It's simply lovely. Truly it is.
I have been a long time follower of Sanae's blog. Her simplistic and easy style and honest writing have been such a source of inspiration in both my sewing and in my life. And her book follows suit. When I first opened "Sewing Happiness" I immediately flipped through the pages to see all of the beautiful projects within. But, not only are the photos beautiful, the entire book is as well. While the pictures and projects had me flipping through the book, it was the stories that drew me in and had me poring through it's pages.
At the very beginning of the book Sanae says, "I'd like to think this isn't your typical sewing book. It's part cautionary tale; part practical collection of simple sewing projects...At it's heart, it's a personal story about unexpected transformations." This book, unlike most other craft/sewing books had me reading each and every page, each and every project introduction. It's moving, inspiring and of course instructional as well.
The projects themselves are simple and elegant. There are some that you can't wait to make to give as a gift (sashiko trivet), some perfect for your home (origami pillows), something for everyone (a dopp kit, infinity scarf and tooth fairy pillows) and something for yourself (triangle eco bag and a camera strap)...
Honestly I'm fairly certain I'd like to make everything! Which, of course, made it challenging to make a decision of where to start...and so I drew inspiration from Sanae and the book itself...
"Simple sewing is my favorite kind...my aim was to make them (the projects) easy enough for my nine-year-old daughter to confidently give them a shot."
And, drawing from those words, I decided to invite Violet to sew with me...
To make the dress, required a bit of pattern drafting which is a fairly new process for me, but again, with encouragement from Sanae:
"Fudging is allowed and encouraged. Mistakes are part and parcel of the process..."
We made our own pattern through a series of measurements and lines and trial and error. There are plenty of diagrams describing how to do this and the instructions are quite well done and detailed...
She and I enjoyed the process, Violet described it as "giant paper doll dress making"! Once the pattern was completed and the fabric cut out, the actual sewing part of the dress was pretty quick and easy. For most of the dress making I actually was able to leave the room for bits after going over the instructions while Violet sewed. In fact, as I've learned, I think she and I prefer that I not be hovering over her shoulder as she sews. Less stress for all that way! I did sew on the bias binding around the arms, as that seemed a touch too complicated for a beginner sewer, but aside from that she sewed and ironed the entire dress herself.
She couldn't have been happier with the outcome!
I did sew up a (wearable) muslin (as suggested) first after we made our pattern because...double gauze from Japan, I did not want to make a mistake with that! Our first try was indeed wearable and will likely end up being worn as a summer nightgown, but it needed a few minor tweaks here and there.
But, the completed project is really the sweetest, simple summer dress...
I think it adds just the perfect amount of contrast to the bright flowers!
Speaking of flowers...for a girl whose named after one, she's begun to be less inclined toward floral fabric. Maybe she's already been overwhelmed by them in her first 8 years. More likely though, she's just growing up and has her own style. It does make me a bit sad, because I love floral fabrics, though I tend to steer away from them myself so I understand.
But these flowers...she couldn't resist their bright colors and I agree that they are the perfect match for this dress!
We took these pictures moments after she completed her dress. She couldn't wait to put it on and then, of course, didn't take it off. The smiles in these photos are completely genuine. She is beaming with pride from making her first dress!
While we are still beaming with excitement over a new dress over here...we are also so excited to be able to spread the happiness with an amazing giveaway!
a $45 gift card for Miss Matatabi!! Choose from her spectacular selection of japanese fabric!
Just fill out the handy dandy rafflecopter below for a chance to win! Good luck!
*Disclaimer: This book and fabric were given to me in exchange for this review. All opinions are honestly my own! I am so happy to be a part of this tour and feel honored to have been asked. Sanae's book is so lovely...and Miss Matatabi fabric is fantastic!