Book Review: Handmade Beginnings by Anna Maria Horner

on May 6, 2010 in Sewing | 496 comments

I’m going to start this review off with a warning: the babies are beyond stinkin’ cute! Teeny tiny baby toes and wrinkled knees, oh my goodness. The day Handmade Beginnings: 24 Sewing Projects to Welcome Baby by Anna Maria Horner arrived at the studio you could hear the ooohing and aaawing echo across the room (and probably across the parking lot) as each of us had a turn flipping the pages.

Once I sat down and delved into the details, the beauty of the book continued to delight. I thoroughly enjoyed the story Anna Maria tells through the presentation of 24 sewing projects for mama, baby, family, and nest.

It’s a story that expresses the joy every mother and mother-to-be experiences. One of making things by hand for the newest addition to the family. The book was written during Anna Maria’s own pregnancy and the birth of her sixth child Roman. Her personal journey is sprinkled throughout the subtext branding the book with an authentic, unique, and refreshing point of view.

Handmade Beginnings is organized into four sections: Mama Sewing, Baby Sewing, Family Sewing and Nest Sewing. The projects include bags, quilts, soft toys, clothing for both mama and baby, and several creative decorations for baby’s room. There are full sized patterns for 7 of the projects along with detailed instructions and hand drawn illustrations. I fell in love with the term Nest Sewing. So evocative of what we do in preparing for the arrival of a new baby!

Several projects in the book really grabbed me:

Quick Change Trousers, love the contrasting turned up cuffs and the patchwork back. And yes, that baby is just too cute for words. Caitlin and Leil both had those curls (and still do!)

The Here We Go Bag is a roomy diaper bag featuring side pockets lined with laminated cotton. Each project in the book is accompanied by My Color Notes, a paragraph in which Anna Maria shares her thoughts on the color and design composition for the featured sample.

Nesting Cubes. This pattern is available as a free download on Amazon (yes, Amazon, sort of weird but true and it’s there).

The Dad Bag. This sample is made up in County Fair Scallop Stripe by Denyse Schmidt (such a fantastic use of home dec fabric!). The zipper design on the flap is fabulous. A great aesthetic detail and oh so functional for quick access to important supplies.

The final project in the book is this oversized hexagon block quilt entitled Sixth Time’s the Charm Crib Quilt. I marvel at Anna Maria’s ability to develop clever names for her patterns and fabrics. They always make me smile and sometimes laugh out loud. That extra special something that makes what she creates all hers.

Handmade Beginnings: 24 Sewing Projects to Welcome Baby delivers practical projects for giving and keeping. I’m really looking forward to making some of these projects as baby gifts. It’s a delightful book with a sense of fun. Happy Nest Building!


Wiley has generously donated two books for me to give away. To sweeten the pot I’ll also be giving away a scrap stack of Anna Maria Horner fabrics from my personal stash. Leave a comment sharing a handmade baby gift you loved receiving or giving. I’ll draw the winners Monday morning, May 10.

Winners posted.


More ways to win. I’m stop number 4 of 17 on the blog tour so you have lots more opportunities to win:

May 3~ Craft
May 4~ Indie Fixx
May 5~ Sew Mama Sew
May 6~ Pink Chalk Studio
May 10~ Wise Craft
May 14~ House on Hill Road
May 18~ All Buttoned Up
May 19~ Alabama Chanin Journal
May 20~ Homemade by Jill
May 21~ True Up
May 22~ Oh, Fransson!
May 23~ Prudent Baby
May 24~ Sew Liberated
May 25~ Handmade by Alissa
May 26~ Hazelnuts
May 27~ Petite Purls

And if that wasn’t enough, the publisher is also sponsoring the giveaway of a Singer Sewing Machine, 5 yards of Anna Maria Horner fabric and a signed copy of the book!

Good luck!

pink chalk fabrics ~*~ new arrivals ~*~ free patterns ~*~ on sale