Bend the Rules Sewing

Reported by: Martha Bonneau

Are you new to sewing or have limited experience with sewing? Are looking for a book to help shed some light on all of your questions? Well, look no further than Bend the Rules Sewing by Amy Karol. Many crafters may already be aware of Karol through her popular blog Angry Chicken. This book is written in a friendly, informative way that makes the reader instantly feel inspired to tackle the projects within. With it’s easy to read text and hand drawn illustrations and patterns, it is very user friendly and less text-book like than many of the other sewing books I have tried to use in the past…this format immediately put me at ease.

This book is divided up into the following sections:

1. Learning to Sew 101
-Bending the rules in sewing
-Bending the rules in life
-Your attitude about mistakes

2. Let’s Get Started!
-The sewing machine
-Basic sewing tools and notions
-Your sewing area

3. Start Your Machines!
-Sewing vocabulary 101
-Using the patterns in the book
-The Basics

Sections 4-6 are divided up into multiple projects ranging from tote bags, fashionable dog collars, curtains and pillows as well as cute items for children. Patterns and templates are also included.

The fun, colorful pictures of the finished projects in this book make you want to sit down and start sewing immediately! I have been wanting to make an apron for quite a while and was inspired by the Vintage Apron project to make this one:

I even felt confident enough with the instructions to add the optional pocket. This is my first attempt at an apron, so is it perfect? No. Is it pretty darn close to perfect? Yes! Karol lets you know that sewing is a process and that you should “throw caution to the wind”, learn a few basics and find your favorite methods. If you finish a project and it looks homemade, well that’s a good thing and not something to beat yourself up over. This is definitely a book for beginners. If you already know the basics and are looking for projects that will stretch you, this may not be the book for you. But if you need that first step to get your feet wet in the world of sewing it’s definitely worth checking out.


* Easy to read and understand
* Fun colorful pictures of finished projects
* Templates for projects are included
* Lots of helpful hints and tips…Sewing Vocabulary 101 is very helpful


* Some of the templates and patterns are not to scale and must be enlarged
* Spiral bound would be nice as I found myself referring back to it several times during my project and losing my place

Where to buy:

I picked up my copy at Barnes & Noble, it can also be found at Amazon and Borders. It retails for $21.95 and in my opinion, was worth every penny! I would love to see Karol come out with another book with more advanced projects for those of us who want to build on our newly acquired sewing skills.

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3 Responses to Bend the Rules Sewing

  1. Avatar
    Kim Langston May 5, 2008 at 2:08 pm #

    I would like to add that if you have intermediate or advanced sewing skills, this is not the book for you. It is a wonderful book with great instructions as well as projects for the beginner sewer. Keep this in mind before you purchase!

  2. Avatar
    Radiogirl May 5, 2008 at 2:47 pm #

    Thanks for the review. Sadly, I have a sewing machine but I only use it to make a straight stitch on my cards. Even more sad, my mom is a self-taught seamstress … oh, woe is me.

    I am ashamed to admit that I am the idea candidate for this book.

  3. Avatar
    Julie Campbell May 5, 2008 at 6:55 pm #

    This is so funny b/c I JUST bought this book yesterday! I can’t wait until it arrives!!! I have intermediate sewing skills, imo, but wanted something that had QUICK ideas that were simple and different. I just don’t have time for really complex things anymore. I’m so glad you liked it and hope I like it just as well!