Sewing for a Cause

Sitting down at my sewing machine and finishing up a project is good for my soul; it helps me to recenter, to relax. It’s even more fulfilling when I can sit down and create items for other people. A close friend of one my husband’s aunt is battling breast cancer, and medical bills are becoming a huge financial strain on her and her husband. His aunt and another friend are organizing a fundraising event to raise money for medical expenses. When I saw mention of a fundraiser on Facebook I knew I needed to make something for the silent auction!

With the fundraising being held for a breast cancer patient, I wanted to create something that had pink in it, yet didn’t have an overwhelming theme. Something that could appeal to a wide range of people at the fundraiser while still showing support. Off to Pinterest I went to look for some ideas…

I knew I wanted pink, and wanted to incorporate a heart; maybe a patchwork pillow cover would be a good idea. I quickly came across a tutorial over at imagine gnats for a patchwork heart pillow cover and it was exactly what I wanted! (Funny too how a couple of days later Rachael contacted me about helping her sew up some of her new knits.)

Now armed with an idea I set off to get the project started.

First off, I had to draft the heart freehand. Which is NOT my forte.

IMG_3231Then I scrounged through my fabric, to realize that I didn’t have 3-4 pink prints that would blend together well enough for the project. Thankfully a quick search on Etsy and I found a pink/white fat quarter set that was exactly what I had in mind. A simple grey/white geometric from my stash would help add a neutral touch to the pillow.

Rachael’s direction were simple to follow and the QAYG — quilt as you go — method adds a fun touch to the patchwork.

Stitch To Stitch QAYGAn envelope style back meant no zippers to sew in, yet the recipient can easily to remove the cover for laundering.

Stitch To Stitch Patchwork Heart PillowI absolutely love how it turned out — pink without being in-your-face pink! It was also really fun to work on sewing something that wasn’t an item to wear.

Amanda at Stitch To Stitch

French Terry Dolman Top

So, yeah. When Rachael at imagine gnats asked if I wanted to test some fabric I might have asked for some french terry to work on a project for ME as well! One of my goals this year was to start doing some “selfless sewing”; I spend so much of my time making things for my kids (and customers), that it’s time I make stuff for myself.

To keep things easy to start off with, I chose the newly released drop shoulder top from Seamingly Smitten. I’d never sewn any of her patterns myself but had recommendations from a few friends. And truthfully, it was 50% off at the release so that might have swayed my opinion just a little. Hehe.

Rachael sent me a medium weight french terry in a fun stripe print. When I opened the package I literally wrapped it around my shoulders and fell in love. The french terry is nice and warm without being super heavy. Off it went to be laundered and I began the fun task of printing and taping pattern pieces together.

The pattern was pretty straightforward and came together fairly quickly. Like so many striped fabrics, the stripes weren’t printed completely straight across the fabric, but it was much better than some I’ve worked with. To make sure it wouldn’t drive me crazy every time I looked at it I took the extra time to line the stripes up precisely at the seams. That part was honestly the most time consuming step! Sometimes my perfectionist tendencies slow me down but it was soooo worth it in the end.

Stitch To Stitch French Terry TestingThe french terry wasn’t as easy to work with as the ponte de roma I used for the ruffle pants, but still easier than some knits. The edges do curl a little. This can be challenging when attaching cuffs or other pieces when you need to stretch one piece to fit the longer length of another. To help combat this, I sprayed the pieces well with Best Press to help them keep their shape. It didn’t stop it completely but made it easier to work with.

I used my serger to construct all of the garment, and then topstitched on my sewing machine (using my walking foot and a ballpoint needle). Because the neckline is so wide I used a long, straight stitch to topstitch the neckband in place. I knew it wouldn’t be under stress to fit over my head so the need for a stretchable seam wasn’t as important. This was more about looks than functionality. I also added a cuff at the end of the long sleeves, and a bottom band instead of a traditional hem. The project took me a couple of hours with intermittent breaks.

As soon as I put it on, I couldn’t stop smiling! When making it again I would make some slight changes to the overall pattern (minimizing the dolman sleeve slightly, and adjusting the overall length of the sleeve and the top) — with this being the first time using it, I wasn’t sure how it would fit but it was good following the directions based on the size chart. And I’m short too so tops are quite often long one me. But this shirt is so incredibly comfortable and WARM. It’s going to be well worn. Especially during the colder months!

Comfy enough that I could stand outside in temps in the low 30’s today, to get some photos! Which was hard for me because I’d much rather be behind the camera than in front of it.

Stitch To Stitch French Terry Dolman 1To add some fun contrast, I flipped the fabric on the arm pieces so the stripes went a different direction! Love how it turned out.

