Coloring With Thread – Embroidery from Tula Pink & Me

Freelance blogging for Coats and Clark’s Sewing Secrets blog is one of the things I do in my Sewful Life.  They’re wonderful to work with and once in a while I hear about other freelance opportunities through my contact, Lynn. Coats and Free Spirit Fabrics are part of the same company and Tula Pink is one of the Free Spirit designers. So, when Tula began working with The Quilting Company on an embroidery book of her designs, I was offered an opportunity to stitch one of the designs. For. The. Book! Oh, my!! I was so excited and pleased to be selected!

Image from The Quilting Company

If you’re not familiar with Tula Pink and her fabulous fabrics, click here to learn more. If you need the book immediately and can’t wait until the end of this post, click here. I do understand NEED!

Publishing, it turns out, is quite an involved process and my stitching was actually done in November of 2016. Tula selected the Anchor floss colors and I was sent the thread, fabric, a color diagram and the design printed on Pellon’s Stick-N-Washaway fusible. I’d never worked with S-N-W before and it was super easy to use. There are instructions on the Transfer Methods page in Coloring With Thread and it’s really fabulous stuff. It is “fused” to your fabric by hand, so it’s repositionable. The design is stitched right through the S-N-W fabric and its washed away when you’re done.  If you can’t find it locally, click here.

Image Source: The Quilting Company, as seen in Coloring With Thread by Tula Pink

I was sent the Floral Spray design shown on page 37 of Coloring With Thread. It’s a gorgeous Tula design and I love it. At the time, I didn’t realize that it would be returned to me and I was absolutely thrilled when it arrived in the mail this past summer. The thrill continued when I was asked to be part of the Coloring With Thread blog tour.  Gush about Tula Pink and her Coloring With Thread book? Oh, yeah – NO problem!!!

Image Source: Free Spirit Fabrics

Tula Pink is a quilter and I’m sure she designs her amazingly beautiful, whimsical Free Spirit fabrics with quilting in mind. As a sewist who primarily makes clothing, I LOVE her fabrics and the wonder of her designs. So, an embroidery book of Tula’s designs means absolute bliss for me. And, you – you’re going to love this book, too!

There are 17 stunning designs in Coloring With Thread. You can use them as is from the book or pop the included CD in your computer. The CD provides sizing options, so you can create the designs in any size you would like. Soooo cool!

My favorite part of the book is the Designer Notes shown for most designs. You’ll find little pop-out image details like the ones above with notes about the details. On the Floral Spray I stitched, there are notes about the wood-look stitches I used on the branches. Plus a note on how I combined strands of color for variegated details.

And, speaking of stitches . . . oh, my goodness! The Stitch Guide in the front of the book is like a whole course in embroidery. You’ll find everything you need to know, even if you’ve never embroidered before.

Tula with Moxie

I have a tiny bit of personal history with Tula, as I worked with her when she appeared in the Pacific Fabrics booth at the Puyallup WA Sewing & Stitchery Expo in 2013. My former job as PacFab’s event coordinator gave me the chance to make arrangements with her before the show and organize her time in our booth.

Nancy Z with Tula

It was also the year that the amazing Nancy Zieman taped an episode of her show from the Sewing Expo and Tula was featured. Tula was as delightful as her designs and we all had a lot of fun together!


Tula cheerfully autographed anything that was given to her. Table Runners, my co-worker’s jackets and quilts and our name tags were all sweetly signed by Tula Pink – such treasures we now have!

Image Source: The Quilting Company, as shown in Coloring With Thread by Tula Pink

My Floral Spray hasn’t been autographed, but I know she saw it since she has a wonderful, heartfelt thank you to all of us stitchers in the Coloring With Thread book intro. And, there’s a list of our names. Be still my sewing heart!

The fabric I was sent for the Floral Spray stitching is a lovely cotton, wood grain print in soft gray and taupe on a white ground. I decided to create a tote bag with it and I love how it turned out.

