Sewn Hats Giveaway

As cool as it is to have a book of my own, I have to admit that I probably squealed even louder when my contributor copy of Sewn Hats arrived on my doorstep. There’s just something incredibly fun about seeing your name alongside those of some of your favorite sewing friends. It’s kind of like those old Mickey Rooney movies when all the kids got together to put on a show.

Carla Crim aka The Scientific Seamstress may just be the Kevin Bacon of the sewing world. Flip through the contributor list and I think you’ll be inclined to agree: Alexia Abegg, Bari J., Melissa Averinos, Lisa Carroccio, Joanna Figueroa, Shelly Figueroa, Linda & Scott Hansen, Karen LePage, Kathy Mack, Kaari Meng, Heather Niziolek, Jennifer Paganelli, Betz White,  Patty Young and many more.

But what’s really impressive are the hats.

A little closer look at p. 100:

My own Miss L was clearly the inspiration for this darling cloche, but I also have to tip my hat to the amazing Diva, my friend Lisa, who was the impetus for this project. (Those gorgeous spiderweb roses on the samples in the book are her creations — and the book includes instructions for making them yourself.)

Want a copy of your own? Just comment on this post and you’re entered to win! I’ll close comments and use Random.org to choose a winner on Thursday, Oct. 4. In the meantime, be sure to check out the other stops (and more chances to win a copy of the book) on the Sewn Hats blog tour:

9/4 –  Scientific Seamstress

9/5 –  ModKid Boutique

9/6 – French General

9/10 – Pink Chalk Studio

9/11 -  Lulu Bliss

9/12 – The Domestic Diva’s Disasters

9/13 – Green Bee Patterns

9/14 – Goosie Girl Boutique

9/17 – Melissa Lilac Lane

9/19 – One Girl Circus

9/20 – Tie Dyed Diva Designs

9/21 – Figgy’s Patterns

9/25 – Craftiness is not Optional

9/26 – Bari J.

9/27 – Confessions of a Craft Addict

9/28 – Sis Boom

10/1 – Sew Mama Sew

10/2 – Aesthetic Nest

10/3 – Blue Nickel Studios

10/4 – Betz White

10/8 – Yummy Goods

10/10-  Wiley Craft


Inside the Field Guide

I recently made some time to sit down with Kim Kight’s A Field Guide to Fabric Design. I’ve enjoyed reading Kim’s blog, True Up, and love getting the chance to hang out with her at Quilt Market. But I wasn’t sure her book was really for me. After all, I’m definitely more of a writer than an artist.

Let me tell you something: I was wrong.

Kim’s definitely written a book for anyone who aspires to design fabric, whether for a manufacturer or just themselves (either screenprinting or digitally through a service like Spoonflower). Even if that’s not your goal, however, there is gold in those pages for anyone who loves fabric, sewing, embroidery or designing.

At the point that I curled up with the Field Guide, I was in the midst of helping my friend Meredith with her World Cosplay Summit costume. It’s an amazing outfit with tons of embroidery and embellishments. When my embroidery machine decided to go on strike, Meredith decided to change gears on one piece of her costume and opted to embellish the dozen or so tabbards with some screenprinting.

Now, while I have owned a Yudu screenprinting unit for some time, I don’t use it that often and certainly not for anything as elaborate as Mer had in mind. I’d been trying to work through it in my head when, lo and behold, I found exactly the tips I needed in the Field Guide. Kim’s tips on repeats and creating them while screenprinting made our work infinitely easier. It’s easy to see how I can apply the same concepts to other things like embroidering designs along a hem or creating backgrounds for mixed-media pieces. I’m definitely glad I gave it a chance.

Disclosure: A Field Guide to Fabric Design is published by Stash Books, an imprint of C&T Publishing, which also published my book. The opinions expressed in this blog post are my own. I paid retail price for this book. :)


Quilt Market Recap

Another trip to Quilt Market is under my belt. This is my sixth Quilt Market (I’ve only missed one since my first Fall market in ’08) and I feel like I’ve finally gotten settled into a routine of sorts. It’s kind of a grueling routine (some days we are on the go from 8 a.m. until 11 p.m.) but it’s a heck of a lot less overwhelming than that first show three years ago.

My POV as a Market attendee is really from the retailer side more than the vendor side since I’m there with my friend Sarah to order for her store. We don’t have much downtime and what little we have is spent recapping what we’ve seen, planning what we still want to see and discussing the merits of different products and whether or not they fit into the shop. It’s not easy and there are times when I absolutely love something but have to concede that my tastes run counter to what most customers will like.

