April Round-Up

Hi, hi, hi! How are you, my friends?

April has been a packed month, and the countdown to the photoshoot for my next book has begun. I have 3 weeks to get all the prep work done, which involves a lot of sewing and figuring out props and coordinating schedules. I’m getting more and more excited!

As you can imagine, my days are full and will continue to be extra full for at least another two months as I wrap up all the details of book #8 (yes, #8!!!! I’ve published 3 kids’ books, 2 sewing books, and have 2 more kids’ books that are whirring through the printing press as I type this). So I’m keeping this blog post short, and let’s dive in!

I dipped my toes into sewing a little bit out of my comfort zone for the month of April:

Clockwise from top left:

Butterick 6024 in off-white handkerchief linen – Pintucks still intimidate me, but I’m getting better at ’em!

Tank top from Pattern Magic in pink batiste – I botched this one, but tried my best to salvage it

Lodo Dress by True Bias in a double-knit from JoAnn – Such a comfortable dress! I’ve worn it a few times already.

New Look 6556 in a bamboo/Spandex knit from Drygoods Design – A simple tee with a twist: asymmetrical hem and draped side. It reminds me of something that I’d seen at Anthropologie many moons ago.

Wattlebird Jumpsuit by Common Stitch Studio in a light weight reddish/brown twill – I’m not much a jumpsuit gal, but something about this design really appealed to me. It’s not teenager-approved (K thought it looked weird and hazmat-suit-esque), but I like it!

As always, you can see more details on my Instagram feed.

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Since the pandemic started, I’ve firmly established a daily art journaling habit and I’m noticing that I’m getting faster and faster at painting. Paradoxically, when I notice how rapidly I’m slapping watercolors onto paper, I try to deliberately slow down. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because I’ve been thinking a lot about how I’m turning 50 this year, and I just don’t have any desire to speed through life. I want to savor everything, you know?

Anyway, I had fun painting these:

 

I was lucky enough to contribute to DAWN, the newest edition of Making Magazine. I made cute little house shoes and here’s a quick snap of one of the many samples that I shipped to the good folks at Making:

These are so easy and quick to make, and the DAWN issue of MAKING is absolutely lovely.

Alright my friend, that’s a wrap for April and I hope to have some updates about the photoshoot or at the very least more sewing and watercolors to share next time! Have a wonderful month!!

 

 

Almost done with the testing phase…

Hello, my friends! How are you?

It’s a bright, blue-skied day here in Seattle as I write this. I have been running around town to make progress on the current book I’m working on, feeling more like a project manager than a writer/illustrator. The testing phase for the garment sewing book is coming to a close (if you signed up, remember that responses are due by February 29th if you haven’t completed the form yet). It’s been unreal. Amazing. I’ve been reading all the feedback that’s been popping up, and I keep getting more and more excited. This is going to be one well-tested book! Of course I love all of my books, but this one feels extra special because the kismet level has been off-the-charts.

I wish I could share more, and I will as soon as I can.

What I’m trying to say is that there’s quite a bit going on and when I misread my calendar and took K to her viola lesson at the wrong time this week, I knew I had to step back. Take it easy. I actually got sick for the first time in almost a year on Saturday (husband expressed concerns about coronavirus; it wasn’t). I recovered lightning fast, but it was my body giving me a stern talking-to. I’m going to listen to it.

I’ll be back with a short blog update next month, but I’m going to take an extended Instagram break and focus on getting my book wrapped up. I’ve been intrigued by Cal Newport’s philosophy that he calls “Digital Minimalism” and he seems like someone who knows what he’s talking about. I have a bit of a crush on him, if I’m honest. That there is a brilliant man — I think my husband is a little jealous because I keep mentioning Cal (See? We’re already on first name basis). I also read his other books, So Good They Can’t Ignore You and Deep Work, both of which are thought-provoking and excellent.

I’m off to go sew up more sample garments for my book! That image above is one of my trial garments. I seem to have an abundant supply of the indigo chambray and have been making everything in that fabric. Love it.

It feels like spring is just around the corner, and it’s so refreshing after what seemed like endless rain and grey. Wherever you are, I hope you’re having a day full of vibrant promise and forthcoming blooms. xo

 

 

 

Seeking pattern testers for my next book!

[UPDATE #2: All testing materials have been sent out! If you don’t see an email in your inbox, please check your promotions tab or junk folder. Let me know if you have any questions and I’m so excited to see all the feedback!]

[UPDATE: I’m so astounded by the number of and grateful for all the people who signed up!! THANK YOU. I’ll be sending confirmation emails soon! Sign-ups are now closed.]

Hello, my friends!

As you may or may not know, I’ve been tucked away in my atelier (read: my bedroom that doubles as a sewing space) and have been diligently working on my next book that’s due out in 2021. It’s all about garment sewing for women and for me, the content that I’ve created for this book has been a game changer. I hope the same will be true for many, many folks!

I’m getting extremely close to having all the patterns ready for testing. So this is where YOU come in. Are you an aficionado of clothes-sewing or would like to be? Do you have an eagle eye and an uncanny ability to spot errors in instructions? Can you spare a weekend or several hours to stitch up a garment or sloper? Does the idea of drafting your own simple patterns intrigue and energize you?

