December 7, 2010

Where are the books?

I have good news and bad news. The good news is Sew Serendipity has gone to a 2nd printing! And now the bad news...the publisher is completely sold out and will not have the 2nd issue available until late January. Amazon is now out of stock and most of the large retailers are out too. If you need a copy for Christmas, I still have a few available on my web site.

I can also direct you to two great online stores that have copies left. Please visit Quilt Home and Cabbage Rose Quilting & Gifts. They can hook you up with a signed copy of Sew Serendipity and lots of other great stuff too. Now get that Christmas shopping finished up!

As an added note, join me in the Fiskateer chatroom Thursday night (December 9) at 9pm eastern. We will be talking about the Media Frenzy book and other fun stuff. As always there will be some great giveaways. Visit the Fiskateers blog for all of the details. Hope to see you on Thursday.

November 29, 2010


Hey Everyone!

Thanks so much for participating in the bag question giveaway. So many of you had some great questions, but there were two that I thought were outstanding. I particularly like the way that one of them was phrased, so I picked it, even though many of you asked a version of the same question.

Here are the lucky winners:

Erin Stewart Hill said:
I love creating bags and cannot wait to buy your book!
I have 2 questions:
1. What is the best interfacing formula for a bag? Do you prefer to use a stiffer interfacing such as Decor Bond, or do you prefer to use multiple layers of a lighter weight interfacing?
2. When creating a bag with more body, what is the best way to decrease bulk in the seams?
November 15, 2010 1:34 PM

I love how Erin asked about a "stabilizer formula"...there is one I actually use and will happily share it with you. Many of you asked this very same question, so it is certainly one that many people need an answer for.

Alexandra said:
I'd love to see suggestions for customizing the interior. I usually find that I love a bag exterior but the inside is lacking. How do I add pockets, or a divider, or maybe a zipper compartment, a place for my keys? Or can I transform this bag easily into a laptop bag? Or with a few changes can it become a diaper bag?
November 16, 2010 11:47 AM

This is a great question, and one that is often asked. While adding a zippered pocket may take a little more time, it is definitely doable. Other types of pockets are a snap to add to a lining and I will answer this one when I compile all the questions and formulate my answers in the next week or two.

Congrats, ladies! Please contact me with your mailing address so I can get your Media Frenzy book out to you as soon as possible.

As for all of the questions asked, you all certainly gave me some food for thought as I finish up the new book's manuscript. I plan on addressing many of the things you asked there, but won't have to wait until next year when that book comes out, as I plan on grouping like questions together and answering them here on the blog as a sort of "Bags 101" for your reference! It will take me a week or two to accomplish this, so hang with me on that.

November 15, 2010


Hey Everyone,

Thanks so much for the lovely comments! We did have fun at market and all of the new stuff went over very well. There is a lot of eye candy at to those of you who have never been, I hope you get the opportunity to go sometime. It is a great show filled with inspiration!

We have a couple of winners here for the first giveaway, courtesy of They are:

#9: Sarah
It looks like so much fun!!! I'd love a chance to win! thanks :)
Submitted November 10, 2010 3:27 PM

#67: Sarah and Jane
You are one creative, savvy designer whom my daughter and I adore. We just love your designs!!! So far, we are enjoying sewing from your Sew Serendipity book, but look forward to trying our sewing efforts with your new adorable tunics. Thanks.
Submitted November 11, 2010 7:51 AM

#9 Sarah, I have your email address, so I will be contacting you. #67 Sarah and Jane....Just use this link with your mailing information and I will get your patterns out to you as soon as possible.

Wow! I guess really likes "Sarahs" this time. Congratulations, winners!

NOW, stay tuned. If you did not win here, you have another opportunity, starting today!

This giveaway is going to be a little different. I am currently in the final stages of submitting the manuscript for my NEXT hard cover book, which will be all about BAGS!! I am looking to gather questions (really good ones) from customers regarding making bags. If you have had a burning question (or questions), now is the time to ask. I will use these submissions as a way to build my tips and techniques throughout the book. I thought this would be a great way to get your feedback.

What do you get out of the deal? Well, the BEST TWO questions (my judgment here) submitted will win a copy of my newest self-published bag book, called Media Frenzy! It is a soft cover 28 page book that is dedicated to bags for digital devices such as eReaders, iPads, cameras, and GPS navigators. There is also a pattern for a snappy wallet and camera strap. It is packed with great photos and illustrations in addition to detailed instructions.

