Sewing to Sell Blog Tour {& giveaway}

When Erin and I were invited to join the book tour for Virginia Lindsay’s Sewing to Sell, we were totally pumped.  Virginia has been selling her adorable handmade goods and patterns long enough to have learned a thing or two about the process.  You should check out her blog, Gingercake if you haven’t!  In her newly released book, she gathers what she has learned from experiences and hands it to you.  Here ya go future-Etsy-store-owner, or wanna-be-craftshow-vendor, its all right here!  In Sewing to Sell, you will learn about knowing your market, maximizing your time, pricing your product, and packaging, so that your hardwork and love (because there is always love in handmades) can actually PAY off.

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Oh and there’s one more thing, actually 16 more things- this book includes 16 PATTERNS (copyright free- to help you get your shop ready)!  Lunch bags, pot holders, tablet covers, and so much more.  I mean, even if you are not ready to put your goods out there for sale, this book is still worth the purchase!

Check out what I made!!!!!!!!! Can you tell I’m excited?

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When I looked through the patterns in my eBook copy of Sewing to Sell, I kept coming back to the Great Big Tote.

Can you believe I have never sewn a bag of any type?  I have no idea why.  I love making useful items, and also showing off my handmade work, so it was high time that MAMA GOT A BRAND NEW BAG.

 Make that two brand new bags!

One for the market, and one for the beach!

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I took Virginia’s advice about taking an assembly-line approach when sewing multiple products.  The repetition of each step helped me to keep my head in the game and to sew more conscientiously.  There was zero seam ripping, and zero curse-words with this approach!  I truly enjoyed the bag making process, and watching it literally unfold (through a four inch hole that you will later topstich close ;)) was fascinating!

Bag making is so cool!  I’m hooked!

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Here I am pretending that I just plucked a bunch of green onion out of my winter garden.  Tee hee.

Erin was helping me with the photo shoot.  She had to put her foot down when I told her to take my picture while I pull a carrot out and feed it to her neighbor’s horse.  What?  Too contrived?  Fine.

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We sure had fun styling the bags for the shoot.  I am shocked how much stuff can fit into these things!  The mommy-market would be all over this tote.

Look out L.L. Bean!

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Virginia suggested using painter’s drop cloth canvas for a sturdy bottom and lining (It’s super economical).  I still had a bunch left over from when I made 3 bedskirts out of this stuff, so that worked out!  It actually sews really nicely through the machine.

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The coordinating fabric was handed down to me by a friend who is just an occasional sewer (Mermaid Play by Michael Miller).  The chicken fabric was purchased for a different project, and the pockets were scrap.  So, both bags, cost me nothing to make! Okay, wait, I bought some interfacing for a few dollars.  It’s a little hard for me to clock my hours when they are all just stolen moments in the midst of parenting, but I’d guess roughly 6 hours was put in to make both.  I am a very slow sewer.

Sewing to Sell offers advice on pricing your items so that your hourly wage doesn’t become peanuts.  Or in my case, Skinny Pop.  I’m so addicted, they’re gonna have to change the name to Chubby Pop.

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I still can’t get over the fact that I made a really nice, durable tote bag!   The pattern instructions were clear and uncomplicated.  The only tough part for me was at the very end, sewing up those corners.  There was a good bit of fabric to get through at that point.

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But hey, we are humans, not machines.   I’m pretty sure I’ll still be turning heads at the kiddie pool next summer!  Heads of moms…who want my bag.

See ya there!

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Virginia is graciously offering a free hardcopy of Sewing to Sell to one of our readers (within the continental U.S.).

Just leave a comment below!  The giveaway will close Sunday 12/7.  And if you don’t win, follow the blog tour for more opportunities!

Thank you for entering!  A winner has been chosen at random, congratulations lisacrafty!  Enjoy your copy of Sewing to Sell!

~Caroline

Blog Tour

Plaid Raglan

There’s a great thing over at the blog, Crafterhours called the Friday Fiver.  Every Friday, they offer a $5 deal on an indie sewing pattern, good only for that day. I’ve taken advantage of a few of the deals over the past few months- Noodlehead’s divided basket, LBG Studio’s Aster Cardigan, and most recently the Lane Raglan by Hey June.

All are patterns that I’ve had floating around in my mental “patterns-to-get” list– I just needed a reminder about them (in the form of a one-day only $5 deal).  ;)

Oh, and I apologize to Lane Raglans everywhere for being awkward.  It’s not the shirt’s fault.

Do I look like I’m going on a camping trip?  Cool.  That’s what I was going for.  Someone give me a thermos and a stick with a hot dog on it!

So, anyway I cut my pattern right between the M and L lines, but followed the L for length on all the pieces, and the fit seems great.

