Joanne Sharpe, the energetic and talented artist behind The Art of Whimsical Lettering, loves to help students in her online classes and traveling workshops as they explore art sewing, journaling, hand lettering, textiles and mixed media art. The Art of Whimsical Stitching: Creative Stitch Techniques and Inspiring Projects is her new book, ready to guide you through creative stitching!

From the publisher:

    Paint, Stitch, Play! In The Art of Whimsical Stitching, bestselling author and teacher Joanne Sharpe shares her favorite, go-to methods for creating exuberant stitch art. If you’re a sewer or quilter, you’ll take your stitching in a new direction with paints, markers, and dyes. If you’re a mixed-media artist, you’ll learn to embellish your work with stitching.

    Follow step-by-step instructions and photos demonstrating a dozen inspiring techniques, including collage, stenciling, free-motion stitching, fused applique lettering, needle felting, doodle machine and hand embroidery, and more! Then, transform your custom fabric into playful pillows and bags, art quilts, journals, and other fun and funk-tional projects. Joanne’s whimsical artwork and a “sketchbook” of designs you can adapt for your own work round out this colorful, inspirational guide.

Visit Joanne’s website and stop by her blog too, where she’s hosting a book giveaway! You could win your own copy of The Art of Whimsical Stitching. There’s also a Facebook group for Joanne and the book, so hop over: Stitch Your Whimsical Art Out!

Here Joanne shows you how to use creative techniques from the book to create an easy and whimsical “Love Notes” Pouch Pillow…

Get creative with fabric, paint and threads and try your hand at my whimsical, colorful style of art sewing. Make a “Love Notes Pouch Pillow. The Art of Whimsical Stitching: Creative Stitch Techniques and Inspiring Projects is the book I was looking for when I wanted to bring my playful art onto fabric. It’s all about machine sewing, hand stitching, quilting, embroidery, felting, lettering, mixed media art and so much more.

What fun it is to make your very own fabric to sew artful treasures and textiles. Because I am one of those people who loves it all, and wants to try it all, the book explores fabrics, sewing styles, paints, threads, wool and more, complete with illustrated simple and colorful illustrated projects.

For Sew Mama Sew, I created this exclusive project with a technique from the book called Paint To Stitch. When my kids were little, we enjoyed leaving handwritten, surprise notes for each other. Here’s an idea to make a little stuffed pillow for a gift or family project. Grab your favorite fabric paints and make a playful paint and stitched “Love Notes” Pouch Pillow. It’s the perfect place to stash little notes of daily encouragement, affirmation and love letters. It’s a handmade acrylic fabric painting that doesn’t hang on the wall, but will add a little whimsy to your precious places as well as function as a pocket to share secret messages. It’s a one of a kind masterpiece!


  • 8” x 10” Blank Muslin Quilt Sandwich: a piece of any quilt batting sandwiched in between two pieces of white or natural color muslin
  • Fabric Paints in 3-5 Colors: find your favorite at craft store (I used DecoArt)
  • Fabric Paint Brush (with stiffer bristles to easily move paint into the fabric)
  • Disappearing Ink Pen for Fabric
  • Colorful Backing Fabric
  • Sewing Thread
  • Poly Craft Stuffing
  • Sewing Machine (with feed dogs lowered for free motion stitching)
  • Pencil
  • Black Fine Tip Sharpie Marker

1. With a pencil, simply hand letter the word LOVE on an 8” x 10” piece of paper.

2. Draw around the letter shapes with a black Sharpie marker. Stretch and change the look of the letters to make it unique.

3. Place your word paper under the top muslin layer. You should be able to easily see through the muslin to trace it.

4. With a disappearing ink pen, trace the word “LOVE” onto the muslin. Rather than use a pattern or template, your own personal handwriting makes this extra special. Be confident in your own handwriting, and just do it!

5. Just paint! No textile medium or special additives needed.

With your fabric paints, fill in the letters and loosely add patches of color to the negative space around the letters.

6. Let the paint dry overnight.

7. If you can still see the blue lines, simply dab with a damp cloth to remove the ink so the outlines are no longer visible.

8. Use free motion stitching to loosely outline the painted shapes and letters, adding more lines for interest.

9. Cut one piece of backing fabric 8” x 10” and another piece 10” x 11”. Fold the larger piece in half and press to make 5.5” x 10” pocket.

10. You are making a pillow with a pocket. Layer the two backing fabrics onto the right side of the painted quilt, with the pocket piece touching the painted side and the larger piece on top of that.

11. With a ¼” seam, sew around the edges leaving a 3” opening at the bottom. Turn the piece right side out.

12. Stuff the pillow with any poly craft filler and neatly hand sew the bottom closed.

13. Place all your little love notes in the back pocket of the pillow and display!

Visit my blog for a book giveaway drawing and the announcement of my new online Art Sewing Class!