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

Peplum for Coco

For the girl who wears nothin’ but hand-me-downs…

A perky peplum!

Using Dana’s First Day Dress pattern, of course.  As stated in my last peplum post, I am not a “peplum person”.

(Quick! say that 5 times fast!)

But I deem this style to be totally adorable and appropriate for small people.  It’s just straight-up cute!  Right??!!

Minus the big wrinkle down the front.  Whoops.

The fabric is Large Flowers in Charcoal by Alison Glass and I think it’s perfect for this top.

Such vibrant color!  A joyful top for my joyful girl.

I lined it in Cotton Couture in gold, which seems to compliment the colors in the print pretty well.

I went up a size this time around, and sewed a 3T.  She wore her polka-dot one the other day and I almost had to call the Fire Department to come with the Jaws of Life to remove it from her.  Oh. My. Gersh.

Just trust me here… if in doubt, go up a size.

This top is fitted, so it does require the kid to put her arms straight up so you can tug it off, which might just be harder for a 2 year old to suffer through for more than 3 seconds without having a full-on panic attack. a-hem.

  Instead of cutting the slit in the back 4 inches, I’d consider cutting up to 5 inches next time around- and my Corinne has a skinny head.  Or, I might cut the neckline out a bit larger.  Dana does have you cut a 5″ slit for the larger sizes, but I think it might be something to consider for the smaller sizes too.

(Note: I really do love this pattern- just giving you the heads up!  Gotta be real.)

Aaaannnd a little vintage button on the back to finish her off.

Next Tuesday, Coco starts preschool two days a week.

She is SO excited to play with the baby dolls and baby strollers- her favorite things in the world right now.

And I will not lie- I am looking forward to some free time.  Strolling (quietly) through the grocery store, getting my ridiculously overgrown hair cut, sewing to the sounds Pandora, and the occasional morning nap are all on my list of things to do.

Now go forth, my people.  Sew the peplum!

-Erin

Back-to-School Babydoll

School starts on the 20th.  So soon, so soon!! Ellery will be a big first grader this year.

I wonder if she’ll be brave enough to buy lunch sometime.  Last year, she asked if she could buy lunch one day and I said, “Of course! What would you want to buy?”  Thinking she’d say, “pizza!” or “tacos!”

Nope.

“Trout Treasures.”

My kid wants trout.  In treasure form.

 Let’s talk about this dress.

Once again, it’s the Bohemian Babydoll pattern from Elegance & Elephants.

The fabric is an organic cotton designed by Carolyn Gavin for Windham.  It’s Petite Fleur in Navy, and the contrasting Citron solid for the hem is from the same line.  I kept checking out this print in my fabric closet, imagining it as a dress for the fall, layered with a cardigan and over tights… or, knee socks.  KNEE socks people.  Can we get a straight-up revival?

This is my 5th boho baby dress.

I’ve had a few custom etsy orders since my first, and I can say that I love this pattern now that I’ve decided how I like it.

This is how I like it: I cut my 6 year old a size 6 with the 7 length for the skirt… But, I still felt that this dress was a leeetle too short.  So, when I was sewing the hem facing, I decided not to fold it all the way under, and just stitched in the ditch on the front.  It probably added another 3/4″.  I love this length on Ellery and I will probably make this dress in this way again!  Oh, you know I did the “sausage step” again for the bodice- once you get the hang of it, it’s so much faster and so much cleaner!!

I am really a fan of not having to make buttonholes.  This dress is sweet and simple, and just has an ease about it that I like a whole lot.

I think Ellery will rock this all school-year long… We both love it!

I hope she rocks those knee socks too.

WHILE tearing up some trout treasures.

-Erin

Striped Maxi

The 10-minute maxi.

If you’re a mom to little kids, it’s more like the 22-minute maxi.

Either way, it’s fast.  Why didn’t I make 5 of these at the beginning of Summer?

I followed Sew Caroline’s tutorial and it really does take no time at all.  I did add an extra couple of inches to the length- which was good because after I tried it on, I was able to really get the exact length I wanted by cutting it right across the bottom with my rotary cutter.

 No hemming here!  Boom.  Skirt.

Oh, I also used 1″ elastic in the waistband (instead of 1/2″)… which I think gives a better fit to most elastic-waisted things.

My fabric is a striped bamboo knit from Girl Charlee, though I believe it’s a goner… but there are lots of others to choose from.  It’s really soft, but still substantial enough and stretchy without much curling up.  I love it!

We’re at the beach now, and I decided to be a good blogger and schedule this post for today… I’m probably wearing this baby as we speak, strolling on the boardwalk and picking sand out of my hair.  Surely this skirt will end up balled up in my suitcase (er…laundry basket- anyone else travel by basket?  My husband thinks I’m nuts) but that’s what I like about it- no fuss!

-Erin