Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Cath Kidston - Make your own Christmas decorations - my review

Good morning

Firstly, I must stress this is not a sponsored post nor did I receive this book as a freebie to review. This is something I've bought and as there are lots of comments in blogland and on Amazon about it, I thought I'd add my own.

As the cover says - everything you need to make 12 festive felt ornaments - in small print 'not including needles and stuffing'.

This isn't strictly true - lots of the decorations are based on traditional Christmas designs - including snowmen and snow covered cottages - however in the kit there is only cream felt. I was always taught to avoid any snow that wasn't pure white!!

I thought I'd make one of the designs at the weekend - I opted for the reindeer on the front cover. However rather than using the supplied items I used felt & materials from my stash. I used the main reindeer template but did it my way and completely ignored the rather long winded instructions in the book;

I didn't bother with the spots on his rump nor the rather naff bow on the neck. Instead I borrow an idea from those rather tasty chocolate reindeers that the shops are now full of and attached a bell to the collar instead.

The book recommends sewing the pieces together with a straight edge over stitch - again I chose to do it my own way and use a small running stitch. The illustrations in the book are not great - the quality of stitching is rather poor. Also the colour combinations are rather random too. For the festive Stanley it suggests sewing the two sides in different colours - same with the Christmas cottages.

I've been told that some of the designs are not MissK's own instead they've been taken from other bloggers and used without their permission. Therefore it made me chuckle to read a big copyright notice on one page stating you could only use these patterns for personal use - like anyone can copyright a felt Christmas pudding or some holly leaves!!

Overall I would give this book a 6/10 - the designs are simple and there are several that I will use but I will adapt them to suit my style and taste. The quality of the materials included is ok - the felt is soft and I know I will be able to use it in other projects even if for some of these I'll have to supply my own. 

The cover price is £15 - I am glad that I paid just £5 as part of a deal I got on Amazon.

This book is nowhere near as good as the earlier CK books - I loved Vintage Style and the Make/Patch books were great too. However its much better than the Crochet Tin disaster of last Christmas!

I'll leave you now with my Rudolph hanging outside in the sunshine;

Have you bought this book - if so what did you think? I

xxx Vicki xxx


Angela said...

what a refreshingly honest and helpful review.

Does CK make these herself? in others of her books I have read her statement 'I cannot sew' a number of times. The teenage girls at our sewing club have been very disappointed with the quality of instructions in the books.

i DO like your 'tweaks' on her ideas [never eat yellow snow!] and esp your reindeer collar&bell. That is probably ©Lin*t chocs! The whole business of copyright is so hard now everybody puts pictures of everything onto blogs - and particularly that they 'pin' them, so your design can travel miles from its original source via 365 other blogs and then lose all identity.

and surely you cannot copyright a pudding or a holly leaf.

I am pleased your reindeer has a red nose!!
blessings xx

Lakota [Faith Hope and Charity Shopping] said...

As you know I'm not a huge fan of Ms K, but I am a big fan of felt Christmas decorations so I was interested to read this review. I've found a lot of her instructions to be unclear and overly complicated before so I'm glad it's not just me!

I think as long as you can draw fairly well you don't really need a pattern for 2D felt decorations, so I'm amazed she'd be able to copyright these - and it's VERY cheeky if she really has just swiped other people's designs for a no doubt bestselling book! Your reindeer is lovely though, I prefer the bell too.
Faith Hope and Charity Christmas Swap - Sign up now open!

Lucy said...

How nice to have such a very honest review :o)

I saw a comment on another blog only this week that said they weren't impressed with the cream felt for the snowman either! It's just wrong.

I really like your reindeer, far better than the one on the cover.

Your Christmas crafting has given me the much needed kick up the bum to get my own needle and thread out :o) Don't think I'll bother buying the book x

Vintage Jane said...

I flicked through this book and wasn't very impressed. Love your good honest review. M x

Vintage Sheet Addict said...

I'm VERY disappointed now with CK stuff, very expensive and poor quality, prefer to make my stuff from original retro fabric now! Ada :)

LaaLaa said...

