Good Reads – French General Home Sewn, By Karri Meng

Many years ago I first learned about Kaari Meng while working in a cool
little shop called Helix down in
Athens, GA.  The shop carried her wonderful jewelry made from vintage findings.
It was a few years later that I found out she had opened a shop in NYC called French General.  I was sure that at
some point I would make my way to that shop to check out all that was Kaari.
Later still I learned that she had an internet entity, books and had moved her
world out to Los Angeles, CA.  So much for getting the goods directly from the
source.  All is not lost, though, since most of her books have been out long
enough now that I can get them at my local library now.  Yeah!

Cover Image

(Image taken from BarnesandNoble.com)

Kaari’s home projects book is just what you would imagine it to be.  Full of
beautiful soft vintage pattern and color and an eye for romantic styling.  So
very, very French!  Many of her projects seem easy to make and most of the items
needed in the creations are fairly accessible.  However, she uses hemp and linen
in much of her sewing and in my local searches hemp was completely unavailable.
Linen is around and luckily this time of year most stores had it available at a
deep discount.  So, that was some good news.  While many of Kaari’s
projects appear pretty simple, and meant to add an air of luxury to your home,
some were just not my taste.  I think linen sheets are nice, but I like my
cotton just fine and the idea of the ironing involved just threw me over the
top.  But, that’s just me.

The first project that had me at Hello, was the Bread Warming Bag and I ran
right out to take advantage of the linen sales.  I know, I know, Kaari uses hemp
for hers.  But, as I wrote above, the interwebz did not yield any local shops
that carry the stuff and I was too impatient to wait on mail order.  I will post
pics of the bag I made soon.  I think it turned out pretty nice and SPOILER
ALERT, most everyone I know is getting one for Christmas.  Sorry to ruin the
surprise!  You will all love them, I promise!

(Image taken from FrenchGeneral.com)

The Floral Cocktail Coasters were another project that caught my eye and I
was thinking of using the concept along with my vintage fabric scrap supply to
whip some up for our tabletops.

(Image taken from FrenchGeneral.com)

And, one of the projects Kaari has listed just made me laugh.  Not because it
was funny, tacky or anything like that at all.  But, because I had actually
drawn up a pattern and plans to make one for our kitchen table several years
ago.

(Image taken from FrenchGeneral.com)

The Scalloped Tablecloth is exactly what I had in mind for the kitchenette
area in our Nashville, TN home.  You can see our remodel images here.
Prior to making things tidy for our move to the Richmond, VA area I had intended
to create a comfy, plush seating area circling a little round table and I wanted
a scalloped tablecloth.  I had bought the fabric, created the pattern, and
directions and even cut the circle for the top.  For some reason I had put the
project on hold and then we got the news that we were moving.  At that point it
just didn’t make sense to create something for our past home.  Although, once I
get the kitchen fixed up in our new place I may just decide again to whip one of
these up.  Kaari has included some simple to follow directions, so I will be
sure to reference this guide again, should I make the leap.

All in all, I would say this is a very inspiring book to get you in gear to
work on some neat projects for sprucing up your home.  Whether your space is
decorated with a vintage, cottage or full-on romantic style one (or many more)
of these projects will fit in perfectly.

Since this is an old book that has been out for some time (copyright 2008),
tell me about any of Kaari’s projects you have completed.  I would love see some
pictures and/or hear about your thoughts on what Mrs. Meng has to offer.

Happy Sewing!

Erika

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