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.


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?


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!


Blog Tour

Polka Dot Peplum + giveaway

Hello!  Today is a good day.  Dana of MADE has released her much-anticipated First Day Dress pattern!


Caroline and I were excited to be testers for this pattern, because… well, duh… it’s Dana– need I say more?  But, for me anyway, her blog was literally the FIRST sewing blog I had ever stumbled upon.  Like, I didn’t even know about you people or your cool sewing blogs, or that this community even existed.  I was googling sewing patterns late one night 4 years ago, and came across her Market Skirt tutorial and then spent the next several hours poring over her beautiful, bright and cheery site.  I was amazed that a person could make these things at home!  Not to go all cheese-fest here, but you could say that she changed my creative life!  Aw….

Onto this GREAT pattern.

There are several options.  I’ll let you hop on over to her site to read all about them, but for my version I chose to sew the peplum top.  I’m pretty sure Caroline is with me here… we are not peplum people.  I have seen them all over the sewing world over the past year, but haven’t jumped on board until now.

Something about my fun little Coco-girl inspired me to give it a whirl.

And I’m so glad I did.

I made a size 2 for my newish two-year old.  Guys, the fit is PERFECT.  I was nervous that this would be to small on her, but as soon as she got it on, I was just doing a crazy dance.  Those little capped sleeves, the adorable swingy peplum skirt, the polka dots… this is a happy project.

I found this great charcoal/silver polka dot fabric at Joann, and snatched up three yards of it.  Luckily, I barely had to use much for this pattern- since I might see a size 6 dress version in my future!  The back closes simply with a single button and elastic loop.  I used one of my favorite buttons from my stash, and I like you could have some fun with a colorful, bold, or special one that you love.

Like I said, there are plenty of options here.  Even when it comes to the lining…you can choose to do a partial lining- just at the bodice, or a full.  I fully-lined mine with some mint voile.  I love the glimpse of color that pokes out when she’s boppin’ around.

Or balancing on her brother’s cute bum.

This pattern is very thorough, with great photos and detailed instructions.  I think it is such a sweet tailored shape, and after making so many dresses with a gathered skirt, this top seemed to come together in a jiff.

I made one particular note to myself that I’ll share with you about this pattern:  while this top really does fit peeeerfectly, it took some care to get off of Corinne without inducing a full on mid-removal arms-stuck meltdown.  If your kiddo is well endowed in the noggin’ department, I’d consider cutting your back slit 1/2″ longer, or cutting the neckline a hair larger.  Just in case y’all.

Now.  Which one of you kind readers would like to win a copy of this pattern?  Okay!  Leave me a comment telling me which option is your favorite, and I’ll randomly pick a winner by the evening of Thursday July 3.

**Giveaway is now closed.  Congratulations to #13, Jo!  Hope you enjoy your new pattern!**

And come back soon if you don’t win because sister Caroline (!!!) will be back with a totally different look and another chance to win!

Thanks to Dana for the awesome pattern- it’s obvious to see how much work went into creating this one!

Goodbye and Good Luck!


Little Debbie

I’m so excited to be the second stop on the Debbie’s birthday dress blog tour!

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Suz from Sewpony has created this pdf dress pattern inspired by one of her favorite children’s books, Debbie’s Birthday Party.  The pattern features a classic A-line style dress, with a button and loop closure at the back.  You can see the two views above,  one with a sweet peter pan collar, center seam, pocket, and buttons.  The other with a separate bodice and trim.

Suz asked if I’d test the 18 month size for my little Corinne, and since I’m a good vintage-loving girl, of course I said YES.

Behold, My Little Debbie!




For my dress (View 2), I repurposed a chambray skirt, used a cute apple grid print for the collar, and lined the bodice with red cotton.  I decided forgo the pocket and steal the trim idea from View 1, extending it all the way down the length of the dress- I used ivory lace hem tape.

I stitched two white buttons on to the front, but for the back I decided to tie it all together by using this red apple button.  Coco’s big sis thought that was pretty cute.  Ellery loves to help pick out Corinne’s clothes in the morning, and this dress is often her first choice.

Smart little stylist wouldn’t you say?


I love the length of the dress- it hits Corinne about an inch above the knee, but you could easily add length if you wanted.  On a little gal like Coco though, it’s a good excuse to show off some cute bloomers or her chunky thighs (which I’ve been devouring lately).

I envision her wearing this in the Fall wrapped up with a cozy little cardigan… and of course knee socks and mary janes, like Suz did here– so adorable!

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 I’d highly recommend this pattern to a beginner sewer who is dabbling into making garments.  The pattern is loaded with clear pictures for each step, and a very handy pattern map which really helps the cutting out and taping process.  I sewed my Debbie up one rare afternoon while my entire crew was napping, and it was blissful.

 I’d say the only thing that took some time for me was the peter pan collar.  It was the second one I’d ever done, and I forgot to mark front and back (as suggested!) so when it was time to sew the pieces together I was stumped…but well worth it- I love those apples.

And that face.


I like that you can stay in the vintage realm here but you could totally go another direction with this pattern (like this rainbow one Sanae did here for KCW– gorgeous!)- it’s a simple design that is a great starting point for your own creative interpretation.

Suz is offering a 20% discount on this pattern for the duration of the blog tour.  Just visit her etsy shop, Sewpony Vintage to purchase and don’t forget to use the code BLOGTOUR1.  And keep your eye out for more vintage-inspired patterns from Suz in the future!

