to your repetoire. Then it's on to a table runner and seamless pockets. It's so wonderfully presented and organized that it is easy to gain an entire skill set just by following the projects in order.

The book includes a wide-range of items to make. There are things for the dining and the kitchen, totes and pouches, children's and baby items, softies, pillows and more. The instructions are very succinct, the photography is straight-forward and gorgeous, the projects do-able. I read a lot of craft books every year and 1, 2, 3 Sew is among my top picks for 2011. I'm so impressed with the range of projects, the simple and easily-followed instructions as well as the great format in which it is all presented.  The pattern pieces come in a envelope at the front of the book and are easy to copy/transfer and do not overlap like many others. It is a great resource for any sewist, regardless of experience. Some of my favorite projects are:


Lawn Cosmetic Bag - this, and a few other projects in the book, include the use of stencil/fabric paint on plain fabric. What a great detail!


Change Your Mind Skirt - A reversible and simple, elastic waist skirt for young girls.


Bunny Softie - A cute, squeezable animal for any young person you know.


Circles Floor Pillow - A wonderful project that showcases special fabrics (think Liberty!) and teaches you reverse applique.


Totes - there are three in the book and all are fantastic!


And here are my interpretations of the Mouse Pincushion. I whipped up two - one for Kate and one for Jane. I loved making them - fairly quick with interesting, but easy construction. The girls are excited to have a pincushion of their own, too. I'm psyched that I no longer have to share.

Chronicle Books has generously offered a copy of 1, 2, 3 Sew to one of my readers. AND I am offering a mouse pincushion to one of you, also. That's right - you have 2 chances to win! To enter in the giveaway, please comment on this post before Sunday, July 24 at 4:00 p.m. EST. Tell me what your first sewing project was and how it came out. If you don't sew, tell me why you want to learn. I'll pick two names using the random number generator - one will get the book, the other a pincushion made by me (to be specific, it will not be one of the ones pictured above).

Other stops on the blog tour include:

Monday, July 11 – CRAFT
Tuesday, July 12 – Sew, Mama, Sew & Oh My! Handmade Goodness
Wednesday, July 13 – Handmade Charlotte
Thursday, July 14 – Everything Etsy & Not Martha
Friday, July 15 – Modern Kiddo

Monday, July 18 – Crafty Pod
Tuesday, July 19 – Indie Fixx & Patterns by Figgy’s
Wednesday, July 20 – Papernstitch
Thursday, July 21 – Coquette
Friday, July 22 – Bolt Neighborhood & True Up

Get clicking. I'll announce the winner next week.



My first project on my sewing machine was a lap quilt. Sounds crazy now, I should have started with a tote bag or something. I was thrilled with it at the time, but notice all the mistakes I made now that I am a bit more experienced. It was a great way to learn to sew, and it took long enough I got lots of practice.


That book looks terrific! I'll recommend it to the fabric store, we should have that one in stock, like yesterday.
Thanks for letting us know about this great book, Erin!


Sounds like a great book! I like books that develop skill, since mine is so underdeveloped! Thanks for the giveaway.


My first sewing project was a diaper! When my son was born I started cloth diapering and decided making diapers would be a fabulous idea. I did it, they held together, but they looked horrible. I haven't sewed much, I feel like I have no direction and I don't know anyone who sews to help me along. This book sounds exactly like what I need. Thanks for the opportunity!

The Scribbler

My first sewing project was a rectangle drawstring tote for my 8th grade home ec class. It came out fine but since we had to provide our own fabric my mom steered me to an economical gray cotton...just what every teenage girl wants.

The mouse pincushions are terrific, I especially love how they look pouty about future sticks they will receive.


My first sewing project was a blanket for my doll's bed. I was about 5 years old. I remember sitting on my mother's lap...she controlled the foot pedal and helped me move the fabric. As I got older, and my feet could reach the pedal, I used to love sewing lines all over my favorite bits of scrap fabric.


My first project was a large cushion out of Ikea curtains. I made several to improve my skills, they are still in the living.


A makeup bag, it turned out okay, but I haven't made anything since! My brand new machine is sitting in my closet waiting for me to really learn how to use it. Pick me, pick me!


My first sewing project as a child was a pillow. Then when I returned to sewing as an adult it was a curtain.

Thank you for the giveaway!


That would be a skirt I never wore. I'm much better now about only making what I'd be willing to model.


