November 4, 2008

Market: Anatomy of a Booth

This is my first post following International Quilt Market after the flurry of business and finishing up all the orders to ship as of late last week. It was a wonderful show and we were blessed to be busy the whole time showing off all of the new stuff! I think I will spread out the events of market over several posts, starting with the set-up. It is interesting to see the whole process, as we vendors run around like chickens with our heads cut off trying to get everything organized and displayed just so for all of the attendees to see. It never seems like it will all come together in time! Really, if you could see the amount of trash and such in the aisles before the carpet is rolled out, you would be horrified!

We always arrive in Houston for the fall show on the day before, about mid-morning. We have this luxury as we live only 4 hours from there here in the DFW area. That is great because it minimizes the number of nights spent in the hotel room...there is nothing like your own bed! Anyway, we bring an array of dollies and ladders and such to get things moved in and around in the booth. As I begin hanging drapes and lighting, Keith gets the clothing stands put together. Here I am in the middle of that lovely process!

Things always go pretty quickly at this point and we somehow think that "this time" we will be finished early.....but it never happens! It seems that once the suitcase that holds the samples gets opened and the iron comes out, things grind to a screeching halt!! Of course, I have already laid out the booth at home and know where each sample will go, but it usually changes just a tiny bit when you see it mocked up for all that ironing keeps things at a snail's pace!

All in all, it takes about 6 hours to get it all together and boy are we ready for food when that is done! Really, the booth set-up isn't so bad if you stay organized. I usually spend the entire week before a show getting everything together that I can think of we would possibly ever need....better to be safe than sorry! After 10 market shows now, I think I have it least I hope I do! As a result, we experience a smooth interaction with customers and appear to be well informed, mostly!

Here is the booth all finished up. I will post more photos of close-ups on different samples in the next post. Hope you are having a wonderful start to November....Thanksgiving is just around the corner!

October 23, 2008

To Market, To Market and other Exciting News!

Hello Everyone!

We are off to Quilt Market in Houston tomorrow morning, bright (or should I say dark) and early in the morning! We will be slaving all day to get the booth put together with all the new designs displayed "just so". We are looking forward to a wonderful market and all the inspiration it brings. It never fails to amaze me how I can come home so exhausted, yet so energized. There's just something about having so many people together with the same type of enthusiasm...those of you who have attended know exactly what I mean! We will be taking lots of photos so you can share in the excitement as well after we return.

Thanks to the tireless work of my wonderful husband, the new designs will be available for purchase on our website as of Saturday, but orders will not start going out until Tuesday of next week, since we will be attending market.

And what is the exciting news?? Well, it looks like I am going to be writing a book!!! I can't believe it either! It will be a sewing book with many wonderful designs and is scheduled at this point to be out in the summer of 2010. It looks like 2009 is going to be a busy year! I will be sure to keep you posted on the progress and maybe a sneak peek here and there as the book comes along. I want to thank all of you who have purchased my designs over the years....your support has made it possible for this dream to come true!

October 7, 2008

The Final Two

Hey Everyone! How did it get to be October so soon? This year has simply flown by. The temps are finally beginning to cool here in Texas, so I know that sometime soon the weather will really be changing around here. See, here in Texas, our leaves usually go from green to brown and then promptly fall right off....none of that "Autumn Color" we will probably go from mild summer temps right into mild winter. The fall is a great time though, even if we don't have the beauty of other parts of the country....hey, you take what you can get around here!

In today's post, I will show the final photos for the last two designs, of which you have seen to some degree in older posts, which is why I saved these for last. The Juliet Tunic is the next installment in the tunic line of patterns. It has what I like to call a "bust enhancing" bodice with an Empire waist and A-line skirt, so it will look great on everyone! This one is wonderful on its own or you can wear a shorter version with jeans. The shortest version is great under a jacket with some nice pants. The important thing is it is super fast to sew and gives you a lot of opportunities with fabric choices.

