Author: Beth

November 6 ~ Blankets for Baby

These are all fantastic tutorials if you want to make blankets for babies (and really, who doesn’t want to make cozy things for the babies on your list?!). Using some of these same techniques you can also make great gifts for kids, grandparents and really anyone else on your holiday gift list…

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November 5 ~ Tote Bags

Totes are the ultimate crafty gift. You can personalize these in so many different ways, through your fabric, style and embellishment choices. You can also go one step further and get creative with what you add to the tote!…

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November 1 ~ Aprons

Everyone can use a good apron. Even if you already have several, a new one is always special. Matching aprons for couples? Aprons to help your favorite crafter or Laundry King/Queen with their “work?” Little aprons for the youngest cooks in the family?…

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Are you ready for Handmade Holidays?

It’s started. You know what we’re talking about: Christmas trees in department stores, not-so-subtle ads everywhere, a deluge of catalogs and the nagging feeling that you should get to work and at least think about holiday gifts. We have the answer for holiday gift-giving this year, or at least the inspiration and a few (100+) tools to help you get it done. We’re thrilled to present, starting tomorrow, our Sew,Mama,Sew! Handmade Holidays: 30 Days of Gifts to Sew!…

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Create & Celebrate ~ notes and news from you

We often hear from people about their special swaps, contests, honors, tutorials or just “Wows!” and we’d love to pass them along. Email your big news (beth@sewmamasew.com or kristin@sewmamasew.com) and we’ll do periodic Create & Celebrate announcements with notes and news from you. Here are some opportunities for you to create…

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Introduction ~ Deborah

From Beth: Oops! Here’s Deborah’s introduction. Be sure to check out her Little Hooded Jacket pattern review from Kids’ Clothes Month. From Deborah: My name is Deborah and adore anything arty. My first ‘real’ hobby was and still is scrapbooking which has led onto meeting some fabulous people and branching out to try new things. I came across a blog whilst hopping round the internet, Pink Lemonade Boutique. It really inspired me to get out the sewing machine and give bags a go… A girl can never have too many bags or shoes! Following the link on Dena’s blog I came to Sew, Mama, Sew and the rest is history. I’m now a full fledged sewing...

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Girls’ Clothes Tutorial Round-Up

Did you see our Boys’ Clothes Tutorial Round-Up earlier this month? Many of those tutorials would be great for girls too (girls are just so fortunate with this, aren’t they?!). Here, in honor of Kids’ Clothes Month, are some of our favorite girls’ clothes tutorials. Many of these were mentioned by readers as some of their favorite tutorials, and we love all of the variations. It’s easy to learn (and sew) a lot with these fun links. Enjoy!

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Pattern Review ~ Little Hip Skirts

From Beth: Lara’s made several fantastic Little Hip Skirts, and shares her expertise (and tips!) with us in this great pattern review. Check out Lara’s introduction and blog, thornberry, for more of Lara’s skill and sewing ingenuity. Lara lives in Melbourne, and there’s something wonderful about a mama in Australia reviewing a pattern from our shop in Oregon for you, wherever you are. Enjoy!

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Introduction ~ Lara

From Beth- Lara has really said it all below! She’s a busy, creative gal with a true love of sewing. It’s great fun to explore the various categories on Lara’s blog, thornberry. In addition to the beautiful clothes she creates for her daughters, she has everything on her blog from several great tutorials, to refashioning successes and great crochet work. Lara reviewed Little Hip Skirts by Favorite Things for us, and has been sewing up a little hip skirt storm since completing the first one! Check out her introduction below and the review.

From Lara- My name is Lara, and I live in Melbourne, Australia….

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Free Fabric Friday & Flickr Features = Fun!

The kids’ clothes (and scarves from our sew-along) just keep multiplying in the Kids’ Clothes Month pool and the Sew, Mama, Sew! general photo pool. Look at a few of the fun creations below, then take a look around the blog. Did you see Christie’s great baby overalls pattern review? The boys’ clothing tutorials? Comment anywhere in the blog between now and Monday morning to be entered into our drawing; we’ll randomly select five people to win one yard of fabric ($9.10 or less).

