April 27, 2011

Last Sneak Peek: Meet Camilla!

Here is the last new design for spring, the Camilla Insulated Bag. I was inspired to come up with this design at the request of a friend who was having a hard time finding a good quality lunch bag with the correct proportions. That was a good challenge for me and it grew into a rather nice design, I think! Once I had made the bag in the size she needed, I realized the possibilities this bag had in other sizes too. After getting three worked up in different sizes using the laminated fabrics, I thought it would make a nice handbag or tote too, so the pattern offers 5 different sizes with endless possibilities!

The largest size made in laminates would be great to pack up a lot of food for a picnic or snacks for a road trip. It would also work nicely for trips to the grocery for small bags of frozen items or fruit. The two other sizes as insulated bags work well for lunches, drinks, or snacks. These bags have a full velcro closure across the top just under the handles to help keep your items at a good temperature.

The non-insulated bags have interior pockets and a magnetic closure. I played around with the depth of the bags and made them a bit shallower so they would be better suited to use as handbags. You will also notice that I used my flower from the Summer Flower Tutorial to embellish some of the bags.

A tip for working with laminates: try using your walking foot. I found that it worked better than my teflon foot! Because I was quilting layers of insulated batting with the laminates, I needed an even feed under my machine. I thought I would see what the walking foot would do with the laminated fabrics. It was fabulous! I can't recommend this highly enough.

I also made some fabrics into laminates by using the iron-on vinyl from Therm-o-Web. This was an easy product to use and I got great results. It doesn't make the fabric too heavy to sew with, so I recommend trying that as well, especially if you find some fabrics that you want to use and they are not offered as laminates.

Lastly, I used some of my Echino Japanese linen for one of the large tote bags....LOVE it! When working with heavier fabrics, I make some recommendations in the pattern for the type of stabilizer that will work best, so hopefully it will help in making good decisions when you get ready to make your bags.

So, that's it! Now you have seen all the "newbies" for spring. The stock has just arrived, so it will only be a matter of DAYS before we have these listed and ready for purchase!

Happy Sewing!

April 21, 2011

Sneak Peek #3: Meet Rita!

The Rita Reversible is my take on the popular reversible bag design idea. This design is like getting two bags in one! Both sides are fully functional to be used as an exterior and there are lots of design choices.

I know that a lot of us like to try to keep our bags organized, so if you make a variation with pockets on all sides, you will get the benefit of four really nice deep pockets to stash your stuff. Most of the variations offer the pocket style with pieced panels. You can add your own flair by adding the plain or ruffled contrast trim between. Below you can see the variations with those trims added.

Ruffled Trim, Side 1

Ruffled Trim, side 2

Plain Trim Variation

If you are in love with a particular fabric, you can opt for the one piece variation and showcase the motif on each side. On the one shown below, I used a coordinate from the same line and did the pocket variation so there would be at least two nice pockets integrated into the bag. I also left the handle longer on this one so it could be cross-body length.

What is even better is if you are in love with two different sets of fabrics...what to do? Feature one set for each side! Then you can have two totally different looks with one bag. With this idea, I had a lot of leftover black and white fabrics and decided to scrap it up a bit. It is a great way to use up your little bits!

Black and White Bag, side 2

The closure is offered two ways: a loop and button, or buttonhole and button. I chose to use large coverable buttons so I could feature different little design elements from the fabrics as an added accent. A large pretty button would also look great.

I used Shape-Flex stabilizer in the bags. It is a great woven cotton fusible interfacing that has a lot less trouble with a crinkled appearance. This is particularly helpful since this bag is reversible. I also used fusible fleece to add a little more structure for the quilting weight cottons.

This bag is a great way to express your creativity. The pattern should be in stock in a week or so...we will let you know as soon as it is available for purchase!

Happy Sewing!

April 13, 2011

Sneak Peek #2: Meet Diane!

This is the Diane Kimono Dress! Several of you with keen eyes caught a glimpse of her in the blog banner photo earlier this week and wondered if there is a pattern for THAT dress. The answer is, YES! Patterned after the simple construction of the Claire Cami Dress, Diane is a drawstring dress with no closures. You just slip this dress over your head and cinch up the drawstring....easy to sew, easy and comfortable to wear!

