Sewing Happiness

Well hellloooooo!  Last time you heard from me I committed to blogging once a month about my Year of Making projects, but that was 4 months ago and it’s become clear to me that 1. I’m not really great at making huge commitments and 2. I really really don’t like blogging.  I’m still trying to practice my creativity every day, but at some point life got super busy and then I got really burnt out and it’s been hard getting back on the wagon.  I AM participating in Me Made May again and wearing something handmade every day.  Maybe month long challenges are more my speed.

But I’m not here to talk about my commitment issues!  Despite how much I dislike blogging, I could not turn down the opportunity to review Sanae Ishida‘s newest book, Sewing Happiness (affiliate link).  Sanae is one of those people with a generous heart, a humble spirit and loveliness just oozing out of her.  Her words, her paintings, her carefully crafted sewing projects – everything she touches has a sense of calm and beauty.

Sewing Happiness by Sanae Ishida

From the moment I started flipping through the book, I was captured by the beautiful photos and sweet sewing projects.  But as others started sharing about the book, they kept talking about reading it, about Sanae’s story.

Sewing Happiness by Sanae Ishida

Now, I don’t know about you, but I have never read a crafting or sewing book.  I’m just there for the projects and instructions and pretty pictures, you know?  But I’d heard a bit about Sanae’s story through her blog and I was intrigued, so one night I started from the beginning and read the book.  And it too, was beautiful and captivating – I couldn’t stop.

Sanae shares the story of how she turned her life around with the help of sewing.  Her words are deeply intimate and while her story is unique, she has a way of making it touching and relatable to all of us.  I would be lying if I said I didn’t tear up a few times while reading.

Sewing Happiness by Sanae Ishida

The sewing projects are organized by season and with each one, Sanae shares why it’s included in the book, making each one feel very personal.  They are simple and appropriate for beginners and carry potential for elaborating and personalizing.  It was hard to choose which project to start with.

Sashiko Trivet by you & mie

I decided to make myself an apron first (more on that below), but also love that the book includes a Sashiko primer, a section that includes the basics about Sashiko, a style of Japanese embroidery.  I’ve been wanting to practice so this seemed like a great opportunity.

Sewing Happiness by Sanae Ishida

Sashiko Trivet by you & mie

The Sashiko Trivet was a fun and quick project.  I got to practice sashiko stitching on a small and manageable piece of fabric and turn it into something pretty and practical.

Sashiko Trivet by you & mie

I used a really lovely navy brushed linen from Miss Matatabi fabrics for both the trivet and the apron.  I fused a lightweight interfacing on the wrong side of the linen and drew the pattern on it.  The stitches aren’t even or precise, but one of the things that I really took away from Sanae’s book was letting go of perfection and just making things YOU.  “Perfection is overrated!” she says and I took that as permission to just make for the joy of making and not getting hung up on making it look this way or that.  It’s so freeing.

Sashiko Trivet by you & mie

Like I mentioned, the first project I actually decided to make was the Crossback Apron because I thought it would be practical for all the painting, play dough playing, cooking and dishwashing I do.

Sewing Happiness by Sanae Ishida

Crossback Apron by you & mie

I like the simple design and that you don’t have to tie it in the back.  I made size Medium and it fits well (the fit is really forgiving, of course).  The only thing I modified was the pocket.  I increased the length so that it would reach almost across the entire width of the apron and separated it into 4 pockets.

Crossback Apron by you & mie

This brushed linen is really quite amazing.  I felt a little bad using it for something like an apron that would get so dirty.  But I do love the look and feel, though it’s a bit shifty and wrinkly, like most linens.  It would be great for the Origami Pillow, Eco Bag, Baby Kimono Top + Bloomers, or so many of the other projects in Sanae’s book.

I didn’t get any pictures of the apron on me, but you can check out Delia’s apron to see some amazing photos of the apron action!

