Quick Quilting Tips: Pinning Alternatives

Welcome to readers of Amy Smart’s Fabulously Fast Quilts blog hop! I’m happy to visit today to share my favorite quick quilting tip, along with the other bloggers on the tour.…

Summer Skirts with Simplicity 2606

  Over a year ago, a friend proposed a trade. Jayne would take photos of our family and newborn son and I’d make her a couple skirts. Over a year…

Sew Easy Burp Cloth Tutorial

The other evening, I was trying to pull double duty. I held the baby on one hip while tossing some vegetables in the skillet. My husband walked in the kitchen…

Quick Quilting Tips: Pinning Alternatives

Welcome to readers of Amy Smart’s Fabulously Fast Quilts blog hop! I’m happy to visit today to share my favorite quick quilting tip, along with the other bloggers on the tour.…

Book Review: Sewing for Boys

Earlier this week we interviewed Shelly Figueroa and Karen LePage, the authors of the book Sewing for Boys (Wiley). Today I’m sharing my review of their book! I’ve been excited about this book since the moment I first heard about it months ago. As the mom of a little boy, I find lots of patterns for cute little dresses and tops for girls but not nearly as much for boys. This book is full of great clothing patterns with fun extra details that get you excited about sewing boy clothes.

I love the way this book is designed. It’s spiral bound so it lays flat, the patterns are in a nice sturdy envelope inside the front cover, and there are great illustrations and photos. One of my favorite parts about the book layout is that there are photos of every project in the front of the book. It’s so easy to browse through all the patterns this way. There are even more photos throughout the book so you get a really good feel for what your final product will look like. Each pattern sheet in the envelope is numbered so you can easily find the pattern sheet you are looking for. Also, each project is rated with a difficulty level. All those little well thought out details in the layout alone made this book enjoyable.

There are six total chapters including a chapter of clothing for each of the four seasons. There’s also a chapter for on the go items including a playmat and toy bag. And lastly is a chapter for items that repurpose your scraps or old clothing items into new things like a patchwork blanket. There are 24 projects total. Sizes available vary by project, but overall they go from 0-6 months to 7.

As for the patterns, there’s a great variety of clothing for inside and outside for all seasons. Every item includes extra details that make your project look like it was done by a professional. The directions are easy to follow and there are diagrams to help you out along the way. If you need any extra help, there’s a glossary in the back that will assist you with sewing terms and techniques.

My Project

It was a tough choice deciding what pattern to make for this review because they are all great! Some of my favorites were the ralglan T-shirt, the Luka hoodie and the reversible “two-in-one” jacket. In the end I chose to make the Easy Linen Shirt. First I traced the pattern onto sheets of paper then I picked out my fabric. Rather than purchasing new fabric, I cut my pieces of a gray knit shirt of my husband’s that he never wears and re-used the existing hem on the bottom of the shirt for the hem of this new shirt. I had a scrap of dark gray knit that I used inside the collar.

The instructions were easy to follow and I didn’t need to use my seam ripper even once on this project (amazing)! As I’ve mentioned, there are extra details in each pattern that makes your clothing look professsional. This pattern was no exception with topstitching around the arms and shoulders and extra tips on how to finish the seams to make them extra comfortable and durable. The fit was perfect for my son (I purposely made it a little large) and this’ll be a great shirt to easily pull off and on during fall weather, and to wear layered in the winter.

Want to win a copy?

Head over to our interview with the Sewing for Boys authors, Shelly Figueroa and Karen LePage. Just leave a comment on that post for your chance to win! This giveaway is now closed.

 

Craft Book Month at Craft Buds

Sewing Apps for iPhone and Android

While we’re focusing most of this month on printed craft books, we wanted to highlight some digital applications for iPhone or Android smartphones that can assist you as you’re purchasing and cutting fabric for all those great patterns!

Android or iPhone

Jo-Ann Fabrics (Free for Android or iPhone): Browse products, check out customer reviews, find a store and best of all, save your coupons! You can load coupons and show them to the cashier for a discount rather than using a printed coupon.

