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Daily Deals: Seamstresses, both modern and historical with a confectionaire thrown...

Amy Butler's Style Stitches: 12 Easy Ways to 26 Wonderful Bags Amy ButlerAmy Butler’s Style Stitches: 12 Easy Ways to 26 Wonderful Bags by Amy Butler. $ 3.03 at AMZN | Google Play

From the Jacket Copy:

Now in ebook for the first time ever!

Celebrated designer Amy Butler’s most coveted products are her handbag sewing patterns. In Style Stitches, Butler presents an array of new bag designs for her fans across the globe. The ebook offers 12 basic patterns with enough variations to achieve 26 unique looks. Ranging from chic clutches and delicate wristlets to pretty hobo bags and handy coin purses, with instructions for altering dimensions, straps, and embellishments to get the desired look, each project incorporates Butler’s fresh, modern style and attention to detail. This very special ebook includes illustrated step-by-step directions, a comprehensive techniques section, and instructions for how to print the patterns themselves, making an essential and fashionable addition to every sewer’s digital library.

Some of you may not know this about me, but I used to be an avid seamstress and before I had a book blog, I actually wrote pattern reviews and blogged about my sewing. Sometimes in my dark book blogging days I think I should’ve been a craft blogger.

Amy Butler has some marvelous purse patterns and I’ve made a couple but it ain’t easy. That said, I’m sure I paid about 8x the cost of this for an Amy Butler pattern book. I put this under “really good deal” category.

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The Shipping News  Annie ProulxThe Shipping News by Annie Proulx. $ 1.99

From the Jacket Copy:

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, The Shipping News is a celebration of Annie Proulx’s genius for storytelling and her vigorous contribution to the art of the novel.

Quoyle, a third-rate newspaper hack, with a “head shaped like a crenshaw, no neck, reddish hair…features as bunched as kissed fingertips,” is wrenched violently out of his workaday life when his two-timing wife meets her just deserts. An aunt convinces Quoyle and his two emotionally disturbed daughters to return with her to the starkly beautiful coastal landscape of their ancestral home in Newfoundland. Here, on desolate Quoyle’s Point, in a house empty except for a few mementos of the family’s unsavory past, the battered members of three generations try to cobble up new lives.

Newfoundland is a country of coast and cove where the mercury rarely rises above 70 degrees, the local culinary delicacy is cod cheeks, and it’s easier to travel by boat and snowmobile than on anything with wheels. In this harsh place of cruel storms, a collapsing fishery, and chronic unemployment, the aunt sets up as a yacht upholsterer in nearby Killick-Claw, and Quoyle finds a job reporting the shipping news for the local weekly, the Gammy Bird (a paper that specializes in sexual-abuse stories and grisly photos of car accidents).

As the long winter closes its jaws of ice, each of the Quoyles confronts private demons, reels from catastrophe to minor triumph — in the company of the obsequious Mavis Bangs; Diddy Shovel the strongman; drowned Herald Prowse; cane-twirling Beety; Nutbeem, who steals foreign news from the radio; a demented cousin the aunt refuses to recognize; the much-zippered Alvin Yark; silent Wavey; and old Billy Pretty, with his bag of secrets. By the time of the spring storms Quoyle has learned how to gut cod, to escape from a pickle jar, and to tie a true lover’s knot.

Winner of the 1993 National Book Award and the 1994 Pulitzer Prize.

PW says “Proulx routinely does without nouns and conjunctions–“Quoyle, grinning. Expected to hear they were having a kid. Already picked himself for godfather”–but her terse prose seems perfectly at home on the rocky Newfoundland coast. She is in her element both when creating haunting images (such as Quoyle’s inbred, mad and mean forbears pulling their house across the ice after being ostracized by more God-fearing folk) and when lyrically rendering a routine of gray, cold days filled with cold cheeks, squidburgers, fried bologna and the sea.”

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When She Was Wicked Anne BartonWhen She Was Wicked by Anne Barton. $ 1.99

From the Jacket Copy:


A dressmaker in London’s busiest shop, Miss Anabelle Honeycote overhears the ton’s steamiest secrets-and (occasionally) uses them to her advantage. It isn’t something she’s proud of, but the reluctant blackmailer needs the money to care for her gravely ill mother. To make up for her misdeeds, Anabelle keeps to a firm set of rules:
Never request payment from someone who cannot afford it.Never reveal the secrets of a paying client.
Never enter into any form of social interaction with a client.

