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Book Review: Wabi-Sabi Sewing

Thank you to the publisher for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.

“Wabi-sabi is a Japanese aesthetic ethos that focuses on the imperfect in a positive way, embracing natural imperfections. But, what does wabi-sabi mean to today’s crafters? To me, it evokes the idea of using the fabric we already have and using a bit of this and that when we run short, celebrating the results of hunting down mismatched yet treasured scraps.”


Capture the essence of Japanese style in your sewing with this collection of projects inspired by the wabi-sabi concept of 'perfect imperfection'. This collection of 20 sewing projects for home decor and accessories is based on the popular Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi which celebrates the beauty in the ordinary and imperfect.

The projects are grouped according to how we live, for example: living; sleeping; eating and exploring. Sewing and quilting expert and fabric designer, Karen Lewis, has used a limited palette of earthy tones and the best quality natural fabrics including linen, cotton, denim and wool to create a stunning collection of simple, sewn projects.

Try out some simple wabi-sabi style sewing techniques such as hand hand piecing, sashiko embroidery, big stitch quilting, and visible mending to create unique items for your home whether it's a full sized bed quilt, simple coasters for your favourite mug or a stunning scarf to wrap up in.

A Note From the Publisher

Karen Lewis is quilt designer and tutor, a fabric designer for Robert Kaufman and an author--her previous title, Screen Printing at Home, was published in 2013. Karen travels widely to attend quilt shows and teach. She runs workshops at Quilt Con each year and regularly attends the Festival of Quilts in the UK. Karen is one of the founders of quilt retreat and pattern company, The Thread House, which she set up with two other prominent British quilt designers in 2016.


What a cute sewing book! Lewis keeps it short and sweet (only 78 pages) but packs a great punch.

The first section of the book introduces the wabi-sabi style. Then, Lewis covers the materials you will need to gather. Hopefully you will already have most items on hand. There are some tools for more specialized tasks such as rivet and eyelet tools but perhaps you’ve experimented with those already, too.

There is no shortage of beautiful photography. Alongside the photos are helpful diagrams, which show you how to piece your projects and sew them.

The LIVING section has instructions for a pillow, wall hanging, and even a quilt. The EATING section includes an apron, oven mitts, a table runner, and more. There are bags, scarves, and mending techniques, too.

I get the impression that the wabi-sabi style can be recreated in many ways by following the examples Lewis gives here.

My favorite thing about the style is the relaxed and peaceful feeling it represents. I also love the idea of using up scraps and utilizing items you’ve already available to you. I’m hoping I can bring this to life in my next sewing project.

  • Published 31 July 2018 by F+W Media

  • More info on Goodreads

  • Available on Amazon or from your local bookseller

  • ISBN 9781446307090

  • PRICE $24.99 USD

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