The Hand-Stitched Flower Garden


The Hand-Stitched Flower Garden

The Hand-Stitched Flower GardenThe Hand-Stitched Flower Garden
Gifted By: Kodansha USA
Reviewed by: Dana Byerwalter, Editor,


Try to keep that jaw from hitting the floor. The patterns in The Hand-Stitched Flower Garden are absolutely, stunningly gorgeous. Yuki Sugashima brings a beautiful collection of projects to the table in her book. Learn how to stitch the most beautiful flowers you will ever see!

This book from Kodansha USA includes twenty types of flowers, leaves, and creatures to stitch. The projects are divided, beautifully, by season. Spring features violets, butterflies, daffodils, and more. Summer includes strawberries, cosmos, and ranunculus. Leaves, acorns, and asters can be found in fall, and in winter we have snowberries, plum branches, and yew sprigs.

Not only do you learn how to stitch each pattern, but also you will make an entire project involving each pattern. For example, after you learn how to stitch violets, you can make the violet sewing machine cover. Once you've mastered leaves, you can make the fall leaves coaster set. This book gives you practical ways to implement the new stitch patterns you've learned!

While all of the projects in The Hand-Stitched Flower Garden are stitched on fabric, you can absolutely use these designs to create stunning embellishments! You can stitch onto fabric and create a stunning journal cover. As mixed media grows ever more popular, this gorgeous stitching guide will come in handy on so many occasions for so many projects!

I still just can't get past the incredible detail in these stitches. The flowers look impossible to stitch. The detail is just amazing. Even more impressive, Yuki Sugashima makes the stitches look so easy! Once you page through all of the stunning projects in the book, you arrive at the tools, materials, and techniques portion. Here you will find basic tutorials for all of the stitches you need to make these flowers. Once you have the basic stitches down, these flowers are yours for the making!

Floral detail makes any project just absolutely lovely in my book. As a flower aficionado, I'll be sure to try some of these designs! My personal favorite project is the spring snowflakes (p.22). First, I did not know spring snowflakes referred to a type of flower, so I learned something new as I paged through this beautiful book. Second, the flowers are just beautiful! I love that you use ribbon to stitch the petals. The effect is a silky soft petal with bead detail that will add a lovely touch to your next project.

Check out our exclusive interview with Yuki Sugashima below!

1. When did you first get into embroidery?

It was about six years ago when I first started embroidery.  At the time, I was a knitter, spinner and natural dyer with the goal to someday create from sheep to shawl.  But one day, I found an old box of embroidery floss I had saved from making friendship bracelets in grade school and remembered that embroidery was something I’ve always wanted to try.  With a few books from the library and online references, I taught myself the basics of embroidery.

My first embroideries were essentially line drawings with stitches, of pictures I drew with my then-two-year-old son.  But I didn't want to just 'draw'-- I wanted to 'color' too.  So I moved onto filling stitches and soon started embroidering what I do now-- flowers and other botanical motifs.

2. What is your favorite design to embroider? Similarly, what is your favorite embroidery project you have ever done?

From the book, I like the camellia and the chestnut for the dimensional effects, especially since they involve beads.  In terms of surface embroidery, I like the tulip motif best.

My all-time favorite project is a clutch purse I made with a wisteria design embroidered on the flap.  Wisteria is a classic motif in Japanese designs and I've stitched a few variations of it myself.  But unlike with traditional Japanese embroidery which is done with silk or metallic threads on silk fabric, I used regular cotton embroidery floss on linen for a more casual look.  I consider it an east meets west effect which I think of as my general style.

3. What is your best tip for people who are new to embroidery?

Always use a frame that you can attach to something to have both hands free for manipulating the thread.  It makes it a whole lot easier to create the stitches and will prevent frustration especially when you are just beginning to learn.  There are many products available, but there's no need to invest in anything expensive.  A simple bar frame attached to the table with a c-clamp that you can pick up at the hardware store works just as well.  That's what I usually use too.

4. What's your favorite flower?

It's difficult to choose just one flower, but I especially like peonies not just for their appearance, but also for  the element of surprise they have.  There's a big, luxurious bloom hiding inside a round, innocuous bud that doesn't give away the flamboyance that's about to burst forth.  The effect is much like a jack-in-the-box, and a very pretty one too!

5. What's your favorite season (and why)?

Every season has its charm, but summer is my favorite.  The days are long, colors are vibrant and everything is lush and beautiful.  Since it gets so hot and humid here, it's not the best time to sit and embroider for long periods, but it's a great time to be outdoors and gather inspiration.

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