November 15, 2010

The Velveteen Coats and Bonnets

Guest blogger, Sara Norris, shares her story of The Velveteen Coats and Bonnets...

I have wanted to make my two granddaughters precious coats and bonnets since they were born. I had envisioned them wearing these once they got to be toddler age.  (The look I had in mind was just not the same effect when they were "babes in arms".)  I think I may have had the Shirley Temple syndrome! 

So this Christmas, as they are approaching 18 months and 2 years old, seemed to be the time to outfit them in the proper outerwear for toddler girls. 

Even though I had to put myself through what many seamstresses do ... going through the pattern stash... looking online for pattern after pattern... I went back to my favorite design of The Karen Faylor Company... Toddler Coat and Bonnet.

This pattern is such a classic and just what I had envisioned for my sweet girls. 

Never one to enjoy making two-of-a-kind of anything, now that I have these two little girls I feel compelled to do that very thing!

I decided upon a very fine cotton velveteen as my fabric.  Powder pink for Lacie and powder blue for Millie.  I lined the blue in ecru satin and the pink in white satin.  For the bonnets I gathered silk satin ribbon and stitched it onto the seam just under the brim to frame those adorable little faces.  The effect is charming!

Even though I had made this pattern before, it had been some years and, frankly, I felt a little intimidated at the task!

Never fear!  This pattern goes together beautifully and rather quickly! 

The coats and the matching bonnets are now finished and ready for me to wrap in coat boxes tucked into tons of tissue and tied with big red Christmas bows! 

I can hardly wait until Christmas!

The Toddler Coat and Bonnet pattern contains sizes 1-4.  Our Girl's Coat and Muff pattern is the same coat and contains sizes 5-8.

October 27, 2010

Little Red Riding Hood

Jerry Roberts used our Savannah Pinafore pattern to help create Little Red Riding Hood's perfect look.

Instead of Savannah's ruffle, Jerry bound the edge in a microcheck bias to match the piping that she used on the collar and cuffs.

After Jerry adds the basket lined in red gingham and filled with goodies she'll be ready to head to Grandma's house.

Click here to see the Savannah pattern.

September 12, 2010

Girl's Coat and Muff With Matching Ellis

What could be a nicer way to welcome fall than with a new coat for your special girl. I’ve used our Girl’s Coat and Muff pattern for the coat and muff and made it extra special by adding a matching dress. (Ellis)

Beautiful wool/poly blend challis from Bear Threads was used for it all in oatmeal and black and Bearissima II for lining finished it off.

Girl’s Coat and Muff pattern is our newest pattern and is due to ship in a few weeks.  (You can pre-order the pattern and receive FREE shipping.)   This is a revised and updated version of our Toddler Coat pattern and is available in sizes 5-8 with the added fun of a muff to keep little hands warm and a pocket for bringing little treasures along.

We’ve added small bows to the front of the coat in this version and a larger bow in back.

To makes bows cut a strip of fabric 3” wide. Stitch long edges together and turn. Press. Cut a 6” length for the bow and whip short, raw ends together to form a ring. Cut a shorter piece for the bow center. Wrap this shorter piece around the ring to form ring into bow shape. Stitch raw ends together. Attach bows to the coat front at the ends of the pleats.

The dress is created using our Ellis pattern. This is a girl’s A-Line dress in sizes 3-10 but I wanted to echo the pleats on the front of the coat – so I added them. As sewers, aren’t we lucky we can do this?

I didn’t use the pattern piece for the front skirt but cut a rectangle of fabric the correct length and wider than the bodice to allow for the pleats. Find the center front of your block (the new front skirt). Measure out 3” to the left. Mark. Measure again 4-3/4” from the first mark. Mark again. Bring these two marks together to form the pleat. Baste across the top of the pleat to hold in place. Press. Repeat for the right of center front. Use the Ellis skirt front pattern piece to shape the top of your pleated skirt front so that it fits perfectly into the bodice front. Attach a bow to the top of each pleat.

August 29, 2010

Beginning a New Project

I love beginning a new project.

It's like starting a new year, a new season, a new week or a new day.  Everything feels fresh and fun.  The anticipation of seeing a vision take form is exciting!

My next project is for Bear Threads.  Don't you love their beautiful fabrics?  Click here to go to Bear Threads Ltd.

In her book, "The Creative Habit" Choreographer Twyla Tharp talks about the "rituals of preparation".  She says, "It's vital to establish some rituals - automatic but decisive patterns of behavior - at the beginning of the creative process, where you are most at peril of turning back, chickening out, giving up or going the wrong way."

Here is how I prepare:

1.  CLEAN MY WORKROOM - I have a nice, bright workroom with a large work surface that attracts clutter.  Even though it is 50" x 70" there is usually only a 2" x 3" size area of available space.  Clutter kills my creative process.  I put away everything that isn't related to my new project or my sanity - like my cat and my Project Runway DVDs.

