Book review- The hand stitched flower garden by Yuki Sugashima

Hi my sewing friends! Today I am bringing you something a little bit different. For a while now I am spending time learning and improving my hand embroidery skills which is getting better with every stitch I make….in my humble opinion anyway hihihi. To help me learn and discover new stitching techniques I decided to purchase an embroidery book for beginners. On my visit to Ray Stitch shop in London I had picked up a book called “The hand stitched flower garden” by Yuki Sugashima. What caught my attention is the simplicity of designes and a clarity of an instruction. I flipped through some pages to realize it is full of beautiful flower designes and many little project that can be customized by hand stitching a pattern.

The book

The book offers over 45 floral designes and other nature inspired templates divided into four seasons. Each season also contains 5 projects that can be chosen and customized with any of the motifs included in the book such as butterfly pin cushion, strawberry key chain, bittersweet oven mitt or snowberry brooch and surface and dimensional stitches and bead embroidery are used to complete individual design.

All designes show which hand stitching method should be used for the best outcome plus which DMC thread color is being used and how many strands are required.

There are more than 20 different stitches explained that are perfect for anyone interested in starting hand embroidery.

I had used templates included at the end of the book to pick a selection of motifs that I arranged randomly to get me started.

In the process I had learnt to embroider those designes by different hand stitching methods like split stitch, lazy daisy stitch, stem stitch, French knots, coral stitch, satin stitch, fly stitch, couching lines, needleweaving and double drizzle stitch. There are many more that I yet did not try, but so far I am ecstatic with the results. It is so true when people say that practice makes it perfect!

Final thoughts

I would highly recommend this book if your desire is to learn or expand your knowledge about hand embroidery. The book includes many fun projects that can be made for yourself or as a gift to your friends and family. I am starting to see a big improvement in my skills and the final outcome looks more neat and professional. Spending £13 was a good investment which already is bringing returns.

~Are you interested in learning hand embroidery or are a pro and have some favourite stitching techinques that you want to share? ~

Monika xxx

Pattern testing the Hibiscus top by Glasshouse Patterns

Today I will share with you yet another pattern that I had a pleasure to test. It is a Hibiscus ruffle top/dress by Glasshouse Patterns.

The pattern

It is a begginer friendly sewing pattern with a racer style cut out back that you can make more feminine by adding ruffles to the top part of an armhole. It comes in 8 sizes and it is recommended to be made out of knit fabric with some drape ( especially if you making a dress version with ruffles). The pattern is skimming over the bust into more looser fit in the waist and hip areas.

The PDF pattern is quick to assemble and what I forgot to mention in Dahlia dress post is that pages are easy to align without the need to cut out the excess border line…something that I do not particularly like doing. Thanks for that Tanja! This makes the process of sticking all those pages together less of a chore.

Pattern adjustments

For a pattern testing faze this version was nearly spot on. Tanja did a great job drafting the Hibiscus pattern and I only found one grading error, but do not worry about it because it is all fixed now. Also the final version is more fitted at the bust, something I had to adjust.

I had tested size 8 based on my measurements and learning from my mistakes I decided to make my usual fitting alternation by raising a waistline by 3 cm. I used a shorten/lengthen lines on both front and back bodice pieces and it worked like a charm. I made no other major adjustments apart from taking in the side seam under the armhole by 5 mm, because it was a little bit too big for me.


The sewing process is super quick and fairly straightforward. It took me 2 hours to cut out the fabric and sew it all together! Amazing!!! I am starting to notice that Tanja likes to use very unusual (at least to me) order of precedence when it comes to sewing her patterns, which is great as I get to learn something different each time.

What I find unusual you may wonder???? In her instruction Tanja advise to sew only one shoulder seam and next attach the neckline binding. This blew my mind, because in this way I do not have to work out the lenght of my binding each time I’m using a fabric with different stretch percentage but I can start attaching it on one end slightly stretching the binding around the neckline curve all the way to the other side cutting of any excess. In all honesty you could do it in any way you are used to, but this method is pretty great.

She uses the same tactic when it comes to finishing off of the armhole seam. First attached the ruffle and armhole binding and then sew both side seams together. Even tho it was my first time sewing jersey top in that order I found it much easier and quicker. It eliminated the time I had to divide the band and necline/ armhole curve into quarters and pin things in place. What a dream!!! Do not wake me up hahaha


For my first Hibiscus top I used a green rib poly jersey from Minerva Craft. I got 2 meters for a different project but it was not the right weight for it so it waited to be used for something else. It was £5.99 a meter and it is lovely and soft. It drapes nicely and sew without any problems. I used about 140 cm for my ruffle top and had enough to also make a short sleeves Molly top.

For my second version I used exactly the same fabric that I made my Frankie t-shirt couple of months ago. It’s two color combination works really well with this pattern and I found a new way to use all my small fabric pieces. This pink cotton rib fabric is not as drapey as my first version and you can see that ruffles do not fall as nicely, but I love it anyway.

Final thoughts

The Hibiscus top is a super fun project to make that you can do in one sitting. It is a great pattern if you are looking a comfort with a twist. It is currently on sale so grab yourself a copy. I am planning to make more versions without ruffle next so I can layer it under the cardigan when the weather gets much cooler.

~ How should I hack it? Any ideas?~

Monika xxx