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Boys’ Clothes Tutorial Round-Up

We have lots of girls’ clothing tutorials to share with you later in the month, but luckily we found some great boys’ clothing tutorials too. It can be tough to find a good tutorial for great boy clothes, don’t you think? Here are some of our favorites:

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Introduction ~ Christie

From Beth: In the midst of packing for a family move to Beijing, Christie whipped up a darling pair of Jackie Clark Baby Overalls for her daughter and a fantastic pattern review for us all. Christie shares her life and craft on her blog pigeon pair and Flickr too (look at her darling Alexander Henry smock from the pattern in Amy Karol’s book). Read all about Christie, then read all about baby overalls too. Hello, my name is Christie & I am a Melbourne (Australia) girl who is a wife, mother of two, a blogger & an avid maker of things. In my spare (ha!) time I love to sew & I find inspiration from other creative women out there on the net & in particular from my mother who is a whiz on the sewing machine. I enjoy giving old fabric/clothes a new life & sourcing both new & vintage fabric & patterns. I sew anything & everything including quilts, clothes, softies & bags. I dream of one day having a whole room just for my sewing paraphernalia & children who will stay still long enough to try on the clothes I lovingly make for them! For more of my family’s misadventures check out my blog, pigeon...

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Kids’ Clothes Month ~ Patchwork Scarf Tutorial

Are you ready to sew along? Let’s all make patchwork scarves to keep the kids warm through the fall and winter! Anything goes and we can’t wait to see what you create. You can follow our little tutorial or do it your own way. Variation is where it’s at, so fill us in on your tricks and tips, and add your scarf (or scarves?!) to the Kids’ Clothes Month Flickr group. If you’re on the beginning end of the sewing spectrum the blog tutorial “talks” you through the scarf. We also have a concise PDF here for you to download if you want a reminder of the steps (and/or want a little less guidance).

Kid’s Patchwork Scarf

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Introduction ~ Katie

From Beth: Katie knits, bakes, gardens and sews some fantastic items for her children (she also has some great tatting work and so much more on Flickr). Don’t miss the blog she started in June to document her Daily Thread! Katie did a comprehensive pattern review of the Favorite Things Little Jammies pattern, with lots of great tips for modifications to make the finished products extra-special. Enjoy!

From Katie: I am a stay-at-home mom to two children, DJ and AJ. DJ is four and AJ is 2-1/2. They keep me busy, as do the family business and some part-time consulting for my former employer. I like to knit, sew, read and bake. And blog! Most of my sewing is done while DJ has “quiet time” and AJ pretends to nap. (Or, maybe I’m the one pretending she’s napping!) Regardless, most days I usually have an hour or so to indulge in a little sewing therapy.

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Flickr Feature ~ Jimmy Pickles

Cosmetic Purse by Cherie, Jimmy Pickles Cherie left the corporate world several years ago and is now home with her two year old son James. She uses some of our favorite fabrics to create beautiful and functional pieces like this Michael Miller cosmetic purse. Cherie writes: I made my first Wristlet Keychain earlier this year. After using it for just few days I just loved it. I knew others would really enjoy it too. So I went through my fabric collection and made a bunch and added them to my Etsy shop. They did very well and I continue to add new styles every week. Recently, I have begun making coin purses and cosmetic bags. I am addicted to creating new items. When I get new fabric I can’t wait to turn it into something fun. Cherie’s Amy Butler wristlet keychain gift set below is just one example of her bright and graphic designs, classic styling and creative products. Cherie showcases her work on her Flickr site and sells items in her Etsy shop. Visit the Sew, Mama, Sew Flickr group for more fun creations, add in your own photos and, while you’re at it, hop on over to the Sew, Mama, Sew Kids’ Clothes Month Flickr group and join on in! There are already a lot of great items to...

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Flickr Feature ~ cloth.paper.string

Zippered pouch by Sarah, cloth.paper.string We love the combination of Gocco printing with linen in Sarah’s zippered pouch. She writes: I’m Sarah. I make my home on the shore of Lake Superior with my partner and our feisty toddler. As far as crafting goes, you could say I dabble in sewing, knitting, bookbinding and gocco printing, teaching myself along the way. I find inspiration both in the craft-blog-wonderland and out in the natural world. The zip pouch is a good example of where these meet — a gocco print of a rubbing of a cottonwood leaf from the bank of the Mississippi River finding its way onto a pouch that I learned to sew from a book discovered on a craft blog, with fabric from a friend met through my blog. Sarah’s blog cloth.paper.string reflects this same mix of inspiration. Her beautiful photography highlights outdoor moments with her darling daughter and some crafty goodness too (like this recently completed cardigan). Enjoy Sarah’s blog and her photos on Flickr. Add your work to the Sew, Mama, Sew Flickr group...

