Saturday, November 24, 2012

Open for Business

That's right.  I did it.  Margee Slim now has a Etsy shop:

I've wanted to do this forever.  I'm starting small, with just one product on offer: french press covers.  I'm so excited to get it off the ground.

If you use a french press (and if you drink coffee, you should), you need this.  I designed this cozy over 5 years ago out of a need to keep my coffee hot.  Inspired by the traditional tea cozy, I designed it with an opening at the top so it can sit on the french press even while the coffee is brewing--who want's their coffee to get cold while it brews?

Over the past 5 years I have made many more for friends and tweaked the pattern a little bit at a time until I got it just right.  Each cover is one-of-a-kind.  I start with a genuine coffee sack and cut it down to it's most interesting parts--usually focusing on the company's printing.

I then decide if it will be pieced with a cotton print or left on it's own.  Behind the top layer is a layer of muslin to keep the batting from poking through, then a layer of cotton batting and then a layer of Insul-brite.  I then machine quilt those four layers in some interesting and complementary pattern.

Finally, I choose a complementary lining fabric and sew that in so all of the seams are enclosed.  You can see the lining fabric along the bottom as it also binds the base of the cover.

In the shop now are the first 7 covers available:

Four feature the coffee sack they are made from.

The other three include more intricate features.  

African print hexagons (hand sewn):

Appliqued poppy:

HUGE thanks go to Libby again for designing my etsy header.  We're working on labels next.   And thank you to Katie for letting me use her photo for my profile picture and the butterfly inspiration.

And, because I just can't help but include a photo session outtake shot.  Here's Lucia when she got tired of not being the center of attention.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

New Banner and a PSA

Do you love my new banner?  (Google Reader users, hop on over to the blog to check it out.)  My awesome sister, Libby, designed it for me and I'm so excited about it!  Thanks Libby!  You really should do graphic arts for a living.

On another note, I have an important PSA (public sewing announcement, haha) to share with you.   Do you know about Small Business Saturday?   Essentially you get $25 free from American Express if you make a $25 or greater purchase from a participating small business.  I found out about it last year and got two free patterns from Oliver + S.  They are doing it again this year, so if you want some of their patterns this is the weekend to order them.  But it made me wonder if there were any other online sewing shops participating, so I contacted Superbuzzy and Purl Soho (there's a certain fabric I've had my eye on for awhile).

Superbuzzy can't offer the $25 rebate but is offering 15% off your entire order that day.   According to an email I received from Purl they are participating. *

Finally, never a missed opportunity to do a little sewing.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

*Check out this link for more information on how to participate, you have to sign up with American Express first.  Also, I'm just passing on the information I received, so please don't blame me if it's wrong!)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Argyle Anyone?

My sister, Libby, and I send boxes of baby/kids clothes back and forth across the country.  I think this is to save money, but I’m not really sure it does.  Either way, it’s fun to see our girls wearing the same clothes.  I love how even with the same clothes on they are each unique.

In one of the last boxes she sent there was an argyle baby sling.  Since she and I are fans of the Moby I figured she must have bought this one for the fabric (she loves argyle) or maybe it was a gift, I don’t know.  But since it wasn’t being used I asked her if I could cut into it and use it for an outfit for Elena.

I love it!  She has gotten so many complements on the outfit too. 

The pattern is design 4 in Ottobre 6/2009. And it essentially cost me $0 and 2 hours to make.

The fabric is cotton with a tiny bit of nylon for minimal stretch.  It fits just right and is a little hard to get on and off.  But I’m glad I made it when I did because I don’t think I had enough fabric for a larger size.

The only change I made to the pattern was to add a ¼ inch seam allowance on the sleeves and armhole.  I planned to use sew binding to the inside to finish these edges instead of binding these edges with visible binding like the pattern indicated.  But I couldn’t find any fabric in my stash that I thought matched (even though it wouldn’t show) and I was getting tired/lazy, so I just serged the edges, folded them over once and top-stitched them down.