There are plenty of places that do a much better job than I ever could of covering what’s at Market, especially when it comes to fabric, so I’m just going to focus on a few of the patterns I saw (and loved) in Houston. (I queried the folks on the blog’s Facebook page and that was the direction that seems to be of interest.)

IMG_1547

My Favorite Things has two new duffel coat patterns out, one for women and one for kids, and the timing couldn’t be better. I snapped a quick photo of a sample at the Checker booth but it really doesn’t do the coat justice.

Such Designs won me over with the look of their patterns. Ellen of The Long Thread asked if I saw them when I ran into her at the Moda booth (be sure to check out her fab new fabric, if you haven’t) and I completely agree with her take on them.

IMG_1566

Embroidery patterns are on the rise and I’m going to have to get my hands on the ones from Penguin & Fish (so glad Sarah plans to get them and also ordered the ones from Sarah Jane). Oh and Lecien was showing off the coolest linen cross stitch/embroidery “tape” that I can see so much potential for.

In the world of quilt patterns, I’ve previously expressed my love for Jaybird and Lizzy House and that’s not going to change anytime soon. I’m also completely, utterly blown away by Thomas Knauer’s new patterns. Like, total awe. I “met” Thomas on Twitter and have been so thrilled to follow his journey to fabric designer (Andover! Pear Tree! Won a fat quarter bundle in his Schoolhouse!) and his patterns do not disappoint.

You can see all my Market photos on Flickr.


Sew Fun Birthday

20111024-174611.jpg

Is anyone else addicted to Pinterest? I swear, I go back and forth between cursing and praising that site. On one hand, it’s such a time suck. On the other…well, I’ve definitely been inspired.

20111024-174428.jpg

20111024-174440.jpg

Pinterest played a key part in Miss L’s seventh birthday party, which started with this blog post. I instantly fell in love and just knew my bunny would love to celebrate her 7th with a sewing party.

20111024-174618.jpg

I did a little appliqué and embroidery on linen for the party invites, scanned them in and added the rest of the details in Photoshop.

20111024-181212.jpg

On Saturday, our guests were met at the door with a fun “wreath” made for the occasion.

20111024-174059.jpg

We started out with some fun crafts with each girl making a little embroidered piece to take home and a funky felt floral headband.
20111024-174201.jpg

20111024-174235.jpg

20111024-174253.jpg

A lunch of heart-shaped grilled cheese sandwiches, baby carrots with ranch dip, caramel drizzled apple slices, yogurt with fresh berries and sewing themed sugar cookies was served.

20111024-174504.jpg

20111024-174513.jpg

20111024-174528.jpg

20111024-174542.jpg

20111024-174557.jpg

A cute-as-a-button cake and raspberry lemonade completed the meal.
20111024-174604.jpg

20111024-174520.jpg

We played a laugh-filled game of “put the spool on the sewing machine” and trotted out the props in a photo booth session.
20111024-174452.jpg

20111024-174410.jpg

The day ended with a piñata, also themed for the occasion (a giant spool of thread)!

20111024-174549.jpg

Our birthday girl thanked each guest for coming with a handmade goodie bag and chocolate button lollipop.
20111024-174648.jpg

The little miss deemed it “the best birthday ever,” which made it worth all the work.

Resources

Candy button molds, sewing cookie cutters, polka dot paper straws: Bake It Pretty

Flower Frill Clover template, party hats and crown pattern by The Quilted Fish, Michael Miller fabrics (polka dots from Children at Play, ginghams from Mini Mikes): Intown Quilters

Fabric pinwheels: tutorial by Sandi Henderson (modified)

Ruffled chair garlands: tutorial by Hank + Hunt

Cake: me and Publix (story to come)

Sugar cookies: Recipe from Cake Central, royal icing by CK from Cake Art Party Store, decorating tutorial (my first time decorating cookies like this!) by Sweetopia.

Drink bottles: Starbucks single-serving Frappuccino, saved for me by my son’s super sweet girlfriend (thanks again, Laura!)

Birthday banner: tutorial coming!

Spool piñata: tutorial coming!

Goodie bags: tutorial coming!

Tip Junkie handmade projects


To Market, to Market

I may officially be the last person to blog about Quilt Market. Seriously, I’ve been home more than two weeks and still haven’t finished scanning in my pics. Instead of waiting for the planets to align and that to happen, I’m going to just dive in with a few pics and my thoughts on some things I saw there.

Above is the view from our hotel room in SLC as the sun rose our last morning there. The weather was all kinds of perfect and Salt Lake City has to be one of the nicest cities I’ve ever visited.

