Encouragers + Sewing Love Launch Day Giveaway! {CLOSED}

UPDATE: The giveaway is now closed and I will be contacting the winner directly. Congrats Laura!

“Books are a bad idea. You aren’t making any money. You should get a real job.”

That’s what my husband told me when I published my first book and has repeated a variation of these words over the years as I diligently worked on building a career as an author and illustrator, fueled by copious amounts of hope and coffee. I’ve wanted to make books since I was a wee girl. I used to inhale Japanese comic books ever since I could read, and by the time I was 12, I’d checked out and finished every book in the kid’s and “Youth” sections of my tiny local library (YA wasn’t a thing in 1980s Los Angeles). Multiple times. I am always, always reading a book, even if it’s half a paragraph at the end of a long day. Books taught my daughter to read and write and introduced her to a vast universe of imaginary and real wonders. I understand the magic of books. The importance of them. Books have saved my life on more than one occasion.

My husband’s words — uttered from a place of concern and love, to be sure — were a blow, and I did want to give up on many occasions. Even my editors told me how rare it is for authors to make a living, especially if none of the books ever hit the New York Times bestseller chart. I tell you this because I have found that if you have big, audacious dreams, the people closest to you will often discourage you. It’s surprising, but it’s partly to protect everyone involved from too much disappointment and partly because making dreams come true is not actually supposed to happen when you’re “realistic.”

Despite his words, I kept going. I keep going and keep seeking the alchemy that words and images can create in the human soul. Today, on August 23rd, 2022, my wonderful publisher Sasquatch Books is releasing my eighth book, Sewing Love: Handmade Clothes for Any Body.

I have dedicated this book to my dear, dear friend Annelieke, who has continually filled my doubt-ridden brain with words of encouragement.

For every 10 discouraging comments, I have received perhaps one word of support. I don’t rely on other people to hoist me up at all, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit that it’s nice to hear, “You can do this! I believe in you!” What makes Annelieke particularly special is that we’ve never met nor have we spoken to each other. She has quietly and staunchly supported me through many of my side projects, and over the years we’ve exchanged innumerable emails. We are penpals of the modern era and our friendship is proof that genuine connections can be forged through the internet. I love her so much and can’t put into words how much I appreciate her. I have turned to her to share some of my lowest moments and my biggest celebrations, and she has been a font of wisdom and an everlasting encourager. I wish for everyone to have an Annelieke in their life.

I would be remiss not to mention that the husband has given up on me ever getting a “real job.” He now says (with a resigned sigh), “maybe your books will work?” He says that I’m talented and tenacious and that though I’m terrible at making money, I have other wonderful qualities. I’ll take it. On my end, I have no intention of giving up on becoming a book-maker and beautiful-things-creator that also earns what is considered a “real” living (what is that anyway?) — I keep going.

Anyway! To celebrate this book that I am so, so proud to have co-created with many magical folks, let’s do a giveaway, shall we? You will discover that I have subtly woven the theme of not giving up into this book about accepting our amazing bodies as is. Although “self -love” is very much a buzz word these days, I believe it’s at the heart of a well-lived life and is quite possibly the hardest thing to do. Tenacity is required. And I am hoping that through the book, I can be the Annelieke-like figure to encourage you to create slopers and gorgeous clothes that delight you.

As a bonus, I’ve created a measurement form PDF to make the process easier. Worksheets and sections that can be filled in are avoided if possible in books, because libraries don’t like them (borrowers end up marking up pages), which is why this form is not included in the book. You can download the PDF here or in the sidebar. Keep in mind that this is an evolving document and my goal is to keep improving it to make it as effective as possible. 

I will be offering up one copy of Sewing Love for this giveaway and to enter….hmmm. Any comment will do, but I’d love to know if there’s something you’ve not given up on, something that you keep being/doing because it’s important and meaningful to you. International entries are welcome as always, and the giveaway will be open until next Friday, September 2nd! Good luck, good luck!

