Dog Days

This is so incredibly far away from being sewing related, but it was really too fun not to share!

Apparently our one dog has also become weary of my photo-taking.  (The other one just leaves the room when the camera comes out.)

Dakota is our “first” baby; it’s hard to believe he’s been with us for almost nine years now!  Life has certainly changed since we first brought him home and some days I’m not sure he appreciates the extra chaos.  The youngest one in the house has recently taken to flopping herself on top of him in an adorable attempt to wrestle.  In response, he spends much more time up out of her reach in the recliner in the living room.  He’s in trouble when she gets big enough to climb into the chair with him.



Catching Up, From Being Down

Saturday I woke up with a migraine that completely side-lined me.  Knock me on my back, not get out of bed type of headache.  Years ago I suffered from these headaches all the time; now I’ve completely lost my tolerance for the pain (although I’m certainly not complaining!).  So to get hit by one so painful and so debilitating completely wrecked my weekend plans.

Thankfully my wonderful husband took over all parenting duties for the day and even accompanied the girls to the birthday party they’d been invited to.  Yesterday in an attempt to catch up I sewed my way through six yards of fabric, creating 5 peasant tops, 2 dresses and 2 pairs of ruffled capri pants.  I even managed to get my sewing space cleaned, made dinner and spent some time with the family enjoying the beautiful weather.

Today, I’m tired.  But with new fabric delivered on my doorstep this afternoon and a super cute romper pattern waiting to be tried out, there’s no rest for the weary!

Happy Sewing!

Stitch To Stitch Starter Package Giveaway!

Yesterday morning a sale in the shop pushed Stitch To Stitch from 99 to 100 Etsy sales! Yay!  It’s been a slower process than I originally hoped, but one that I’ve enjoyed immensely.  To celebrate this accomplishment I’m having a fabulous giveaway!

One lucky applicant is going to win what I’ve deemed the “Stitch To Stitch Starter Package”.  This package will include a pair of pants, a top, a shirt AND a dress — giving the winner a great base to start a spring/summer wardrobe.

Item #1 — Capri Length Ruffle Leggings OR Ruffle Pants

Item #2 — Cap Sleeve Shirred Peasant Top

Item #3 — Ruffled Twirl Skirt OR Double Layer Ruffle Skirt

Item #4 — Peasant Dress OR Knot Dress

The contest will open today March 7th, 2012 and run through midnight (Mountain Time) on Sunday, March 18th, 2012.

The contest is only open to U.S. and Canadian residents who are a fan of the Stitch To Stitch Facebook page! Once you’re a fan you can enter the giveaway; if you’re not on Facebook have your husband, mother, father, sister, brother or cousin enter for you!  Only one entry per Facebook account.

The winner will be randomly chosen from the applicants and notified vial email.  At that time they can discuss what colors, sizes and fabrics they’d like the items made in.  All items are available in the full range of sizes listed in the shop; the pants and top are available in any ruffle fabric color I have on hand, the skirt and dress are available to be made in any fabric(s) on hand having a large enough quantity.  I will work closely with the winner to make this package completely tailored to their taste.

So head on over to the Stitch To Stitch Facebook Page and enter to win! 


Growing Pains

Lately I’ve really been feeling the strain of getting a small business to take off.  After much thought I made the decision to believe in myself, take a leap and open some wholesale accounts to buy fabric.  This means buying larger quantities, or even full bolts at a time, but it gives the buyer a significant discount on price.  

I made the leap and opened accounts with Ruffle Fabric and Riley Blake, both of which companies are fantastic to deal with.  Super helpful customer service and fast shipping.  Not to mention amazing product!  I wanted to open another 1-2 accounts to give myself some more diversity but it’s proving to be challenging.  Initial order minimums of $500 and annual orders of $1200-1500 is just out of my league right now; no matter how hard I believe in myself.

This is where I’m at a disadvantage not being close to a large city with more textile shops to purchase from.

I’m brainstorming to come up with creative ideas but I’m coming up empty.  Maybe this is something out of my reach for right now.  Maybe in another year it could be a possibility.


Ruffle Dress Sneak Peak

UPS dropped off Riley Blake deliciousness while I was out running errands with the girls last Friday.  Due to a jam packed weekend schedule — it was our wedding anniversary after all — I opened the packages but set the bolts of fabric downstairs in my studio, not even picking up my rotary cutter until yesterday afternoon.

Don’t worry, I had visions and ideas bouncing through my head most of the weekend!  So when I sat down yesterday I knew exactly what I wanted to do.

This is what came together after a couple hours of work.

Not fair, I know!  I will tell you that it’s a super cute peasant dress with half sleeves and a ruffle panel down the front of the dress.  Hopefully it will be ready to list in the shop within the next couple of weeks.  :)

Happy Sewing!

What a Week!