If it’s a big ole yes for all of the above, please fill out the Google form below. My publisher, Sasquatch Books, has generously offered to provide a free copy of this secret squirrel book as thanks for testing help (I’ll also be adding an extra treat). This means that you will need to be based here in the U.S. since international shipping gets a little hairy.

I will keep sign-ups open until February 6th and will send out the PDFs and info by February 10th. All feedback will be due by February 26th. Questions? Leave me a comment or DM me @sanaeishida on Instagram, where I’ll also post the call for testers.

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

Aaaand, here’s the form (if you can’t see it in the screen, click here):

 

P.S. I photographed the image above during the photo shoot for my upcoming book, Animal Friends to Sew (May 2020). The awesome Amy Johnson shot a much better version of it for the book. Styling credit: Rachel Grunig.

Pre-Order Time: ANIMAL FRIENDS TO SEW!!!!!!

Hello, hello, my friends! What do we have here? It’s my newest book!!!! It’s called ANIMAL FRIENDS TO SEW: Simple Handmade Decor, Toys and Gifts for Kids and will be released May of 2020 through Sasquatch Books.

I’m so in love with this book. SO in love. It’s very much the book I would have wanted when I first began sewing for K and all her itty bitty friends, and it’s a grateful nod to the numerous Japanese craft books that inspired me to teach myself how to sew back in the early days. I remember scratching my sweaty head as I navigated the Japanese instructions, a perplexed expression plastered on my face. How amazing that I’ve been given the chance to produce my own kid-focused craft book in a language in which I have a bit more fluency. Side note: I can speak and comprehend Japanese at near native levels, but my nihongo reading/writing require assistance from Google Translate.

The folks at Sasquatch Books continue to make my book-making dreams all come true and I adore the entire staff there, but I am especially appreciative of my editor Hannah and art director Anna (we even had a photoshoot at Anna’s gorgeous house) for this book! I couldn’t have possibly pulled this project off without the magical expertise of Rachel (photo stylist) and Amy (photographer). “You guys are like unicorns,” Hannah told me and from start to finish, this book really did feel unicorn-y. Can I also mention that we have the CUTEST models in the book? Plus, I’ve got to give a major shout out to all the testers as well — I had nearly 100 testers and they were fabulous. I incorporated their feedback and did my absolute best to make the instructions and illustrations as clear as possible.

So!!! I’ve been wanting to share the cover for awhile, but since we’ve been tweaking the last details I wanted to hold off until it felt pretty much complete. As of this week, I’ve turned in my proofreader edits and we’re finalizing the back cover so it’s feeling super official now.

And hey, how about some behind-the-scenes tidbits? When it came time to figure out the cover, I created four sketches and we photographed a few variations based on the sketches. I always love to see how concept sketches turn into final execution. The ideas go through a number of approval processes (including getting the buy-in from the Penguin Random House team — Sasquatch Books is now part of Penguin Random House). My favorite version was ultimately selected, and I let out huge whoops of joy! I thought it might be fun to share the sketches:

 

 

Isn’t it cool that the final cover is so closely aligned in look and feel with the sketches?

Anyway! Did you know that pre-orders have a dramatic impact on the success of a book? The more pre-orders there are, the more exposure the book will get. Stepping up my marketing game is one of my big, big goals and I’ll be getting out of my comfort zone a ton over the next few months. I’m so excited to share this book with the world and I’ve been working on a fun bonus digital gift that I will send out on publication day for all pre-orders! There are a couple of ways to receive the bonus gift.

1. Let me know that you’ve pre-ordered at sanaeishida13[at]gmail.com

2. DM me via Instagram @sanaeishida

Yay!!!

Thank you with all my heart in advance!!!!! xoxo

Pre-order ANIMAL FRIENDS TO SEW HERE

 

Call for Pattern Testers for My Next Book! [CLOSED]

Update: There’s been an overwhelming response, and I have lots of fabulous testers signed up. THANK YOU!

Hello, hello! I’ve been diligently working away behind-the-scenes and my next book is starting to come together in a lovely way. It’s SO exciting. This is my favorite part: when the structure of the book is mostly done but there’s still enough wriggle room for changes. I can practically feel the elation of bursting through the finish line, but it’s also continuously and thrillingly uncertain.

So. Do you love sewing? Are you interested in getting a sneak peek into my new book? Are you a stickler for details? Then perhaps you’d like to be a pattern tester? That would be so tremendously awesome!!! This new book is a slightly different flavor from Sewing Happiness. It’s been pure fun and the projects are very beginner friendly and kid-friendly. All of the projects can be whipped up in an afternoon or less. If you’d like to be a tester, please fill out the Google Form below and I’ll send you a PDF with the pattern to test by February 8th. You’ll have a couple of weeks to work on the pattern and in order to meet my deadline, I would need all feedback by February 22nd. Because I’m so grateful for any and all help, I’ll be popping a little treat in the mail for you so please make sure to fill out the address fields. 🙂

I’m looking forward to being able to share it in full next year, my friends!! Sometimes I wish the book process didn’t take its sweet old time but then again, that’s what makes it all the more rewarding. Patience is a virtue and all that.

OK! Here’s the form (if you can’t see it, please click on this link):

P.S. The photo is actually an outtake from Sewing Happiness styled by my wonderful friend Allegra Hsiao, shot by me.