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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Visiting with The Cottage Mama

Blogging has afforded me the opportunity to meet so many great people including several amazing new designers/bloggers.  One such person that I think most of you may know already is Lindsay Wilkes, aka The Cottage Mama.

When I first discovered Lindsay's blog, I fell in love with the beautiful outfits she was making, and when she first began selling paper patterns, I bought The Janey Jumper right away (absolutely great pattern)! Here's the post on the first Janey Jumper I made.

Since then, Lindsay's brand, blog, and pattern collection have grown immensely, and I was fortunate enough along the way to be a very small part of it.  Several months ago, I tested one of her latest amazing patterns, The Matilda Dress and Top, and I got the opportunity to meet Lindsay in person and have dinner with her.  So much fun!

Here's my post on my Miss Matilda Dress.

All this brings me to today where I can proudly say that I'm a guest contributor at Lindsay's blog, The Cottage Mama.  Please come visit me there and check out my tutorial on how to use up some of the decorative trims in your stash drawer!

Oh, and I'd love it if you'd leave a comment over there letting me and Lindsay know what you think about my project!

Have a great day, and have fun sewing!

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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Super Scary Sewing Stories at Simple Simon & Co.

Today I'm sharing my version of a scary sewing story over at Simple Simon & Company.

Elizabeth and liZ asked several blogger friends to share their terrifying sewing tales throughout the month of October.  It has been very interesting to say the least!

Today is the last day of the series, so be sure to head over to Simple Simon & Company right now to read my nightmare tale.  See you there if you dare!

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Friday, October 25, 2013

The Olivia Top Pattern + Giveaway

Hello, my sewVery friends and visitors from Craftiness is Not Optional!  I'm so glad you stopped by today to see my version of Jess's latest pattern:  the Olivia Top and Dress Pattern!

All things from CINO are wonderful, and this pattern is no exception.  It's simple and versatile--offering three sleeve variations and two lengths--and can ideally be used for year round wear.  The fit is loose and comfortable and so easy for a 4 year old to put on all by herself!  That earns major points for us since Ella definitely wants to do everything for herself lately.

I love this time of year.  The weather is so mild and fall festivals are happening every weekend. Last Sunday, we decided to head out to a small event not far from home where the kids could run and play, pretend to be farmers, and enjoy some fair food. 

As you might have guessed, Ella dressed herself.  I kept encouraging her to put on some skinny jeans or a different pair of shoes, but she would have none of that!  Oh, well!

She twirled and fell into our couch just before we left home, resulting in a bad carpet-like burn on her elbow.  I think she cried more over this boo-boo than when she busted her chin and ended up in the emergency room for stitches.  You can see her favoring her left arm in almost all these photos!

A few weeks back, Ella had a bathroom emergency on our way to pick up my son at school, so we ran into our local fabric store which just happened to be on our way.  The remnant room is in the back of the store near the restrooms, so on our way out, Ella caught a glimpse of this kitten fabric and insisted I buy it.  We were in a hurry, and to avoid a full blown fit if I refused, I decided to just buy it.  She said, "Moma, you could make me a purse!"  Why a purse, I'll never know, but I insisted we could make her something. Soon after, Jess invited me to try out her Olivia Top Pattern and be a part of the pattern tour.  I knew this kitten fabric would be purr-fect!

I had just enough of the Anna Marie Horner fabric I used for the top part and 3/4 length sleeves. Since the kittens are so cute and cuddly, I decided to add a little ruffle to either side of the button placket to make the top more feminine looking.  

This top was super easy to make, even with the little button placket.  In all, it took me about an hour and a half to sew together.  Just like the free tutorials on her blog, Jess provides lots of simple, easy to understand instructions accompanied by wonderful photographs for each step of the pattern. The Olivia Top and Dress Pattern is one that you'll use over and over again.

Want to win a copy of CINO's Olivia Top and Dress Pattern for yourself?!  Then just enter the rafflecopter giveaway below.  If you've already purchased the pattern and end up winning, then Jess will give you a refund!  Isn't she sweet?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you have to have the pattern right away, then you can buy it HERE.  And guess what?  All CINO clothing patterns are on sale for 30% off this week (Oct. 21-27) in honor of Kids Clothes Week!  

Thanks for dropping by for a visit!  Want to see more versions of the Olivia Top and Dress Pattern?  Then be sure to visit all the stops on the Pattern Tour!  There are some amazing ones out there that will inspire you. I know I have at least two pinned already!

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Modern Bee Book & My First Quilt Block

Sewing has enriched my life in so many ways. If I had not started sewing again nearly two-and-a-half years ago, then I wouldn't have started blogging.  If I had not started blogging, then I wouldn't have made so many new, wonderful friends.

One of those real-life personal friends is Lindsay Conner, blogger at Lindsay Sews and Craft Buds, and now author of the new book, Modern Bee: 13 Quilts to Make with Friends.

