Friday, 19 June 2009

Sew magazine

Earlier this week, idly wondering when I'd get my next fix of Sew Hip magazine, I turned to the back page of issue 8, and gasped to see the next issue was not out till 28 July 2009.

I did know there would only be 10 issues in a year, but nonetheless was pretty sad to think next month, there will be no Sew Hip to read and enjoy.

In compensation I bought the first issue of Sew magazine today.

Actually, to buy this magazine, I had to break my own rule: Never buy magazines encased in a plastic bag. Reason 1. the environmental impact. Reason 2. there might be nothing you want to make and it will turn out to be a waste of money.

I didn't try and identify all 172 ideas (according to the cover) but I counted 15 to-sew projects, of which two were reprints from previously published books. Good range of patterns, and no throws or quilts, which seems to be a bit of an obsession of Sew Hip's! However, both kids' clothes patterns were for girls. Which is not untypical, but is still annoying.

Also, I didn't spot any difficulty ratings on any of the patterns, which I think is an omission, along with step-by-step photos / illustrations. The photos are all of the finished item. This makes Sew magazine rather less accessible to beginners, I think.

On the plus side, I liked the symbols at the top of each pattern, that indicated which sewing techniques were used. I also liked the quirky references to other, non-sewing stuff. For example, next to the tea- and egg-cosy pattern was a column with shopping suggestions for teapots and egg-cups.

The photography was very arty, but sometimes this meant the pictures were not very helpful. E.g in the recycled jeans skirt, all photos focused close-up on the embellishments - no picture of the complete finished item. It would therefore prove rather difficult to make that skirt. And why on earth suggest buying new jeans to make that project - surely the point of adaptation projects is to re-use and recycle?

Finally, I was really quite irritated to note that magazine professionals in an established publishing house have trouble differentiating between "it's" and "its".

Out of the 15 projects, I only added one to my to-sew list. This was the picnic set, which I did think very pretty, and it would make a good present:

I'm on the lookout for some suitably retro fabrics now.

On the whole, I thought the patterns were aimed at a younger audience. I will show the magazine to my 14 y.o, as I think the clothes and accessories might appeal more to her.

I will look at Sew magazine again, as I was not impressed with Sew Hip's first issue either, but next time, I shall get it out of the plastic bag and take a look inside before buying (there were several copies in WHSmith with open bags today, so obviously other people do this).


  1. Hello. Thanks for this review... i had been looking at that magazine but did not buy for the same reasons you list above! I had not noticed Sew Hip wasn't out this month either. boo. x

  2. It's not perfect but I prefer it to Sew Hip.
    I have been sewing for years and I'm afraid I find them terribly amateurish, in fact I was horrified at some of the designs, atrocious stiching, squint seams and nothing seemed to have been pressed. Very uninspiring and appears to send out the message that one does not need to make an effort, it's all fine. which it isn't, imagine if they adopted that attitude at Savile Row!