Hey June designer, Adrianna (who also happens to be one half of the Crafterhours duo) has great tips for sewing the neckband and mine seemed to come out pretty good, BUT… I totally messed up and started sewing it at the wrong point- which means my neckband seam is on the front of my shirt- not the back.  My bad.  Luckily, you people can’t tell in these pics… but in real life, if you look close enough, I’m totally the girl with the homemade shirt.  Trust me. It’s kinda obvious.

My main fabric is this vintage tartan plaid knit from Girl Charlee, It’s so fun- I *might* have enough to make a matchy matchy one for a kiddo or two.  The cream knit is really great stuff, bought locally from Les Fabriques, and the Navy spandex knit for the cuffs (also from Girl Charlee).

 I decided not to add the waistband piece, and instead lengthened the shirt a couple of inches- I had intended to hem this, but once I tried it on it seemed just right so I left it raw.  Tall Girl Problems, as usual!

I think this is a really great pattern to have in your stash- it comes together so fast!  You could change it up by making it in all one fabric, or playing around by mixing some prints together.

I really love Sabra’s version made from French terry- so cozy!  And this one from Ashleigh…Love!

Alrighty y’all, thanks for reading!

I’m off to pitch my tent now.

-Erin

Rowan Tee

 Want the best kids T-shirt pattern your money can buy?

Well, here ya go!

The Rowan tee is designed by the fabulous Laura of Craftstorming and Titchy Threads.  If you’ve ever sewn with one of Laura’s patterns, I’m sure you’d agree that they are some of THE best out there.  I honestly do not think any other indie patterns that I own are as thoughtful or precise as Laura’s.  It is obvious, the amount of work she puts into creating her designs.  Her Small Fry Skinny Jeans would probably win the sewing blog equivalent of the Grammy’s ‘song of the year’.

She’s a smart cookie, and it shows in her work.

The Rowan tee is awesome.

It offers plenty options.  And by plenty, I mean 144 different ways to change up your Rowan.  From hood, short sleeves, long sleeves, cuffs, hems, stripes, patch pocket, kangaroo pocket…It’s like ordering a coffee drink at Starbucks.  All about the customization, y’all.

Oh, and it’s sized from 6 months-12 years.  Holy size range!

Laura asked the tour participants to each choose a different variation.  I went simple, and chose the short sleeve, hemmed, full-stripe option.

 I made Coco (she’s 2 1/2) a size 3.

 The fit is EXACTLY what I want in a tee for my kiddo.  It’s somewhat relaxed, but it’s not a baggy fit.  It’s just the right length, just the right width.

I used a lovely cream-colored cotton/lycra knit from my local fabric shop, Les Fabriques.  I bended the rules here by using a woven print (Geos in Deep Marina by Leah Duncan) instead of knit for my stripe, and I loooove it.

Great way to use up some favorite fabric scraps, no?

p.s. I love kids in jeans. Coco became a slouchy teenager as soon as she put them on.

 I’ve been sewing a lot with knits lately, and I wanted to share what works for me.  I find a walking foot helps me immensely! I use a ball point needle, and I really like using the stretch stitch on my machine.  Ever since I started using that stitch (as opposed to a small zig zag or using just the serger), the garments have held up great- no snapping stitches at all.  The stretch stitch sort of locks back and forth 3 times, enforcing the seam as you sew.  It takes  a smidge longer than it would if you used a serger or zig zag stitch- but for me, the clothes have turned out so much more professional looking. I’ve also used spray starch on the hem before pressing it up and sewing and it really helps to get a clean finish.

Don’t let that pocket deceive you- it’s gold paint!  The one I used is by Martha Stewart and it’s sort of an all-in-one craft paint.  I’ve used it before on fabric and it holds up really nicely in the wash.  I made a simple pocket shape on freezer paper (you could probably even trace the pocket pattern piece supplied in the Rowan pattern), ironed it on, and used a sponge brush to dab on the paint.  So easy.

One thing I love that some PDF pattern makers are doing now, is offering the sizes in layers- meaning, you can just print out the size you need, instead of printing all of them and then having to decipher which line to cut out for your particular size- which we all know, can be a pain in the ass sometimes.  I appreciate that Laura offers this in the Rowan.

I cannot recommend this pattern enough.  It is chock-full of helpful tips, great photos, and very extensive instructions.  This would be great for a beginner who is ready to try sewing knits, or for the seasoned sewer looking for a legit tee pattern.

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Get your Rowan in the Titchy Threads shop!  If you subscribe to the newsletter, you’ll receive a discount code.  Sweet! And check out the other Rowans on the tour today over at Chelise Patterson and Begin with B.

Thanks for reading!

-Erin

Sunday Picnic Dress

Well, hey there!

I’m so happy that Suz invited me along on the Sunday Picnic dress blog tour- she is one of the sweetest gals I’ve never met, and I’m such a fan of everything she does!

