I am so pleased to have had an opportunity to review Meg McElwee’s newest book, Growing Up Sew Liberated. This is Meg’s second book, and it is filled with projects and patterns for babies to young children. I have been following Meg’s work for some time now, and what I have always been struck by is the reasoning behind her work. As an international Montessori teacher, Meg is committed to bringing the world of Montessori to not only her own children, but all of ours as well. Growing Up Sew Liberated is a fantastic sewing book, but more importantly it is a guide to deepening our children’s love of nature through creative play. Every project has a purpose, from the Scavenger Hunt Bag (my first project that I completed out of the book), to the Hideaway Play Tent. The book is broken down into five chapters; Greeting the Morning, Bread Sharing + Homemaking, Inside Play, Outside Play and Good Night, Good Sleep. A Child’s need for rhythm and sense of wonder are main themes throughout the book, and it is a wonderful insight into how to create a natural rhythm for any family. We sat down and talked with Meg about a few of her favorite moments in writing the book, and seeing it come to completion.
What was the inspiration for wanting to write this book on this subject?
Ever since I started my graduate program in Montessori education, my life has revolved around two things: early childhood development and sewing. The desire to make beautiful and unique materials for the children in my classroom is what prompted me to re-discover my childhood interest in sewing. Eventually, while I was teaching in a one-room Montessori schoolhouse in rural Mexico, I decided to start a blog on the subject – tutorials handmade learning materials (I called the blog Montessori by Hand.) Montessori by Hand morphed into Sew Liberated, and a contract to write two sewing books was signed, all before my own boys were born. Growing Up Sew Liberated is very close to my heart. I wrote it when my first son was a baby, and all of the projects were made for him (or future him!) None of the projects that I designed for the book were ho-hum – they serve a very real purpose in the daily life of a child. I only wish there had been room in the book for more projects! Growing Up Sew Liberated is truly a melding of my two loves – sewing and mindful living with children.
What were you most proud of when you first saw the book completed?
I really smiled when I saw the care taken with the little text side bars – the ones where I write about ways of living with young children, from suggestions for creating a family rhythm, encouraging outdoor play, learning in the kitchen, etc. This was a big step for a sewing book. My publisher, Interweave Press, was very supportive of my desire to write “more than a sewing book.” It was just great to see that desire made real in book form.
What was your favorite part about writing your second book?
Finishing the Art Satchel pattern. It’s my favorite pattern in the book, with the doll pattern being a close second. I wanted to keep that satchel for myself! Art on the go, out in nature – it’s a great project for the whole family, parents included!
Meg has been kind enough to offer Rhythm of The Home readers a 20% discount in her shop until June 16th, as well as a free pillow pattern for all who order her new book. Simply enter the code RhythmOfTheHome at checkout. Growing up Sew Liberated is a book that will inspire many to create, play, flow, and tend throughout their days, and we hope that you will enjoy it as much as we have.
I will be posting the Scavenger Hunt Bag project from Growing Up Sew Liberated in the coming days, so check back soon to see this great pattern!
To see what others are saying about Growing Up Sew Liberated, just follow the tour!
6/6 Elsie Marley
6/7 Made By Rae
6/10 Uncommon Grace
6/13 Frontier Dreams
6/14 Burda Style
6/15 Maya Made
6/16 Wise Craft
6/17 JC Handmade
6/20 Simple Homeschool