At Mr X Stitch we love to review textile art and embroidery books for you. There are so many great books to discover, packed with needlework inspiration and textile techniques, so we dive into each book to find out what’s good, what’s bad and let you know why you should pick it up.
Check out our BookShop affiliate link at the end of this post – buy from BookShop and support independent bookshops!
Kogin (which I had never tried before I was asked to review this book) is a type of sashiko embroidery originating in Japan which is hundreds of years old. It was mainly used to reinforce aging clothing fabric and add warmth to layers. Having never done it before I though the best way to review the book was to use it to teach myself how to do kogin and to make a little project. You can see how I got on at the end.
Who Is This Book Aimed At?
This book is aimed at all kinds of expertise levels from beginners to long term kogin enthusiasts. I think there would be inspiration in it for sewing enthusiasts of all levels.
About The Author
The book is by Boutique-Sha. They have produced quite a few books with Search Press and are a craft and lifestyle publisher in Japan who have written hundreds of publications and had them translated into English.
The content is great. It teaches you the skills you will need, explains the tools and techniques, and provides 25 inspiring projects you can make. The projects vary from little framed pictures to larger sewing projects like pouches and purses so there is a fab range of items to make no matter what your skill level. I imagine you would start (as I did) with a small project but return to this book again and again to make more items as your skills grow.
The photography is really good quality in this book. There are lots of detailed clear photos in the hints and tips sections to explain the techniques, and the photography to show you the finished projects is really nicely set up too. The section which shows you how to make each project uses illustrations instead of photography and these are really well done too.
What Makes The Book Special?
To me the book works well because it covers such a wide variety of experience levels. A beginner could pick it up (like I did) and be really happy learning a great new skill, but an experienced person could also pick it up and find plenty of useful tips and lovely projects.
Anything Wrong With The Book?
It’s not ‘wrong’ but I found the layout of the book unusual. There are photos of the finished projects at the front, but the instructions for them are at the back. I would have preferred to have the instructions beside the photos of the finished project, but that’s just me.
This is a really great book. It has something for beginners, lots for experienced kogin lovers, small projects, big projects, it’s a really well thought out selection of skills and projects. I was a total newbie to the art of kogin and it taught me a great new skill which I think is beautiful. The projects use techniques which date back hundreds of years and make it somehow look traditional or vintage but modern too.
As I said at the start I thought the best way to review the book was to teach myself a new skill from it. So I did. I decided to use the sample project pattern to make a piece to insert in a handbag mirror frame I had. I think it turned out really well, which is totally credit to this book.