Tag Archive for sewing patterns

Sewing Pattern Designs Q&A + Giveaway!

Today, I’m excited to feature my friend Heather of The Sewing Loft and celebrate her patterns being licensed with Simplicity Creative Group. That’s right…the Simplicity patterns you can pick up at Jo-Ann’s or your favorite local craft store!

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the end of the post!

Heather, congrats on your licensed patterns with Simplicity Creative Group! Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got started in pattern design?

Thank you. To say that I am excited to see my designs hit the store would be a complete understatement. I am still in a state of disbelief to know that a brand I grew up sewing has published my designs… Total “pinch me” moment!

Background: Well, I have been sewing forever. I started when I was around seven, just watching my mother and grandmother stitching away at the machine…. waiting for my turn. Later my passion turned into a career as a designer in the apparel industry and it has been non-stop from there.

Where do you get ideas for patterns and how do you record them?
I am a people watcher at heart! I love seeing what people are doing, wearing and interested in. When an idea strikes, I scribble it down in a note pad. I swear, I have too many to count floating around.

What does the process of designing a pattern look like for you?
Pattern making for me is like a complete rush. I sketch my idea on paper and then if I LOVE it, I can not rest until it is complete. Normally, I draft the pattern on paper or direct on my mannequin in muslin. Then, I dive head-first into sewing. Sadly, I am terrible at jotting down notes during the process. Instead, I am so dialed in on what the finished product should look like that I keep testing and tweaking until I get it right. It’s only after I am happy with the outlook that I realize I need to go back, recreate and develop step by step instructions for others to follow. I swear, you would think by now I would be more disciplined but the creative side of me always wins.

Do you have advice for other pattern designers who are looking to branch out into getting their work published?
My best advice to pass on to anyone interested in having their designs published is to reach out, introduce yourselves to brands and see if they are interested. New talent is being discovered everyday! And the biggest surprise to me was just how long the process has taken. This little labor of love started back in September of 2011 with a simple connection and it was not until last summer that things really started to get rolling. Best advice: Be patient.

New Patterns from Emmaline Bags + Giveaway!

Have you heard of Emmaline Bags? If not, you are in for a treat! Janelle is the very talented designer behind Emmaline Bags.

I first met Janelle when she entered and won a fabric giveaway right here at Craft Buds. She and I e-mailed back and forth because she was moving across the globe, so she told me I could either wait until after the move, or mail it to her relatives. I waited, which was a mistake, because I almost forgot to mail her fabric!

You can follow Janelle’s blog or connect with her on Facebook to get the latest news on her bag patterns. But I’m happy to share two of her newest sewing patterns with you here today:

The Boyd St. Bowling Bag

My friend Veronica recently pattern tested a version of Janelle’s new pattern, the Boyd St. Bowling Bag. Here’s her version–isn’t it gorgeous?

I love how roomy this bag is, and the look of the leather handles against a bright and summer print. Here’s another version that would be perfect for carrying all your belongings in style.

The Necessary Clutch Wallet Pattern

Another one of Janelle’s new patterns is The Necessary Clutch Wallet. I love the pretty lines and metal turn lock clasp on the wallet front! Inside, there’s plenty of room for your credit cards, cash and more. If you check out her blog, you’ll find some great step-by-step tutorials showing how to add a wrist or purse strap to the clutch, how to print PDF patterns, and more!

Giveaway!

One lucky reader will win a generous prize package (a $42 value) from Emmaline Bags!

Boyd St. Bowling Bag ePattern + 1 Hardware Kit (pictured)
The Necessary Clutch Wallet ePattern + 1 Turn Lock Clasp
– a $10 Store credit to Emmaline Bags

Giveaway from Emmaline Bags!

To enter to win, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The PDF patterns giveaway is open worldwide, but the winner must have a U.S. and Canada mailing address to also win the hardware. Good luck!

Sew Sweetness Patterns + Giveaway!

Some of you might remember last summer, when we told you about Sara Lawson (a.k.a. Sew Sweetness) and her Kickstarter campaign to help launch her sewing patterns business. Many of you supported her by pre-ordering sewing patterns, and others may have seen her bag sewing patterns popping up everywhere in 2013!

Velocity Girl Bag

I’ve halfway lost track, but I know that she’s put out a new pattern every week for about 9 weeks or so. Amazing! I decided to make myself a new everyday bag, since my old was has been in use for at least 4 years, pretty much non-stop.

Velocity Girl Bag

I chose to make Sara’s Velocity Girl Bag pattern, because I liked the size and shape of it, and it has plenty of pockets to keep all my odds and ends.

