Anyone with a love for making things has probably fielded the comment “You should sell that!” at least once or twice or a hundred times. In general I just scoff at this suggestion, but the truth is, I’ve thought about it plenty. About what I might sell, how much I’d charge, how I’d set it apart from the handmade masses, whether I could really make it profitable, and so on. So when Virginia (of Gingercake) released her new book, Sewing to Sell, I was eager to read it, and to share it here. Sewing to Sell is an amazing resource if you’ve ever considered turning your sewing hobby into a business and could use a little guidance about how it’s done. Virginia walks you through the entire process – finding your own style, knowing your audience, gathering the right equipment, photographing, packaging, and displaying your work, preparing for a craft show or online sales, pricing your goods, and so much more. She also interviews of some talented crafters about their styles and their businesses. AND, she has generously included 16 patterns (complete with helpful price points) that you have permission to make and sell. I tried the simple iPad sleeve – it’s cute and useful, and took minimal time and fabric – in other words, the perfect type of item to sell. Or to make for yourself, of course! For more details, check out Sewing to Sell and the rest of the tour! If you think this book might be up your alley and want a chance to win a copy (and live in the U.S.), just leave a comment on this post to be entered in the giveaway. It’s open through this Friday, January 16th!
These were made (patterns traced, fabric cut, pants sewn) with lightning speed, in assembly-line style, on the 23rd of December. If you’ve left your Christmas Eve pjs to the last minute, this pattern is your friend. Inseam, Inseam, cuff, cuff, rise, waistband. Done! I bought both kids $4 Old Navy t-shirts and just left them as-is this time (except for the addition of some running stitches on Lila’s pocket) – bare bones, people. PANTS ONLY.
The turquoise birds (Red Eye Vireo) are from Birch Fabric’s first Charley Harper line, and Oscar’s penguins (Murre) are from the new line, Nurture. The Birch poplin has such a nice feel and sheen to it – it’s smooth and crisp and a little more substantial than your average quilting cotton…if that makes any sense. There are so many cool prints in these two Charley Harper lines, and you really have to see them up close to fully appreciate them.
The Oliver + S pajama pants are always a hit around here, but I do feel like I’m in a bit of a rut with them. Next year maybe I’ll try knit pjs (Flashback Skinny Tee + Fancy Pants leggings like Elizabeth’s), or maybe a nightgown (did you see Rachel’s?) for Lila. Or, more likely, it’ll be these again on the eve of the 23rd.
As I was going through my photos from the year, I realized I made not ONE SINGLE THING for myself in 2014. Terrible, I know. The truth is, I did sew a few things, just nothing worthy of sharing – I made a Wiksten Tank and the Liesl & Co Bistro Dress, and while they were both great patterns, neither was especially flattering on me. I’m still trying to figure out sewing my own clothing, and clearly it isn’t going all that well. Maybe 2015 will be my breakthrough year.
So what did I sew? Well, Lila scored a few new dresses. Fifteen to be exact.
The dresses definitely won out in terms of sheer numbers, but there were a few other things for Lila:
Oscar wasn’t fully ignored:
And there was an assortment of gifts and other random things:
These were my 2014 personal favorites:
I learned to use and love my serger this year (it only sat in the box until April – not half bad, right?), and I learned to love boy sewing just a little bit more. And what I already knew was reinforced: making dresses sure is fun. The truth is, I don’t have any huge goals for the new year. I just want to make pretty things and then marvel at my kids as they wear them. I know it isn’t much, but that’s what makes me happy.
So anyway, Happy 2015 from these two, my reasons for sewing.
I tried to keep my December sewing to a minimum this year, which was really very nice. Christmas clothes weren’t originally on my list, but then I saw the adorable plaid Art Museum vest Elizabeth (of the lovely blog Lizzieville) made for her little boy. She mentioned in the post that her daughter asked for a dress to match, and suddenly my kids needed matching Christmas outfits, too. And so, I sewed.
Elizabeth was actually the inspiration for the dress, too – I really loved her Library Christmas dress from last year, and I also came across this beautiful corduroy/Liberty version via my Oliver + S Flickr group search. So, despite having just made a Library dress (and swearing off this view), I decided on View B in baby cord with a floral band…but then I never found a good floral. I almost scrapped the whole thing, but at the last minute I looked through the piles of fabric already on my shelf and found this striped shot cotton.
I can’t recall why I bought this fabric in the first place, but I’m pretty sure it ended up lost in the stacks because the colors reminded me too much of Christmas. So anyway, long story short, I ended up with dark gray Kaufman cord, some forgotten striped shot cotton, and flat piping in a green Modern Solid. I sewed a size 5 lengthened to a 6, and also lengthened the sleeves by an inch. Lila isn’t a big fan of 3/4 sleeves so I wanted to pass them off as long sleeves. She won’t wear them rolled up, but I do love the notched cuffs.
There wasn’t enough corduroy for the facings (I squeezed the whole dress into a wide yard of fabric with some very careful planning), so those are cut from the shot cotton. Luckily Liesl has you understitch all the facing seams, so there’s no chance they’ll be peeking out when they shouldn’t. But they do make for a nice surprise inside.
Having made both views, I think the collar must give the neckline a little more structure and hold it in place, because the neckline on this dress gapes a little more than the collared version. Nothing too serious, but I did notice a difference.
Now, on to that bow tie.
I read through just about everything the internet had to offer on the topic of making your own bow tie, but in the end I used Delia‘s free Mix and Match Bow Tie pattern and tutorial. I knew I could trust Delia. It was super simple and quick to sew – in fact, I bet I spent more time learning how to tie it than actually sewing it. But thanks to YouTube and Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Lila and I must have watched this video twenty times, she thought it was hilarious), tying a bow tie is now on my list of life accomplishments.
