Minki Kim's sig­na­ture style is un­mis­tak­able, with her charm­ing thread draw­ings and beau­ti­ful il­lus­trated fab­rics. We caught up with her to chat about keep­ing a di­ary, serendip­ity and fam­ily

Love Patchwork & Quilting - - CONTENTS - ze­ri­ano

Minki Kim’s sig­na­ture style is un­mis­tak­able, with her charm­ing thread draw­ings and beau­ti­ful il­lus­trated fab­rics. We sat down with the mul­ti­tal­ented sewist to chat about keep­ing a di­ary, serendip­ity and fam­ily

How did you get started on your sewing jour­ney?

When I moved to the US from Korea, I turned to nee­dle art to fill the days. My hus­band got me my first sewing ma­chine and I started to make sim­ple pro­jects like coast­ers and place mats… I won­dered if I could draw with the ma­chine and it re­ally worked! Ever since then, I have kept de­sign­ing and sewing ev­ery day, and that creat­ing be­came a habit that has got me to where I am now. How did you discover and de­velop your unique style?

I spent my en­tire child­hood and col­lege life draw­ing and paint­ing, although my ma­jor is in sculp­ture. I al­ways wanted to go back to draw­ing, and I ended up find­ing a whole new paint­brush through my sewing ma­chine.

What is your top tip for il­lus­trat­ing with thread?

I of­ten read peo­ple say­ing “I need to prac­tice” about their at­tempts at thread draw­ing. The key is to be con­fi­dent, and prac­tice will al­ways help with con­fi­dence. What do you pre­fer: il­lus­trat­ing with pen­cil or thread?

It’s funny, draw­ing with pen­cil should be eas­ier, but these days I of­ten draw with thread first and then trace it onto pa­per to make a pat­tern. I think I pre­fer thread now!

What’s your all-time favourite thing to make?

Bags and pouches! I call my­self a bag girl. I love to de­sign 3D struc­tures and see the fin­ished project be­fore the day comes to an end. For a quick gift, I like to make coast­ers or pin­cush­ions. Mak­ing Zakka-style pro­jects is al­ways fun. You have two books out: Sew

Il­lus­trated and Di­ary in Stitches.

How do you choose pro­jects for each pub­li­ca­tion?

Sew Il­lus­trated was de­signed to teach peo­ple who are not fa­mil­iar with thread draw­ing. I tried to ex­plain sewing il­lus­tra­tion from A to Z, by in­clud­ing sim­ple pro­jects like a coaster to more art­ful work like a fam­ily por­trait.

Di­ary in Stitches is like a fol­low up for Sew Il­lus­trated read­ers. I drew one de­sign a day for al­most half a year and fin­ished a whole sketch book. That then be­came 65 mo­tifs

I spent my en­tire child­hood and col­lege life draw­ing and paint­ing. I wanted to go back to draw­ing, and ended up find­ing a new paint­brush through my sewing ma­chine

and six pro­jects that show va­ri­ety of pro­jects the reader can adopt. And, of course, Di­ary in Stitches has de­tailed in­struc­tions with step by step pic­tures as well.

How did you start pro­duc­ing fab­rics for Ri­ley Blake De­signs?

I have al­ways wanted to de­sign fab­rics ever since I started sewing. One day I showed my il­lus­tra­tions to the team at Ri­ley Blake, they loved them and I signed the con­tract next day! The only down­side of that ex­pe­ri­ence was that I was all alone in my home with no­body to shout out and dance with when I found out!

Can you tell us a lit­tle bit about your process when you de­sign a fab­ric col­lec­tion?

I’d love to know how other de­sign­ers work on their col­lec­tions, be­cause mine is a very long jour­ney. It of­ten takes more time to de­cide what to draw than the draw­ing it­self… I then change il­lus­tra­tions and colours over and over again un­til I have 21 prints that I’m happy with and that work to­gether. It’s al­ways hard to say it’s done though, be­cause the next day I want to change it again! That’s why it takes so long for me.

What’s it like to be part of the Ri­ley Blake fam­ily?

It’s like the way you feel about your mom – you don’t know what other moms are like but you think your own mom is the best. It’s the first fab­ric com­pany I’ve been a part of and I re­ally don’t think there’s a bet­ter place to be.

Your first fab­ric col­lec­tion was called Dear Di­ary. Is keep­ing a di­ary some­thing you do your­self? I kept a daily di­ary be­tween ele­men­tary school and mid­dle school, but then I started us­ing it a lit­tle less. Once I started my blog, I posted a weekly photo di­ary for

three years, though this stopped as I be­came busier writ­ing books and de­sign­ing fab­rics!

De­scribe a day in the life of Minki Kim.

I try to take a walk for about 30 min­utes ev­ery morn­ing. I cook a Korean break­fast for my hus­band and my­self, and an Amer­i­can break­fast for my three girls. It’s the busiest hour… I cook like an iron chef! When they are off to school and work, I try to fin­ish all the house­work as quickly as I can. Then I fi­nally sit down and start to de­cide what to make or draw that day.

I hate a day spent with­out achiev­ing any visual re­sults – it can be just one draw­ing or a clean kitchen or a sim­ple stitch on some linen. Do­ing what I love to do ev­ery day for over ten years has brought me to where I am to­day.

What in­spired your Serendip­ity fab­ric col­lec­tion – both the name and the de­signs them­selves?

My girls are the in­spi­ra­tion for my Serendip­ity col­lec­tion. The main de­sign is based around the idea of a day at the park. From that I’ve added pretty lit­tle things I see on my morn­ing walk or dur­ing a sun­set walk with my lit­tle girls. I loved the movie Serendip­ity and I also love the mean­ing of the word it­self. I kept the word aside for good use and it re­ally hap­pened with this col­lec­tion. What can we ex­pect from you in the fu­ture?

My next fab­ric col­lec­tion for Ri­ley Blake De­signs, Some­day, will be out in Fe­bru­ary 2019. I think it’s my favourite col­lec­tion so far! I am work­ing on a fall 2019 col­lec­tion and writ­ing my third book, all about Zakka pro­jects. It should be out in Novem­ber 2019. In be­tween that, I’ll be con­tin­u­ing to de­sign for mag­a­zines, as well as adding new pat­terns to my pat­tern shop, sewingillus­tra­ Of course, I’ll keep bak­ing and clean­ing and mak­ing more mess along the way!

I hate a day spent with­out achiev­ing any visual re­sults - it can be j ust one draw­ing or a clean kitchen or a sim­ple stitch on some linen

Above: Minki's patch­work de­signs let the fab­rics sing Right: Quick gifts are top of Minki's to-make list

Above: Minki's favourite style of Zakka project Above right: A sim­ple quilt with fresh flo­ral fab­rics Right: Minki calls her­self a 'bag girl' due to her love of 3D struc­tures Be­low: A col­lec­tion of thread il­lus­trated hex­ies

Be­low: A boxy hexagon pouch Right: A quilt with Minki's sig­na­ture aes­thetic

Above: Minki's fab­ric col­lec­tions for Ri­ley Blake used in a sweet ar­ray of pro­jects Right: The brand new fol­lowon book from Sew Il­lus­trated, Di­ary in StitchesBe­low: Minki's workspace is full of in­spi­ra­tion

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