Spotlight: Minki Kim, Fabric and Pattern Designer
With her sweet designs and easy techniques, Minki Kim shows you how to draw with fabric and thread, both by hand and machine. She captures everyday moments, then keeps those memories visible with applique, embroidery, quilting and fabric markers, adding smiles to objects you use every day.
How long have you been sewing and designing? How did you get started?
I began sewing and designing 7 years ago when my children were small. I wanted to capture the beauty of ordinary moments, first with hand embroidery and later by recreating them with my sewing machine and fabric – literally drawing with thread.
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What are your earliest memories of your own creative expression?
I traced images of my daughters’ drawings with my sewing machine on linen. That was the beginning of my interest and passion for sewing illustration.
What is the most important takeaway you want readers to gain from your books, especially your new title, Zakka Wool Appliqué?
You can start anywhere and anytime without any fancy materials. And that is exactly how I started – I spent my spare time with sewing illustration while watching TV! I also hope that people can find confidence in branching out and sewing their own drawings and doodles.
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
My inspiration comes from my young daughters as well as from everyday life.
What do you do differently? What is your signature that makes your work stand out as yours?
I try to add elements of unexpected things to my designs, such as pops of color where you wouldn’t expect to see it. Additionally, my attention to detail always gives me satisfying results.
Do you have a dedicated space for creating? If so, what does it look like?
Yes! I transformed my living room into my sewing room.
What is your favorite storage tip for your fabric and creative supplies?
I use two baskets to store my favorite scraps, then I store everything else out of sight for a clean aesthetic.
What are the indispensable tools and materials in your studio?
What plays in the background while you work? Silence? Music, audiobooks, podcasts, movies? If so, what kind?
When I am designing, I listen to my favorite Korean music album, Jannabi. My favorite song on the album is titled “For lovers who hesitate”. Then I play Korean drama when I sew. I don’t watch, but I can envision what’s going on just by listening.
Do you use a sketchbook or journal? How does that help your work develop?
I tried to use a journal for several years, but it doesn’t work well for me. I am more comfortable with my Wacom tablet.
When you travel, do you stitch on planes and in waiting areas?
I don’t stitch when I’m traveling as I am much more comfortable creating and designing in the comfort of my home. When I do travel, I bring a book to keep things minimal and light.
How many projects do you have going at once? Or do you focus on one creative project at a time?
I am always dreaming and creating new fabric designs. At all times I am also designing at least one small project.
When beginning a project, do you pre-plan your entire endeavor or do you simply follow where your inspiration takes you?
I simply follow my inspiration, so I always come up with unplanned results and I like that very much!
What kinds of creative projects are your favorites?
Designing fabric is my favorite!
Do you think that creativity comes naturally to people, or do you think creativity is a skill that people can learn?
I think it’s 50/50. It is my hope that those who do not consider themselves creative can learn and have fun with it – wherever it may take them. Creativity is a fabulous way of expressing one’s self.
Tell us about your blog and website. What do you hope people will gain by visiting?
You can find my pattern shop at Sewingillustration.com and I hope many people find a project they can start today! Here is a free pattern on my website for a fabric basket.
What’s next for you?
I am working on my next fabric line and I can’t wait to see what people sew up when they use my designs!
Interview posted June 2020
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