Book Review – The Busy Girl’s Guide to Sewing by Carrie Maclennan


Carrie Maclennan is co-owner of Made in the Shade, one of Glasgow’s grooviest craft shops. The Busy Girl’s Guide to Sewing is her new book, and although I am not a Busy Girl, I was keen to review the book.

The Busy Girl's Guide to Sewing by Carrie Maclennan

The book is filled with stitch-based craft projects, and is conveniently categorised into time bands – some projects take 30 minutes, some take four hours. It’s a clever way of grouping things and means you won’t bite off more than you have time to chew. The projects are clearly laid out and peppered with little bits of wisdom from Carrie. There’s a nice retro/vintage style to many of the pieces which echoes throughout the book and is a nice reflection of Carrie’s own personal style.

The Busy Girl's Guide to Sewing by Carrie Maclennan

Carrie has enlisted the help of a range of talented crafters to help create projects, including Claire from Miso Funky and Angharad Jefferson. It adds a nice personal touch to the projects and the mini interviews with the creators help you feel part of a groovy gang of crafty talent.

The Busy Girl's Guide to Sewing by Carrie Maclennan

All in all this is a great book for people who want to get into stitching as it covers embroidery, clothes and homewares. It’s charming, friendly and well made. Definitely worth a look! The Busy Girl’s Guide to Sewing by Carrie Maclennan is published by David & Charles Publishing – if you’re in the UK why not buy it via our Amazon store?

The Busy Girl's Guide to Sewing by Carrie Maclennan

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Competition Time! Win a copy of The Busy Girl’s Guide to Sewing!

Now that I’ve whetted your appetite, it’s your chance to win a copy of this great book!

All you have to do is leave a comment below telling us your best tip for coping with a busy life!

My top tip is write things down. If your head is spinning with ideas of things to do and it’s getting on top of you, put pen to paper and get the ideas out of your head. It’ll give you the mental space to tackle them!

The closing date for entries is Saturday 7th January, when a winner will be chosen by the random number generator and we will post the result.

Good luck!


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36 thoughts on “Book Review – The Busy Girl’s Guide to Sewing by Carrie Maclennan

  • I’m a teacher and would be lost, both at school and at home, without using a planner.

  • Find things to do while you are waiting – for example, I read while waiting for/riding the bus; cross stitch while breastfeeding, and listen to language CDs while driving the car. With three kids (well, four if you count my OH…) it’s the only way to get anything done for myself!

  • Remembering not to feel bad that you cannot do everything all at once. What you are doing now is important, because you wouldn’t be doing it otherwise, so the other things can wait. Also, prioritizing, usually by deadline, helps.

  • Take care of yourself, in any possible way you can and at every opportunity! Busy is hard enough; busy and unhealthy is misery.

  • Write a list, prioritize. Make time for yourself!

  • drink a cup of coffee, THEN sort through what’s stressing you out.

  • My top tip is to be in the moment, put your energy and concentration into what you are currently doing.

  • I agree that writing things down is a brilliant tip for life, I’d forget everything otherwise. With two young children (5 and 2 years old), I also advise drinking for the nerves! 😉

  • Lists! I have even been known to make a list of lists I need to write, but it works. I have so much to juggle its the only way I can be sure I can keep myself and my family organised.

  • oh, this book looks so fun! the projects on the cover are cute, and goodness knows, i’m a sucker for sewing books!

    my tip is to take time to recharge. if you have to schedule it, schedule it, but try to take time every day that’s just for you, even if it means hiding in the bathroom for 15 minutes!

  • my best tip for coping with a busy life is to remember that its ok to say no. Spreading yourself too thinly is not a good idea and you end up burning out. : D

  • Waiting on lines is the perfect time to do deep breathing to get yourself centered and calmed.

  • Take a chill pill (washed down with an essential cuppa ofcourse!) 🙂

  • Have a plan, but don’t be scared to change it or give yourself a break. I used to let my life be dictated by planning tools, to-do lists and self-imposed deadlines. I thought I’d be lost without my diary and my watch. I was very organised and did a lot of stuff. I have slightly mellowed this year, and eased up on the list writing/over-scheduling. Today I had a lovely walk and saw a beautiful heron. Neither thing was on any list.

