Sew What You Love, by Tanya Whelan Review and Giveaway

I was given the chance last week to read and review a copy of Tanya Whelan’s new sewing book, Sew What You LoveFirst of all, let me say, I am a fan of Tanya.  I’ve used a lot of her shabby chic prints and fabrics in my daughter’s room, including the recent hoop wall. So when I heard fromTanya, I was a little star struck.

One of my sewing goals this year is to break out of my quilting-comfort-zone and sew more bags, and get more comfortable sewing clothing.  I have multiple reasons for this – partly to just expand my sewing skills and partly because I think I’ll be able to quickly burn through some of that fabric stash as well. :)

Feeling somewhat timid about where to start, Sew What You Love arrived like a burst of inspiration and motivation. Definitely one of the main things I look for in a pattern book, is multiple good patterns so that I really get my money’s worth out of the investment.  There are around 30 patterns in this book and I can honestly say I want to make almost every one of them.  I love these cute tops (above) – the Lila Shirred Blouse and the Go-To Top or Dress. Both are on my list for spring wardrobe updates for me and my girls.

Also included are 5 really simple but good-looking bag patterns. Two cute clutches and three large tote bags. All with very clear and simple instructions. 

Saturday night I whipped out this City Tote so quickly. And I LOVE it. It’s now my new winter go-to bag for hauling all my ‘stuff’.  The handles are integrated – meaning the handle is part of the bag, instead of cut and sewn on separately – making the project a really quick one.

All of the projects and patterns in this book are for very simple, but darling projects. The instructions are well written with clear diagrams. Even with my fear of “3-dimensional” sewing (clothes, balls, etc.) Tanya’s designs and instructions make me feel confident that I can make any of these projects. And do them in a reasonable amount of time. I’m so excited to try many more – and I’ll share the results.
Finally, I love that the patterns come drawn to full scale in a handy pouch at the back of the book. I have to say, anytime I see a pattern that requires me to make a trip to the copy place for enlargements, I know right then and there the chances of me actually making that extra effort are very slim. Because multiple patterns are printed on the same page (to conserve space and paper) you will need to trace the pattern you plan to use.  I just used my giant roll of freezer paper to trace my bag patterns and was able to get right to work. Also, the fact that this book has a spiral binding makes it so easy to leave open on my work table.
Tanya is offering a free download of the Travel Checkers pattern to all of you. 
Tanya is also giving away a free bag pattern to anyone who wants to Tweet or mention Sew What You Love on Facebook. All you need to do is provide a link to the Sew What You Love page on Amazon. Go here to find out the details on Tanya’s Share Program.
Lastly, Tanya has kindly offered to giveaway a copy of Sew What You Love to one of you readers! Just leave one comment on this post. If you want, you can share something you’d like to try to break out of your sewing comfort zone. Giveaway closes Friday, Feb 3 at midnight, MST.  GIVEAWAY CLOSED
WINNER:  Amber said…  I would love this book!
Thank you so much for all the love on the HST Spectrum quilt – esp for reassuring me about the ‘bleeding’ triangles and the binding.  Sometimes after working so long on a project you need a fresh perspective from someone else.  I’m resolved to leave the quilt as it stands. :)
Also, the ADORNit giveaway winner has been announced. It’s Paula. I have emailed you Paula!


  1. says

    Wow what a giveaway, I would really want to make myself that red dress. I haven't sewn clothes since crafts in school. so that would be a big thing for me. But that clutch is also yummy.

  2. says

    oh I would love to tackle a dress. something that is easy to wear. That red dress looks easy to wear. I think you are right a prefect spring dress.

  3. says

    Everything you have posted from that nook looks like so much fun! I want a copy…definitely going on my wish list, but it would be even better to be picked to win a copy!

  4. says

    I've been thinking about this book, so thanks for the review. I have mostly sewn quilts and a few things for my daughter. I would love to try a bag or maybe some clothing for me. Looks like a great book. I'd love to win!

  5. says

    Looks like a great book. I can always use another bag. I've been wanting to make more clothes too. I made my first dress for my daughter a few years back and she loved it. It's been one of things I'd like to do again. This time maybe for me.

  6. says

    l love everything you've shown about this lovely book! I would make the cute balls for a new great grandbaby, and a dress for the big sister. Love your bag , it's so quick and easy!

  7. says

    I'm new to sewing, so nearly everything is expanding my comfort level, lol! My goals for this year include doing a quilt, a table runner, a skirt, a dress & a blouse.