Quilting Calculators (Free for Android or iPhone): From Robert Kaufmann Fabrics and Quilter’s Paradise is this great collection of eight free calculators.1. Fabric Measurement Conversion, convert between decimals and fractions. 2. Backing and Batting Calculator, calculate how much yardage is needed for the backing and batting of a quilt. 3. Piece Count Calculator, shows the number of fabric pieces that can be cut from a large piece. 4. Pieces to Yardage Area Calculator, fabric needed to cut a set amount of a certain size piece 5. Binding Calculator, calculated fabric needed based on quilt dimensions and binding strip width. 6. Border Calculator, shows the amount of fabric needed to create borders. 7. Square in a Square Calculator, calculates dimensions of a square within a square block. 8. Set-in and Corner Triangle Calculator, calculates square size needed to create unfinished triangles.

iPhone only

Fabric Stash ($4.99): When you’re out shopping do you have trouble remembering what’s at home in your stash? Use this app to snap photos of your fabric along with any notes you may want to include such as measurements, where you bought it, price and more. You can view your stash according to color, style, manufacturer or project.

Pattern Pal ($4.99): Use this app to keep your patterns organized with name, brand, number, notes and photos. You can also track the fabric and notions needed for each pattern.

Quick and Easy Quilt Block Tool ($3.99): Browse 102 quilt block patterns and view cutting instructions and yardage requirements for each block in five sizes.

Quilt Index ($0.99): Browse through thousands of historical and contemporary quilt photos. You can also view the quiltmaker and quilt pattern names, dates and more. 

Yardage Calc ($2.99): Convert between yards and meters or calculate how much fabric you’ll need when buying a different width than whatis specified on the package.

Android only

Quilt Binding Calculator ($0.99): Calculate the length and width of fabric needed for single or double-fold straight grain binding.

Note: To download the apps, go to the Android Market or the iPhone App Store depending on the type of phone you have, search for the app and download it directly on to your phone. If you have any favorite sewing apps that we’ve missed, let us know in the comments!



Author Q&A: Sewing for Boys + Giveaway

Shelly Figueroa and Karen LePage design children’s clothing for their company Patterns by Figgy’s and just released their first book, Sewing for Boys (Wiley). Today we’re excited to learn a little bit more about how these ladies decided to collaborate on a creative business and later a book. Shelly and Karen are living proof that dedication to your craft can lead to a very successful career in design.

I read on your website that you two met on Flickr and live across the country from each other. How did you decide to go into business together?

{S} We found one another in a group that shares a mutual love for fabric and design. Karen posted a photograph of a beautiful handmade pinafore, so I made a comment about how terrific I found her work and designs. That sparked a conversation, which then blossomed into friendship. As our friendship grew, we found that we had the same goals and aspirations, most importantly, the desire to write a beautiful book focused solely on BOYS. It was the desire to write this book together that sparked all the other collaboration we’ve done.

The Henry Shirt test

"The Henry Shirt" (Flickr / Shelly Figueroa)

I love the clean lines of your children’s clothing designs and the cute details. How you find inspiration for new patterns?

{K} We look to the past, because we both gravitate toward utility that is beautiful. We love the simple styles of the past, but we try to modernize them in a way that becomes a new classic. Of course, comfort is paramount, and because we focus on how a kid will feel in our clothes, we try to include details that are important to kids, like pockets and comfortable seams. Our aim is to always make a kid’s favorite garment.

{S} I am a lover of simple-to-sew projects and garments and I don’t like to make things more than once or twice, so it’s very important to me as a mother (because our time is precious) to make sure the designs have cute details and modern touches but won’t take all day to create.

Sewing For Boys book Do you have a favorite project in the new book?

{K} It’s so hard to choose! I love “Let’s Go Fishing Hat” for its simplicity and utility, but my very favorite is “The Henry Shirt.” I love to mix and match fabrics, and I love how this shirt can work through all the seasons. Its relaxed fit is a big bonus for fidgety little guys.

{S} Since Karen picked two, I will too. I love the “Kickin’ Back Sweats” because they are super quick to make and the fit is all about comfort but there are also a lot of options offered. They are designed so you don’t have to just choose knit fabric but also woven, you can use the pattern to make surf pants or shorts, optional faux fly and pockets are also offered. I also love the “Easy Linen Shirt” because once again it’s a quick sew but is still super stylish and laid back. The West Coast girl is coming out of me with these two.

How did your relationship with Wiley begin?

