Designing stuffed toys with muslin mockups

The Spoonflower design challenge this week was a cut-and-sew project that fit on a fat quarter. I love designing these kind of things. Some of my very first Spoonflower designs were sets of stuffed toys (Goldilocks and the 3 Bears, Red Riding Hood) where you could make all of the little characters as dolls or finger puppets and then they had their house which was a bag to store them all in. All of the pieces fit on a fat quarter and you just cut them out and sewed them together. The way this design challenge was set up you could make a cut-and-sew anything. Many people made stuffed animal toys, but you could do things bags, headbands or bibs as long as they fit on that 21×18 inch rectangle.

I struggled with this one a little bit. I was going to re-do a sheep stuffed toy pattern that I had in my Etsy shop years and years ago. I thought it would be easy to convert since I had already pattern tested it. But I just wasn’t excited about it and it’s a little fiddly to sew together.

Then I thought about a conversation I had with my friend Megan, who owns a local yarn and fabric store called Knit & Bolt. For a class I was teaching, I interviewed Megan about trends she saw in fabrics – what sells, what doesn’t sell, what do people come in looking for. One of the things that came up was cut-and-sew panels like these. They are popular at her shop, but one of the things she noticed about them is that although they seem like a really great beginner […]

Book Review: The NEW Spoonflower Quick Sew Project Book

Just last week, Spoonflower released their second book, The Spoonflower Quick Sew Project Book. You might know that I worked on the first book, The Spoonflower Handbook and we get a little shout out in the intro for this new book.

The author for the Quick Sew book is my friend Anda Corrie. I have known Anda for a long time, although we only met in person in 2016. Anda worked at Etsy for many years and I asked her to be a juror for a grant program that I administrated when I still worked in the arts admin world. She also was a contributor to the first Spoonflower book. She has a project (pg 85) and she did the illustrations for the book. I love the aesthetic of her fabric designs: colorful, whimsical, and simple, but in a way that has so much character.

I wanted to tell you about this new book and a little about what I think is great about it. (This isn’t a sponsored post or anything like that. Everything I say here is my own thoughts and impressions.)

The book in a nutshell

It’s a sewing book. Where the Spoonflower Handbook focused on teaching you ways to create your own design, the main focus of this book is sewing. It has a great variety of projects that use different amounts of fabric from swatch to several yards. Although there are several projects that show you how to design something that is personalized, that isn’t the main goal. In some ways, I feel like this one is the prequel to the other. The Quick Sew book teaches you […]

2018-10-16T13:40:56+00:00Book Reports, Sewing & Design, Spoonflower & Fabric Design|Comments Off on Book Review: The NEW Spoonflower Quick Sew Project Book

Pop Up Class: Intro to Embroidery

Don’t wait to sign up! I have added a class for this summer and you are invited. I am partnering up with Knit & Bolt (formerly Crafty Planet) in NE Minneapolis to do a pop-up class. In three sessions, you will learn all you need to know about beginning hand embroidery. We will cover the basics of tools, threads, needles, and to hoop or not hoop. Each session we will focus on a group of related stitches, like variations on a theme. We will talk about how to stitch a pre-traced pattern as well as free-form embroidery, which is my favorite. I broke the class up so you will have time to practice between sessions and come back with questions. We will work in the awesome new classroom space at Knit & Bolt and you can get all of your materials there at the shop. (I will post the supply list here very soon and email it to you after you register.)

Intro to Embroidery
Tuesdays June 20, 27 and July 11 • 10:00 – 11:30 am
at Knit & Bolt

Open to ages 10 and up. No embroidery or hand sewing experience necessary.

THIS CLASS IS FULL. If you are interested in learning about future classes, please sign up for my email newsletter.


Supply list

All of these items are available at Knit & Bolt. You can pick them up ahead of time, or we can take a little time right at the beginning of class to get everyone set with supplies.

