It’s here! I’m so excited! My latest book, Skirt-A-Day Sewing, is available now! And to celebrate, I’m having a blog tour that launches this week, where you can win copies of the book and see sneak previews of the projects inside. To kick things off this week, the tour started at Jane of All Trades. Jane actually made a version of the very first wrap skirt in the book. From Jane:
This book walks you through the steps of creating your own customized sloper (a pattern made exactly to YOUR measurements)…
To start, I went with the author’s advice and sewed a wrap skirt. It was hard to choose because all the skirts are so cute!
Creating a sloper, and the subsequent patterns takes time. These are not one-hour projects. But, the time put in is well worth it as you’ll create a skirt that fits you EXACTLY how you want it!
I’m looking forward to trying more skirts (27 to go!) and working more with my sloper. For never having done sewing like this, Skirt-a-Day Sewing is a great resource for construction, drafting, designing and sewing.
I love Jane’s skirt! She did such an amazing job with the fit and construction!
Want to win your own copy of the book and try a skirt, too? Comment on Jane’s blog post before Monday, September 16th at 11 p.m. EST to be entered in the drawing (open to U.S. residents only.)
Stay tuned for more interviews and giveaways soon!]]>
What says “Celebrate!” more than glitter and fringe? Nothing. That’s what.
When planning my friend Emily’s birthday party recently, I had to come up with a way to transform the everyday bar into a space as amazing as she is. Plus, we totally had to wow her as she walked in, since the get together was a surprise. So, the glitter fringe banner above was born.
Once the banner was underway and the ombré fringe was procured, the hardest part of assembling the whole thing was deciding on which phrase to showcase in magnificent gold glitter. A few phrases were suggested, but none quite captured the birthday spirit like “TREAT YO’ SELF.” Though we didn’t have mimosas, massages, or fine-leather goods that night, we did have plenty of margaritas and guacamole, and I’d like to think the birthday girl felt as special as we all think she is.
Want to make your own glitter fringe banner? It’s so easy! Just follow the steps below:
1. Pin the fringe to the ribbon. Center the fringe on the ribbon with the fringe’s top edge even with the ribbon’s. You want the fringe’s flange (or finished edge) to be on top of the ribbon. Add as many pins as you want to help keep the fringe secure. If you did like me and cut your ribbon one yard longer than your fringe, position the fringe 18 inches from one ribbon end. Once you get it all pinned down, you should then have 18 inches of ribbon left over at the opposite end.
2. Stabilize and secure the fringe. To help keep the fringe out of the way while sewing, I like to use a bit of Scotch tape. To make it a little less sticky, I usually press it on my arm first to weaken the adhesive. That way when I pull it off later, it won’t snag or damage the fringe. Tape all along the fringe, close to the ribbon. Be careful not to tape over the ribbon area.
3. Attach the fringe to the ribbon. Using a straight stitch on the sewing machine, sew the fringe to the ribbon, backstitching at the beginning and end of the stitch to secure it in place. Sew down the center of the fringe’s flange (or finished edge). Make sure to brush the fringe out of the way as you sew. The tape should help do most of the job, but make sure to keep an eye on the fringe pieces, so they don’t accidentally get sewn to the ribbon.
4. Remove the tape. Pull the tape off the fringe, being careful not to damage the fringe as you go. You don’t want to snag anything now that you have it attached to the ribbon.
5. Make the letter patterns. Using a computer and printer, print out your phrase onto paper. I used Arial Black font in 400pt. Once you get all of your letters printed, cut out each one.
6. Transfer the letters to the glitter foam sheets. Turn your glitter sheet over so that it’s face-down on your work surface. Next, place the letter patterns on the sheet’s wrong side. Make sure each letter is face down (they’ll look backwards, but that’s okay since you’re looking at their back side). I like to place all of my letters out first before I trace them. That way I know I have enough sheets to cut them from. TIP: If you have temporary spray adhesive, you can use that to stick the letters to the sheet’s wrong side. Then you don’t have to trace them out before you cut. Just make sure you peel the paper letters off before you glue the glitter pieces to the fringe.
