projects in progress






:: Second Milo on the needles :: Snow Pixie hats on the cutting table ::

:: Other project-themed books ::

These handful of days have been off-kilter. Following an unprecedented string of good days, in which everything seemed to flow, the boys (and myself, no doubt) trudged through the last two days with low energy, sapped patience, and a general grumpy malaise. 

This time, though, I have a peace about it. I've come to expect these days, just as I expect the perfect ones. It even feels, dare I say ... comforting. I feel grateful to pass through very human situations together as a family; grateful to learn about each other and let each other experience a full spectrum of feelings. 

It also feels good to hop into a project in the creative space that opens up after a patch of ho-humness. There's plenty to do in the studio between now and Christmas, and the gift-making is kicking into gear. I'm also really liking my circular saw, and have my eyes on some of the projects in this book once the chicken coop is done.

And - I can't recommend highly enough Project-Based Homeschooling: Mentoring Self-Directed Learners by Lori Pickert. It speaks to me right where I am as parent just starting off on the homeshooling journey, which can be totally daunting if you see all the ideas that can be done out there on the internet and all of the facts that can be passed on to a child. Here's an exceprt:

"Try to avoid pulling attention away from your child's project (his deepest interest) with random, one-off activities. Save casual field trips and similar activities for times between projects. The less you distract your child with random activities and interruptions, the more engaged and focused he'll be. You're giving him the opportunity to stay longer with what he cares about most; you're giving him the chance to build something really meaningful." 


Back to my projects. Have a wonderful weekend!

a chat with fat quarter shop & hurricane relief

Thanks to Chelsey at the Fat Quarter Shop for stopping by to chat about my booth! The other first place booth winners are interviewed, too - and the Sew Liberated segment starts at 3:10.

And ...

I wanted to share with you that Mariah of Playful Learning is donating 100% of the proceeds from the sales of any of her (wonderful) e-courses to hurricane relief between now and November 20. Learn more here. How generous is that?!

Another opportunity to provide for those in the storm's path - donate quilts or blankets to keep folks warm - details on the Fat Quarter Shop's blog.

back in the saddle

First things first - I can't start writing before I send out a heartfelt thank-you to my dear friend Charlotte, who kept my blog filled with beautiful pictures and thoughtful words while I was getting ready for Quilt Market. The Beatles were right - you can get by with a little (or a lot - in my case!) help from your friends.

And thank you to you, dear readers, for understanding my need to be absent from this space in order to spend any "extra" time I had focused on my boys. It's all a juggling act, and, for me at least, I just have to cross things off of my list and not look back. These boys are only little once.

Quilt Market Fall 2012

But the sewing gig? Not too bad. My Quilt Market right-of-passage complete, I can now reflect on the logistical nightmare of it with a touch of comedic hindsight. Oh my, I do hate logistics and  event planning. This I now know about myself. The late shipment of my booth? The "missing" 1x4 studs on one section of my booth wall? Golly, man. Once again, though, my "at-least-we're-not-in-the-hospital" mantra got me through just fine. Lack of logistical finesse in type B personalities is always made up for by a "whatever, it will all work out" attitude to snags in the road.

Enough of the getting there and back part, though. You probably want to know about what happened once the Sew Liberated booth was set up, right? Here it is!

Quilt Market Fall 2012

This was the fun part - the decorating! You can also see four of my five new patterns on display - the blue dress, the colorful quilt, the white apron, and the yellow top. I assure you that they do have more creative names than color descriptions! They're due out by January 1st. I'll certainly let you know more once we're closer to the release date. And check out my logo poster, c/o my neighbors at Spoonflower - did you know they now do custom printed wallpaper? This stuff is great, let me tell you. It worked superbly for my "kraft paper" logo, although I'll likely choose another design for a wall in my house ...

Quilt Market Fall 2012

Yep! It's true! Sew Liberated is taking sewing patterns into the next generation with free video tutorials for our newest garment patterns. You'll get to watch my amazing intern, Danica, sew up everthing from the first to the last step!

Quilt Market Fall 2012

Just after the booth prize committe showed up an awarded us with a 1st prize in the single booth category, I posed with the giganticus ribbon and the nifty plaque (that would find a home next to my trophy for the free throw tournament I won in 6th grade, if I still had it ...) But wow, I totally wasn't expecting this! There were so many other booths there that were utterly beautiful and I'm sure they deserve this prize more than I do.

