There’s some very cute stuff in our Flickr pool lately! Have you all seen these stuffed mini-cushies
made up by Jhoanna Aranez over at One Red Robin? Or this stuffed garden gnome by naturesgirl at Poot & Boogie? Very cute. And I can’t wait to see what becomes of these fabrics, too!
Creative Community Spotlight
I think of summer in NC as my indoor season. It’s just so darn hot and humid in June, July, and August that there’s nothing for it but to stay inside and sew, make slushy drinks for the girls, and remain as still as possible.
September, though? Glorious relief! It’s been 70 degrees here lately which means that it’s outdoors for me again today. For the girls, too. My middle daughter, all of 3-1/2 years old, found so many worms in the garden today that she had an enormous tangled ball of them in her grubby little palm by the time I noticed what she was doing. (She said they were "cuddling.")
But all this much needed outdoors time means that I am woefully behind on my crafty blog reading lately! Which is why that I only registered this very useful post by Daisy Janie this evening. From one very talented fabric designer and handbag crafter to you, a list of sewing supply companies that Jan DiCintio describes as having "decent service, quality products and very fair pricing." You’ll find this list especially helpful if you’ve been looking for suppliers of pretty trims, zippers, magnetic snaps, handles and the like. Thanks for sharing, Jan!
I’m sure a lot of you are already familiar with the tremendously talented Amy Karol over at Angry Chicken. She’s the author of one of my favorite sewing books in recent memory, Bend-the-Rules Sewing, a very approachable, friendly book for those of you who might still be sewing shy. She posted yesterday about a cheater (aka, whole cloth, no piecing necessary) quilt that we printed the fabric for, and I was totally blown away with the cleverness of this idea. I’ve certainly seen cheater fabrics before, but always found the designs uninspiring and, frankly, too fuddy-duddy to my eye. Amy’s design takes this old time-saving method of making a quilt and makes it fresh, modern, and very appealing indeed.
Thanks to my (lamentably blog-less!) friend, Tammy, for the alert on this amazing project!
As mama of three girls, I have a special place in my heart for handmade kid accessories and clothing. You can really tell that mama (and papa) love comes through in the things people make for their children. I also enjoy seeing fabric designs come through that are out of the head of some small person out there. And when those two things come together…well, the result can be very special indeed. I think Shopworthy’s first grader must be very, very proud of the new backpack made up for him with his very own drawings on fabric, don’t you think?
I was the victim of a stupid sewing accident last night. I was working on this dress out of the Stylish Dress Book, a Japanese pattern book I bought recently from Pomadour, and just realizing I’d made a mistake. As I wondered to myself whether I might pick up sewing Japanese as fast as I once learned kitchen Spanish in my professional baking days, I stepped backward, tripped over a corner of a rug, and fell hard. One crushed antique market basket, a banged head, two scraped forearms, and a bloody cut back later…well, I think I’ll give my sewing room a little breather today. Who knew sewing could be so hazardous?
Perhaps working up some new designs would be a little easier on my body? Or better yet, since my computer time is likely to be limited by kidnicks today, perhaps I should work on downloading this free design from Petchy to print up. Read here about Petchy’s fledgling plan to offer designs for purchase that you can upload and print with Spoonflower. I’ve got to hand it to you all out there for constantly coming up with surprising new things to do with our site! And now to go download those pretty trees…
I spent the morning at Spoonflower headquarters yesterday, packaging fabric for mailing–a video to come soon!–and chatting with Danielle about fabric and Photoshop and photography. When the babysitter returned with our girls, though, it was time to get outta there and get the kids something to eat–pronto, like. I remembered my purse, I remembered the diaper bag, I remembered the stroller, the bag of library books, the bag of snacks, the water bottles, and the girls’ special stuffed animals. I did not, however, remember my laptop. It stayed on the office sofa all afternoon and then went with Stephen to a class for the evening before it came home with him. That meant I had no internet access for about 10 hours–yikes!
So instead I did a little sewing, which was not a bad consolation prize at all. While the little girls slept, my oldest daughter and I went through my sewing basket to see what we could come up with to do. She’s going into the fifth grade on Monday and we both had back-to-school clothing on our minds. In my giant pile of cloth, we found this late 60’s era purple pattern cocktail dress made of a super-heavy, nubby material–Hawaiian maybe? Some kind of barkcloth? I’d bought it solely for the phenomenal fabric, half-thinking that I’d turn it into a skirt for someone. My daughter, though, wanted it as a dress.
