Thursday, December 17, 2009

Comming Soon! LoVe U by Deb Strain for Moda

 I LoVe this fabric line! Baby Owls, Snails and Turtles, all in gender neutral colors on FLANNEL! This fabric line has been out for some time on regular cotton, but now they have printed it on really soft flannel. I had a lot of fun designing a baby quilt with it. This is the easiest, sweetest rag baby quilt that you will also fall in LoVe with!!! If you have never made a quilt before, then this is a great one to start with. All the blocks are cut the exact same size; pretty easy! The seam allowance is 1/2".  "Snuggles" (yes, that is what I have named it!) is our newest kit. All six fabrics, as well as the instructions are included. I even made a little baby pillow with the left over squares!

These kits  will be ready in a day or two. We have just taken delivery on the new fabrics and have begun cutting them.  If you would like to have some of these fabrics, visit the website: they should listed soon! I really enjoyed designing and sewing up this precious quilted baby blanket!!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

TCU Design Students

Last Friday I was invited to see the work of Texas Christian University's fashion merchandising/design students. Their final project for the semester was to make a skirt. Most of these girls had never sewn anything before this class. They started off the term with pajama pants as their first project. The skirt project required that it have a zipper, so no elastic waists allowed! I met the students of both of Ms. Bailey's classes  at mid term. That is when she scheduled a "field trip" to our shop, The Grapevine Collection. We "opened" special just for them. I gave them a little background on how our shop came to be and what it has meant to me to be a shop owner. After purchasing fabric and notions from us, they were off to begin their projects. Check out these beautiful fabrics they chose!

I love the contrasting binding on a couple of these! Most of their skirts were on display during an open house at the Fashion Merchandising building at TCU's campus. They did a great job!
I think that this one was my favorite though! ~ Check out the ruffles on this black & white silk one. 

Here are a couple more . . .

Can you see the pretty top stitching detail on this purple floral? 

The girls are delightful and were so pleased with their new skills, as well as the addition to their wardrobes. I took quite a few pictures as you can see! Here are just a few of the girls! My one of them is quite young!

Keep up the great work, "frog-ettes"!

One of their "extra credit" projects was to make a pillow for charity. Aren't they cute!

And, here is a picture of the teacher, Stephanie Bailey, with her two sweet little girls!

Thank you so much for inviting me!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Santa Pants!

I tried out a new pattern recently by Sew Sensible, their "Skort" and here is what I came up with! These are all vintage looking Xmas prints in red, several shades of green, pink and cream. Isn't it cute?! I wish that I had had a pattern like this when my daughter was little ~ with pantaloons built in! I thought that  this pattern was on our site, but noticed that it is not yet. I'll take care of this as soon as I can. 
While I was at my local Target, I found the cutest little cardigan in cream with a tie at the waist. Naturally, I cut the tie out and replaced it with a green organza ribbon to match the little skirt. Then I spied some cream lace edged leggings that were just perfect! Don't you think that "Santa Pants" is precious! Well, maybe not the name!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

In honor of Pink Fig Patterns

I am back from our final sewing RETREAT of the year~ it was another smashing success! Boy, did we all have fun. Someone said in their retreat review that "20 hours a day of sewing was just not enough!"  In reality not ALL of us sewed that many hours, but there were a few . . . . I will post pictures and more details later this week.
              As I was making up this NEW kit (above)  I wondered ~ as usual ~ what its name would be . . .   The colors for this little kit are most unusual. I would describe the combination as "funky sophisticate"! All of the fabrics are from a new collection called "Basic Grey" by Moda Fabrics. The sleeves and the skirt are done in the richest deep plum while being set off by a bright pastel pink and a very different green. The green is  the color of the center of an avocado,  not lime. I finished all of the edges with a rolled hem which really speeds up the construction. Once it was done,  jeans and even a ribbon rose corsage, the first name that came to me was Chelsea! How appropriate since the pattern, "Mia",  was designed by Chelsea Anderson of PINK FIG patterns. I hope that she likes it too!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Mod Kid's New JULIA Skirt pattern

I have been wanting to make up this new little skirt pattern from Mod Kid patterns and finally did .  .  .   It is so cute that I want to wear it!
      I choose a slightly "older" girl look for the fabrics. I wanted it to be festive for the holidays, but not your typical red and green Christmas outfit. So, the green is more of a soft imperial jade with mums in crimson and gold. The leaves are a very dark rich forest green. For the under skirt, I could dare to be dark! So, I choose a coordinating black "Asian" print. The yoke is a "pieced and quilted"-look print that compliments nicely.

