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“Growing Up Sew Liberated” – A Sewing Book Review

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sew liberated book review

Time for my monthly book review – for June it’s “Growing Up Sew Liberated: Making Handmade Clothes and Projects for Your Creative Child”* (affiliate link) by Meg McElwee. I love this book! It is such a pleasant read, and would be a perfect present for a pregnant friend who sews. There are 20 fun tutorials/patterns from clothes to toys, all displayed alongside tips on the Montessori way of framing the day and incorporating independence in children.

I’m reviewing one book a month this year, check out my other sewing/craft book reviews on this page!

{This post contains affiliate links, indicated by an asterisk*. Please refer to ‘legal stuff’ in the top menu for more info.}

diy montessori cape sewing pattern

I sewed up the reversible hooded play-cape for my son, I’m going to tuck it away for a Christmas present! I’m not a Montessori expert, and we definitely don’t follow the principles to the letter, but share many of the values. I truly believe the more time we spend, outside the happier we all are, and we’re actually working on converting our backyard to being more of a ‘natural playscape’ with loose parts to play with – like those stumps!

running in the cape

I honored the Montessori/Waldorf idea of using quality, natural materials with real silk (green) and high quality batik quilting cotton, both from Jo-Ann Fabrics. I let him pick out the colors! I think he did a great job of matching them, even if I really don’t like that shade of green. Check out this felt fairy wand tutorial that would pair perfectly with the cape!

play cape

I loved watching him twirl around as the wind caught it!

wood button

I received the buttons for free from Jen at 52 Lasers, how cool right! You can see some of the other buttons she’s made in her blog post here. I will say the closure is actually the only part of this pattern I didn’t like. Montessori stresses independence and letting kids do things themselves, but this was impossible for my son to finagle when it was so close to his face. If I made another cape, I think I’d opt for an easier closure and depending on how much he wears this, I might have to reconfigure it with some Velcro.

hood detail

The colors are so rich!

Cape with tonka truck

This picture made me laugh. A big yellow Tonka truck is so not Montessori style.

montessori sewing book

reversible hooded cape

There are two sizes, I made the smaller one. I’m half tempted to make the larger size for me – it looks like so much fun to run around in!

Book: “Growing Up Sew Liberated: Making Handmade Clothes and Projects for Your Creative Child”* by Meg McElwee (Meg also has a Sewing With Knits* class on Craftsy!)

Publisher: Interweave

Focus:  A collection of 20 sewing projects for young children, serving them from morning to bed-time, all with a Montessori focus.

Project List Overview:

crossover tee

Greeting The Morning: Envelope Tee / Heartwarming Reversible Baby Sweatshirt / Reversible Bubble Pants / Tiny Baby Leggings / Crossover Tees / Basic Pocket Pants

Bread Sharing + Homemaking: Silk ring sling / All-by-myself bib / Embroidered Placemat / Learning Through Everyday Tasks

little amigo doll

Inside Play: Little amigo cloth doll / Little amigo cloth doll clothing / Irresistible numbers / Dress-up bucket / Reversible hooded play cape

Outside Play: Little amigo doll papoose / Art satchel / Nature as teacher / Naturalist’s scavenger hunt bag / Hideaway play tent

Good night, Sleep Tight: Sleeping johns / Baby sleep sack / Kitty lovey puppet

Highlights:

  • Most of the Montessori principles resonate with me as a parent, so her focus on comfy, accessible, soft clothes for kids makes me happy! This is so important to me, and I really hate seeing infants in restrictive jeans or dresses because they ‘look cute’.
  • You get a ton of activity ideas alongside the projects, the flow of the book is so well executed.
  • There is a large range of projects, appealing for both genders and many ages.
  • I love the multiple photos and different angles of each project!
  • The sewing supplies and skill builders in the back are all clear and sensible
  • The pattern pieces are full size, you just trace them.

Negatives:

  • Not necessarily a negative, but to be aware that the clothing sizes for baby clothes go up to 24m & the kid clothes go up to 5T.
  • On several of the reversible items, she says “just flip it inside out if one side gets dirty! Which is gross, because then the dirty side is against the baby.

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Here is a shot of the technical illustration & pattern page to give you an idea of what those look like!

sew liberated pattern drawing

If you like sewing & craft books, check out all my other reviews!

sew liberated book review

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Dana

Wednesday 24th of June 2015

Awesome! I remember getting this book as a present and loving all the projects. Now, as a mom of three, I'm enjoying the wonderful stories and parenting tips even more than the projects. :) Ok, maybe not more, but just as much - I had forgotten all that good stuff in addition to the sewing projects. I've made the crossover tee and my daughter loves it. I have a list of many more things I want to make from this book...just need to find the time to make them. :)

Stephanie - Swoodson Says

Friday 26th of June 2015

Yes, if only sewing books came with more time!! I agree though, this is one of my favorites. Hope to see something you make out of it soon!

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