Stitch To Stitch French Terry Dolman 2You have to love the squinty-looking-into-the-sun photos! I figured I shouldn’t have every one with my sunglasses on…

STS French Terry Dolman 3

Fabric details:

  • This is 100% cotton french terry, and weighs about 13oz/yard. It makes it a nice weight for a lighter sweatshirt without being overly heavy.
  • Shrinkage was minimal, and I was surprised. My 2 yard piece shrank about 3″ total lengthwise after washing/drying on medium high temps. For 100% cotton knit fabric this minimal shrinkage is awesome.
  • It is a 50% crosswise, 2-way stretch with about 85% recovery. This allows you to stretch it to fit over your body but it will not completely go back until it’s washed/dried again.

I’m so glad that I took the plunge to make something for myself! Can’t wait to do it more often. And you can bet I might have to make myself another one of these tops in a solid color!

Amanda at Stitch To Stitch

Ponte Knit Ruffle Pants

A little over a week ago, I gasped when I saw the new shipment of knit fabrics over at imagine gnats — an array of gorgeous new colors and prints. When Rachael messaged me shortly thereafter I quickly agreed to help her try out some of the beautiful new fabrics. Who says no to playing with fabric, after all?

I was instantly drawn to a bright, bold print and knew it would be perfect for my middle girl. Rachael paired it with a coordinating solid and I set off to find the perfect pattern to use. My daughter is obsessed with ruffle pants right now, which helped narrow down my search; I decided on the Strawberry Fields Knit Triple Ruffle Pants by FooFoo Threads.

Then, I had a moment of slight panic when I remembered I’d be sewing with knits! I have handfuls of knit fabrics I purchased and then set aside because I prefer to sew with woven cottons. With Rachael depending on me to get this project done ASAP I knew I’d have to face it head on. Yikes.

A few days later, the mail lady delivered my pretty fabric and I was in love. The fabrics I chose were both Ponte de Roma knit — meaning they are a medium weight, with a beautiful drape and great recovery (you can stretch them and they come back to the original size really well). The colors were even more vibrant in person and they were silky soft. I had a feeling they’d be much easier to sew with then the lighter weight stuff I usually buy.

A quick run through the washer and dryer to get some measurements on shrinkage and I was ready to start sewing! Since I’ve made hundreds of pair of ruffle pants over the last 5 years, there wasn’t much need to the pattern. I used the pieces to cut what I needed, scanned through the directions (which are always well written, I love her patterns!) and off I went. My girl peeked in before bed to see what I was doing and was ecstatic to see I was making something for her.

Thankfully, the ponte de roma was fantastic to sew with! I used my serger for the main construction so the seams would have some stretch to them (a regular straight stitch has the tendency to snap when used on knit fabrics because the fabric stretches, and the seam doesn’t) and then topstitched ruffles with a twin needle on my sewing machine. The heavier weight kept the edges from curling and it didn’t get sucked down into my machine. One of the nicest things about knits too is the edges won’t fray; meaning there’s no need to finish the raw edges if you don’t want to. This not only makes it much easier to gather fabric for ruffles but it also meant I left the bottom edges of the ruffles unfinished. As I do with any knit garment, I used the walking foot on my sewing machine and ballpoint/jersey needles.

Start to finish I was done in just over an hour, and the results were fantastic!

Stitch To Stitch Ponte de Roma Ruffle PantsThe FooFoo Threads pattern is designed so the pants are more fitted through the waist/seat/hips and then widen out slightly through the leg. Not super skinny leggings, nor overly wide like traditional ruffle pants — in my opinion a perfect pattern for petite little girls. I will definitely be using this pattern to make her many pair of pants for spring/summer!

Stitch To Stitch Ponte de Roma Ruffle Pants 2Fabric details:

  • They are both blends (95% polyester, 5% spandex for the print and 75% polyester, 21% rayon, 4% spandex for the solid) and a little heavier at 11-13oz/yard; it might get heavy if you use it for large projects but these itty bitty ruffle pants turned out at a reasonable weight.
  • The fabric blends also meant less shrinkage when the fabrics were washed; the print shrunk from 36″ to 33.5″, the solid shrunk from 36″ to 34.5″. This is much less than most cotton knits.
  • Both fabrics are a 2-way stretch (about 40-50% crosswise) and have 100% recovery.
  • And they came out of the dryer wrinkle-free!

Overall, this project came together much better than I anticipated! The ponte de roma knits were great to work with. I’m already scheming items to make for ME with some of the other prints Rachael has in her shop.

Amanda at Stitch To Stitch

 

Holly Dress by Audrey & Tiffany PDF Patterns

I’ve been in a bit of a sewing slump lately, so when a pattern call was put out for the Holly Dress by Audrey & Tiffany PDF Patterns I jumped at the chance!