  8. says

    That red dress has me sold on the book. I'm frantically looking for dresses for my tall 12 year old daughter–and maybe one for me too? I have to ask though, is the patten for misses/junior sizes, or is it just for little ones? Thanks!

  9. says

    I love the travel checkers game. What a great thing to stash in the car for the grandkids! Thanks for generously offering a copy of this sweet book. I should be so lucky!! Be blessed.

  10. says

    I have a goal this year to make myself a new bag to take to church. I do clothing pretty well, as well as home dec stuff like pillows and curtains. The bags though are a bit intimidating!

  11. says

    THis book looks great! Clothes are definately out of my comfort zone but I interested in learing more about making them. I LOVE the Go To Dress so that would probably be first on my list! Thanks for the chance! Smiles~Beth

  12. says

    What a great looking book. Love it being spiral bound. Like you I want to try some different sewing this year. I&#39;d love to make some bags for myself. So many great patterns and fabric as well. I&#39;d also love to try to make some clothes for my grandson, who is one year old.<br /><br />Thank you for a great giveaway and a chance to win.<br /><br />usairdoll(at)gmail(dot)com

  13. says

    what a great looking book – thanks for the giveaway! sewing clothes is something I&#39;d like to do that is definately out of my comfort zone. I&#39;ve tried a couple times, but so far all I&#39;ve made is a mess.

  14. says

    I love that bag!! Making bags and zip pouches is what I would like to try this year. Looks like this book could help me out!! Thanks for the opportunity!

  15. says

    i want to try to make more of the adorable dresses i keep pinning on pinterest for my little girls. all those zippers, buttons, button holes, and bias trim can&#39;t be too hard, right?

  16. says

    Oooh! I&#39;ve been eyeing this book at Barnes and Noble! I too fell in love with just about every project. Thanks so much for the opportunity to win. And by the way, your tote turned out so well!

  17. says

    I&#39;m drawn to the big ball and the blocks but I&#39;m afraid mine will look all lumpy. If I win this book, I made myself promise to give them a try.

  18. says

    I would love to win a copy of this book- looks wonderful!! I too would like to try and sew for myself. Maybe some easy, cute tops to start with! Thanks!:)

  19. says

    I&#39;d love to get this book! Part of my new years sewlution is to try more things! I&#39;m comfortable piecing a quilt top but clothes and bags scare me. I love the bag you whipped up and think that would be my first thing I make from the book. Thanks for the giveaway!!!

  20. says

    I really like the bag you made. I have some great ikea fabric which would be perfect for that pattern. I want to get better at sewing clothes for myself. Thanks for the chance to win.

  21. says

    I would love this book! I&#39;m going to attempt to sew my daughter some dresses this summer and I would love to try her pretty patterns!

  22. says

    Beautiful book! I would love to be more comfortable making clothing for myself and being truly happy with the finished product. Thanks for the review and giveaway!

  23. says

    I think the book looks like a great addition to my sewing library. This year, my goal is to try sewing more &quot;out of my box&quot; fashions. I also want to broaden my horizons by learning more piecing and quilting techniques. Thanks for the wonderful book review!

  24. says

    thanks for sharing this book. I need to get comfortable with interfacing, it is such a good tool but I never seem to apply it correctly.

  25. says

    ooooh, I came across Tanya&#39;s blog/site and book a little while ago and fell in love too. All beautiful projects I would love to tackle! The one project that sold me was the Go To Dress/Top. so cute and looks comfy for any day of the week. I&#39;ve not sewn any clothing for myself in a long time — I should again. Oh, I would be a very proud owner of this book!

  26. says

    Pretty! That looks right up my alley. My biggest sewing fear is actually doing my own quilting. Good grief it scares me to death. I need some serious lessons in that department.

  27. says

    Looks like a wonderful collection of patterns. I would especially like that pleated clutch! Thanks for the chance to win. Your bag looks great, by the way.

  28. says

    Tanya is also giving away a free bag pattern to anyone who wants to Tweet or mention Sew What You Love on Facebook. All you need to do is provide a link to the Sew What You Love page on Amazon.<br /><br />OK, I posted the Amazon Link on Facebook….curious how Tanya will know I did it????

  29. says

    What a wonderful looking book! I loved the teaser! That little girls dress looks fabulous. I want to be more creative with quilting. Use scraps, sew as I go rather than follow step by step. I would also love to get better at altering clothes, fixing them, etc.