The last design is the Francesca Skirt. This one is based off our other yoked skirts, only this time, I split up the skirt portion into panels and gathered them. Then I added some great little details like an optional belt, ruffles, fabric flowers, and last but certainly not least, little fabric inserts between the panels. We all have Jona from Fabritopia to thank for that! You can hop on over to her GREAT blog and fabric website over there on the right hand side where I have her blog (Stop Staring and Start Sewing) and website (Fabritopia) listed. There will be a little surprise for her in that pattern! Hey Jona, if you are reading this, you will know very soon what that little surprise is (you probably can already guess anyway)! This is an easy skirt and again lets you play with lots of fabrics!

If you would like to see photos that give you a little more detail, check out the post when I first introduced these two designs on July 15th. Well, I have some more sewing to do today....then I should be finished by the end of the week....I think my machines will enjoy a small vacation. I know my hands will! Happy sewing and we'll talk again next week!

September 30, 2008

Sewing with Style!

Hello again! See how quickly I am posting again? I am going to keep this up until market hits at the end of October and then I might have to skip a week, but better than skipping a whole month! I am still hustling to get the sewing complete for that show, but quite a bit has settled down now and I actually don't feel guilty spending time at the computer instead of the machine, which is good...

Anyway, I have two more new designs to share with you today. Both are a type of jacket and my first two that have been generated on my clothing design software, so these have tissue pieces. I am excited to have conquered the set-in sleeve and raglan styles. It took some time and patience, but I got there!

The first one I want to share with you is the Elise Jacket. It is a cropped style with a great gathered collar. I didn't realize how popular this collar is until I saw it EVERYWHERE on ready-made jackets after designing this little number. I also added a band and ruffle to the three-quarter length sleeves and hemline. It is so fun to make this jacket because of the infinite possibilities of fabric combinations. I show it all buttoned up, but more than likely I will wear it open with a cute tunic underneath. Surprisingly, it is EASY to sew and I can make one in an afternoon easily. So without further it is!

Detail of the gathered collar

The next jacket is actually a coat.....a trench coat, that is. It is the Sophia Trench Coat. It has this wonderful oversized collar that stands up so nicely! The basic line of the jacket is A-line, so it floats away from the body in all the right places. I chose to design it with or without a belt. The beltless version has a pleat in the back to take up some of the extra fullness. I even got adventurous and made one out of vinyl coated cotton as a raincoat (the polka-dotted one). THAT was an adventure! It turned out great, but let me tell you, I don't want to do it again anytime soon. It isn't that the machines don't like the vinyl, it just gets a bit unwieldy and bulky at the machine once you get a few pieces sewn together. Maybe I will do a post sometime on just sewing with this stuff.....

Getting back to the features a raglan sleeve that fits so beautifully because the sleeves are cut on the bias....they just flow down your arm and hang with perfection! I had a lot of fun with this design because it lends itself so well to heavier decorator weight fabrics. In fact, you have to use something heavier than regular quilting weight fabric or it just won't hang right when it is finished. The green one in the photo is probably my favorite...that is Moda wool with the bird applique also from wool. It is just so lovely on! I can't wait for the Texas heat to be gone so I can actually wear it without breaking a sweat!

Here is a close-up of the sweet applique:

Again, these patterns will be available at the end of October once we get all of our ducks in a row for market. Let me know what you think of these and have a wonderful day!

September 25, 2008

I'm Back, and this time, I mean it!

Hello again, everyone! You will notice that I have once again fiddled around with the look of my blog. I guess one of these days, I will feel more comfortable with messing with the HTML code, but I do feel I am making some progress on that front. Let me know what you think of the new look!

My absence from the blog this time is attributed to working hard getting ready for International Quilt Market in Houston next month. I have 6 new designs coming out, two of which you have already seen here on the blog....the Francesca Skirt, and the Juliet Tunic! Anyway, I made mention last time of a great little bag that is easy to make that I had been working out the details on. Here it is.....the Dharma Bag! It will be offered in three sizes on the pattern and the best part is that each size folds up into its own pocket, making it so easy to throw in the car or your bag when you go shopping! It is what I consider the best answer to going it in style with your favorite fabrics!! Once your friends and family see this bag, they are all going to be begging for it is a darn good thing that these are so fast and easy to make! I also love that if you make a set, the bags will "nest" inside of each other, enabling you to carry three bags at once. I think they would make a great little Christmas gift!

