Leslie Rutland of Sugar Pie Chic

by admin on December 10, 2013

Leslie-Photo

Click here to view Leslie’s Designs!

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am an Austin-based blogger who loves all things delightfully domestic. Sewing, gardening, crafting, cooking, and anything DIY. Spending time with my hubby, our kids and their families is about as good as it gets.

2. What are your favorite projects to design?
I really love designing aprons, but I also want to do some classic children’s clothes and simple garments for women.

3. What is your favorite thing you have made for yourself? For someone else?
I have a saying, “Aprons make great gifts!” And, it is true, I love making a unique apron and giving it away. By far, my biggest seller on YCMT is the Tutu Tote Trio. I designed the pattern for the Tutu Tote Trio after my sister called and described the bag over the phone. Her daughter wanted one for the first day of kindergarten.

4. What is your favorite season/holiday to decorate for?
I like simplicity and don’t do a lot of seasonal decorating. Instead, my favorite way to bring in something for a season or holiday is to start in my garden and bring the outdoors inside.

5. Any other interests or hobbies?
Rabid gardener with a love of native plants and organic veggies. I usually have a farmer’s tan and a disgusting manicure. When I’m not scratching in the dirt, I am trying to convert classic recipes into gluten-free options.

6. Do you have a favorite quote?
“Just because you can doesn’t mean you should!” Nowhere is this more evident than at a quilt show.

Pattern Highlight:

tututotetrio

Receive 10% off the Tutu Tote Trio Pattern or any patterns by Sugar Pie Chic for the next week by using the Promo Code “SUGARPIE10″ when checking out!

Click here to view Leslie’s Designs!

Jamie Haney – Maryland Quilter

by admin on December 4, 2013

JH-Picture

Click here to view Jamies’s Designs!

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a third generation quilter, still using the quilt my grandmother made for me. For many years raising my 6 children took all the time and attention available. Now some kids are grown and the rest are in school and I have time to create. New ideas swirl around in my thoughts all day long. The hardest part is choosing which ones to sew into quilts. I’ve been quilting and designing professionally since 2011.

2. What are your favorite projects to design?
I love designing quilts that can be made easily and quickly. I like to make quilts that can be sewn in a day, with fun surprise elements of texture; quilts that look complicated but are really easy.

3. What is your favorite thing you have made for yourself? For someone else?
My favorite quilt I’ve made is called “All is Vanity”. I made 3 copies of this quilt. One is hanging in my workshop, and I gave one to my cousin. This quilt was the first story quilt I designed, so it is special to me. It illustrates the futility of striving so hard in life and was inspired by Ecclesiastes 1: 4-6. Having it in my workshop reminds me to keep life in perspective.

4. What is your favorite season/holiday to decorate for?
I love Halloween because the decorations make me smile.

5. Any other interests or hobbies?
I love reading and walking. I try to walk 2 miles a day. I read whenever I’m not sewing.

Highlighted Pattern:
This is a great quilt for a beginner. You really can make this, and you really can’t mess it up! It illustrates my favorite combination of looking complicated but actually easy.
Highlight Pattern

Get 10% off the Ghastlie Halloween Crazy Quilt or any other pattern by Maryland Quilter for the next week when using the Promo Code “MARYLANDQUILTER10″ at check out.

Click here to view Jamies’s Designs!

tailoring title

In today’s world of inexpensive, off-the-rack clothing, the art of tailoring seems to be lost sometimes. But for those of us adventurous enough to make our own clothes, there are a few simple tips that can help us get the right fit every time.

One of the first things a tailor does is to prepare the fabric. So before you get the sewing machine, here are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Will the fabric shrink after it is washed? If so, it needs to be pre-shrunk before you cut it out. If you don’t, you run the risk of the item being too small after the first washing.

2. Be sure the fabric hangs right. Hold it up at the corners of the selvages, with the fold hanging parallel to the selvages. Does it hang smoothly? If not, then adjust the corners until it hangs nicely. Now you know where the straight the grain is.

