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sew illustrated book tour


  • Floral is Lecien Child Smile Fall 2016 (available soon!)
  • Green is Lecien Child Smile from a few years ago
  • Linen is Kaufman Essex Natural.

I've long admired Minki Kim's unique talent and love everything she makes.  I am in total and utter amazement at her creativity and skill.  But doing thread illustration myself?  Uh.  The thought of it scared me and - quite frankly - stressed me out!  LOL!

When Minki and Kristin Esser invited me to be part of this tour, I kinda sorta accidentally said yes because Minki has become a good friend of mine and I hate disappointing people.  But then I had many MANY moments of panic when I realized that now I was commited to MAKING something.  I stalled, procrastinated, cleaned the house, went on a holiday, and did almost everything else on my to-do list.  Seeing all the cute and adorable things that people were making from this book and got even more scared.


But even though it's been a while since I put myself this far outside of my comfort zone, I wasn't going to back out.  Not without at least trying.  So I pulled up my big girl pants and got down to it. 

Now I'm not usually one to practice things.  Never really have.  Ask my piano teacher. ;)  If I want to make something, I just do.  If it turns out, great.  If it doesn't, I'll pout for a few minutes and then move on.  It has to be something really special (or a commitment) that inspires me to learn a new skill.  (That sounds dreadfully immature as I read that back to myself ... )

The first task was to choose a project from the book.  Every.single.design in this book is adorable and I love ALL of them!  But I eventually settled on the typewriter tote for a few reasons.  One, I'm a technical writer and I like that it's an (old-fashioned) tool of my trade.  Two, I have an English degree so I'm fond of most things "writing" related.  Three, my mom had a typewriter very much like this one and I used to play with it as a kid.  (Does anyone else remember how heavy the "shift" key was?!) 

My practice consisted of two partial executions of this pattern.  First time I didn't use interfacing ('cause I'm terrible about reading instructions, I'm embarrassed to confess).  And I tried out a few different feet on my machine that were recommended in the book to see which one worked better for me.  And then I just worked on getting used to the rhythm of free-motion drawing.  Not gonna lie ... as you can see in the photo above, I wasn't 100% confident that I was going to get the hang of it.  But I went on to the second practice, which was noticeably better.  Interfacing on the back really helped make my lines neater, and my confidence was growing.

After maybe about 20 minutes of practice I got impatient, as I tend to do when I just want to get on with something.  So I cut a large chunk of linen, drew the complete design, and went to work.

And that's it.  Honestly.  No smoke and mirrors required.  That's all it took to make my very first thread-illustrated design.  And I could not be prouder of myself or more grateful to Minki and Kristin for teaching me something new.

Thank you Ladies! xoxo

Now I need to go somewhere with my pretty, new tote.  I was thinking maybe the Apple store ... LOL!  Wouldn't it be fun to pull your laptop or iPad out of this bag?

If you're even remotely thinking about trying your hand at thread illustration, do yourself a favour and give it a whirl.  In no time you'll be wanting to replicate ... I dunno ... the Sistine Chapel ceiling or the Mona Lisa.  Or even American Gothic!  LOL!  Dive into your stash and start having fun.  (This book is available as an ebook from C&T Publishing so you can download it in a matter of minutes and be drawing within the hour.) Whatcha waitin' for! :) xo

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Reader Comments (50)

