Zakka Style Sew Along!

by Nova on June 18, 2012

wow! it’s week 12 of the Zakka Style Sew Along already! phewy! Have you been sewing along…?

Zakka Style Sew Along

If you haven’t stumbled upon the sew along yet, you can still join in, we’re just at the halfway mark.  Based on the projects from Zakka Style compiled by Rashida Coleman-Hale, bloggy friends Lindsey and Amy gathered together more bloggy friends to sew their way through all 24 projects from the book! Yay!

For my week I got to make the super cute Happy Couple Hand Warmers by Holly Keller.  I love love love projects that leave themselves open to putting your own stamp on & while Holly’s happy couple embroidery is just adorable I’d thought I’d mix it up & a have a play around with the blank canvas ;)

First up a pair of embroidered hand warmers, clearly labelled so you remember which pocket to pop them in…

& next  I couldn’t resist a little fussy cut version…

Both are backed with my fav Essex Linen (from Robert Kaufman) – you can just see a peek of the steel grey on the L & R pair & some yummy green under the scooters.

As with quite a few of the projects throughout the book, these really are a nice & simple project to make in just a couple of hours. Awesome little gifts & a perfect project for this hemisphere at this time of year! The only design fault is that we don’t have a microwave  to heat up the rice packs (I know, shock horror! lol!) so these will be gifted to friends that do to keep their hands warm instead :)

As well as the cute design from the original project in the book, the design possibilities are endless for these, as well as having oodles of fun with fussy cuts, you could personalise with embroidered names or initials, applique a little something on or you could even piece a mini block to cut out.

The pattern is super clear & easy to follow, you’ll be whipping up pairs of these for all your family & friends in next to no time & everyone will have toasty fingers on chilly days! Except me, what with the lack of microwave to heat them up & all ;) !

Here’s a few little tips I included along the way that you might find helpful too…

Transferring an embroidery design:

I drew my embroidery design directly onto the fabric with a water soluble fabric pen. Mine was a really simple design hence I didn’t feel the need to trace it.

If you are using the design from the book or a more detailed design of your own then you have a few other options:

In the book, Holly suggests using pattern transfer paper which is fab & something I must try one of these days! lol! A quick search showed me there are plenty of brands on the market & I have had Penny’s tute using Saral transfer paper bookmarked forever & here’s a link to their website explaining how it all works. Looks super duper easy & for the life of me I don’t know why I haven’t used the stuff yet!

If you’re lucky enough to have access to a light box you can trace the design directly onto your fabric with a disappearing or water soluble fabric pen or one of the ones that disappears with the iron too, they’re ace, I think Clover makes one.  A regular pencil works well too on light fabrics. If  you don’t have a light box, you can use a window, just tape your design & fabric in place.

Iron on pencils are great too, trace your design backwards onto tracing paper & then iron the design onto your fabric. easy peasy.


The pattern suggests using split stitch which I love, especially if your design has lots of curves but for my design I opted for a simple (& as always, uneven!) back stitch.

I had the pleasure of playing with some Lecien Cosmo floss for the first time & it’s just gorgeous to work with. No fraying or tangling – love that plus it has a lovely sheen. I’m on a mission to find a local supplier now!

Fussy cut design:

The easiest way to select your fussy cut is to cut out your template onto some clear plastic. You can get special template plastic but any sturdy-ish clear plastic will do – I’ve used the cover of a file before for example.

It’s a good idea to mark your seam allowances onto your template too just to make sure all the bits of the design you want to show  aren’t disappearing into the seam. Place your template over the design and position, then draw around & cut out.

Filling your hand warmers:

So I would remember to stop sewing & leave a gap for  turning  &  then filling with rice in the lining pieces I marked start & stop points with little x’s

To avoid a big ol’ rice spillage, a small funnel helps at  the filling stage!

For all the details of the sew along, hop over to Lindsey’s  blog or drop in on the flickr group to see what everyone’s been making & join in the sew along fun! Each week completed projects get a chance to win yummy goodies on Lindsey’s blog too! Yay!  Plus it’s a really great book & I’m not just saying that because I’m biased and have a project in it! lol! It truly is full of wonderful creative types who have shared some fabulous & original projects that are useful & cute!

While making this project for the sew along I also got to sew with Aurifil thread for the first time too! Having heard lots of great reports it was nice to finally give it a whirl & I wasn’t disappointed. I think you might like it too. Would you? Aurifil kindly shared an extra 5 sample packs with me to pass along to you, isn’t that nice :) Due to postage costs this is an Aussie only giveaway, sorry, but the good news is  if you’re following along on all the stops of the sew along there are lots of chances to win some in your part of the world :)  So if you’re in Australia and fancy having a play with some Aurifil too, please leave a comment along the lines of “I’m in Aus  & I’d like to try some Aurifil please!” & I’ll stick those comments only in the the hat & draw 5 winners on Friday.  Hurrah! Winners will be contacted by email so please make sure you enter your email details correctly, ta x

giveaway is now closed – I’ll sort out the Aussie’s from amongst the comments & pop them in the hat – back later with the winners x

Thanks to Lindsey & Amy for organising this mammoth sew along & to all the sponsors!




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