 

I fell in love with her Little Debbie dress pattern long ago (both of the ones I made were heavy rotators in my girls’ wardrobes), it’s a great pattern so I knew her newest baby would likely be as well.

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The Sunday Picnic Dress is a clean design, with clever details like the crossover neckline and the curved pockets, and an optional pointed collar.

 I chose the most basic options here- sleeveless and collar-less.  I wanted to make something for Corinne that could be layered over a tee for extra comfort and warmth now that it’s getting chilly.

I followed Suz’s chart to determine which size to make 2 1/2 year old Coco- she’s long and lean.  A size 2 was the perfect choice.  Fits like a glove.

(p.s. this pattern goes from size 12 months to 10 years! patterns with a wide size range always win me over.)

The fabric is yarn-dyed Essex linen in black, I got all technical and made my own piping using this lovely stuff, and added some leather buttons.  The sweet trim is from Joann’s.

It had me at, “Hey, girl. Buy me, STAT!”

I was originally going to sew it to the bottom of the dress, but decided it’d sort of break it up a bit if I put it at the bodice/skirt seam.

Coco would like to take this party outside.  Cool?

Our new neighbors just put up a big wooden fence.  Soon, they’re bringing their horses in and a couple of cows, including a new calf!  I love animals and have already asked if it’s okay that we visit them with carrots and apples.  Maybe I can bribe them to be in my next blog photoshoot?

My only problem with sewing this dress was the zipper.  I failed to read in detail about which type of zipper to buy, so I just grabbed a couple at the store.  Not the invisible kind.  Whoops.  So unfortunately, I was unable to follow Suz’s (clear and detailed from what I could tell) invisible zip instructions.  Instead, I made my way through a few random regular zipper installation tutorials online.  It’s functional, but not perfect-looking on the inside.

(fact: this is a my first zipper EVER.  so, I shan’t be too hard on meeself.)

Those pockets… my fave!  Hers too.

I hope you’ll check out this adorable pattern.  Like the other Sewpony Vintage patterns, each step contains a photo which is why I love most PDF patterns.  Good for people like me who do better with a visual.

Thank you, Suz for sending it my way!

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For the duration of the tour, you can buy the Sunday Picnic Dress pattern at a discounted price in the Sewpony Vintage shop- use code SUNDAYTOUR15 for 15% off.

You can also visit the other lovely dresses on the tour today by clicking on their links below.  They’re all so great!

A Jennuine Life:

 Sunday Picnic Dress Title

Made by Sara:

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Gracie Oliver:

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Thanks for stopping by!

-Erin

Birthday Dress (a little late)

Avery turned 5 a couple weeks ago!  She is such a dynamic girl.  There are many dimensions to my girl Avery: smart, determined, tenacious, dramatic, hilarious, honest, sweet, loving, mysterious and wild (good luck future boyfriends).  This face kind of says it all…

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She recently started watching the runway portion of Project Runway with me. I know she has craftiness in her future, its in her DNA, so I thought I’d jumpstart her interest in sewing by letting her watch the show.  She really likes it.  She asks me, “Mom, which girl do you want to win?”  I explained that those girls are just wearing the clothes that the people made, they are not the ones who will win.  “Oh…I want to be one of those girls,” she says.  “A girl who wears the clothes and walks in them,” I ask?  “YES,” declares Avery!  Great.  I just helped my daughter aspire to be a walking mannequin.  Fabulous.  She will have to work at that modelling career, because this was about the least awkward pose she was offered me during our shoot.

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We headed to the playground to try for some candids.

DSC_7734 (2)She was dying to show me how she learned to use the monkey bars!

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DSC_7726 (2)That’s my girl!  She is really athletic, and she loves to wear DRESSES!  I knew that the skater dress would be an instant hit in the comfort department.  I sewed a size 5Y/6Y and I am so glad that it is roomy enough for her grow into it.  I increased the width of the skirt pattern piece and gathered it before it was attached.  Avery really appreciates a dress that she can twirl in.  What 5 year old girl doesn’t?

photo (3)If you’ve seen this dress before, its because Rachel from Stitched Together made an almost identical one before I got to it.  Ha!  I didn’t mean to be a copy-cat (even though I’d copy what Rachel makes all day long if I could)!  When I bought this knit months and months ago from Girl Charlee, the skater dress was on my agenda.  But, alas, my sewing productivity is very low these days! DSC_7737

Thank you for stopping by!

~Caroline

 

Bouquet in Duck Egg Dress

I recently came across a new fabric collection by Alison Glass, called Handcrafted (for Andover fabrics) to be released later this month. I have become completely enamored with this stunning combination of prints and color.  These fabrics are hand-dyed, and hand stamped using the same wax-resistant dying technique that is used in creating traditional batik fabric, though they are so much more modern and vibrant.