Her list keeps her (somewhat) honest-until she encounters Owen Sherbourne, the Duke of Huntford.
Not only does Owen nip Anabelle’s extortion plans in the bud, the devilishly handsome Duke soon has the sexy seamstress dreaming of more than silks and satins. With Owen Anabelle enjoys pleasures she never imagined. . . until a scandal from the past resurfaces. Now her rules could mean his family’s ruin. Owen’s searing kisses carry the promise of passion, but how will he react when Anabelle’s most devastating secret is finally revealed?

Hmm, a blackmailer. That doesn’t sound promising, but E from Bookpushers says this, “Anabelle really was a good person, she was just in a desperate situation. Her mother was really sick and her job as a dressmaker didn’t pay enough for the doctor, medicine, rent, and food so she did what she had to do. However, because Anabelle didn’t want to hurt anyone she stuck to her rules and she kept her word. Then one day she chose the wrong victim and ended up violating her third rule. “

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Edible (Exquisite #3) by Ella FrankEdible by Ella Frank. $ .99.

From the Jacket Copy:

Edible, delicious, delectable.

Rachel Langley is more than familiar with those three words in her line of work. After all, she spends her afternoons and evenings creating desserts so divine that your mouth will water and your taste buds will tingle.

They aren’t, however, the words she would have ever expected to think of when she locks eyes with a certain lawyer she knows only as Cole.

With each encounter, the infuriatingly persistent man becomes more impossible to resist, and edible is the exact word that comes to mind.

Crave, demand, covet.

Cole Madison knows exactly what he wants, and Rachel Langley is it. From the moment he spotted her at Whipped, he knew he wanted to grab hold and take a bite.

However, the woman has enigmatic moves, avoiding him at every turn.

But not for much longer.

Rachel’s time is up, and as far as Cole is concerned, he’s waited too long for a taste of what he desires. Nothing, including the woman herself, will stop him from consuming what he hungers for.

The only question left is: Who will take the first bite?

This is a self published author and I believe each book in the series is a stand alone novel. There aren’t many negative reviews but one reviewer indicated the brevity of the relationship (they marry within a week) detracted from the overall story.

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Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Faye
    Sep 16, 2013 @ 14:07:11

    “Nothing, including the woman herself, will stop him from consuming what he hungers for.”

    That line is keeping me from clicking “buy.” Has anyone read this?

  2. lakaribane
    Sep 16, 2013 @ 15:21:24

    Choosing between reading and sewing is so hard for me, to be honest. And the choice is never easy since I’m on as often as I am over here…ie EVERY DAY, LOL! I’m not into bag sewing, I’m generally a garment seamstress but I have to say, as a non-US fan, I am so happy that even patterns are going digital because postal rates have gone crazy here. And it’s the indie pattern lines who are blazing trails like Colette Patterns who is now issuing everything in hard copy and digital systematically while releasing older collection in digital. I really like that some of the books are coming out in e-format with a code to download the patterns online. The Big4 (Butterick, McCall’s, Vogue and Simplicity = one big company now, sound familiar?) are not there yet, IMO, with downloadable patterns. I still buy them, online and on sale, as envelops because the third-party seller is a bit of a mess, from what I hear. Man, now I really need to update my sadly-neglected sewing blog, (Jane, you little past-life confessions has me dying of curiosity, LOL!)

  3. MaryK
    Sep 16, 2013 @ 16:08:47

    I’d like to learn to sew bags and do very basic clothing alterations (like shortening sleeves and taking in a skirt to make it more A-line). Any recs for good sewing books for either of those?

  4. Jane
    Sep 16, 2013 @ 16:31:02

    @MaryK: I think the Reader’s Digest Guide to sewing is really great but buy an older used version. Two others (also out of print) would be Making Clothes That Fit by Patricia Burkart Smith and Made for Travel by Mary Mulari.

  5. Evangeline
    Sep 16, 2013 @ 16:40:19

    @MaryK: Stick with old books from the 50s-70s. I hate how most modern sewing books make sewing, alterations, and pattern drafting seem overly complicated. I really like any book by Adele P. Margolis (and how good she is is seen in how pricy her OOP books are!), Claudia Ein, and the Palmer Pletsch duo. I second the rec for old versions of the Reader’s Digest sewing book.

  6. Ros
    Sep 16, 2013 @ 16:48:34

    I am intrigued by the Amy Butler book. I can’t imagine how it will work on kindle, but at that price I am willing to give it a go. If it’s that price in the UK, anyway.

  7. txvoodoo
    Sep 16, 2013 @ 16:54:38


    Agreed on the ‘older books” recs – look on ebay for good buys! Or on Amazon, in the used area.

    Another great way to get some hands-on training – most Joann stores have classes for beginners, where you can actually use machines and such with supervision/advice!