  • 1/4 – 1/2 yd of plain colored woven cotton fabric. I recommend RJR solids or […]
2017-06-19T12:15:13+00:00Classes & Teaching, Embroidery, UpcomingClasses|Comments Off on Pop Up Class: Intro to Embroidery

My love of art supplies: Fiskars Microtips

Another post about the art supplies I love and why I love them. I think I have 5 pairs of these Fiskars Microtips. They are my favorite scissors. More than my fancy Gingher sewing scissors. I have 5 pairs because eventually I do something dumb and they get a little too dull for working with fabric things and they get retired to being paper scissors and then I have to replace the fabric ones. I think there’s one pair so beat up that it has been retired to the garage.

Why do I love them? They fit my hands so that my hands aren’t getting tired when I am cutting endless little things like this.

They are sturdy and never get loose or wobbly feeling. I don’t use them for cutting out garments or pattern pieces; that’s not what they are for. Those tips are tiny. I can cut little threads and trim seam allowances or clip curves. I can cut out intricate paper shapes and not worry about the scissors mangling the curves and corners. They are sharp. And they only get too dull for fabric things because I tend to use them for everything, whether I “should” be using them or not. I think one of the things that was the most frustrating when I was teaching beginning sewing classes was scissors that belonged in the garbage. Cutting out is always the first step. And if your scissors chew up your fabric, then you can’t match it up, and then the seams don’t line up and the seam allowances are all over the place and it just spirals from there.

Good […]

2017-03-12T22:22:04+00:00Sewing & Design|Comments Off on My love of art supplies: Fiskars Microtips

I’ve got stickers!

loveyarn

And I don’t mean the sticky paper kind. Apple has a new thing for iOS that lets you put super-sized emoticons on your iMessages and they call them “stickers”. And when you are an artist (and a geek) and you are married to a guy who writes software for a living, it means that you get to have sticker packs released the day the feature goes live! I am so excited.

I have been working on these for ages very quietly behind the scenes and I have 3 “Sticker Packs” that are up in the App Store today. We were all tapping our fingers and waiting for the approval emails yesterday.

3upstickerpacks

One set is the much sought-after yarn emoji“I Love Yarn” is a whole pack of knitting and crochet. Smiling yarn balls, an angry tangled skein, stitch markers and more.

“Sew It Up” is all sewing machines, scissors, pins and my friend the seam ripper.

“Black Kitty” is a gift for a friend who just lost his sweet black kitty, but also for my mom and sister, who both have goofy black kitties.

stickermockup

Here’s a little bit about how stickers work and here is a good article about how to install them. I have more design ideas that I am working on, naturally. These are really fun to do.

You can get them in the App Store for $.99 each. I added a tab to my menu bar up there at the top of this page that says “Shop” so there is always a link to them and any future sets I […]

2016-09-13T16:37:44+00:00Everything Else, Sewing & Design|Comments Off on I’ve got stickers!

The Verdict is in: Pfaff Expression 3.2

love

It’s love.

One of my most popular posts according to the analytics I see when I log in is the post I wrote about my Saga of Sewing Machines and the reviews of the Bicor, Viking, Bernina and more that I have loved and hated through the years.  When I wrote that post I had had my Pfaff Expression 3.2 for about a week.  It’s now been 8 months and about a million stitches, so it is definitely time to follow up.  (I have been busy!)  I can say with all honesty that this is the best machine I have ever owned.  I have stitched through layers of leather, not to mention denim, silk organza, felt, polar fleece.  I made a quilt with it.  The stitches are beautiful, the tension is beautiful.  I still love the zipper foot.  It’s quiet and heavy enough that I don’t push it around the sewing table.

If I have to pick out a pet peeve it’s that the reverse button is little and a little awkwardly located.  Reverse has two “modes”: one where you can hold it in and it reverses and when you let go it goes back to forward stitching; and the other mode clicks it into reverse and it stays there.  Inevitably I do the wrong thing and get it locked into reverse when I want it out or vice versa.  It’s mostly user malfunction, but it annoys me.  (Now I wonder if I can change that to always do one or the other. I will have to check the book.)

I was skeptical about it being computerized, but so far that hasn’t been a problem.  I bought a rolled […]

2015-07-24T09:19:52+00:00Everything Else, Sewing & Design|Comments Off on The Verdict is in: Pfaff Expression 3.2
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