Buy Handmade

One day while driving down Main Street in the city where my kids attend school, I noticed a new shop’s sign on a long-empty storefront. An artists’ market. I was so excited, it took everything I had to not pull over and peer through the window. Of course, it was 6:30 a.m. and nothing was open, and I really needed to get home so my husband could get to work. I made a mental note to check back later.

It was about two weeks before I could stick my head in the door and scope things out at Leasa: Life’s Work. And what I saw made me a bit giddy. Cool handmade goods. Some other neat gift-y things. A cool workspace for classes. Best of all was Leasa, the owner, who’s been making and selling handmade cards forever. I loved hearing about her work and her vision for her new shop. I think it’s a great thing for our area and I can’t wait to support it and the craftsmen who are selling their wares there.

I’m also excited to be offering some of my things there. I’ve already taken three Miss Madeline dresses adn a couple of wristlet bags.

Miss L watched me take the dresses into the shop and was so sad to see them go. Of course, they’re all too small for her and it’s not like I can’t sew her others. (In fact, I’ve already made her a different dress with the Heather Bailey and Dena Designs fabrics, so I’m not sure what the deal is.) And I always love sewing with Paula’s Flights of Fancy. It always makes me smile!

The wristlets are my own design and feature embroidery from Urban Threads of two lovebirds. I thought it added some interest to the little bags and I especially love the repetition of the Park Slope fabric with all those cute little birds.

Still Waiting

For fall, that is. Because then I can actually wear my fabulous new jacket!

I fell in love with the style when I sewed a similar one for the bunny. I couldn’t find one exactly like it but I found something close and just tweaked it. I think it’s a pretty good match.

The fabric is from the Park Slope line by Erin McMorris, which I lurve like nothing else. The color is just beautiful, such a deep raspberry and I think it’ll look great with jeans or maybe even a fall skirt.

I’ve been planning to add the little girl’s jacket a a you-pick-the-fabric custom to my Etsy and am contemplating doing the same with this one, but I’m not 100 percent certain yet.

Regardless, I think I’ll be making a couple more of these for my closet. Of course with coordinating jackets for Mini Me. 🙂

Going to the Farmer’s Market

I know y’all must get tired of me falling in love with the things I sew, but I’ve done it again. I was lucky enough to be a tester for a pattern and used some Farmer’s Market and Park Slope fabrics to make this darling peasant-style dress with apron.


And I’m a bit bummed, too, because I only have enough for one — and it’s in my Etsy shop. I messed up when cutting out the dress so instead of having one for the bitsy and one to sell, I only have this one. Is it wrong that I hope no one buys it so I can sneak it into her closet?

The dress is part of another Trendy Textiles launch, so be sure to show my buddies some love and see all the great things they’ve made. The theme is “Mommy Took Me to the Farmer’s Market” and features lots of great things for girls and moms.

Spotlight: Erin McMorris

This is the first profile in an occasional series spotlighting interesting crafters, artists and designers.

For someone who spends a large percentage of her time around fabric, Erin McMorris admits she’s little more than a recreational sew-er.
“I sew but I sort of sew organically,” she says via phone from her Portland, Ore., home. “I don’t know how to read patterns. Quilts, I don’t like precision so I do a lot of blocks but they don’t line up. I feel like I know how to sew for me; to show anybody else is just terrifying.”
That means a lot of pillows and skirts created by pinning them on her body before stitching them up. “It’s all for me,” she says with a laugh.
McMorris may be a relatively new name in the world of fabric design but it’s hardly new territory for her. The graphic designer and illustrator grew up literally surrounded by fabric and the quilting industry, thanks to her mother, Penny McMorris of Electric Quilt.
“I’ve been around (the industry) my entire life,” she says. “When I was growing up, I always knew I would do something with design. … But I never even knew about textile design.”
Instead, she studied graphic design, a path that “very much fit me.” It wasn’t until a friend was taking a textile design course that McMorris realized it was the work she was meant to do.
“I knew right away it was the right thing for me,” she says.
Much of her career has been spent selling her work for use by other companies. Jo-Ann Stores, Lands’ End, The Land of Nod and Target are just a few of the major retailers who’ve bought her designs for use on their products. She admits there’s a certain excitement that accompanies seeing her work when she’s out shopping.
“It never gets old. I just love it!” she says.
Her enjoyment extends to the creations made by others with the two fabric lines she’s created for FreeSpirit Fabric (part of Westminster Fibres), Urban Gardens (2007) and Park Slope, which has recently hit stores.
“It’s such fun for me because … you don’t have any expectation what people are going to do with it,” she says. “I get really excited about that.”
While some of the shapes in Park Slope are somewhat evocative of her previous line, the range has a completely different feel from her first consumer fabrics.
“I went a little conservative,” she says of Urban Gardens. “I hadn’t done this before. With Urban Gardens, I was trying to do something not really true to myself.”
It’s a stark contrast to her feelings about Park Slope.
“I really feel like the line is very me,” she says. “I try to do things different each time to keep myself interested, as well.”
The foundation piece for Park Slope is the Poppy Dot Floral, a print McMorris actually lived with before expanding the line.
“I had printed it on fabric myself and made some things,” she says. “People were looking at it and commenting, asking if they could buy it. When it was time to do my second line, I knew where the other shapes — the organic feeling — was going to come from.”
For McMorris, that means starting with a hand-drawn sketch that is then scanned into the computer and expanded upon, using Adobe Photoshop and her Wacom tablet. She admits it’s a slow process.
“It takes me forever!” she says. “I don’t work on it continuously; sort of bits and pieces here and there.”
In the interim, she works on other designs for sale and licensing. All told, she estimates it can take her six months to complete the design work for a fabric line. “I swear, I don’t know how people do all these lines,” she says with a laugh.
She’s already hard at work on her next line for Free Spirit, although “I’m afraid to say what it looks like right now,” she says. “I’m still liking what I see. It’s a little retro but the colors are brighter this time as well.”

Copyright 2008 by Mary Abreu. All rights reserved. Please do not copy without permission.

Fun With Park Slope

We’re at it again! Our Trendy Textiles design team is doing another launch, this one on our “home base” (Etsy). We’re up to 24 listings with more being added every day.

My contribution for this launch is probably my current favorite outfit. I love fall; it’s my favorite season. And sewing fall clothes is tons of fun for me. Of course, we are a long way from fall weather here in the South but that doesn’t keep me from thinking about it. LOL!

I’m debuting a new top style with this set, The Tara Jumper top. This one uses a lovely brown babywale cord with that gorgeous orange fabric. The gauchos have an elastic waist and mostly straight legs, with a nice, big pocket on the outside of the right leg. There’s a touch of cluny lace on both pieces (the jumper hem and pants cuffs). I think I’m going to have to draft a pair of pants like this for me, complete with lace. They’d be so fun with a pair of boots or even tights and mary janes.

Park Slope Launch

The Trendy Textiles design team (of which I am a member!) is having an eBay launch featuring the new Park Slope line of fabrics by Erin McMorris. Totally in love with these fabrics and can’t wait to work with them some more!

You can see all the listings here, including the little set to the left here. I’m quite pleased with it and I think the little missy is loving it, too. Of course, it’s a little too warm to wear it with the pants right now but I think it’ll be perfect as two pieces when summer ends.