Friday, August 8, 2014

The most useful pattern ever

 What is your most useful pattern? The one you use time and again, in endless variations?  For me, it is Jocole's Shoreline tank pattern.  I literally love this pattern!

This is what a classic Shoreline tank looks like.  It is a tank top, made from knit fabric, with ruffles across the front. It can be made for newborns on up to size 14 girls and also comes in women's sizes. And you can make it for your doll.

This pattern is useful because you can make the top with or without the ruffle. You can make the straps from the same fabric or fold over elastic. And you can extend the pattern yourself to make it into a dress of any length. 

And I have made it full length, as well, but apparently I didn't save pictures of that until now.  Today, I made two Shoreline tank night gowns, both full length. Both are for my tween, who loves comfortable and not fussy things. So, for her, this is the perfect summer nightgown.

jocole shoreline tank

This green floral fabric is by Fresh Produce and I got it at Banberry Place Fabrics, my fave store for knits.  It has a bit of stretch, just enough for this pattern.

This red dot is by Riley Blake and I got it from a friend. It is super duper soft and very stretchy, so I made the straps a smidge shorter to account for the stretch. 

These are both size 14.

I have also heard of mamas taking Shoreline tank and cutting it shorter and attaching a skirt, to make a dress. I plan to do this really soon and will definitely share with you all. For now, I have some shoreline tank dress nightgowns to make for my other daughter!

And tell me, please, what is your most useful pattern ever? The one you sew the most?

Note: I love Jodi Jean to bits and we are friends on Facebook but she has never paid me to write one word about her. Everything in this post is 100% my opinion and clicking on any links will not earn me a cent. But, go buy some Jocole patterns anyway!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Making blogging changes, checking priorities

This week, I am making blogging changes because my priorities are changing. And this is exciting!

First of all, you can now easily get around the Handmade Dress Haven blogosphere by clicking on my avatar, newly annointed with social media icons.  This only took me two hours to create and size correctly, so please use it!

Secondly, you will notice the addition of Betsy Button to my sidebar.  I have decided that I really like to sew and I really like to share my sewing and chat about sewing but I do not enjoy the work that it takes to create a blog that will be followed by thousands.  For the last six months, I have read books, joined groups, participated in blog hops and sewalongs, and done everything I could think of (short of buying a new camera) to get my blog seen by others and earn some money from it, but it was just irritating me beyond belief and so I am calling it a day.  It is just too much work to get a blog in the market today, at least if you want to push it and not let your following develop organically. It involves taking great pictures, sharing your links here, there and everywhere, networking, and getting your tutorials seen by as many people as possible.  And, if you don't have a product to sell, it is also very difficult to get noticed, especially if your photographs are not professional-grade. And, even if you do spend 40 hours a week writing stellar tutorials and sharing professional-looking photographs, you still might not make any money at all. Frustrating!  And I just don't have it in my heart to be a business person. I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why anyone would think I am more special than the next person.  I think that is kind of funny, but it is true.  It is hard for me to do self promotion.

But, Betsy Button is here to help me promote my sewing! And cutting back on blogging hours gives me more time for Betsy and for my own children.  And just who is Betsy Button? Well I wrote about her a while back, in this post.  She is basically the mascot for a Facebook boutique some friends of mine run. I am one of the team and happy to be there. We run big, themed auctions every other week with accessories and clothing for children and sometimes for mom. But, almost every week day, we also run auctions for items we've made and these daily auctions start at $1!  Some of them go quite high, some stay low. You can get some beautiful stuff so please check them out!

And our next Big Auction is August 6th.  The theme is Storybook.

Finally, you will notice that the ads in the sidebar have all been deleted.  Why bother!  I hate ads.  I felt guilty having ads in my own blog when I block ads everywhere else. I use Firefox as my browser because I can use Adblocker to keep the annoying ads at bay. But, I felt guilty about blocking every other blogger's ads when I was asking them to click on mine so I unblocked them. And then I got annoyed by all the ads!  You have to laugh at me. I am such a dork! 

So, ads are gone except affiliations. But, in the case of affiliations, I am not asking you to do anything but merely providing you an easy way to buy something I love and give me a small commission. I know that when I shop for patterns now, I always find a friend who is an affiiliate so I can give her the commission.