Fold

With the corners matched, the skew in the fold is obvious. You can see how far I had to pull it over to make sure the fabric hangs properly.

3. Sometimes you need to press out the fold line so it doesn’t mess you up later. The way it is folded on the bolt is not necessarily in two equal halves, and that fold may cause you to pin on the pattern piece incorrectly. Check this before you depend on it. If regular pressing does not remove it, then use a slightly damp press cloth.

Pressing

With regular pressing, this line would not come out. But with steam and a pressing cloth, it did.

Once you’ve got the fabric ready to go, it’s time to check the pattern and get sewing!

4.  A tailor checks the measurements of the person who will be wearing the garment and adjusts the pattern if necessary. A size 6 of one pattern company is not always the same as a size 6 of another. Or, just because you wear a size 12 when you buy clothes off the rack, you will not necessarily fit into a size 12 of a particular pattern. You should always check the wearer’s measurements with those on the back of the pattern.

5. Related to this is the fact that there is some ease built into most patterns. The garment is designed to be bigger than the body measurements in some places. This helps the garment fit properly. Some seamstresses use up this ease instead of adjusting to a bigger size. Decide before you start to sew what approach you want to take.

6. Be accurate on the width of seams. Follow the pattern instructions.

7. Tailors press. Often, seamstresses say, “Oh, it won’t really matter.” But it does. From the book, How to Tailor (by Phyllis W. Schwebke) “Pressing is one of the most important procedures used in tailoring, and it requires time, patience, and practice.” (p. 38) Remember to press as you sew – not just at the end.

8. Use interfacing if the instructions tell you to. Interfacing is the material used between the outer cloth and its facing. Some people prefer to omit it as an unnecessary step, but it helps the garment retain its shape – collars, cuffs, front openings, buttonholes, etc.

9. The most important thing tailors are trained to do is to take their time to do a good job. Often, seamstresses are in a hurry and skip steps in the name of speed. But particularly for those who don’t have a lot of experience, taking a little more time up front can save you from having to redo a lot of work.

10.  Part of taking your time is to make sure you stop when the main pieces of the item are assembled, for a trial fit. Having the person try it on at this stage helps you make any necessary adjustments before you go to the work of finishing it, when alterations can be a lot more time-consuming.

Sewing is a fun, challenging skill, and there are a lot more things to pay attention to as you work on your projects. But following some of these simple tips can help make sure you get the right fit every time.

Need some ideas for your next project? Check out our Sewing Patterns section for hundreds of great patterns!

$5Sale-WebPage

This is the best time of year to share your creations with others and also to pick up some great patterns at a great price! Following are some ideas to get the most out of this $5 Deals sale for your gift making and giving. Hurry, though… this sale ends on Tuesday, December 3!

Handmade Gifts for the Kids in Your Life

Making treasures for babies and children is as natural and rewarding as it gets.  Here are just a few ideas:

Make her a dress

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Over 20 dress and skirt patterns by top-rated designers are reduced right now.  You’ll love the process of making a dress and, of course, every little girl LOVES to get a pretty new dress!  There are too many to mention each pattern here, but head over to the list of $5 Deals to see them all.

The baby (and the Mom) needs some love too!

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Here are some great ideas for babies or Moms with babies.

Make them toys!

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Kids love toys! Did you know YouCanMakeThis.com carries a large selection of patterns for making toys? We do, and they are so cute and fun to make.

Here are some great toy patterns included in the $5 Deals sale:

Gifts for Friends

Show your close friends just how much you appreciate them with a special hand-made gift.  Here are a few ideas.

You can’t go wrong with a great bag

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There are over 20 bag patterns of all varieties included in this $5 Deals sale!  So, you are sure to be able to find something that would be perfect for your friend.  If she is a gadget girl, you could make her a cover for her smart phone or tablet.  If she is one of those women that needs a BIG bag (don’t we all sometimes), we have patterns for those too.  There are lots of other interesting bags too, including totes, diaper bags, clutches, organizers, handbags and more.