With young girls in our house, there never seems to be a shortage of ruffles and twirly skirts. While I love to see my 4 year old spin her way across the living room there’s a part of me that is always drawn to classic designs that allow the details of a dress to really stand out.

The Holly Dress is a perfect example of that!

Stitch To Stitch Holly Dress 1Two sets of small pintucks flank the fully lined bodice, creating gorgeous attention at the neckline. Most dresses/tops have you only sew in a handful but a full panel of more than a dozen pintucks sets this dress apart!

Stitch To Stitch Holly Dress PintucksThe back is accentuated with buttons loops instead of buttonholes. Shank buttons draw further attention to this sweet design element. A full placket provides extra coverage — no peeking skin — and shows the quality/knowledge of the designers.

Stitch To Stitch Holly Dress BackThe beautiful bodice details flow into an optional contrasting band, highlighting the knee length circle skirt. It is a perfect dress for spring, or special occasions! I could see this as a perfect little Easter dress!

Stitch To Stitch Holly Dress SittingNow that I’ve shown off my darling little girl, and her beautiful new dress, time to focus on the specifics…

Audrey & Tiffany PDF Patterns is a new(er) collaboration, combining the talents of Allison at E+M Patterns and Deb at Sprouting Jube Jube. Their patterns are classically beautiful with simple lines and amazing attention to detail. Last year they released the popular Secret Garden Dress; the Holly Dress is their second project to be released for sale. I’ve worked on pattern testing for Allison before and love her techniques; finished items are well put together, with proper technique. The insides of dresses/skirts are just as pretty as the outside.

The Holly Dress pattern is clearly written, with photos to guide you through every step. It is available in sizes 2-10 and has options for both a pintucked (like shown above) or gathered bodice. I’d consider the Holly Dress to be an intermediate sew because of the precision needed on those dainty pintucks, plus the construction of the back bodice. It is a great pattern to have in your arsenal and I’m excited to make more for my girls!

The Holly Dress is available for purchase through the Audrey & Tiffany Etsy Shop. Use coupon code “HOLLY” for 25% off your purchase (good to use on the Secret Garden Dress as well).

Happy sewing!

Amanda at Stitch To Stitch

Boxy Pouch Giveaway

(Pssst…if you’re here for the giveaway and don’t want to read through all of this, just jump to the bottom of the page. I’m not going to be offended, I promise.)

As strange as it seems, sometimes my creativity is fueled by working on items completely different than what’s for sale in the shop.  I think this is because I’m allowing my brain to not think about “work” and just sew for fun; opening up the flood gates to new ideas, new fabric combinations.  The benefit too, is that if I don’t brainstorm anything new I still end up with a great project to add to my collection!

For the longest time I’ve been intimidated by zippers and I vowed in 2014 to overcome that nervousness.  I figured one of the best ways to get past that fear was to just sit down and work on a project that made me sew a zipper in. And then do it over and over and over again until I felt completely comfortable. Last week when I stumbled onto this free boxy pouch tutorial over at Pink Stitches, I knew it was the perfect place to start working with zippers AND do some fun sewing for myself, to help get the creative juices flowing!

To make it fun, I took a handful of scraps in grey and yellow from 2013 projects and pieced them into scrappy panels for the sides, then quilted them on the diagonal for some contrast.  A white zipper and a small handle pull it all together.

After a couple of hours of sewing (it took the most time to piece the side panels together and then quilt them), and only one question to the author, I had a beautiful new scrappy pouch sitting on my sewing table!  As I finished it up I had the great idea to pass it along to someone in a giveaway.  A giveaway just for fun, no strings attached!

Which is ultimately why you’re here, so here’s what you need to know!  The mandatory entry is just that, only an entry, no strings attached.  No need to “like” any pages, no need to comment or grant access to anything.  Just click on the first entry and cross your fingers your name gets drawn.  You can receive additional entries for liking the Stitch To Stitch Facebook page, leaving a blog comment or sharing the giveaway to your Facebook friends (the easiest way to do that is through the STS Facebook page) but they’re not required.

Good luck!

 

Stitch To Stitch Boxy Pouch Giveaway

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Entry open to US and Canadian residents and runs until midnight (MST) on Sunday, January 19th, 2014.  Pouch measures approximately 9x5x4″ and is fully lined.

Another New Year

Happy New Year, my friends!  A huge thank you to those that have stuck around and are still keeping on eye on this dust collector.  Blogging certainly wasn’t one of my strong suits in 2013.

Last year was a tough one for me, in many aspects.  The transition from no children to 1, many years ago, was a big hurdle but after a few months we settled in and figured it out.  The transition from 1 to 2 was easier in some ways, yet harder in others.  Once again we settled in after a few months and adjusted.  But the transition from 2 to 3?  Ha!  It was a much more difficult transition than I ever anticipated and only now — and the sweet boy is now 14 months old — do I feel like we’re settling in.

