Quilted Bags & Gifts Quick Book Review

Zakka Workshop was very kind to send me this book "Quilted Bags & Gifts" by Akemi Shibata many months back in June. It's an English translated book from the popular Japanese version for crafters like you and me who cannot understand a word of Japanese. I am very happy (or should I say relieved?) that now I can read every single word without trying so hard to figure out the instructions by looking at the pictures. It makes me enjoy the book so much more. I think I have been flipping through the book for more than hundred times no less.

I feel bad for taking such a long time to make something from the book. All the summer holiday vibes made it difficult to sit down for handsewing. When I got it started a few days back, the handsewing mojo came back almost instantly and I finished these two lovely floral coasters in just two days.

Aren't they beautiful?

I love to put them on the table during tea just because they are eye-candy. Fabrics from Yuwa and Lecien.

These coasters are easy and therapeutic to sew.

Handsewing and quilting details.

Leaves can be brown too? I love the pretty brown print on the right. Reminds me of autumn hues. Oh, remember to hide all the knots.

The back of the coasters look pretty enough to make them reversible.

I used a slightly different method to sew the front and back together with batting. I think it's more straightforward in my way by placing batting+back fabric (right side up)+front patchwork (wrong side up) and start stitching around following the stitch lines. Leave an opening at the side. Snip the pointy edges and the grooves before turning inside out. Then give a quick iron to flatten. Hand quilt.

I did a short video on hand quilting in IG yesterday with the help of my daughter. It was a fun and easy going video. Someone asked if I used pins to secure the three layers together for hand quilting. Sorry i'm quite lazy so I did not. Especially for small projects like this, I usually skip the pins but i do iron to make sure they lie rather flat.

This book is very very well translated in my opinion. I haven't spot a mistake or anything I don't understand. I think it's not easy to translate exactly from the Japanese version but this English one nailed it. There are 36 fantastic projects in the book. Each and every project is worth a try for both hand and machine sewing.

This is a quick review as what I wrote in the blog title because I can't wait to try another project from book. Then I'll write another better review. It's so hard to decide which one to make now but well, I must make one more big thing very very soon. Once again, thank you so much Zakka Workshop!xx

Lovely Little Patchwork Blog Tour

When I received this book from Kerri many many months back, I was secretly smiling in my heart. Kerri was one of the first crafters I followed online and I even bought quite a few stash of fabrics from her previous shop. The way she sew patchwork was something fascinating for me as I was just starting out as a newbie in sewing. I visit her blog almost daily can you imagine? Her color combination is always gorgeous in my eyes and I learnt a great deal from her.

I love little patchwork too so naturally my heart fluttered when I got hold of this lovely book. It's very well written with clear instructions and creative ideas. I can't fault this book in any way seriously. You will love all the projects as much as I do.

For this blog tour, I wanted to make many things from the pretty Heart Coasters to the Spring Flower Table Runner to the Oh Deer Wall Quilt. It was so hard to choose one. Finally that day my daughter told me that she needed a small gymnastic bag for her new after-school activity. My mind clicked and showed her the strawberry patchwork bag in Kerri's book. She nodded enthusiastically and even helped choose the fabrics. I am so thankful she helped me choose a beautiful project!


So this is what I sew for this Lovely Little Patchwork Blog Tour. A Strawberry Patchwork Bag using Apple Farm fabrics by Elea Lutz from Penny Rose Designs. It's a perfect match of strawberries and apples!

Guess how long did I take to finish this bag? Just three hours! It was unbelievable for a slow coach like me. I was so surprised by myself that I have to credit the easiness of the project itself. No hassle at all. Kerri wrote the instructions pretty well.

The fabrics are fussy cut. I wanted to show all the cute animals and pretty flowers.

Kerri designed the bag to be sort of like a back pack so there are tag loops at the sides. I replaced the tag loops with lace so that my daughter can hang her favourite key chains.

I used all the 21 fabric designs in the collection. There's no way I won't use any.

The back of the bag. The green is so beautiful.

The leaves are easy to sew. I snip a little at the corners for easier turning out.

The size of the bag is reduced by half so it can fit into the school bag.

I have to count myself lucky to find this yellow drawstring bought form Daiso from so many years ago. And it just long enough to be snapped into two for this bag.

You know I don't fancy exposed ends... So I try hard to cover them.

The inside of the bag. Different fabrics for front and back and a little stinkin' cute apple tag.

If you are looking for a satisfying quick sewing project for kids, you have to try making this strawberry bag for sure. I certainly enjoyed whipping up this for my daughter. Makes both mommy and daughter very very happy!