Remember, you have to submit a question (or questions) SPECIFIC to bags......The giveaway starts today and will run until Thursday evening at 11:59 PM CST.

Winners will be announced next weekend.....thanks for participating and Happy Sewing!

UPDATE (11/19/2010): It will be a few more days before I can work on the Q&A so keep the questions coming. As long as you get them in before I post the results, your questions will be considered for the giveaway.

November 10, 2010

Fall Market Post and GIVEAWAY!!

Hey Everyone!

I can hardly believe it has been a month since my last post! The last few weeks have been packed full of activity, of which I hope to share with you partly in this post and the next one as well. We had a great market showing off the new stuff and getting together with friends that we only get to see twice a year. We had some added fun this year due to market being over Halloween and I just love to wear costumes! I never really get to so anytime the opportunity presents itself, I seize it. Since I was signing copies of the book in our booth as well as several other places during market (Checker, F+W, and Moda), I decided to dress as a queen for Halloween. No queen should be without her throne, so I had one made especially for this market by the fabulous j.caroline! Check this thing out....she did a fantastic job. A huge shout-out to my friend Caroline and thanks again for making this so much fun!

Here we are together on the last day of market.

And what queen would want to be without her king? Okay, he wouldn't actually dress up as a king, but he is one anyway (in my heart!). He is such a tremendous help at market and it isn't any secret that he is a way better salesman than me.....I don't feel the least bit jealous about that, either! Here we are...notice that I did coordinate his clothing to go with mine....I HAD to do something....he draws the line on silly costumes!

Here are some shots of the booth for your enjoyment from various days of the market, along with what I wore for each day:

On day 1, I wore a skirt from the new Fashion Formula Skirts mini-book (remember, no pattern pieces required on that one) paired with a variation on the Catherine Coat (made from Japanese linen border print by Echino).

The second day of market was Halloween, so those photos are above. Here are some shots of day 3 at market. I had a great opportunity to shoot a video with my good friends from We talked about the new designs and had a lot of fun in the process. Just ignore those bare feet....I always seem to choose shoes that are not the best for walking around at market, but they always look good (when I am actually wearing them.....) I am wearing the new Priscilla Tunic in these shots.

We received some great news over market. I learned from my publisher (F+W Media) that my book is now in its second printing! Yipee!! We have just a few left and when we run out, we won't have any more until January. If you are thinking about ordering a signed copy (first edition) as a Christmas gift, don't delay!

AND NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY.....Starting right now and going through 11:59pm CST on Friday, November 12th, I will be giving away one copy each of the Fashion Formula Skirts mini book and the Priscilla Tunic pattern to TWO lucky winners. Please submit only one comment per person. I am saving copies of Media Frenzy for the NEXT giveaway which will take place shortly after this one closes.

Hope you all are doing well and getting ready for the holidays....hard to believe they are just around the corner!

Happy Sewing!!

October 9, 2010

I'm on TV!

Just wanted to let you all know that my segments with Nancy Zieman on Sewing with Nancy are now beginning to air. Check your local PBS station's schedule for when these episodes will be shown in your area (#2407 & #2408). Here is a teaser trailer for the segments:

You can also purchase the DVD from Nancy's Notions as well, if you are interested. Enjoy!

September 29, 2010

Fall Preview, Part 2

Hey Everyone!

It is time for the final fall reveal and the project that took a TON of my time this summer, but I think it was definitely worth it....see what you think! I have written a 28 page soft cover book called Media Frenzy for all those fabulous media devices in your life. Now you can tote them around with some real attitude, "Serendipity Style"! There are instructions for 4 different bags in this book, along with a simple wallet and scrappy camera strap.

The madness for this book began when I purchased a digital SLR camera this summer...a Canon T1i. It was way overdue as we have been using a tiny camera for pattern covers and other shots. It is fantastic to have a camera with so many capabilities. Once I had the camera in my possession, I realized that I needed a camera bag, and not just ANY camera bag, but one that would suit my needs as well as look darn good. I began doing a bit of research to see what was available and then decided I would design my own. With a lot of thought and planning (and a lot of math!) I designed not one bag, but two! One is called the Essential Camera Bag and is for those of you (like me) who have the camera, a charger, and a few other things, but don't really need the HUGE bag to lug around. It features a comfortable adjustable strap that is designed to be worn either over the shoulder or cross body to keep both arms free without danger of dropping your precious cargo. The other is the Ultimate Camera Bag and has a ton of room for the photog who has it ALL and wants to lug it all around! Both bags are designed for the camera to rest face down inside with movable partitions to customize the interior to your liking.