These one-piece coveralls are our favorite things to dress her in at this age, so I definitely plan to make her more, in the next size of course.  The next one will probably be in jegging fabric, something with a little more stretch will make diaper changes easier since it doesn't have snaps.

I have to say, I’m pretty pleased with how I matched the pattern.

Stay tuned, I have a big reveal this weekend!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

We're rollin'

I've been making this recipe of cinnamon rolls for a couple years now.  I searched all over the internet to find a good overnight recipe and I LOVE this one by Pink of Perfection.

For two years I've been making them at Christmastime for the daycare teachers and last year I started making them for the annual charity bake sale at work.  The only problem is that they must be individually wrapped and since I bake them that morning it can be a pain.

So this year I decided to search around for a good way to bake them already wrapped, or at least a start.  I came across these pannetone wrappers and used those for the bake sale.  I thought they worked out well.  After they baked I put them each in a plastic bag from Michael's and closed them with a twist-tie. But this weekend I decided to do a true test and compare baking them in the pannetone wrapper versus a mini tart wrapper (left over from a Panera souffle).  Ta da:

The mini tart wrapper (left) wins.   The cinnamon roll in the pannetone paper was fun the way in grew up but it didn't really maintain the center and all of the filling spilled up to the top and out.  The other one kept everything contained in the paper and even left a little yummy leftovers at the bottom if you dare lick it off (cheese paper anyone?).  Now I'm off to find the best deal for mini tart papers online.  Or I'll just go buy a bunch of souffle's.

One more note:  I usually follow the recipe to a T except I only make about half the glaze, it's too much for my family.  But the ones in the picture were actually made with whole wheat flour.  Use the 2 1/4 cups whole wheat in the initial mix and then add all-purpose flour for the remaining.  I bought white whole wheat for my next batch.  I'll be sure to report back.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Meet Rachel

Fifth grade, I think. Rachel on the left, me on the right.
We've been best friends since sometime between fourth and fifth grade.  To tell you the truth, we didn't hit it off right away.  I may have turned her off a bit with my over-obsessive need to protect my crayons and make sure they were returned in the right order in their box.  I'm glad she gave me a second chance.

Over the years we've had a few opportunities to live nearby one another but most of the time we've live clear on the opposite sides of the world. And that's true right now as she lives and works in Uganda.

Fourth grade school play.  Rachel is the third from the left at the front, I'm the one with the dark bangs in the front.  
This year when her birthday came around I wanted to make her something special and I thought it would be fun if it was something she could wear.  I couldn't keep it a secret though.  So I sent her an email asking if she liked the pattern I picked, Anna Maria Horner's (AMH) Proper Attire Skirt, to pick which color she liked, if any, of Cloud 9's Geocentric line, and asked her to send me her measurements.  She liked the pattern but couldn't decide on the fabric color and sent me a few measurements.

I decided that it might be easier to use final measurements from a skirt that she likes and luckily that's what AMH uses on the pattern envelope.  I also got it in my head that the skirt had to be gray and yellow, so I ordered the Circles Metal colorway and used some lovely yellow cotton stretch shirting I bought off the remnants table at G Street.

The pattern was fun to sew.  I love the flat piping but I left it off the side seams, I just thought it would look best.  I also left off the buttons.  I actually bought some yellow buttons but when I put them on top of the fabric it looked too busy.  Then I showed them to Juan and he said they looked like condoms.  And they do.  I think I'll just keep those stashed away until the girls are teenagers.  The only other alteration I made was to lengthen the skirt based on the measurements Rachel sent.

I didn't get any pictures of the skirt up close because I finished it with just 30 minutes to get to the post office in time to send it overnight to another good friend of ours that was flying out the next week to see Rachel.

Overall I really love the pattern.  My only complaint is that the actual final waist measurement did not match the final waist measurement listed on the pattern envelope.  It was actually about 1 1/2 inches larger.  I wish I had noticed this much sooner than I did but I had to send it as it was.  As you can see it fits, but it does sit lower on her hips than I wanted and also goes past her knees a little more than I would like.

But doesn't she look cute?  The top looks perfect with it.

I have plans to use this fabric combination again in the near future, so stay tuned...