Artful Botanical Embroidery

Zakka (雑貨), or “many things,” is a fashion and design phenomenon that spread from Japan throughout the world. The term refers to anything and everything that improves your home, life, and appearance.

via Zakka Workshop

Zakka Workshop is an innovative publishing company with a background in book packaging and experience making authentic Japanese projects accessible to English-speaking crafters. They are inspired by fresh, contemporary Japanese design and aim to make it available to sewists, crafters, quilters, stitchers, and makers around the world.

Today, we’re delighted to highlight Zakka Workshop through the eyes and creativity of former Aurifil Artisan and current Social Media Manager for Zakka, Faith Start Essenburg. Faith has been working on her slow-stitching, inspired by new release, Artful Botanical Embroidery by Japanese embroidery artist Alice Makabe.

We absolutely love how Faith integrated the bold hues of Kaffe Fassett & Liza Lucy’s thread set, Glorious Kantha, in a range of sweet botanical motifs from Makabe’s book. Take a peek at what she made and be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post to learn more about how you can win your very own copy of Makabe’s book + Aurifil thread + fabrics from Fig Tree & Co.

Hi everyone! My name is Faith Essenburg and I work with Zakka Workshop, a publishing company for craft and sewing books as well as patterns and kits. Today, I’m here to celebrate the release of our latest book, Artful Botanical Embroidery (Alice Makabe), a collection of 32 patterns and projects for all seasons that will help you experiment with pattern, design, and color as you learn new stitching methods and practice classic ones. I’m delighted to have teamed up with Aurifil to try out a few of the patterns. They were kind enough to send along a stunning collection of 12wt threads – Glorious Kantha by Kaffe Fassett & Liza Lucy – for me to try in a variety of bold and beautiful colors.

It was really hard to choose one project to make from this book and even harder to choose the colors I wanted to use! But, that’s part of the fun… playing around with the spools to choose a palette. If you add a couple of bright hues or take some away and replace them with more earthy tones it just gives such a different balance to the whole project. In my opinion, it’s almost impossible to go wrong with the thread collections that Aurifil offers. You can also just use one color of thread as shown in the book with this particular project.

I am a bit rusty on embroidery as it’s not something I do frequently. I asked Aurifil for 12wt thread rather than embroidery floss. I love the sheen that the 12wt has and appreciate that I don’t need to separate strands, even though I know you can get more detail and definition with floss. After choosing my colors, I traced the pattern onto a water soluble paper and applied it to my fabric. 

Following the stitching chart in the book, I set to work stitching and had fun trying the new-to-me methods. I typically find that by the end of a project, my stitches (or last quilt block) will be pretty close to perfect and the rest is an excellent example of what it’s like to try something new and learn as I go. No one looks close enough at each stitch to identify imperfections and when admired as a whole finished piece, it just always looks beautiful. I say this to encourage you to take that first step… to start where you are even if it means taking some stitches out along the way.

This pattern can be framed or turned into one of the sewing projects from the book, I think this one works pretty nicely as a seashell collection bag.

Embroidery is a great way to destress and unwind at the end of the day or to give your hands a task while bingeing your favorite show! From Summer to Winter, Fall, and Spring, this book has something for each season and provides the patterns and inspiration to blend them together and switch them up to make something completely unique to you.

Project Details

Thread: Aurifil 12wt, 100% Cotton, Colors– 2145, 2235, 5022, 1320, 2805, 2725, 1231, 2892, 2479, 2395 from the Glorious Kantha Collection.
Stitches used: Straight, Outline, Satin, Fill, French Knot, Long, and Short.


We have also teamed up with Aurifil & Moda Fabrics to offer a giveaway over on our Instagram. We are giving away a pretty fabulous prize package: 1 x copy of Artful Botanical Embroidery, 1 x Big Stitch Hand Quilting (by Sarah Fielke), and 1 x FQ bundle of Eyelet by Fig Tree & Co. (Moda). Be sure to click on the button below for more details!


  1. It would be a nice idea just to enter the give away from your blog or the Moda blog for those of us that don’t use Instagram or Facebook due to security concerns. I would enter if I could. This a a wonderful give away and your blog is always so inspiring.

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