P.S. I’ll be doing a separate giveaway on Instagram, and you can also see some behind-the-scenes posts there!







35 thoughts on “Encouragers + Sewing Love Launch Day Giveaway! {CLOSED}

  1. I haven’t given up on my writing. I’ve wanted to write since I was nine years old, and I’m still writing. I’ve had a few stories published and am working on a novel. I’m excited for your new book! Your first sewing book was such an inspiration to me and made sewing seem approachable. It inspired me to learn.

  2. I love your books, and would love to own this one as well. Your little samurai was a good connection point for me with my nephews and niece, so thank you for writing. As far as not giving up, I live with chronic illness that took a long time to diagnose and an even longer time (it feels like) to counter-act. But I’ve learned so much about my body along the way. I’m more gentle, now, with my whole person and hope that I am also more gentle with others. Cheers to you for this publication and your authorial journey!

  3. Congratulations! I signed up to test for you in the very beginning but my skills weren’t quite up to what you needed at the time. Happy to see the finished product!

  4. I’m so happy to see that you’ve pushed on and followed your heart. I bought your book Sewing Happiness In 2021 when I was finally able to sit down and read for me (raising twins took a toll those first few years on my reading time, naturally 😉). I had asked for it for Christmas, my husband bought it for me, and I sat down to look at it, and devoured it cover to cover in one sitting. I was really taken by the strength that you found in a dark time. Your will, your determination, your drive, and your passion have been incredibly inspiring to me, and I am certain, to many, many others.

    While I have loved your sewing advice and ideas (I made triangle eco bags for me and my kids- they use them as their library books bags!), it’s your words of encouragement that have kept me following your emails and your books. So, thank you 😊 and keep sharing the love and sewing happiness!

  5. This post made me smile. Your resiliency and spirit are so inspiring! Thank you for sticking with your dream. I am so grateful that you do!! What you do is wonderfully unique – you *can* do this! There is a special spot in the universe for what you are doing.

    I’m still persuing fluency in a foreign language, something I started over 20 years ago. But, I keep trying! All the best to you – congratulations!!!

  6. I have returned to knitting after a few years away due to the menopause and being unable to wrap my head around it. During that time I made my daughter a dress to attend a wedding and myself a cardigan and now I’m knitting socks again ~ my happy place. Thank you for this opportunity Sanae, lots of love

  7. I am so excited to receive my copy in the mail, sure that I will also want to give away your book to my family of sewists!! I am still pushing through the ever-moving dial of sewing proficiency. Right now I am working on learning to sew clothes. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed that I feel like giving up, but my husband encourages me and other sewists inspire me. Thank you for sticking with writing!!

  8. Congratulations! I suppose I’ve not given up on myself and trying to be the healthiest version of me. Whether by diet, exercise or other it seems it’s always a never ending challenge. But I won’t give up

  9. I can barely believe that you wrote this post and that I read it this morning, just when I needed to hear this message again. Tenacity is this week’s theme. My husband and I keep talking about it with regard to our daughter and our fear that she lacks it. And I keep thinking about it, reminding myself that plenty of people fail multiple times before finally succeeding. They just don’t give up.

    I love stories about people who take risks to get something they’ve always wanted or to become somebody they’ve always wanted to be, and I include your story of leaving your high-paying but stressful job to take care of yourself. Such a risk—and an act of love for yourself. Now here you are, many books later.

    Thank you for writing a sewing book for any body. Our body types are pretty similar, and my legs are every bit as cute as yours. I shouldn’t have needed an excuse to tell you thank you for everything, but here I am. Thank you.

    After I leave this comment, I’m going to edit a short story I wrote. Just telling someone that I’ve written a story is terrifying, but I took a chance and did it anyway.