The other bag that I have designed for the fall is the Carmen Convertible Bag. This is one that I literally dreamed about one night and just knew I had to try it out. This design is featured in two sizes, a handbag and small tote. It has comfortable shoulder straps and is quite roomy to hold all of your stuff. That is definitely a good thing, as you are going to love how this bag works! I designed a removable drawstring liner that will pull out and plop into another bag, so you don't have to go through all of your junk when you are in a hurry and just need to change to a different bag! So the idea here is to make several "outsides" to go with the liner, then you can have a totally different bag without dumping out the contents and dealing with "all of that" when you don't have the time or energy. The bag also stands alone nicely, as it is fully lined on its own. The removable liner is held in place with a long strip of Velcro. I added interior pockets to the liner as well to help keep everything organized. The exterior pockets will also help with that!

I had mentioned Peltex in my previous post and how I wanted to give it a try. I REALLY like this stuff! It is easy to sew through and holds its own very well. I chose to use the one that is fusible only on one side, so the product is officially Peltex 71. Give it a try if you are so inclined....I have even made a Bridget Bag (which I think I mentioned last time) to try this product. I love the results and highly recommend using it! I truly feel that it is a great substitute for my beloved buckram. In some ways, (and don't tell anybody) I like it better! I feel in the long run it is going to hold its shape without softening, and it says it is washable. While I still feel that is not the best idea in the world, you should be able to do it if you absolutely must. So go forth and use this stuff with my blessing on any of my bag designs!

The new designs will all be available at the end of October. I am excited about them and hope you will be too. I will be making an attempt to regularly post, now that most of the craziness of designing has been done. I still have a lot to do before being ready for market, but the hardest part is done....whew! Hope you all are having a fabulous day and enjoying the fall weather, wherever you are!

August 13, 2008

Where have I been?....and New Fabric!

Wow! Where has the summer gone? I have been so lame in getting a new post to the blog!! I apologize for this lameness....maybe I can blame part of it on the blazing Texas heat (which was brutal in July I might add). I am actually working on some pretty exciting stuff, but some of it needs to stay under wraps for a little longer.....I will reveal it as time progresses...promise!

What I CAN talk about is a new bag design that will be coming out this fall. It is, shall we say, eco-friendly, super easy to make, fun to use, and even more fun to sew for all of your friends! Photos will be coming soon. I have some testers out there who will be giving feedback on their know who you are!

I also have another bag design floating around in my head that I hope to get into my sewing room and work on this week before I lose the mental image. I literally dreamed about it. Those usually seem to be the best ones! Anyway, once it is actually in existence and it passes my scrutiny, it may appear here also.

In the meantime, here is what I received on my porch late last week. It is three prints from the new line, 1974, by Urban Chiks for Moda fabrics. I think it is way cool! The scale is HUGE with lots of interesting stuff in birds here and there and doodles that resemble peacock feathers, paisleys, etc. I just love the large medallions and can't wait to get this stuff made into bags and whatever else strikes my fancy. Be sure to check this fabric out at your local quilt shop.

I have also stocked my fabric stash with some new stuff from Tina Givens's Chloe's Imagination line, Tanya Whelan's Ava Rose line, and of course, the new Heather Bailey stuff. I am eager to use all of this great new fabric in designs for my fall line.....many exciting new things to come! Be sure to check out all of their fabrics in my blog and fabric designer links I have listed here at my blog.

