Now Touring: Sew Illustrated: 35 Charming Fabric & Thread Designs

melissa • August 23, 2016 • 34 Comments




New authors Minki and Kristin invited GenQ to participate in a blog party for their new book, Sew Illustrated: 35 Charming Fabric & Thread Designs (C & T Publishing, 2016). Except they wanted more than just words; they wanted deeds! We asked GenQ advertising manager Melissa Kanovsky to thread up and try her hand at a project. And she did! –Editor

By Melissa Kanovsky

If you’re looking for quick and completely adorable projects, check out this bound bundle of charm. I had never tried what Minki and Kristin call “sewing illustration” before – I’ve been a hand embroiderer since I was 10 and have always been a bit of a purist about hand work – but this was a fun way to integrate my love of the appeal of hand work with the speed of machine work.

Reading the book, I was struck by the tone the authors took. Instead of spelling out exactly one right way to sew illustrate, they provided numerous options and tips so that anyone (like me!) could read through the book, pick a project, and have a completed new treasure in a jiff. Most of all, I was both encouraged and heartened by their advice to let go of perfectionism, to not worry about small mistakes, to eyeball it (rather than drive yourself crazy trying to measure everything). Their statement that “The imperfect look is charming” is a credo I will carry with me to my next projects.

As the title says, there are 35 projects in this book, 16 of which are in the Zakka style. They’re all completely adorable, but the one I chose and adapted (in the spirit of the authors’ advice to eyeball things and focus on the fun) was “Sew Happy.” Why? Simple. That’s what this book made me feel, and I loved making my purple sewing illustration mini pillow.

Because it was a sunny day, I used a window to transfer my design to linen. And because I had a Micron pen in my sewing table drawer, I used that (you might be understanding my appreciation of the authors’ attitude now – I’m a make-it-work/use-what-you-have kind of sewist). Then I looked at the thread in my sewing room. The recommendation was for a slightly heavier thread, and I had purple 40 weight Aurifil. Done! I practiced in a corner of my linen to get the feel of what I was doing and then it was off to the real thing. I followed their advice to go slowly, keep my needle in the down position and keep the stitch length short. It was so sew much fun. Using a clear foot (another tip from the authors) made it a lot easier to see where I was going and where I wanted to fill in.

Then I decided to make the project my own by using a few of the decorative stitches on my machine. I so rarely use them that I was surprised by how much they added to the cuteness! I ended up making an adorable 3 ½ inch pillow, which will sit by my computer monitor and keep me reminded that I have sew many reasons to be sew happy.

Quilt. Sew. Live. Breathe.

Sew Illustrated blog tour banner

Don’t miss the rest of the Sew Illustrated tour! Check in to see what goodness others are creating from Minki and Kristin’s book:

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 23: Generation Q Magazine

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

September 4: Minki at Minki’s Work Table and Kristin at They Grow Up Too Fast

Of course there is a chance to win a copy of the book! Hard copy in the U.S., digital outside the U.S. So q-bies what is your fave flower? Tell us here on the website, or on instagram and we’ll draw a name during a facebook live  Wednesday August 31st around 2 pm eastern time. Follow the #sewillustrated and #sewingillustration for more post.

We hit the Random Number generator for the Hearts and More Rotary Cut Appliqué book review. Drum roll please. . .the winner is – commenter number 9, Janie! 

Melissa Kanovsky is advertising manager for Generation Q Magazine, and really will have four kids in college this year. Quilting—and Paso Robles wine—saves her sanity. She hails from Kansas but makes her home outside New York City with husband Jon, about 500 FQs and 125 cases of wine.

UPDATE: Congratulations Janice Svercek – commenter #26 for winning a copy of Sew Illustrated!

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  • Christine • 8 years ago
    COMMENT #1

    Looks like a boatload of fun projects in this book!

  • Michele • 8 years ago
    COMMENT #2

    I love all sorts of flowers and my top three favourites are: Sweet Pea, Cone Flower, and Sunflower.

