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!



Have you seen the Roly Poly Pinafore pattern by Imagine Gnats?  It’s a super cute, simple and versatile piece that is perfect for layering, adding fun details and showcasing awesome fabrics.  Rachael of Imagine Gnats and the creator of this pattern has rounded up some of her friends to help show off all their versions of this fun pinafore!  I decided to make one for Yuki to use as an apron/art smock!

RolyPolyPinafore1(Rachael was so kind as to gift this pattern to me, but all opinions are 100% my own)

The pattern range is size 6 mo-10!  That means it’ll basically last me forever!  I made it in size 2 which was the perfect fit her Yuki now, though if I had thought about it more, I probably shoulda made a 3 since this is meant to be an smock worn over clothes.  Oh well, guess that means I’ll have to make another one soon 😉

The pinafore is fully reversible, and one of the best parts is begin able to mix and match and pair fabrics together.  I chose a bright reddish-orange to go with this cute raindrop fabric.  Somehow when I saw the fabric, it reminded me of painting.  The large pouch pocket is not part of the pattern, but something I added myself for Yuki to hold paintbrushes, chalk, pens or other art supplies in.

RolyPolyPinafore2The pattern comes with in seam pockets, which I omitted for this version, but is definitely a great option if you’re making this as a tunic.

For the other side, I used a cream linen for the main fabric and some cute Japanese print that I got at Daiso (the Japanese equivalent to a dollar store) for the pocket and fabric covered buttons.  I love the little pleat in the middle and the sweet criss crossed back.


The pattern is labeled “beginner” and I definitely think that if you are just starting out, this is a great project for you.  It was very fast and simple to sew and the results are just so cute.  Even though I had always intended for this to be used as an apron/smock, I had a hard time letting Yuki get too messy in it!  😛

Unfortunately, I only got a few pictures of Yuki in the smock so far, but the fit is great and she loves having a special apron like mama!


And it kept her shirt clean while being stylish!  Score!


*Edit:  HEY!  More pics!  We did a little morning painting and got more shots of the Roly Poly Art Smock in action :)*




(Someone needs a hair cut!)

I know she’ll get a lot of use out of this and I look forward to whipping up a few more!  If you’re interested, you can buy the PDF pattern here.  And be sure to check out all the other stops on the Roly-Poly-Along blog tour.  It started yesterday and will continue for three weeks!  My current favorite is this adorable raindrop pinafore by Stephanie of The Crafty Kitty.  TOO CUTE!  And looking at the other bloggers joining the tour, I know there is bound to be a lot of other awesome and creative pinafores.  OH and many of them are giving away copies of the pattern too (like the link above), so be sure to check out details on the blogs for your chance to win!

Thanks Rachael for the awesome pattern!!

Happy sewing 🙂