At any rate, that's the scoop!! 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Cozy Nest Patterns Convertible/Reversible Bag pattern tour

Now it is my turn for this fab tour!!  Okay, this bag is a work of genius. Please read this whole post because once you see this bag, you are going to want to buy it. It is genius!!  It is four bags in one, it reverses, it converts!  It is a work if genius!

And, it is on sale for 25% off! The code is bagtour and you can buy the pattern here.
(Notes: I am not an affialiate but you still should buy this pattern. I was given this pattern for free as part of this blog tour but my opinions are completely my own and I swear I would not lie to you.)

very useful purse pattern

So, first of all, I made this bag twice. The first time I made this bag was with fabric I got as part of a fabric swap. You can read about it here.  I got the cutest fabric, absolutely perfect fabric for me. And I saved it for this pattern.  But, I made a mistake. I hate making mistakes. Don't you HATE making sewing mistakes. I used midweight fusible interfacing that was really too weighty for this pattern and it ruined the bag. I broke three needles AND my (beloved) clear plastic sewing foot and used my seam ripper at least a dozen times making this bag. Which was all my fault because the interfacing was too weighty. So, I ended up ripping it all apart and made just the bottom half of the bag for my 7 year old. She's happy as a clam with it. The rest of the fabric had to be tossed. I was heartbroken. 

reversible bag sewing pattern

And I thought I would have to let Sarah, of Cozy Nest, down by not blogging about it because I was not able to meet my deadline. And that was so stressful! I am a type A personality. I MEET DEADLINES!  I TURN IN HOMEWORK ON TIME. I DO NOT LET PEOPLE DOWN!  I had to capitalize that to emphasize how stressed out I was about not getting this tour sewing done. 

But, the kind and generous Sarah gave me a second chance!  She rescheduled my tour date and here I am. I made the bag again, this time with better interfacing. 
(Why are there so many choices anyway??)  
And here is my finished bag. 

Did I mention that it is FOUR bags in one!!

cozy nest reversible bag

I love this bag! It is fun and not hard to sew.  The directions are very well done and, when you have the pdf file open on your computer, there are links throughout the pattern for you to click on to go to her website to get even more visual help with putting things together. Brilliant!!  I think this is a perfect bag pattern for a woman on the go, a tween, doing on a date, whatever!  It is just so fun and clever. And a great way to use smaller pieces of fabric.  As you can see, my bag has four different fabrics, three Jennifer Paganelli Sisboom fabrics, all from my "too small to make a dress" bin. 

Now, check out the giveaway!!

Check out the rest of the tour and don't forget to look at older posts, too!!

Monday, July 28th
Maria of Mia's Creations 
Niki Stringer of Roonie Ranching 
Alyssa Carrion at Keep Calm & Carrion

Tuesday, July 29th 
Lynn Potts of PottsCrafty 
Marilyn Brandt at Shades of Bold

Wednesday, July 30th 
Vicky Myers of Vicky Myers Creations
Liz Schaffner at MOMENTS

Thursday, July 31st
Amy Macdonald with Friends Stitched Together 
Judith Clauss of Judith Stitches and More

Friday, August 1st 
Jonie Brooks with Knot Sew Normal 
Lorena Rey of my way of... 
Bethany Rapp with Sweet Bee Buzzings

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Betsy Button Back to School sale

It's almost back to school time for kids in North America and I've been doing some sewing for sale.  I love this Moda PB&J fabric and I made three dresses that will be up for sale starting tonite on Betsy Button Facebook page. Betsy Button is a Boutique run by some friends and I and we have themed auctions several times a month. Bidding starts exactly at 9PM set on July 23rd and ends at 10:15pm EST on July 24th for clothing and at 10:30pm EST for accessories! That way you can focus on your outfit first AND THEN accessorize. BetsyButton is made up of a team of individual boutiques and designers! 

Here is my set of dresses. Left to right, they are sizes 6X, 5, and 3.

And here are some of the other offerings. Please click on any picture to check out our page.  

Happy Bidding!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Free Twirl Skirt Tutorial - Sizes 2-14

Here is an easy way to make a circle skirt for a little girl.  This will be a very twirly skirt! 

free twirly skirt pattern

To start with, you have to make a circle for the top panel.

