2016 Homemaker Magazine Best Home Sewing Book Award Winner
“In a world of Pinterest-perfect styling and overposed, overedited sewing blog photos, Ishida’s honesty is refreshing, and her thoughtful musings on the importance of “taking a break”—whether to sew, enjoy family, or simply appreciate our lives—are a delight.”
“Sewing Happiness: A Year of Simple Projects for Living Well by Sanae Ishida features 20 simple sewing projects tied to Ishida’s memoir of living with chronic illness, and all are designed to promote health, creativity, and inspiration.”
“Through a year of threading and hemming, [Sanae] Ishida produced all her daughter’s (ridiculously fashionable) clothes, some garments for herself as well as household crafts. In her new book, Sewing Happiness, she stitches together a memoir, a delightful medley of sewing projects and a strong lesson in wabi-sabi, the concept of finding beauty in imperfection.”
“Part sewing-pattern collection, part one woman’s personal tale of her self-help journey, this book aims to be as inspirational as it is useful.”
"You might be sewing a pattern, but confidence will also emerge on the other side of the presser foot, and that, Sanae assures, will bring you sewing happiness."
“In this book, Ishida shares the emotional story of how she has overcome career struggles and health issues in her life by turning to the craft of sewing. These 20 simple, useful projects are organized by season and tell the poignant story of how [Ishida] was aboule to transform her life.”
—Craft Ideas Magazine
"Sewing Happiness presents a collection of simple, streamlined projects for your sewing enjoyment year round."
"I could have never imagined that a sewing book could be this brilliant."
“Talk about a force to be reckoned with!”
“This book is beautiful. It’s beautifully written, beautifully styled and photographed, and beautiful to hold in your hands. It’s the kind of book that you would be thrilled to receive as a gift, and even more excited to give away to someone you love.”
—Closet Case Files
“A lovely book, and very relatable if you’ve ever struggled with your health or with finding meaning and joy in your life.”
—Sew Mama Sew
“This book is more than a collection of projects…[it] is an open, honest, raw and vulnerable conversation about how making things can heal us.”
—A Happy Stitch
"One of the things I loved most about this book is the fact that it’s not just about crafting and sewing as a skill. Sewing Happiness actually digs down deep into the idea that crafting is a meditative, health-boosting practice that really has the power to transform how you feel...bring on the sewing machine!"
—Dream Green DIY
“[Ishida’s] book reads almost like a memoir and sewing book rolled into one; and it is so elegantly, and authentically done.”
"Sanae [Ishida] is one of those people with a generous heart, a humble spirit and loveliness just oozing out of her. Her words, her paintings, her carefully crafted sewing projects – everything she touches has a sense of calm and beauty."
—You and Mie
"Sewing Happiness encourages the formation of good habits…[and] reminds us that productivity can lead to tranquility if practiced with intention."
"This book...creates an inspiring path to happiness and health through acts of creativity"
"[Sewing Happiness] is part memoir, part sewing book, and filled throughout with beautiful photography and illustrations. It is a joy to read."
—Cut Cut Sew
"I’m inspired by the beautiful styling and thoughtful, simple projects. Many of the projects would make great gifts."
—Crab and Bee
"Sewing Happiness is very highly recommended"
—Midwest Book Review
"Sewing Happiness is a beautiful and touching book about the healing power of making. Part memoir, part craft book, and all gorgeous, you won't be able to put it down."
"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."
"Sewing Happiness: A Year of Simple Projects for Living Well, is full of truly lovely and, yes, simple projects. The sort of projects that are pleasing to make and to live with day after day."
"I love, love the format of the book–a hybrid memoir and craft book. I want all my ‘how-to’ books to be written this way."
“So inspiring! I loved that each project had it's own story.”
—Petit a Petit and Family
“A whole lot of fun.”
—Falafel and the Bee
“I am really attracted to this aesthetic and loved the sample projects and photos in the book.”
"Part memoir, part inspiration and part DIY craft camp, Sewing Happiness draws readers in with an honest account of Ishida’s professional failure and personal health crisis and the healing power of her passion—sewing."
—Sally Bjornsen Represents
“A load of fun!”
—NW Book Lovers
“A delightful, compact and easily understandable pattern book.”
—Bainbridge Island Review
“I utterly fell in love with it.”
—A Playful Day
“Twenty sewing projects punctuate this memoir, which is refreshingly honest, and ultimately upbeat about the challenges of being a woman and a mother."
“Did somebody say hostess gift?”
—New Jersey Monthly
“[Ishida] has been making things most of her life.”
“Stitched together with [Sanae Ishida’s] charming personal story.”
"Author and sewing enthusiast Sanae Ishida will guide you through"
"This book is a beauty from the beginning to end - the words, the photos, the illustrations, the colors."
"Sewing Happiness is unique among craft books that I've seen to date, in that it is as much a biographical tale as it is an instructional sewing pattern book."
—Bartacks and Single Track
"Sanae is a wonderful writer in addition to being a talented, creative, and kind soul. And really, as she says: "this isn't your typical sewing book." It is so much more."
—Just Add Fabric
"Sewing Happiness is a beautiful book to behold, a collection of very simple sewing projects divided into seasonal categories."
—Needle and Ted
"Twenty simple sewing projects are tied together with a thread of memoir that tells the story of how sewing brought Sanae Ishida profound happiness."
—Love to Sew
"No book has described the healing and life-affirming practice of sewing more beautifully than Sanae Ishida’s Sewing Happiness."
"A real gem—a lovely lovely book for anyone that sews and thinks about life and it's challenges. I fully plan to make some more of the projects in this book."
"Shows readers the power of a little creativity in their lives."
—Mother Earth News
When Ishida lost her high-stress job, she felt that her life was set adrift. Faced with a diagnosis of Graves' disease, she chose to regroup and focus on sewing—a hobby she enjoyed but had little time for as an adult. As she dove into a variety of sewing projects, she found herself healing both physically and emotionally. Each of the four sections of the book opens with a heartfelt essay about the role of sewing and creativity in Ishida's life. In a world of Pinterest-perfect styling and overposed, overedited sewing blog photos, Ishida's honesty is refreshing, and her thoughtful musings on the importance of "taking a break"—whether to sew, enjoy family, or simply appreciate our lives—are a delight. The minimalist style will be familiar to fans of Japanese sewing books, and the author's openness to working with fabrics besides cotton (she includes patterns for wool, linen, jersey knits, and even leather or faux leather) will inspire sewists to try something new. Standout designs include a classic dopp kit sewn from wool felt, a pair of knit yoga pants that takes the intimidation out of sewing with knits and constructing custom-fit pants, and a child's dress that replicates Ishida's first project, a dress for her daughter. The instructions are thorough, the tips and advice are generous, and the overall presentation is thoughtful. VERDICT It's unusual to see so much of the author's personality in a sewing book, and Ishida's appealing warmth makes this lovely collection a standout.