2. FINALIZE DESIGN - Sketching my final design helps to clarify it in my mind.  I can still change my mind about the design during the construction phase of the project but having the design clear in my mind and on paper will give my journey a real destination.  It is also a reminder of what notions I might need.

2.  PREPARE FABRICS - Do they need to be pre-washed, steamed or pressed?  

3.  TRACE THE PATTERN - For this project I am using our newest pattern - Girl's Coat and Muff (so cute) - which has not returned from the printer yet.  I need to trace a copy from our original.

4.  GET NOTIONS TOGETHER - Isn't it frustrating when you discover you're out of something during one of those late night sewing sessions?  I like to wind enough bobbins to get me through the whole project if possible.  This also helps me evaluate whether I'll have enough thread or not.  I will need two colors for this project.  Interfacing?  Buttons?  Elastic?  Piping?  Write it down and check your inventory.

5.  MAKE PIPING - After I've cut out all the pattern pieces on the fabric I'll start making the piping - if I'm not using packaged, ready-made piping (a wonderful invention).  Bias strips take up a bit of yardage - so be sure you have enough fabric for the garment before you start cutting bias strips.  The strips for piping can be easily pieced if necessary.

Out of all these beginning steps - only one is a real "ritual" for me  - cleaning my workroom.  Once I've done that the path has been cleared and it's safe to begin!

What are your "rituals of preparation" and the step you take before beginning a new project?

Girl's Coat and Muff pattern will be available for pre-order soon.  Watch our website.  Click here.

July 22, 2010

Linda's Ellis

Little Scotty dogs play all over the skirt of Linda's Ellis. 

How cute is the raised waistline accent?  She added a red ribbon bow and Scotty dog button.  The back buttons all the way from neckline to hem with Scotty dog buttons.  

This reminds me of our neighbor walking his 3 black Scottish Terriers in the evening.  His dogs are as cute as these!  They are all the same size - like 3 little buttons.

Linda changed the sleeve a bit by using the sleeve pattern as the sleeve lining as well.  (The Ellis pattern includes a separate pattern for the sleeve lining which finishes the sleeve without a "hem" for a nice, clean look.)  This way she was able to add piping to the lower edge of the sleeve.  Good idea, Linda!
i love how Linda used a print for the skirt and a solid for the top.  Her use of piping at the waistline area, neckline and sleeve edges gives her Ellis a very polished look.

Thank you, Linda, for showing us how piping and buttons add something really special!

Ellis is a girl's A-line dress pattern containing sizes 3-10 in one envelope.

July 15, 2010

Jerry's Ellis

Jerry Roberts has such fun sewing.  You can see it in everything she creates.

Her latest creation from our Ellis pattern is no exception. 

Her whimsical eye and attention to detail make her designs unique.

She created Ellis in an adorable daisy print poplin and accented the raised waistline with a white waffle pique band and daisy.  The daisy was crafted by using her embroidery machine for the center and she then took apart a silk daisy for the petals.  She pinned the flower to the band so that it could be easily removed. 

Jerry adds, "I can see lots of potential for cute little Sunday School dresses in the fall!!" 

Jerry, you've inspired us again.

June 20, 2010

Voile Venice

You may not recognize this as our Venice pattern.  A very simple change was made to create this pink Swiss voile and white linen version of Venice.

We cut the Venice top off at the "lining" point on the pattern then added rectangles of fabric for the front and back skirt pieces.  For this size 4 we we cut the voile about 9" x 2 times the width of the front and back yokes.  The linen was cut slightly shorter.   

Stitch the side seams of the Venice yoke and the side seams of your skirt pieces.  We wanted to keep the voile overlay out of the way of the back button area so it was trimmed and narrowly hemmed at the back edge.   Finish skirt edges of the Venice top with narrow hems.  Gather the skirt and attach to bodice matching center front and side seams. 

Then just complete the top according to the instructions.  Ruched piping was used as an accent.  Love the uneven, bunchy look of it.

To construct the flowers cut 5 bias strips of voile 1" wide by 6" long and 5 bias strips of voile 3/4" wide by 6" long. 

Beginning with one 1" strip stitch, by hand, the short edges together to form a ring.  Stitch a running stitch along one long edge and pull up to form flower.  Stitch together in the center.  Repeat with 3/4" wide strip.  Lay smaller flower on top of larger flower and hand stitch together in center.  Attach 3 pink pearls to center of flower.  Repeat for the other 4 flowers.  Stitch to Venice top. 

In the next few days we'll post the white linen capris that will complete the look.

June 7, 2010

Sara's Savannah

Sara Norris of Adamsville, TN created this amazing Savannah.  Sara's style is part heirloom, part afternoon tea and all girl. 

You can really see the Savannah in this Savannah!  Sara even added an extra ruffle on the ruffle.

To create this added ruffle on the ruffle seam line and also on the bloomers, Sara cut 1" bias strips and gathered them down the center and attached to Savannah's ruffle and on the back of the bloomers.  Can you just see your toddler in this?