Quilt Market Fall 2012

I can't go on, though, without mentioning Kim. Kim Ventura has been working at Sew Liberated for several years now, and I can most certainly say that, without her help, Quilt Market wouldn't have been possible. (And a lot of other things wouldn't have been possible either - see that quilt there? She's the genius behind the quilt.) Kim stepped up and, though we'd worked together for years, we'd never met in person. (She's in Ohio and has helped out with sample sewing and techical writing since she tested the Schoolhouse Tunic back in the day!) She got on a plane and flew to Houston, helped set up the booth, introduce Sew Liberated to fabric shop owners who we hadn't met before, and just kept me in such good spirits throughout the five days we were in Houston. Such a kind, thoughtful, creative person! (I'm bummed this picture didn't turn out great, but it makes me happy just looking at it - thank you, Kim!)

Quilt Market Fall 2012

Here I am with Christine Haynes, the easy going and fun sewing teacher, fellow Craftsy instructor and pattern designer! Christine works at Sew L.A. - a great sewing studio in Los Angeles.

Quilt Market Fall 2012

I met lots of very lovely people at Market, including mother-and-daughter team April and Anita, who own Sew To Speak in Columbus, OH. We had dinner with Rae, hobnobbed with fabric companies, and got to know many other amazing designers. I only with I had had more time to take more pictures of other booths! It's a real visual explosion, this Quilt Market thing. You leave with way more things on your "to-make" list than you had when you arrived.

I'm pleased to say that everything is now unpacked, my studio has been spiffed up for some actual sewing, and things are back to normal once again.

Well, if you count bringing home six baby chicks on Thursday as normal, that is!

my craftsy course is live!

surplice dress long

Surplice Empire Waist Dress, maxi variation, from Sewing with Knits

I love the juxtaposition here of maxi dress and curled hair next to unmatched boy stuffing sticks in his pocket!

You should feel comfortable in your clothing. It should make you proud of the full range of movement of your body, and it should make you feel beautiful. 

You can sew your own clothes that fit. You can sew your own stylishly understated clothes that make you feel confident. You can sew them easily and quickly. Like, two naptimes quick. It's empowering to be able to sew with those oh-so-comfortable knits. And I can teach you how!

All that to say that my Craftsy course, Sewing with Knits: Five Wardrobe Essentials is available now! If you purchase the class through the links on my site, you get 50% off. That's six patterns (there's a bonus skirt pattern thrown in for fun) and six hours of instruction for twenty dollars. Each pattern has a ton of variations, so you can seriously remake your casual wardrobe for the price of a little more than a typical indie pattern.

Plus, I designed the class for YOU. Yep. I thought of no one but my loyal blog readers when writing the outline and designing patterns. You've had lots questions about knits, and I hope I have addressed them in this course. It's almost like hanging out with me for six hours. Except that I do all the talking, which is not something I would normally do! The great thing is that you can take this class whenever you want, and your access to it never expires. Also, the Craftsy platform is wonderfully interactive, and you can send me your questions or comments and I'll respond within a day. You can also "meet" and interact with your fellow students, as well as share pictures of your finished knitwear!

Conquer your fear of knits and make some seriously stylish, wonderfully wearable clothes! Can't wait to see you over at my course!

P.S. Everything at my shop is 15% off through the end of the week! Enter code AugustNews2012 at checkout. That includes patterns, kits, and supplies. (I have a bunch of supplies, including the best baby jersey knit with spandex that I recommend in Sewing with Knits, available now.) 

spoonflower is giving away fabric and an ashland pattern!

Be still your heart? My generous friends (and neighbors) at Spoonflower are giving away four yards of fabric (of your choice) and an Ashland Dress pattern

Ashland Dress made into a top

I recently made a top for myself out of Spoonflower's cotton silk (totally dreamy) substrate, printed on Holli Zollinger's Grey and White Diamond Linen. I think it took me weeks to decide which fabric of Holli's to print - I had a total sewing geek-out over all of them. This understated print worked perfectly, sewing up smoothly into an everyday-with-a-bling top, given the slight fancy pants sheen of the silk. 

Ashland Dress made into a top

I used a pared-down version of the Ashland Dress pattern, omitting the pockets and waist sash and shortening the hemline so that it hits at my hip. I'm loving it. I can already tell that I will wear it often - it's comfortable, it's grey, it is cool to wear in the summer and it will be great under a cardigan come autumn. 