  • Cecilia • 8 years ago
    COMMENT #3

    Your project sounds cute! I would love to see a picture of it. Thanks for the giveaway.

  • Dixie Torrech • 8 years ago
    COMMENT #4


  • Linda Edwards • 8 years ago
    COMMENT #5

    My favorite flower is the bearded iris.

  • Judy Sullivan • 8 years ago
    COMMENT #6

    Love this book!!!!!

  • Kathleen • 8 years ago
    COMMENT #7

    Thanks for the chance to win this beautiful book!

  • Mui • 8 years ago
    COMMENT #8

    Love to try the projects in the book.

  • monica • 8 years ago
    COMMENT #9

    My favorite flower are lilies

  • Tamie • 8 years ago
    COMMENT #10

    That’s a tough one. I love my Crocosmia.

  • Kristy • 8 years ago
    COMMENT #11


  • teri • 8 years ago
    COMMENT #12

    My favorite flower is a rose. It always evokes memories of my grandmothers’ rose gardens.

  • Aileen • 8 years ago
    COMMENT #13

    I would love to see what you made, but I can’t find a picture?

  • Kathy E. • 8 years ago
    COMMENT #14

    Oh, I’d really like to see the mini pillow you made! Please post a photo! All of the projects on this hop are so sweet and I want to make them all! My favorite flower is the cleome. It re-seeds itself every year in my garden and it’s so lovely with pink, purple or white blooms.

  • Chris • 8 years ago
    COMMENT #15

    My favorite outside flower is a Sunflower, great big giant ones. Inside it is an orchid.

  • Anne • 8 years ago
    COMMENT #16

    Nice book.

  • Hueisei • 8 years ago
    COMMENT #17

    My favorIte .

    • Hueisei • 8 years ago
      COMMENT #

      My favorite is rose.

  • Laurie Gelo • 8 years ago
    COMMENT #18

    My favorite flower is a tie between the hydrangea and the sunflower. They both are such happy flowers.

  • Indianna • 8 years ago
    COMMENT #19

    I’d have to love a daisy, so common but so cute especially when they’ve been kissed by fairies.

  • Dia • 8 years ago
    COMMENT #20

    Thanks for the review! it looks like a great book

  • LJ • 8 years ago
    COMMENT #21

    It’s wonderful to be encouraged to ‘go with the flow’ of creativity.

  • Abi Buening (@1apple_blossom) • 8 years ago
    COMMENT #22

    nice projects lovely work.

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

  • Laura • 8 years ago
    COMMENT #23

    My favorite flower is the Gerbera daisy.

  • Mara • 8 years ago
    COMMENT #24

    The Calla Lily is my favorite flower.

  • Dee • 8 years ago
    COMMENT #25

    So hard to pick one, but I’ll say the crocus, a delicate little harbinger of spring.

  • Laura P in NH • 8 years ago
    COMMENT #26

    This book looks terrific ~ I have to buy won if I don’t win a copy:)

  • minibea12 • 8 years ago
    COMMENT #27

    My favorite flower is the sunflower! So colorful and the bees and birds love them!

  • Janice Svercek • 8 years ago
    COMMENT #28

    Looks like a great book.

  • patty • 8 years ago
    COMMENT #29

    My favorite flower is a California poppy. Even though I live in Ohio, I have spread seed in my flower beds and they reseed themselves. I enjoy seeing them pop up in unexpected places every year.

  • quiltzyx • 8 years ago
    COMMENT #30

    Today I’ll say my favorite flower is Jasmine!

  • Carla Hundley • 8 years ago
    COMMENT #31

    Sounds so fun
    and would be a
    fabulous book to
    win. My fave flower
    would be roses.
    Carla from Utah

  • Laura L. • 8 years ago
    COMMENT #32

    I love Malva. They’re like little hollyhocks and fussy little ones. Some years they spread and volunteer all over the beds and other years they disappear! Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Janice Svercek • 8 years ago
    COMMENT #33

    I won! I am SEW excited. Thank you!

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