The pattern calls for the outter skirt to be "shirred with fabric strips from the inside. I chose to sew my casings on the outside and, instead of self-made fabric strips for the "ribbons", I opted for real ribbons. Of course, they had to be special and they are. Each of the two French ribbons is edged in gold!  Even the fabrics have golden highlights which makes the outfit so elegant!

To complete the outfit, I picked out a red tee shirt ~ actually because it was what in my sewing room. It thought  originally that a soft pink would be the ticket, but actually the red is so much better. Now, with the tee, the ensemble begged for more!  An elegant "corsages" seemed appropriate, so I was on to the next stage of the design. Patty Young's pattern has a flower pattern piece (actually three) that was the perfect size. I cut one out and sewed it on the tee shirt. The pattern also includes a center flower circle, so I cut one of those out too. Well, when I laid it on top of the flower it "disappeared".  So, I cut out another one in a different color. And, what do you know, it disappeared to. So, I cut out one more. Same problem. Okay, I could have looked for a different fabric, but I had three circles ready to go. So I held them all together like petals of a flower, stared at them and then decided to hand stitched them together. Then I hand sewed this in the center of the flower. The "corsage" still needed a little something. After a lot of digging, I found a small satin ribbon rose that was perfect! I added this to the center of my "petals" and pronounced it done!

The outfit was a joy to design and sew, so I have chosen to call her JOY! Naturally this little ensemble is one of my new kits and we have put it on our website just this evening.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Making the Chemisette Bag

Linda sews beautifully and is so creative! She recently made up one of our new patterns and wanted to share with everyone her sewing experience. . . . She has included some marvelous photos.

I am making the Chemisette Handbag from Craftapple. I am using a silk/cotton blend for the top part and a heavy cotton for the base. My fabrics are more autumn colors and I think they will make a classy bag for fall.

The pattern directions are in the form of a booklet. I like this because there are no loose pages to get mixed up. This pattern has no cutting layouts and you need to watch how you fold the fabric since you need to cut on the fold and then cut a second one of many of the pieces.

I have cut out the pattern and the yardages seem to be very generous. It calls for 1/2 yard of fusible fleece but you could get by with 1/3 yard. The fleece interlining piece is actually smaller than the lining piece it is fused to so that none of the fleece is in the seam allowance - pretty nifty.

It calls for medium weight fusible interfacing. I don't always know what the definition of "medium" is so I have to find where it is used and then make a judgment call. I looked through my stash and found a lightweight to mid weight interfacing and I used that.

Fusing interfacing is not one of my favorite things - it takes sooo long. I have learned a few tricks over the years but nothing that takes away the time element. I use lots of steam and a damp press cloth. Then I count 1 pink elephant, 2 pink elephant until I can't stand it anymore. Then let the piece cool before handling it too much. I have found the fusible fleece to be harder to get a good fuse so it is a good time to practice patience. Luckily this pattern does not call for too much of that stuff.

The sewing directions are good and the diagrams are helpful.  The author also defines any terms - like topstitching - that may not be common knowledge to everyone. The only confusion is that the pieces are named chemisette and corset instead of bag bottom and top so I had to think a little bit.  When I had gathered the chemise piece I pinned it to a pressing board to get it ready for steaming, then I could see  it  looks like a bra top.

The next step was to attach the "corset" or bag bottom.  I marked the center of both pieces and pinned to make sure everything lined up.

Be sure and follow the instructions on construction order, I had to do a little bit of unsewing because I jumped the gun a bit. At one point it tells you to sew to the dot, I figured I could just sew all the way to the end but it turns out that you do need that 1/2" open, so pay attention to the instructions.

