Friday, February 20, 2015

Learning from people, a richer, more personal experience

In a way, I am one of those people who long for the way things used to be. When you wanted to learn something, you had to find someone who knew what they were doing and was willing to teach you. My mom was a great sewing teacher, and she was probably a great cooking teacher too, judging from my sister's prowess in the kitchen. Unfortunately, I was not her best culinary student.  You could always tell when I made the salad, they said, because every tomato, every cucumber, every onion was a different size and shape.  This is why I am so head-over-heels in love with Craftsy cooking classes. They literally bring me into the kitchen to spend time with people who love to cook and who love to teach all of the little tricks and secrets that make perfect results. (I can even cut veges into uniform sizes and shapes now - my mom will be so proud.)  If you are like me, and you feel like you have a pretty good handle on sewing, but your kitchen skills could use some honing. Here are some free Craftsy cooking classes for you to try. If you haven't experienced Craftsy yet, I think you will find it takes you back to a time when we all learned from people in a richer way than you can on you tube.

I took the Asian Wrap and Roll class on Wednesday night, and Thursday night we had an amazing, hands-on, everyone helps, feast. The Vietnamese salad wraps are my favorite, and the peanut sauce recipe (which Gabrielle made) is the best I have ever tasted.  Caleb is happy we know how to make our own sushi now too. I truly enjoyed spending time with the instructor, Jaden Hair, in the kitchen. To be able to turn around and teach all of this to my own kids the next evening was priceless.

If the kitchen is your area of strength, and you really need more help with the sewing, I have some fun freebies for you too. A free pillow sewing guide - you will find the link for free sewing classes there too. The classes really do give you that experience of being in the studio with the instructor and getting to know them as you learn.  I love that you can ask questions and interact with the instructors.
Craftsy's motto is, Learn it, Make it!  I am happy to be a part of that. I hope you will be too.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Scaling down to illustrate the pattern

Recently, one of the Facebook groups to which I belong had a conversation about pattern illustrations. I was very surprised to learn that most of the gals in that particular group of garment sewing PDF pattern lovers prefer photographs over drawings. I was about to put out my Infinigan pattern with drawings. Instead, I opted for photos. What made it possible was printing my pattern at 1/2 size and making the mini version photographing as I went. Getting the whole garment in each shot was easy and no one would know the difference. I have frequently made half sized bags to try out ideas faster and with less fabric. I never thought to make a half sized garment, but now I am hooked. I will be doing this more to play with design ideas and then to photograph pattern instructions.  You can see my mini sweater pinned on the bulletin board above and next to 8.5 x 11 paper. When you print a pattern 1/2 size, you are really getting about 1/4 because it cuts the length by 1/2 and the width by half. It is not a substitute for grading. This wasn't made to fit anyone. Babies certainly don't have the same proportions as adults, so don't think about printing PDF patterns at 50% to make them for your little ones, LOL. Here is the infinity cardigan pattern listing. If you got the free tutorial you will notice that the pattern is vastly different. The tutorial version is really a hack, but the full pattern is a proper garment.  I can't wait to see the versions other people are making right now. The photos show 3 of the sweaters I have made. You know it's quick and easy if I make 4 or 5 of something without turning it over to Alice.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Next up, the infinity cardigan

I should call it the infinigan sweater. I have 2 lovely models waiting for their sweaters made of 2 lovely fabrics I bought at Girl Charlie, but I thought I should make another one for myself first to solidify the pattern. I am glad I did. This is vastly different from my free tutorial version. The tutorial gives you an idea of how my thought process works, but the pattern will be a fully realized sewing pattern that has pattern pieces and instructions and sizes.
This infinigan fits me, so it's pretty baggy on my model sized dress form.
The 3 fabrics shown came in a bundle from Marcy Tilton. It's the Chloe bundle. There is enough fabric left over for me to make a tank top for under the infinigan in the sleeve fabric. When I get that done, I will model it for you. Watch for the pattern release as soon as I can coordinate with my models - I am shooting for the end of this month.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Still Organizing after all these years

