Dress Camp!

Happy New Year, friends!! Over the past couple of days, I’ve been working on my goals and ideas for 2015, which is making me both really excited to get started and curious to see whether I’ll be able to execute on any of them. This is the first year I’ve taken down my Christmas tree on New Year’s Day — usually it’s up until at least the end of January — and I think it’s because I’m ready to get on with the New Year. As far as my goals, some of them are really really Big Exciting Goals, over-the-moon-type-stuff, but others are More Realistic Goals that are definitely possible. In that department: I’d like to do is teach more classes and workshops; I always enjoy teaching so much.

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So I’m very excited to announce my first actually-scheduled event of 2015: I’m going to be teaching again at Camp Stitchalot this spring! Made even more exciting by the fact that I will be co-teaching with Karen LePage, Christine Haynes, and Alexia Abegg. Not only is the teaching lineup awesome, it’s going to be a DRESS CAMP, so the focus of the weekend will be dressmaking techniques (or garment-making, if you’re not into dresses)!

I yanked that photo off of Instagram, where people were pointing out themes of similarity amongst the Stitchalot teachers (pasty skin, buns, bangs). I found that amusing.

Anyway, here’s a few deets, click over to Pink Castle for more info:

WHEN // Friday-Sunday, May 28 – 31, 2015, with an optional extra day, Thursday, May 28 for open sew (teachers will be present at all days, just not teaching on Thursday)

WHERE // Hankerd Inn, Pleasant Lake, Michigan (about an hour from Ann Arbor)

WHAT // The weekend will include full group instruction as well as lots of opportunities for small, one-on-one instruction catering to camper’s needs or questions in garment sewing. Teachers will work with you over the course of the weekend to teach the ins and outs of proper garment construction. The weekend will include four classes discussing different elements of garment making. The first will discuss measuring, pattern sizing, and muslin-making, the second will cover bust dart adjustment, the third class will go over bodice construction, and finally we’ll discuss finishing techniques.

MORE INFO // Check out Pink Castle Fabric’s 2015 Camp Stitchalot page to read more about the weekend and PURCHASE A TICKET!

Camp Stitchalot is SUPER FUN!! We are going a great time sewing up a storm. I hope you can join us for this one!

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Elsa Dress for Christmas

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A couple of months ago it seemed like every single one of my sewing blogger friends who had a daughter was dedicating themselves to recreating an Elsa dress because Halloween was on the horizon. There were some pretty impressive versions, I have to say, but I was totally smug. I had no intention of sewing a single stitch for Halloween. MY daughter was going to be TINKERBELL and I was going to order that costume online and be done with it, BAM! No slaving away over some stupid princess dress for me, NO SIR! BWAH HAH HAHAHAHAHAHA! Shoulda known.

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The thing is, when your kid asks for an Elsa dress for Christmas, and then you go to the store and look at what the $40 Elsa costume looks like, somehow it seems completely sane to immediately make a beeline for the nearest JoAnn so you can buy $50 worth of fabric to make your own (I KNOW. I didn’t have the 50% off coupon. GAAAAH!!! *smacks head against wall*).

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But I will tell you, the look on her face when she opened it up on Christmas Eve and then proceeded to put it on and prance around the house and then wear it every waking hour since that time has made it totally worth it. Completely and totally worth it. She has been spinning and twirling and singing “Let it Go” like it’s her job. The best is when I catch her staring at herself in the mirror with sophisticated Bad-Girl-Snow-Queen expressions.

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Her favorite part is the giant train. She races around the house with it flying behind her and her neck twisted as far back as possible so she can see it. Two yards (and $30 worth) of (probably plastic) snowflake fabric, gathered and carefully inserted between the two pieces of knit that comprise the sheath dress. I would also like to mention that sandwiching a gathered layer of poofy plastic between two layers of knit is not as easy as it sounds. Neither was sewing that heart-shaped seam on the front (shown below; let’s all pretend that she is singing Let It Go rather than expressing her frustration with the photographer). But otherwise the design is pretty simple and the dress itself is super comfy.

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There was also an enlightening conversation at dinner this evening which began with Elliot asking why it was called a “train” and was that related to a choo-choo train, and then ended with me discovering that Mr Rae has no recollection whatsoever of my wedding dress:

Me: I had a short train on my wedding dress.
Mr Rae (suddenly paying attention): Ah yes, I remember it well!
Me (looking skeptical): Oh, REALLY. What did it look like?
***long pause***
Mr Rae: Well…it had sleeves…?
Me (laughing): No it did NOT. UNBELIEVABLE.
*intermittent hysterical laughter continues throughout dinner*

Anyway, for a really good time, ask your husband to describe your wedding dress. I’m completely serious. Please do, because I really want to know what happens.

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!