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Interview ~ Jennifer McMullen, Dishy Duds

We continue our series of inspiring women with Jennifer McMullen, owner and designer of Dishy Duds Designs. Jennifer’s company is full of things that make you smile. In addition to some amazing baby, boy and girl product designs, Jennifer makes one-of-a-kind handbags too. Her fun, creative and open approach to life, family and art shows in each of the products she sells. Dishy Duds also donates clothing and money to many organizations; most recently Jennifer has worked with Mercy Corps to donate a percentage of profits to efforts in Sudan and she started her Darfur awareness campaign in March of 2006. As Dishy Duds grows Jennifer has learned a lot about developing a business you love and finding balance as you do it; she shares some of her insight here with us. Her unique background and flexible approach to business (accepting a certain level of things you cannot control) has made Jennifer a success with her work and family life, and a model for us all to aspire to. Save the Planet Dress designed by Jennifer, Dishy Duds Jennifer started out with… Biomedical Engineering? Jennifer has a degree in biomedical engineering and went to school to design artificial joints and human organs. She writes, “My senior project was to design an artificial liver using pig cells. This sounds funny to me now that I type it out, but it’s...

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FFF Winners and New Flickr Pool

Our Free Fabric Friday winners are Tammi, Lorraine, Karen, Cleleste and Beth. We enjoyed all of the great tips and links you mentioned, and hope to feature some of them during Kids’ Clothes Month. As you gear up for September, don’t forget to check out other recent tips for inspiring kid-related clothes, tutorials and shops in these previous comments too. Have you already started some kids’ clothes? Join our new Sew, Mama, Sew Kids’ Clothes Month Flickr group. Add in a photo, bookmark the page and return...

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Flickr Feature ~ Three Fun Projects

Aren’t you impressed with the quality of work (and inspiration) on the Sew, Mama, Sew Flickr group? It’s (quite frankly) getting difficult to keep up with it all! We have a few fun projects to highlight this week, all so accessible, fun and beautiful: Patchwork Belt by Keri, Yellow Owl Keri started this belt with a tutorial from Creative Little Daisy but wanted it reversible. She writes, “I changed it up a little… One side has patterned fabric, the other solid fabric.” Keri shares all of the things she changes up a little on her blog, Yellow Owl, and sells items in her Etsy shop too (belts and more!). Don’t forget to visit her Flickr site as well. Aprons by Barbara and her friends, Fuzzy Mitten Barbara and her friends modified a pattern from MaryJanesFarm for these smart aprons. They all wanted different pockets and felt a double-sided apron is “both easier and more practical.” For an excellent selection of apron designs (if we do say so ourselves!), check out these patterns. Barbara taught herself to knit four years ago and now writes patterns for many of the toys she creates. Visit her site, Fuzzy Mitten, for a gateway to her blog, shop and toys. Barbara’s Flickr site gives you more glimpses into her crafty world. Pincushion by Eva Eva lives in San Sebastian (in northern Spain). She works...

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Flickr Feature ~ Catching Up

As we focused on bags recently with our Flickr Features, the Sew, Mama, Sew Flickr Group has been growing with some really fantastic photos of your work. We have some catching up to do! Here are several creations (from Jean, Jana and Jen!) we’ve noticed lately: Owl Dress by Jean Jean keeps busy with three children, ages three and under! She just started sewing this past year and made this dress from a Simplicity pattern (3808) for her 10 month old daughter. The dress utilizes a great combination of Hooty Owls on Blue by Robert Kaufman and Alexander Henry’s City Park. Jean has more big sewing plans in the works just as soon as the family makes their big move from Florida to Indiana in three weeks! Check out more of Jean’s work on her Flickr site (like this great Sis Boom bag from the infamous tiny happy tutorial). Pillow by Jana, Jana’s Radical Weblog 2 This Mod Girls pillow caught our eye and it turns out Jana won this fabric from Sew, Mama, Sew! She made this pillow for her daughter Britta’s room, and the ribbon was a “happy accident.” We think it works! Visit Jana’s Radical Weblog 2 and her Flickr site for more. Dress by Jen, Chrysanthemum This darling dress (outshined only by the darling girl) is also from a Simplicity pattern (5118) and some of...

