Monday, April 18, 2016

Scallop Purse Organizer

Scallop Bag Monogrammed
I am always on the look out for adorable accessories to monogram. Recently, I purchased this faux leather scallop purse for Sew For Less. The monogram font I used is Fish Tail by Herrington Design. I do like it but there is not a closure for the top of the bag, no magnet clasp or zipper. So what do you do, create an organizer with a zipper closure.
Zipped up Organizer
You can do this with any purse, first measure the outside of the purse. Measure the height, width, depth of the purse. Use those measurements for the pieces for your organizer. When you sew them together using a 1/2" seam allowance, this creates a smaller bag that will fit inside the bag comfortably. The organizer will be 1" smaller in height, width and depth. Usually, I do not add a zipper but knowing that I needed a closure for this tote I added it to the top of the organizer.
Purse Organizer
Elastic along the top of the slip pockets help keep the contents inside pockets, along the sides of the bag so I can use the bottom for larger items. I love how an organizer makes your tote more user friendly.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Sawyer Wristlet, Monogramming

Sawyer Wristlet
I have been on the look out for a wallet that can hold my iPhone. I love to carry a large bag but it is a hassle to carry it all of the time, I want a small wallet that can hold my cards and phone. I just found the Sawyer Wristlet at They are priced under $12 and make great gifts.
Sawyer Wristlet
I did find out the hard way that it is easier to embroider the wristlet after you open the wallet up. Here is a short video of my machine at work.
Also the monogram or embroidery needs to be small but this is a small accessory so it looks fine.
Sawyer Wristlet
Wow, it fits my phone with a phone case on it! Woohoo!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Devon Baer Inspired Tunic

Have you ever seen something and wish you had the sewing pattern for? This happens to me a lot, especially looking at Pinterest and other websites. As I was looking around I saw this....
Honestly, I did not know where the ruffle collar shirt came from or who had designed the tunic. It was a picture I had found on Pinterest that did not have a link, I researched the image and found a boutique that sold the ruffle tunic called Devon Baer. These are beautiful tunics in bright gorgeous colors, ready for a day at the beach or on a boat. I loved looking at Devon Haire's designs and her online Boutique. It looks like she started at Etsy and expanded to her own shop. Next, I started to look for a similar sewing patterns. I wanted to make my own ruffle collar shirt. Of course the pattern was not available.
So what did I do next? I looked through all of my sewing books and found Built by Wendy Dress book. This book has 3 style of dresses; the sheath dress, shift dress and dirndl dress. The pattern templates do not have seam allowances but that is so that you can create more designs with them.
I used the shift dress template because it matched the overall shape of the shirt. Then I copied the template to a large piece of paper, adding a 1/2" seam allowance.  On the fold line, I cut the collar 6" down from the top and 1" wide across, so the 1" is doubled to 2" on the fold. I did have to make adjustments when sewing the collar into the shirt.  If I make this again I will probably make the ruffle a little wider.  I cut a 4" X 44" ruffle, folded it wrong sides together (hotdog style) and pressed it. Then I used a gather stitch so I could easily gather the raw edge side. The hardest part about making this shirt was figuring out how to sew in the ruffle collar. It is really a placket. I sewed the ruffle to the neck line first. I decided to bind it because if the ruffle turns out, then you would see the rough edge. I also used this placket tutorial from Indie Sew, mostly step #5, joining the plackets at the bottom.  Finally, I topstitched around the entire collar. The shift dress does have a dart and I did not create a dart in my shirt. (My second attempt, I might try it with the dart.)
My sleeves were too short, so after washing it, I decided to remove the sleeves and have a sleeveless shirt. After making the tunic I went back to my original paper pattern pieces and made adjustments.
I can't believe I made this cute shirt. I will have to try it again. I definitely think Devon Baer's shirts are 100% better, but I have learned a lot trying to create my own. 
Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Out and About Dress Pattern Review

Out and About Dress
The skater dress has been a staple in women's apparel for a long time. That is why I decided to make one for my staple handmade wardrobe.  This dress can slip and slide into any season. Either warm or cold the skater dress is versatile and looks great. That is why I decided to buy the Out and About Dress pattern from Sew Caroline.

