Houston Round-Up: Patterns

I intended to blog from Houston but technical difficulties prevented that. So I guess I’ll just try to muddle through and remember all the details from three jam-packed days of fabric, patterns and friends.

I’ve tried to do a chronological Market round-up the past two visits but I think I’m going to try a thematic approach this time. First up: Patterns!

Because I sew clothing, I’m always on the lookout for cool, new patterns to try and there were plenty to choose from at this fall’s International Quilt Market. If you follow Patty Young’s blog, you already know she’s got some new patterns on the way. I loved seeing them in person and have really enjoyed sewing her patterns, so the new ones definitely will be added to my collection.

Fellow Michael Miller fabric designers Paula Prass and Sandi Henderson also have new patterns on the way. I loved Paula’s new bag pattern but the jacket and dress patterns really caught my eye. Just a really great aesthetic, kind of an updated retro vibe. I’m pretty excited that Sandi’s adding some adult patterns to her repertoire. The wrap skirt looks so pretty and romantic and I think the ruffled pants for women will be well received, too (although I’m not sure I have what it takes to pull them off LOL). She’s also got a new pattern for boys with her own little guy modeling.

Chelsea of Pink Fig showed off her new patterns and I can already guess the Nie Nie Skirt is going to be huge. The story behind it is so touching and Chelsea’s donating a percentage of the pattern’s proceeds to the Nie Nie fund.

Her aunt Lucy debuted her new pattern line, Hot Scott, which should make those moms of boys happy. Yes — a line of patterns for boys! Lucy is such a sweetie and I’m so excited to see her Market debut. The patterns are cute and I saw a lot of traffic at her booth.

Speaking of new pattern line debuts … My beautiful friend Sheree had her first booth at Market for her new pattern line, Sheree’s Alchemy, which will be out in November. I have always loved her aesthetic and can’t wait until these patterns come out. The girls’ clothing ones are kind of “classic contemporary,” very refined and age appropriate. And her home sewing patterns are just as cool as she is. I totally understand why she had a steady stream of visitors to her booth!

Kay Whitt at Serendipity Studio never ceases to amaze me with her designs. This Market was no exception with six new patterns, including a sweet, modern tunic/dress pattern that I had to snatch up on the spot. Seriously. I’m planning to hit the shop this week to buy some fabric for it; I love it that much. The new bag and skirt patterns are also really cool and I’m sure they’ll end up in my collection before too long.

Is there anyone on the planet who is not aware of my love of all things Melly & Me? Melly and Rosie are just so incredibly sweet and talented, and it’s impossible for me not to love everything they do. Which probably explains why I walked away from their booth with a new Rosalie Quinlan Design’s quilt pattern, two new bag patterns and Melly’s first book, Kaleidoscope. I probably would have bought more except I already own most of it! LOL!

The talented Amy Butler has a couple of gorgeous new patterns coming out, including a shirt dress and a coat. I want them both but after seeing the dress on Amy, I’m not sure if it’s going to fit my curvier self. Of course, I’ll probably give it a try anyway! LOL!

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the Indygo Junction patterns. The fit of the women’s clothing patterns is sometimes a little boxy but I keep buying and sewing them because I do like them. I think the new Bell Sleeve Blouse is going to change my opinion for the better. I checked out the samples and the darts and cut seem to be much more figure flattering. They didn’t have any available at Market or else I’d have grabbed one to try. However, I know Sarah ordered it so I’ll be buying it as soon as it’s in.

Feels Sew Good

I have been indulging in a bit of recreational sewing lately, vs. sewing for hire. It has been a nice change of pace after being so busy the past few months (not that I’m complaining!) and I’m really loving (mostly) what I’ve been working on.

My love for Sugar Snap by Melissa Averinos knows no bounds. I don’t remember the last time I was in love with an entire line of fabric and wanted to sew with every piece — and it’s not hard to do with this line since there are only 15 prints. (BTW, if you’re in the Atlanta area, Sarah has the entire line in stock at Intown Quilters.) It is just so fun and I love the colors. The bag on the left is Sandi Henderson‘s Market Bag pattern. It’s the first time I’ve made it and I really messed up where the straps connect, so it’s good that you can’t see it. I think if I make the bag again, I’ll try home dec fabric and skip the canvas interfacing. It was just really bulky to work with in some spots. Plus? I’m lazy and would rather not spend time basting canvas to fabric if I could be putting something together.

The dress on the right is too darned cute for words. It’s from a Japanese sewing book and I thought it was a great match for the print. I like that it can be layered over long sleeves or worn without when the weather warms up. Actually, that’s why I cut out the size 4 instead of the 3 (Miss L’s usual size) — I’m hoping she won’t have outgrown it by the time spring rolls around. Oh, and it’s also for the Trendy Textiles launch on Etsy next week, which is all about Sugar Snap. (Yep, that means it’ll be in my shop, as a custom-sized item.)

Continue reading “Feels Sew Good”

Color Theory

Probably one of the most frequent comments I hear about my sewing is “I love the fabrics you choose!” It never fails to bring a smile to my face, as well as a little bit of a blush.

One of the things I touch on in the classes I teach is fabric selection — not just the appropriate type of fabric to use for a garment but also color, print and scale.

