Sewing Happiness origami pillows + giveaway

Please note this giveaway has been closed; thank you! | origami pillows from Sewing Happiness by Sanae Ishida

Just under three years ago, when I must’ve been feeling exceptionally bold and sociable, I cold-emailed the writer of a new-to-me sewing blog I’d been enjoying. Her posts had inspired me to look at her About Me page and I was struck by our nearly identical work histories. (No small feat, considering I’d worked six completely distinct jobs and fields in my career at that point.) We also shared Japanese heritage and I really wanted to meet this person who could empathize with my wandering career and my bicultural upbringing.

The blogger in question was Sanae. After some small talk and sewing talk, we started digging into what has been an on-going conversation during our friendship: how to work and live well. How to do meaningful work, and do it in such a way that you can remain healthy and joyous. In one of our early get-togethers, Sanae confided that her dream and plan was to build her living by creating books, and I’m so proud to share that her second book, Sewing Happiness, has been released this month. | origami pillows from Sewing Happiness by Sanae Ishida

Sewing Happiness begins with essays that delve into Sanae’s personal journey to physical and emotional health and the role that sewing played. The second half of the book is instructions for projects. None of the projects require patterns. I so wish I’d had this book when I started sewing. I had such an urge to understand how measurements and flat shapes related to the finished 3D projects and a book like this would have helped guide me through my fumbling! Now that I have more experience under my belt, I’m inspired by the beautiful styling and thoughtful, simple projects. Many of the projects would make great gifts.

I made a pair of the origami pillows, which I’d been eyeing ever since Sanae sent me an early draft of her book. The fabric I used is metallic linen provided by Miss Matatabi. The instructions suggest measuring the pillows and adding 1″ height and width for seam allowance. “But what about the space taken up by the pintucks?” I wondered to myself. I tried to figure out exactly how much extra I’d need for 1/8″ pintucks and cut accordingly. I’m terrible at cutting rectangular shapes, however, and one side was longer than the other. Then I kept reading, and the instructions said that the case will end up a little smaller than the pillows, but that makes them extra fluffy. I cut the other side down and stopped worrying. And Sanae was right, my pillows were extra fluffy. | origami pillows from Sewing Happiness by Sanae Ishida

Speaking of fluffy, Puffy, one of two giant cats we adopted in February, graciously curled up in front of the pillows right before the photoshoot. He’s so obliging.

And in the interest of keeping it real, here’s what was happening outside of the frame. I’d tossed a throw blanket and a sweatshirt off the couch to shoot these photos. I think Spencer, our other giant kitty, was feeling left out and parked himself on the discard pile, staring reproachfully at me while Puffy had his closeup. Cats!


Giveaway: I have a copy of Sewing Happiness and a $45 gift card to Miss Matatabi’s fabric shop for one U.S. reader. Please let me know in the comments if you’d like to be included in the giveaway and an email address where you can be contacted! Giveaway will close on May 23, 2016 at midnight PST.


98 thoughts on “Sewing Happiness origami pillows + giveaway

  1. I’d love to be included in the giveaway! If I provide my email to the comment form (like I did with this comment), can you access it?

  2. I love reading your blog. You’re a fearless, talented sewer. (I, too, share your heritage…but am much older being the daughter of a war bride).

  3. Hi, I’m very happy to know about your her new book! I look forward to checking it out! Would love to be considered for the giveaway. Thanks for filling my kitty quotient for the day. 😉

  4. Please include me in your giveaway for Sewing Happiness and the Miss Matatabi gift card. Thank you for sharing your sewing projects with us. You are an inspiration! Cyndi

  5. Your cats are fabulous models! And those pillows are great!

    While my own work experience is nowhere as diverse, I can relate to having exceptionally sociable periods as a standout from a regular mostly withdrawn life. Good things come from that — well, wonderful things sometimes, like your friendship with Sanae 🙂

    I would love to be included in the giveaway. My email address: swarmofchickadees [at] gmail [dot] com

  6. Such an interesting journey! It is amazing how wonderful friendships find each other and form online 😀 Sharing ambitions, ideas and experiences ❤
    The origami pillows look fabulous! I love the clean cut and innovative design which I find unique of Japanese culture. I'll be looking up Sanae's book for her other designs (It'll be great to win it of course! 😀 ).
    And you have such beautiful cats 🙂 I seem to be liking this post a lot. Glad to have found your blog, Morgan.

  7. I rarely comment on any publisher’s page, but while I am, I want to say that I really enjoy your work and the way you add such a personal side to what you write. I would love to be entered into the giveaway, thank you.

  8. I would love to be included in the giveaway! Aloha

    Ps… growing up in Hawaii, everyone is mixed race and it’s great!!

  9. What beautiful pillows and stunning models! Hmm, cat behavior or model behavior? Hard to say. Please include me in the giveaway. Thanks!

  10. AH, love the pillows! They go so well with the beautiful garments you’ve made from metallic linen scraps! Is that a sewist thing, matching textiles in the apartment to your wardrobe or vice versa? If yes, I have to catch up and sew a bunch of things made from old, abused blue leather! 😀

    And I love how you and Sanae found each other. My parents are both Armenian but I grew up here and through coincidence or serendipity or whatever you might call it I got to know a fellow Armenian and my first non-family Armenian friend in my second semester at uni. She feels like the big sister I never had and there is just a whole other layer to our friendship than with other friends. So precious, finding someone like that. 🙂

    PS.: who wouldn’t want to be included in a giveaway for that amazing book AND a Miss Matatabi giftcard?! email is kohlrabibohemia @ 🙂

  11. Those pillows are amazing; those cats are amazing; Sanae is amazing; all of this is an inspiration. Do please add my name to the giveaway!