I decided to add kimono into the name as the criss-cross fashion of the bodice and some of the fabric choices I made lent an Asian feel. The Dolman sleeves are incorporated into the bodice, so the sewing is fast. The waistline on this design is raised with a very forgiving fit. I have offered four cutting lines for the skirt on the pattern, so if you would like to make a version to wear with skinny pants or leggings, that is an available choice. I slimmed the skirt a bit for this dress as compared to Claire, but I added a fuller fold line also so you can choose for a full or slimmer skirt. There is also a tiered version. I decided to make that one like the tiered skirt in my Fashion Formula Skirts booklet where you cut strips for the last two tiers instead of giving a pattern piece. I think it simplifies things a bit.

This dress makes up very nicely in regular quilting weight cottons. Two of the dresses featured here are made in lighter softer fabrics. The tiered one is made from cotton voile and it is dreamy to wear...so soft and flowy. I highly recommend trying out this type of fabric for the dress. Another of the dresses (blue and gray) is made from cotton shirting. Cotton shirting is lighter weight than regular cotton, but not as light as voile. The result is a nice soft dress, another good fabric choice.

Diane is at the printer also, and will be available for sale early next month. Well, that is it for sneak peeks this week....next week, I will be showing the new bags!

Happy Sewing!

April 11, 2011

Sneak Peek #1: Meet Betty June!

We were fortunate last weekend to have a picture perfect day here in Texas for the photography...not too much wind (of which we have had a LOT lately) and just the right amount of sun. We tried one of our local public parks for these shots and I am so happy with the result! I love the Betty June Dress! It is so retro 1940's-50's. This one is named after my husband's late maternal grandmother. She was always such a tastefully dressed lady.

Because Monique was such a hit last spring, I thought I would see what else I could come up with that had a similar vibe. This design features a button closure on the fitted bodice as well as a side zipper to make it easy to get in and out of.  Lots of you were itching for a dress with some sort of sleeve, so here you go! The waist is slightly raised, a flattering position for just about everyone. You can see that there are several ways to finish out the dress...with a small ruffled or plain contrast on the bodice and hem and different belt options. The skirt is about knee length, but can easily be altered to any length.

Notice the option of making the skirt out of 2 1/2" strips. I think this is a great way to use about half of a jelly roll! I just used scraps from the skirt to make the covered buttons. The other variations either have the major pieces in one fabric or a contrasting bodice. As usual, I am offering lots of ways to use several prints in a collection...one as a main focus with the others as accents.

Betty June is dressy and feminine without being too fussy. This design will be available for sale in early May. We will be sure to send a shout-out as soon as we get the pattern listed on the website.

Stay tuned, another great dress is up next! Until then, Happy Sewing, everyone!

April 8, 2011

Stopping to Smell the Roses

Wow! Where did February, March, and nearly half of April go? I swear it hasn't been that long since I posted last....but it has! Time flies around here.

Just wanted to assure you all that I have not left the country or anything....but I have been so impossibly busy that I haven't had half a chance to think about the blog. The new spring collection had its priority as the review of the new book manuscript (more about that this summer!!). There will be some really nice goodies coming out in the new collection. We will be showing it at market next month, so I have been very very deep in design, sewing (a LOT of sewing), photography, drafting, writing, illustrating, etc.....I am happy to say that those little suckers are now on their way to the printer and NO ONE (except certainly my husband) could be happier about it! Let's just pretend that I am my usual pleasant self while facing all these deadlines (NOT!)....anyway, it feels good to have all that accomplished. I will be sharing some sneak peeks with you next week...need the weekend to recoup and maybe get my filthy house back in order....the level of dust is a nightmare, and let's not even get into what the carpet looks like....think tornado crossed with thread, fabric, etc. and you will be in the basic ballpark of things here!

Thought I would share some loveliness from my garden outside. These are antique roses and the aroma is simply heavenly. If it weren't for these beauties this week, I might have gone stark raving mad! I had them beside me as I toiled at the computer and would have to stop periodically to take a sniff and marvel at the miracle that is nature. I have my smart sister to thank for these beauties. She became a rose gardener several years ago. Who knows how many varieties of old roses she has now? Her garden is a wonder of color and scent....I just had to get in on it. Lucky for me she propagates her beauties and I was one fortunate recipient. These were planted last fall and just took off as soon as it warmed up here in Texas. She does sell some of her babies from time to time, so I'll have to keep you posted on that. In the meantime...just look at the color and the fullness of these blooms! What a joy!

Thanks to all of you who keep coming back to the blog to see if I am still here or not....I AM and will honestly try to be a better blogger from now on...cross my heart!

Hope all of you are finding time to sew and do what you love...until next week.....Happy Sewing!