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Video: Sewing + Blogging Tips with Pellon Designers

I’m so excited to be back today sharing our second installment of the Video Chats at Craft Buds series! Last month, we chatted with bloggers Jessica, Andrea and Heather about their tips for writing sewing patterns as a business.

Today, I’m excited to introduce a chat on Sewing and Blogging Tips with my friends Sara Lawson, Kim Niedzwiecki and Erin Sampson. Through no fault of her own, Kim wasn’t able to connect with us during the video chat (we tried and tried!), but she is a super-fun and fantastic blogger, and you should definitely check out her site as well as her projects she’s designed for Pellon.

A Little Background:
I first met Sara and Kim at Quilt Market in Kansas City last spring, and I almost got to meet Erin then, too. I can tell you all now that they are fabulous, inspiring women, and I really think you’ll enjoy getting to know them!

In the 25-minute video (suggestion: go ahead and open in another window while you surf Pinterest…we won’t tell!), we chat about:

- Tips for blogging and how to connect with your readers
- Finding a balance between work/family life and your creative goals
- How you can become a Pellon projects designer
- And more!

What would you like to learn about blogging, writing patterns, etc.? If you have any questions for Sara, Erin or Kim, you can ask in the comments section!

Get Connected:

Sew Sweetness: Sara’s blog with free bag patterns and more!
My Go-Go Life
: Kim’s awesome sewing and quilting blog!
Pellon website
and blog: New site coming next month!
Just Plain Lovely:
Erin’s craft and lifestyle blog!

And you can follow them on Facebook: Sara / Kim / Pellon


Video: How to Write Sewing Patterns

If you heard the big announcement, you know that we’ve been working to launch the new Video Chats at Craft Buds series! We are excited to kick off the series today with a chat on How to Write Sewing Patterns with our fun and informative panel of experts.

How to write sewing patterns with an expert panel
Jessica Abbott, SewSet and Me Sew Crazy
Andrea Pannell, Go To Patterns and The Train to Crazy
Heather Valentine, The Sewing Loft

In this Craft Buds Video Chat, I interviewed Jessica, Heather and Andrea on the basics of designing sewing patterns, including:

-How to find and record inspiration
- Sewing a prototype
- Design and formatting of patterns
- Marketing and selling your patterns
- Legal issues and more!

Just a little background: I met these ladies in Salt Lake City this October while I was in town for Sewing Summit and the Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Stores Girl’s Night Out Blogger Get Together, organized by Jessica. It wasn’t long before I learned how each of them is a true master of their craft, writing fabulous sewing patterns for children’s wear, women’s wear, accessories and home decor.

In addition to having truly great and inspirational DIY blogs, Andrea and Jessica have each developed online communities for sewing pattern creators, which you’ll hear more about in the video. I love what these ladies are doing to help celebrate and support independent pattern makers!

Heather’s background is in pattern drafting in the fashion apparel industry, and you can watch the video to see where her patterns will appear next. She would hate for me to say this, but she’s kind of a BIG deal! I definitely learned a lot from these ladies, and I know you’ll love what they have to say.

The video chat is about 40 minutes, so feel free to turn it on and let it play while you’re in the sewing room or while browsing Pinterest in the next window. We don’t mind. ;)

If you have more questions that we didn’t cover, please leave a comment on this post, and I’ll be happy to reach out and get you an answer from one or more of our experts.

Related Links:

Announcing Video Chats + Giveaway!

I’m so excited to be participating in Margot Potter’s Shameless Self Promotion Blog Hop!

Not only is this a fun event to celebrate an e-book for crafty entrepreneurs, but everyone participating in the hop is taking some time out to practice that fine art of shameless self promotion. Easier said than done, because it can be a little difficult to toot your own horn. But, I’m going to give it my best shot with the tips I’ve learned from Margot’s e-Book.

Margot Potter

One of my favorite parts about the creative business is how generous other crafters are. Whether it’s the willingness to teach a new technique or let you in on their business savvy, I’m consistently impressed with the helpful attitude of creative individuals.