Again, there are too many to list here, but you will find them all by visiting the $5 Deals page.

 Make her a handy item for the kitchen

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Have a friend that loves to cook? If so, you’re very lucky! Here are some great ideas for the culinary types:

Loads of Other Ideas Too!

Make sure you take a little time to check out all of the patterns included in the $5 Sale.  With over 100 different patterns marked down, you never know what you’ll find that will help you make that perfect gift.

Visit the $5 Deals section to see everything!

About the $5 Deals Sale

YouCanMakeThis.com is your source for downloadable, step-by-step sewing patterns and project instructions. During the Black Friday / Cyber Monday time frame every year we mark down a large selection of patterns to just $5.  This represents a significant discount for you! Watch for other $5 Deals sales throughout the year, as well.  These deals will end at midnight on Tuesday, December 3, 2013.

Donna Collinsworth of Donna’s Crochet Designs

by admin on November 26, 2013

Donna-picture

Click here to view Donna’s Designs!

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’ve been designing my own crochet patterns after finding out it wasn’t against some unspoken law to change up things in patterns. It was liberating! I look at everything differently now, especially non-crochet items. There is an entire world out there just waiting to be translated into crochet!

2. What are your favorite projects to design?
It changes. Right now I’m into translating different animals into scarves and tote bags.

3. What is your favorite thing you have made for yourself? For someone else?
For myself it has to be an afghan I made. It was one of my first attempts at design. That thing has been washed about 50 times and still looks great. For someone else; it has to be the dolls I made for my great aunt. She basically raised my mother and they were really poor back in the day. She loves dolls. I try to make the next one better than the last one I gave her. She always looks at them like some great piece of art; art made just for her. It really makes me feel good–even special– to see how something I created caused such joy.

4. What is your favorite season/holiday to decorate for?
That would be Halloween. I just love all the creepy, ghouly stuff.

5. What DIY tips or tricks would you like to share with customers?
Gauge, it is the most important detail in any pattern. If you don’t get the gauge right you could end up with a sweater that fits your Yorkie instead of your sister.

6. Any other interests or hobbies?
I love to sew, draw and write.

7. Do you have a favorite quote?
Can’t remember who it is by or the exact wording but it is one I love by: “The only way to fail is to not try!”

Pattern Highlight:

AnimalScarves-Donna

Purchase these patterns or any other pattern by Donna’s Crochet Designs and receive 10% off by using the Coupon Code “DONNASCROCHET10″ when checking out for next week!

Click here to view Donna’s Designs!

10 Little Lunchbox Surprises for Your Kiddo

by YCMT on November 21, 2013

LunchBox

Spending all day at school can be tough. Want to add some cheer to your child’s day? A little lunchbox surprise just might do the trick. Sneak in serving after serving of fun with these 10 adorable ideas that your kid will love!

1. Love note

Go ahead, be a sap! Write the traditional love note-on-a-napkin to your kid, or pen a few words of encouragement in Sharpie on her sandwich baggie. Cuter yet, jot your affections upon a favorite photo print from a recent family vacation, on a picture of her favorite animated character, or a creatively folded paper.

2. Mystery game

Make a mystery game of your child’s lunch hour by dropping a clue into his lunch sack that leads to another clue the next day. Reveal the answer to the puzzle at the end of the week. For added fun, offer him a prize if he can solve the riddle before Friday.

3. Funny joke or food prank

Slip a written joke into her lunchbox and deliver the punchline when she gets home, or pull a food prank like a gummy worm coming out of her apple or put googly eyes on all of her food containers.

4. Super treat 

Sweeten your young one’s day with a thoughtful treat such as a handmade candy-gram or heart-shaped brownies.

candygram

5. Lunchtime survey

Insert a fun questionnaire about his day to fill out and return, and then have fun reading his responses! Get inspired with these printables.

6. Fun table-top accessory

Complement her lunch with cool accessories like disposable cutlery adorned with custom phrases, eco-friendly paper straws, finger sporks, fancy toothpicks, or origami napkins.