My Totally Tula Tote

  1. My embroidery was done in the middle of a half yard of 45″ wide fabric. To make my tote truly Tula, I chose to line it with a bright piece of her Birds & Bees squirrel fabric that I had on hand.
  2. To create a fairly large tote, I added a 6″ piece of Linen/Cotton blend fabric to the bottom of my embroidered piece. Once this was sewn, I cut my squirrel fabric to the same size. The cut pieces were 18.5″ x 17.5″ including 1/4″ seam allowances.
  3. To give the tote body, I used fusible fleece on the wrong side of the outer, embroidered wood grain fabric. I also added a little bit of machine quilting on the wood grain lines for texture. It doesn’t show very well, but I do like the way it looks.
  4. On my serger, I sewed the sides and bottoms of the outer embroidered tote pieces and the inner squirrel lining.
  5. To create a boxed bottom for the tote, I folded and stitched the bottom corners of the assembled lining and outer pieces.
  6. My tote straps were cut in one piece 3″ wide x the width of the fabric from the Linen/Cotton blend, then lined with fusible fleece. I love doing my straps this way as it makes them sturdy and comfortable to carry.
  7. I serged the long edges of the tote strap piece, then folded and pressed it in half lengthwise, wrong sides together.
  8. The serged edges of the straps were pressed under 1/4″ to the wrong side. Next I refolded the strap in half lengthwise and used Wonder Clips to hold it securely as it was topstitched.
  9. Once the top stitching was done, I cut the strap piece in half to create two straps. The short ends were serged to reduce fraying.
  10. The sewn lining was turned right side out and tucked inside the sewn outer fabric so that the fabrics were right sides together.
  11. I tucked the strap ends in between the lining and outer fabric and used Wonder Clips to hold the top edge of the tote together. The top edge was then serged together with a 4″ gap left for turning.
  12. Once sewn and turned, I pressed the top edge, Wonder Clipped the opening and top stitched it 1/8″ from the edge.

  13. And, voila – a tote was born! (My sewing table got a bit messy during tote assembly. You get that, right?!)

I’m very pleased with my tote and it’s bright and squirrely lining. I know I’ll really enjoy using it. And, if I ever see Tula again, I’ll have something to get autographed!

The Coloring With Thread Blog Tour continues through tomorrow, Thursday, December 15th. The posts are all very inspiring and full of lots of clever ways to use Tula’s designs. I highly recommend a cup of tea and a bit of touring! Here’s the complete schedule:

Monday, November 27th —  Jodi Butler, The Quilting Company

Tuesday, November 28th — Minki Kim, Minki’s Worktable  Shows the design I stitched and her gorgeous applique interpretation of the design!

Wednesday, November 29th — Nichole Vogelsinger, Wildboho

Thursday, November 30th — Amanda Carestio, Sew Daily 

Friday, December 1st — Nydia Kehnle, Nydia Kehnle Design

Monday, December 4th — Sharon Burgess, Lilabelle Lane Creations 

Tuesday, December 5th — Cindy Guch, Raspberry Sunshine

Wednesday, December 6th — Sandi Sawa Hazlewood, Crafty Planner

Thursday, December 7th — Wynn Tann, zakkaArt

Friday, December 8th — Elise Baek, Elise & Emelie

Monday, December 11th — Ann Blalock, Coats & Clark Sewing Secrets 

Tuesday, December 12th — Sara Lawson, Sew Sweetness

Wednesday, December 13th — Nancy Jewell, Free Spirit Fabrics

Thursday, December 14th —Annette Allison Millard, The Sewful Life  

Friday, December 15th — Brenna Riley Gates, The Quilting Company

Happy Stitching to you!


Moment of Further Truth:
In exchange for my stitching, I was paid by The Quilting Company and will be sent a copy of the book. (Yippee!) This post includes affiliate links and I may receive a small payment if you make a purchase using that link. Thank you if you do – it helps to keep The Sewful Life stitching along and I sincerely appreciate your support. All opinions are solely and truly mine and I only gush about things I love!

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