When I visit crafting events, conferences or trade shows, it’s such a bonus to connect with other crafters in person, and to have an actual conversation. I’m sure you agree that face-to-face is often much more rich than “speaking” with your blogging friends via comments or even instagram (although that can be great, too!). I’ve decided that I absolutely have to connect with more crafters on a regular basis, and decided that if face-to-face isn’t an option, I’d focus on the next best thing.

Introducing . . .

Video Chats at Craft Buds

I’m excited to bring you a new Video Chats at Craft Buds, a fun new video series where we’ll join some of your favorite craft designers, bloggers and business pros on Google Hangouts! It is going to be so much fun, and I can’t wait to share more. In the coming weeks, we’ll be posting video chats with some fabulous, inspirational people!

- Meet a Fabric Designer (Who would YOU like to chat with?)

- Better Blogging: Tips from Your Fave Craft Bloggers

- Getting Published in Craft Magazines and Books

- How to Start a Quilt Guild or Sewing Circle

- How to Design Sewing Patterns

- Advanced Social Media: Growing An Online Presence

- Photography Tips for Bloggers: DIY on a Budget

- How to Sell Your Crafts Online and in Stores

Everything that you love about Craft Buds is still going to be here, at the same place. We’re just adding video chats to our normal format, which will range from free tutorials to handmade business advice! With our new weekly video features, I hope you’ll join us and get to know some truly great people.

About The Book

Now that I’ve let that cat out of the bag and got you thinking, let’s chat about this great new book!

The Fine Art of Shameless Self Promotion is workbook geared toward creative entrepreneurs of all types, from craft bloggers to TV personalities. Author Margot Potter shares how she very smartly developed her brand, The Impatient Crafter (TM), and learned to promote herself, including her many books and the products she’s aligned herself with. Along the way, she shares sage advice about time management, dressing for success, online marketing and being your own cheerleader.

The book is filled with exercises so you can get out a pen and paper and journal your own thoughts, fears and plans on the spot. It’s an excellent way to capture your own creative journey and help reign it in. Some of my favorite quotes from the book are just chock full of wisdom:

It’s so easy to start giving away little pieces of your freedom, and before you know it, you feel like you owe everyone so much, there’s nothing left for you. It’s okay to say, ‘No.’

Who can’t relate to this advice? And then there’s the inevitable comparison game. I know from talking to many craft bloggers that they struggle, as do I, with feeling guilty when they compare themselves to other creatives who make more, blog more, and do more than they are able. Margot has an answer for that, too:

“Competition is a myth. Let it go. It’s a big one to which most people fall victim…. What if we all woke up and realized that the only person we are in competition with is us?”

Book Excerpt

The book gets very hands-on, such as this workshop in logo design. Margot asks some great, pointed questions to get you thinking about your logo, how it represents your brand, and more! Check out this free book excerpt, about your logo and branding.


One lucky Craft Buds reader will get a chance to win this new e-book. To enter to win a copy (open worldwide):

Just leave a comment on this post telling me which of these video chats you’d be most interested in! I’d love to hear who YOU would like to me interview as a special guest in our video series. Think big! If I select your idea, I just might contact you to see if you’d like to video chat with us and ask your own questions!

We’ll choose a random winner on Friday, 12/7!

Congrats to commenter #24 Domenica, who said: “All of them sound great. I would especially like to see the video on creating your own patterns as I am in the process of starting up my own website. I would love for you to interview Pauline from Funky Friends Factory. She creates some fantastic patterns!”

Margot also has a mega giveaway of $150 worth of craft supplies, so head over for details on how to win!

Frosted Easter Cookies: A Craftsy Class Review


I’ve always been so impressed by the frosted cookies I’ve seen online, but I never thought I’d be able to make them! So when I had the opportunity to take the Craftsy class, Decorating Essentials: Designer Cookies with Autumn Carpenter, I jumped at the chance. With this class there are 9 online sessions. They cover the dough, royal icing, run-sugar, fondant, painting & flocking, designs and displays. The class teacher, Autumn Carpenter, also gives some cookie templates and shows you how to decorate those specific shapes. 