My first sewing project was a pair of elastic-waist shorts. I got a little overly confident midway through and ended up sewing the front to the front and the back to the back at the side and inner seams. They looked like lopsided shorts for a bowlegged cartoon character. So my first project I spent a lot of time with the seam ripper and learned to keep reading the instructions. This book looks great, though! Thanks for the giveaway! [email protected]


well my first project restarting sewing (after my daughter was born) was a ticker tape quilt for her toy pram. It went well - it was my first 'quilt', i found binding it hard but it was my first go. the only thing i would change is i would have used nicer fabrics as i think it will last. thanks for the blog link!


I was about 10. I watched my Mom & Grandma sew for years and they taught me to embroider and cross stitch. It was the summer, time to get ready for a new school year. I decided to make a blouse, complete with button holes! Quite the project. The button holes were perfect (still have the buttons) but the rest of the blouse was terrible! I learned a lot and I did get to wear the next project. I still love to sew, but just for the grandkids. Love your little mousies!

Sarah S

I must have been 12 or so. I would make tiny pillows for my dolls using my mother's fabric scraps. Looking back, they were great first projects to teach me the basics, including a little hand stitching. This book looks fantastic!


I learned to sew in home ec. I think my first project was an apron which is long gone but my girls still have the stuffed seal I made. I'd love the book and my girls would love the pin cushion. Thanks for the give away.


My first project was a Christmas stocking for my daughter- I learned how to embroider on it too and thus began a wonderful new hobby ...


my first proyect was a quilt... it is not beautiful but after that I'm in love with sewing and quilting...

thanks for the opportunity, I would love have this book!

Sarah in Indiana

As a 13 year old, I made a plush dog in home ec. It actually didn't come out too badly, though I didn't do a great job attaching the ears. Why they thought stuffed animal kits were a good idea for our first projects, I have no idea. Fake fur! I think my next project was ring bearer pillows at the age of 25. I've been trying to expand my skills l lately, and one of those books looks perfect.


really, hmmm this is a bit embarassing. My first project was a quilt. 4x4 inch square patchwork quilt. I had no idea how to do it and had no instructions. And little did i know was a rotary cutter and mat was at that time. So I printed out 100 4x4 in squares on my computer, cut them out, sewed my fabric to them, cut the excess fabric off, thinking that when i sewed them all together i could wash the quilt and the fabric would dissolve. (this was a verrrrrry long time ago) needless to say it didn't work out even close to how I had thought. But looking back at where I started and where I am now, it makes me laugh and brings a smile to my face.

I would love to work on some projects from this book! sooo cute. And your little mice are adorable!


The first project I can remember doing on my own, at 11 or 12, was a somewhat complicated doll outfit from a pattern that I got from American Girl. I don't think I've done anything that complex in the years since then, but somehow it turned out really well.

I'd love to have this book to build some of those basic skills!


that book sounds so great. i want to be a person who can sew. Right now I can barely do it. I just can't find things that I really want to make. I think I'm too kid minded and I have boys so they're not a lot of fun to sew for! My first project was a pillow!


Here is my first project I thought the pants turned out great! I've yet to make any more, but I want to make some as shorts. This looks like a great book and just the right level for me :-)


I can't really remember my first sewing project ... but one of the earliest ones was sewing doll blankets with my Grandma while she sewed outfits for my doll. So much fun!


Home Economics. 1980. A tennis outfit with terry cloth. You do the math.
not so good. :( Who knew pulling your fabric through the machine while you were sewing on the leg binding that it would result in an elephant sized leg hole in one side of the bloomers... Grade. FAIL.
LOL! I never wore it...can you imagine?
I would love a book like that to pick up skills I didn't catch so I can finally feel better after all these years of trama -- and to finally SEW for MYSELF!!!
Thank you for the offer! I loved her blog!


My first sewing project was a skirt that was such a traumatic experience that I'm still scared of sewing zippers to this day. But this book would force me to conquer my fear!!!

Crafty Farmer

My Mom taught me how to make myself a nightgown. The beginning of the end. Now, I am addicted to crafting and try to recruit others into the insanity!


My first project was a small quilt. Still trying to finish that one .... However have sewn many other things in the meantime :) Looks like a great book to learn again though.


My first sewing project was a butterfly pillow and it didn't come out very well. I had to make it to pass home-ec. I love sewing now though, and crave moments to dive into the fabric and create something new.