  30. says

    I would LOVE a copy of this book! I too am wanting to make some sort of bag this Spring. So many beautiful fabrics out there!<br /><br />Great review. Will definitely be adding this book to my list of &quot;must-haves&quot;!<br /><br />I also linked the amazon page for the book. How do we receive the free bag pattern?<br /><br />Renee

  31. says

    Mmmm…Mmmm…Good! So many fun ideas. That first dress would definitely be on my list. Now. Daughter needs a spring outfit. Thanks for the chance.

  32. says

    I think this is wonderful o fyou to offer this chance to get out of our comfort zone. I been wanting to make a purse for a long time, just am afriad to try, I make charity quilts and I would be awe struck to receive this possible enjoyment of something new. THANKS<br /><br />aka

  33. says

    The Go-To Dress is super cute – and I think I have the perfect spring fabric for it in my stash! I would LOVE to snag a copy of this text!

  34. says

    Wow, its EXACTLY what Im looking for. Ive been wanting to branch out and make some bags. Thanks for the chance to win. Hope it includes us Aussie Folks

  35. says

    Oooohhhh 5 bag patterns in one book….lovely. I&#39;ve never made my own clothes…Usually I can&#39;t justify the expense on the fabric – but maybe one day.

  36. says

    The book looks gorgeous and I think I&#39;d want to make it all too!!<br />I&#39;m doing pretty well challenging myself this year; I&#39;m doing fmq on an actual quilt, doing some english paper piecing and generally trying to improve my sewing!

  37. says

    Oh that looks fab :o) I always trace all my patterns anyway (I&#39;m anal that way ;o) ) so that part wouldn&#39;t phase me at all. I&#39;m quite comfy with the various clothing/bag/3D object techniques, but I like buying craft books and learning new things anyway!

  38. says

    Once I get to my goal weight I plan on trying my hand at sewing clothes. The only reason I don&#39;t now is because I would hate to work so hard over something only to have to give it away in a month or two when it is too bog. So right now, to try something new I am working on Softies and Quilting.<br /><br />Thanks for the chance!<br /><br />Sue<br /><br />

  39. says

    All these projects from this book look so cute! My daughter was looking for a bag pattern like that last winter. And I&#39;ve had some checker boards quilted for a while and can&#39;t wait to read the freebee to to see how she made the checkers!Thanks!

  40. says

    I LOVE Tanya&#39;s fabric lines. This book looks just as amazing. I really would love to try something 3D as well. Those baby blocks are adorable. Thanks!

  41. says

    That book looks awesome. I haven&#39;t actually made a piece of clothing for a couple of years. I&#39;d like to try my hand at some cute everyday dresses. Thanks for the chance to win!

  42. says

    I would love to break out of my comfort zone and start sewing clothing, but I think that&#39;s a little much at this point. I definitely need to work on sewing more complicated blocks and some bags. And I need to work on free motion quilting.

  43. says

    I need to try machine quilting…it seems so overwhelming. I need to because taking everything to the quilter is getting expensive!! <br /><br />Thanks for the giveaway!<br /><br />

  44. says

    Cool book. Quick question: is the go-to dress for kids or adults? I&#39;d love to make one for me (and would get the book to do so) but I can&#39;t tell from the picture if that&#39;s a teen or an adult. thanks!

  45. says

    This book looks awesome! I would love to try out that city bag pattern…it looks like it would make a good substitute for a very beat-up diaper bag I&#39;ve been using for awhile now and would definitely be something different than anything I&#39;ve ever sewn before! Thanks for posting about it!

  46. says

    I have tried to sew for my kids before but I&#39;m not really great at it. I too, would like to break out of my comfort zone and sew more fun things!<br /><br />I hope I win.

  47. says

    Thank you for the giveaway! Love the variety of projects, and yes, that bag you made is very fun! I can see it hauling my &#39;stash&#39; of stuff I drag around with me to my grandchildren&#39;s houses! I would love to get back to making clothes and simple ideas to start with would definitely get me going! <br />thanks again!

  48. says

    I am mainly a quilt/craft sewer these days but I have been gently brushing off my clothes sewing skills lately. This book looks like me! I was first drawn to the red and wt dress in the first set of photos, sold.