Sara used a Swiss pima cotton for most of Savannah but used a pre-tucked voile for the bodice.  On the bodice she also added a bit of tatting and a mother-of-pearl button.

Sara says, "I just have to say that you do a wonderful job on your patterns. the instructions were great, all very easy to follow and I was thrilled with the result!!!"

"I have two granddaughters, 15 months and 1 year, that I was thinking of when I came up with this. I thought this would be precious for beach photos."

Thank you, Sara, for your inspiration!

May 28, 2010

Linda's Savannah

Linda Steinhoff of Bermuda created this delightfully frilly Savannah.  We loved her choice of fabrics and the special details that she added made this Savannah uniquely "Linda".   
For extra cuteness, Linda added ruffles to the back of the bloomers.  She cut 1-1/4 inch strips of a coordinating fabric and finished them with a rolled hem.  She gathered them in the middle and stitched them to the back of the bloomers.  She left about 1/4" between the ruffles on her bloomers, which were a size one.
Linda's other adorable detail was the loopy flower she added to the front.  To create this flower Linda used bias tubes for the petals and a 5/8" covered button for the center.  When I see something this cute and hear how simple it is I can't wait to run to my workroom and try it myself!

Linda, thank you for inspiring us!


May 21, 2010

Jerry's Savannah

Jerry Roberts of Jackson, Mississippi created an exciting Savannah for her granddaughter, Mary Kennedy. 

Jerry lowered the yoke a bit (which helped the size 6 fit her size 7 MK), added some wonderful, twirley swirls of bias and adorable buttons.   Hmmm - should this pattern be available in larger sizes?

Jerry chose a pale lime green dotted baby wale pique and turquoise twill.  She cut bias strips for her swirls, ran them through her bias maker steaming the strips and her fingers :-) .  She used a template for her swirls and traced them onto her fabric.  She pinned her bias in place, then lifted the bias to use dots of fabric glue (Roxanne's Glue Baste) to hold the bias before stitching in place with a 4.0 dougle needle.  She added 3/8" bright pink buttons at the bottom of each loop to add some interest and a 3rd, accent color.  She plans to accessorize Mary Kennedy's total look with a bright pink hair bow.  How cute is that!

Here is what Jerry said about using the Savannah pattern...

"I thought the directions were very concise, well written, and easy to understand."

"I loved the way the back yoke encased the top edges of the ruffles on each side."

"I must say that I’ve NEVER had such wonderful results with a neck or arm binding as I did on this garment! YAY!!"

We loved Jerry's Savannah!  She has a style that is uniquely her own. Thanks for sharing this, Jerry!  

Jerry is also going to work her magic with our new  pattern - Ellis.  We can't wait to see what she does with it! 

Click here to see Savannah, Ellis and our other patterns.

May 16, 2010

Ruched Piping

Add a fun addition to your next project with ruched piping.

You need piping cord and bias strips.  Piece together your bias strips to form one long strip.

It's easy to do.  Begin with a l-o-n-g bias strip.  You will need 2 to 3 times the length you would with regular flat piping.

Fold your bias strip in half enclosing the piping cord and stitch close to the cord - but not too close.  You want a little room to be able to scrunch up the fabric on the cord.

Stitch across one end of your piping strip through the cord.  This will hold the cord while you scrunch and prevent the cord from pulling out.  

Place your unscrunched piping back into the machine.  Use a "needle down" position so that when you stop stitching and raise your presser foot the needle will hold your piping in place.

Now begin the scrunching and sewing.  Raise the presser foot and scrunch your fabric along the cord to the desired fullness.  Lower the presser foot and stitch, using something like a shishkebab stick to control the fabric as you stitch.  Continue scrunching and stitching, raising and lowering the presser foot until you have enough piping. 

Try this technique using purchased piping. 

May 12, 2010

Announcing ELLIS !

We are happy to announce our newest pattern - Ellis.  This A-line dress features a square neckline in both the front and the back.  Add a cute ribbon belt with a bow.  The neckline can be piped or not, but we love that accent.  It buttons up the back so it is as cute from the front as it is from the back!  Sizes 3 - 10.  Pre-order this pattern now and receive FREE Shipping.  We expect this to ship in June in time for all your summer fun.  But wouldn't it be perfect for fall, as well?

Click here for more information and to pre-order Ellis.

April 22, 2010

Spring Garden Bunny Kensington

Happy Spring!  Our springs in the Pacific Northwest can be chilly so long sleeves are appropriate here. 

Kensington can be made with short sleeves, long sleeves or even sleeveless.  We've used the peter pan collar on our dress but square or round collar is optional.

We love the piped band near the hemline.  Cut your band 2-1/2" wide and sew piping to both long edges.  Be sure to cut the band a few inches longer than the width of your skirt.  Stitching the piping on will cause your band to shrink just a bit.  

Spring garden bunny wooden buttons live among the flowers on the bodice.  Add a big bow on the back, piped collar and cuffs and we're ready for a walk at the Arboretum or brunch with a view of Puget Sound.

Click here for Kensington