Shop wise, 2013 was a great year.  Stitch To Stitch continued to see sales increasing and Facebook/Etsy fans growing and I’m beyond grateful — as well as excited — to see this happening.  As orders started coming in more steadily I found myself sewing, sewing, sewing just to keep up.  All of this continuous sewing to fill orders meant my turnaround times got pushed out to approximately four weeks during busy times, and getting new items up for sale fell to the wayside.  Just getting orders finished and out the door became my highest (shop) priority.  On one hand, this made me disappointed in myself because I missed the creativity of designing new outfits.  I started STS years ago because I love to sew.  I vowed to do better as the baby got bigger and we settled into a more structured schedule.  Unfortunately it didn’t seem to happen as quickly as I’d hoped.

After the rush of the holidays passed, I’ve taken a few days for myself to do some selfish sewing and to let my creativity percolate:  sewing up a super cute diaper bag that I bought the fabric/pattern for almost 18 months ago; getting my sewing room organized; and most importantly taking the time to sit down and really look at where I want the shop to go this year.  I want to sew more new items and start using some of these great patterns I’ve been keeping to myself, I want to see more great fabrics showcased in the shop and most importantly I want to offer more options for the (boutique clothing-neglected) little boys we love so dearly.

It’s always tough to juggle family and business but as life continues to evolve here in the Stitch To Stitch household, I hope to find a better groove and make more time to create great new items.  Thank you for your continued support and best wishes for a great year to come!

Amanda at Stitch To Stitch

Too Much, Too Much

My beautiful two year old puts her hands up and shakes her head, chanting, “too much, too much” when she’s overwhelmed by anything.  It always makes me smile and laugh at how adorable she is and how easy it is for her to admit it’s more than she can handle or need at the moment.

Right now, I’m borrowing some of her resolve and saying “too much, too much”.  Although I absolutely love doing custom work my work schedule is incredibly full right now with orders.  If I have any chance of getting Christmas pajamas ready, as well as some new fall items, I need to put a halt to custom orders for the time being.

My apologies for this, but I’ll open myself back up to custom work when I get my work schedule a little more manageable!

Amanda at Stitch To Stitch

New Items for Spring

Life is still chaotic here in the Stitch To Stitch household — just when I think that I’m getting it under control, something else goes haywire and I end up learning how to rejuggle everything to make it work again.

I’d found myself getting into a good groove a few weeks ago:  computer work and photos in the morning, sewing when the kids were all napping in the afternoon and after they went to bed at night.  Then my toddler decided she no longer needed to nap (and instead try to tear my sewing room apart if I tried to let her play while I worked) and the baby only wants me to rock him to sleep until I can safely transfer him to bed at 9:30pm or so.  Which means my sewing time has been drastically cut short again.

Just as I hit my stride, I managed to get some new things up and listed in the shop and they’re doing really well so far.

Girls Yellow White and Grey Chevron Dress with Removable Flower

Girls Pink and White Chevron Peasant Dress with removable sash

 

There are more things in the works, so keep your eyes open! 

Don’t forget you can always follow shop updates over on my Facebook page if you want to stay up to date with what’s going on.  Thanks to the wonders of a smartphone, I’m much more active over there.

Amanda at Stitch To Stitch

Spring 2013 Giveaway

To celebrate Spring and the reopening of the shop, Stitch To Stitch is having a giveaway! 

Up for grabs is this Girls Twirl Knot Dress (size 12M to 11/12) in a gorgeous fabric combination of purples, green, ivory and blue — a perfect addition to any spring wardrobe.

IMG_6748-1

This beautiful dress is made using coordinating fabrics from the Joel Dewberry Heirloom line of fabrics. The combination of colors mimics the beauty of spring blooms and is sure to guarantee twirls of joy in your little girl.

The contest will open today February 12, 2013 and run through midnight (Mountain Time) on Friday, February 15, 2013.

The contest is only open to U.S. and Canadian residents.  The winner may gift the item to someone else but may not receive monetary compensation.  No substitutions allowed.

STS Spring Dress Giveaway 2013

 

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Back to Business!

After welcoming baby BOY to our family the beginning of November, I opted to take maternity leave through the beginning of 2013 to spend time with my family and enjoy the holiday.

Now the first of the year has come and gone, Stitch To Stitch has been reopened and I am back to sewing when I can sneak some time in! Shipping times have been adjusted to reflect a (temporary) slower timeline; as I settle into a routine with three kids, items will be turned around more quickly.  Current turnaround is 10-14 business days unless otherwise noted in the listing.

My time away provided me with ample time to dream up new ideas for the shop — stay tuned to see these great pieces come to life!

Amanda at Stitch To Stitch