It’s always fun to go to Market but exhausting, too. This trip was no different, with Sarah and I up and at ‘em early every morning, on the go all day, attending social/networking events in the evening, then winding down in time to grab some (not nearly enough) sleep. Even with all that time on the floor, it’s easy to be overwhelmed and miss so much of what’s there. After comparing notes, Sarah and I noticed a few trends:

  • Solids are big and definitely getting attention from a lot of quadrants. Manufacturers, pattern designers and authors are all tapping into this one. I love me some Kona but I’m also grooving on the FreeSpirit Designer Solids (touch them and see if you don’t agree that the hand is just amazing).

  • Stitchery — embroidery and cross stitch — is being shown lots of love, too. Sarah Jane and Anna Maria Horner both come to mind but they’re far from the only ones (the awesome Rashida Coleman-Hale even gave out a free cross stitch pattern that goes with her new fabric line). The new aida cloth from Westminster is some of the nicest I’ve touched and may even seduce me into trying some more cross stitching.

  • Modern quilting styles meet more challenging techniques. Personally, I’m loving this! I am so enamored of the “modern” aesthetic but I’m ready to challenge myself every now and then with some more complex piecing — but nothing so overwhelming that I can’t finish it in a weekend (Mariner’s Compass, you’re just going to have to wait your turn).

Get Inspired

inspired to sew

I’m honored to kick off Bari J.‘s Inspired to Sew blog tour today. Her new book is a beautiful work filled with her signature style and projects I can’t wait to make (and I think you’ll want to sew them, too). Bari’s asked each blog tour host to share what inspires us to sew. Here’s my story:

My mother and daughter share a dimpled chin, a love of crafting and a huge part of my heart — and credit for inspiring me to sew. They have never met — can never meet — but I like to think my sewing brings them a little closer together.

I remember growing up and thinking my mom could make anything. Time and again she’d prove it by turning piles of fabric into my favorite outfits. I’ve combed through family photos again and again, trying to find ones that showed the skirts, the tees, the dresses, the Halloween costumes she made but it seems my memories are really all I have.

After I became a mom, my mother turned her talents to sewing for her grandsons, happily creating blankets and costumes for the boys who stole her heart. She satisfied her desire for a granddaughter by sewing for my much-younger female cousins, whipping up doll clothes and dresses.

And then she was gone.

Which led to me convincing Honey our family might not be complete after all. And three years later we brought home the sweetest, silliest, most amazing baby girl, who fills our home and our lives with so much joy. How could I not give her the same kind of love my own mother showed me? I bought a new sewing machine and began to sew for the first time in years — and the first time ever that I could not call my mom and have her talk me through a problem.

I’ve sewn countless yards of fabric in the past six years, enough clothes to fill a closet (or three) and even written a book — all inspired by my mother and daughter. I sew with love, the way my mother taught me, and the way I hope to teach my daughter, too.

Are you Inspired to Sew? I hope so — and I hope you’ll comment on this post so you can win your very own copy of Bari’s book. Tell me why you’re inspired to sew between now and noon Thursday, Feb. 3. I’ll draw a winner from the comments and announce it here on the blog and probably over on my Twitter, too. And be sure to check out the rest of the stops on the blog tour, too:

Feb 1, Jennifer Paganelli: Sis Boom!

Feb 2, Jona Giammalava: Stop Staring and Start Sewing

Feb 3, Rashida Coleman Hale: I Heart Linen

Feb 4, Sarah Fielke: The Last Piece

Feb 5, Jenny Doh: Crescendoh

Feb 6, Cara Wilson: Cara Quilts

Feb 7, Deborah Moebes: Whipstitch Fabrics

Feb 8, Monica Solorio-Snow: The Happy Zombie

Feb 9, Susanne Woods: Stash Books (giving away a stack of Bari’s Full Bloom fabric!)

P.S. That cool I’m Inspired to Sew blog badge is available on Bari’s blog. Go get one for yourself!


The Hostesses with the Mostesses

Me with Bari and Jona at International Quilt Market, Houston, October 2010

Before I wrote a book, I had no idea what it really entailed. The blood, sweat, tears and lack of sleep? No clue. I also didn’t know it would connect me with some amazing people, some I already knew but others I’ve met along the way. When it was time to pull together this little thing they call a blog book tour, I hoped some of those fun sewing friends would say “yes” — and I’m delighted they did. I think you’ll enjoy these introductions and maybe learn a little more about some of the cool folks who are part of my world.