Your illustration of the typewriter is wonderful. There is a lot of detail on it especially when making the keys!
August 31, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterpatty
Oh, wow! You totally rocked this! I know what you mean about being afraid to try sewing illustration, but it's so fun, eh? You were brave to choose the typewriter, given all those tiny circles! Your tote is fabulous!!!
August 31, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterElnora
Love the typewriter.
August 31, 2016 | Unregistered Commentermonica
It is just beautiful! I always admire these sewed illustrations. Thanks for sharing your process, perhaps I really have to give it a try myself!
August 31, 2016 | Unregistered Commentermartina
Thank you for sharing your lovely tote with us. And thank you for being humble and sharing your attempts. Not everyone is that humble. But it helps inspire those of us who are questioning whether we can do it, too.
August 31, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLaurie Gelo
I have been admiring your work for some time! I love everything you do and this typewriter is terrific. I also remember how heavy the "shift" key was!!
August 31, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterClaudia M
I really think that this 'sew illustrated' style really looks like something I'd expect to find on YOUR blog. It's amazing that you found it a challenge at first. Didn't take you long to master the technique. I just love your project.
August 31, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLJ
Thank you for sharing your struggles with this. The results are awesome. Looking forward to trying projects inspired by the book.
August 31, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterTac
Pretty cool looking bag
with the typewriter! Sew
Carla from Utah
August 31, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterCarla
I love what you made - and love your honesty! 😊
August 31, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterNancy B from Many LA
Love your honesty in showing us the first few tries. Your finished tote bag is gorgeous!!
August 31, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSandy O
I could only hope that it would take me 3x to master this technique!!! I think that you are naturally giftedπŸ˜‰
August 31, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMichele
I love this bag and freemotion is the way to go, my opinion only, it gives this slightly quirky schetched look...love love it πŸ’™πŸ’šπŸ’œ
August 31, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGlenis
Your sewing illustration of the typewriter is amazing!! Love your bag!!
August 31, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMilla
You did that beautifully!! Love the bag - and the typewriter is so cute on it!
August 31, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLittle Quiltsong
I love this, it is so cute!!
August 31, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara Thompson
Your tote bag is adorable! I'd love to try this technique soon.
August 31, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRachel
Your tote is so cute!
August 31, 2016 | Unregistered Commentercharo
I love the cute project!!
August 31, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLee
Love your typewriter illustration tote!
August 31, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterBeth
I totally LOVE this bag!!! I have the book, and that typewriter caught my eye first thing. How nice of you to share your hesitation, describe your practice pieces, and share this perfect bag! I saw the post and comments on Instagram, and may I just say, I think I can learn to do this, and I'm about to turn 65!
August 31, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterPhoebe Ingraham
Oooooh! So great! Completely adorable nig and I wish more people were so humble to include the practice pieces! 😊 I didn't realize the stitching was free-motion by machine! I thought it was all hand embroidery. To be honest while I love all the designs, it seems you'd have to be in the mood to go slow on a project.
Either way, love the eye candy and that floral fabric...keeping my eyes pealed for that one! πŸ‘πŸ»
August 31, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDonna C
I love the typewriter! Thank you for sharing your first attempts. :-)
August 31, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterVT Patty
Practice makes perfect! It sure didn't take too much practice, did it? What an adorable tote you ended up with and the stitching is awesome! There are so many projects in this book that I want to tackle...I know I'd need some practice first, too!
August 31, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterKathy E.
I can't wait to try some projects in this delightful book!
August 31, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDenise
Great job! I love it! The Apple Store is the perfect destination for your bags first outing.
August 31, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterKristy
I really like it. Great job drawing.
September 1, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterChris
Your bag turned out adorable and so inspirational! I definitely want this book for all the cute ideas.
September 1, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSissy
Its gorgeous! I especially like the handle strap and using that print fabric for the paper! How clever. I'm absolutely obsessed with sewing illustration too!
September 1, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAnn
Great job! I'd love to learn this.

September 1, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterusairdoll
Amazing. What an improvement between practices! Love the use of text fabric~
September 1, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMary
As usual, beautifully made, you are clever. I learnt to type on a manual machine and remember the horrid shift key, really hard to press down especially with my little finger which is unusually small. Take care x
September 1, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSharon Gibson
I love your tote! You did a great job!
September 1, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMary Z
September 1, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAnne
Now I want to try sewing that typewriter. Yours is so cute.
September 1, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSharon
How adorable!!
September 1, 2016 | Unregistered Commentergail
lovely tote.

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com
September 1, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterapple blossom
Very lovely tote ;)
September 1, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterHueisei
Very cute - I learned to type on a Royal!!! Nice job!!!
September 2, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAllison CB
I love your project and I am inspired to try thread illustration. Thanks for sharing your fun typewriter!
September 2, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSherry
You did a great job on your sewn illustration. I love the typewriter.
September 2, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLaura P in NH
pretty impressed that it only took three goes to make that adorable typewriter !!
September 3, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterleanne
Hi Kristyne,...love the old fashion type writer too! Thanks for sharing your thread illustrations...and take #1, 2 and 3. I'm glad you pulled out that linen and Zakka'd it! (if thats a word).
September 3, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDiane Beavers
Thanks for sharing your process in creating your lovely illustrated work. Congrats on a beautiful job.
September 3, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLaura
I am the same way a total procrastinator when I don't want to disappoint or slightly scared to try something new, love seeing your practice runs, thanks for sharing them.
September 3, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMara
Your typewriter is so cute,
September 7, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJanice Svercek
I love that you shared your process with this project! It helps new sewers to know the pro's are still learning too. Great job, I love the ribbon too!
September 8, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterKristy
Adorable! I've enjoyed seeing different projects from this book, but I think this is my favorite. I'm putting this book on my wish list!
September 11, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSharrie
Your blog turned out so nice β™₯

September 19, 2016 | Unregistered Commentersummer
Thank you for your honest account at completing this cute and functional bag ! It also has given me pause to think of doing a project that takes me out of my conform zone. Hugs
September 20, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterElaine Kenny

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