I am also testing out a stabilizer called Peltex. It is similar (I am told) to Timtex. I never actually used Timtex and hear that it is being discontinued. I did use a fusible version of Peltex (one side was fusible....they make a double sided version, but is way stiff!) on a Bridget Bag for one of my friends as a birthday gift last week and really like the way it turned out. I plan on testing it with some of the new bags I will be working on and will be sure to share my thoughts as I venture into sewing with this new find. I know it will not hold a crease as well as good old buckram will, but for bags that don't require that, it may be a good substitute. It is also machine washable (buckram is dry clean only), so that is a plus. Anyway, I will be sure to post to the blog as soon as I have my opinion formed on this stuff and if you should try it or not.

I guess that is about it for now....hope all of you are busy sewing....I know that school is just around the corner for most kids now....that means hopefully more sewing time for some of you!

Happy Sewing!!

July 22, 2008

Meet Sergei!

There's a new baby in the house! Meet new Bernina serger! We got together last Thursday and have been working as a team for the last several days. I just love sergers! This comes from a person who spent years not understanding why people would ask if I had one of these things because of all the sewing I do. You see, I was a late convert to the serger world. I didn't see what all the hype was about. I owned my first serger only 8 years ago after spending many years making clothes and finishing my seams by trimming and then zigzagging the edges like a good responsible seamstress, so that the inside of my finished clothes would look as neat as the outside. What I wasn't realizing was how much time I was spending to do that! Imagine my dismay as I began sewing the majority of the seams in a garment with a! I was fast before, but now I am like greased lightning! I came to understand why people had asked me all those years if I owned one of these things....and I could kick myself for not buying one sooner!

Here's the deal. I think most of us look at 4 spools of thread hooked up to ONE machine, see all those moving parts cleverly hidden behind the lower compartments and begin to break a sweat! It is intimidating to see that thread going through all sorts of gizmos and feeding somehow through to the presser foot....I know I thought to myself, "How will I ever learn to thread this thing?". Once you understand that there is an order to the threading chaos (quite literally...they NUMBER the steps!), and that every dealer is more than happy to set up time to help you get the gist of this, it becomes much easier to think that you CAN use this machine for sewing with professional results.

The next thing to realize is how much faster you will become with your sewing. Think about it. If you sew a seam with a 1/2" to 5/8" seam, you need to trim down the seam allowance. Then you are staring at all those raw edges...oh dear! Those will fray the first time I wash this if I don't finish them! Then you finish your seams with a zigzag or some other stitch on your machine and move on. That is 3 steps on each seam: sewing, trimming, and sewing again. Serging is ONE step, because it sews, trims, and finishes the edges all at once...and it is fabulous! Take a look below at the finished edges on the scrap. The left side is serged, the right side is stitched, trimmed, and finished. Now, both are structurally sound and will wash well...but which one looks the most professional? Wow! It is the one that you only make one pass to finish! (At least in my humble opinion....)

I know there are those of you out there that bought a serger or had one given to you X number of years ago and it has just been sitting there collecting dust....if you are making clothes, get that thing out and start using it!

Even if you are a quilter that doesn't really make clothes, there are a lot of ways you can use a serger. Lots of folks use them to give a finished edge to their quilt tops before having them professionally quilted. This assures that your edges stay nice and neat through the quilting process. It is also a great way to keep fabric from fraying along the cut edges if you like to wash your pieces before sewing with them. If you ever alter denim because they make all jeans too long (for me, anyway), it is a great way to finish those cut edges before turning up for a new hem, and it eliminates your having to turn up that thick fabric twice because now you have a finished edge!

There are still some seams that I don't serge. One good example is a set-in sleeve. You are usually easing in extra fabric along the sleeve edge to fit the armhole. This is to give you extra room to move around once the garment is finished. I initially sew this type of seam with a straight stitch and then move over to the serger to finish it out. Also, I usually just do a plain seam on an edge that will need to be clipped because of curves before turning, like on a facing at the top of a skirt. These seams are hidden when the garment is finished anyway, and clipping along the seam on a serged edge is not good, as you can clip through the threads holding it together.