We engaged Stefanie Von Borstel from Full Circle Literary to represent us and our idea. Her enthusiasm and direction helped us clarify our vision which she then took to publishers to find a good fit. She brought us several offers to publish our book, including one from Wiley. We love the work they do, and some of our favorite designers have written books with Wiley, so we chose to accept their offer.

How would you compare the process of publishing your individual patterns with writing a sewing book? Any challenges or surprises you weren’t expecting?

The main difference was the ultra-tight schedule, really. When I think about it, it blows me away that we were able to put together 24 projects, patterns, illustrations and instructions in 12 weeks, whereas usually we give ourselves 3 months to put together a line of 3 patterns. There were A LOT of long nights. We were pleasantly surprised and can honestly say that the entire book was exactly how we pictured, and unfortunately not all authors get to say that. The entire team was a pleasure to work with at Wiley and they really listened to what our vision for this book was.

Sewing for Boys project

What’s next for you ladies?

During the Spring Quilt Market in Utah, we were able to meet a lot of the fabric shop owners that currently carry Patterns by Figgy’s patterns, and we also met a lot of fabric reps who asked if we would like to preview upcoming fabrics. This gave us the idea that it was time to offer “trunk shows” so that the shops will have a way to showcase not only the patterns but new fabrics. We love having that personal relationship with the fabric shops.

During the next few months we’ll be taking some time promoting and enjoying the fun part of publishing a book. We’re also teaching classes in our local areas (Portland and Detroit), and crafting as much as possible!

Giveaway!

Wiley Publishing is giving away a copy of Sewing for Boys to one lucky Craft Buds reader! If you’d like to win, leave one comment on this post telling us something you’ve learned about the authors or the book publishing process. This giveaway is now closed.

We’ll be back on Wednesday with a sneak peek of the book  Read the book review here and we’ll announce the winner of this book on Friday morning. For more chances to win, follow the rest of the blog tour:

September 5 Made by Rae
September 6 Sew, Mama, Sew
September 7 The Southern Institute & Film in the Fridge
September 8 Elsie Marley
September 9 Noodlehead & Oh, Fransson!
September 10 I Heart Linen
September 11 Anna Maria Horner
September 12 Craft Buds, Pink Chalk Fabric, Prudent Baby, Sew Much Ado
September 13 Very Purple Person, Quilt Story & Sew Sara
September 14 The Long Thread
September 15 Susan Beal
September 16 True Up
September 17 All Buttoned Up & Bolt Fabric Boutique
September 18 MADE & Wiley Craft

Book Review: Growing Up Sew Liberated

Growing Up Sew Liberated (Interweave) by Meg McElwee is full of fun and functional items you can make for any boy or girl in your life. It’s a great mix of clothing staples for infants and toddlers, playthings for all ages, and useful everyday pieces.

The book is nicely divided up into five chapters that each focus on a different part of the day: Greeting the Morning, Bread Sharing + Homemaking, Inside Play, Outside Play, and Good Night, Sleep Tight. The back of the book includes a helpful section on sewing tools, techniques, terms and stitches. In all, the book includes patterns for 9 clothing items, 13 play items/clothes and includes an envelope with full size pattern pieces.

Chapters one (daytime) and five (nighttime) include clothing items for newborns to size 5. The actual sizes included for each individual clothing item varies depending on the type of clothing and what stage in life your child would wear it (ie. the baby sleep sack is only available in 0-6 month size). The clothing patterns are all gender neutral with classic shapes. Chapter two is about items used around the house including a ring sling, bib, and embroidered placemat. Chapters three and four focus on inside and outside play with patterns for a variety of creative play items. A few of the items include a cat blankie for babies, a doll for younger kids, and a messenger bag for older kids.

Overall this book has a nice variety of gender neutral clothes and projects. It’s just slightly more biased towards girls with three of the patterns being for a doll, doll clothes and doll backpack and most of the models are girls. That certainly didn’t keep me from enjoying the book though. The instructions are well written and easy to follow and the diagrams are simple and easy to understand. The overall layout is well organized with a nice balance of color and white space with beautiful photographs throughout.