Just look:

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So pretty, right?

(You can read more about the process and see more photos of the fabrics here on Alison’s blog.)

Anyway, I spent about an hour one morning deciding on a few prints to pre-order because I HAD TO GET ME SOME.  After that, I decided that I would write Alison a little email and let her know how inspired I was by her new line.  I just felt like I needed to profess my love for such unique beauty.  She has such an incredible knack for color and design (You might remember the peplum top that I made Coco- Alison designed that fabric, and I just adore it!).  What can I say, it just speaks to me.

Well, turns out she is just the nicest gal, and really appreciated the email.  She even lives a couple of hours away from me in Virginia (which is for fabric lovers, if you didn’t know).  She asked if I’d like to get my hands on her new line sooner than later, and make something to be displayed in her Quilt Market booth in Houston later this month.

A sewing bloggers dream!

I fell for this particular print (bouquet in duck egg) immediately, and Alison sent me a couple of yards.   I decided to make it into a special dress for Ellery because I just love that girl in blue. This fabric. Oh man, it is just so beautiful!  Light, airy, such rich color.   This shade of blue is so lovely, and it’s just sort of gently splashed these globs of watermelon,  golden yellow, and fire-y orange.  It reminds me of a sunny Fall day.  Hence the autumn props. ;)

I love how the whole Handcrafted line is sort of imperfectly beautiful.

So, for this dress I started with Dana’s First Day Dress pattern (the swing variation in a size 7), and made a few modifications. First, I scooped the front of the neckline out a bit more, maybe about ½”.  I lengthened the bodice by adding about 1 ½” to the bottom so it hits her a little lower on the waist.  I also added a panel in the center of the bodice and followed An’s Improvisational Pleating tutorial- I love how it turned out.

I also drafted some tulip/capped sleeves… I sort of had to wing it, but in the end I preferred having the “tulip” look just at the back instead of up at the center of shoulder.  I like how they look like regular capped sleeves in the front, and then she turns around and there’s a little somethin’ extra going on.

This is the first time that I’ve made my own piping, and it was definitely not as hard as I had anticipated.  I used some gold fabric from Joann, and some ¼” cording.  (p.s. Props to Kristin and Carolyn for the gold trim inspiration!) The vintage button is one from the stash- I love that this pattern closes with a button and elastic loop.  It could not be easier.

This dress is fully lined in Cotton Couture in Graphite- a smoky dark blue that seems to go with just about anything.

I absolutely love the shape of this dress.  I’ve made so many dresses with a gathered skirt, but my current fave is this style… so sweet on the “bigger” little girls.

Ellery was sad when I told her this dress was going on a trip to Texas and that she would need to take it off.

She really seems to love it.

And twirling in it.  Obvi.

Thank you, Alison for the fabric.  It really is amazing stuff!

You can pre-order Handcrafted at several online fabric shops, including ordering from Alison herself:

Alison Glass

Hawthorne Threads

Finch Sewing Studio

You know you want some.

-Erin

Peacock Feather Skater Dress

Behold!  This is the skater dress pattern by Amanda of Kitschy Coo.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve seen this pattern circulate all over blogland many moons ago.  I have admired the simple, practical style of this pattern- it just seems like the perfect dress for a busy young girl.  It’s comfy, it’s a little swingy, and cute to boot!

I’m so happy I finally made one.

So, this pattern is sized in 2 year increments… 3Y/4Y. 5Y/6Y. 7/Y/8Y, etc… My kid is 6 and almost a half and pretty average, so I drew my pattern lines right between the 5Y/6Y and 7Y/8Y.  I think it’s just perfect- she will be able to wear it next year too.

The peacock feather fabric is from Girl Charlee, though it looks like it’s out of stock. Sorry peacock feather lovers (Caroline)!

The crazy-blinding-coma-inducing-neon pink binding is from a mistake purchase never-worn tank of mine (yikes.  what was I thinking?!?!), and I think it completely overshadows compliments the feathers fabric.  Am I right?

I sewed this entire dress on my regular machine, a pretty basic Kenmore from Sears that I’ve had for 4 years and not ONCE had an issue with (LOVE you, Kenny!! mwah!). I used a jersey needle using my stretch stitch, and I’m really happy with the result. I haven’t had the best luck with my serger for knits because the seams just don’t feel as sturdy. I haven’t found my serger groove yet I guess.

Oh, and using a little spray starch helped immensely when it came time to sewing the hem.  I spritzed a little on, ironed up 1″, and then sewed 2 rows of regular stitches.

I’m happy to report that this dress really is a quick sew.  The pattern is clear and really easy to understand.  I can’t wait to make more.

Ellery loves anything knit, so she immediately put it on and goofed around in her room.

Want to be hilarious?

Lose your two front teeth at once.

I can’t even look at her with a straight face.

-Erin