  12. I love the pillows! Please include me in the giveaway. Miss Matatabi’s fabric shop is so awesome.

  13. I absolutely love your origami pillows. I so, so, so want to sew them! Please enter me into the giveaway…and if I don’t win I’ll have to hunt online for how to make them.
    The book sounds like a refreshing change to what is available for reading-sewing enthusiasts. How wonderful!
    Lovin’ your kitties too!
    Riaann68 @

  14. Hehe, we have that cold-emailing in common 😉 I did the same! Sanae seems to bring that out in people. Beautiful pillows, I will surely make some as well!

  15. I’ve been intrigued by this book, so definitely include me! Love the pillows you made. I desperately need some new couch pillow covers!

  16. I would love to be included. I’ve been hearing so much about this book. And it’s all so good.

  17. This book has been all over the Internet. Next week there will be a trip to the book store! I would very much like to be included in your giveaway.

  18. My cats need new pillows! Lol. And my nap head. If you included me on your giveaway that would be much appreciated.

  19. I would love to be included in the giveaway! I am trying to get more into sewing and patterns are just so intimidating!! This book sounds perfect 😀

  20. Your pillows look great! Thanks for hosting this giveaway – I’d love to be included.

  21. Such a cute model by your pillows. I’m hankering to get a copy of this book and would appreciate it if you’d enter my name in the draw. Thank you.

  22. Wow! I would so love to be included in the giveaway. I can’t remember if I found your blog through Sanae’s or it was the other way around, but regardless it’s been awesome to follow both of you.

  23. This book sounds lovely! I think I would gift it to my niece who is new to sewing and also has some health issues. That metallic linen looks amazing!

  24. I’d love to see that book, and Miss Matatabi fabrics are so beautiful. I’ve been dreaming of a summer dress with something from Miss Matatabi.

  25. Oh my, yes. Please include me in your drawing. If I could make some pillows as gorgeous as yours, that would make me very happy!

  26. I really enjoy Sanae’s writing, and I would love to get a peek at her new book. I got her first book for my daughter for Christmas, so it would be a treat to get her second book for me! I was sad to miss her book release party, but I was happy to see that you were there, right? How wonderful that you guys have been friends for awhile, that you have such wonderful things to share, and that Sanae has now been able to see her dream through. The metallic linen you used for your pillows is perfect. What a fun project! I think you already have my email address, but just in case here’s the one I use for my blog: amy.ahearta at Happy sewing!

  27. How cool that you found your “soul sister” through blogging! I admire anyone who wants to remain joyous through meaningful and hard work. I have that goal too! Your friend sounds like she is on the right path. Put my name in the hat for the gifts, please! duchick at gmail dot com

  28. Lovely giveaway, I would like to be included I just love the fabric you chose for the pillows, Miss Matatabi has some of the coolest fabric out there.

  29. Really interested in this book — thanks for offering the giveaway. Also, somewhat oddly, I really like the shelf you have your shoes etc. on in the photo, hah!

  30. Would love to win a copy of this book, have been eyeing it for a couple of weeks. Your pillows are gorgeous!

  31. Thank you for having a giveaway! I am definitely interested in participating. I love love love Japanese fabric and aesthetic so the book and gift card are perfect!

    sewredy (at) gmail (dot) com

  32. Would love to be included in the giveaway. I love Miss Matatabi! And the book sounds fun (:

  33. Your cats are adorable! I love Spencer’s face! (And I’m so happy to see BIG cats… I always feel ours are larger than my friends’ cats, but they’re not fat, they’re just big!)
    I would also love to be included in the giveaway! Thank you so much 🙂

  34. Please include me in the giveaway. And as much as I love the pillows—the metallic sheen is gorgeous—I would really appreciate it if you could send me both kittys. Those fluff monsters are beyond adorable!

  35. love the fabric you used for the pillows, have never seen that before! Would love to win this book, thank you

  36. Gorgeous pillows! I’m inspired to make some for my living room. Please include me in your generous give away!

  37. Oh it would be lovely to be included in his giveaway. Dreaming of yummy Nani Iro double gauze.

  38. Yes! I would like to be included in the giveaway. A book like this would do wonders for me 🙂 Beautiful pillows and kitties!

  39. Oooh, I’d love to have a copy of her book- i’ve been eyeballing it for a while now…

  40. Thank you for your posts about Sanae’s book. I would love to be included in the giveaway (meghamel at gmail)

  41. Beautiful pillows! Thanks for the hosting the giveaway–this looks like a fantastic book and I’ve been wanting to try fabric from Miss Matabi for a while!

  42. I’d love to be included in the giveaway! The fabric and book look amazing! 🙂

  43. Absolutely – please include me in the giveaway. Your pillows are gorgeous, love the design and fabric!

  44. Oh my word! I’d love this giveaway! Sanae is such an inspiration and your pillows are amazing! I’m jealous you visit with her personally… Go you for being brave and contacting someone. What a great connection to have.

  45. I just came upon your blog as I was looking at Alabama Chanin images, love your T-shirts btw, and must say i am very excited to continue reading and have added you to my favorites. I love your easy style. I have sewn for a long time (my grandmother taught me) but I have not done much of late. Thanks for the inspiration to get back into the swing of things.
    Would love to be included in your giveaway! thanks and all the best to you.

  46. Such a lovely story Morgan – sewing people really are the nicest, aren’t they? I have this book, but haven’t had a chance to start really reading it yet. The pictures are beautiful though and I’m looking forward to working my way through it!

  47. OooOo…I mean, who wouldn’t? I love these pillows! I’ve seen them pop up in a couple places and I’ve added the book to my list on the strength of those alone.

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