Filled with camera stuff:

The next bag is the Digital Messenger, designed specifically for an iPad or eReader. I made the interior permanently divided and padded so you can slide your digital devices in and out without worry, plus you still have the other half of the interior for your other essentials. With a divided bag, there are no worries about scratching the screen and the bag is designed with an adjustable strap to be worn cross-body....comfortable and practical, but still great looking! Everyone will want your bag!!

The last bag in the book is the GPS Destination bag. Ever get annoyed at the fact that most of these devices don't come with a bag to carry all the stuff they come with? Well, we I designed a great little bag that is simple to make for carrying it around. There is even a little felt sleeve to slip the screen into so there is no danger of scratches. The best part is that you can choose your favorite fabric and make this bag a statement of style rather than just simply for utility.

To round out the book, I added a Simple Wallet and Scrappy Camera Strap. These accessories complete the bags and give you everything you could possibly need for staying organized while carrying any one of these need for a purse, just one bag and you are done! (Dig our "vintage" Pentax camera in the photo below....glad I don't have to use that one! The megapixels are seriously compromised... )

Again, this book will be available in mid to late October (as soon as it arrives from the printer). Enjoy, and happy fall everyone!

September 14, 2010

Fall Preview

Well, it is finally THAT time! I have been deep in the "design cave" and now I think I am beginning to see some light creeping in. It must be time to share some of this stuff that I have been laboring over. This sort of work is mind-numbing at times, so it has a way of making me scarce on the blog front. That seems to happen to a lot of designers. We tend to hunker down when there is a lot to do (it almost involves putting on blinders!).

As you can see from the new header, my machine has been humming. I decided to refresh the Catherine Coat a bit, so she will have a new cover. One of the variations that I decided to highlight was one that I wore with a lovely drawstring at the back waist as well as a number of buttons down the center front bodice. You might remember seeing it.....the fabric is from the first French General line with Moda. Along with the updated cover, I will be providing the instructions for the drawstring and wool roses.

The gray one in the header is probably my favorite one to date from this pattern. It is a new Moda wool and I just adore how the little wool roses turned out. It is feminine without being too over the top....reminds me of Anthropologie (LOVE their stuff!). I also decided to have a little more fun and make one from a bright coral twill (coming out in Moda's new line called It's a Hoot!). Look for it in stores soon.

Enough about Catherine.....let's talk skirts! I am releasing a new mini-book for fall called Fashion
Formula Skirts. There are NO PATTERN pieces, people! These lovelies are based totally on mathematical formulas that I have worked out FOR you so you can concentrate on playing with fabric, then looking fabulous in your new creation. I think you are going to love these. There are three basic constructions and lots of different looks (wouldn't you be disappointed if I hadn't exhausted all of those options??). I think you will be pleasantly surprised by all the wonderfulness of these varieties. I sort of surprised myself on a few of them...just sayin'!

Last on the clothing front but certainly not least is a new tunic. This is Priscilla....featuring princess seams, and large bell sleeves that can be three different lengths. I designed this beauty to wear with leggings or at knee length with fun tights, boots, or heels (or a great combo of it up to the max!). This is a wonderful way to showcase the fun new prints out there. And don't worry about cotton clinging to your tights or leggings....remember something called a slip? Just buy one of those on the cheap and slip it on underneath...that cotton will hang beautifully and swing with your every step.

Feast your eyes upon these and know that they will be available in early October. I seems like a long time, but it will be here before you know it. They have to do their time at the printer before they come to you!

Stay tuned...there are bag previews to come, and I must say...they are fabulous! Can't wait to share....

Happy Sewing!

September 1, 2010

Sewing Challenge!

Fiskars is doing a sewing challenge for this month, which is National Sewing Month. You can read all about the rules here on their official Facebook page (so you have to belong to FB to participate!). You have all month and you could possibly win a new pair of scissors or a $50 gift card to Walmart!

Be sure to read all about Rebecca's jacket, pictured below. She made the Mod Jacket from my book as one of the inspiration projects for the challenge. She actually stayed under budget to make the jacket and I think the fabric is fabulous!

