February 5, 2014

Mystery Sew Red Sew-along!

Hello Everyone!
I am so excited to be a part of the Mystery Sew Red Sew-along that is being hosted by Jimmy Bean's! If you are not already participating in this project, you can click on the link above to get the scoop!!
This is block #5 for the series. This block measures 10 1/2" square. I used a square from a layer cake of precut fabrics for the background but any fabric you have lying around that meets the size requirement will work. The best part about this block is that you can use up little scraps you may have left from another project! 
Materials Needed:
For the applique: 5 assorted fabrics, at least 8"x 2" (note the bird fabric is wider)
Background: 1 - 10 1/2" square
1 - 12" square non fusible lightweight interfacing
temporary adhesive spray, such as Sulky KK2000
rotary cutter, ruler, and mat
matching thread
1 piece of 8.5 x 11 paper
pencil or marker
fabric marking pencil

Start by folding the paper in half so that it measures 5.75 x 5.5. Now is the time to use your mad skills from when you were a kid cutting out paper hearts for Valentine's day....draw and cut out a heart approximately the size shown below. IMPORTANT!! Save the outer portion that you cut the heart from as you will use this in a later step.

Lay out your fabrics in an order that is pleasing to you.

Notice how I cut out this line of birds to showcase it through the heart. I made sure to allow my 1/4" seam allowance plus a little extra above and below the birds.

For the remaining 4 fabrics, I cut strips that were 2" wide. Since I was again working with leftover squares from a layer cake, these measure 10 1/2" wide, but you won't need more than about 8".

Stitch the strips right sides together with a 1/4" seam allowance.

Press the seam allowances open.

Using the outer portion of the paper from earlier, lay it over the fabric strip unit. Move it around until you are happy with the placement. Keep in mind that the edge of the heart is the stitching line, so the seam allowances will be OUTSIDE of this area. I liked the strips going horizontally, but you could do a vertical or diagonal placement as well. Once you have the heart shape placed where you like, use a fabric marking pen to mark the edge of the heart shape.

Here is the fabric unit with the heart shape.

Next, place the non fusible interfacing on top of the RIGHT SIDE of the fabric unit. I didn't have any non fusible lying around, so I used some pattern tracing cloth. It is important to use something that is semi-transparent so that you can see the outline of the heart in order to stitch.

Stitch on top of the marking all the way around, backstitching at the beginning and ending of stitching.

Here is the stitching completed.

Cut away the excess fabric, 1/4" away from the stitching line.

Trim off the fabric close to the point.

Clip to the inner point of the heart. Be careful not to clip through your stitching.

Clip the curves of the heart.

Pull the interfacing away from the heart and clip an opening.

Turn the heart through the opening. This is what it will look like from the wrong side.

Here is what it looks like before pressing. Be sure to fully turn out the curved sections as well as inner and outer points.

Here is the heart after pressing.

Center the heart on the background fabric. Mine measured approximately 1 3/4" from the side edges. Use temporary adhesive spray or pins to secure the heart and prepare it for stitching.

Complete the heart by stitching around the outside edge. I used a wide blanket stitch on my machine.

Your block is complete!

October 18, 2013

Fall 2013 Collection: Zip to it! Accessories

Moda Fabrics: Honeysweet by Fig Tree & Co.

This is the final reveal of the fall collection. Zip to it is a fun booklet with 4 different accessories in it. I developed a really neat ruching technique that uses pre-cut 2 1/2" wide strips. It is a great way to showcase lots of prints in a collection. I also used some yardage from the collection to make up the rest of the fabrics needed to complete the projects.

In addition to the ruching technique, I also wanted each project to have a zipper in one way or another. I know a lot of you out there hate the idea of putting in a zipper, but really, these are EASY to do! The booklet comes complete with a pull out center page that features full sized pattern templates. You will need to trace then onto freezer paper, but there is no enlarging to be done.

The accessories are very versatile. While I had specific uses in mind, certainly you will think of many ways they can be used.

First up is the Hexie Pouch. I designed this one for keeping your earbuds secure while out and about, but I can see how this little pouch would be perfect for loose change or other small items. I designed it to work with the pre-cut hexagons, so feel free to use those if you like.