7. Lunch poem or haiku

Hearken back to your days in English class by composing a few words of poetry, like an acrostic poem using your child’s name, or haiku dedicated to her. Make your rhyme heartfelt or silly.

8. Paper fortune cookies

Create a custom fortune for your kid with this darling, simple DIY.

fortune cookie

9. Invitation to an upcoming family event

Let your child know he is cordially invited to the next family party, outing or vacation by including a formal invitation with his meal. Step up the fun by signing the invitation from his favorite celebrity, athlete or fictional character.

10. Fancy food

For an extra dash of class in the cafeteria, try dressing up your kid’s lunch bento box-style, print a whimsical image on a plain brown paper lunch sack, or really make him smile by wrapping up his sandwich like a holiday gift, complete with a bow!

Tickle your kid pink with these crafts and patterns, and then share your own lunchbox surprise ideas with us below! And for even more fun ideas, visit our Crafts & Hobbies page.

Kathryn Sheehan from The Silver Penny

by admin on November 19, 2013



Click Here to Checkout Patterns by The Silver Penny!

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I love to sew, crochet and cook! I started my at-home business when my daughter was young and it grew over the years. It was her fascination with fairies and make-believe that was and continues to be my inspiration.

2. What are your favorite projects to design?

The fairy houses are my definitely favorite! It’s so much fun to accessorize and decorate the houses with tiny treasures and miniatures.

3. What is your favorite thing you have made for yourself? For someone else?

That’s a difficult question to answer because there are so many! I guess I’m best known as the resident Tooth Fairy in my family. For every child, as they reach the age of losing teeth, I’ll make them a personalized Tooth Fairy Bag and fill it with fairy goodies. I just love to see their happy, toothless smile upon receiving it.

4. What is your favorite season/holiday to decorate for?

Halloween has always been my favorite! Even though my daughter is grown and moved away, I still love to decorate the house for Halloween. It’s a scary kind of playful fun that keeps me young at heart.

5. What DIY tips or tricks would you like to share with customers?

I make quilts for charity in my spare time, but don’t enjoy binding the edges. I find the method of folding over the binding from the back to be the quickest and easiest way. A super-fast and fun quilt to make requires only two fabrics, one of flannel and the other of polar fleece. Cut the fleece about 2″ bigger than the flannel all around, center the flannel on the fleece and simply fold the border of fleece to the front and zigzag in place, mitering the corners. You can complete an entire quilt in an afternoon with this easy method!

6. Any other interests or hobbies?

I am a docent at our local art museum and enjoy giving tours to school age children.  I volunteer at a local daycare center presenting story time programs to the children. I love to crochet, read good books, cook and take walks with my Miniature Aussie pup.

7. Do you have a favorite quote?

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” by Albert Einstein

Pattern Highlight:

Get 10% off the Fairy Pagoda Dollhouse or any other pattern by The Silver Penny for the next week by using the Promo Code “SILVERPENNY10” when checking out!

Click Here to Checkout Patterns by The Silver Penny!

Sewing Machines Title

So you are buying your first machine! Or maybe you’re just buying your latest machine.

Either way, the process is basically the same. If you already have a machine, then perhaps you know more of what you want – or don’t want! Here are the things to consider when buying a sewing machine.

Kinds of machines available

The first question you want to ask is, what kind of sewing do I want to do? Serging? Fancy embroidery? Regular dressmaking or quilting?

Look at the side seams on the knit top you are wearing right now and you will see that the seams are probably about ¼ inch wide and completely covered with thread so they will not ravel out.  That was done with a serger. If you want to serge the seams, then you will need to buy a separate machine called a serger.

Another popular machine is the fancy embroidery machine. It is computerized and will follow the pattern you have programed into the computer. Some regular machines do a little of this, but there are machines that are bigger and have a hoop attached, on which you stretch the fabric, much like doing hand embroidery. The nicest of these embroidery machines can cost up to $10,000!

