Book Review: Simple Sewing with Lola Nova (and a giveaway)

I love being asked to review books – it’s one of the fun things about being a blogger. Opening an email with the phrase ‘we have copies for reivew’ gets me every time. It’s even better when the book turns out to be one of the really good ones.


The front cover of Simple Sewing with Lola Nova  by Alexandra Smith from Octopus Books

There’s something to love in most sewing books, but sometimes you have that I’ve-seen-it-all-before feeling…   Simple Sewing with Lola Nova by Alexandra Smith is completely free of that feeling…it’s full of fabulous projects and great ideas, with nice, clear instructions. It’s also beautifully styled AND the fabric choices are gorgeous. Look at the beautiful Kaffe fabrics in this lovely swirly skirt:


And the gorgeous retro fabrics in this simple but stylish bag:


If I’d seen the Lola Nova blog I would have known what to expect, because that too is filled with beautiful things – I think it’s definitely going to become regular reading for me.

But back to the book…. There are 25 fab (really, all 25!) projects which are arranged into chapters on Boho, Vintage, Natural, Eclectic and Whimsy. There’s a lovely use of vintage fabrics and ideas for using simple fabric printing too. There’s enough support for the beginner (with lots of good info about basic techniques and simple projects) but with stuff to challenge more advanced sewers too. I particular like the fact that there are loads of photos – and although they are a bit small sometimes, it’s usually very easy to work out what you need to be doing. Here’s an example – some cute little purses for a kid’s belt:


And here are some of the photos that go with the project:


It’s all very thorough.

If I have time, I always like to have a go at a project from a book, to check out how well written it is. This time round I made a cute boxy pencil case:


Isn’t it cute how that little robot is waving from the corner seam? It’s purely accidental, I admit…IMG_4680

The fact that it turned out so nicely is a good recommendation for the book I think!

So, quite often, when I review a book, I give it away too. But I am afraid that this one is so good that I can’t bring myself to part with it…. (sorry!) So, to make it up to you , would you like a chance to win a robot pencil case? Just leave a comment on this post telling me your favourite robot (R2-D2, Metal Mickey, K-9, Twiki, KITT?)… by midnight on Thursday. Winner will be announced on Friday….

60 thoughts on “Book Review: Simple Sewing with Lola Nova (and a giveaway)

  1. Just wanted to say thank you so much for my robot pencil case! I think my nephew is going to be the lucky new owner. I’ve also just read the book and got some good ideas, so thanks for the recommendation!

  2. The favourite Robot in our house is definitely Robert the Robot (from Justin’s House). Who doesn’t love a slightly camp, dusting obsessed, cake stealing, comedy robot? 🙂

  3. My favourite is Gigolo Joe in AI:Artificial Intellingence. Jude Law!! Need I say more? Love the cute pencil case but have never been able to make one that looks any good.

  4. For me it has to be the red dwarf skutters. How much better would life run with a skutter? Like a roomba with attitude. Lovely book, pencil case & review, thank you!

  5. Looks like a great book and the pencil case is sooo cute!. My fave would be ‘Sporty’ from the kids seried ‘Little Robots’, think its mostly because Lenny Henry does the voice!.

  6. loved the original robot from lost in space – he made me laugh waving his wobbly arms about. pencil case is smashing x

  7. Just gorgeous once again Ali – love the fabric! Big Dr Who fans in this house and I have v fond memories of K9 from my childhood – the boys thought he was pretty cool in the DT episodes too!

  8. How fun! My favourites robots are still the ones from the Smash adverts, they make me laugh each time I do their voices even after all these years. great book, it will have to go on my christmas list. Thanks for the giveaway.

  9. Thanks for a wonderful review. I like that they have provided very clear pictures. I however, don’t think will be persuaded to get a copy of the book since a lot of the projects look familiar in that there is a free tutorial/pattern for it in the internet somewhere.

  10. Number 5 from ‘Short Circuit’ and, although I’m unsure about whether they count as robots, the ‘mechanical life-forms’ (The Fix-Its) from ‘Batteries Not Included’. Or maybe Kryten from ‘Red Dwarf’…hmmm, seems I like more robots than I thought!!
    P.S. The pencil case is wonderful and the book looks superb!

  11. I need this book in my life!! Your review has made me put it on my Amazon wish list!
    My Favourite robot has to be R2D2 from star wars! He notifies me every time i get an email or text!
    Thanks so much for your lovely blog!

  12. I think the fact you don’t want to give the book away tells me everything I need to know about it! It looks lovely, and I like the idea of simple but not trivial – those are all lovely, useful or beautiful things. They don’t have to be difficult to be good.

    As a lifelong Asimov fan, my favourite robot has to be Daneel from the Robot series. Love those stories.

  13. Number 5 from the 80’s movie short circuit. he was wicked. loving the book it looks fantastic. would love to win the pencil case and would have to keep for myself as I have 3 boys in the house that would fight over it! thanks xx

  14. It’s got to be Bender from Futurama! He is just SO cool! Thanks for chance to win this gorgeous pencil case Ali! xx 😀 xx 😀

  15. That book looks like it will have to adorn my bookshelf. My favourite robot is C3PO from Star Wars, maybe because he is slightly human

  16. R2-D2,Gostei demais deste post,vou por este livro em minha lista de presentes,faço aniversário em 26 de setembro,

  17. Definitely Marvin from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy! Brain the size of a planet and he’s parking cars! 😀

  18. The book looks great, thanks for the review, another book to add to my wish list! Favourite robot? The one my daughter made in junk modelling at school (I have no idea about any of the others!)

  19. R2D2 springs to mind – although he was a tad pompus – as far as robots go. And I seem to remember liking the beegey beegey sound that the robot in Buck Rogers used to make…

  20. I was disappointed at the end when the giveaway wasn’t for the book! The robot pencil case looks really cute though, I’d love to win it. My favourite robot is Kryten from Red Dwarf!

  21. favourite robot – hmmm probably the ones from the 1970’s SMASH! adverts (never did work out what they were called!)
    The book does look pretty too but will have to wait until next month!

  22. Hi Ali, great review and the book will go on my Xmas list. My fav robot is Optimus Prime from transformers- such a great voice xx

  23. Oh…..has to be Metal Mickey – can you still get atomic thunderbusters? Boogie…..boogie…..

    This book looks inspirational, will be placing it on my Christmas list. Beautiful pencil case, my little boy would love it x

  24. Well now I’m going to have to buy the book
    love that robot fabric too, I’ve got some to make oven gloves for my dad who works in artificial intelligence.
    Umm, favourite robot? I think bender in futurama

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