Strands Book Review and Giveaway

Reported by Francie Horton

Were you a “Project Runway” fanatic? Never miss an episode of “The Fashion Show”? It used to be that DIY fashion was only for college kids on a budget. Not anymore! Now you’ll find some of the most unlikely people are designing and making their clothing and accessories. And now there is an unusual technique book to help with that. It’s called Strands: Creating Unexpected Fabrics and Fashionable Projects by Jacqueline Myers-Cho.

I’ve known Jacqueline for several years, so when she asked if I’d like to review her book I jumped at the chance. She has beautiful work and is an amazing person to boot. Northlight Publishing even sent me an extra copy to give to one lucky reader. At the end of the article you’ll see how you can enter to win it.

The book, which even has its own Facebook page, contains several interesting techniques for working with existing fabrics and creating your own fabrics. It also shows you how to create embellishments and textures that you can use on garments you already have. Part Two of the book has projects made from the fabrics and techniques that were taught in the first part of the book. These projects are sorted into four categories: clothes, jewelry, accessories, and outerwear.

I’ve chosen a few of my favorite things to share. The first is called Paper Fabric. It’s made using a combination of tissue paper, thread, and gel medium. I was so inspired by this I made a journal with this technique. I used Jacqueline’s “Cut-Thread” variation that she mentions further in the book.

The next technique is called Give-n-Take. It’s inspired by the slashing of the Elizabethan outergarments. One of the projects made with this method is the Peekaboo Skirt. I *love* this skirt. Jacqueline used a darker fabric in the slashes for contrast but I can imagine using a sheer lace or tulle or even nothing at all.

And then the last project I want to show is a dress using her Scribble stitching. This is just embroidery that looks like a child’s drawing. So why not use a child’s drawing?! What a cute keepsake and how warm and fuzzy a child would feel every time Mom wears the “special” dress.

So, let’s wrap it up. Is this book for you? Maybe. It’s well-written and beautifully photographed. But it’s definitely not your typical sewing book. It’s edgy, unusual, and different. If you like to take risks, I’d say go for it. Otherwise, you might want to take a look at it in the bookstore first.


  • Not the same thing we’ve seen in every other sewing book – different and unusual.
  • Uses unexpected materials like packing tape and tissue paper to make fabrics.
  • Promotes reusing, recycling, reducing waste.


  • Not for everybody – some people will be put off by its non-traditional approach.
  • A few of the projects feel repetitive.
  • Not all the created fabrics will be appropriate to use with all projects due to a lack of sturdiness.

So, what do you think? Are you clamoring for the chance to get your mitts on this book? Leave us a comment on THIS POST, and we’ll pick a winner for a copy of Strands on Saturday, August 22, 2009. One comment per person… THANKS!

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

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47 Responses to Strands Book Review and Giveaway

  1. Avatar
    Christina August 19, 2009 at 10:27 am #

    this is right up my alley. i like things different & edgy!

  2. Avatar
    Melanie August 19, 2009 at 10:35 am #

    Oh, I would love a chance at this book! Since I just bought my first sewing machine, I would love to see inspiration and different takes on things … why go traditional?

  3. Avatar
    Tamara August 19, 2009 at 10:41 am #

    This looks fantastic!! I am going to have to take a look at my local library.

  4. Avatar
    babyjsmom August 19, 2009 at 11:12 am #

    Amazing what a great book. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Avatar
    Kaytee August 19, 2009 at 11:14 am #

    Wow! I love that first technique! I would love to win this book! Thanks for the chance!

  6. Avatar
    StampinCathy August 19, 2009 at 11:16 am #

    This book is awesome. I love trying different things. Thanks for a chance.

  7. Avatar
    Angie in AZ August 19, 2009 at 11:22 am #

    This book sounds wonderful! I’d love to win and try out some of these projects!

  8. Avatar
    Aznewmom August 19, 2009 at 11:32 am #

    Thanks for a chance to win this book. It really looks interesting. Would love to win and check it out.

  9. Avatar
    java diva August 19, 2009 at 11:41 am #

    Oh, wow! This book sounds awesome!! I love the idea of stitching my kids’ drawings onto my clothing!!

  10. Avatar
    Ann Martin August 19, 2009 at 11:43 am #

    Ooh, the paper fabric technique sounds very intriguing! Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy of the book.

  11. Avatar
    Buncobuddy August 19, 2009 at 11:54 am #

    This book looks like it is full of ideas – I love it!

  12. Avatar
    lbcrafts August 19, 2009 at 12:01 pm #

    Love the ideas you’ve posted…I like the idea of using usual things in unusual ways. Thanks for the chance to win this book.

  13. Avatar
    Nancy August 19, 2009 at 12:04 pm #

    I’m not a big one for sewing, but I love the idea of embellishing premade garments. That way much of the work would be done for me and I’d get to do the fun stuff!

  14. Avatar
    primdollie August 19, 2009 at 12:19 pm #

    what an innovative concept reusing and recycling things to create new fabrics etc! This is right down my alley! I love to be different, as well as create unique usable things!! thanks for the review I would love this book!! linda

  15. Avatar
    Julie Camacho August 19, 2009 at 1:35 pm #

    Some of the photos look very interesting. I would Love a coppy!