Many of the less expensive regular machines will do some embroidery work. My regular machine has one alphabet font with no size variation and about 28 special stitches.

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However, the possibilities are almost endless with an embroidery machine.

Since most of us can’t pay a used car price for an embroidery machine, the rest of this article will mostly deal with regular sewing machines.

Price

Machines vary widely in price, so how much can you spend? $100 or $10,000? You can buy a fairly decent machine at a discount retail store (like Walmart) or you can go to a sewing machine store and pay more. What you get in the end really does vary, and you should think about this when you decide where to shop.  At discount retail stores, you can get a basic machine – which is good for a starter machine – but from my experience, a $100 machine will not last very long or give you consistent good stitches. Pay a little more and you get a little more. The cheaper they are, the more parts will be made of plastic, and then they will break sooner. However, I bought a Brother machine ($250.00) at one of those discount retail stores and used it when I taught sewing classes once a week for 5 years. I sold it to one of my students at the end of that time and it was still a great machine.

Features

A very basic machine goes forward and backwards and zigzags. However, there are literally hundreds of different special stitches and feet available. Your choice depends on what you think you will use and how many you are willing to pay for.

Another factor to consider is which feet come with the machine. My expensive Bernina machine came with a walking foot (I use this often when quilting or sewing heavier fabrics), but when I bought the cheaper machine, it cost me $60.00 extra for the walking foot).

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For me, one consideration I used when buying my machine was the weight. I cannot carry around a 50-pound machine, whereas my cheap little Brother weighed only about 18 pounds. If you are hauling your machine to class, this may be something to consider.

For me, an important thing to have with a new machine is lessons on how to use it. I am an experienced sewer and I was still glad for them. Usually, they are free when you buy the machine and they show you all the features and tricks for using your new machine. A big discount retail store, however, usually does not give lessons.

Do you want to buy new or used?

That’s up to you. Many people begin with an old hand-me-down from their mother or Great Aunt Lizzie. In fact, I still have an old straight-stitch Singer made in 1952. It works great for many projects and I would never sell it!

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Conclusion

Think about what kind of machine you want, what kind of sewing you will realistically be doing and how much you can afford to spend.

Be sure you also talk to your friends who sew.

Check out online reviews (like Consumer Reports or Amazon)

Go into the stores that sell machines and test-drive them. Before you go in, figure out how much you can spend and what features are important to you. Then ask all the questions you can possibly think of. Don’t be embarrassed, even if you haven’t ever sewn before. Test-drive a variety of different makers, too.

Happy sewing!

 (After you get the machine, buy extra bobbins! I feel like I never have enough!)

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Now that you’ve got your sewing machine picked out, why not check out all of the cute and creative sewing patterns at youcanmakethis.com?

 

Cherie Killilea of Studio Cherie

by admin on November 12, 2013

Click Here to Checkout Studio Cherie Patterns!

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am Seattle native, and I miss the salt air. Living in Spokane, I enjoy the river and woods and wildlife here with my husband and 3 kids. I am into Bikram yoga. It’s great to have a place to go and get hot and sweaty, especially in the long Spokane winters.

2. What are your favorite projects to design?
What I love about being a designer is filling a need. So whether it is the need to cover a piece of furniture or the need to have a chic travel bag, it’s all about looking great while you get the job done. Every project is my favorite as I am doing it because it is filling a current need, and there is great satisfaction in that.

3. What is your favorite thing you have made for yourself? For someone else?
My current favorite is the slip covers I made for our storage ottomen. They were so ugly, but we needed them, so it is nice to have them looking awesome. My favorite thing I ever made for someone else was a slip cover I made for a friend, covering her favorite reading chaise lounge in a gorgeous linen blend that she found at a thrift store. I rebuilt the chaise first, so I put a lot of myself into that piece.

4. What is your favorite season/holiday to decorate for?
I love Christmas. I have been collecting ornaments since I was 18, so we have a lot of them. I love hanging the stockings and decking the halls.