To achieve this, you need to measure the hips of your girl.  Then, you need to find the radius of your circle.  The equation to do that is hips+2 divided by 3.14 divided by 2=radius.   The width of your fabric will depend on how large you want the panels to be.  In this case, I wanted the final skirt to be 10-12 inches long so I made each panel 6 inches wide. 

Take your panel and fold and fold it again so you have a rectangle folded twice.  From the folded corner, measure your radius and mark it.  Get something circular to trace a circle of that radius.  Remember that radius is a straight line from the center to the circumference of a circle or sphere.

You can find your radius by measuring from the corner down that length on each side of the double folded corner.  Measure out that far into the fabric and mark.  That is your radius. Lay your circle template on top of that mark so it curves from one point to the other, thru the mark in the middle. 

Here is my example.

free skirt tutorial

I cut the top circle and then measured down 6 inches and cut another circle of same curvature.
I used my ruler to do this. I marked the fabric every inch or so and cut on those markings.

 free skirt tutorial

Now, to make the bottom panels.  Remember, they are 6 inches wide. To know how long to cut, you measure the bottom of the circle and times by two.  Cute two panels out for that width and length, in this case 6 inches wide by 36 inches long. 

This skirt is going to have two different fabrics on the bottom.  I cut two rectangles each 6" X 36".  The purple is for the waistband casing.  To make  the waistband casing, measure the inner circle.  Cut a rectangle 2.5 inches by this length, plus a one inch in length to account for seam allowance.
The purple, below, is for the waist.

free skirt tutorial
free skirt tutorial

 Time to add embellishments, if any.
free skirt tutorial

Next, sew the panels together into one big loop. Hem the bottom how you see fit: rolled hem, fold twice and sew, or serge and fold once and sew.  Then, gather the whole thing.  I recommend you try one of two methods for gathering: a) zig zag over fishing line, pin panels to upper tier, and pull on fishing line to gather; or b) sew two loose stitches, near the upper edge, pin panels ot upper tier, and pull on one stitch to gather.

Now, attach the ruffled lower panel to the bottom of the upper circle tier. 

free skirt tutorial

This is not as easy at it looks so go slow and work carefully. 

Next, finish the hem between the layers.

free skirt tutorial

 Iron and top stitch.

 To make the waist casing, fold the fabric in half, wrong sides together, and iron flat.  You will now have a 1.25" by waist length casing.   Sew this into a loop with a 1/2" seam allowance and then attach to the circle, leaving a few inches open for elastic insertion.  Finish the hem between casing and upper circle tier, except for the opening. 

Measure your girl's waist. Subtract 2 to 3 inches for stretch and cut that length of 3/4" or 1" elastic.

Or, use this handy elastic cutting guide.

Size 2 cut 16"
Size 4 cut 18"
Size 6 cut 19"
Size 8 cut 21"
Size 10 cut 22"
Size 12 cut 23"
Size 14 cut 24"

 Insert into the casing, pull all the way through, and then sew the casing closed.
Serge the now closed opening.

free skirt tutorial

 Voila! You have a very twirly circle skirt!

The skirt above is a size four.  Here's a size chart for other sizes. This accounts for a half inch seam allowance on all seams.

For sizes 2-15, cut waist casing 2.5 inches by measurement of inner circle.

For sizes 2-6, cut panels 36 inches long
For sizes 8-14, cut panels width of fabric. 

skirt size chart

Monday, July 21, 2014

Stitch Swap

After a few weeks off for family vacation time, I am happy to be back to sewing and blogging. And this is going to be a very busy week, full of projects and guest posts.   First up, I am having fun with a project Stephanie at Swoodsonsays organized for fellow bloggers: Stitch Swap. 

We all signed up, via Elfster, to send our buddy two yards of fun fabric.   Irene sent me this fun collection, all from Five Monkeys Fabrics on Etsy.  The teal is from the Robert Kaufman's Hello Tokyo Sugoi Tiles collection, the red dots are Michael Miller's Dim Dots in pink, and the fabulous wardrobe fabric is Michael Miller's Nothing to wear. Aren't they adorable and fun and totally me?