Give any 10 sewists the same pattern and you’ll likely get 10 very different interpretations of that garment, each with a very different “feel.” A lot of that has to do with fabrics they chose. It’s not just about color, but about how the colors and prints work with (or against) each other.

When I pick fabrics for a project, I think about who I’m sewing for plus how many fabrics I want to use and where I’ll use them. Samantha’s Miss Madeline pattern is illustrated with dresses that use the same fabric for the sleeves and dress, with a contrasting fabric at the waistband and apron edges. I like to mix it up a little more, so I use that same contrasting fabric on the sleeves as well. (Of course, I think it would be super fun to add another fabric into the mix and have the sleeves be something entirely different.)

For this particular dress, I knew I wanted to use that gorgeous orange floral print from Sandi Henderson’s Farmer’s Market line but I wasn’t quite sure what to put with it. The person I was sewing it for said she likes stripes and wanted a very fall feel to the dress. I literally went to the quilt store, pulled the bolt of main fabric off the wall and started walking around to find fabrics that spoke to me. (Doesn’t that sound so zen? LOL!)

I do it fairly often, actually. It’s not unusual for me to pile a table with bolts of fabric so I can lay them on top of each other to see how the colors and patterns work together. Often, it’s not so much about matching colors exactly but seeing if they’re harmonious when placed alongside each other. The orange in the stripe from this Amy Butler fabric is pretty darned close to one of the oranges in the flower but what really makes the two work together is the graduated shading of the green stripes. It kind of echoes the graduated shading of the flowers. Similar but different. It’s why I chose the Flutterby panel for the apron. The greens sort of fade into each other and really complement the bordering stripes without being an exact match. When put together, the three fabrics give off a similar vibe; they all say “fall” with the same subtle voice.

Contrast that dress with these two, also made with the same Miss Madeline pattern. They have a completely different feel, thanks to very different fabric choices:

Another thing that’s important to think about is the scale of print. Most fabric lines made by quilting fabric manufacturers include a large print, medium print and small print. Why? Because when you are combining fabrics, it’s pleasing to the eye to have prints of varying scale. A good rule of thumb for choosing a fabric based on scale is fewer seams, bigger print. Bigger pieces of fabric will maintain the integrity and feel of the print, whereas smaller prints can more easily accommodate more seams and smaller cuts.

I absolutely adore the aqua mermaid fabric on the dress to the left. Those mermaids, however, are HUGE, about 12″ tall and 8″ wide. If I tried to use that fabric for a patchwork twirl skirt, for example, it would lose so much of the under-the-sea effect that it just wouldn’t be the same. Instead, I chose to make a jumper-style dress with two big pieces and two side seams. The accent fabric is a medium-ish sized polka dot that balances the larger print.

I don’t really think of these as hard-and-fast rules by any means but these are the kinds of things in the back of my head when I’m selecting fabrics. Ultimately my goal is for whatever I make to reflect the wearer’s personality, rather than wear the owner.

Whip it Up

I have been a sewing machine the past couple of weeks, which means less time for the Internets since something’s gotta give. Housework has been pretty limited, too, although I did cave in to the laundry (Laundry 987, Mary 0) and fold and put away the mountain heaped on the living room chair.

But when I haven’t been ignoring laundry, I’ve been sewing every chance I get. Between orders, new stuff for Etsy and Miss L’s fall wardrobe, I’ve been mighty busy. In a good way, of course. You’ll have to wait for the fashion show, though. I have yet to get pics of pretty much anything other than this skirt. And I didn’t take that picture, although I was quite involved with it. 😉 I’m quite pleased with it. It’s a wrap skirt made from Sandi Henderson’s Farmer’s Market fabrics. I’ve been meaning to sew it for a while but didn’t get the chance until this week. It turned out even better than I imagined!

OK, back to the sewing room for me. I’ve got work to do!

P.S. Picked up my leftovers from the consignment sale yesterday and I am super happy with my scant pile. Only a couple of mama-mades didn’t sell. Yay!

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.

Flowers for Teacher

I made this paper flower bouquet for Miss L’s teacher, as an end-of-the-year “thank you” gift. I had so much fun with it — and it was so well received by her teachers and the other parents at school — that I knew it deserved a tutorial. This one features fabric from Sandi Henderson’s Ginger Blossom line for Michael Miller. I decoupaged the fabric on the pot using Mod Podge. The rim of the pot was painted with a dark brown paint, which I sponged off a bit to give it a distressed leather look.

To make your own pretty flower pot bouquet, you will need:

  • Flower template
  • Construction paper or cardstock
  • Scrapbook paper (optional)
  • Pen
  • Scissors
  • Thin wooden dowels
  • Papier mache flower pot
  • Green paint and brush or sponge brush
  • Pot-decorating items (paint, fabric, paper, etc.)
  • Tissue paper or paper grass
  • Tulle or ribbon
  • Circle cutting tool or punch, or a circular object you can trace
  • Picture of each child, cropped to approximate circle size (2 inches is recommended)
  • Adhesive (glue dots, Xyron, glue stick, etc.)
  • 5×5-inch cube of dry floral foam
  • Paper shredder

And here’s my first video tutorial (please be kind!):