  49. says

    Such a nice book with a great variety of projects! :-)<br />I&#39;d love to put some of those patterns to good use.<br />Thanks for the chance to win.<br />Cathy Byrd

  50. says

    I am anxious to try the Travel Checkers pattern. Give the grandkids something else to do in the car on long trips.<br />I would love this book so I can delve into some summertime sewing projects! Cute dresses!

  51. says

    Oooohhh… that looks like a good one! Lovely review. I&#39;d love to try making more clothes for myself, and the photos for the dress &amp; shirt look really comfy &amp; cute. I can bang out kids&#39; clothes all day long, but me? Yikes! Not so much. Thanks for the chance… fingers &amp; toes crossed!

  52. says

    I usually make lots for babies or my lil&#39; ones. So I would like to bust out and make something for me. perhaps a bag (I am OBSESSED with totes) or that pretty dress!

  53. says

    Love your blog. . . love the idea of the book too! I&#39;m trying to break out of my comfort zone of only having sewn clothing. I want to make some quilts and bags and other things for my house!

  54. says

    Looks like a great book. I&#39;ve been trying to sew more for my younger kids. I sewed some leggings for my daughter and tried sewing some pants for my boys who are 3 and 17 months old. I want to sew some tops for my daughter too.

  55. says

    Is there anything I wouldn&#39;t want to make??!! It all looks fab – would love to make myself the dress… but would probably start with something for the kids!

  56. says

    Thank you for the lovely giveaway. I would love to win this book. I would definitely make the soft blocks for my baby granddaughter.

  57. says

    I would love this book! The bag is so nice. I used to sew clothing for the kids when they were small and would love to get back into sewing clothing and/or bags. Thanks for this great opportunity to win the book.

  58. says

    I think this book would be the perfect gift to present to my grand daughter! She is getting married late April and willbe moving a good distance away. By the way love your blog!

  59. says

    I have wanted to sew a purse for a long time, and it would be great to have pattern to work from instead of just an online tutorial that I&#39;m winging my way through! Beautiful, contemporary designs!

  60. says

    I&#39;m getting ready to make costumes for a high school production of &quot;Midsummer Night&#39;s Dream&quot;. That&#39;s always fun and always challenging.

  61. says

    This would definitely take me out of the box to make some smaller projects than the bed quilts I&#39;m working upon. Lovely. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of Tanya Whelan&#39;s book.

  62. says

    tanya whelan is awesome! her projects are beautiful and easy to follow. i would like to make the city tote because it&#39;s big and i can put all my &quot;stuff&quot; too. thanks.

  63. says

    I don&#39;t know if the competition includes overseas addresses, but I&#39;d love to win… based on your pictures, there are three things I&#39;d like to sew straight away… how often does that happen with a book?

  64. says

    Nice one.. Just to add some tips. Learn the sewing tools, equipment and materials that will be used. It is very difficult to make a garment if you don’t know what are the needed tools to create one it in the first place. Make sure you know what are the right tools and materials to use in making your clothes.

  65. says

    Well done on the bag- it&#39;s gorgeous. I too, need to break into clothes… for me! I&#39;m less afraid to make my kids clothes cuz… well… they don&#39;t really need to fit!

  66. says

    I would love to win this book! I was just logging on to amazon to buy it but maybe I&#39;ll wait first and see if I win. :)<br /><br />I would love to sew some clothing for myself. I have been sewing quilts, kitchen decor and now pillows and would love to break into clothing. <br /><br />I will for sure be making the city tote you pictured. It looks great!<br /><br />Thanks for the chance to

  67. says

    I&#39;d like to try making a more complex purse/bag. I&#39;ve made totes, but would love to have one with multiple pockets and zippers and more shape. This book looks great! Thanks for a chance to win! :)

  68. says

    Love the bag you made!! I&#39;m a bit of a bagaholic so that caught my eye first thing. I would love to try some of the patterns in this book. I haven&#39;t done much clothing sewing but I&#39;d attempt the top and dress pictured. Soooo cute!!

  69. says

    Oh thanks for the chance to win the book…it looks like a lot of projects. Like you I&#39;d like to make more bags, toys and fun things for kids.<br /><br />Happy Sewing

  70. says

    This seems just perfect for me – a beginner sewer. I have made a few small quilts and 1 or 2 bags but really want to have a go at making clothes. Except I&#39;m a bit scared of patterns as I just can&#39;t get my head round them! This book looks ideal to get me doing more advanced stuff…<br />(

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