Velocity Girl Bag

I ordered some Melody Miller fabric (Ruby Star Sparkle / Ruby Stories Skate-A-Thon) and interfacing from Sew, Mama, Sew! and go to work. This pattern, like all of Sara’s bag patterns, has step-by-step photos, so it is super easy to follow. I installed a metal purse slider and a zippered pocked, both for the first time, and had no problems along the way!

Velocity Girl Bag

Can I tell you how often I lose my cell phone in my purse? I can’t believe how long it sometimes takes me to find my phone, even when I know it is in my purse and I can hear it vibrating. I adore these side pockets on the outer purse, which are the perfect size for my phone. Now, I only have to look two places to find it!

Velocity Girl Bag

I did make a couple of simple modifications to the pattern. I decided to add metal rings and strap extenders on both sides of the purse instead of just one. That’s the way my old purse was, so I figured I would be used to it already! I also added a piece of yarn as “cording” in order to make piping for the tops of the outer pockets. I don’t think this made a huge difference versus the  flat piping called for in the pattern, but I do think it helped my fabric strip keep its shape a little bit more, since I used a thinner cotton for the piping.

You can find the Velocity Girl Bag and many other patterns–including a camera bag, a travel bag, a paper-pieced clutch and more–in the Sew Sweetness Pattern Shop! All PDF patterns are available for immediate download, so there’s no waiting or wasted paper. You only need to print off what you will use, which was just one page, in my case!

 

Giveaway!

Sara is generously giving one lucky winner a complete set of 9 sewing patterns from Sew Sweetness!

Fill out the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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:

Book Review: Everyday Handmade + Giveaway!

Today, we are happy to have a guest post from Elizabeth at Inspire Me Grey. She is here to review a new sewing book and show off her projects, plus we also have a giveaway courtesy of the book’s publisher, Martingale & Co. (Enter with your comment at the end of this post.) Take it away, Elizabeth!

Everyday Handmade: 22 Practical Projects for the Modern Sewist by Cassie Barden and Adrienne Smitke (Martingale) is a promising addition to any modern sewist’s craft library. Whether you’re looking for a small, simple project to give you a break from that quilt you’ve been slaving over or you’re in the mood to create something featuring some favorite fabrics from your stash, Everyday Handmade is likely to please.

Everyday Handmade book contents

Beginner-level projects include a simple tote bag decorated with fabric-covered buttons, pieced coasters and potholders, and a sewing set that includes a pincushion and needle book.

Everyday Handmade book - Collector's Item Tote Bag
The instructions and illustrations are clear enough, though, that even projects that seem more intimidating, like the full-fledged messenger bag with pockets and a laptop compartment, are easy to follow.

In contrast to many sewing craft books that focus on one material (felt, scraps of quilting cottons, upcycled fabrics), authors Barden and Smitke challenge sewists to explore working with a variety of materials. Projects make the most of selvages, wool felt, linen, canvas, interfacing, fusible fleece, and zippers.

Everyday Handmade book - e-Reader cover

 

My Projects

When I was studying the 22 projects in Everyday Handmade and trying to decide which one to make, the Literary Genius e-Reader Cover caught my attention. I received a Kindle as a birthday gift only a week after I won this book at a quilting retreat, so the timing was perfect.

Before I started, I noticed that the finished size (5 1/2” by 8 1/2″) was going to be bigger than my Kindle and therefore wouldn’t provide the intended protection. The authors note in the project instructions that they have included measurements for two e-readers, but unfortunately both were bigger than mine, so I decided to reduce the cutting measurements and make a practice cover first to check the sizing.

Fast forward through recalculations and two practice covers and I was finally ready to proceed with my final fabric choices. I used interfacing on all my quilting cottons to give them a bit more heft, and at the last minute I decided to also supplement the outer layer of the cover with fusible fleece to better protect my Kindle.

I’m happy with how the final product turned out. Although there are slight changes I would make if I were to make this again, it holds my Kindle snugly and provides sufficient protection.

One other project that I tried from Everyday Handmade is the Petunia Hedgehog Pincushion. Petunia is part of a three-piece sewing set, along with a stump-shaped needle book and notions pouch. To satisfy a Woodlands theme for an ornament challenge that’s happening on my blog, I turned Petunia into a soft ornament by simple eliminating the base and sewing both sides of the body together all the way around.

