Thursday, August 25, 2016

Sew Back To School!

I'm sewing back to school!

Miss Natalie is over the moon excited about her first day of Kindergarten. After a year and a half of preschool, she's been itching to be a "big kid" in the elementary school, get a "big" backpack, ride the bus home...

After searching locally and being disappointed with the selection of backpacks available, not to mention reluctant to buy her something with a particular character on it (they never last - neither the backpack nor the child's love for the characters!), I finally settled on the idea of making her one - never mind that I'm not a bag sewist, at all! But after seeing pictures of the Star Student backpack from Peekaboo Pattern Shop, and having experience with Amy's patterns, I decided I'd better give it a try. Natalie picked her fabric, basing it off her favorite color (pink!) and favorite animal (cow!)

Well, why not. The love for cows is sure to last longer than the love for Frozen!

When I went to grab the backpack pattern, I noticed the Star Student Lunch Box too. And - if you buy both - there's a discount? Oh, well then - if you insist! Spoiler alert: size wise, the backpack seems more intimidating, but it was easier than the lunch box! The backpack was a BREEZE. I was shocked at how easy it was - even for someone like me, who sews clothing primarily and normally doesn't touch fusible fleece or foam - I had the best time sewing! I finished in one day (stopping for momming, you know, with all the kids at home) and stayed up until 2 am because I just couldn't stand to walk away from it.

Don't let me scare you away from the lunchbox, though. That was fun, too! It incorporates Insul-Bright (the stuff found in oven mitts) for thermal qualities, and PUL or something waterproof for the lining (who wants to be washing a lunchbox with spilled applesauce every day?) Both of those CAN be tricky, but Amy's step-by-step made the process pretty painless. The end result is so amazing - and despite the materials not being the easiest, the whole thing comes together in less than 20 steps (and if you make the backpack first, a lot of it will be intuitive)! The trickiest part was my fault (on both bags) - I somehow ended up with two SEPARATING zippers! With metal teeth!

But - we did it. I conquered, and I have to say, those metal teeth look awesome!

I love that the straps are padded on the backpack, all of the webbing ends are neatly stitched inside with a "barn door" or "x box" pattern for stability, and everything is neatly lined, enclosed, and professionally finished. Plus, there's the option to add some heavy duty snaps, so the lunchbox can be attached to the backpack - no more forgetting your lunch or leaving the empty box on the bus! Results to be proud of!

Natalie is so happy, and told her teacher very proudly on Open House night that "Mom made it!" *aww, shucks, kid*

Here's today's Host Post at Lulu & Celeste - make sure you check there for the big sew along link up and grand prize (details here)!! The sew along link up runs until September 4th, so any back to school sewing you're doing, make sure you enter! Also, enter today's giveaway below with the Rafflecopter - you can win 1 PDF pattern from Modkid AND 1 PDF pattern from Audrey & Tiffany!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Today's bloggers have more Back to School sewing inspiration for you - check them out, show them some love!

Create 3.5 - Sew Sophie Lynn - Sweeter Than Cupcakes - The Wining Wife - Paisley Roots - The Eli Monster

Still looking for inspiration? Let some sale codes drive your creativity! Read this post at Sprouting Jube Jube for the details - a lot of wonderful sponsors have offered up prizes and discounts for this amazing tour!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

One Thimble: Issue 12 Review

One Thimble is on Issue 12! I can't believe I'm fortunate enough to review this amazing magazine again - they just get better and better.

Isn't this cover gorgeous? The theme this time around is Watercolors, which brings to mind softness, elegance, and stunning details - all of which are encompassed by the patterns in this issue. I sewed up two of them, the Flutterby Kite by Molly & Mama, and the Azure Party Dress from Ainslee Fox Boutique.

