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Hand Stitching with Minki Kim

Posted by Lauren Herberg on Jul 24th 2020

Best selling author, Minki Kim, has stitched up another book that you’ll want to add to your collection, Zakka Wool Appliqué. Minki creates charming designs for you once again to enhance all your sewing projects and this time they come to life in wool felt and hand embroidery.

From the author, Minki Kim:

“I wrote two books about sewing illustrations, a technique that combines bits of appliqué with machine stitching. I found many sewists hesitate to use the sewing machine for embroidery, and hand embroidery has irresistible charm, of course. For me, wool felt was the perfect medium to transfer my love of raw-edge appliqué onto fabrics.”

“This book shows you six projects that you can make with your appliqué designs. In addition, I have included many more wool appliqué/embroidery patterns that you can adapt and create into new projects. If you love these ideas and want to make them with your quilting stash instead of wool felt, that works, too.”

Lauren’s Take:

I love flipping through Zakka Wool Appliqué! There is so much inspiration and beauty on every page.

I am a complete novice with embroidery and hand appliqué, but once I made the decision to dive in, I never felt intimidated or out of my depth while following Minki’s guidance in Zakka Wool Appliqué. I really cannot overstate how beginner-friendly this book is. Learn just a handful of different stitches from Minki’s stitch guide and you can make anything in the book! Her illustrations are charming and sweet, and deceptively simple to make in fabric.

As a cat lover, I of course, had to stitch up Minki’s adorable cat design first.

I found a piece of Essex Yarn Dyed Metallic Linen from Robert Kaufman in my stash to use for the background. I love how the metallic threads add some sparkle to my projects. I traced Minki’s pattern and cut the shapes out of felt. You really just need a few scraps of felt to get started on Minki’s book. Check with your local quilt or fabric shop as they often have wool felt scrap bags for sale that are perfect for this endeavor.

I took Minki’s suggestion to simply staple the felt pieces to my background fabric because it seemed quick and easy, but mostly because I couldn’t find any fusible web in my stash right away!

The whipstitch, which I used to attach all the pieces to the background, is such an easy and forgiving stitch. Again, I have done very little embroidery or handwork in general and I think that my cat came out pretty darn cute!

My stitches are nowhere near perfect but they mostly just disappear into the felt. I added some tulips from Minki’s “Spring” illustration to embellish it and bring in some more colors. I decided to give it a quick finish and to simply frame and hang it.

Actually, when I showed my cat, Chui, my creation, he loved it so much he insisted on hanging it himself!

Chui: “How’s that? Is it straight?” Me: “Close enough, baby.”

I have not gotten enough of Zakka Wool Appliqué. I cannot wait to make this endearing “Love Letter” design for a special someone. I’m thinking it would make an especially cute back for a fabric postcard.

“Love Letter” zipper pouch, 10.5” x 8”

Don’t forget, if you’re a fan of Minki Kim’s previous books, that you can make all the illustrations from Zakka Wool Appliqué with quilting cottons and machine appliqué and embroidery. She even includes a couple of her designs from this book sewn up like her patterns from her other books: Zakka from the Heart, Diary in Stitches and Sew Illustrated.


“Sew Happy” mini quilt, 12” x 12”, with quilting cotton appliqués

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