Next is the Tablet Sleeve. I designed this one to fit the ever popular tablet computers. Specifically, it works well for the Microsoft Surface and iPad, but I am sure it would work for most without having to resize it. Its overall measurements are 8 1/2" x 12". It features two exterior pockets of varying depth that are separate from one another so that you can stash different items like keys, a phone, glasses, etc. in those while keeping the innermost pocket free for your tablet. The tablet section is lined with a super soft flannel so your computer will not get scratched. I think this is a perfect cover for your tablet just to carry around or to put into a larger bag.

The Triangle Bag is the next project. This is where the ruching really shines. This is a perfect little bag for stashing art or sewing supplies. It would make a great little toy stash for kids as well.

The last accessory is the Project Portfolio. It looks like a bag from the outside, but when opened, it features two clear pockets that are zipped shut. These are perfect for holding a small needlework project. I love the depth of each pocket. These really will hold items without a problem. I think this would also make a great makeup bag since the pockets are made of vinyl. If I were using it for that purpose, I think I would also make the interior from a laminate so that the entire inside of the pocket could be wiped clean if need be.

Well, that's it for the fall collection! I hope I have inspired you to get busy in your sewing room!

Happy Sewing!!

October 17, 2013

Fall 2013 Collection: Fashion Formula Skirts, Volume 3!

Gathered Panel (alternating)
various Anna Maria Horner fabrics...scrappy!

Well, I just couldn't help myself! I have designed yet another set of skirts for my Fashion Formula line. This time I decided to do a 12 panel skirt 12 different ways. As per the other skirt booklets, you will be basing your skirt from your hip measurement. The booklet gives yardage for hip sizes 34-50. Believe it or not, all of these skirts are created from the same basic 12 panels. The insertion of pleats, godets, or gathered panels makes them look strikingly different.

The waistband is a wide casing with one piece of soft elastic in it, so it is easy to insert and very comfortable to wear. I like to have my casing a bit wider than the actual elastic, as I think it lays better against your body as well as being more comfortable. The overall appearance of the casing is pleasing as well and you may find that you don't mind the elastic part being visible. In the photos, you will see that I opted to tuck in my shirt on several of the shots.

The skirts in the booklet are intended to be long. I give instructions for lengths 32, 34, and 36 for you tall gals! If you want to make a shorter skirt, you can always shorten your panels before tapering them.

I have placed the skirts into 4 groups: plain, gathered panel, godet, and pleated. Below are the details for each skirt included in the booklet. Just think of all the great skirts you can get from one set of simple instructions! The possibilities are endless...truly!

Plain, with bias trim between panels and hemband
Michael Miller Waterfront Park fabric
Colorblock with Moda Bella solids
Amazing Technicolor Dream Skirt with Moda Laundry Basket "Over the Rainbow" batiks
Gathered panel (set of 3 at center front and back) from brown linen
Gathered Panel (alternating), Free Spirit Tina Givens fabric
Godet, 3 at center back
Free Spirit Anna Maria Horner Hand Drawn Garden fabric
Alternating scrappy pieced godets, gray linen skirt
Godets between each panel
Alexander Henry fabric with Amy Butler godets
Box pleats (3 at center front and back)
Robert Kaufman cotton chambray
Alternating box pleats,
Moda dot, Alexander Henry large dot on pleats
Box pleats between each panel
Moda Lush Uptown fabrics
Lots and lots of skirts.......have fun with it!
Happy Sewing!

October 16, 2013

Fall 2013 Collection: Meet Jordan!

The Jordan Jacket: Silver Metallic Linen with vintage glass and rhinestone buttons

The next reveal is the Jordan Jacket! I was noticing how much the classic denim jacket was showing up in fashion these days. To tell the truth, the style of this particular jacket never goes out of style...it is truly a classic. I had some fun with the fabrics on this one and show it to you made up in wool, linen, and cotton sateen. It really is so versatile! You could make it from velveteen or corduroy as well. Even a heavy silk would be fabulous!

The details are what make this jacket special. I took special care to give you the set in pockets so many of you said are important to a jacket. I think you will find that the pockets are great for stashing your phone or whatever other small items you may want to carry. The upper pockets are fully functional as well, but of course they are small, which is how it is with these types of jackets.

This particular jacket is unlined, so you don't have to worry about messing with another layer of fabric. I also designed it so that there are no facings to deal with either. The front facing is built into the front pattern pieces, so it will be folded around to the wrong side.

