Today I have a book review to share with you of Sew On The Go – A Maker’s Journey by Mary Jane Baxter. Thanks to Anne @RandomTTours for inviting me on this lovely book blog tour. Also, a special thanks to Mary Jane Baxter and Unbound for my copy of the book for an honest review.
Have you ever dreamed of quitting your job and setting off on the open road to pursue your creativity? I know we have here at Touring Tales. In 2016, Mary Jane Baxter did exactly that.
Book Cover Notes
- Sew on the Go is an inspiring road trip and a practical guide to crafting wherever you find yourself, and is packed with easy, step-by-step instructions for craft.
- From decorating your own budget conscious bolthole, to achievable projects including clothes and fashion accessories, beautiful gift ideas and child-friendly makes, this book is the ideal companion for those who dream of devoting more time to their craft.
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.
What a delightful book. I was so pleased to be invited to join the book blog tour for this new Travel Memoir.
Sew On The Go by Mary Jane Baxter is the perfect Touring Tales companion book. The author takes readers on a wonderful journey having left her full-time job and successful career at the BBC to travel and re-focus her life.
Deep down, I knew I was searching for a less complicated, less consumerist way of life. One where competition, career success and having the latest high-tech gadgets didn’t matter. I wanted to find my tribe, a community that shared similar values and a place where I felt I really fitted in.
This quote really resonated with me. Dave & I have both been on a similar journey, having given up or corporate jobs over the past year. The Touring Tales Travel & Book Blog is the start of our new journey, whilst re-using our previous digital skills, so this book was engaging and very thought-provoking.
Each chapter of the book includes a step by step craft project. From a simple pin cushion to a Provencal Skirt and vintage curtains. As an advocate of re-using and upcycling, the author goes in search of vintage clothes, quirky souvenirs and home accessories during her trip. She travels across Europe visiting Belgium, Italy, France and Scotland once back in the UK. Sew on The Go provides lots of useful tips on where and how to treasure hunt in flea markets.
Bambi is clearly the star of the show, clad in wall paper coverings and with a quirky interior, she grabs people’s attention wherever they go. Love her:-)
This is the first book I’ve read by this author and it’s an unusual and engaging read. Mary Jane writes in an honest, open way sharing the highs and lows of travelling on the road alone. As much as I love to travel in a van, it made me wonder whether I could ever be so brave as to travel across Europe alone. The author provides good advice, often from experience gained during this trip, on things like van maintenance and parking overnight safely.
The freedom and independence is thrilling whenever you first set off on the road especially if you don’t have a fixed agenda and just see what happens. I liked how the author often referred to one of her favourite books ‘Wild Swimming in France’. Opening up the book and randomly choosing a new lake or river to explore. What a great way to travel and see a country.
Ultimately, Mary Jane’s journey was more enjoyable and memorable when she met new people. Saying yes to random invites to join in at festivals and campsite gatherings was really inspiring to read. By the end of the book I was ready to pack up our Lexi Van and start our next adventure. I hope Mary Jane continues on her van life journey and shares more of her stories.
A delightful Travel Memoir of the highs and lows of road trips in a van. Full of creative craft projects that were inspired by some of the places and people that the author met along the way.
Whether you’re a regular crafter or a sewing beginner, like me, there are plenty of step by step creative projects to try.
Three Take Aways From The Book
- ‘The realisation that we are becoming horribly lazy, reliant on others to do even the simplest of tasks and throwing things away rather than fixing them.’
- ‘Friendship, I saw, was vital to my well-being – just because I was independent didn’t mean I always like being alone.’
- ‘Ultimately, it’s the journey and the making of it that counts, not the end goal. We’re constantly reshaping our own landscape.’
Where to Buy
Further Book Info
- Published Date: 27th May 2021 (Paperback + eBook)
- Publisher: Unbound Books
- Page Count: 208
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 and is available for interview, events, and to write pieces on commission.
Where to find Mary Jane Online
Blog Tour Organised by
Random Things Tours
Thanks to Anne @randomttours for inviting me on the tour for Sew On The Go – A Maker’s Journey. Also thanks to Mary Jane Baxter and Unbound Books for my copy of the book for an honest review.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my book review of Sew On The Go – A Maker’s Journey.
Happy Travelling and Making.