  • My tip is be organised and stay on top of things; keep separate notebooks for different tasks and keep a to do list handy.

  • Aside from writing things down definitely find or set aside me time. It’s when you pause things you may have forgotton or even creative ideas spring to mind. Keep a piece of paper beside you, jot any of those ideas so you can forget it in the meantime making room for any new ideas/plans that come along. You’ll feel so refreshed and recharged afterwards!

  • I swear by lists to keep things on track when I’m busy. But to enjoy craft whenever I get a few minutes, I keep a small project that is on the go nearby in a cute little bag or basket so I don’t waste time getting out the bits and pieces I need to work on it.

  • My best tip for coping with a busy life is to keep your calendar updated, diligently. When you have another task that needs to be done, add it to your calendar on the date due, with a reminder set for several days before.

  • I break my days into units of time always allowing 30 minutes of time for myself – knitting, spinning yarn or sewing small items.

  • Definitely writing things down does help a lot. If your head won’t switch off at night, keep a handy notebook on your bedside table to jot down thoughts…x

  • Get enough sleep! Being busy feels a whole lot worse when you’re already tired than it does when you’re well rested.

  • Give yourself permission to NOT be perfect! I used to stress so much about this that I never finished projects that had any mistakes. Now I recognize them for what they are: design opportunities!

  • Using my phone calendar – much more portable
    than a diary!

  • Days off are just that. I get done the stuff that needs to get done before or after work and my weekends are for me!

  • I do one thing to completion, not allowing myself to even think about everything else, before moving on to the rest of the stuff in my schedule.

  • My Filofax! I’m getting married in a few weeks, and am treating this thing as a brain dump. There are lists and notes and reminders bursting out and I rely on it fr everything!

  • I say no to lots of things I don’t have to or don’t want to do. If I’m going to be busy I’d rather be enjoying myself. That and lists, lots of lists.

  • I share an online calendar with my husband. If an event/meeting is not on the calendar it does not happen. Makes our scheduling so much easier, especially with 3 kids and all of their activities.

  • Keep craft projects in seperate bags, when its time to catch a train or the bus or you know your going to sit a while at the doctors office you can grab the appropriate one as you rush out the door.

  • LISTS. gotta make a list. in fact, i’ll make one now…
    Happy New Year!

  • My best tip for staying organized is to use OneNote on my computer to keep track of projects I am working on, grocery lists, recipes I am using for the week, and it all is available from my phone or computer. So no matter where I am I can keep track of what I am doing and what I need.

  • I looked at this book in a shop just before christmas…turns out that shop was Made in the Shade, I had no idea I was in the presence of the writer! They should’ve had a little sign or something ;o)

    I work by celebrating success. I used to get miserable and take a break. Think, this is getting nowhere, I’ll have a cup of tea and then maybe I’ll do better. Then one day I realised I was rewarding my failures. Now, if I’m toiling with tasks, I say to myself ‘i’ll get this next thing finished and then I will deserve a cuppa’. It’s effective, and man do you feel like you have earned your tea!

  • A magnetic notice board is the best place to put reminders, appointment cards and letters that needs posting the next day, means I never lose or miss important documents and dates. A fridge or giant peg on the wall will hold things just as well!

  • Looks like a great book! My tip is to check things off. I keep a planner of everything I have to do and check things off when I finish them, with a special pen. Not only is it unbelievably satisfying, but it keeps me from freaking out about something that I forgot I actually did and lets me focus on what I still need to do.

  • Write stuff down in more than one place. E.g. my stuff is on a wall calendar, in my paper diary, on my phone calendar and usually written on post-it notes somewhere. I like lists in general, though. If I have a busy day ahead I sit down the night before and write every little thing I have to do, in some sort of order. Ticking them off is a) satisfying and b) reassuring.

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