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.
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
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.
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.