Finnish sisters Saara and Laura Huhta share the wealth of their successful indie clothing pattern brand, Named, in Breaking the Pattern: A Modern Way to Sew. The nifty thing about their designs is the focus on extreme adaptability: They are “designed to offer as many options for personal customization as possible,” the sisters write. They have included patterns for 10 different garments—from bags and blouses to classy cocktail dresses and jumpsuits—and claim that “it’s possible to sew at least 50 different variations of the projects,” should you wish to experiment. These garments are built on Scandinavian design—clean lines, minimalist elegance—and they range from drapey styles to more tailored looks. In the back of the book, you’ll find six full-size pattern sheets, which are arranged from easiest to most challenging.
A new friend recently gave me a small pilea plant from one of the “babies” her plant produced. This has quickly become my most beloved houseplant—one with a story behind it. That’s the kind of joy that Caro Langton and Rose Ray, the authors of Root, Nurture, Grow: The Essential Guide to Propagating and Sharing Houseplants, want more people to experience. If you’ve got a good knife and scissors, some old containers, potting mix and a few other simple items, you can turn one houseplant into as many as you like. Langton and Ray (find them on Instagram at @studio.roco) cover different types of cuttings for a number of common plants, and they also discuss division, grafting and other in-depth aspects of propagation. Even if you stick to plunking stems into jars of water and watching roots form, you’ll enjoy having this pretty guide at your side.
Readers of Martha Stewart Living will recognize the concept of The Martha Manual: How to Do (Almost) Everything: quick, no-nonsense instructions for home-related tasks. Here, Martha Stewart’s how-tos are organized by themes like “Organize,” “Clean,” “Craft” and “Create.” But I find this guide fascinating to flip through at random to learn things like how to sew an apron, how to hang a tire swing, how to play lawn games, how to fix and maintain showerheads and how to build a fire. On the whole, the slant of this content may seem a bit gendered, but it’s safe to say all humans could amp up their home skills with the help of this book. Light illustrations, bullet points and brisk copy—dip in, dip out, done—are the name of the game here.