Photo from ModernBeeBook.com

Lindsay and I met last year at Sewing Summit where we hit it off right from the start.  A few months later, she moved to Tennessee, and about a month ago, she moved within a few miles of me.  I've so enjoyed getting to know Lindsay and hang out with her in person on a regular basis. We even flew out to Utah and roomed together again at Sewing Summit this year.  She is so sweet and talented, and she's taught me so much about blogging, networking within the sewing community, and now quilting!

From the start, I joked with her that I was not a quilter because I don't have the patience to sew in straight lines all the time, but she kept encouraging me to give it a try and start with something small. When her book was finally available for sale, I purchased a copy from her immediately (I still need it signed though) and decided to give quilting a serious try.

Honestly, Modern Bee is the first quilting book I've ever owned or read, so I'm not sure how much my opinion or review of the book will count to you seasoned quilters out there.  But just like I do with any other pattern I use and review, I tell it like it is--truthfully.

Having never been a part of a quilter's guild or bee, I really felt uneducated on the topic.  However, Lindsay's book explains the concept and workings of an online bee, how to set up and manage one of your own, or in my case (for now), just how to make a quilt all by myself!

The book is conveniently divided into sections for beginners, confident beginners, and intermediate quilters.  Since this was my very first attempt at making a quilt block, I started with a beginner block--Bluebell's Cabin by Adrianne Ove.  I picked this design because it appealed to me aesthetically--very classic with a modern twist depending on the fabrics used--and it looked like the easiest to cut out and sew together!  I chose well because it literally took me only 15 minutes to stitch out.

That was so easy that I may have decided to try and make an entire quilt now!  What?!  I have plenty of my favorite Joel Dewberry Heirloom fabrics that desperately need to be sewn into something I'll enjoy. I'd much rather have them made into a quilt I can use on top of my bed than sitting in a box under my bed!

The Modern Bee book includes all the instructions and yardage requirements for me to finish an entire quilt, including detailed illustrations and options for backing, batting, basting, binding.

Oh, and did I mention all the beautiful photos in this book?  There are pictures of all 13 modern quilts you can make using the Modern Bee book plus color illustrations that accompany the written instructions.

So, what do you think?  Should I give it try and make my own quilt?  This might just lead me to joining a modern bee and making more quilts and meeting more wonderful people!

Yeah, sounds like a good idea to me, especially since I have a great friend just down the road from me who knows how to quilt!

Want to start your own online quilting bee and make lots of new friends?  Then be sure to pick up a copy of Lindsay's new book, Modern Bee: 13 Quilt to Make with Friends, and learn how today!

Also, Lindsay has generously offered up a little prize package of fabric, notions, and a rotary cutter to one lucky sewVery reader!  Thanks, Lindsay!  To enter the giveaway, just click on the rafflecopter widget below.  Contest open to US residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Monday, October 21, 2013

How to Make Your Own Clothing Labels

A lot of people have been asking me lately where I bought my sewVery clothing labels.  And since I've been having to retype pretty much the same reply over and over again, I thought I would finally take the time to write up a post on how I made them.

Here's the entire story and how-to behind my colorful mix of sewVery labels!

Several months ago when I started sewing a lot, I decided I wanted to brand my clothes like so many other bloggers were doing.  I searched Etsy, but the price for even a small quantity of custom labels with color seemed expensive.  After more research, I came across a post from Kate at See Kate Sew, where she shared some basic information on how she made her own labels by printing them out as custom fabric at Spoonflower.  I used her post as a guide to get me started.

My first step was to create a graphic for sewVery.  For me, I wanted something pretty plain that could be used on either boy or girl items.  Now, since everyone uses different photo editing software, I'll just give you the steps on how I spaced my labels and the dimensions I used.  Anyone can create a simple logo using Word (that's what I used), Photoshop, Picasa, PicMonkey, or any photo editing or drafting program. I'll also give you tips or advice based on my experience.

My configuration is based on an 8 1/2" x 11" area that is filled with four columns of labels and uses a minimum pixel size of 150 pixels.  In my example, I have two sizes of labels; however, you can just design one or even more.  The thing to keep in mind is that the spacing between the columns and rows must stay the same in order to make cutting out the labels with a rotary cutter easy to do.

My large sewVery labels are 2 1/4" wide x 1" tall, and my smaller labels that can be sewn into the seam on a piece of clothing are 1" x 1".  See the examples below.  Keep in mind that you'll need at least 1/4" blank space around all sides of your labels in order to cut them out and turn the fabric under for pressing. That ends up being 1/2" between labels on your layout and a 1/4" margin on the top/bottom/sides of the overall page.  For my labels, I figured I could get two columns of large labels and two columns of smaller labels per page.

When you upload your file to Spoonflower (read below for further instructions on how to do this), you'll repeat the 8 1/2" x 11" page over and over on a yard of fabric to get approximately 500 custom labels all for roughly $20!

For my labels, I used the Basic Combed Cotton offered at Spoonflower, and I've been very pleased with the overall look and performance (wash after wash) of the labels.  For the Basic Combed Cotton and the Kona Cotton, Spoonflower inserts the image on a piece of fabric that will have the 42" wide measurement as the width and the 36" wide measurement as the height.  If you are wanting to order a certain number of labels, you can use my example below to calculate the number of labels you'll be able to fit onto a yard of fabric.