That's about it for now. My sewing machine has been REALLY BUSY since my last post. My fingers have been also, as I have been busy writing instructions for new stuff on the computer. I am hopeful that I will have more to share with you soon...maybe some teaser photos of the new designs.

I hope you have had a bit of time to yourself to do what you enjoy (hopefully a stitch here or there....)

Happy Sewing!

August 16, 2010

Come to CityCraft!

Hello Everyone!

It is HOT here in Texas. The August sun is cruel and I am doing my best to stay inside and get some much needed work completed! You will be glad to know that I am working hard on designs for the fall release in October. There are lots of goodies to come and once I start sewing and stop writing the instructions, I should have a little to share with you on what I have been up to.

Tomorrow evening (Tuesday, August 17th) from 7-9PM, I will be at CityCraft in Dallas. I will be showing the samples from the book and signing copies. It will be a great evening, so I hope you can stop by and join the fun.

CityCraft is the coolest new fabric shop...a sewing lounge, actually, with lots of fabric goodies, patterns, notions, etc. Located just off the Tollway behind the Inwood Theater at Lovers Lane, they are in the middle of the action...lots of good eats and shopping! Callie, the owner, is young, vibrant, and one smart cookie! You can read more about the shop, the classes they offer, sign up for the newsletter, etc., here. She is also on Facebook and posts often with the latest from the store, so be sure to become a fan! 
Here are some photos of the shop that I took last month during my visit. This will give you just a small taste of the style of the shop.
Lots of gorgeous fabrics:

The front window:

Hmmm, this dress looks familiar!

and of course....THE BOOK!

Happy Sewing everyone!

August 10, 2010

Feeling Chatty?

I wanted to check in with you all and let you know that I will be the special guest at an online chat this Thursday evening at 8PM CDT (9PM EDT) with Fiskars. To learn more about this event, read their blog post here. To join the chat, click here and you will be directly connected with the chatroom.

I will be answering questions about my design business as well as my new book, Sew Serendipity. We will be giving away 2 books and some fabulous Gingher products, such as thread snips, 6" shears, and a needle threader. That's a lot of free stuff for one hour's worth of chatting!

So mark your calendars and join the fun! Hope to chat with you then!

Happy Sewing!!

July 27, 2010

Sewing Challenge

I just wanted to give everyone an update on the sewing challenge that has been going on over at the Muse of the Day and Possibilities blogs. Carolina and Alicia decided to sew the tunic dress from Sew Serendipity and post their findings as they went along. I am thrilled to say that they have both finished their dresses AND they fit! They are both very pleased with the results. Both are new sewers, so I am even happier that the tips and instruction I gave in the book helped them to be so successful. This is just what I wanted the book to be able to do....provide excellent instruction for people new to sewing and still satisfy the needs of the more experienced too!

Be sure to visit both blogs for more information on just how it all went with Carolina and Alicia on their respective blogs. I was especially moved by Carolina's post, as she does a comparison between making a muslin and traveling to a downtown area that is unfamiliar, but how with careful planning it can become a wonderful means of discovery. I certainly could not say it better myself, and coming from a happy customer makes it all the more special! Thanks to these two special ladies who decided to take this sewing journey!

On another note, be sure to check out our fan page on Facebook if you haven't already. Lots of happy customers are posting their projects and I try to add photos from various happenings around here pretty often. Don't miss out on all the fun!

Happy Sewing!!

July 23, 2010

Sometimes, a girl just has to party!!

Hey Everyone!

Just thought I would send out a reminder about the next book signing party at Sew Southward Bernina in DeSoto, TX on Saturday, July 24th, from 11-1. If you live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, please drop in and see the samples from the book, have a little something to eat (this event is catered!), and visit with us a while. This is my home Bernina shop where they keep my machines humming! This is a great shop with friendly people and great service. Come on don't want to miss this!

Last weekend, my dear friends Clarees and Bob threw a book signing party at their home for me. It was a beautiful event and everyone had a fantastic time! It was great to see close friends and celebrate a bit. See the photos below for all the festivities...and a HUGE THANK YOU to Clarees and Bob for a lovely night....LOVE YOU!

Here is a photo of the table where we stacked up the books. You can see my oversized poster in the background.

This is a cool circle mobile that Clarees made for decoration above the table....actual leftover fabrics from the book projects! So fun and creative!!

Check out the cutest party favor ever! These are little mint tins that were given out to guests. I LOVE these!