I used 2 layers of peltex for the bag bottom and followed the instructions for attaching it

This is how the boxed corners look
After attaching the pockets and sewing the lining together you put the whole thing together.  This was the hardest sewing of the whole project and that was only because you sew around the whole top that is pinned very well and it is a little bulky so it is somewhat awkward but just take it slow and you will be fine.  Turn it right side out through the opening left in the lining and then steam the top edge and insert the handles, topstitch and you are done.

What a cute bag! It is smaller (10"x7") than the picture led me to believe but I really like the size and it is different and easy to make.

Linda works at the shop on Thursdays, so if you are ever in the area on that day, stop by and meet her! 

Thursday, October 22, 2009

We're back from the Festival!

We're back!
I can hardly believe that the show is over. Even though the show was 4 1/2 days, it went by really fast! We met so many wonderful happy sewers. We were able to put faces to names of many customers who order from the website ~ neat! Naturally we worked very hard and sold tons of merchandise. This was our forth year to exhibit at the Quilt Festival and by far our best show ever! We took two trucks to the show and only filled one to come home; and that was predominantly fixtures. Fantastic!

On my drive home I thought a lot about sewing and how it has brought me so much happiness. There is almost nothing that gives me as much pleasure to be at home creating a new "something". Years ago I sewed to make my own clothes, curtains, etc. because I just did not have the resources to buy them. Today, you can certainly buy things on sale for less than it costs to make them. Especially when everything is manufactured somewhere "far far away"! So, why do we sew? I believe that it has more to do with being creative as it allows us to express ourselves. Sewing is a stress reliever; it is intellectually stimulating as it challenges us to learn new skills and it is just plain fun!
What are your thoughts on sewing?

Friday, October 16, 2009

More than just Quilts here at the Festival!

For all of you who think that the Quilt Festival is just about quilts, I want to show you that its not! There are antiques, vintage linens, baskets from Africa, luxury yarn, knitting kits, hand crafted costume as well as fine jewelry and would you believe even sewing machines!

Ah, one of my favorite booths with all of my Bernina friends! The only machine for me . . . or, well, maybe five machines in my studio!

Here is a pix of one of our very own local quilt shops:
The Cabbage Rose . . . 

And, did I mention classes? There a sooooo many to choose from here at the Festival. Here is a really fun place!
Make It University

        We are having a great time and working very hard! Our sales have been the highest ever. And, we have met so many wonderful people ~ customers that we have only communicated with via email, but now have a face to put with the name. 
         Two more days . . . I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

From the Festival!

We spent all evening on Tuesday as well as half the day on Wednesday unloading the truck, unpacking boxes and setting up our booths. Yes, the rain had subsided by then, but the humidity was about 150%.  Just lovely! But, everything looked fabulous by the time we left for lunch and, like I said in an earlier email, it was truly an explosion of color!

The Festival opened Wednesday evening at 5pm with a private showing for the Houston Quilt Guild ~ until 7pm. After 7 the convention center opened to the general public for "preview night" ~ until 10pm! Yep, we were exhausted. There was a nice crowd of people for the opening, but not too many.

Today was a different story; the halls were so full you could hardly get to the restrooms! There is such an air of excitement with so many sewers all in one place! Needless to say our booths were swamped all day long ~ am I content or what! We even had to order more patterns by midday to be over-nighted; unbelievable. And, they say our economy is "not good". Well, you know how it is when you have a passion ~ you just save your money for special occasions and your hobbies.

Here are a few pictures of us setting up the booths that I thought you might want to see. Tomorrow I will get out of our little "store" and take pictures of the festival for all to "see".

Monday, October 12, 2009

On the way to the Houston Quilt Festival!

 I have arrived in Houston for the Houston Quilt Market !

          We loaded the truck on Saturday evening. Hooray, what a feeling to have that done! I left at dawn on Sunday and it rained the whole way to Houston. ~As you can see from my photo above the skyscrapers are doing just that.