Autumn does a great job explaining each topic thoroughly. By the time I had watched all the videos I was ready to try my hand at some cookies! I was a little apprehensive but it turns out I had no reason to be. I made these cookies with my mom and we were both surprised and excited as each step turned out perfectly. Autumn supplies all of her recipes and they worked great. First we made our cookies in the shapes of bunnies and carrots.


Next we followed Autumn’s techniques to outline our shapes then fill them with color.


We ended up with a great set of bunnies…


… and carrots!


After the cookies dried we packaged them up into Easter gift bags with jelly beans and one of each cookie. For both my mom and I, these were our first cookies using this techniques and we couldn’t be more pleased! The class taught me everything I needed to know for great results.


If you’ve never taken a Craftsy class, now’s a great time to try! It’s free to sign up and they even have some free classes. You can find cooking, baking, sewing and quilting classes and more on their site. The website is easy to navigate and new classes are being added all the time. Besides classes, you can also find supplies and there’s even an Easter sale going on right now!



I was provided with this class for free in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own. The links to Craftsy and the Designer Cookies class are our affiliate links. 

Heather Bailey Clamshell Quilt: True Colors Blog Tour + Giveaway!


Today is our stop on the FreeSpirit Fabrics “True Colors” Blog Tour, and we thank you for stopping by Craft Buds! We are Mary and Lindsay, and we use this space to share sewing and crafting tutorials, handmade business tips and more.

Lottie Da and True Colors by Heather Bailey

Today I’m sharing a quilt I’ve sewn from Heather’s True Colors and the coordinating line Lottie Da. I also used four solid fabrics from my stash.


I chose to work with a traditional Clamshell Quilt pattern, because I loved the way to blocks show off individual fabrics, and I feel the curves really complement the floral and geometric prints in the fabric.


In case you are wondering about the gorgeous longarm quilting, it is the work of Suppose Create Delight! I couldn’t be more thrilled with the variety of quilting patterns in each individual clamshell, not to mention the super-quick turnaround and great pricing. I definitely recommend their services!



Clamshell Quilt Assembly Tips:

- If you have a die-cutting machine, you can cut out these blocks quickly and easily! I used the Accuquilt 8″ finished Clamshell die, and there is also a 4″ Clamshell die available.

- If you do not have a die cutting machine, no worries! Check out Latifah Saafir’s free patterns for an 8″ Glam Clam or 12″ Glam Clam quilt, each with printable templates and detailed assembly instructions.

- I recommend using a design wall to lay out your fabrics until you are happy with the arrangement.

FreeSpirit True Colors fabric collections

If you aren’t familiar with FreeSpirit’s new True Colors collections, they are vibrant coordinates meant to blend well with other fabric lines. Pictured above (clockwise from the top left) are: Joel Dewberry, Anna Maria Horner, Jenean Morrison and Heather Bailey’s True Colors collections.

Color plays a huge role in our lives, but it’s not very often that I take the time out to recognize the beauty of the colors around me. This video shares more about the True Colors collections from each designer’s point of view.

Follow along with the tour for more chances to win!

1/20: Sew4Home
1/21: Stitchery Dickory Dock
1/22: I’m A Ginger Monkey
1/23: The Sewing Loft
1/24: Ellison Lane
1/27: Diary of A Quilter
1/28: Material Obsession
1/29: Craftsanity
1/30: Stitched in Color
1/31: Craft Buds
2/3: Jaybird Quilts
2/4: Melissa Peda

DSC_0004 2


Leave a comment on this post telling us your favorite classic quilt pattern or block for your chance to win a fat quarter bundle of Heather Bailey’s True Colors collection.

Giveaway open to U.S. residents only. We’ll choose one random winner one week from the date of this post. Good luck!

Bid Now! Announcing the Sari Bari Charity Quilt Auction

Years ago, my friend Sally surprised me with a gift: a tote bag made from recycled Indian saris. The name on the label was Sari Bari. I already knew Sally had great taste, because she tends to buy products from organizations that also do good in the world.