If you’re a fan of Sanae’s blog, you’ll love her book.  I highly recommend it – it’s a must have for your book collection.  I did receive the book and the fabric for this post for free, but I would never make this stuff up – it’s a wonderful book and you won’t be disappointed.

Thank you, Sanae for sharing your beauty with us!


Washi Tape Book Giveaway!

*GIVEAWAY CLOSED!  Thanks to everyone for entering and congrats Kristin (@ktstitches)!  You are the winner of this awesome book and should have received an email from me!*

Ooh, do I have a fun book to share with you today!  My friend and incredible artist, Courtney Cerruti, has recently released her second book titled, Washi Tape: 101+ Ideas for Paper Crafts, Book Arts, Fashion, Decorating, Entertaining, and Party Fun! (affiliate link).  I don’t really know anyone that doesn’t love washi tape and this book is full of fun, creative and beautiful ways to brighten your life with washi tape!


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Happy Homemade: Sew Chic Kids Review and GIVEAWAY! {CLOSED}

*CONGRATS to Natasha Tung, the winner of Happy Homemade: Sew Chic Kids*

You guys know that I love and adore Japanese sewing books right?  I mean, I did an entire series on them.  How to buy, decipher and sew with them even if you don’t understand a bit of Japanese.  Well, if you didn’t know that I love Japanese sewing books, now you know.  And I truly believe that anyone can sew from these sewing books without knowing any Japanese.

BUT I also truly believe that there is no reason to make things harder for yourself than necessary.  So now that the ever popular Happy Homemade Vol. 2 has been translated into English, I am psyched because, not only is this a AWESOME book of patterns, but it’s also a great way to familiarize yourself with Japanese sewing patterns without dealing with the foreign language!  Here it is, Happy Homemade: Sew Chic Kids!

Sew Chic Kids Review & Giveaway // you & mie

In this book, you get 20 patterns.  Dresses, shorts, shirts, skirts, blouses, pants, and a pullover.  There are a lot of great basic patterns that you can basically build a wardrobe from and I love that there are patterns that are for girls, boys, and plenty of gender neutral stuff.  And all REALLY CUTE!

Sew Chic Kids Review and Giveaway // you & mie

Sew Chic Kids Review and Giveaway // you & mie

Sew Chic Kids Review and Giveaway // you & mie

Sew Chic Kids Review & Giveaway // you & mie

This Pull-over Parka is high on my sewing to do list!!

The English version is very similar to the original Japanese book.  The format is the same, with gorgeous photos of the finished products in the front and all the directions for each project in the back.  The instruction pages are also laid out the same way as the Japanese book.  This part is often tricky to decipher in Japanese, so having it in English makes it a breeze.  The best part in my opinion, is that you can learn so much from seeing a Japanese book in English that you can then use to help you with sewing books that are actually in Japanese.  This book makes a great teaching tool in so many ways.

Sew Chic Kids Review & Giveaway // you & mie

Here’s a little look at a diagram from the English version of the book and the same one from the Japanese version so you can compare.  Same great drawings, but labels, instructions and hints in English!  Yes!

Another plus . . . all the measurements are listed in inches and centimeters!

Sew Chic Kids Review & Giveaway // you & mie

The patterns in the book come in four sizes that are labeled 2, 4, 6, 8, but be careful because those aren’t the same as typical American sizes.  They are the equivalent to 100, 110, 120, and 130, respectively, in Japanese sizes.  This is approximately size 3/4, 5, 6, and 7/8 by American standards, but be sure to use the measurement chart at the front of the book to choose the right size for your child.

Sew Chic Kids Review & Giveaway // you & mie

The book includes plenty of handy tips about sewing basics, materials and skills, for example, adding seam allowances to your pattern pieces!

Sew Chic Kids Review & Giveaway // you & mie

The pattern pieces are laid out on both sides of two large sheets.  The pattern pieces overlap, so they do require tracing (and adding seam allowance), but they much easier to navigate than the Japanese version.