Sergers range in price from very economical to crazy expensive, depending on what they are able to do for you. If you are looking for a machine that will do the basic stuff for internal seams without a lot of bulk, you can be set up for around $200-$300....not a huge investment. That is what I did when I started out with a serger. I had to try it out to be sure it would work for what I did and that I would be able to get along with this new creature! My old machine was a Janome 204D and still works great. I just decided that I wanted a few more bells and whistles that it didn't have, but I would recommend that little Janome to anyone who is interested in getting their feet wet with the world of serging.

So, what are you waiting for?

July 15, 2008

New stuff that I have been working on

Sorry for the delay in getting this next post up! As you can see, I have been busy creating the first of several new designs that will be out for Fall Market in October. This first little dress is called Juliet, and will be featured as a hip length tunic in addition to the above and below knee lengths pictured here. My Sabrina Tunic has been such a hit that it inspired me to design another of these versatile articles of clothing. They are so easy to sew and fun to wear. It never fails that I get compliments whenever I wear one of them! These are great to wear, especially where the weather stays moderate (if not pretty darn warm) most of the year. I find that they look equally nice with a cropped jacket or shrug.

As a follow-up from the last post, once you have made a few skirts as a first venture into the world of garment sewing, the tunic/dress is the next step. They do involve a couple more facings (for the armholes) and the addition of a zipper, but overall they sew up quickly and make excellent use of large scale prints. I personally prefer the look of an invisible zipper, but you can choose to add a conventional one if you like. There are many websites that offer illustrated instructions on how to put in an invisible zipper and once you have done it a few times, they are a snap!
I have really enjoyed designing this type of clothing because it lends itself so well to different types of embellishments....add a ruffle here or there or a tie at the waist and it totally changes the look. The green dress pictured here features a great silk rose pin from Artemis Silk. You can also change the look by the number of fabrics used. It is fun to see how many different fabrics can be used here and there and it certainly justifies falling in love with a fabric line that offers several coordinates! The fabrics picture here are Westminster's Amy Butler line, "Midwest Modern" (pink floral), Free Spirit's Robyn Pandolf line, "Flirt" (lime green floral), and Moda's Deb Strain line, "Daydreams" (black and white).
Next is the Francesca skirt. It features a yoke with a gathered multi-panel skirt. Again, these are just the first two variations that I have come up with....there will be several more offered in the pattern when it comes out for fall. This great skirt is of the A-line persuasion and is pattered after the Emily skirt in my Boutique Chic line. I have made several modifications to this pattern and feel that it takes on a brand new look with the changes. I am excited about this design and know it will be a big hit as well! **Notice the great fabric rose featured at the yoke's seam line....the pattern will include instructions for this baby!
The fabrics featured here are Moda's Urban Chiks line "Summer in the City" (Bright prints...sorry, it is no longer available. I had some left in my stash!) and Benartex's "City Girl" (pink & brown florals) line.
So.....that is a sneak peek into the trouble I have been into (not to mention other things) for the past couple of weeks or so. I hope you are finding plenty of sewing trouble to get into as well!

June 26, 2008

Being Brave! The Transition from Quilting to Clothing

Today's post will discuss the transition from quilting to making clothing. I know there are a lot of you out there who think that you can't sew for your own body or response is, "Yes, you can!" Think of it in a way you never have before...quilting is all about accuracy. That 1/4" seam eats me up whenever I am in the middle of trying to piece something together! Making clothing is much more forgiving. For one, you have a bigger seam allowance (I allow 1/2"), so you can fudge things a bit if needed. For example, if you have to make one seam a little bigger or smaller than another, the end result will not reflect that...think of it as altering the pattern to fit you best!

Of course, I know that is the part that intimidates some of keep this mantra in mind when making clothing for yourself, "To thine own self be true". "Why this phrase?", you ask....because the first thing you have to do if you want to make something that fits you well is measure yourself! I can be scary to actually attach numbers to parts of your body, but let's face it. We are all different sizes and that is what makes everyone unique. So let's embrace that uniqueness and get going!