  10. Congratulations on your book! I look forward to reading it. I haven’t given up on searching for answers to a health issue I have been living with for over 20 years. In the mean time, I sew,and sew, and sew. My one year old granddaughter has many adorable dresses made by her Grama. 😊 Blessings to you!

    1. I agree with Michelle. And I must say you ARE A SUCCESS and are fulfilling your dreams while nourishing the rest of us with your honesty, wisdom, and talent.

  11. Congratulations! I have never given up on myself! I want to live an active lifestyle and I don’t let obstacles get in my way!

  12. I have not given up on volunteer work. Sometimes there are not enough hours in the day, but these warm me from inside when I see gratitude from the people I get in return. We have many Ukrainian refugees in our town, so I volunteer to walk with them, talk, practice language etc. I feel I can show them my support this way. I also love my lactation consultant volunteer time, and I hope I can give more mothers the opportunity to breastfeed when they are in trouble and need support ❤️

  13. Congratulations! Your perseverance is encouraging.
    Keep living your dream and being an inspiration to others.

  14. Jeez I kept waiting for the part where the husband apologizes. I guess it’s not coming. That’s a lot of negativity to push through. You are clearly a very strong woman. Congratulations!

  15. Your tenacity and accomplishments are so incredibly inspiring to me! Many congratulations on your new book!

    It’s been a hard time with the pandemic and the immense responsibilities that go along with taking care of my elderly parents, but I’ve been committed to finding moments (however brief) that bring me joy: gardening, sewing, meditating, spending time with my pets, studying Japanese, community organizing, and journaling. I’ve learned that it’s vital to feed our souls, so that we may be present and serve our loved ones to the best of our abilities.

  16. Congratulations! It would have been so easy to listen to all that ‘helpful’ advice and I’m so glad you didn’t, your books are beautiful and I can’t wait to have a proper look through this latest one ❤️

  17. I’ve given up on some big important things lately (which has been scary but ultimately really positive). One thing that I haven’t given up on is seeking creative joy through making. I’ve just started trying to sew garments that fit my body, and it’s been a real mix of fun and frustrating and challenging and satisfying!

  18. I have never totally given up on earning a respectable income from my art and crafts, but it was almost 50 years from my first art sale to when I actually found something I could do that people wanted to buy with any regularity. My earliest sales were handmade paper dolls (at age 10) and then actual sewn cloth dolls in my teens. The thing I found in my late 50s that people would actually buy on a fairly regular basis was pottery. I continue to sell pottery. It is not enough to support a family but I’m working on becoming a selling writer as well. And I also still sell things I sew. I sold a custom-made pirate hat last month to one of my college professors who had never been able to find a readymade one to fit him.

  19. Congrats on the new book! I’ve always considered myself bad at anything creative, but the pandemic gave me some more time at home and I’ve taken the opportunity to try some new arts and crafts, but also to return to knitting. My Mom is an amazing knitter and I always felt intimidated – I could knit a scarf, but that was about it. But I got some new needles and knitted some birds, then a shrug, a poncho, a cardigan, and a jacket. Sometimes I’ve had to restart, take apart, or even rip up and remake things a couple of times, but I’ve focused on what I can learn each time and tried to challenge myself with each project: a new stitch, knitting in the round, cables. I now really enjoy knitting and it’s been great to troubleshoot patterns with my Mum over FaceTime and to share our projects with each other. Perseverance is definitely a good skill to learn!

  20. So happy to see you’ve never given up on this dream and congratulations on the new book.
    Since learning about myself and the best ways to keep my soul happy I’ve never given up on finding time for myself for self care. I try and carve out 30 minutes (sometimes more or less depending on life/work/home/the weather that day) for a walk each day. I learnt through the lock downs here in Melbourne Australia that this quiet time was vital for my sanity and now I will never give up trying to give myself that moment of peace. I also try and do some craft time each day but that is still a work in progress.

  21. Perfect post for me as I re-enter my own writing. Sewing Happiness helped me to take up sewing again and try sashiko embroidery. Your aesthetic, writing, and your heartfelt message are so inspiring to me. I would love your new book!