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Craft Slink ~ Joel Dewberry’s Aviary

We wanted to feature so many of Joel Dewberry’s newest fabrics but got sidetracked with the Aviary line. Dewberry is Westminster Fibers’ newest, rising designer. His fabric designs are intricate, harmonious and timeless. Don’t miss Manzanita in the shop, and enjoy these slinks of Aviary in action. These beautiful, delicate fabrics are showing up everywhere. Here are some of our latest favorites: Bag by Jennalou, Blog, Jenna Lou Loves You, Shop, Jennalou.com Artsy Clutch by Ashley, Dogged. Upholstered Chairs by Amanda, SouleMama Ready for some of your own Dewberry sewing action? We’d love to see what you do with some of that Manzanita too. Tag your Flickr photos in the Sew, Mama, Sew Flickr Pool with the fabric name or drop us a line (beth@sewmamasew.com); we’ll stop by to “Ooh” and “Aah!” Note from Kristin:  Psst.  Dewberry even shows up in our September theme...

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Bag Month Contest Winners: Shoulder Bag Category

How can Bag Month be… over? Our Shoulder Bag winner announcement marks the end of a fun and inspiring month full of the best bags on the block. September will be another big theme month, but in the meantime we have lots of features, interviews and fun to come. We’d like to take this one last opportunity to thank our wonderful judges, Carrie, Jennifer, Linda, Liesl and Sara. Enjoy our Shoulder Bag winners, and congrats to all! Grand Prize Winner Laced Up Linen by Lisa, Pink Lemonade Boutique Many of you fell in love with Lisa’s bag, and our judges did too. Lisa writes: Vital Stats: 16″ accross 10.5″ high and 3.5 deep at widest point, Materials: Cotton quilting fabric, Linen, dupioni silk, grommets, plastic “rings, Body and gusset are quilted, contrast binding. This bag to me is all about proportion, and interplay of pattern and materials. I love the look of the lush floral with the strong punctuation of the black and cream polka dot fabric. I’m currently fixated on linen right now (as are many people, I suppose it’s the Japanese design influence) but I know I had to include it. I felt the addition of the linen keeps the look a little more sober and not so over the top feminine, and the contrast piping highlights the curves and design of the bag. I liked the...

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Bag Month Contest Winners: ‘Other’ Category

The impressive bags keep coming and coming! You did see our winners in the Tote and Handbag categories, right? Here we have our innovative “Other” category which included messenger, backpack, makeup bags, etc. (along with wristlets and travel bags!). Our judges, as in every category, looked for the following criteria as they made their difficult decisions: Design Creativity, Fantastic Use of Fabric specific to Design, Overall Appeal/Aesthetics, Utility/Practicality and an Interesting/Good Discussion about the Bag in the Entry. There’s just one more category winner announcement to go tomorrow! Here are today’s winners: Grand Prize Winner Wizard of Oz Bag by Hope, Going Sew Crazy Hope made this travel bag for herself, learning a few things in the process. She writes: The bag pattern is my own, made from my need for a travel case for my anniversary trip. The fabric is Japanese and I fell in love with it because of the sweet characters and the fact that I love the Wizard of Oz, as do my girls. I had thought this bag up, drafted it, and then I decided to add piping to it. It was my first time doing piping and was much easier than I thought it would be. The construction was just a little tricky since I had to think through each step the first time, but I came out of it with a very...