Sew Chic Kids Review & Giveaway // you & mie

If you’re drawn to Japanese sewing books but are still hesitant to take the plunge, this is a really great first step.  You really get all of the great things about Japanese patterns, but without the challenge of a foreign language.  You can’t really ask for more . . .

Sew Chic Kids Review & Giveaway // you & mie

And guess what!?  The kind people from Tuttle Publishing who have brought us Happy Homemade: Sew Chic Kids are giving away a copy to one lucky reader!

Giveaway details: {CLOSED}
– Giveaway will remain open until Friday, May 9th at 5pm PST
– Winners will be chosen at random and will be contacted by email
– Open to US and Canadian residents only
– Void where prohibited

Here’s how to enter:
– Leave a comment on this post.  Any comment will do!

Additional entries:
– Follow you & mie on Facebook and leave a comment telling me you do so.
– Follow me on Pinterest and leave a comment telling me you do so.

(maximum number of entries is 3)

Thanks to Tuttle Publishing for providing me with this great book to review.  Be sure to check out other titles from Tuttle Publishing (they’ve got several other Japanese sewing books in English, including 2 for women’s clothes!!) and keep up with their latest here:

website // facebook // pinterest // twitter

Good luck and have a great weekend!

*This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook or Pinterest. We hereby release Facebook and Pinterest of any liability. No purchase necessary.  you & mie takes no responsibility for packages lost by the postal service. Giveaway starts Friday, May 2nd and ends Friday, May 9th at 5pm PST. Once the giveaway ends, winners will be chosen at random and contacted within 24 hours by e-mail. This post will be updated with winners’ names. Winners will need to respond within 48 hours to claim their prize or another winner will be chosen. Giveaway is void where prohibited.*

How to Sew Japanese Patterns eBook

I’m so excited to share an awesome resource with you today!  As you probably know, I’m a big fan of Japanese sewing patterns.  I love the simplicity and timelessness of their style and their clean lines and beautiful details.  Of course, most of these patterns are in Japanese, and for someone who doesn’t read Japanese, it can be intimidating and challenging, even if the diagrams are superb (and they always are).  Which was why I created the Japanese Sewing Book Series last year, to try give others helpful tips and tools to tackle these patterns.

Well, if you’re interested in Japanese sewing patterns too, but are still hesitant because of the language barrier, I’ve got the perfect resource for you!  It’s an e-book called, How to Sew Japanese Patterns by Rin Gomura-Elkan of Sew in Love.

This book contains a lot of the great tips my awesome guests shared, and much more.  It’s 41 pages and covers everything from where to buy patterns and Japanese sizing for men, women, children and babies, to common Japanese sewing vocabulary and all the steps you need to sew up a garment from one of these patterns.

Honestly, I wish I had this e-book when I was first learning how to sew from Japanese patterns!  It answers so many of the questions that I had when I was starting out.

I really think Rin did a great job putting together this informational guide to Japanese sewing patterns.  She covered so much and organized it neatly in this useful resource that you can refer to over and over again.

The e-book is available for purchase for $15.  But Rin also created 2 women’s PDF patterns that you can purchase with the e-book as a set for $25.  The patterns are written in both Japanese and English, so it’s a great way to get started with a couple of Japanese patterns to put what you’ve learned to practice, but also have the help of the English translations.

The patterns included in the set are a high waisted skirt with a tie and a dress with a pleated neckline, available in sizes S, M, L, and LL.

Rin is offering 10% off this book for the rest of February with the code “JapaneseBook4Mie.”  So go check it out!  And I must say, this is a REALLY good time to grab the e-book if you’re interested in Japanese patterns!  I don’t have the details worked out just yet, but a lot of people have been asking for a Japanese pattern sew-a-long, so grab this e-book to get ready and stay tuned for something coming up within the next month or two!! 🙂

*This e-book was generously given to me for this review, but all opinions are 100% my own.*