But, I have nothing to show you today because I used the fabrics to test a fantabulous purse pattern but later found out I cannot blog about it until NEXT Monday, July 28. This purse is very clever and cute and the pattern is original and creative, so please come back next week to see what I made.

In the mean time, this week will see me guest posting on the Curvy Collective, selling some beeyoutiful back to school dresses on Betsy Button facebook boutique, sewing up a storm with Jennifer Paganelli's new Jenny Eliza collection, and more!

Hope you are having a great summer!

Be sure to check out the entire stitch swap this week!

Monday July 21st
Stephanie -- Swoodson Says
Jamie -- Salutations Louisville
Ashley -- Sewing Sober
Kathy -- Handmade Dress Haven

Tuesday July 22nd
Tasha -- Friends Stitched Together
Janelle -- Emmaline Bags
Kim -- Sew and Tell with Mama Eggo
April-- Open Sky Creations

Wednesday July 23rd
Amy-- Friends Stitched Together
Danica -- The Sewing Sparrow
Bethany -- Two Novembers
Jessica -- The Berry Bunch

Thursday July 24th
Chrissy -- Muse of the Morning
Fenna -- Fabulous Home Sewn
Melissa -- Rebel and Malice
Irene -- Sugaridoo

Friday July 25th
Jess -- Gracious Threads
Emily -- Tangible Pursuits
Roxanne -- Pensebrox
Megan -- Upcycling? Refashion That Idea.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

How to keep your bobbins organized

how to keep bobbins neat

 Check out my amazing new toy, err, sewing notion. Yes, I finally invested a small sum into making my bobbin disaster more neat and tidy. No, this is not a paid review. I am reviewing this and putting it my know to sew series because I am so pleased with this product!  I am sewing so much lately, that my bobbins were piling up in their organizer box. So, I did some research and discovered this amazing tool called the Stack 'n Store, by Nancy Zeiman for Clover.  Click on the picture below to check this baby out on Amazon!  (affiliate link, so I might earn a few cents if you buy one!)

Here is how it works.  You take your pile of bobbins and thread, untangle them, wind the thread completely around each bobbin, and insert them into the holders, as you see below. Each holder is shaped like a horseshoe and made of something like plastic or silicone, so they are bendable but they hold the bobbin in place. You can store five bobbins per level, they stack, they swivel, you can re-arrange them, you can buy more. 


Did I mention that they SWIVEL?

Stack and store bobbins

If you sew, you must have this. It really doesn't cost a lot! But it is brilliant.  Seriously!!! 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

know to sew July 1, 2014

Sew4me is on a break for July! 
 I am currently traveling with family. 
Sew4me will return July 15! 
Look for it then!!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Summer vacation time!

It is time for the handmadresshaven girls and I to hit the road. We are leaving dad and all the pets at home while we travel to visit the grandparents. We are extremely lucky that our parents live in lovely places (with great fabric shops) and summer is the best time to visit them. 

First stop, we will be on lovely Bainbridge Island, which is across the Puget Sound from Seattle.   Here is an image of Bainbridge taken from Google Eart (my screen shot).  See how green it is? It's a lovely little island with a lot of forest and farms and cute little town near the ferry terminal.

Here is the view from town looking over the ferry towards Seattle and the Cascade Mountains. If we are lucky, this is what our weather will look like!  

We will stay there for a few days and then head to Bend, Oregon to visit my parents. Bend is a much larger city, in the high desert, near several vacation resorts. In winter, there are lots of snow sports and, in summer, it is a hub of activities like rock climbing, white water river rafting, kayaking, fishing, camping, golf, and more. We don't do any of that, tho, but we love the historical museum, the terrain, visiting the lakes and caves, and enjoying the fourth of July festivities.   Here's an aerial shot from Google Earth.  Bend is very dry, but the green mountains are right nearby.

One of our favorite things to do is visit Drake Pond, right in the center of Bend. 

My parents live near the edge of Bend and so their nighttime view looks a bit like this. They have 8 dry acres but they are still fun for the kids. 

That is what I am going to be up to for the next week and a half. I hope to get to a few fabric stores for fun and, of course, the new Jenny Eliza line from Jennifer Paganelli will be out today, my big driving day. So, you might find the girls and I having potty stops at every Joanns between Bainbridge and Bend!  You think I am kidding!! Nope!