But I finally made it to the Houston Convention Center.  Sure I was tired, but what can I say.  . . When you get to see all of the NEW fabrics for Spring from Michael Miller, Robert Kaufman, Moda,  Free Sprit ~ just to mention a few ~ you certainly perk up!  I spent several hours at the Market placing orders for fabrics & trims and searching for new pattern designers. Oh my, wait til you see what I  found! I'll keep everyone posted regarding new arrivals.

I visited with some of my favorite pattern designers; the ladies from Indygo Junction, Patty Young with Modkid Designs, Sandi Henderson of Portabellapixie patterns, Chelsea Anderson of Pink Fig Patterns, Susan Huberty of Sew Baby and Jackie Clark. That's Chelsea in the photo! She was so sweet and it was thrilling to see her new samples as well as her booth. She is a beautiful,  incredibly creative young woman! I took pictures of her booth as well as Patty Young's for all of you.

Isn't this booth adorable! 
This is Patty Young's Modkid Sewing Patterns.
All of her samples are made from her own fabric  line that she designs for Michael Miller Fabrics.

                             And, here is the Pink Fig booth! Awesome! Her samples were precious! She paid me a very nice compliment regarding my fabric combinations, trims, etc that I have chosen for her patterns when I sew up a kit. She always does put my new kit pictures on her flicker album.
And, let me share with everyone a fairly new designer: Katie Cupcake. Here is her cute booth. 

Yes, I did order all of hers!
But, there are others.
I'll let you know as soon as we get them stocked.

My coworkers will be arriving tomorrow with another "truck load". We will be at the convention center by afternoon setting up our two booths for the Quilt Festival. That is, if it is not storming!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My oh my, have I ever been sewing! In the past two weeks I have designed 7 New Kits! Five for children and two for ladies. In just the last week, I have sewn up all of them! Yes, the Houston International Quilt Festival is next week and we will be more than ready!

       I started with a new holiday themed dress, "Fa-la-la" ~ seen to your left. Isn't she cute!

followed that with "Fruit Loops" (dress to your right)
and then "Skipper"(a pants outfit) - picture coming soon.

I thought that I was done then with "Pebbles" (another dress ~ no picture yet as I decided to reverse the sleeves).

BUT, on Saturday, our new PINK FIG patterns arrived. They are sooooooo adorable!!!
So, I immediately started pulling down bolts of fabric to design a "Juliet Top" with a "Nie Nie Skirt" to match.

Of course, they demanded a little blouse to pair with them, so I pulled out my "Olivia" pattern to sew one up. I just got that done this afternoon. After I made a knit top for myself and ripped out the sleeves on the new "Pebbles". They needed to be a different fabric!

           I'm not going to post this new skirt yet until I get a picture of the completed outfit. This little pix is just to peek your interest!

Ruffles ruffles everywhere!

Details to follow on how I sped up the ruffling process!

     Wow! I think that I have made 8, no make than 10 new garments in the last ten days! Yes, two of those are just for me to wear to the Festival. Ugh, you know, I think that I am tired! I did manage to get the laundry done and go out with the hubby a couple of times, but not a lot of cooking got done and NO house cleaning. How do I do it? Well, that's two answers. But, the husband has been out of town a lot and both kids are away at school :(

My best "friend", Mr. Bialetti, my cappucino maker helps out a lot!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Our September Sewing Retreat was fabulous. I had a great group of ladies who sewed all weekend long. At least that is when we were not eating or sleeping! We even had a massage therapist drop by on Saturday afternoon to ease those aching necks and backs.  What a life!

Our projects this time included pants, a jacket and a purse. Only a couple of ladies made it to the purse stage. Most made more than one pair of pants and some made two jackets! We did get a lot done, but had soooooo much fun! I wish that everyone could go on at least one of these. I think that most people leave refreshed and really excited about their sewing skills and projects. Maybe it is only me, the hostess and teacher, that comes home a little tired! It does my heart good to see people having so much fun sewing hour after hour! It is sheer heaven - no cooking, laundry, errands husbands, kids or even phone calls - if you wish!

On Sunday afternoon, before everyone left, I surprised everyone with one final project: we made wired ribbon roses for our jackets. The turned out beautiful! Ah, a good time was had by all!