I used Ponte de Roma Navy fabric to create the Out and About dress. It is the perfect weight for this type of dress. This pattern has pockets, 3/4 sleeves and a scoop neck line. Since, I am petite I had to cut the skirt 4" shorter and move the pocket up. I did not adjust the waist line but if I make this pattern again, I might raise the waist line up. Currently in the Carolinas the temperature keeps going up and down. Any given day might start in the 30's and go to 70 degrees by the afternoon. Layering is the only way to stay comfortable. I need to make a few more of these in different colors. In high heels, sandals or boots you can look great in this easy to make dress.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Belt Loop Tutorial

One of my favorite things to wear is a skirt. It can be dress down casual or off to a dinner date with a quick change of accessories. One of the quickest ways to make your look more dressy is to tuck in your shirt and wear a belt. That is why I have created this little tutorial on how to make your own belt loops.
Sometimes you create a pair of pants, shorts or skirt, and it does not come with belt loops. Here is how you can create your own.
1.) Cut five pieces of fabric measuring 3" X 2".
Belt Loops
2.) Fold and press each piece wrong sides together 1/4" along the short edge side. Then press and fold each piece in half, wrong sides together, long ways. Finally fold and press each long raw edge toward the center crease.
Belt Loops
3.) Sew the loop tab 1/8" around the edges.
Belt Loops
4.) Place the first loop at the back center seam. Measure around the waist line and evenly pin the other loops in place.
Belt Loops
5.) Sew the belt loops at the top and bottom to secure them to the garment. Now you can wear your garment with a belt!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Working with Sewing Pattern Companies, Getting Published

Wow! I was completely surprised to see on my detailed royalty report I had another Simplicity number for the Tailgate Teammate Tote, "It's So Easy, It's Simplicity #1190". It looks like they rebranded the tote and now are selling these two pattern designs together. 
I am still a newbie and my only problem with this is, one they did not let me know ahead of time and there is no "Sew Spoiled Logo" on the cover. 

If you are a pattern designer and you are wanting to work with a major pattern company you might want to know a few things first.

  1. Your pattern design is usually contracted for two years. If you sell a lot, then you might be asked to go on another 2 year contract. Or they might produce your pattern on a new number to refresh the branded look, seen here.
  2. The percentage you make as a newbie is usually under 10%, don't go under 5%. That means you have to sell well over 10,000 to make a $1,000 profit. However, they do sell your pattern around the world and translate it in different languages.
  3. Simplicity and most major companies pay you twice a year. End of February and again in August.
  4. You have to look at the long term return. If you are looking for a quick buck, this method is not for you.
  5. Simplicity does allow you to sell PDFs of your patterns, even though they are selling the printed versions. They see it like this, "We have two different readerships.", that is so true. This is a huge plus, most magazines do not see it that way and once you publish with a magazine you are asked not to share it any other way. 
  6. I was discovered on Etsy. They contacted me after seeing that my sells where good. Selling PDFs on Etsy or Craftsy or anywhere online can gain you exposure. That is a wonderful!
  7. You need to try to create a set. Major sewing pattern companies like there to be a common theme and more than one item in one sewing pattern. Especially if you are an accessories designer. My first design set was the "Ladybug series" and my second set was the "elastic double pocket design".
  8. You will have to make the item so they can take pictures of it. They will reimburse you for you supplies and time, with a "dress maker stipend".
  9. When making your cover product choose fabrics that the stores who carry your patterns will have. 
  10. This process of sending in your pattern and materials, to actually seeing your pattern in the stores takes a half a year to a year.
Disclaimer your experiences might be different from my own. These are things that I have found to be true. I could not live off the money I make from only royalties but if you have a diverse profile, meaning this is one of the many ways you make money designing sewing patterns, you could do very well. 

Friday, February 12, 2016

Kids Sew; American Girl Doll Simplicity Pattern Clothes

My daughter received these adorable sewing kits for her American Doll. Simplicity has created some every cute dresses and accessories for her doll. We traced the patterns so we would be able to make more dresses. As you can see in the next picture the fabric is printed on with the template of the dress in outlined in black. I let Miss K set to work. She was able to cut everything out herself. 

After cutting everything out, I helped with ironing the dress and setting up the sewing machine. Miss K began sewing. We worked on straight stitching and tacking the ends. This dress has curved arm holes so I helped her with stitching in a curve. Everything was simple to put together.

Doesn't Grace look great! My daughter added a belt to draw in the waist line. This is definitely a dress pattern we will make again! 

The pockets are real little pockets! We made the purse too! We are looking forward to making more beautiful clothes for her American Girl Doll. The next Simplicity pattern pack came with 5 templates and a small book with instruction. We like to choose our own fabric, so that is one advantage. Miss K is great at color combinations and adding trims.

This is a side view of Grace's new dress. Hope you give this a try!