My Project

I initially thought about making the hooded play cape or art satchel, but then I realized my son had suddenly outgrown all the new pajamas we had just bought! So I decided to make a long sleeved envelope tee and sleeping johns. There are patterns printed on both sides of the pattern paper in the back of the book so you have to trace out the patterns you want to use. The envelope tee pattern only goes up to 18-24 months and I needed a 2T. The pattern was simple enough to make larger for my son and it was easy to trace out the patterns on sheets of computer paper I taped together.

After cutting out all my pieces I got started sewing everything together. I was a bit intimidated to sew this small pair pajamas out of knit fabrics but the instructions were very clear and easy to follow. There’s even tips for sewing knit fabric in the back of the book! I appreciated that you don’t have to use a serger and the instructions tell you what stitch to use where. In not too much time, I had a cute pair of pjs that fit my son perfectly! The neck may look a bit too big in the photo but that’s because my son tried to tear off the shirt because it was 90 degrees out when I took the photos :).

 

Craft Book Month at Craft Buds

Free Patterns from Books: Bags + Winner

After looking at free patterns for the home last week, this week we’re highlighting a variety of patterns for bags, purses and totes.

 

From Amy Butler’s Style Stitches (Chronicle): Blossom Bag

 

From Sewing with Oilcloth (Wiley): Farmer’s Market Tote

 

From Bags, Pillows & Pincushions (Wiley): Quilted Market Bag

 

From For the Love of Hand Stitching (Stash): Daisy Makeup Bag

 

From Interweave Press: 22 Assorted free sewing projects

And just a reminder, you can use one of these patterns to participate in the Craft Book Month linky party through the end of September! And, our winner of the book  I Am Cute Dresses: 25 Simple Designs to Sew by Sato Watanabe from Interweave is #31, R Carter, who said, “6 months to a year is less than I thought it would take! once I actually have something to share with the world that is..” Congratulations R Carter (I’ve sent you an e-mail with more information)!

Book Review: Sew Wild + Giveaway

I recently got the chance to review another new release from from Interweave. Sew Wild is a craft book that gives center stage to the instruction of new techniques, giving the reader full permission to ignore the rules of traditional sewing or fiber crafting.

Sew Wild book

Author Alisa Burke dedicates the first two-thirds of the book to teaching creative processes like woodblock printing, fusing plastic, masking, stenciling and freewrititing on fabric. She shares a screenprinting technique using materials that are easy to come by: embroidery hoops.

Embroidery Hoop Printing

Although I’m not personally drawn to the style of Alisa’s Graffiti Quilting, I’m enthralled with her process. Being a quilter, I typically hide my top-stitching by using a matching thread, but Alisa’s bold designs are truly embellished by her wide range of free-motion stitches.

Fabric Graffiti

Projects like the Flower Garden Fabric Wreath also take a normally hidden material, like thread, and make it the star, with Alisa’s bold use of contrasting thread. A scarf, a pillow, and a bucket hat are among the books other projects, and although the items are nothing new to a craft book, Alisa’s artistic process means these projects are like nothing you’ve seen elsewhere.

Flower Garden Fabric Wreath

If you like clean lines and precise cuts, the projects in this book will probably not appeal to you, although the techniques like printing on fabric are described in full detail and are really quite remarkable!

If you’re willing to give free motion stitching a place in your next sewing project, Sew Wild offers lots of new ideas and even comes with a bonus DVD showing two extra projects and more visual instruction for the techniques discussed in the book.

My Project

I decided to give Alisa’s techniques a whirl, and here’s what I came up with. I fused together some Target plastic bags and used scrap pieces of fabric to make this mixed media clutch. Once the plastic bags were fused, I was able to sew with it just like I would with fabric.

Mixed Media Clutch

I didn’t worry about trimming pieces to any certain size, and used a quilt-as-you-go technique to sew each fabric square to my base fabric, a thick felt (which makes up the interfacing of the clutch). Overall, this method of sewing was very enjoyable and gave me a project that was totally out of my comfort zone.

Mixed Media Clutch back

Here’s the back side of the clutch. Mixed media projects give a totally different look than my normal sewing, and allow the artist to break the rules and let loose. Do you incorporate any mixed media techniques into your projects?

Craft Book Month at Craft Buds

Have you entered yesterday’s giveaway for the I Am Cute Dresses: 25 Simple Designs to Sew from Interweave Books? You can still enter here through Friday!  This giveaway is now closed.

I Am Cute Dresses book giveaway

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