Friday, May 28, 2010


Okay, I'll admit it. I am a huge fan of Peltex, to the point where I would go into a massive depression if Pellon ever decided to discontinue it. It is like Duct Tape for the sewing world. For those of you who haven't used it before it basically REALLY heavy interfacing that is fusible on both sides. You can use it in your projects to construct many different three dimensional shapes that wouldn't be possible with fabric alone.
Yesterday we were playing with fabric flowers. (This is for a delicious project for my second fabric release for Robert Kaufman Fabrics, coming out in late fall of this year.) Our favorites were the two below:

Which do you all like better? Both use Peltex in the leaves. The flower on the right uses Peltex in the flower as well, which gives it a more defined look. We can't decide.

These are the things I learned making these flowers:
1. I am a better sewer than hot-gluer.
2. Sometimes you shouldn't skip basting (don't pretend you haven't tried this either!)
3. White hot fabric glue stuck to tips of fingernails doesn't look anything like a French manicure.

What a mess, but I do like the result! Of course, we had to make a matching barrette.

Have a lovely Memorial Day, everyone!


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Monday, May 24, 2010

Beautiful Bows

We found a stash of silk ribbon that I had bought while visiting New York. Even ballerinas have to accessorize!

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pleated Pockets

I've been spending much of my time lately working on two new families to submit to Robert Kaufman Fabrics, but I took a much-needed break today for a bit of sewing.

Now, I know that there are much wiser souls out there would never dream of purchasing fabric without a specific project in mind (or at least admit to it), but that is not the way we roll here, principally because I am not that organized. Besides, sometimes you just fall in love with a fabric, or a fabric/special-person-in-your-life-combination.

This is why I frequently find myself in a GREAT SEWING QUANDARY. (Which, incidentally, I didn't know how to spell before writing this entry.) The quandary is that I think up the "perfect project" for the fabric that I have purchased, only to find that I don't actually have enough fabric to complete it. What is a girl to do?

Such is the case today. I fell in love with this combination of batiks when we were traveling about a month ago because it reminds me of a friend of ours who always dresses in springtime colors. (We will code name this lady "Batgirl" because it is our nine-year-old's idea and I am a big fan of his ideas.)

Later, it occurred to me that I really should make a bag out of the fabrics because Batgirl loves the bags that I've made in the past. But then I realized that I don't really have enough of the salmon print to create the pockets, nor do I have enough of any one print to make the straps.

I have now determined that contrasting straps would only enhance the design.

As to the pockets... I added another print into the mix and sewed strip sets of that print, alternating with the salmon.

I love how the modern rings contrasts with the batiks! Then I pressed them into pleats and basted the edges, so that just a bit of the more dominant teal print shows through.

I sewed them to the backside of the pocket, with a strip of light teal batik in between for trim, folded it and half and now we have fancy, pleated pockets!

I think Batgirl will like the fancy pockets even more than the regular pockets, don't you?

Here is the bag, sans pockets, lining, and straps, ready for quilting. If this looks like a project that might interested you, stay tuned. I should have it posted as a free project next month.

Speaking of free projects, I create these for the enjoyment of the crafting and sewing community at large. I've met so many great teachers and fellow sewers over the years and feel that this is a way I can pass on a little of the joy that they have given me. I've had a couple of inquiries over recent weeks regarding the feasibility of a) distributing my free patterns or b) selling projects created from them, particularly Twirly Skirt and Springtime Coasters. Please feel free to make copies of any of these free patterns for your friends and, yes, I'd be thrilled if you loved them enough to use them for a guild project, but please do NOT sell the patterns or items made using the patterns for monetary gain. This would not be in the spirit in which I have created these patterns.

Thanks everyone, and have a great week!

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Friday, May 7, 2010

A clever pattern...

I was running into Creative Sewing and Vacuums to pick up thread the other day when I saw colorful spring dress pinned to the wall. It was made using a pattern called "The Sabrina Tunic" by Serendipity Studio.
Although I am presently developing several quilt and home-dec patterns for my first line by Robert Kaufman, called "Ambrosia" (more on that in the near future), I thought it was a great project to showcase a lively print with a contrasting fabric accent, so I picked up a copy.

I tested it with some fabric that I already had on hand. Here is the result.

Clearly, I am not a professional model and was torn about whether to even post this, but I think this pattern is REALLY clever and deserves some publicity. The designer gives you many blouse, dress, and trim options, all using four basic pattern pieces + facings. The next time I make this I may try getting rid of the facings all together and doubling up on bodice pieces to greate more of a lined look, but overall I was really pleased with the result.

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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

NCDT School of Dance Benefit Performance

At the end of every school year, North Carolina Dance Theatre School of Dance puts on a Benefit Performance, and this year is no exception. The performance is at 7:30 on Thursday, June 3rd, at the Booth Playhouse. This isn't the school's recital - it is an opportunity to see pieces the older students (apprentices and trainees) have worked on throughout the year. It is a really fantastic show.

I designed this poster to help advertise the Benefit. The photo is by Peter Zay.

If you live in the Charlotte area, don't miss the opportunity to some and see it. If interested, you can call the box office at 704.372.1000.

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Sunday, May 2, 2010

Twirly Skirt!

Here is a new free pattern I'd like to share with you for summer - "Twirly Skirts". It features directions for girls' skirts sizes 6-16, but the pattern is so simple you can adjust it for adult sizes as well.
We've made a few different versions of skirts like this, but we really liked this one in particular and wanted to share. It has just enough ruffled detail to make it feminine and fun while still draping nicely, and it works well in a variety of fabrics.

Whip up a couple in fun prints for your favorite young lady, and use the scraps to make matching hair clips!

A lovely model, if I do say so myself. Thank you, Caitrin!

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