The Azure Party Dress can be made with all cotton or a mix of cotton and special occasion fabrics. I chose to do a single layer skirt, all cotton, for simplicity's sake - that, and the fact that I knew as soon as I finished one for one daughter, the other would be asking! (I was right - I've since made another for my younger girl. ;) ) But even with a simpler skirt, the dress is still a showstopper. The pieced bodice allows for insertion of piping (tutorial included in the pattern) or various trims to make any fabric pop! I love that the solid piping I used brings out the powerful colors in the pattern of my Riley Blake fabrics.

All those pieces seem intimidating, but the pattern is matter of fact and takes the construction step by simple step. Even inserting an invisible zipper is broken down to make it as foolproof as possible - and did I mention, this was my first one? I've had it on my to-do list for so long, and when I saw this pattern had one I had to snap it up. I hope to make them even more invisible in the future, but not bad for a first try!

I made the strap back option (there is also a full back) and loved watching it come together. It's always a little bit magical, like those unicorns, when all those little two dimensional pieces of fabric become something this gorgeous! Of course I had to throw together a quick "unicorn horn" for photos, and Natalie couldn't be happier. She's deemed this her first day of school outfit, though I'm not sure how they'll feel about the accessorizing! ;)

The kites by Molly & Mama are a simple, quick intro to quilted decor that anyone can do. There are two options here as well - strip piecing or a simpler four piece block kite. I chose strips simply because I recently got my hands on a bunch of Art Gallery fat quarters, and wanted to put as many of them together as I could! I used a simple solid cotton (from Wal-Mart!) as my backing, and dug through my little totes of trims for laces and tapes - I had just a little of the gold left, and it makes a lovely tail!

Natalie has also claimed the kite - not to hang in their room, as I'd intended, but to actually race around the yard with! I explained that it's quilted over fleece (for stability) and might be too heavy, but she is unperturbed by that. I love her imagination.

Issue 12 has, as always, a mix of patterns including boys, girls, womens, and decor/accessory. Included are the Cozumel Shirt (beautiful pintucks!) and Oswald, Pond, and Williams Bow Ties (yes, that's three views in one pattern); #111, a sweetly simple knit dress, the Azure Party Dress, the hi-low Brook Blossom Skirt for women and girls, the Melbourne Romper (unisex!), Calla Lily Crop Top, Flutterby Kite, and Darling Daisy bag! That's a total of 10 - plus, if you're familiar with One Thimble, there's a mix of articles, with tips, tricks, and valuable information  - not to mention just some great reading for any sewist/seamstress/sewer/whatever you call yourself!

From Call Ajaire, an in-depth tutorial on making fabric (yes, your own textile) using scraps! That's right, all those little bits your serger cuts off - the selvages or "useless" bits you trim from around pattern pieces...they can all be used to make a textured, interesting detail point on a garment, bag, or whatever it is you'd like to use it on. A must read (and do) for anyone who gets a little sick thinking of all those gorgeous bits that get throw out! A technique like this could really be fun on the Flutterby Kite, too - it'd be so easy to use the included template to design your own kite decor with scraps from previous projects.

There's an article that most of us may find useful (though maybe a little painful) on "spring cleaning" your fabric stash, plus a very handy project chart template to help keep you organized and mindful in your sewing. Also something to use if you're ever feeling uninspired - I know for myself, having a list to fall back on when I just can't think what to sew next helps, even if it's something vague like "pants for Natalie". Just a hint of something one of my kids needs or wants can get the creative juices flowing again and get me started paging through my patterns (or past One Thimble issues) to find just the right thing! Having a chart handy to print and fill out makes it easy to tack or tape on your sewing room wall so you don't have to go searching, and often the simple act of writing things down physically with a pen and paper can help our memories retain and get ideas running.

There are helpful business articles on trending fabrics, exploring the Brother Scan & Cut, tips for any level sewist on sewing with leather and other specialty fabrics, some gorgeous flatlay pics (am I the only one who can't get enough of those??), helpful hints on increasing prices, and making sure your business language speaks to your customers the way you need it to.

The tour continues for a couple more days - be sure to use the schedule below if you've missed a post for inspiration or eye candy, and don't forget to pick up your own copy of Issue 12 if you haven't already!