5. Favorite quote?
The smallest thing, done in love, becomes infinite in the eyes of God. – Mother Teresa

Highlighted Pattern:

Get 10% off this pattern or any other Studio Cherie Patterns now through Tuesday, November 19 when using the promo code “CHERIE10″ at checkout.

Click Here to Checkout Studio Cherie Patterns!

Photo courtesy of sflovestory, via flickr.com

Grandmothers influence their grandkids’ lives in profound ways, usually by doing simple things. The first step to being the cool grandma is to realize two things about what “cool” really means: First, being cool isn’t a phony, surface-level attitude that is concerned about looking cool. Second, being cool emphasizes spending time over spending money. You don’t need to shower your grandkids with material gifts or do expensive things to be on their A-list. Whether you live across the street or half a continent away, the key to being cool is to spend time with them as often as you can. Doing so will build a great relationship with your grandkids now. And chances are they’ll still be boasting about your awesomeness when they grow up!

1. Teach a hobby or activity you love
Chances are you’ve developed a bunch of useful skills so far in your life. Why not share those skills with a new generation? A few ideas, among others, include crocheting, guitar, fishing, watercolor painting, playing board games, sewing, gardening, cooking, food preservation and even just collecting things. If you live far away, you can still teach a skill over several sessions of video chat, like FaceTime or Skype. Even if you don’t know how to use these services, chances are your kids or grandkids will. Just think of things you love to do and pass on your passion!

2. Make a time capsule together
Assemble a box filled with simple “treasures,” like written notes to each other. Bury the capsule in the yard or store it in a remote cabinet to be opened in 5 or 10 years. For more on the how-to of time capsule creation, go here.

3. Serve others in fun ways
Gather materials to make care packages and send them to people in need, or create a lemonade stand or bake sale and donate the proceeds to charity. Explore more fun service ideas here.

4. Go on “grandma dates”
As often as you can, take opportunities to go swimming, hiking, camping, on a picnic or mini road trip, to the movie theater, a museum, class or workshop. If you live far away, be pen pals or video chat online with each other regularly.

5. Teach them about your life
Share stories about your life and childhood while you’re together (this is great to do while driving!) Take your grandkids places you liked to go when you were their age, if possible. Drive by your childhood home. Show them family photos from your youth and tell them memories you have of your parents, siblings, grandparents, other relatives and friends.

6. Show interest in their lives
Attend concerts and sporting events in which your grandkids participate. Show them you care enough to show up and cheer them on in their endeavors. For long-distance grandmas, live video chat again comes in handy where electronic devices are permitted. Arrange for someone attending the event to FaceTime your phone during your grandchild’s performance so that you can smile with pride in real time!

7. Host sleepovers at your house
Remember those old school overnight bags flanked with the illustration of a smiling child, suitcase and teddy bear in-hand, bounding down the road beneath the words Going to Grandma’s? Those attest to the reality that sleepovers at Grandma’s are the pinnacle of fun in childhood! As circumstances allow, invite your grandkids to indulge in an over-nighter at your place.

8. Create or carry on a family tradition together
Throw a costume party each Halloween, submit gratitudes to a “thankful box” every Thanksgiving, make fondue on New Year’s Eve, host dress-up tea parties, celebrate half-birthdays or even put on your own annual “family olympics”. Find dozens more ideas for family traditions here.

9. Sing, read, and dance with them
Your grandkids will appreciate you for this, and the memories will last them a lifetime. In addition to the joy of bonding with them now, you may appreciate this later, too; they could be reading to you one day!

10. Invest time in them individually
Have candid, one-on-one conversations with each of your grandchildren about their lives and future. Ask them questions, learn their interests and ambitions. Teach them ways to prepare for their future and do what you can to help, like showing them how to open college savings accounts or how to set and write down goals.

As you can see, there’s no shortage of inexpensive ways to spend time with your grandchildren. They will not only grow up with fond memories of you, but they may pass along those activities and traditions to their own children and grandchildren, making you the first link in a long chain of family bonding.