Here we are....the Monday Girls....Marsha, Leslie, myself, and Clarees. If you have my book and have read the acknowledgments, then you now know what these gals look like...all of them wonderful friends...the best I have had in my life!

Here are some wonderful treats from the party....that cake in the background was to DIE for...yum!

Here I am actually signing a book...I think I have finally gotten past freaking out a little when I sign these first it made me a bit nervous as I was afraid I would misspell somebody's name or something else dreadful like that!! (Check out that great good friend Jane brought that for me! I am so spoiled!)

And last but certainly not least, here is our friend John goofing around as usual. John is one of our oldest friends. We were in art class in high school together, many years ago. He and Keith were actually in a rock band together back then, too! We love ya, John.

Well, that about sums up my life...I have actually squeezed in quite a bit of work over the past several days....getting pattern orders out and working on new designs for stay tuned! Maybe there will be a sneak peek or two. There is another book signing event coming in August at a great local store, more details coming soon!

I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend and as always....

Happy Sewing!

July 12, 2010

Summer Flower Tutorial

I had a great weekend meeting customers and signing books over at Cabbage Rose in Fort Worth on Saturday. Thanks to all of you who came out and made this a special weekend for me and the shop. Be sure to visit their blog to see photos of the event. They are also doing a giveaway of my book, so don't miss out...go over there and sign up. Maybe you will be a lucky winner!

And now......

It's finally ready! The summer tutorial!! This was originally a flower embellishment that I made for the Monique Dress neckline with a few modifications. I have added an alligator clip to the back to make it more versatile and the circle that the ruffle is sewn to is slightly smaller to make the flower a bit fuller. This is a wonderful accessory for a jacket, dress, skirt, bag, to dress up a tank top or T-shirt (neckline or hemline)...even your hair!

I use a ruffler foot attachment to make the flowers. This is a fabulous foot and I highly recommend it for anyone who likes nice crisp ruffles. Plus, you don't have to pull up any pesky threads to gather and it is super fast....they are a little expensive, but worth their weight in gold (well, almost!).

Follow the steps below to make as many as you like and have fun with them. If you would like to share your work, please feel free to post to our fan page photos on Facebook. I am working on getting a link on the blog for a Flickr group, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

Here is what you will need for your flower:

2" x 45" strip of fabric
ruffler attachment for your machine (this is fabulous, but if you don't have one, then just gather the flower with two rows of long straight stitches instead)
2 - 2 1/2" squares of wool or woolfelt
1 large button for the center
several 6/0 glass beads for embellishment
1 metal alligator hair clip, about 2" long
hot glue
hand needle and thread

Cut a strip of fabric 2" wide by the width of fabric.

Trim off the selvages.

Press 1/2" to the wrong side at both ends of the strip.

Fold the strip in half widthwise, wrong sides together, and press.

Place the raw edge of the pressed strip on the right hand side and slip into the ruffler attachment, set at every stitch.

Begin ruffling!

Press the ruffle flat.

Cut a 2 1/2" square of woolfelt, then roughly draw a circle just as a guide. Notice that this is the largest circle that could be drawn, so you only lose the corners. Once you have made one flower, drawing the circle will probably not be necessary for the next one.

Begin sewing the strip to the woolfelt square. Line the stitching up with the lines that you drew for the circle and turn as necessary to continue sewing.

Once you have made it all the way around the first time, place the strip just to the inside of the first row and continue in a concentric circle until the entire strip has been sewn down...see below....

By the time the entire strip is sewn, there should not be any woolfelt visible at the center of the flower. If you do have a small amount, don't worry about it as the button at the center will cover it.

Here is the flower all stitched in place.

Turn the flower over and check your stitches.

Trim off the corners...see, even mine is not perfect, but IS the back and by the time this flower is finished, no one will see this!

Give the flower a light press from the back, flip it over and sort of scrunch up the layers a bit, then steam it a few times to fluff it.

Here is mine, "post-fluff"...

Add the large button of your choosing to the center by hand.

Then add the glass beads as you like.

Flip the flower over and add the alligator clip with hot glue. Notice how mine is just inside the outer edge of the flower so that the clip will not show during wear.

Trim down the remaining 2 1/2" square to be a circle, add it to the back and hot glue in place. This covers those stitches and trimming from earlier steps and leaves a nice finish.

Now, put that flower in your hair, on your clothes or bag and look fabulous!!

Happy Sewing!!