Mollie designs all sorts of crafts: embroidery patterns, printables, quilts, sewing projects, softies, and more. Her signature design element is a little smiling face that anthropomorphizes almost everything she draws from coffee cups to volcanoes. Mollie’s style is sweet and friendly and welcoming and her first book, Stitch Love, is no different.
The book opens with 25 simple sewing projects with an animal theme. Some of my favorites include a quiet book, a plush guinea pig, a set of wild animal finger puppets, and a butterfly pencil topper.
The projects are small in scale and many can be entirely hand-sewn. They all involve some embroidery. The templates for most of the sewing projects need to be enlarged by 130%-200%, but you can print them out at full-size from the publisher’s website which more than makes up for it.
After the sewing projects we get what I think is the real boon here – over 100 embroidery motifs for every animal you can imagine. These are divided by categories including “arctic and outback,” “pets,” “mountain and prairie,” “holiday,” and “dinos and fantasy,” among others. Every single design is delightful.
I asked each of my kids to choose a motif for me to embroider on an item of their clothing. Roxanne is 10-years-old and asked me to stitch a fox onto her jean jacket. Stella’s is 8 and her family nickname is “pelican” so she asked me to embroider a pelican on her jeans. And at 4 Josephine is smitten with dinosaurs. She chose a Pteranodon flying over a volcano. I picked the butterfly and made myself a bookmark.
To begin I photocopied selected pages of motifs onto Sulky Fabri Solvy. If you’ve never used this product it’s pretty amazing. You run it through your printer, then cut around the motif, peel the backing and stick it to your project. Embroider right through it. When you’re finished, soak the project in water for a minute or so and the Fabri Solvy dissolves.
Each motif took maybe half an hour to complete. Unlike many embroidery books Mollie doesn’t give you the exact DMC floss color to use. I like the permission to choose different colors and not feel like I’m doing it wrong. The stitches used are very simple – I just used backstitch and French knots – but the designs are so well-drawn and charming that they alone are worth every penny of the $16.95 cover price.
“For the stitches, I wanted to keep things as simple as possible,” Mollie told me. “The idea being that even someone who has never stitched before can embroider just about any of the motifs by learning only three stitches (backstitch, chain stitch, and scallop stitch).
You could embroider these animals on all sorts of things:
- cloth napkins
- greeting cards
- gift tags
- quilt labels
- jeans pockets
- tote bags
Once you have a sheet of them printed out on Fabri Solvy they’re a great grab-and-go hand sewing project.
Unlike these shots of my kooky children, the beauty shots in the book are nicely done and Lark hired children (who stay still) to model (hooray!). It makes me so happy to see a publisher pay for models for a book that’s mostly focused on toys and small craft projects.
There are a few spots where I wish we could see more. The Hungry Critter Placemats look so cute, for example, but we never get to see the entire project, just close up detail shots. I hunger for views of the backs and inside of everything, but I understand that page limits control how many we get.
Get Stitch Love by Mollie Johanson on Amazon now or find it in your local bookstore.