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Bag Month Contest Winners: Handbag Category

The Handbag Category featured so many really lovely, well-made bags. There was stiff competition and our judges had to make some tough choices. The winning handbags just happen to feature some of our favorite fabric collections! We have more category announcements to come, so enjoy the handbags then check back soon! Grand Prize Winner Dotty Bag by Randi, i have to say… Our judges loved the bright, cheerful fabrics paired with classic lines in Randi’s bag. Randi writes: This handbag is made with Katie Jump Robe fabric using my own pattern. This would be perfect for a shopping trip or just a fun day out. There is a large pocket inside with a smaller side pocket that would hold a water bottle or a baby bottle, so it could be used as a diaper bag as well. I used a tutorial found in a Martha Stewart magazine to make the bias tape that I used around the curved top edges. This bag is on it’s way to a craft show this weekend where, hopefully, it will find a wonderful, new home! From the judges: Our judges loved the deliberate design in Randi’s bag and the clean look. Liesl echoed the other judges with her comment of, “Great work!” Randi wins: A $50 Gift Certificate to Sew,Mama,Sew! To see where how the Dotty Bag did at the craft show (or...

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Bag Month Contest Winners: Tote Category

We are all in awe of the incredible submissions for our Big, Big Bag Month Contest. It’s been a fun month full of fantastic tutorials and guides, some excellent pattern reviews and lots of inspiration as well. You all were busy and you outdid yourselves, submitting a collection of works of art our judges found very professional and impressive. It was difficult for our judges to make their decisions! In addition to thanking all of you for your beautiful bags, we’d like to thank Carrie Sommer of Sommer Designs, Jennifer Paganelli of Sis Boom (and Mod Girls & Girlfriends fame), Linda of Craft Apple, Liesl Gibson of Disdressed and Sara Piaseczynski of The Bag Blog for all of their time, expertise and thoughtful deliberation as judges. We’re announcing the Tote Winners today. Stay tuned for Handbag, Shoulder Bag and “Other” (Messenger, Backpack, Makeup Case, etc.) category announcements all week. Without further ado, our Tote Category winners: Grand Prize Winner BB Bag by Dena, Sugar Shop Dena writes that the inspiration for her winning bag came from a friend in need and two favorite fabric designers: Two of my favorite designers sewn together! Amy Butler’s Nigella on top and Heather Bailey’s Freshcut on bottom. This tote was going to a business women’s network meeting and had to go with a black and white outfit (my friend had asked to borrow...

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Pattern Review ~ Indygo Junction Handle with Style

From Beth: Beth N. went above and beyond for her pattern review, creating three bags utilizing the Indygo Junction Handle with Style pattern book. The book provides patterns and instructions for to create eight basic styles of bags with techniques to alter basic bags for up to “26 different handbags.” Beth utilized some SMS handles, and incorporated some of our favorite fabrics in her designs. Enjoy Beth’s beautiful bags, her review below and her introduction, then be sure to visit Beth’s blog, Modern Jax! Pattern Indygo Junction Handle with Style Pattern Book Description Eight different patterns with multiple sizes and embellishments for each pattern resulting in many styles of hand and shoulder bags. Materials This book doesn’t give advice on fabric weight but only on style. The authors mention silk, suede, brocade, and velvet. I would suggest sticking with a light to medium weight cotton for both the exterior and lining. Most patterns call for ¾ yard for each of the exterior and interior fabrics, and this is very generous. Materials also include interfacing, closures, and purchased handles depending on which of the eight patterns you choose. Overall Design I made three of the eight patterns, and all three are really cute. Two of the three bags I made (the Folio bag and the Florence bag) had two size options. I made the small version of both bags but...

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Introduction ~ Beth N.

Beth N. from Modern Jax took on a major pattern review for us, right as her son turned one and her family had a vacation! Amazing! Beth writes on her blog that she’s a “college professor by day, and a mid-century modern design fanatic by night…” She made three fantastic bags using the Indygo Junction Handle with Style book and three different sets of handles, then she filled us all in on what the book has to offer the rest of us. Check out her intro below and Modern Jax for Beth’s sewing creations (like her Tiki head softies!) and Jaxon himself. Be sure to enjoy her review as well! From Beth N.: I’m a mom to a very active one-year old boy, Jaxon, and a wife to a very handy husband, Charlie. I work as a college professor of digital media at a mid-size state university, but it’s all to feed my addiction to fabric and mid century design! I started sewing home dec projects and reupholstering furniture and moved to personal goods, clothing, and baby items. I’m currently working on 3 or 4 different bags, a skirt, and a quilt, with a couple of other projects in the works. Update September 2008: Since my introduction to Sew,Mama,Sew! last summer, my son has turned two and I’ve opened an Etsy shop, but not much else has changed! I...

