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

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:

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Made by Sara:

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Gracie Oliver:

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Thanks for stopping by!

-Erin

KCW: hide and seek tunic

Hold up.

Before reading this post, you need to open another tab and play this song because I had it playing in my head on repeat for three days while making this top.  By the end of those three days I was singing this one… which will just make you f-ing crazy.

Still, I gotta take inspiration where I get it, and the dress on the cover of this pattern had me thinking about kaftans and boho Krishna-types, and then reminded me of an old top of mine, which reminded me how much I love to upcycle stuff, and you get it….

so here we are.

This lovely pattern is the Hide and Seek dress + tunic.  One of three newly released ones from Oliver + S.

 

If Oliver + S were to design a pattern just for me (HA.), this would be it.  I love the shape, the looseness of it all, the gathers just at the center front and back panels, the size of the yoke… I really dig it.

This round of Kids Clothes Week has the optional theme, Mini Me.  So, I had fun trying to recreate my old top into something cute for Coco.  The yoke is cut from my former shirt- it’s really neat, with a ton of stitching up and down in black, red, blue, yellow, and mint.  But the white fabric was so thin and gauze-like, and showing some wear.  So I used some lightweight white cotton from the ‘ole stash.

Here’s my former top worn by me a year ago:

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(I’m not posing coyly… I’m holding a phone.  Important business call (NOT.) before delicious meal. Thanks for the pic Amanda!)

I finished this tunic yesterday afternoon (no jesse spano this week- I’m sticking to the minimum KCW requirements of sewing one hour a day) and we snuck outside in the evening to capture some photos of Corinne in the late sun.

Oh, how I’ve missed you, magic hour!

I neglected to see that on the sleeve pattern piece there is a cutting line for the tunic version, which is a few inches shorter than what you see here.  I made the top and then was scratching my head, remembering that the tunic option has short sleeves.  I do kind of like the 3/4 length though, but I may end up cutting and re-hemming.  We’ll see.  Decisions, decisions.

The jade buttons were ripped off (literally) of this skirt that I never wore out of the house.  One of those things I could not stand to look at after a while.  What a waste of many hours!

The bloomers (what you can see of them anyway) are self-drafted and one of several pairs I made a couple of months ago and am still playing around with the fit.

 These ones are made from cotton couture in Mist or as my husband would say, Lime Pudding.  I say pistachio.

Coco’s all, “what does the fox say, mama?!”

 

Hare Krishna y’all.

-Erin

 

KCW: The End

Like I said the other day, I’m feeling super-charged this week.  Kind of like Jessie Spano on the Saved by the Bell when she was on speed for 72 hours straight… (“I’m so excited, I’m so excited, I’m… so…. scared!”)

Only, I’m not high on speed.

I’m high on knits.

(and if you know the episode I’m talking about, let’s be best friends.)

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So, I’m back with a couple of outfits for the kid who needs them the most.  Ellery is growing out of pretty much everything.

Above is yet another Flashback tee.  Yup, still addicted.  I modified it to be A-line, and also cut it about 3-4 inches longer.

Then.

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The Geranium hijacked the Flashback.

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I used the ruffle sleeve pattern piece from my beloved Geranium pattern (zigzag’d the edges with gold thread) and basted it to the curve at the top of the sleeve, and then continued on as usual.  The fabric is Cotton Couture in Cinnamon and it’s really a neat neutral, but still interesting, color.  I like the contrast of it with the eggplant jersey (from Joann) and the greige (grey-beige y’all)sleeves- repurposed from a top of my own.

The leggings are made with the same brushed knit I showed you the other day.  They are so cozy. I’ve been calling them her Polar Vortex leggings.  Oh, and in true Ellery style, she slept in them last night- which is always a good sign, right?

I used the Oliver + S Playtime Leggings digital pattern, and I’m in love!

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Now.  Do yourself a favor: buy this pattern.

(It’s now being offered as an individual pattern, so you gotta check it out!)

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I cut a size 6 for Ellery, and I would say they are a pretty perfect fit, though I’m not sure it’s the perfect legging fabric.  It didn’t seem to bounce back quite as well as I’d like, but still totally wearable (and sleep-able!).  And hey, if these end up as pajama bottoms…it’s okay because I’ll probably be spooning her whenever she wears them.

Moving on to outfit number 2.

Remember the other day how I said I’d be taking care of Ellery’s high-water leggings with the worn-out knees?

I think these are a pretty great solution.  What do you think?

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Things really started clicking as this pair came together.  Great stretchy fabric, not to thin. And concise, straightforward directions that Oliver + S fans have always raved about.  Sewing is fun.  Sewing leggings is the most fun.