7. Cut out the glitter letters. Make sure you also cut out all of the open areas on the letters like A and O.
8. Attach the letters to the banner. Lay the fringe and ribbon out flat, with all of the fringe pieces smoothed out. Arrange your letters the way you want them below the banner and space them out how you like (you can always use a ruler or tape measure to make sure you’re spacing things evenly). Once you get your letters spelled out correctly (double check!), hot glue each letter to the banner. Use only one thin bead of glue along the top edge of each letter so that it adheres to the fringe’s flange and ribbon ONLY. You don’t want the letters to adhere to the fringe pieces below the flange. Keep those suckers wild and free.
9. You’re done! Now treat yo’ self and hang this sucker up!
It’s August! I can’t believe it. The summer is almost finished, and I haven’t been to the shore once. I hope to solve that problem soon, but before I do, I need to create a little something I can wear over my bathing suit while I stroll around beach.
If you’re also in need of a quick style idea for the beach this summer, head on over to Bernina’s We All Sew blog for my Sheer Top project. The free sleeves and hemline are perfect for the hot coast, letting in the breeze to keep you cool.
All you need is a couple yards of sheer fabric, some ribbon, and trim for the edges, and you’ll be ready to stitch. For the version on We All Sew, I made the top about hip-level, but you can make yours any length by simply elongating the pattern. For my next version, I think I’ll be creating a V-neck that dips both in the front and the back. If sheer isn’t your thing, you can always make this from another light-weight summer staple. It would look lovely in lace or even batiste.
See you at the beach!
As a primarily garment sewer, I always find myself jealous of the amazing quilting fabrics that have become available over the past few years. While I was going to college in Texas and working on fashion design projects for school, quilting fabric was all I really had access to (that is unless I wanted to sew using a dreary print featuring the saddest colors imaginable). I tried making clothes with bright quilting cottons many times over the years, and I was just… unhappy. They never hang just right, and many of them wrinkle if you simply look at them funny. No thanks.
A few months ago, Amy Butler‘s team reached out to me with an amazing announcement: Amy was working on a fabric collection for fashion sewing with Westminster Fibers to be called Alchemy. Not only quilting cottons! They contacted a handful of designers and sewers and asked that we each sew one of our own creations using Amy’s new collection. We were able to preview the fabrics, and select which ones we wanted to experiment with. Free gorgeous fabric?? Yes, please!
Last week I was finally able to see everyone’s projects, and they all came out beautifully! Some of the other designers included Cal Patch from Hodge Podge Farm, Linda Lee from The Sewing Workshop, Colette Patterns, Mary Ray, Indygo Junction, and more. It’s really incredible to see how each person took a look at the same collection and made something completely different. Each designers personal style really shines through in each garment.
For my interpretation, I requested a sateen featuring a directional print. The print ran horizontally across the fabric (along the crossgrain). I’ve never been a big fan of wearing horizontal stripes myself, so I decided to hack right into it and feature the print in a totally new way. I didn’t want to just cut out an ordinary shape. I wanted to really highlight this print in all its glory.
Once all was said and done, the dress above was born. In total, the dress is made from 25 pieces (not including the belt). Yes, 25 pieces. The skirt alone is 16 pieces. Though that may sound like a pain to assemble, the sateen was a breeze to sew, and the dress was actually pretty easy to put together.
So many thanks to Amy and the Westminster Fibers team for including me in this amazing project. It was so inspiring to be given full creative control over a project, and Amy’s gorgeous fabrics were the perfect inspirational springboard.
Take a look at all of the photos to see the amazing work by each of the designers, and stay tuned for a tutorial on how to create your own version of my dress!]]>
The first time you pull a pattern out of an envelope, it can look pretty confusing. There are a LOT of lines and arrows and registration marks and words and… ugh. You get the point.
However, each of those markings has a specific purpose to help you cut out the right-sized pattern accurately and precisely. To help demystify some of these guys, I teamed up with Kollabora to create this video showing you how to get those pesky pieces cut out like a pro.