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5 quick last-minute gifts to sew

With just a few days until Christmas, I thought some of you might appreciate having a few last-minute ideas for gifts to sew. So I’ve put together a little roundup of patterns and tutorials from my blog for you ALONG WITH A NICE PINTEREST-WORTHY IMAGE* just in case you’re still scrambling for ideas!

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1 // Lickety Split Bag: This pattern takes the win for quickest gift that also is sure to impress. If you have a couple of yards of coordinating fabric and a couple of minutes to tape this pattern (it’s only five pages I think?) together, you’ll have a gift in no time. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made this one as a gift; it’s useful as a shopping bag, diaper bag, gym bag, weekend bag…need I go on?

2 // Showoff Bag: This pattern of mine is one deserves some love because it’s an easy project that comes together quite quickly, making it a great gift. A yoga mat nestles nicely between the straps, by the way.

3 // Buttercup Bag: Probably deserves credit as the pattern that launched my business, the smaller sized handbag is free, and the larger size comes with the purchased pattern. Quick and easy and cute!

4 // Chevron Wristlet: This free pattern and tutorial is another great gift — if you don’t have time to piece together the strips, just use the main template for the outside and you have a super-quick gift.

5 // Pom-Pom Scarf: This is another free tutorial on my blog. I still wear this scarf more than any other I’ve made.

Sewing for kids? Check out my quick gifts to sew for kids post!

For more gift ideas, you can visit my pattern shop and click on “children’s patterns” to find more sewing patterns and free ideas, or check out my tutorials page on the blog!

*I am not above producing Pinbait. And this image took for-freaking-ever to make, so I’m also not above pointing out how much work went into it. haha!!

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Last minute gifts to sew for kids!

With just a few days until Christmas, I thought some of you might appreciate having a few last-minute ideas for gifts to sew. This blog has a bunch of tutorials and patterns that tend to get lost in the archives, but lately I’ve noticed (on the sidebar, where the most viewed pages show up), that two of my older fleece tutorials have been getting a bunch of love. That gave me the idea to put together a few ideas for you ALONG WITH A NICE PINTEREST-WORTHY IMAGE* just in case you’re still scrambling for ideas!

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1 // Snowblossom Hat: This super adorable made-to-measure fleece hat is usually sewn for girls, but if you leave the flowers off, it also makes a great gift for your favorite boy (bonus: it’s a free tutorial on my blog!).

2 // Handmade Pajamas: I made these cosy sets for Clementine and Elliot last year (and they still wear them, by the way!) by pairing the Charlie Tunic with the Parsley Pants; both patterns are incredibly versatile on their own, but put them together and you have a recipe for instant cute.

3 // Dragon Slippers: I think the ric-rac down the center and buttons are a great addition to these fleece slippers, but if you wanted to make them more big-kid-friendly, you could just make them without the embellishments. This tutorial is made-to-measure as well, so it’s great for kids of all ages!

4 // Backpack: My little backpack pattern comes in a small toddler size and is really easy to enlarge for a bigger kid — clear instructions for that are included in the pattern, as well as how to line it — so if you’re looking to make something that will both impress everyone and be practical, look no further. (FYI — this one is not a *quick* sew!)

5 // Big Butt Baby Pants: These pants are quick and easy and they make great gifts for babies and toddlers still in diapers. Give a whole set in fun colorful fabrics. For notes on gathering the cuffs as shown here, visit this post.

For more gift ideas for bigger people, check out my 5 Quick Gifts to Sew post!

Or visit my pattern shop and click on “children’s patterns” to find more sewing patterns and free ideas, or check out my tutorials page on the blog!

*I am not above producing Pinbait. And this image took for-freaking-ever to make, so I’m also not above pointing out how much work went into it!!

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Meadow Blossom from sketch to fabric

Here’s another sketch that turned into a Lotus Pond print. Can you recognize the print in this sketch?

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The idea for this design came from a simple comment that Michelle Engel Bencsko made when we were planning out the collection (Michelle is co-owner and art director at Cloud9 Fabrics; I am a licensed Cloud 9 Collective designer); she mentioned that it would be nice to have a large-scale floral to round out the collection. So I sketched out the design above, and she loved it. Then I took the design into Illustrator and turned it into a digital design, added some colors, and sent this back:

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I also sent this yellow version to Michelle. I love to play around with the colors and see what happens!

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Then Michelle took the basic design and made it into the cascading floral repeat that became the final design, which is good because this kind of repeat is a bit of a challenge, and I’m still a bit of an Illustrator newbie. I just love how the flowers cascade across the width of the fabric, which you can see below in this photo from Cloud9’s Instagram feed:

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(photo courtesy of Cloud9 Fabrics)

We landed on a bold blue and white background for this one, and it’s one of my very favorite prints in the whole collection!

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If you liked this post, you might enjoy my other sketch-to-fabric post, Lotus Drop Sketch to Fabric!

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