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FFF Winners

You all have some excellent ideas for organization (and it was such fun seeing those work spaces– Wow!). The random winners of one yard of fabric are Elizabeth, Karie, Jennifer, Shorty and Jessi. Check your email. Congratulations! Now, will they wrap their new yard around cardboard and file it? Roll it and organize it by color? Put it in an IKEA cabinet?… Cut into it...

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Free Fabric Friday

We’re still excited about all of the fun ideas you gave during FFF last week! It started us planning in a big way (as we simultaneously work on announcements for the Big, Big Bag Month Contest next week!). Craft space and supply organization was mentioned, and lately it’s at the forefront of our minds too. How do you organize your work space and supplies? Do you have extra-handy tips to keep things tidy and at-the-ready? Fill us in with your comment through Monday morning and we’ll give one yard ($9.10 or less) of fabric (your choice!) to five people....

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Pattern Review ~ All for One Shoulder Bag

From Beth: Jessica wrote this great review for the Betsy Ross All For One Shoulder Bag pattern. She ran into a few snags with the pattern, fixed them for us all (she contacted the Betsy Ross people!) and gives great ideas about how to perfect this bag. Enjoy her review and her introduction. Jessica’s Jump Up and Down blog and Etsy shop will fill you in on more of her crafty creations; as she writes on her blog Jessica has “so many ideas” and “so little time!” I’m sure we can all relate! Pattern Betsy Ross All For One Shoulder Bag Description An all-purpose tote bag with a stylish shape. All For One Shoulder Bag by Jessica, Jump Up and Down Materials 2/3 yard heavyweight fabric, matching thread. Overall Design This bag is nice and roomy and has a great look to it. It would make a perfect bag for anyone who has lots of things to carry. It is a large bag and unless made with a very heavy fabric, interfacing and lining be needed to add form and stability. If these were included in the pattern, I think I would have given it five stars. I love how my bag turned out, but it took a lot of work that wasn’t in the pattern to get it like that and I think a bag made according to...

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Introduction ~ Jessica

From Beth: Jessica’s got a fun blog, Jump Up and Down (and a giveaway until Tuesday so hop on over!), and sells items she’s sewn in her Etsy shop under the same name (check out her pleated bags). She has a rich history of craft and creativity in her family. Jessica’s Betsy Ross All For One Shoulder Bag is fantastic, and she gives great tips to make the pattern work well. Check out Jessica’s intro below, then her All For One pattern review too. From Jessica: I am a mama to two fun little guys who keep me on my toes. When I’m not on my toes, I’m sitting down at my sewing machine. I come from a long line of sewers and crafters– my childhood bed was covered by a quilt from my great-grandmother, I spent my childhood afternoons in my grandma’s sewing room looking at her fabrics and trims and dreaming, and my mom is my lifeline for all questions sewing related. I love all trims, especially ric rac. I have recently developed a love for making things with vintage linens. I love making all sorts of different things and I’ve at least tried to make almost anything you can think of– I’m not afraid of zippers or buttonholes, but I have been known to avoid them. At the beginning of this year I stumbled upon the...

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Flickr Feature ~ Bag Month

There are some absolutely incredible bags already entered into the Big, Big Bag Month Contest. Is yours one of them? We’ve had questions about whether it’s too late to enter (enter away!…) and if it’s OK to enter a bag if you’re based in another country (no problem!…), and we just want to make sure you remember some of the really important stuff: • Fantastic prizes • Deadline: Monday, July 23rd (Alert, alert: that’s next Monday! Weekend sewing plans, anyone?) • More details here. We, personally, think you should just try to enter! We’ve got some great judges who will most definitely look at and enjoy your bag. Very fun! Here are a few bags we’ve enjoyed lately in the Bag Month Flickr Group. Take a look, enjoy, browse some more and then enter a picture of your own bag. Weekender Travel Bag by Monique, The Lint Knitter Monique’s been sewing for just about ten months and has “fallen in love with it.” This bag is from the Amy Butler Weekender Travel Bag pattern, and Monique has a great discussion on her blog, The Lint Knitter, about the good, the bad and the ugly of her bag construction (very fun and informative!). Enjoy Monique’s work and photos on her Flickr site. Bagsket by Suzanne, foofanagle Suzanne created this “Bagsket” design and then wrote a tutorial to top it all...