**Giveaway time! Kerri will be giving out a signed copy of Lovely Little Patchwork book at the end of this blog tour. So do remember to check her blog out! We still have many talented bloggers waiting to share their beautiful projects. Below is the list:

AmandaNiederhauser   Sarah Edgar
Heidi Staples
Megan Jimenez
Cheri Lehnow
Ange Hamilton
Sedef Imer
Kimberly Jolly
Samantha Dorn
Ayda Algın
LeAnne Ballard
Sharon Burgess
Lauren Wright
Kate May
Debbie Homick
Wynn Tan
Kim Kruzich
Jennie Pickett
Veronica AM
Nadra Ridgeway
Amanda Woodruff
Minki Kim
Sharon Yeager
Peta Peace
Sarah Scott
Kristin Cobb
Erin Cox
Kerri Horsley

Thank you so much Kerri and Tuva Publishing for having me. And thank you all for reading too!xx

High Tea Party Blog Tour

Phew! What a crazy week for me. I mean really crazy times trying to manage everything at one go. Did I mention I just started an intensive course learning Thai language? Speaking, reading and writing. Every morning, class starts at 7am. Usually by 9am, two cuppa coffee are gone. Then the usual routine of cleaning, laundry, preparing dinner, fetching kids... My eyes can barely open during dinnertime.

So making something for this blog tour was a challenge for me. When sweet Jera asked me to join her tea party team, I was too overwhelmed and agreed right away without thinking twice. I really like Jera and her sewing for a long long time. And now that she designs such beautiful fabrics, how can I possibly say no...?

Since I "kinda" told Jera that I would love to handsew something from her first fabric debut "High Tea Collection" by Lecien,  I had to keep my promise right? Or maybe she has forgotten about it? >.< In my plan was a cute mini quilt for the wall and I was quick to cut out all fabrics ready to sew. Then I saw this small 2.5" mini charm pack on my table and I thought, "hey, selfish sewing time again! I need a pencil case for my Thai classes!" Instead of making something for the home, I wanted to make something to use and "show off" the beautiful fabrics!

Well well, it was not a good idea at all because once I start handsewing, I can't stop! It took me almost a week with pockets of time to handsew the mini squares together in 6x7 rows (forty-two squares in a pack). Another week to handquilt and handsew the binding, zippers plus embellishments. It was a mad rush seriously. Handsewing is a rather slow process. For this project, I had to speed up ten or even a hundred times faster since time was running out. Many times, I was so tempted to pull out the sewing machine. But each time, I bit my lips, turned away from the sewing machine and continued handsewing. The feeling was tough love.

Frankly, I just finished the last stitch just moments before writing this post. Just in time.

Here it is, my completely handsewn boxy "High Tea" stationery pouch!

Very very roomy and useful pouch for all kinds of pens, pencils, rulers... It fits my unorganised character perfectly since I can throw everything in just like that.

I added "X"s for many many hugs.

Lace details at the sides for key chains and dangling souvenirs.

Look at the teapot and strawberries. Too delicate and dainty. Very vintage chinaware feel. I love it so much.

Back of pouch. I love it a lot too!

If you are wondering why two zippers? Well, it was a solution to a mistake. I had actually chosen a floral zipper that would fit just nicely. Then when I finished hand quilting, I squared up the sides way way way too short for the zipper! It was gave me a big shock! Frantically, I rummaged through the zipper bag and tried all sorts of zippers. But nothing fits. I was almost pulling my hair out.

I have to say, my mind is always good at jigsaw puzzles. So it clicked me that I could use two zippers for the pouch. And I did! One longer and one shorter! It just so "me".  It gives the pouch another sense of beauty being so different. In my eyes!^_^

The interior is my favourite fabric in the collection. Hardly can find this shade of brown with florals. Of course, I had to add a fabric tag for zakka-ness.

The bindings are linen (you can get it here) for simple and clean look.

Bottom of pouch with very wide base. Hand quilting details.

The pouch is rather easy to make. If you have a sewing machine, it will be a breeze to sew one for yourself. However, I will still choose to handsew again by any chance.

It seems I am the last blogger for this blog party. You may visit the other amazing bloggers in the tour from the list above. They made really wonderful stuff I tell ya. Jera will be wrapping up the tour tomorrow in her blog. Do check it out!

Now may I sit back and relax and enjoy a cup of tea, with some thick chocolate cookies? xx

Sew Illustrated Blog Tour + Giveaway!

That day when I told my kids "Hey loves, Mom is going to draw with my sewing machine.", they looked up from their books almost instantly. Well, I have to admit that I love the surprise twinkle in their eyes. Then, they started crowding around me and asked if I could sew their drawings too. Suddenly, I felt like a wonder-mommy who can do something so special. It made my heart sing!

So I got to work that very night to learn how to draw with the sewing machine. I mean, sew illustrations. I read through every single page of this super amazing book "Sew Illustrated" and I could feel my adrenaline rushing through my head. This book actually spoke my heart about creativity and not being afraid to try.