Sari Bari Quilt 4

When I went to the Sari Bari website, I learned that the organization actually employs women who have been exploited in the sex trade or who are vulnerable to trafficking. In addition to their gorgeous baby quilts that sell like hot cakes, the online shop carries a number of handmade bags ranging from simple totes to messenger bags and makeup pouches. If you are looking to shop for holiday gifts for guys, look no further than Sari Bari’s laptop sleeves or the men’s tee, on sale.

Sari Bari Quilt 2

2013 Sari Bari Quilt Auction

But what I REALLY wanted to talk with you about is the exciting online quilt auction and raffle which starts today! This video shares a little bit more about the quilts you can bid on. (Oh my gosh… the elephant quilt at 2:55 must come to live with me. So cute!) And I also learned that my friend Amy was one of the talented volunteer quilters who made this event possible, so I’m anxious to pop by the auction and see her quilt.

All proceeds from the auction and raffle will go toward supporting Sari Bari’s ongoing freedom work! The quilts often go for very high prices, and the auction organizers wanted a way for everyone to get to be a part. So this year, there’s also the option to buy a raffle ticket for the chance to win one of the unique quilts for freedom. You will be able purchase your raffle ticket for the quilt you choose via www.saribari.com

How to play

You may place bids and purchase raffle tickets at any time between 5pm November 1 and 4:59pm November 10, 2013. Winners will be announced November 11, 2013. If you’d rather just make a direct donation, visit www.saribari.com/donate. All gifts are tax-deductible.

Follow Sari Bari on Twitter and Facebook for updates!

Head over now and see the quilts!

Modern Bee Blog Tour + Giveaways!

Craft Book Month may be over, but we’ve been enjoying the Modern Bee blog hop. Check out this video to learn more about the book!


Here are a few highlights from the tour, and you can follow the links to comment for your chance to win!

Modern Bee book

Want to win a copy of the book? Click on each one of these blogs and leave a comment there for your chance to win!

Modern Bee Giveaway

Next, some very generous sewing companies sent me some goodies to give away as part of the blog hop! Visit any of the the blogs below to fill out the Rafflecopter form for your chance to win 1 of 10 gift bags with goodies from Coats and Clark, FreeSpirit Fabrics, Timeless Treasures, Pellon and Olfa.

Modern Bee Labels JPG

Finally, you can download some FREE printables from the book over at Sew Mama Sew. The very lovely Mary designed these labels that you can print them off and send along with bee blocks to help the recipient sort out her materials!


The blog tour wraps up on Wednesday with a stop over to Craftsy + Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores, where you’ll have two more chances to win the book. Good luck!


Take a Free Craftsy Mini Course

Did you know that Craftsy offers free video courses? By registering for a free mini course, you can check out the Craftsy learning platform including video lessons that you can watch anytime, anywhere.

I thought it would be fun to share about some of the recent free Craftsy classes I took myself. Here’s my quick review of each one:

1. Creative Quilt Backs: I’ve only started to experiment with making pieced quilt backs. My husband doesn’t really “get it.” He always suggests that my patchwork quilt backs are weird, and that I should always use a solid piece of fabric. Unfortunately, it’s often difficult to find a fabric cut large enough for my quilt back, particularly if I’m making something larger than a crib-size quilt.

Elizabeth Hartman to the rescue! In this mini class, you’ll learn how to create really cute and interesting quilt backs that tie in elements from the front of your quilt and extend the width of your backing fabric when necessary. I love Elizabeth’s work and it’s fun to get to hear her passion for modern piecing in her video course.

2. QuiltCon Lecture Series 2013: I was so lucky to be able to attend QuiltCon in Austin this February. Even still, I missed some of the lectures I really wanted to attend, because I was either exhausted from the trip or just got caught up in the exhibit hall looking at pretty quilts.

