📖 Thrilled to be part of this blog tour 📖
13 May 2021
My thanks to the publishers and to Random Things Tours for my copy of this book
and the invitation to be part of the blog tour
In 2016, Mary Jane Baxter quit her job at the BBC, rented out her flat and headed for the hills. Her home for the next few months was an upcycled 1986 Bedford Bambi campervan with a top speed of 60mph. She raided skips for vintage wallpaper and scoured second-hand emporiums to source stylish vintage accessories, creating her own travelling craft studio, packed with everything necessary for crafting on the road. She then set off around Europe searching for inspiration, travelling from Belgium right down to the Cinque Terre in Italy then around France and up to Scotland.
Armed with her trusty hand-cranked Singer, she spent a summer sewing on the go. Like creatives the world over, she decided to see where her travels would lead her and returned with a head full of new projects. Fortunately, there’s no need for you to give up your job, wave goodbye to your family and rent out your house in order to reignite your own creativity; Mary Jane has done all the hard work for you. Sew on the Go is her guide to carving out more creative space in your life.
📖 My thoughts..
What a delightful journey this turned out to be as not only have I travelled around Europe vicariously but I have also learned how to make simple sewing projects, which to a non sewer, like me, is just as fascinating.
Mary Jane Baxter gave up her job at the BBC and after renovating the delightfully named Bedford Bambi Camper van she set off on a journey across some of the more beautiful parts of Europe. Occasionally stopping to visit friends, but mostly exploring on her own, the author travels across light with nothing but herself, Bambi, and her trusty sewing machine for company.
Sew on the Go is a beautifully written travelogue which combines the author's love of travel with her creative skills of turning something unloved into a item with value and purpose. I enjoyed the author's style of writing and felt like I was sitting beside her in Bambi and stepping out alongside her as she explored the open air markets and antique sales in France and Belgium, carefully picking items of bric-a-brac, or vintage linens and lace, in order to upcycle them into something deliciously different.
With a wonderful sense of direction and a keen eye for spotting those interesting quirks about places you don't find in a conventional travel guide, the book works as an introduction to some beautiful European destinations, however, I think where its absolute strength lies is in the author's passion for making do and mending, something which we, in our throw away society, have forgotten how to do. I enjoyed perusing the sewing projects at the end of each chapter; some, like the patchwork pin cushion, can be made by novices, like me, some need a modicum of skill, some can be sewn by hand, whilst others need a machine but all are explained with easy instructions.
I think what Sew On the Go reiterates is that it is perfectly possible to take the plunge and do something completely out of your comfort zone whilst at the same time grasping the chance to create, with a little bit of imagination, something beautiful, out of that which has been discarded.
About the Author
Mary Jane Baxter used to work as a BBC news correspondent and producer. In 2016, she set off on a crafting adventure across Europe in a mobile studio. She is the author of Chic on a Shoestring and The Modern Girl’s Guide to Hatmaking, and has presented on fashion and craft for the BBC, most notably bartering her sewing skills for board and lodging in a series of films for Newsnight. She lives in London.
Twitter @MaryJaneMakes #SewOnTheGo