April ornament: Hedgehog

Templates are included for the tree stump parts as well as all Petunia’s parts, and I found it very easy to trace them using freezer paper and then transfer and cut the shapes out of craft felt. At the back of the book Barden and Smitke include simple instructions for techniques used in the projects, including the French knots and blanket stitch on Petunia. Even when you know how to execute simple embroidery like this, if your memory is anything like mine you know it’s helpful to have a refresher on hand.

I’m pleased with the range of projects in Everyday Handmade, and I like the look and feel of Barden’s and Smitke’s designs. Whether you’re making a little something for yourself or sewing up a personalized gift for a friend, you’ll find something to try in this book.


Giveaway!

Martingale & Co. is giving one lucky Craft Buds reader the chance to win a $30 gift certificate to their shop, good for books, e-books or patterns. Enter to win by:

  1. Leave a comment on this post. You can tell us if you use an e-reader or if you prefer paper books. (one entry)
  2. Subscribe to Martingale’s Stitch This! newsletter (for free patterns, sale offers, tips and tricks) and leave a second comment telling us you did! (one entry)

This giveaway is open worldwide and we’ll choose one lucky winner via Random.org on Wednesday, May 2, 2012.

Out of 158 comments, the winner is #6 Jeanne, who said:

“I do have a Kindle and I love it for casual reading but it isn’t color so I like my quilt and craft books in pulp. I do love that Kindle cover and the tote with all the covered buttons.  If I win, I know what will be first to make! Thanks for the chance.”

 

Review: The Colette Sewing Handbook + Winners

Colette Sewing Handbook Cover

After interviewing Sarai Mitnick of Colette Patterns fame, I was so excited to get the chance to review her new book. The Colette Sewing Handbook (F+W Media) is both a project book and teaching tool for sewists, meaning it does include 5 sewing patterns that the reader can make and feel proud of. However, the basis of this book is actually on explaining the techniques needed to sew clothing with a great look and fit. This includes how to choose fabrics, read and alter patterns, how to care for garments and so forth. Quick, someone give this book to Project Runway winner Anya!

Colette Sewing Handbook excerpt

As a self-taught sewist that mostly works with quilting cottons, I was excited to read about how I should actually be sewing things. For instance, did you know that pressing a garment is different than ironing? I didn’t! I was also intrigued by the concept of ripping fabric from the bolt instead of cutting, which is actually the preferred method to get a “trued up” (even) edge. I also learned the many ways to transfer a pattern from the original to the fabric, using markers and chalk pens (and why each one is useful).

Colette Sewing Techniques

The book also reviews some techniques I use regularly, like gathering, hand-stitching and inserting facings into a garment. Still, no matter how many times you’ve installed a zipper, you might find yourself referring to this book’s helpful step-by-step photos as a reminder.

Colette Sewing Handbook Fabric Types

Did I mention that the whole book is just really pretty? I’m going to bookmark the pages on fabric selection, because I know this will come in handy time and time again. Sarai details the qualities of fabric (What fibers is it made from? Woven or knit? How does it drape or reflect light?) and explains which fabrics are better for which project. Brilliant!

Colette Sewing Handbook Fabric Drape

Overall, Sarai encourages sewists not to rush into their projects, but to take time selecting fabric that is right for the garment, pre-washing and ironing the fabric, prepping and altering the pattern and making a muslin (inexpensive trial run) of the garment. All of this comes before cutting into your pretty fabric. This technique helps you to get a great fitting dress that you’ll actually want to wear, which saves money and time in the long run. And once you’ve altered the pattern to fit your body, you might want to make the “Truffle Dress” in six different colors. I do.

Colette Sewing Handbook Truffle Dress

Techniques aside, one thing I took away from this book is the desire to think thoughtfully about my wardrobe.  Sarai’s patterns have a cute, vintage-infused style that can be personalized with fabric choice and thoughtful details (like including or omitting a bow or fancy hem, which she gives the reader full permission to do). She encourages sewists to find their personal style and use clothing as self-expression. If you have a fabulous fitting garment in a fabric that complements your skin tone, you’re going to feel great in your clothing.

Colette Meringue Skirt

For my first project from the book, I’ve decided to conquer the “Meringue Skirt.” So far, I have gone through Sarai’s tips and selected my fabric: a textured, matte, wool-based gabardine. (Can you tell that my sewing vocabulary has increased tenfold since reading this book?) I’ve also cut the pattern pieces and adjusted for length (since I’m shorter than the model). Next, I’ll be ready to make my muslin and check the fit before starting on the skirt. Although I am pretty thrifty and don’t like to “waste” fabric, I liked Sarai’s explanation of making a wearable muslin. This means I might use a fabric that I’m not in love with, but it echoes my actual fabric choice, so I could still potentially wear the skirt if it fits.