I have been designing and sewing as a business since 2006. You would think I was organized by now. But it is a never ending process. I feel like I am finally finding what will work for me. You will be glad to know that my fabric library was free for me to make, it just takes time. For quite a while I kept all of my fabric in bins, organized by color. That required digging for fabric, and it was usually a bit of a mess, but at least I knew it was there. I used what I had sometimes and only ordered something I already had a few times. When I moved the studio out of the house, I took the fabric out of the bins and had it in color arranged piles on a rack. I used what I had more frequently, never re-ordered what I did not need, but it would still get messy.  Now that I am back in the house, I dedicated a small office (10 feet square) to fabric and supplies. Since I have so much fabric, It is my goal to use more than I buy this year. For the last week, I have been getting empty bolts from JoAnn's, cutting them in half and wrapping my fabrics onto them. Mom came for a visit and helped me get started - it really does help me a lot to have a helper. Looking for an intern right now. This is how I want to keep it, always. So far, I have not bought any new fabric to make multiple versions of my newest pattern and I love every one of them. I am carrying the purple one now.  So I did buy new fabric Ari picked some up at IKEA for me and I got in some oil cloth (waxed cotton) to make my new sling back pack bag in a mens version - but the finished bags, 4 of them so far and 2 more on the table, are all done with fabrics I already had. One of the oil cloths is truly purple and that is going to be fantastic. This one shown with the bag face and a flap over the phone pocket is supposed to be red. I can see that it is going to get more red as it ages, so that is going to be cool. I may have to break-in the waxed canvas versions by using them some before I sell them. I cannot tell you how much I love this new bag, it is my favorite casual bag ever. I am moving out of my tablet wristlet in favor of this sling bag. The pattern is up at Etsy and Craftsy. I usually carry it on my shoulder, like a regular shoulder bag. Honestly, a lot of the time, just by the top handle too. It is nice to have the cross body option for having it on a hike or while traveling. Some of my favorite sewists have already got the pattern and I am looking forward to seeing what they do with it.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Project Quilting Season 6 First Challenge Prizes

I love sponsoring Project Quilting. I love seeing all of the creativity and beauty created for each challenge. Even if I don't take the time to compete, it inspires me and I like to be involved in it. To launch the new season, I offered a free pattern for each person who entered the first challenge. There were 72 entries! See them all here.
Dining Chair Covers
To make it a little easier on myself and a little easier to choose too, I am limiting the prizes to one of these 10 choices. If you like home decor sewing, I can help you tackle slip covers.
Task Chair Covers
Sewing for travel? The best bags are here.
Departure Satchel

Trolley Sleeved Carry-on Duffle
Sewing for yourself - I personally love my skirts and aprons.
Bell Skirt Sizing for Hips 34" - 46"
Peter Pan Collar Apron also comes with Reversible Apron 
Honeycomb Coasters
Need to squeeze in a tiny project that makes amazing gifts? Coasters or Table Runner are fun for that.

Table Runner
Warp and Weft Quilt
If you have been wanting to make a manly quilt but have not found the right pattern, I think you will love making my Warp and Weft Quilt.

 Lastly, if there is a baby in your life, you have to make the Changing Pad Bag.
Changing Pad Bag
There is a 2 step process to claim your prize:
1. Please comment on this post with a link to your project quilting entry (your own blog post preferably or just the link at PQ) This way my readers get to see your entries and get to know you too.
and with your choice from this list of 10 patterns.
If for some reason you cannot post a comment here, do just email me with a photo of your entry and which pattern you choose.
2. After that, email me (cherie at studiocherie dot com) with the same info and I will reply with the pattern attached.

The second part is most important. I need you to email me in order to reply with the pattern attached.

Your choices, pictured above are: Dining Chair Covers Tutorial, Task Chair Cover Pattern, Departure Satchel Pattern, Carry-on Sized Duffle Pattern, Bell Skirt Pattern, 2 in 1 Pattern for Aprons, Honeycomb Coasters Pattern, Table Runner Pattern, Warp and Weft Quilt Pattern, Changing Pad Bag Pattern.

Congratulations to all who entered the first challenge for season 6 of Project Quilting. You are amazing. I can't wait to get a free pattern into your hands.