  8. Ros
    Sep 16, 2013 @ 17:02:51

    @Ros: Well, I have bought it and am pleasantly surprised. The page layout on the kindle works pretty well. Where she has references to other pages in the text, these are hyperlinked. The diagrams are clear. Obviously the pretty pictures aren’t in colour. And there is a link at the back to the website where you can download the pdfs of the pattern pieces. I have never bought craft books in digital form before, and I’m not sure I always would – sometimes I really want the big glossy colour pictures – but for some things I think I’m convinced.

  9. MaryK
    Sep 16, 2013 @ 17:09:15

    Thanks for the advice! I admit I usually ignore older crafting books in favor of newer, prettier books with modern pictures and less dense text. I’ll have to train myself to ignore the shiny.

  10. txvoodoo
    Sep 16, 2013 @ 17:17:58

    @MaryK – the text may look dense, but the thing is? The modern books sometimes eschew good descriptive passages at the cost of not being easy to understand!

    I’ve been sewing for at least 45 years, and still learn things from my old books. I recently picked up 2 at estate sales, and they’re excellent AND available used on Amazon!

    1) – Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing – I got the 1976 edition. EXCELLENT. As one reviewer says, look beyond the 70s styles – the techniques are all still valid.

    2) If you’d like to sew things for the home: – “Fabric Decorating for the Home”. Again, old styles but GREAT instructions. Slipcovers, duvets, window coverings, etc. And available used for 1 cent! :D

  11. cleo
    Sep 16, 2013 @ 17:47:22

    My two early loves were (and still are) reading and sewing. I don’t sew much these days, except mending and misc hand sewing, but I feel a kinship with people who know how to sew – they just make more sense to me than people who don’t.

  12. Jayne
    Sep 16, 2013 @ 18:00:54

    @txvoodoo: Slipcovers? Ooh, I just bought some luscious fabric from ebay to slipcover a chair. Must check that link out.

  13. persnickety
    Sep 16, 2013 @ 18:06:07

    Oh wow. Not only is the Amy Butler book the same price for in Australia- but that whole download patterns thing! life changing. Craft books were one of my few hold out areas for physical books- because of the pattern issue. no more. And so glad because when i have seen this for sale in hardcopy- $40 or so. both my wallet and my husband (when i seem to stop buying so many physical books) thank you

  14. txvoodoo
    Sep 16, 2013 @ 18:07:28

    @jayne Some of the decor pics are a bit “walk through history” but most are very, very classic styles, which play equally well today!

  15. Jayne
    Sep 16, 2013 @ 18:34:09

    @txvoodoo: LOL, I’ve got some old books from the early 70s about making curtains and oy the fabrics they used!

  16. txvoodoo
    Sep 16, 2013 @ 18:39:36

    @jayne I recently got one vintage book that had photos in it, and I had to scan one in and send to my mom, because it was the same fabric she’d used in our family room. She was acceptably horrified. :D

  17. Statch
    Sep 16, 2013 @ 21:47:33

    How strange — I was looking at that Amy Butler book at the bookstore earlier today. I bought it at Kobo with their 50% off coupon (SEPT50).

  18. Janine
    Sep 17, 2013 @ 00:41:57

    @cleo: Alas, not all of us can sew without disfiguring the fabric. It’s funny, I’m pretty decent at some crafts but hand me a needle and all I can do with it is tangle thread.

  19. Loosheesh
    Sep 17, 2013 @ 08:55:35

    @Ros: Well, I was trying to keep from buying it but you had to go and say this. Pfft! I used to be gungho on downloading PDF patterns and putting them together but I’ve run of patience. For small items like bags etc they’re not a big deal, but I once put together a full pattern for a dress. All that printing, cutting and taping. Never. Again. Now I normally just wait for sales from the different pattern companies. They sometimes have them as low as $0.99, though they limit you to a max of 10 patterns.

    Another good source for older sewing books is BetterWorldBooks; they sell used books and do free delivery worldwide. I’ve bought more than a few from them and, for used books, they’ve arrived in very good condition.

    For the more visually inclined (like me :P), has wonderful reasonably priced sewing (and other craft) classes, though I always wait for sales (‘cuz I’m cheap like that :D).

  20. Estara Swanberg
    Sep 17, 2013 @ 11:07:18

    @Faye: That was my exact reaction when I read that line, too.

  21. Jeannie Watt
    Sep 18, 2013 @ 12:04:10

    I’m so thrilled to find company! I write for SuperRomance, and when I’m not on deadline, like now, I blog about my adventures in sewing retro and vintage fashions. I’m always on the lookout for a new sewing book. I’ve started reviewing on Pattern Review, too. I so love to sew. And read. And write. Need more hours in the day!

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