Apparently bow ties are usually cut on the bias, but since shot cotton already has some stretch, I cut it on the grain. And I used velcro as my back closure method rather than swim suit hooks, just to make sure it was good and adjustable. It’s a little droopy (interfacing could have solved that) but I love it just the same.
Who knew I’d ever get so excited about a bow tie? And to think, I was so broken up about not having two girls to sew for…this is totally just as great. Maybe even better. Maybe. Sort of. Whatever, it’s great.
There were also some eleventh hour semi-coordiated Christmas pajamas that I’ll share just as soon as I can get my children to cooperate for photos. Hope everyone’s holidays were happy – enjoy these last few days of the year!
Oh hi, I’m back from my month-long vacation on the couch. Pretty sure I watched more TV in the past 30 days than in the last four years combined. But anyway, here’s what I have to show for myself – an Oliver + S Library Dress.
I made one from Rashida Coleman-Hale’s 1000 Cranes fabric last fall, and I’m not sure if it was the fabric or the pattern or the combination of the two, but that dress was one of my very favorites. Lila liked it, too – she wore it long after the length became indecent (which happened pretty quickly – this dress runs shorter than other Oliver + S patterns, be warned), and I was so sad to retire it. So here’s version 2.0 – more Rashida Coleman-Hale, this time in Tangrams from her Cotton + Steel Moonlit collection.
I love the colors in this print, and I picked a coordinating Cotton Couture solid for the band (Peony, I think). I went with View A again (short sleeves and collar) – I always feel like I should try the other options when I make a pattern the second time, but then I never do. If it worked out the first time and was well received, I usually just stick with it. The only thing I left out this time was the flat piping – I love how it looks but couldn’t come up with a fabric I wanted to use. And I remember from last time that with the collar and the bodice and the band and the piping, that seam gets really bulky. It was a bit more streamlined this time.
This is a size 5 lengthened to a 6, which I think came out about right. I can’t say that this closure method is my favorite – 9 buttons/buttonholes! But Lila doesn’t seem to mind it, and that V in the front makes it easy to get on and off without unbuttoning more than one or two buttons.
I don’t know, is this a stretch as a holiday dress? I sewed it in December, so I sort of want it to count. We’ll see, there could still be time for something slightly more festive…
Thanks to LiMa Sews for this beautiful fabric!
We celebrated Oscar’s second birthday last weekend. I made tiny party hats and wrapped miniature presents for a whole slew of little animals, and I sewed a second annual pair of birthday Art Museum trousers.
First, the pants.
I still haven’t done a whole lot of boy sewing, but I think these little trousers are my favorite in that category. I’m not sure what it is exactly, but they make my heart flutter. I kinda want to write Liesl a love letter for making this pattern.
Last year I made these pants in size 6-12 months, and this year I skipped over the next two sizes and made a 2T. With Lila I always preferred that clothes fit correctly at the time I made them – it took her forever to grow out of anything. This kid is a different breed, though – nothing seems to fit for more than a couple months, so roomy is fine by me. These pants do run really long – Oscar is off the charts for his age in height, and I hemmed them up an extra half inch and still had to roll them once so he won’t trip.
I became obsessed with making this plaid version after spotting a toddler in the wild wearing a very similar pair – I knew I already had the perfect pattern to replicate them, and I’ve been on the lookout for the right fabric ever since. I ended up finding it locally at Bolt – it’s a wool/cotton blend, really soft, just what I was after.
As for the hat-wearing, gift-bearing animals, they were inspired by this Oh Happy Day post and this pin – I downloaded the tiny party hat template from here and bought a bunch of Schleich animals to do it up right.
They were a bit of an investment, but I knew they’d have great play value long after the party, so I considered them a birthday present for Oscar.
My blog idol threw a second birthday for her daughter a few weeks before Oscar’s, which led me to this amazing cake. Mine was a little sloppy, but same idea. I still swear by this chocolate cake recipe, but this year I tried Alicia’s Cloudburst Frosting recipe – it was deeeee-licious.
As you can see from the two above, I managed to get zero decent photos from Oscar’s party, which I will just blame on the weather and daylight savings – it was dark all day! Oh well. The whole animal thing was by far the most fun I’ve ever had in terms of birthday prep. And that’s saying a lot, because I do love party prep.
Happy second birthday to you, sweet Oscar. Your dance moves are second to none, and you are a complete and utter joy to have around.
The online magazine STYLO just launched a third issue, and if you love kid fashion and sewing, you’re sure to be inspired by what you find inside – gorgeous images of handmade children’s clothing, artfully compiled by Celina Bailey and Jessica Abbott.
As a contributor to the 1 Fabric/5 Designers spread, I received this beautiful Sen Ritsu brushed cotton from Nani Iro, courtesy of Miss Matatabi. It’s always a treat to sew with Nani Iro, and the brushed cotton is especially luxurious stuff.
So what did I choose to make with this lovely fabric? Well, an Oliver + S dress, of course. Yes, I’m predictable, and come to think of it, not all that fashion-forward, considering this pattern came out the year Lila was born! The classics are always in fashion though, right? As you might have guessed, it’s the Jump Rope dress, View B. I top stitched everything in gold thread to bring out the metallic accents in the fabric. And our friend Em was kind enough to loan us her fancy gold shoes, too.
There was leftover fabric, so I sewed Baby Girl a little fall coat, because hey, why not. The coat pattern is from McCalls Crafts #5347 (along with most of her dolly wardrobe).
Check out all the STYLO 3 golden goodness here!