LJ Best Books 2016

A jury of our peers discussed, debated, disagreed, and finally declared LJ’s annual Top Ten Best Books of the year, selected by our editors, as well as Top Five lists for genre fiction, nonfiction, poetry, graphic novels, and SELF-e titles. VISIT THE WEBSITE

Crafts & DIY Reviews | May 1, 2013

Giammalva, Jona. The Essential A-Line: Make 17 Flirty Skirts from 1 Basic Pattern. Stash: C&T. 2013. 128p. illus. ISBN 9781607056690. pap. $26.95. fabric crafts

A-line skirts are flattering to most body types and are among the easiest garments to size, sew, and customize. Giammalva’s basic pattern, which includes sizes ranging from 0 to 20, is a simple affair, involving only two pattern pieces and basic knowledge of garment construction. It’s the customizations that are the stars here, allowing sewists to add ruffles, pleats, vintage-style embellishments, and more. Length variations, as well as a maternity option, are also provided. VERDICT Women of all ages and sizes can take advantage of Giammalva’s easy-sew pattern and clever customization ideas.

Swearington, Jen. Printing on Fabric: Techniques with Screens, Stencils, Inks, and Dyes. Lark Crafts. 2013. 160p. illus. index. ISBN 9781454703945. pap. $21.95. fabric crafts

Artist, designer, and teacher Swearington provides a basics-and-beyond introduction to screen-printing and fabric-dyeing tools and techniques in this how-to guide. After an introduction to the basics, the author walks beginners through the steps of printing fabric using screens and stencils, then proceeds with more advanced techniques, such as using multiple screens and repeating patterns. Helpful tips are interspersed throughout the guide, and a selection of projects highlighting the qualities of hand-printed fabrics rounds out the book.VERDICT Swearington’s enthusiasm for her topic shines through, and she makes every step of the process look like a lot of fun.

Wandless, Paul Andrew. Image Transfer on Clay: Screen, Relief, Decal & Monoprint Techniques. Lark. 2013. 112p. illus. index. ISBN 9781454703327. pap. $19.95. ART INSTRUCTION

Wandless provides here illustrations of completed works in a variety of clay transfer techniques by the author and a handful of other ceramics artists. This new paperback edition (first published in 2006) walks the reader through various ways in which flat images can be printed onto three-dimensional ceramic forms. The author, who has been practicing and teaching these techniques for years, provides many examples of his own successfully completed work, as well as some from other artists working with this unique combination of graphic and plastic arts. Step-by-step projects explain screen printing, monoprint, and relief printing techniques as they apply to the surface of clay. ­VERDICT Crafty and creative readers in search of something unusual can enjoy the hybrid art form described in this title.

The following titles are reviewed in the May 1 print issue. Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.


Atkin, Jacqui. Handbuilt Pottery Techniques Revealed: The Secrets of Handbuilding Shown in Unique Cutaway Photography. Barron’s. 2013. 192p. illus. index. ISBN 9781438001999 pap. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9781438083094. ART INSTRUCTION


Bewitching Bead & Wire Jewelry. Lark Crafts. 2013. 128p. ed. by Suzanne J.E. Tourtillott. illus. index. ISBN 9781454707561. pap. $26.95.crafts

do it yourself

Tremayne, Wendy Jehanara. The Good Life Lab: Radical Experiments in Hands-On Living. Storey. Jun. 2013. 320p. illus. bibliog. ISBN 978161212107. pap. $18.95; ebk. ISBN 9781603428880. DIY

Pisano, Tony. Build Your Own Beekeeping Equipment: How To Construct 8- & 10-Frame Hives; Top Bar, Nuc & Demo Hives; Feeders, Swarm Catchers & More. Storey. May 2013. 160p. illus. index. ISBN 9781612120591. pap. $19.95; ebk. ISBN 9781603428552. DIY

fiber crafts

Curtis, Alice. Knit Your Socks on Straight. Storey. Jun. 2013. 144p. illus. index. ISBN 9781612120089. pap. $16.95; ebk. ISBN 9781603429108. fabric crafts

Giammalva, Jona. The Essential A-Line: Make 17 Flirty Skirts from 1 Basic Pattern. Stash: C&T. 2013. 128p. illus. ISBN 9781607056690. pap. $26.95. fabric crafts

McMeeking, Norah. Bella Bella Sampler Quilts: 9 Projects with Unique Sets Inspired by Italian Marblework.C&T. May 2013. 96p. illus. ISBN 9781607056416. pap. $29.95. fabric crafts

Swearington, Jen. Printing on Fabric: Techniques with Screens, Stencils, Inks, and Dyes. Lark Crafts. 2013. 160p. illus. index. ISBN 9781454703945. pap. $21.95. fabric crafts

interior design

Magni, James & Marc Kristal. Magni Modernism. Abrams. 2013. 240p. illus. ISBN 9781419706714. $60. INTERIOR DESIGN



  1. Serena says:

    Might have to check out some of these—especially the custom cut and sew. That’s fascinating, can always learn more techniques! Definitely into mastering screen printing and embroidery, but cut and sew is a totally different beast.