I am so, so glad that Craftsy offered a free video series of selected QuiltCon lectures. While I got to see Amy and David Butler’s inspiring talks in person, I missed out on many others. I actually watched the lectures from Heather Jones, Angela Walters, Jacquie Gering, and Mary Fons via the handy Craftsy iPhone app, because I didn’t have anything good to read before bed. Wow! I cannot tell you how inspired I was from their stories. If you are interested in quilting, you will not regret checking out this series!

The next 2 free Craftsy mini-courses I’m going to take are:

1. Sewing Machine 911: Give your sewing machine some TLC with the help of this free course. Learn to clean and maintain your sewing machine with tips and tricks taught in this class.

2. Modern Buttercream: Learn to use buttercream like a pro! Discover the tricks and tips to construct and create a beautifully finished buttercream cake.

Have you tried any of the Craftsy free mini-courses? What did you think?

Improv Quilt with Patchwork Half Square Triangles

I recently signed up for Leah Day’s Free Motion Fillers, Volume 1 on Craftsy (more on that below)! I figured that while I was practicing my free motion quilting I might as well use up fabric I had on hand (although the class does give instructions and a pattern for a practice quilt). About a decade ago, I made a bunch of pillow for my college dorm room with no concern for matching up seams or seam allowances or anything like that! After college I removed all the lumpy filling and threw it away, but kept the pillow exteriors that I had made with random strips and squares of fabric. I pulled them out of storage and cut apart the pillow fronts and backs, then cut all of them into the same size squares. I had 9 squares so I went ahead and made 3 more for a total of twelve 12.5″ squares.

If you’ve got practice blocks, extra blocks of the month or any extra quilt blocks laying around, this is a great way to use up those squares and get them into a quilt! It’s also a fun way to play around with scraps without using a defined pattern, just make 12 blocks in any pattern you like. After getting together my twelve 12.5″ squares, I cut each square on the diagonal. And since it’s not precise, this project would be good for a child or someone new to sewing.

Then I arranged the blocks in diamond shapes. In each row, the top and bottom triangle is cut from the same square.

I made a colored diagram so you can see a little easier the general arrangement I used.

I sewed together each square, then each vertical row, then sewed together the three vertical rows. In a short amount of time I had my 3′ x 5′ quilt top to practice free motion quilting on. I’ll probably add some borders to make it just a little larger.



Now back to Craftsy. If you haven’t heard of it or haven’t given it a try, head on over right now! It’s a fabulous resource for learning new skills. You can choose from a variety of classes and workshops on sewing, quilting, knitting, crochet, food and baking, jewelry, papercraft and more. The classes are presented as online video series. You can watch, start and stop at any time and at your own pace. You can contact the class instructor with any questions you might have.

Craftsy sign up is free and you can even take some of the mini classes for free. Free classes I’ve signed up for include Sewing Machine Feet from A to Z (finally learn what all those feet that came with your machine do!), Perfect Pizza at Home, and the QuiltCon Lecture Series 2013. There are often sales up to 75% off on classes. I purchased Leah Day’s Free Motion Fillers, Volume 1 for $14.99 when it was on sale, regularly $39.99. Even at full price it would have been worth it, and for just $14.99 it’s a steal! It’s been a great class for me to learn the basic supplies, techniques and 50 patterns of free motion quilting. If you’re wanting to learn and have never tried I’d definitely recommend the class.

Note: The link to Craftsy provided is our affiliate link. If you decide to create an account or buy a class, please use the links in this post or the ads to the left so we can be credited. Thanks!

Giveaway! ‘Creative Thursday’ Books

If you need some handmade business inspiration to keep your New Year’s goals in check, you’ll love the book “Creative Thursday” by Marisa Anne. Check out the video trailer for a sneak peek at what’s inside the book, and enter to win one of two copies, courtesy of Fabric Seeds, below!

creative thursday book trailer from Marisa Anne on Vimeo.


Want to win one of two copies of this great book? Leave a comment on this post telling us about one creative goal you have for yourself, whether that’s to learn a new skill or to improve your current craft. We’ll choose two random winners on Sunday, 3/24.

Congrats to our winners, Louise and Domenica!

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