  22. Hi Sanae.

    I read Sewing Happiness a few years ago when I was at a low point in my life. I found your words and images gentle and inspiring, like a salve. I have reborrowed your book from my local library a number of times when I feel like I need a pick-me-up – and I did it again this week. I thought too to revisit your website, and alas, what great timing – you are bringing out a new book! Congratulations, I am looking forward to reading it.

    I find sewing my go-to when I feel anxious or down, and I try to sew regularly, even if it’s just a small project or some hand sewing/mending. One day I would love to be able to start a small business selling handmade items – I have my little dream filed away in my mind and I have not given up on it!

    Wishing you all the best with the new book.

  23. Congratulations on the launch of Sewing Love! I’m delighted to know that you’re able to push through the negativity and rise above it. In February, I slipped and landed the wrong way on snow and ice. After a painful six hour wait in the ER, I was diagnosed with a fracture and given a plaster cast. At my first follow up appointment, I was given a shiny purple fibreglass cast and was told that it would take a year to heal. I was determined to prove that the doctor underestimated my drive to expedite the process. I researched the best combination of therapies to heal broken bones. I cautiously made my way back to my sewing machine and started with fifteen minutes a day. It’s four months since my cast was removed and I’m about 80% healed. Woot! Woot!

  24. Congratulations! I’m glad you didn’t give up. Your book Sewing Happiness found me when I was recovering from a big life change , had major health issues, and had just started sewing. It resonated with me, deeply, and it was so inspiring to hear your story. I still return to the essays & projects! I hope you keep doing what you’re doing. Your work has value and you are appreciated. <3

  25. I haven’t given up on making things. Sewing, pottery, Pysanky, spinning, knitting, weaving, collage… the list goes on. If there’s an opportunity to try something new, I go for it. Pottery is my first love, but sewing is a close second. Congratulations on the book! So exciting!

  26. I stuck it out to get my board certification as a music therapist to start a second career. I’m so proud of myself and the amazing work I do, despite still getting discouraging comments about low income and long hours. I’m glad you stuck through with writing.

  27. I decided not to give up on support spindle style of hand spinning. I am an accomplished knitter, weaver, sewist & spinner on the wheel and drop spindles, but the support spindle had defeated me UNTIL NOW.

    I finished several ounces of fiber on two different support spindles and I couldn’t be happier. The muscle memory is there now. I own the technique!

    This is also the year of a completely me-made wardrobe which is how I found your books. Congrats on the newest which is now also on my list!

  28. I haven’t given up my morning coffee. Before moving out of home, my mum and I would always start the day together over a morning coffee. Now that she’s passed on, I’m not sure if it’s the coffee I enjoy in the morning or the comfort the ritual brings me from those mornings with my mum. With two small children of my own now, I’ve just started to teach them to sew as my mother taught me. Looking for inspiration, I stumbled across your beautiful books.

  29. I look forward to using this book. I spin, weave and knit and now I would like to make some of my clothes.

  30. I would say that some of the naysayers are probably jealous! I know I am. I’ve watched you become, in my eyes, so successful with your books and your craft and wish I had something that I have not given up on…but I do continue to sew, maybe now I’ll try sewing clothes for myself!

  31. I think sewing is something that I haven’t given up on even though in the early years things didn’t always turn out as planned. But I also speak Spanish but was getting rusty staying home with kids and not using it too much A few years ago I was approached to teach Spanish a couple days a week. This is now one of my greatest joys and as my kids are schooling full time and need me less it is fun to have something I love to occupy my time!

  32. Congrats with your new book! I’m glad you didn’t give up writing! Your posts have been a source of inspiration for me. Till a year ago I was gradually working less and less due to chronic illness, but I didn’t give up and now its been a year that I work full time again. I also started a diet and frequent fitness trainings and now I’m feeling great.

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