Don't let all the detailing intimidate you! This jacket does take some time, but the steps are very manageable. I highly recommend that you have a serger handy so that you can finish off your seams neatly. After all, they will be seen on the inside of the jacket. I think the choice of buttons for this jacket is very important. For most of the ones seen here, I chose vintage buttons from my personal stash....I'm a bit of a button hoarder!

As with all of my patterns, how much detail you decide to add is your choice. If you don't want to do some of the pockets, you can always opt to leave them out. I encourage you to make the pattern uniquely yours.

Here are some images of the different jackets I made along with some fabric details.

Metallic Denim (just a bit of a sheen...love that!)
Houndstooth Wool and Heavy Silk for the contrast
Free Spirit Tanya Whelan Petal Home Dec Cotton Sateen fabrics
Here's the back of the jacket. Notice how I fussy cut the fabric to showcase the motif.
Westminster David Butler's Parson Grey World Tour linen fabric
So, there's the Jordan Jacket!
Again, we will have this pattern and the rest of the new items up on the website later on this week.
Happy Sewing!

October 15, 2013

Fall 2013 Collection: Meet Ramona!

 Ramona Wrap Dress: ModKid Fabrics (available at JoAnn Fabrics)
Hey All!

It has been busy, busy here at Casa Serendipity. In addition to creating the new fall line, I went to Denver last week to tape with Ellen March for a spring 2014 show of Sew it All. This is a great sewing show that airs on PBS. I was asked to write an article about working with lace and specialty fabrics for Sew News, so I designed a great party dress using these fabrics and we show the construction and discuss helpful tips on the show. As we get closer to air date, I'll be sure to keep you all updated.

In addition to that, I'll be at the Original Sewing Expo show in Fort Worth this weekend, starting on Thursday. There will be two fashion shows highlighting my designs, one on Thursday at 2:30, and another on Saturday at 1:45. This is the WEEKEND BEFORE MARKET, people! I guess no one really looked at that part of the calendar of events...this is the craziest time of the year for me and lots of other designers! Having said that, I will be at the show ONLY on Thursday to emcee the fashion show, then I'll be in my friend Lorene's booth (Sew it Up Studio) to sign books and talk to folks. Please stop by if you will be at the show and say hello. I would love to see you!

The last weekend of the month will be market in Houston, as it always is. I think we are nearing our 20th market. It is hard to believe we have been doing these shows for so long. I still get so excited and energized at these shows! There is so much to see and so many good friends to visit with...lots to look forward to. Then, the holidays will be just around the corner. Where did the year go? I am sure many of you are asking the same question.

Well, enough of my nonsense, you came to see the new stuff, right? Well, there will be 4 new designs revealed, so this is part one. The new inventory is expected TODAY, so we'll be busy getting these listed on the website this week so you can get those orders rolling in. I am excited about this new collection and hope you will be as well.

We did the photos mid-September at my brother-in-law's lovely home in Southlake. He is quite the landscaper and does all the work himself. It is beautifu1! We feel very lucky that they gave us free run of the place to do the photography. We felt like we were at a resort! Now if we just hadn't had to work so darn hard!

The first design I want to share with you is the Ramona Wrap Dress. This is a super quick design to stitch up. There are only 5 pattern pieces and NO facings, zippers, or buttons! Can you believe it? The edge of the dress is finished off with a bias binding. I have also given you some options with the length of the skirt and sleeves as well as ideas for adding a contrasting fabric to the front of the skirt. I love this dress! It came out just as I intended. It is perfect for any time of year and I really love wearing my fall dresses with riding boots...the HOT fashion item of the season. I think the real reason I love those boots so much is that they are not high heeled! My feet have gotten so used to being bare that they simply refuse much of a heel.

Here are some images of the new dress....and the details on the fabrics I used.

Moda Half Moon Modern ZigZags
Westminster Philip Jacobs floral
Cloud 9 Organic Cotton, Dem Bones
Westminster Martha Negley floral
Free Spirit Anna Maria Horner Hand Drawn Garden
So there you have it! The first design for Fall 2013. The rest of the reveals will be coming this week. We will have these available for sale later on this week. Stay tuned!
Happy Sewing!