  16. Avatar
    Mary August 19, 2009 at 2:18 pm #

    What a Fun Book!
    It is nice to see something different in sewing books, and the teaching of making your own fabrics out of unusal items (as far as fabrics go) is exciting to see!
    Thank you for the chance to add this to someones library! (hopefully mine! LOL)

  17. Avatar
    Nana Jo August 19, 2009 at 2:24 pm #

    Isn’t it amazing what you find when you look outside the box?


  18. Avatar
    connie August 19, 2009 at 2:35 pm #

    I am new to sewing too. I have only hemmed some pants/shorts and sewed on my scrapbooking LO’s. Need some inspiration!

  19. Avatar
    Carole RB August 19, 2009 at 2:37 pm #

    OMG I’ll walk on my hands to have this book. I love when things are different and reakky kive ti recycle. Thanks for giving us a chance to win this great book!

  20. Avatar
    AlteredByMe August 19, 2009 at 3:44 pm #

    This looks like an awesome book. I would love to win a copy!


  21. Avatar
    Jodee August 19, 2009 at 4:14 pm #

    Definitely looks interesting. Would love a chance to check it out!

  22. Avatar
    Melody (lacyquilter) August 19, 2009 at 4:35 pm #

    Sounds like an awesome book. Since I’ve always been a bit of a rebel, I’m sure I would love this.

  23. Avatar
    Anonymous August 19, 2009 at 5:34 pm #

    Paper making and fabric making are two of the items on my list of things to do when I retire in two months. This book would just add fuel to my fire.

  24. Avatar
    GoGoGirlz August 19, 2009 at 8:06 pm #

    Can’t wait to check it out! I absolutely LOVE to create using common “scraps” in unconventional ways…often referred to as making something out of nothing. This book sounds so inspiring!

  25. Avatar
    Anonymous August 19, 2009 at 8:24 pm #

    This is so my daughter! I would love to win this book for her! Thank you for the opportunity, love your reviews!

    Kathy Jacobson

  26. Avatar
    Jen August 19, 2009 at 11:29 pm #

    Sounds really interesting and inspiring. Paper fabric sounds awesome!

  27. Avatar
    Anonymous August 20, 2009 at 6:38 am #

    is this for continental readers only, well i’m joining in, it looks so great, non traditional!!!

  28. Avatar
    Janet L. August 20, 2009 at 7:32 am #

    This looks like a good one! Thanks for the chance to win!

  29. Avatar
    Axes DesigNs August 20, 2009 at 10:02 am #

    Wow.. I like to have more options to sew…. Thanks for let us know!!!

  30. Avatar
    Sequana August 20, 2009 at 10:50 am #

    Nice review of a great-sounding book. Thx for the giveaway.

  31. Avatar
    Ayelet August 20, 2009 at 2:16 pm #

    OMG! New techniques involving fabric and paper, my two favorite crafts!!!

    Thanks for the chance to win!

  32. Avatar
    rush8888 August 20, 2009 at 4:44 pm #

    i belong to “artrageous”, which is a group that takes quilting off in a different direction. we are always looking for new challenges, and this book looks like another way to be creative.

  33. Avatar
    ngyorody August 20, 2009 at 6:39 pm #

    The Scribble Dress got me really excited! I am pregnant with my first child (due Sept 16) and I daydream about all the crafty projects I can make for my little one and look forward to how he/she will inspire me!

  34. Avatar
    Francie Horton August 20, 2009 at 7:20 pm #

    Helen, that’s a good question about shipping. Since the publisher shipped the books to me and I’m shipping the giveaway copy to the winner myself I don’t mind sending it internationally.

  35. Avatar
    Andrea Stern August 20, 2009 at 8:19 pm #

    My whole oeuvre is strange and unusual. Um, yeah. Sounds really cool! 😀

  36. Avatar
    catss99 August 21, 2009 at 2:36 am #

    Please enter me, these are awesome!


  37. Avatar
    isabel scrap August 21, 2009 at 4:03 am #

    love this book
    thanks for the chance

  38. Avatar
    alexandra August 21, 2009 at 4:04 am #

    looks fantastic and very original

  39. Avatar
    la zaz August 21, 2009 at 4:05 am #

    thanks for the chance, i always love to learn more and more !

  40. Avatar
    the mustik August 21, 2009 at 4:06 am #

    thanks for sharing great inspiration, this book looks great to inspire creativity

  41. Avatar
    guilauma August 21, 2009 at 4:06 am #

    i love fabrics and paper and love to play and create with this two technics
    thanks for the chance to win this book

  42. Avatar
    bexarts August 21, 2009 at 5:06 am #

    ooohhhhh….. drooooling here! lol
    LOVE this opportunity to enter the drawing! Thank you!!!

  43. Avatar
    Lynda August 21, 2009 at 8:02 am #

    Oh, what a neat book! Would love to win it!

  44. Avatar
    ~Tami August 21, 2009 at 8:34 am #

    I’d love to win!

  45. Avatar
    Rebecca Ednie August 21, 2009 at 11:37 pm #

    Sounds really cool! I’d love to win it!

  46. Avatar
    lorrietori August 22, 2009 at 8:30 am #

    I want one!!! I love craft books, even though I am a paper crafter, I like to try other crafts. Sometimes I’m good, sometimes not, but I still like to try them! This book has peaked my interest.

  47. Avatar
    Yvonne August 22, 2009 at 4:55 pm #

    This book looks very interesting and I can’t wait to get a copy of it. I’m especially interested in the fabric jewelry ideas.