The Colette Sewing Handbook is an invaluable tool for the sewist that wants to learn more about making garments. Although I probably won’t make all of these patterns for myself, I am definitely excited to sew two of the five, and I could see myself making more than one of each.

Winners

Out of 261 comments, the winner of The Colette Sewing Handbook is #101, Margie! We’ve sent you an e-mail with more info. If you didn’t win, why don’t you join my by signing up for the free webinar Thursday all about choosing fabrics? Participants will also get a discount on the book.

Free Webinar
Out of 636 comments, the lucky winner of the Epic Letterpress Combo Kit chosen by random.org was #90, Jessie Prince! Congratulations and Mary has sent you an e-mail with more information.

For everyone else make sure you check out the Lifestyle Crafts blog where they’re doing some amazing giveaways! This week you can enter to win a dream craft workspace worth $800 just by following their blog. For additional entries you can tweet or blog about the giveaway (and don’t forget to mention that Craft Buds sent you!).

The Colette Sewing Handbook Q&A + Giveaway

Sarai Mitnick Headshot

Today I’m excited to share this inspiring interview with a woman who left her corporate job to carve out a niche for herself in the creative marketplace.  Please welcome Sarai Mitnick to Craft Buds!

Sarai runs a successful sewing pattern business working out of her beautiful studio in Portland. Just take a gander at the lovely sewing studio photos she shared below! She also blogs at The Coletterie and recently authored The Colette Sewing Handbook (F+W Media).

Sarai Mitnick Studio - Fabric Scraps
Sarai, can you tell me a bit about your transition from a corporate job to owning your own creative business?

The biggest challenge was uncertainty. I had a pretty great job in the corporate tech world, and it can feel like you’re a little crazy for wanting to leave a stable, prestigious, well-paying career for something that’s basically a huge question mark.

But when it came right down to it, I knew I wasn’t happy. I felt bored and tired, and a worst of all, like I was wasting my time and creative abilities. It’s not a good feeling to be stuck in a pointless meeting and realizing that your life is passing by. I liked my job in theory, but in practice working for a big company was really not what I was suited to.

I’m pretty careful about money, so I spent some time saving up so I could fund the business myself. That really helped. But there were other things I would miss, like proper health insurance and tons of other perks. My employer gave us free meals, for goodness sake! But we made a go of it and I must say, it was the best decision I’ve ever made. I love being in charge, I love the creative flexibility, and I love the people I get to work with. It’s hard work, but the freedom is such an amazing gift. I am very grateful that it’s worked out.

Sarai Mitnick Sewing Studio
What’s your process for writing a new pattern?

We start with some basic ideas about an overall look, combined with requirements about what kinds of patterns we need in the overall collection. I factor in things like skill level, separates vs. dresses, and season.

Once we have several sketches and ideas, Caitlin and I discuss them and narrow it down to the few we’ll finally release. We then draft the pattern digitally, and make up many samples and muslins. The number really depends on the type of garments, with pants taking the most test runs. I think Caitlin sewed over 10 muslins to get the fit exactly right for our new pants pattern! I’d say that more typically, there are 3 or 4 muslins. Often times, little design changes have to be made as well as fitting changes, since things do look different when made up much of the time.

At this point, there is the grading and instructions to do, which is another very long process, and finally the photo shoot. It’s fun, but it takes a long, long time.

Sarai Mitnick - studio sofa
I’m excited about your new book, The Colette Sewing Handbook. So, how did it come to be?

I had a vague idea that I wanted to write a sewing book when the publisher approached me. My original concept was quite different and more specific, but my wonderful editor encouraged me to think a little more broadly and write more of a teaching manual of sorts.

My concept was to build on the sewing fundamentals that are so often overlooked. I think experienced sewists will tell you that things like understanding fabric and getting a nice fit are the keys to making the sorts of garments you daydream about. But no one seems to emphasize this when we’re starting out! So many of us just learn as we go, which is fantastic, but sometimes it takes us a long time to realize that we should pay attention to things like fabric quality. I know it was this way for me.

So my book focuses on five things: planning your sewing, using patterns, understanding fabric, getting a good fit, and finishing techniques. I suppose I wished that someone had come along years ago and said, “hey, slow down, enjoy the process more, and pay attention to this stuff and you’ll make some really cool things.”