This has been one of those weeks that I’d like to either forget quickly, or have the option to re-do, in the hopes of it going better!  It all started last weekend with TWO emergency service calls on Saturday (a water leak and a circuit board that quit on the furnace), a Saturday visit to the pediatrician for both sick girls, a dog that ate the corner off of the afghan my grandmother crocheted for me 20 years ago, my husband out of town for work, a finicky gas gauge in my vehicle, organizing tax stuff, troubles with the postal service, me getting sick and a babysitter that bailed, leaving me to scramble for a replacement!

Which meant little time for Stitch To Stitch stuff, especially the blog!  Thankfully I could sneak in some sewing here and there as my sick girls napped and with my husband being gone at night I had free time after the house settled down for the night. 

To end the week on a good note though, I have my first wholesale order from Riley Blake coming today with FOUR BOLTS of fabric!  (I seriously could have ordered three times that many, but my bank account wouldn’t allow for it right now.)  And I managed to crank out a new dress for the shop earlier this week.  It’s on it’s way to a fabulous new photographer I’m excited to work with.

Happy Sewing!

The Extra Touches of Handmade

Sometimes, an order requires that little extra touch that can accompany something handmade.  When I make the Girls Heirloom Gown I add this little thank you card inside the package before shipping.

It takes a few extra minutes of my time but I think it’s well worth it.  I know, as a customer myself, that the little touches like this, that accompany a handmade order, go a long way towards making me remember the seller.  I hope this accomplishes the same with my customers!

At some point, I’d like to be able to do this with all orders.  Sometimes time just doesn’t allow for it when it’s quicker to scroll a simple, handwritten thank you note instead.

Happy sewing!

Saturday Pattern Sharing 2/11/12

I seem to be drawn to spring/summer stuff right now!  I don’t know if this weirdly warm weather has tricked my brain into thinking it’s further ahead in the year than it is, or if I’m just ready for nicer weather to be here.  Nothing against winter — as strange as it sounds, I absolutely love the season — but it’s harder to deal with nasty weather when you have small children.

But I digress…

Today’s tutorial is the super cute Pillowcase Nightgown featured over at iCandy Handmade.

Pillowcase Nightgown Tutorial


Last summer, my five year old started to finally want to wear nightgowns.  Truthfully, I think it’s because they feel more princess-like than standard pj pants and a top.  No matter the case it will be fun to make her some of these nightgowns for use this summer!

Happy sewing!

Stitch Tips

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  1. Determine what speed your machine runs the best at.  The slower mine goes, the less straight my seams are; the faster it goes, the easier it is to make big mistakes and stray from where I should be sewing.  For me, it’s best if I sew with the machine on the highest setting but not at it’s fastest speed.  It’s about half way between the medium and fast setting.
  2. Play around until you figure out what stitch length works the best for your specific needs.  When I’m sewing cotton fabrics together I use a slightly shorter stitch length — it’s actually the recommended stitch length for a straight stitch on my machine; but when I’m top-stitching I lengthen the stitch length 1-2 settings so it looks prettier and more professional.
  3. Figure out the best seam allowance (the distance a seam lies from the edge of the fabric) to keep it from being pulled down into the needle hole on the needle plate.  This is especially important when turning corners without much fabric between the feed dog and presser foot.  On my machine a 1/4″ seam allowance is the minimum I can use.
  4. Learn how the tension works, and how to adjust it, on your machine.  At first it can seem quite intimidating but after some practice you’ll be able to quickly spot thread tension issues and fix them immediately.  No more wonky stitches!
  5. Change the pressure on the presser foot.  Learn what settings work best for different fabrics, different thickness and even the different number of fabric layers.  You’ll need to increase the pressure when sewing through heavier fabrics such as corduroy, denim, leather and decrease it when sewing through lighter fabrics such as chiffon and tulle.  I’ve found that when I’m top-stitching over a thick side seam, it helps keep my stitch lengths consistent if I crank up the pressure just to get past the seam.
  6. Every time you sit down to sew and change anything — fabric, thread, stitch length, type of stitch, etc. — sew some test stitches on a scrap piece of the fabric(s) you’re using.  This will allow you to get your tension, stitch length and pressure right before you start on your actual piece.
  7. When sewing corners, doing appliques or any other project where you’ll be moving the fabric in anything but a straight line, keep your needle in the down position — meaning that when you stop sewing the needle is down in the fabric and not up at it’s highest point.  This will keep your stitches in line when you move the fabric.
  8. Change your needle often!  Yes, it’s another (minor) cost but it’s well worth the money.  I change my needle after 6-8 hours of sewing or sooner if I’m having trouble with skipped stitches.
  9. Keep your sewing machine clean.  Lint buildup can affect your feed dogs and cause extra wear and tear on your machine.  A can of compressed air helps to blow gunk out of places you can’t reach; the small screw driver that came with your machine will help you pull the needle plate off so you can clean around the feed dogs.
  10. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!  Sewing is just like any other skill — the more you do it, the better you’ll get and the more comfortable you’ll get with your sewing machine.  I’ve been sewing almost daily for just shy of two years and I still see improvements in the items I make.

Happy sewing!