My advice for making the transition from quilting to clothing is to make something simple and fast. You don't get simpler or faster than a skirt. There is no crotch to deal with or pesky inset pockets. It is a good way to get introduced to interfacing, facings, and adding zippers. Plus if you have to alter a skirt, it is relatively easy to do. My designs for skirts are in 2 basic shapes....straight and A-line. A lot of people find that A-line skirts are great to get started as they look good on any body shape. It must be that "float away from the body" characteristic they all share! Below is a photo of our Tiffany is an A-line made with raw edge construction so the scallops sort of fray after washing and wearing a bit....really fun and sure to draw in the compliments.
Next is our Bella Skirt, also an A-line with a lined yoke. It offers a front buttoned closure, so you don't even have to put in a zipper on this one! You can layer coordinated fabrics to show off those special 2-3 prints you bought at your local shop.
Straight skirts are great for those body types that are somewhat curvy (to show off your assets) or fairly straight (where your waist is not a lot smaller than your hips). For the straight folks, these types of skirts can give the illusion of curves! Below is our Kendra Skirt. It is straight with a flirty dip in the hemline at the back.
Back to that measuring thing.....for a skirt you only need two basic measurements....waist and hips. I recommend in my patterns that you go with the hip measurement and alter the waist if needed. Let's say for the sake of example that you are 42" in the hips but 34" in the waist....the pattern says for that hip size that you should be 32" in the waist...uh oh, that doesn't match your problem! Then next size up is 34" in the waist, so what you would do is combine these two sizes. It sounds hard but is truly a cinch. All you would do is keep all of the sizes intact when cutting out the tissue. Then, use the size with the 34" waist and TAPER the side gradually down to the 42" hip size. Just fold the tissue to taper and there you have it.

I also suggest that you make a muslin...what is that? A muslin is an article of clothing that you make as a test doesn't have to be made out of muslin literally. Let's say that you have an ugly piece of fabric that you wonder why you thought it was so great when you bought it (maybe it was on sale)....use it! This is a test piece anyway before moving on to that fabulous fabric that you just had to buy! Why make a muslin? It is a great way to make any other alterations....maybe you will need to take more from the front seams or side seams or add to the length....this piece will allow you to test all of these things, MAKE NOTES of changes, and then use these notes to make your "real" skirt. Not only can this be accomplished for you, but for anyone else you want to sew for. I have done this many times and the results are fantastic!

Fabric choices.....ah, one of my favorite parts! There are so many wonderful fabrics in the quilt shops these days.....those funky color combinations and large scale prints are just the best for clothing. Plus they are all cotton and can be washed without having to worry about what they will do when put in the washer. Making clothing from large scale prints is fun because your pieces are larger and you aren't disrupting the pattern in the fabric as is time for those fabric designs to shine!

Think of how proud you will be when that first compliment comes your can brag about how you made it yourself and how easy and fun it was! I promise...making these things can be addictive!! Soon you will be thinking about how many more you can cram into your wardrobe in this color or that. Get creative! Make your skirt from several coordinating fabrics, add simple applique designs, machine embroidery, ribbons, trims....the possibilities are endless! Once you get going, you will wonder why you waited so long! Being brave has its payoff!

June 18, 2008

Making Bags: What in the heck is buckram?

When I started working on bag designs last year, I thought about what makes a bag useful. One of my biggest pet peeves is a bag that simply doesn't stand up for itself! No wimpy bags for this chick! So, of course, that brings me to the topic of today's post which is buckram. "Buckram?", you say, "What on earth is that?" I have gotten that comment a LOT since I designed the Bridget Bag for last spring! To answer the question, buckram is a stiff but lightweight woven stabilizer that is made from cotton fibers. Why do I like it? Because it gives a bag stability in a way that other stabilizers such as Timtex and Peltex do not. Buckram can be creased, which gives you the ability to iron the sides and bottom of a bag, leaving a crisp professional finish.

"What is the story behind buckram?", you ask..... Well, it has actually been around for a long time. It is probably one of the first stabilizers ever developed. It was first used in the process of making drapes. Remember the drapes with pinch pleats at the top? Well, something had to be in there to hold the fabric stiff to get the right look and buckram did the job. Now, it is more common to see buckram on the inside of the front of a baseball cap....take a peek inside and see if you can spot it!

