I'm not much of a textile girl, I can't knit or crochet, and I don't own a sewing machine. All I've ever really managed to do is a bit of basic hand sewing (whilst making fifteen embroidered felt brooches for a hen party last year). So Happy Stitch, with its fun and simple projects, sounds like the ideal book for me.
My first impression was that this was a craft book full of projects to make for children, because the cover is so bright and and fun. It isn't however, it's for ladies that have a penchant for all things cute. It includes thirty felt and fabric projects, all of which are bright, graphic, and bold, and perfect for any sewing beginner.
Each project offers a full page image of a completed item or two, an introductory paragraph, numbered step-by-step instructions, and a series of corresponding numbered photos. The instructions are very clear but detailed, so you shouldn't be left feeling confused, or with unanswered questions halfway through a project, as you can with some craft books. The accompanying photos are also very clear, with some projects simple enough to follow by looking at the images alone. There is also a huge amount of templates provided at the back of the book, that you can enlarge and use to cut out all the felt pieces you might need for any of the projects.
Project images seem to mostly feature young adult women, and although I think most projects would appeal to women of a wide age range, there are a couple of items that seem slightly too immature. I'm personally left a little perplexed by the Mini Mushroom Bag, although I imagine my nine year old niece would love it. I'm not sure whether that says more about the book or my personal tastes though, maybe I need to lighten up a little.
The projects cover all sorts of items, from accessories and clothing, to soft toys and homeware. As with most project books, a majority of ideas are winners, and there is only a small number that don't quite hit the mark. For example Jodie's popular Owl Gadget Cozy is both useful and endearing, as are the Mini Softie Keychains. Other items however, such as the Doodle Skirt, feel like it could have been a brilliant idea if the design had been developed a little further. I also felt like the Geometric Wall Hanging was a little under-inspiring, and could have been more effective turned into some kind of contemporary tea cosy or cushion, rather than just a hanging.
Happy Stitch is packed with lots of different items, which offers great variety, but a couple feel like fillers, and I wonder if rather than trying to fit Jodie's work into another alternative item, it wouldn't have been better to provide more than one design for some more of the items, as with the Softies: Nesting Doll, Fox and Owl. For example I found the Cookout Kitchen Wall Hanging cute and quirky, but I'm not sure I'd make it for my house (I certainly don't have room for it in my kitchen), where as the Dala Horse Wall Hanging that Jodie is currently selling in her Etsy store is gorgeous, and would work in almost any room.
Although it may sound like Im being a little critical, there are also plenty of projects in here that I really, really like. Aside from the Cute Owl Gadget Cosy and the Softies that I've already mentioned, there are also a couple of pretty embroidered Tote Bags (for which there are two designs for you to enlarge and trace at the rear of the book), bold, modern Tulip Placemats and Leaf Table Runner (that I think would look great either in a white minimalist kitchen, or funky playroom), and a Vintage Style Half-Apron (although I would choose different fabrics).
Happy Stitch is a fantastically fun book, a hit with any girl or lady with a sunny and positive disposition, that doesn't take themselves too seriously. It would be wonderful for anyone fairly new to crafting that would like plenty of achievable tasks to get stuck into. It's a great source for anyone seeking inspiration for making gifts, and would make a great joint read for mums and daughters seeking activities to do together. It would also be very useful for those that need to use up that secret stash of felt that they have been doing nothing with for years; come on, I can't believe that I'm the only one with a stash!
RRP: £14.99 Available from all good booksellers, including: http://www.stitchcraftcreate.co.uk/happy-stitch#.USSc7rtvuPg (£11.98)
North Light Books
Please note that I was given a copy of this book, but was not paid to write this review.