Here's the math for 1 yard of fabric:
1 yard of fabric area = 42" x 36" = 1,512 square inches
sheet of paper area = 8.5" x 11" = 93.5 square inches

1,512 / 93.5 = 16.17 sheets of paper per yard of fabric

* Keep in mind that with the 8 1/2" x 11" sheet of paper configuration I used, you'll actually only get 15 full sheets of labels plus the top two rows of of 5 more sheets.  

Since I can fit 16 large labels and 16 small labels per sheet of paper, this means I can get
32 labels per sheet of paper x 16.17 sheets of paper per yard of fabric  = 517 labels per yard of fabric!

I was very indecisive about what colors I wanted to use for my labels, so I just put together lots of color combinations that I liked and ran with it.  The result was that I can color coordinate my label to the item that I make!  I often get compliments on my labels because of this!

I suggest consulting the color chart from Spoonflower prior to designing and placing your order.  It includes the RGB color and code. Here's what it looks like.

Spoonflower has a very useful Help page that includes a lot of valuable information about color selection. For instance, don't use two dark colors because the colors will blend together too much when printed on fabric.  Contrasting colors work best together.  I wish I had considered this before I placed my first order because a couple of my color combinations didn't work well.  Also, the script font in white on the smaller labels didn't show up as I had hoped.  As you can see in my examples above, the yellow, white, pink, and teal blue options all turned out really well.

Once you've created your logo and saved it as an image file, you'll be ready to create your labels. First, upload your file to Spoonflower HERE.  Once the image is loaded, make sure the Fabric tab is selected then choose Basic Repeat, the Design Size (no smaller than 150 dpi), the fabric you'd like to print your labels on, and the quantity of fabric you want printed.  You'll see a preview image of your labels laid out on the quantity of fabric you are ordering.  At this point, either save your design and/or add it to your cart. Pay for your order and your label yardage will arrive in the mail in just a few days!

When the fabric arrives, be sure to wash and dry it.  If you measure the labels after washing and drying it, you will notice some minimal shrinkage.  Iron the fabric and then take your cutting mat, ruler, and rotary cutter and start cutting out your labels making sure you leave an approximate 1/4" border all the way around the label.

I keep my labels sorted by color and size in some clear plastic sheet protectors.  When I need a label, I then fold the raw edges to the back and iron them.  To keep these edges from unfolding, I then add a small amount of fabric glue to those seams.  After it dries for a minute or two, I then press the entire label again from the front side.

For the smaller inseam labels, I fold the side edges in, press, and tack down with a little glue (if necessary).  Then fold the label in half so that the raw edges meet and press.

When I'm ready to sew one of the larger labels onto an item, I simply pin it in place and stitch around the edge following the border I created on the image.  For the smaller labels, position the label in between two pieces of fabric with right sides together making sure that the white portion of the label will be sewn into the seam allowance.

That's it!  Now you can make your very own clothing labels in a wide variety of colors for just pennies!  I hope I've answered all your questions on how you can make your own clothing labels. As always, I welcome your comments and would love to hear from you.  Hope you'll come check out my other sewing projects and tutorials!

Have fun sewing!

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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Embroidered Terry/Cuddle Burp Cloth Tutorial

Today, I'm reposting my tutorial on how to make your own Terry and Cuddle burp cloth with an embroidered monogram or decorative design.  This first appeared as a guest post at the Shannon Fabric's blog, My Cuddle Corner.  Plus, I'm giving away some Cuddle and Terry Cloth fabrics, courtesy of Shannon Fabrics.  Read below to see how to enter!

When a dear friend asked me to make a few baby items for her to give as gifts, I jumped at the chance to make something with the Terry cloth and Cuddle fabrics from Shannon Fabrics.  Both are so soft and were a dream to sew!  These are so easy and simple to make.  Just follow the steps in my tutorial below!

First, cut out your fabrics.  Here's what you need...

After you cut out your terry cloth, embroider your favorite design or monogram onto the terry cloth.  I used tear away stabilizer on the back and a piece of solvy on the front when I stitched my design. 

Here's a close up for reference.  I find that serging raw edges of the cuddle not only makes for a neater finished edge, but the fabric is less likely to creep than when you use a regular sewing machine foot.  For the straight stitches, I used my regular sewing machine with my walking foot attached and a stitch length of 3 - 3.5.  I also used a stretch needle.

Fold back the seam you just sewed and finger press.  Your pieces should now look something like this when laid out right side up.

 * Note:  It might be helpful to pin the edges before topstitching all the way around.

That's all there is to it!  Pretty easy, right?  And I sewed together a matching bib and baby wash cloth to go with the gift set for my friend.  

You can make some matching baby wash cloths, too, using my sewVery simple tutorial! Click HERE to see it.  Plus, enter my giveaway HERE for a chance to win one of two Quarter Cozy Kits (to make a blanket or lots of wash cloths and burp cloths) plus a quarter yard of Terry Cloth fabric. 

I had a great time creating these projects with my Shannon Fabrics!  Please let me know if you like them, too!

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