I had a little virtual chit chat with Kim at Spoonflower, and I hope you'll pop on over to their blog to check it out and to leave a comment to win the Ashland Dress pattern and four yards of fabric! 

behind the scenes


Photos by Joe Baran

What an intense and challenging time away! Deciding to film a course with Craftsy was one of those decisions that wasn't an easy "yes" for me, someone who is more comfortable expressing myself through the written word than the spoken word (in front of a camera, no less!) It was a time of growth for me - for the first time, away from home on business, surrounded by supportive professionals - and I am glad I did it.  I learned that, with a rush of adrenaline, I can do things I might have otherwise dismissed as too far outside my comfort zone.

It wasn't all talking to a camera, though - I stopped by Fancy Tiger for a lovely evening with fellow sewists (and got to meet some of my blog friends in the Denver area - which was awesome!) I went out to dinner with my longtime online pal Jess of Seedpod Craft, and after the first few days of filming were done, I had the time to buy a book and read it in peace - both in my hotel room and on the plane ride home. All wonderful things.


In a few short weeks, the magic-workers at Craftsy will transform the hours and hours of footage into a polished course: Sewing with Knits - Five Wardrobe Essentials. My hope is that I can help you find your confidence with knit fabrics while creating some great clothes for yourself along the way.



And now - catching up. Catching up on playing with Finn and Lachlan, catching up on work, catching up on sleep (I slept worse than I do at home! I missed those feet poking into my back, you know.) All with a lighter step and a feeling of satisfaction with a job well done.

featured sewist :: jeni

Something new! There are so many talented folks out there who have made cool stuff from my patterns, and I never tire of seeing the fabrics they have chosen and their own individual takes on my designs. I know I like to peruse the internet for photos of real people wearing finished products before I jump into a new pattern, so I hope you enjoy getting to know some new friendly faces and the blogs they author.

Happy sewing,


Featured sewist jeni

Jeni from In Color Order made the Schoolhouse Tunic - click here to read her original post.

What were your goals for this project?

My goal for this project was simply to add another handmade top to my wardrobe.  There is something so exciting about sewing garments! I'm always hoping to learn something when I sew a new pattern, in this case I stitched my first facing.

How did you incorporate your individual style into this project?

I think I incorporated my style into this project with my fabric selection. I love fabrics that have a bit of whimsy to them, and this print from Lizzy House's Hello Pilgrim collection fit the bill.

How long have you been sewing?

I have been sewing for about 12 years off and on.  I just started sewing clothing for myself in the last year!

What's your next sewing project?

My next sewing project will probably be a fun summer dress!

handmade parade :: the ashland dress sewing pattern

ashland1 - Copy

Dress: handmade with my Ashland Dress pattern. Fabric: cotton voile, NYC garment district

Shoes: c/o my mom's closet

Jewelry: none, c/o my grabby toddler

ashland2 - Copy

A lot of love went into designing this, Sew Liberated's first dress pattern, so that it would be a beautiful and functional dress for all. Here are the deets:

  • sizes 2-20, and bust sizes A-D. Eeee! That's right - the pattern includes separate bodice patterns to go with your cup size, so most sewists won't have to bother with bust adjustments!
  • three sleeve variations make it an all-season pattern: elbow (shown above) sleeveless (shown below) and 3/4 sleeves.
  • two pocket options
  • nursing-friendly
  • shorten the skirt to make a tunic/shirt version.

ashland6 - Copy

ashland5 - Copy

If you liked the Schoolhouse Tunic pattern, I really think you'll like the Ashland. Soon, I'll be posting video tutorials on how to insert an invisible zipper, like the one used in the Ashland, as well posting links to great buttonhole how-tos, so that you can take your sewing skills to the next level without any hair pulling!

ashland7 - Copy


Ashland Sundress: fabric - French milled, cotton poplin, found locally at Mulberry Silks in Carrboro, NC.

Shoes: Lotta From Stockholm

Gardening hat: Imagine Childhood

Okay, friends. I need your help now. I'm a rather busy bee nowadays, preparing for a VERY EXCITING online course I'll be filming in Denver in a few short weeks. (Any guesses? :) I haven't had time to source fabrics yet for Ashland fabric kits. How about this ... leave a comment with your favorite Ashland-worthy fabric (a link to the exact fabric in the comments would be helpful) and, if I pick YOUR fabric for inclusion in a kit, I'll send you a free Ashland Dress pattern! (Or give you a refund if you want to go ahead and get one now.) Cool? Cool. High fives all around.

P.S. The patterns should be ready to ship by the end of the week, so expect yours to leave the North Carolina countryside by Friday, June 22nd or Monday, June 25th.