For more information on reading the pattern, check out my tutorial where you can discover everything you need to know before you start cutting.
And if you who haven’t checked out Kollabora yet, get on it! There you can find tons of tutorials and patters, along with all the supplies you need to create them. Plus, you can connect with tons of other talented crafters and see what they’re up to.
If you have any questions at all, or have ideas for more how-tos, please feel free to let me know in the comments below!
This morning I woke to 40-something-degree weather–not exactly what I’d expect for April. Though my heart yearns for warmer temperatures, I’m actually still excited about chilly evenings. It’s the perfect excuse to wear a few more layers. The other day I pulled out a light-weight wool from my stash with the hopes of it becoming a cape that could add warmth on chilly commutes without a lot of weight. That’s when I found my faux fur stash and remembered this gem.
And with the return of Mad Men on Sunday, the perfect excuse to create a vintage-inspired capelet was born (I honestly I may I watch that show to see the costumes and sets more than the show itself). I used one of my old coats as the foundation for the pattern, which was super easy to draft. The collar is simply a rectangle, so no headache there. If you’d like to make one too, check out the pdf of my pattern on the WeAllSew blog from Bernina!
If you’ve been in search of a way to procrastinate today, look no further. A few months ago I created this YouTube playlist for Etsy on the Threadbanger channel. The playlist was inspired by the video profile of the puppeteer Geahk Burchill, who creates each of his marionettes by hand.
The playlist features a collection of videos (some short, some longer) with the puppet theme in mind. So… if puppets creep you out, perhaps try my last playlist inspired by missed connections. Enjoy!
The very first time I purchased a sewing pattern from my local fabric store, I did so on my own without knowing a single thing about what was inside that envelope. I was totally stoked and ready to get started when I got home and bragged to my mom about what I was about to make. That’s when my mom literally bursted out with laughter at the size of my pattern. It was completely the wrong size. By… a lot.
I was lucky enough to have Mom who took me back to the store, and helped me select the pattern that was right for me. She even helped me read the back of that daunting envelope and purchase the correct amount of fabric to go with it along with all the necessary notions. If Mom wasn’t there, I would have been totally lost.
For those of you that don’t have my amazing mom at your disposal, I created a tutorial on Kollabora to help you decipher what all of those little symbols mean. I promise they’re not as difficult and confusing when you know where to look for the information you need. Once you crack the pattern-envelope code, you’ll have the whole world of patterns at your fingertips ready to be cut, sewn, and then shown off proudly.
And for any of you that haven’t checked out Kollabora yet, head on over now! There you’ll find a tremendous community of makers across the globe, inspirational projects and tutorials, AND all of the supplies you need to make them.
The boldest statements are often the simplest. Based on a simple geometric shape, this vest is easy to sew and striking to wear. Dont worry, the pattern is a breeze to create and all you need to get the job done is a ruler and a tape measure.
I made my version from a loosely-woven lace I found at Mood Fabrics, and then finished the edges with a double-fold bias tape. The great thing about this tutorial is that you can really make it from any lightweight fabric that drapes well (you don’t want too much bulk in the front for the draped neckline.) To see the how-to and discover tons more, head over to Bernina’s WeAllSew blog.
A couple weeks ago, I was asked to compile a playlist for Etsy and Threadbanger as a collaborative project. I was given the task of choosing a theme and then digging through all of YouTube to find a collection of videos around that theme.
Being a fellow curious onlooker of Craigslist’s Missed Connections, I was instantly excited by the profile of one of my favorite Etsy artists, Sophie Blackall. She looked to this incredible online personal lost and found as inspiration for a collection of art that is now available in book form and on public display in the subways in NYC.
So, take a look at the playlist and let me know what you think. I have yet to watch the video of myself, as I’m weird like that, however I thoroughly enjoyed the others and thought you would too. Below are just a couple that are featured including the Etsy profile on Sophie and a love story between a bicycle and a sewing machine by peSeta for the New Museum.]]>