I consider myself an advanced beginner at sewing. I’ve made up many articles of clothing from patterns at this point, but haven’t altered an existing garment since I was just goofing around with sewing in college. (And I was by no means good at it back then! I just had pretty low standards for fit and seam straightness and that kind of thing.) But my daughter was so excited about the idea of a wild purple print dress for herself. I took a deep breath. And started cutting.
I cut off about 12 inches of the hem, I ripped out armhole and neckline facings, I notched liberally, I took in side seams and opened up the neckline, and pretty soon I had a passable dress that could fit a 10-year old. But more than that? I had a blast! It’s not fine couture or anything. The seams are a little roll-y without those facings and the armholes are a tad too big. My daughter loves it, though, and it felt great to just whip something up without worrying if I’d mess it up or make it look less-than-perfect.
I guess the moral of this sewing story is that I shouldn’t get so hung up with sewing perfection. Why allow myself to get frustrated about something I really love to do? Sometimes it’s just fun to bust out the scissors and start cutting, right? Right.
I was cruising around on some of your blogs today–feel free to let us know if you’d like your site to be added to this list, by the way–and ran across an exciting little tidbit on A Dress a Day. Do y’all know about One Skein Wonders? Here’s where I have to admit that I did not know about this book, seeing as how I am totally knitting challenged. But I do appreciate the concept a whole lot. Sometimes you just need a little project between bigger projects, something quick and easy between big challenges, right?
Okay, getting to the exciting tidbit part here. Authors Rebecca Yaker and Trish Hoskins are applying the concept to fabric and are currently soliciting your contributions for a book titled, One Yard Wonders. How cool is that? Read their guidelines and submit your ideas here. And don’t forget to sign up for their mailing list so you can find out about publication dates!
As I’ve effused about many times in the last few months, I’m in the delightful position of having some truly amazing fabric designs pass through my paws on a weekly basis. A look at any of our past videos should prove the point if you need convincing. The only lamentable thing is that I’ve so far been unable to purchase my favorite designs (some of which I’d snap up in a hot minute if I could). Offering users the option of creating storefronts is on our short list of features to add, of course, but we’re not there yet.
I’m happy to see that some of our resourceful users are finding a way to sell their Spoonflower printed fabrics anyway! Head on over to Junecraft, Sewbettie, and Nine Tomatoes for a peek at some of their lovely wares. Stash building, anyone?
All kinds of cute are showing up in our Flickr pool lately! Sarah at The Small Object posted a photo of her hanging small object a few days ago. (She’s also got a few photos of some of her fabric designs on her blog. I’m looking forward to seeing more, as are my daughters who thought all those little faces were fascinating.)
Little BIG pants posted an adorable project today that she made with some camera fabric she printed with us. I just figured she was someone who really, really liked cameras, but it turns out that she had another idea in mind. See what she did there? Cut out a little camera and stuffed it for her Audrey doll? Something about this little doll camera is so charming to me, reminding me of my fascination with doll houses and all their small accessories when I was a girl. Suddenly, I could envision a yard printed with all sorts of doll accessories: a purse, a hat, a belt, a balloon, a book! A miniature Schnauzer! A rug! A baked ham! Getting carried away here…
Mmm, doughnut pillows. I had an inkling that I might someday see Strange Little Bear’s doughnut fabric in stuffed form. Now where’s my plushy cup of coffee…?
On a completely different subject, back in May I posted a link to an article written by Patricia Crews, a professor of textiles at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The article discussed a study done by Professor Crews and her colleague, Janet Evenson, on the long-term effects of various adhesive products used in quilts and other textiles. In brief, many supposedly harmless, supposedly water-soluble adhesives we’re probably all familiar with–fusible web, fusible interfacing, quilt basting spray, etc–will likely cause your painstakingly sewn quilts and other textile projects to yellow and stiffen over time. (One exception was noted. Fusible batting did not cause items to yellow any more over time than the control items in the study.)
Professor Crews recently (and apologetically) responded to an email I sent back then on behalf of a blog reader who questioned whether laundering had been included in this study. Professor Crews’ answer was that no, laundering had not been included in the initial study but had been included in a subsequent (and unpublished) study. The results will be bad news for users of these time-saving products. Apparently, even laundering doesn’t completely remove yucky chemicals from your lovely works, and over (simulated) time, yellowing was still observed in textile items that had been made up with various adhesive products and then laundered.
I personally will likely continue using my friend, fusible web, for things like handbags, tote bags, and in the facings on little girl clothes. Basically, in projects that I wouldn’t expect to hold up for more than 5 or 10 years anyway. But the next time I start on a quilt I’ll steer clear of the temptation of basting spray and use all those safety pins to baste. (See? Still too lazy to stitch my basting…)