Book review = 4* for ‘Debbie Shore’s Sewing Journal’

For transparency: I was given a copy of this book on exchange for a review. The review, however, is 100% genuine with my own thoughts and feelings.

The review:

Debbie Shore has written over 30 books (published by Search Press) so I was really excited to get my hands on a copy of Debbie’s latest publication: ‘Debbie Shore’s Sewing Journal‘.

Even the front cover is inspiring and I love all of the different sewing motifs that are scattered across it from thimbles to cotton reels and buttons to needles.

This is a journal aimed at anyone who stitches so that you can keep track of your sewing throughout the year from goals and intentions through to achievements and progressions.

The contents page is clearly laid out with each section having a heading, subheadings, and then a corresponding colour for each section so that you can find it quickly by flicking through.

I absolutely adore that, very early on in the journal, Debbie creates space for you to record the things that make you happy as well as space for you to stick photos or swatches in of these things.

What I really love about this is that life can so often be stressful and overwhelming with what can feel like multiple demands on our time and energy. By having these pages at the front of the journal, it really encourages us to be reflective whilst sewing. It also allows us to easily flick back to the start to remind ourselves as often as possible of the little things in life that can make us happy (whether buying a new fabric, a new thread, or family and friends).

This all comes under the first section which is titled ‘Starting Out’. This section covers setting intentions (goals) for the year, body measurements (this is obviously aimed at dressmakers, so if you are a patchworker then don’t feel you need to complete this section!), and then space for any further notes you’d like to include.

The second section is ‘Sewing Essentials’.

This section is all about the fabrics! Debbie talks about a whole range of different types of fabrics, interfacings, linings, and fabric care symbols. There is then space for you to think about, and record, the fabrics you have and what makes them special to you.

I love the recording element of this journal as it really brings in so much of the journalling and scrapbooking world with the sewing world.

There are then further pages to stick fabric swatches along with corresponding information such as name, brand, fabric type, amount owned, and where to purchase more (space for corresponding thread colour would definitely have been useful here).

Debbie then talks about threads, zips, needles, cutting tools, and sewing machines.

I know that I really don’t remember to clean my machine out as often as I should (oops!) so I love that this journal has space to record when I do it so that it can also act as a reminder for when to do it next.

This section then goes on to talk about different stitches on the sewing machine (with space to record your own stitch settings and preferences), thread tension and choosing colours (with space to record your favourite colours, colour combos, and space to reflect about colour and emotions for you such as colours that make you happy or calm).

The third section is project planning which has lots of space for you to record everything to do with your projects including a space for a list of ‘projects to finish’ and a list of ‘projects to make’. There are then pages dedicated to a more in-depth record of your projects. Each project can be spread across 2 X double page spreads with sections to record the project name, date started, date finished, who the project is for, any sketches/doodles, materials used, notions used, machine settings, needles, threads, overall costs, what you would change next time, and any further notes.

Given the focus on mindfulness and intentions, it would have been really lovely to see a section in there for ‘what I’m proud of’ as well as the already existing ‘what would I change’. I think it is so important to build in the positives too.

There is then a section on monthly planning so you can write down important dates or things to do on a month-to-month basis.

The penultimate section is called ‘Sewing Reference’.

This section covers sewing terms, techniques (such as how to stitch split seams), common fabric and quilt sizes, dressmaking tips (how to take measurements etc), and a glossary and abbreviations page.

Finally, the book ends with a section on ‘Final Thoughts’. This section is a space for you to record any notes to your future self, your accomplishments throughout the year (it can be so easy to overlook these and to forget them especially as the year goes on), and any further notes you’d like to add.

This is a really beautiful book and it bridges a gap between sewing and journalling so it is a very welcome addition!