See, your reindeer looks great, Vikki. The one in the book is pants!

You already know my view on the book but the stuff really isn't my cup of tea anyway. The only project in the whole of the book that I might have made with the kids is the house but I already have Shell's tutorial (where CK stole, erm, got the inspiration from ;-)) to make that anyway. I wouldn't make any of them myself but might have done that one with the kids.

Overall, totally pants but I'm so pleased that you can make use of it now you've got it. Mine went back to Amazon by return of post.

Anna said...

I agree with Ada, CK stuff is so over priced these days, in our local shop she sells bags made of vintage fabric for £40. For me what I first loved about the CK brand has gone and I have moved on!

Deborah said...

Thanks for the review, sometimes CK things aren't as good as you would think. Love your reindeer, so cute with his bell :)

Bee happy x

PS have you entered my giveaway?

Pene said...

Hi Vicki, nice review. Whilst I love CK and the ideas in her books are interesting if slightly unimaginative, the instuctions suck! If you can sew then you basically just need the templates then you can work the rest out for yourself and if you can't sew then good you'll need it. I have all the books and have read them cover to cover and have yet to find a single pattern that has easy to follow instructions.
I'm afraid CK has lost its way as it's products are grossly overpriced and the books really let it down. I still love their stuff but don't buy it unless it's greatly reduced (or someone buys it for me)!

Twiggy said...

Thanks for the review. I'm bored with CK now, your reindeer is great but I think I'll give the book a miss

Scented Sweetpeas said...

lol yellow snow is definately worth avoiding :-) oohh a pudding with holly leaves in felt, do you think I could do them for copyright infringement of my pudding ;-) x

chazzehhh said...

I love the idea of books like this but often find that the templates are the only useful item in them. CK has unfortunately set her prices points far too high, there are plenty of bloggers sharing their own templates online with much better pictures and instructions for free! and felt is so cheap to buy!
Good review though, I love an honest opinion!

Jelly Jam said...

I heard CK sold out to an American company last year but has agreed to stay on in a design/advisory role for a couple of years.
I think they could learn a thing or two from your Rudolph - I much prefer the collar and bell!
Thanks for popping by my blog. glad to have found yours too.

Simple Beginnings said...

I do love CK stuff but like lots of peeps the price and where they are made puts me off. I like the reindeer though very cute

Lisa said...

I wouldn't pay £15 for it either! Love your reindeer.
Makes me cross to think that some of the designs may have been swiped without giving due credit.
Lisa x

Alix said...

Your reindeer is cute! I haven't seen this book, though I do have one CK book which has lovely things in that I've never got round to making! I will have to make sure my family know I do not need this one full of more things to not make...

Josie-Mary said...

I was planning on buying this book but I've seen so many bad reviews :( I've been shopping with Cath since she started.... years & years ago!..... but over the last few years I've seen lots of bad reviews, even on their website! The products aren't what they used to be, I think they're got too big & sold out to the yummy mummy set!! x

A tale from toadstool house said...

Hi Vicki,I dont think its one I'll be buying any time soon :-(
Lots of inspiration in blogland...
Love your reindeer more! love julieXxxx

Alice said...

Interesting review, often like most things the early stuff is a lot more better than the later xxx

Penelope said...

Hi Vicki
Just the thought of yet another CK mass produced book makes me feel a little ill really. Thanks for your frank and honest review. I liked her stuff years ago but now it just makes me feel nauseous if I am honest. I love your reindeer, much better with a wee bell on than silly bow. I don't think I'll be buying this as there are many more wonderful creative people in blog land whom I'd rather give credit too xox Penlope

Pomona said...

I hadn't seen the book, but after your review I won't be seeking it out. There are some much better Christmas craft books out there I think. But I love your little reindeer's bell and red nose - very sweet!

Pomona x

Jonny Easton said...

these look amazing, I have been thinking about doing my own Christmas Decorations this year. I have a couple of spare yarns, I'm thinking of making a couple of stockings.