I did enjoy the book writing process, because I truly love BIG projects. I’m a planner. And I like figuring out the best ways to communicate ideas, be it an anecdote or a tutorial. So writing a book was a lot of fun for me. It was a ton of work though. Like a lot of things worth doing, it wasn’t easy, but it was still an amazing experience that I wouldn’t trade.

Sarai Mitnick Sewing Desk
Do you have any tips for someone who is looking to launch a creative business?

Don’t be afraid to do something different! There are a lot of mediocre products out there that try to appeal to the masses. Instead, look for the niche of people that you can really do amazing things for.

My other advice is just to be kind. If you are generous, helpful, and thoughtful towards others, it’ll make you a happier person and it will come back to you in spades. I guess it sounds like a cliche, but the more you think about how you can help other people, the more help will come your way when you need it.

Sarai Mitnick Studio Thread
What’s next for you, Sarai?

Some time off! We’ve got new patterns in the works for the Spring, of course, but I’m planning to make next year a little easier. I do have some ideas up my sleeve for some crafty stuff that’s not purely sewing pattern related, but it’s just an idea at this stage. In the meantime, I’m taking a little trip to Argentina and slowing down to think!

Sarai Mitnick Bookshelf

This is the first stop on Sarai’s blog tour for this book. Check out the full list of participants, so you can follow along!

Nov. 1: The ColetterieIntro and giveaway
Nov 2: Craft Buds – Interview and giveaway
Nov. 3: Gertie’s New Blog for Better Sewing – Lace insertion tutorial for the Licorice dress
Nov. 4: Sewaholic – Book excerpt
Nov. 7: COLOURlovers – Sarai’s favorite prints and patterns
Nov. 8: Flossie Teacakes – Interview with Sarai and book review
Nov. 8: A Fashionable Stitch – Book excerpt and review
Nov. 9: Pink Chalk Studio – Book review
Nov. 10: Craft Gossip – Interview with Sarai and giveaway
Nov. 11: Bolt Fabric – Book review
Nov. 14: True Up – Fabric Fives with Sarai
Nov. 15: Frolic! – On styling the book’s photos
Nov. 16: Whipstitch – Book review
Nov. 16: Honeykennedy – Styling ideas
Nov. 17: A Dress a Day – Interview with Sarai
Nov. 18: Not Martha – Book review
(break for Thanksgiving week)
Nov. 28: Casey’s Elegant Musings – Project Planning, book excerpt and Casey’s thoughts
Nov. 29: MADE – Giveaway
Nov. 30: Sew Weekly – Book review
Nov. 30: Oh! Fransson - Elizabeth’s version of the Taffy pattern
Dec. 1: Sew Mama Sew – Guest post from Sarai on grainlines

Free Webinar: Sarai is also hosting a free webinar on November 10, and she’ll teach you how fabric is made, how to speak the language of textiles, how to choose appropriate fabrics for your sewing projects, and more. Register today, because seating is limited. There’s also a book discount for all webinar attendees.

Giveaway!

Giveaway now closed. Congrats Margie! F+W Media is generously giving one reader the chance to win a copy of The Colette Sewing Handbook by Sarai Mitnick! To enter to win, leave a comment on this post telling us one thing you’ve learned from this interview. (U.S. entries only.)

We’ll announce one winner on Wednesday, November 9.

The Colette Sewing Handbook


Sponsor Spotlight: Craft Book Month

We couldn’t host Craft Book Month without support from our sponsors! If you love to support the handmade community, these hard-working and inventive shop owners are a great place to start.

Pattern Patti has some super cute e-patterns for sale, which will get you off to a great start sewing handmade gifts for the holiday season. She has some new patterns in her shop including this kindle sleeve and a cute mini tote bag with letter applique.

New Kindle Sleeve pattern

Pattern Patti Sewing Patterns

Shopping for holiday gifts instead of making your own? There’s a cute little Etsy shop I know you’re going to love, called My Little Sunshine Handmade. You can get ready for fall with this wool hobo satchel!

Wool Hobo Satchel

My Little Sunshine Handmade

Goofing Off‘s vintage sewing patterns and notions are perfect for unlocking your inner Betty Draper. Just check out this rare vintage buttonholer from Singer!

Vintage Button Holer

Goofing Off vintage sewing patterns

Reminder: Enter this week’s book giveaway through Friday, September 23! And, you can still enter your craft book project here through September 30 for a chance to win some great prizes.

 

Here are some more Craft Buds and Craft Book Month sponsors  . . . We just can’t get enough of them!

22 Free Patterns - Download Now

Lifestyle Crafts 20% Discount Sis Boom

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

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