Where can it be purchased? That is a good question also. It is not kept in the same area of a store with other types of stabilizers, rather you can find it in the drapery section of stores that sell decorator fabrics. It is sold on a roll, is 20" wide or so, and is fairly economical. Some quilt shops are beginning to carry it also, so keep your eyes peeled!

One other thing about buckram. There seems to be about three different weights in the marketplace, ranging from very lightweight (almost like crinoline) to something that is so stiff, I don't know how anyone could sew through it or more importantly, turn the bag right side out after sewing it together....avoid the two extremes and go for the middle weight. It should basically feel like heavy cardstock in your hands. This will provide enough structure for your bag without being too difficult to work with or too wimpy to give the proper support.

Things to keep in mind when making bags:

It is advisable that you should spray your finished bag with something like Scotchgard, as buckram should be dry cleaned only. It loses its umph if put in the washer.

I also use a machine needle suitable for denim when making my bags as I usually have several layers to penetrate and hate it when the needle breaks.

Since buckram is not a fusible product, use a temporary spray adhesive such as Sulky's KK2000 or 505 to layer fabrics. This keeps away puckers and eliminates the need to pin anything, plus these adhesives are safe to use with your sewing machine.

Be sure to check out all of the bags in the Boutique Chic line that use buckram. Once you try it, I think you will see why it is my primary stabilizer!

June 5, 2008

Here I Am!!

Well folks, I have decided to jump on board with this whole "blog" phenomena! It seems like everyone has one now and the sharing of information is crazy! I just got the blog set up this morning, so I feel like I have been wading through some mud while trying to figure all of this out. I am sure it is one of those things that will get easier as I go....right now it is a bit foggy.

I should tell you a bit about myself first. I am a designer of sewing patterns for clothing and accessories. I have been operating my company for seven years and it has been such a journey. Before starting the business, I was an elementary school teacher for nine years. While I feel that there were many valuable things I learned from teaching, it was alas, not my true passion in life, but working with my hands (particularly sewing) always has been. I can't tell you the number of times that people I worked with would say,"why don't you sew for a living?" is much easier said than done. It did get me to thinking about how I could make my love for sewing into a career and that is when I began thinking about designing patterns....that way I could still design and sew, but not be chained to the sewing maching making the same things over and over again....I tend to get bored with repeating tasks.... : ) After talking to some local shop owners, I discovered there was interest in my design work, and the pattern business was I resigned from teaching school and I never looked back!

As for my love of sewing, it all started many years ago when I was a young girl (maybe 7 or 8) and my mother taught me how to hand sew with needle and thread....from then on I was a true addict! I have dabbled in just about everything with needle and thread.....cross stitch, hand embroidery, punchneedle, beadwork, and just about anything else you can think of. I began working with a sewing machine not too long after starting out with that first needle and thread and was of course again, hooked! I made most of my clothing through high school and even made my wedding dress. It was not uncommon for my sister, mother, and me to all have sewing machines going at the same time with everyone working on a project as I was growing up! Those are fond memories.

I guess in marrying my love of sewing with teaching, I began to realize that maybe I had a special angle to offer with my patterns. I learned from teaching that if you want specific results, you have to be specific about your instructions.....I have brought that skill with me over to pattern writing and do my very best to give detailed instructions and hints to help make the sewing experience a good one.

In getting to design patterns for a living, you get what you want.....a lot of times there were patterns I wished for and now I can just design them! It is a tremendous challenge, but one that is so fun! The very best part of what I do is being able to share my passion and bring excitement for sewing to others.

I have met so many great people in the past seven years....some of whom I have placed links to, as they are designers and other talented people in the industry. We are so lucky to be able share our excitement for design, fabric, and all other things that are "sewing wonderful". I hope that I can be of inspiration through my posts to everyone who decides to visit this blog....and I hope you will inspire me too!