Friday, March 23, 2007

Lotta Jansdotter: Simple Sewing

Ok, you've convinced me. I'm going to finish the sweater, block it, and see what happens. Thanks for the tips!

I can't believe how long it's taken me to tell you about this book. It arrived weeks ago, and I just haven't sat still long enough to give it a good looking over until yesterday. Me, a notebook and pencil, a cup of peppermint tea, and one new sewing book. Oh, and a quiet table near the window at a local coffee joint. Thank goodness that shopping tour is all planned and I can rest my feet for a day or two.

I'm not feeling terribly eloquent or energetic today (long week), so I think I'll resort to my trusty bullet points again.

What I love:

*Great book design. Clean and simple with little Lotta sketches and handwritten project names and page numbers. Very classy.

*Clever, simple projects that are great for beginning sewers. For example, the placemat with a little pocket for your chopsticks, and the picnic placemat with cutlery pockets and attached ties to keep it all wrapped up in a sweet little bundle.

*Excellent photos and styling; I really like how they express Lotta's "look."

*The simplicity of the projects leaves lots of room for unique embellishment and creative expression on the part of the sewer.

These words always makes me happy.

*Patterns for the more involved projects are included in the book. All other projects involve simple shapes for which measurements are given.

*Four adorable applique designs are provided for very Lotta-like embellishment.

*All projects are "rated" according to three levels of difficulty.

*Even the more advanced projects are very manageable and quite clever.

*The book appears, from the front and spine, to be a classic hard cover but actually includes a spiral binding so it will stay open to the page you need.

What I wasn't so keen on:

*Instructions are a bit vague at times. A few sketches are given for each project, but directions for some of the more advanced projects may prove to be somewhat tricky for a beginner to follow.

*If you have a moderate knowledge of sewing you may find that many of the projects are self explanatory and don't need instructions. In which case this book becomes more of an inspirational guide, since many of the projects really are quite clever. (So I guess that's not really a negative, but more of an observation.)

In any case, it's a lovely book, and I understand that Lotta has also produced a fabric line with Kokka. I haven't seen it being sold anywhere, but her website leads me to believe that it may be available soon? I hope so.


  1. Anonymous9:39 AM

    I did not realize that Lotta J. had a book and now I have to track it down...not that I am doing much sewing at the moment because I have too long a list of knitting projects. I'm rather the reverse of you at the moment. -- Avice

  2. man, i just had that book in my hot little hands last weekend, and didn't buy it. i'm regretting it now that i keep seeing great reviews popping up everywhere.

    sorry i didn't see your comment bout the sweater. i hope your blocking goes well.

    i made this sweater which fit perfectly upon finishing, but has now grown to be a very loose-fitting sweater. alpaca is so drapey, that i really think a good block will make all the difference. good luck!

  3. Thanks, thats one I'll be on the lookout for.

  4. Francesca10:36 AM

    Thank you for the thoughtful review. I'd been thinking about this book for a while and your post is just what I needed. :)

  5. Thanks for the review. These sound like projects I would be interested in but don't quite have the design skills to create. It's good to know what I need to look for!

  6. I just got my copy yesterday in the mail. I am a beginner so this book is perfect for me. Thank for the review.

  7. yes! i got my copy on PRE order! i love it! i highly recommend to's easy and super cute!

  8. I've had this book on pre-order from Amazon for what seems like forever. I can't wait to get it now.

  9. I have this book too and I really like the way it's laid out but I have to agree that the instructions are a little sparce

  10. I've been impatiently waiting for the book since preordering it a while ago. Now I'm even more impatient! P.S. - I feel your sweater pain! Hope the blocking works.

  11. thank you for the review - this book was on my 'would like' list now I think it is a 'must have'.

  12. Kristi5:07 PM

    Bradyphrenia- Love that sweater, great details.

    That book looks great my goal is to take up sewing and I thought place mats would be a good beginner project. I'll have to check out that book. The placemats with the pockets sound perfect.

  13. Kathy9:00 PM

    Ok - I tried to get it local but they were out. Guess its time to place that order. Thank you for posting the book pages - no one had done that yet. That sold me!
    By the way - I tried your linen store - fantastic stuff from the looks of it.
    And I would love a pattern on the convertable backpack - very clever. Let me know when you have it for sale!
    (Yes - I am one of those lurkers! First time replying. And the shopping trip sounds great. Recognized the Tinsel Trading for sure. If you ever want another ribbon store let me know - I can give you a good one out here in Vegas.)

  14. I so need to get this book. Such beautifully simple design! There's a garden tote pattern in there, right?

  15. those are meiko arquillos pictures! so incredibly enjoyable.

  16. Oh Ashi, I hadn't visited the photographer's site before. She does lovely work. Thanks for the link!

  17. I just ordered that book! (Gotta love the way Amazon make suggestions.)

  18. Thank you for your comments on Lotta's book. I am expecting it from Amazon and your pictures make it even more mouth-watering.

  19. jenni= )9:56 AM

    i have that book! the patterns are so great, i just love lotta's style. my husband gavir it to me as a surprise because he knows i want to learn to sew. now i just needa sewing machine. an someone to teach me. planning any more trips to the DFW area soon?= )

  20. Anonymous12:23 AM

    the directions for the "simple" tote have stumped me and I have sewn totes before...somewhere between b and c on p.59 I am lost...any clues out there?