My dearest friends, Minki and Kristin, did a really fantastic work creating this book to teach how to turn drawings into useful sewing projects. I think Minki has super talents to design so many beautiful yet functional projects and Kristin wrote the book in the clearest and most straightforward way with her super writing flair. I tell you, this book is worth to keep forever.

In the book, they introduced us to use iron-on transfers, wash away stabilisers, tracing paper, heat transfer pencil, fusible web, freezer paper etc. to help us in sewing illustrations. I used non of the mentioned to sew the projects. Nothing at all. Not even glue! You may be surprised but I don't have any of them. But well, I still managed to sew everything without any problem. Since mine is an e-book, I enlarged the page to the correct size, placed the fabric on top and traced with water soluble marker. Or, I just drew free-hand by eye-balling the picture!

The projects are just so unexpectedly do-able, even without any sewing aid.

Oh yes, this time I made everything for myself. For myself to use or admire. And I have to say this out loud, I did not unpick a single stitch. I kept sewing non-stop. All because Minki and Kristin wrote:

"Let go of perfectionism! Each project is a unique work of art. It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful! Enjoy the process, practice, and it will get easier. It is often the imperfections that create the charm." 

A hundred YAYs to that! I finally can sew whichever way I like!^_^

Project 1: Pin cushion

This pin cushion was my second sewing because I just couldn't resist. The sewing machine illustration is way too adorable.

Never mind the frills and not so perfect stitches. I had so much fun making this one. And finding the right cherry picture.

I added my favourite lace detail as always.^_^

Project 2: Coasters

This set of coasters are the most exciting to sew for me. They are my first try in sewing illustrations and I had a blast of time working on them. Together with using my favourite floral fabrics "Memoire a Paris" from Lecien and linen. Both are from Ministry of Fabric. Including that very cute strawberry button.

The first time I tried cutting a really tiny oval and stitch it, pretending to be tea in the cup. How yummy is this tea?

When Minki and Kristin asked if I would love to join the blog tour, I was hesitant because I didn't know if I can work well with the sewing machine. And that I don't have any sewing aid to be honest. Handsewing is also something I prefer so I raised my concern. Kristin was very nice to reassure me that the projects in the book are actually suitable for handsewing too! It was a pleasant surprise for me so I agreed straightaway. This coaster is completely handsewn. I used embroidery floss and back stitches to sew everything. All the hand quilting are also done with embroidery floss.

This purple one I almost ruined it by sewing too much on the body of the flask. So I cut a small piece of fabric to cover it up. And also a word tag that I love. I think it looks much better this way.

Close up on the hand stitches.

And of course, the back of the coasters must be also as pretty as the front! So now, they can be reversible too!

Project 3: Crochet hook case

I had planned to make the fabric basket but changed my mind to this crochet hook case (supposedly a pencil case) because I think it's time my crochet hooks need a home. This case was so interesting to sew. I didn't quite follow Minki's illustrations as I got lost during sewing trying to figure out my own marker lines. And then I shamelessly added my initials like the way Minki does. Can you see..?

My most accidental find, the "handmade" leather tag, that I bought a couple of years ago. To add some charm to my crochet case. Hey, I had to make it pretty for myself as a reward for crocheting almost every night.

The case is made to my own measurements to fit the crochet hooks. See how versatile the projects are.

Handquilting is what I do with a lot of love. And I'm very happy to add to the case.

The inside of the flap. I had to sew the heart doily to cover up the hand stitches for the "handmade" tag. It looks like an added delicate touch to handsewing.

I love little details like this.

The back of the case. In pretty pink with fabric tag and hand quilting thread.

I really enjoyed this book so much that I'm planning to sew more illustrations from today. First, my children's drawings!

Thank you (from my heart) Minki and Kristin for inviting me for this wonderful blog tour! Below is the list of other talented ladies joining the tour:

August 15: C&T Publications
August 16: Amy at nanaCompany
August 17: Wynn at zakkaArt
August 18: Sedef at Down Grapevine Lane
August 19: Lisa at A Spoonful of Sugar
August 20: Amy at chick chick sewing
August 21: Stacy at Stacy Olson
August 22: Debbie happy little cottage
August 24: Faith at Sarana Ave
August 25: Ayda at  cafenohut
August 26: Melissa at Oh, how sweet
August 27: Jemima at Tied with a Ribbon
August 28: Veronica at Vivid Felicity
August 29: Sharon at Lilabelle Lane Creations
August 30: Nadra at ellis & higgs
August 31: Kristyne at pretty by hand
September 1: Elnora on Instagram
September 2: Jennie at Clover and Violet
September 3: Auribuzz

And now for a giveaway! C&T Publishing has kindly offered to giveaway one copy of this book to one lucky reader of this blog. Simply leave a comment below. Opens international. Comments will close on August 24. A winner will be chosen randomly and announced soon thereafter. Good luck!


Comments closed! Phoebe from Richmond VA will get a free book, courtesy from C&T! Congratulations! I'll drop you an email soon!x