  • Lisa aka The Domestic Diva is one of my favorite friends. I actually had the good fortune to meet her on her turf a couple of years ago and was delighted to find her just as bold, fun and loving in real life as she has been on the phone and Internet. Her blog is an indispensable sewing resource, covering everything from sewing room organization to tutorials for handmade gifts.
  • When Susan introduced herself to me in Houston, I was tickled to bits. And then I came home and looked at her blog and realized the amazing talent she is. She’s an author, a columnist for Quilting Arts magazine and a ridiculously talented fiber artist. Check out her blog post about Snow Squall and you’ll see what I mean (and then go download the free snowflake design and try your hand at it).
  • I met Jessica in Pittsburgh about 18 months ago where she was shopping around the designs for what would become her first fabric line, Timber. I think I must have been the last person who knew her blog and, boy, was I missing out! That girl does it all and makes it look so easy, too. She even makes camping look appealing!
  • It never ceases to amaze me how small this sewing/crafty world is. My dear friend Sheree (who also happens to be friends with Lisa) introduced me to Penny at Fall Market. Well, any friend of Sheree’s is a friend of mine — and she’s a curly girl, too, so I knew I’d just love her. She’s so sweet and down to earth, and I had no idea she was this super awesome quilty/outdoorsy girl. I can’t wait to try my hand at making some of these wonky star blocks.
  • In the boutique sewing world there’s really one source for what’s hot and that’s Boutique Cafe. Founder/host Daria is a tireless promoter of mompreneurs, mom of five (happy birthday, Lola!) and one of the kindest, most genuine people I’ve ever met. Go to your iTunes and subscribe to the free Boutique Cafe podcast — you won’t be disappointed.
  • I started stalking Rashida soon after I found out she’s also a C&T author. A C&T author who lives near me. Woooo! It’s like finding a cousin you never knew you had. In the real world, she’s too cool to hang out with the likes of me (she’s an author AND a fabric designer). But she’s still pretty new to the area and doesn’t know any better yet, so I’ll continue to drag her to lunch until she catches on.
  • Back in the day when I was still pretty new to this whole blogging thing, Sew, Mama, Sew gave me the opportunity to review a pattern for Children’s Clothing Month. Less than a year later, I was back and writing about sewing a muslin (a post that was picked up by Craft and made my head swell about 100 times!). When this book was still just an idea, I read Susanne’s interview on Sew, Mama, Sew and finally got up the courage to prepare my proposal for C&T. And, well, I think we all know how that ended.
  • Jona was one of the first folks I met at my first Quilt Market in Houston two years ago and I’m so happy to be able to call her my friend. I am perpetually in awe of all she accomplishes. She’s also a genuine, generous person who shares her time and talents with so many. Check out her great skirt mod tutorial and get a taste of what I’m talking about. Also? She has the stinkin’ cutest chiweenie on the planet and is lucky I don’t live closer because I’d have to take him home with me.
  • If you love fabric you have to be reading True Up. Kim’s site is THE resource for everything fabric related and is one of my must reads. Watching her in action at Market is nothing compared to reading her coverage of the event. She’s also a really fun person to hang out with, even when I’m being a total dork!
  • Bari and I brushed shoulders at my first Market. Both of us did some sewing for the then-wounded Paula Prass and happened to be at Paula’s booth at the same time. I recognized Bari right away but was too intimidated to say anything to her because ZOMGIT’SBARIJ! I finally had the chance to meet her in Pittsburgh (where she debuted her first line of fabric) and was still pretty awed because ZOMGSHE’SBARIJ! And then…we both ended up part of the Stash/C&T family, going through the whole process of writing a book at pretty much the same time. Bari was one of the few people I could talk to about the book and it made the experience even better to have her ear. And her friendship.

Be sure to visit each blog during the course of the book tour and enter to win a copy of Little Girls, Big Style. They’re an awesome group of women and I’m so thankful each one is taking part in this!


I Get Around

This weekend kicks off something of a mini book tour for Little Girls, Big Style. While it’s not on the level of a World Domination Tour, maybe I can consider it an Atlanta+Alabama Introduction Tour.

I can’t even begin to tell you how excited (and nervous!) I am. It’s kind of the next step in this whole writing-a-book gig but it’s still a little surreal. Fortunately, I’ll get to see some friends and family along the way, which is sure to make the whole thing even more fun. And of course I’d love to see you, too! Here’s where and when you can find me:

I’m also incredibly excited to have my blog book tour coincide with my mini signing tour. An awesome group of folks agreed to take part and it’s shaping up to be a really cool 10 days of reviews, Q&As and giveaways. You can check out all the details on the Stash Books blog but here’s the tour schedule

• December 6th The Domestic Diva’s Disasters
• December 7th Blue Moon River
• December 8th Juicy Bits
• December 9th Sew Take a Hike
• December 10th Boutique Café
• December 11th I Heart Linen
• December 12th Sew, Mama, Sew
• December 13th Stop Staring and Start Sewing
• December 14th True Up
• December 15th Bari J

I hope you can join the fun, whether in person or online!