Oh, and can I mention how FAST they are to sew?  I started this pair at 2:15 one day (I distinctly remember looking at the clock) and by 2:35 when I walked down the driveway to get Ellery off the bus, all I had left to do was pull the elastic through the casing and sew it shut.  Boom.  Leggings.

With heart knee patches!

Here’s a quick look at my patch placement in case you’re interested:

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(My heart patch is about 3″ wide at the widest part, and about 3 1/2″ long.  The point is about 7 3/4″ up from the bottom edge, and about 1 1/2″ to the left of that edge on the right.  I fiddled around with an old pair of my daughters leggings to get an idea of where they should go, but maybe this could be helpful if you’re making a size 6 as well. note: I cut my pattern a tad longer – maybe 3/8″, though I think it’s plenty long as it is.)

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The knee patches are 2 layers of red cotton knit just stuck on there and top-stitched.  We have thrown out several pairs of fairly new pairs of store-bought leggings (I’m talking to you, Old Navy) because of holes in the knees.  Just thin fabric I guess.  Or maybe she plays too hard.

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For the tee, “I took a little help from the store”, (as Rachael Ray would say with her pre-shredded carrots) and bought one from Target.  I then thought of a fun V-day saying, then I googled it to see if I was clever enough to have invented it (no, I’m not), and freezer paper stenctiled away with some gold, red, and black fabric paint.

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I printed the I’M WITH on my computer and traced it, but tried my best to free-hand the Cupid and arrow.

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Oh, hey! Cupid’s awake!

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I think the only way for me to participate in KCW (and what I did this time around) is to plan ahead, cut out fabric, set aside patterns in the days before, so all I have to do is sew.  It’s just too much of a disorganized mess if I go between cutting to sewing to cleaning up… etc.

I hope you all had fun sewing along for KCW, and if you didn’t, well… there’s always the Springtime!

-Erin

**Oliver + S kindly supplied me with the Playtime Leggings pattern.  Several patterns are not being offered as single PDFs.  You can check them out in their shop!**

KCW day three: linen apron top

I’ll keep it short and simple today since I have a sick baby to tend to (well, she’s five… but aren’t they always babies when they’re sick?  I mean in like a sweet, helpless, cuddly way of course!). We also had a snow day today so we’ve been cooped up inside making a mess of the place.

Here’s a top that I’ve made a couple times before, so it was fairly quick for me to put together with the pattern already cut out in Coco’s size.  The most time consuming part was making the bias tape, which I needed about 3 yards of.

This is a bit large on Corinne, but she’s pretty slim.  I’m sure she’ll be able to wear it over a shirt and leggings for an entire year.

I call that a win!

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Pattern: Butterick B5019

Fabric: Yarn-dyed Essex in red

Size: 2

As always, thanks for stopping by our blog!  Happy Sewing…

-Erin

KCW day two: parsley pants for the boy

The great thing about KCW (for me anyway) is that it inspires me to finish a project that I either threw aside in a fit of frustration, or that needs some more attention or tweaking.  Take these parsley pants for example.

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I made them two weeks ago, and Grant wore them once, but complained that the waist was too tight, and that they were too long.  He was on the verge of rejecting them forever… and almost about to give me this gnarly look if I didn’t do something about it:

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So I spent about 30 minutes yesterday opening up some seams and adjusting the elastic length to make them a bit roomier.

And I fixed the hem by bringing them up about 3/4″.

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And now he’s happy about wearing them.  And it makes me happy to make stuff for him- he’s always really sweet about it and appreciative.  He’s a gem.

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How I obtained that fabric is sort of a funny story… I had seen 2 posts by sewing extraordinaire Sanae. This great tunic, and these adorable baby shoes- both made in the same ticking fabric.  Then about a week later, my friend Ann called me and asked if I wanted any blue ticking fabric.  She had some from a home décor project and had some leftover.  I remembered Sanae’s posts and decided that she made it cool, so of course I said sure!

So Ann dropped it off one day.

TEN YARDS PEOPLE.

I was like, “Ann, did you forget to recover your SOFA??”

An entire roll of blue ticking fabric sits next to my sewing table.

Anyone want some free fabric?  No, really… anyone?

Leave your yardage requests in the comments.  I’ll have it shipped out faster than it would take to wait in the cutting line at Joann’s on coupon extravaganza day!

**update!  I’ve actually had some interest in this fabric (including a local friend who I’ve promised some to as well)…  glad to unload it on you guys so we can deck our kids out in some home dec! haha…  thanks gals for participating in my sorta-giveaway!**

:)

-Erin