So long,


(p.s. check out the Sewpony flickr group for some more Debbie dress eye candy!)

Roza pattern review + a giveaway

I think I’m ready to venture into more adult sewing, and there’s no better way to do that than by just getting a pattern and following it, right?  So, about a month ago, I pinned this pattern to my Sewing for Me board.  It’s the Roza blouse and dress pattern by Kate and Rose.

 I think a sweet peasant top is a good staple in any girl’s wardrobe and this one looked pretty perfect.  I did some digging on the web, but I couldn’t find many variations out there.  So I emailed the pattern designer, Kati, and asked her if she knew of any examples out there in sewing blog-land to link me to.  She explained that the pattern had just been released, so no, there weren’t many variations yet, but would I be interested in sewing one up if she sent me the pattern?

Um…why, YES I would!


The Roza is pretty much everything you’d want and expect from a peasant top – roomy, lightweight, casual but feminine.  And guess what?  It’s a super fast sew… no really, it is!  Piecing together and cutting the pattern took the longest for me, but that’s usually the case with a pdf pattern in my house – it ends up on the kitchen table along with all the other junk and then I have to re-sort through all the pages, etc… you know the drill.  But still,  it’s pretty convenient to just print something off at your house and get working when you get a burst of creative energy (even if it lasts only 20 minutes).

There are several ways to customize the Roza- short or long sleeves, cropped or asymmetrical hemline, gathered or flat front…just check it out, guys.  And if you have any interest in hand-embroidery (i love this Roza), you must visit her site.

The long-sleeves are bracelet length, and the cuffs are actually supposed to look like this:


But I loved the look of the wide cuffs, so I decided to leave them instead of folding them in as the pattern instructs.  I believe that in most sewing patterns, there’s a little wiggle room to add your own twist.  You just gotta go with what you’re feeling.


I sewed a Medium, but extended my pieces to the Large in length.  I’m 5’11” and often things just aren’t long enough on me.

I mean, c’mon…Do you see that wing-span up there?

I really should’ve extended the length in the front another inch or so though… I like the cropped front, but on me it’s just a little *too* cropped.


I have never been sure about high-low hemlines- a look I feel that I’m too old for… their ‘business in front, party in the back’ attitude sometimes just plain confuses me.  Oh wait, that’s the mullet.  But, I decided to give it a go anyway.  A high-Low that is.  Not a mullet.


  Getting time to stroll through the fabric store is a total luxury, and one that doesn’t happen often these days, so online fabric shopping it is!  I have had my eye on this print for ages – Art Gallery voile in Praline in Honey .  I love the colors, and it’s a nice yellow that actually looks okay on me (usually yellow is NOT my color!).  The cuffs are solid voile in Seafoam.

I’m really liking the contrast.


Taking photos of yourself is a lot less awkward when there are kids in the room.  Grant was my lighting technician, adjusting the blinds every 6 seconds.


While Ellery manned the camera remote.  It made things a lot more comfortable.

 Kinda like this top!


Kati has been so kind to offer one of you lovely readers a Roza pattern!  Please leave a comment below and cross your fingers….


Giveaway is open to all and will end on Saturday at 11:00 pm EST.  Winner will be chosen (probably by my kid) at random.

**Giveaway is now closed**

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Congrats to #11, Grabill!

Pattern Testing :: Bubble Dress!

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of testing a new sewing pattern by An of StraightGrain.

The Bubble Dress!

An makes some really sweet clothing for her little girl, and has now put her skills towards creating this great little pattern for girls ages 1-6.  It is for sale now, and you can buy it here.  If you have never made a bubble-anything before (like me), give it a shot- it comes together pretty quickly and it’s fun to see the bubble take shape!

Anyway, without further ado…

Here’s Corinne enjoying her new frock:


I tested the 1 year size for my Coco-girl who is turning 1 next week.  WHA??  Crazy.  I mean, I just had her, didn’t I?

Anyway, it fits great… she’s lean, so this will fit her right on through the Summer I’m sure.


I’ve had this fabric (Jessica Levitt, Timber collection) since I first started sewing 3 years ago.  I never was quite sure about what to use it for, but I’m so happy I finally cut into it.  Pretty perfect for Spring!  I’m not  usually drawn to geometric prints, but i love the combo of geometric and organic shapes here.  Such cute little bird’s nests they are!


Check out that bubble!

The peter pan collar is an option in this pattern, and is a fun way to use a contrasting fabric.

I figured if I was going to learn how to make a bubble skirt, I might as well learn to make a collar too.  That was the hardest part for me, but it turned out just fine- i took those steps pretty slow, especially when attaching it between the outer bodice and the lining.


The back closes simply with a button and loop.


I used 1/8″ elastic, though you could use ribbon too.  Anytime I can get out of making a buttonhole, I’m gonna take it!  I think the elastic is nice for a squiggly toddler too.  Easy on, easy off.


We had fun during this photo shoot.  Her cuteness was bubbling all over the place.  Sorry…but  you knew the pun was coming…


Someone’s ready for Easter….


So, hop on over to An’s blog and look around… She’s from Belgium and is hosting a great series called Kid’s Clothes Belgian Style – Lots of awesome sewing happening over there!

Thanks for stopping by  🙂