This spring I flew to DC and taught a weekend of classes for two different fiber art guilds there. I had time before my talk to chat with some of the members and they showed me a project they had been working on. A group of about 8 of them had gotten together one weekend and made Sydney Bags by Swoon Patterns. It’s a pretty cool crossbody bag with lots of practical pockets, nice details and ways to use combinations of different fabrics. We talked about how it would be fun to sew in some Spoonflower fabrics since that was what I was there to talk about. When I came home, I bought and downloaded the pattern but I didn’t get a chance to sew one until now.
I decided to make mine on a whim, so I used scraps and things from my stash. The print is one of my designs called Sara. I had some scraps of eco canvas left over from another project. (That design is available in my Spoonflower shop.) The contrast is a remnant of orange velveteen I bought because I liked the color. I had some metal zippers in my stash and I lined it in a deep blue dotty cotton print. It’s bold. I will admit that. But I love it.
The pattern was superb. The ladies that I talked to from the quilt guild said it was the hardest thing that they had ever made. I don’t think it was hard in the “I don’t have the skills to do this” sense, I think it was hard in the “wow this is complex and I have to pay attention” sense. It was hard, but the fun kind of hard.
The bag has tons of details. […]
Spoonflower recently rolled out some cool new changes to their website and the ways you can look at designs. Instead of only seeing a swatch or a fat quarter, you can now see your designs mocked up as sheets, curtains, pillows, tablecloths and more. And it’s now built in to the site; you just have to know where to click. I made this mini video tutorial (10 min) to show you two ways you can look at these new mockups, both as a shopper and as a designer. I think they are both great ways to help you visualize the scale and impact of your designs. If you don’t see the video thumbnail here, click Read More > below.
Want to learn more about designing fabrics for Spoonflower? Try out my online intro class! It’s free and will walk you through a design from idea to upload.
I spend a lot of time applying for things: grants, scholarships, projects, exhibitions, sales, training sessions, residencies. As an independent artist, I don’t work unless I find the opportunities, so I am always on the look out for something. About half the time (at least) you apply and get a “no thank you”. That’s pretty much expected.
This summer, I had a lot of “no thank yous” that all happened at once. It’s not anything that I am failing at, it just happened that the things I was proposing and the things that appealed to the grantors/jurors/evaluators weren’t on the same page. Evaluation panels are funny that way and really change with the personality of the people sitting on the panel and what fires up their excitement and enthusiasm.
I try not to overbook myself by applying to too many things that overlap, because you never know when you will have the opposite problem – a whole lot of YES – and there is only one of me to go around. So that meant that I had a whole lot of time on my hands this summer set aside for projects that weren’t going to happen.
So I decided to learn something new.
I started by brushing up my origami skills. This is related to one of the things-i-applied-to-but-didn’t-get. I subscribed to a YouTube channel of a designer I like who writes great tutorials and I practiced. I’ve talked about my long love of origami before on the blog, but I don’t practice enough. So I’m trying to fold something new at least once a week and trying to memorize a few simple ones.
If you follow a bunch of other artists and crafters on social media like I do, you will have seen stories about big giant companies (like Target and Anthropologie) using artists’ work without their permission. I have a friend who this happened to and it’s rotten. (I think hers had an ok resolution, but she isn’t allowed to talk about it.) My story is a little different and it starts with a video game.
You may or may not be a fan of video games. For the most part, I am not, although I love board games. Recently, a company called Niantic came out with a phone based game inspired by the Harry Potter Universe. It’s called Wizards Unite. In the game, you are a wizard helping to capture some magical creatures set loose in the real world and you find them by walking around and looking for them with your phone. If this sounds familiar, this game is based on the same platform as PokemonGo, which was all the rage just a few years ago. Like I said, I am not in to video games, but I am on board with anything Harry Potter inspired so I had to check it out. My husband and I have a fun time walking the dogs after dinner and exploring our local park for signs of magical beasts. There are lots of fire breathing chickens and baby hippogryphs there, in case you were wondering.
In the game there are “Greenhouses”, which are tied to geographic elements in the real world like a piece of public art, a neighborhood sign “Welcome to Northeast Park” or a sculpture or statue. They are spots to get a little spell energy or harvest potion ingredients.
On site installation of utility […]
I wrote an article for the Craft Industry Alliance Journal about selling your designs on Spoonflower. The Journal is usually available only to members, but they decided to make this story available to the public. Yay! Read here about how you should think about TACOS when you are creating your designs, and let me know if you have questions! I’ll do a follow up post here on the blog to answer them.
I don’t have a lot of time to sew purely for myself. A lot of my business is sewing for other reasons: making items to sell or creating pieces for exhibitions. A few weekends ago, I ended up with some free time and nothing pressing on my agenda. I wandered up to Knit & Bolt, my neighborhood fabric store, and I bought a copy of the Wiksten Shift Dress pattern.
I’d been seeing this one all over Instagram and the craft blogs. It’s a super simple shape and I could have probably drafted the pattern myself, but I like to support indie pattern designers and I honestly didn’t want to think that hard. I just wanted to spend an afternoon making a simple dress.
I had a perfect piece of fabric: a blue/green woven that I had bought to make a dress for my sister’s wedding. I ended up not having enough fabric for the dress I wanted to make for that event, so I used something else and this green went in the stash. It’s a cool weave that has blue threads in the warp and green threads in the weft so it changes color a little as it moves and it is super soft.
The pattern has a yoke on the back and I thought it would be fun to use a contrasting fabric for that and I found a scrap of this print that I designed and printed at Spoonflower on some cotton sateen. The colors were perfect together.
Since this was a new-to-me pattern designer, I remeasured myself and checked their size chart and decided based on my measurements that I should make a size 10. So I got it all sewn […]