I would love this book! My first sewing project was in Home Ec in 8th Grade. We had to sew book covers with our first initial on them and I could not do it to save my life. I traded with a friend and wrote her English essay and she sewed my book cover. She got an A and I got caught cheating. So not fair. My mom recently found said book cover during her move and I now get to relive that place in time as often as I feel the need. I am now only slightly more capable with my machine!


I am relatively new to sewing. My first project has been a table runner using Amy Butler fabric. I am hooked!! I really love the circle floor pillow. This may have to be my next project.

Suzanne Mooney

My very first item to sew was a quilt when my eldest child was born. It took 2 (yes 2) years to finish, but she is about to turn 15 and I still have it. A little worn with a hole or two, but still loved as much by her and me! :)


what a wonderful book! i make quilts, but am pretty novice with everything else. i'd love to learn more techniques! there are quite a few things i know my daughter would love! (maybe i could teach her too)


The earliest sewing project I can remember is a tote bag I made in jr high home ec out of a cherry print fabric. I still have it and use it occasionally! Which means it turned out pretty good. I'm guessing I made other items prior to that as my mom is quite a sewer and loved it when I paid any interest, but I can't remember any specific projects.


Oh this book looks wonderful! Just what my daughter would enjoy! Thank you!

Michelle Elaine

Hello! My first sewing project was a very simple bag to hold a game I made for my niece. The bag was super simple. I really want to learn more. The totes look awesome, and only, if only, I could sew a skirt for my 7 year old. Thanks so much for the chance to win. Your blog is delightful!


sorry forgot to add my first project was way back when elephant bells where trying to make their way on the seen. I could not for the life of me at that age figure out the snaps, should have put in a zipper :-( well we learn, don't we!


This book looks like exactly what I need! My first sewing project was a "frozen banana" pillow in 7th grade Home Ec. Then last year I took a sewing class at a local place and made a little purse/lunchbag thing. These look like projects I could handle, and, like it says, build my skills. Thanks for hosting the giveaway!


My first sewing project was probably a drawstring bag in Girl Scouts (hand sewing) and I did a lot of embroidery as a young girl. I will definitely be checking out this book. It looks great!


I believe this book would help me teach my daughter to sew...such a great mother-daughter activity. Oh, I hope I win!!! Your little mice are adorable!


The first project I remember making was a pair of boxer shorts in middle school. We all went to the fabric store and I ended up choosing a heavier-weight flannel plaid. It was really tricky sewing that waistband! I do remember wearing them for gym class for a few years, though, so I guess that qualifies as a success?

The book looks great! I'd been on the fence about this one, but looks like it's a must-have! Thanks for the chance!


Sounds like a great book! Would like to get back into sewing and this might do the trick for refresher! Thank you for the tip and the giveaway!

Sarah :: greenclogs

This does look like a great book. I'd love to have it for Annika. My first sewing project as an adult was a slipcover for an ottoman. I learned the value of a gridded cutting mat. Enough said. :)


The book looks great! My first project was in middle school and it was an apron. As an adult my first sewing project was also an apron but much more fun and creative than the one I made in school.


My first sewing project was a hand sewn skirt for my doll when I was about 7. Fun to think back on that! This book would be great for my daughter. Thanks for the great giveaway.


My first sewing project was a pillow, and it turned out great!


My first project (that I can remember) was a green and pink baby quilt for a friend when I was in college. Looking back, it's one that i could have strip pieced, but instead I sewed together tons of 3 inch squares and set them on a diagonal. I ended up taking forever to finish it, so it stayed with me and my daughters adopted it after they were born.



My first sewing project was a diaper bag for a co-worker. Quite lofty for a novice, you might say. And you would be right. I hope she tossed that thing, because in my mind, it turned out like a kindergarten project! Anywho, I'm much better now! I'd love to try out the book!


My first sewing project was a small pillow to earn a badge for Brownies. Somehow, I still remember agonizing about stitch length and spacing, as I only knew that was important from books like Little Women and Little House on the Prairie. My only instructors!

Melissa E

My first sewing project was back in high school when I decided I wanted to sew patchwork seat covers for my brother's VW Bus. They turned out ok but didn't hold up for very long. This giveaway is great! Thanks!


Thanks for the chance to win this great book or cute pincushion. I probably helped my mom with little projects, but my first project on my own was probably the wrap-around skirt I made in Home Ec class in 8th grade. It turned out pretty well and I did wear it. Now my 8th grader wants to learn to sew. We've worked on a few Craft Hope projects, but this book looks like a great way to learn.

The comments to this entry are closed.