Book Rhi-view: Handmade Chic by Laura Bennett

Handmade Chic: Fashionable Projects That Look High-End, Not Homespun
Crafts, Accessories, Fashion
Hardcover $24.99 (208 pages, RODALE)
Ebook $9.99
In Handmade Chic, Laura shares simple strategies for creating 40 small luxuries and high-fashion accessories, from a smart leather iPad portfolio to a feather-embellished evening bag. With sections organized in skill-building order and based on type of accessory—small leather goods, agendas and notepads, electronics, bags and wallets, and evening items—Laura offers patterns, easy-to-follow diagrams, and detailed instructions for fabricating each glamorous project, whether it involves sewing from scratch or embellishing a prepurchased garment. While showcasing her own creative designs, she provides readers with the basic techniques and encouragement they need to come up with variations and create their own signature pieces.
Packed with Laura’s signature flair and finesse, vibrant four-color photos, step-by-step drawings, and a complete list of suggestions on where to purchase materials, Handmade Chic is an accessible guide to at-home crafting that is elegant enough for the most modern, fashion-savvy of women.
Publisher Site: Rodale Press

Inspiring Images, Not-So-Friendly Tone (3 stars)

I've become a gadget girl. But with ereaders and tablets comes the need for good covers. What initially interested me about HANDMADE CHIC was that it's contents listed a pattern for an iPad portfolio and a Kindle cover.

The book is jam packed with really great project ideas and details on working with materials I've fantasized about trying to work with but never felt confident to guess at trying. The illustrations and instructions are nicely done. If I actually decided to take on one of these projects I don't doubt I could follow them to a nice finished product. In particular I—being a book blogger—was most drawn to the book cover and Kindle cover. Alas, the Kindle (and iPad) cover did not impress. It uses a clear gel skin to hold the Kindle when I was hoping for something less gimicky. It's attractive but far from what I had hoped to find.

While I love Bennett's suggestion of finding thrift shop leather (and fur) goods and giving them new life in the projects here I couldn't get past the overall snooty tone of the book. I get it... some people don't like thinking of accessory making as 'crafting' but I also cannot imagine those same people bothering to sew their own mink handbag or make a men's wallet when they could just buy them.

Overall, if you can get past the mild snobbery there are some exciting projects in leather, fur (faux or real), and even a nightgown made from a bra. It's a great book for learning a bit out working with leather—I'm much less intimidated now!—and is sure to inspire some really chic creations.

Notes: ARC received via NetGalley.

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