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Tutorial ~ Lining Tutorials

Autum from Creative Little Daisy‘s done it again (You didn’t miss her Zippered and Slip Pocket Tutorials, did you?)! Here are two different ways to add a lining to a bag, brought to you by Autum:   Lining Tutorial, number one There are various ways to put a lining in a bag; I am going to try to describe two methods I use. The first method involves simply inserting the lining into the bag and finishing the raw edges with a binding. You could use this method with most any style of purse; the one I’m making is a gusseted purse with a rounded bottom. First cut out all your bag and lining pieces and interface as desired. The type of interfacing you use is a matter of personal preference and can vary depending on the style of bag you are making. Unless you are making a very unstructured bag some sort or interfacing or interlining will make a stronger, better looking bag. Ideally you want a bag that is sturdy without being “crunchy.” For the purse in this tutorial the outer bag is quilted and fusible fleece was used and the lining was interfaced with heavy-weight fusible. For the binding you can use purchased binding or make your own. Making your own binding is very easy. If you will be binding around a curved edge you will need...

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Tutorial ~ Zippered and Slip Pocket Tutorial

Many of you know Autum from her fabulous creations and her blog, Creative Little Daisy. We’ve long enjoyed Autum’s sewing and asked if we could share her tutorial on Patchwork Bags early this year. For Bag Month we asked Autum to share a bit of her sewing expertise with us in the form of a tutorial on pockets for bags, and she’s done around four tutorials! Autum’s an amazing and generous seamstress! Today she’s teaching us all about Zippered Pockets, Slip Pockets and offers a bonus tutorial on Inserting a Magnetic Clasp. Tomorrow we’ll delve into linings. You won’t...

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Pattern Review ~ Grand Revival Flea Market Bag

From Beth: Robyn made two beautiful bags from the Grand Revival Flea Market pattern. She used Denyse Schmidt’s Spotty Geranium from the Katie Jump Rope line in one of her bags (more information in her Fabric Recommendations discussion). Enjoy her pattern review and be sure to check out Robyn’s introduction too. Pattern Grand Revival Flea Market Bag Description Great shoulder or messenger style bag for wandering around town. Cute and stylish, this bag has found a new spot on my favorites list! Small-size Flea Market Bag by Robyn, mintyfresh Materials Light to upholstery weight fabric, fusible interfacing, matching/ contrasting thread. Overall Design I love this bag. It’s great to keep over a hook by the door to toss over your shoulder on the way out the door, and functional enough to hold a *ton* of stuff. The pattern includes a number of variations (8 in total), so it’s relatively easy to pick the size and style that suits your needs best, and also leaves lots of room for customization; the pattern itself comes with a few options for closures and pockets.   Inside bag detail. Written Instructions The written instructions were fairly detailed and pretty easy to follow. Beginner sewers may have a little trouble with the corners of the base & straps– the instructions on how to sew the corners and finish the straps could be a bit...

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Introduction ~ Robyn

From Beth: Robyn creates fantastic items from fabric all the time so we were thrilled to get her take on the Grand Revival Flea Market Bag. Be sure to check out her review and lovely bags (she made two!), and also visit Robyn’s blog mintyfresh. Robyn sells the results of her fabric addiction and experimentation (see below!) in her online shop Lilybug. For more about Robyn and her shop you can stop by here too. From Robyn: Hi! I’m Robyn. I’m a part-time crafter in Ottawa, Canada who spends more hours than you can count buried in mounds of fabric making quirky things like bicycle seat covers, custom guitar straps, and wacky baby quilts. When I’m not holed away in my studio, you can find me working at my day job managing marketing for a software company, or playing with my tiny army of foster kittens. I’m a self-taught sewer with a bit of a fabric addiction and love to experiment with colour and...

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Featured Bag Month Resource ~ U-Handbag

Any true Bag Month effort here on the Sew, Mama, Sew blog would be empty without help from the incredible resource of U-Handbag.com, based in the UK. Lisa Lam, founder and proprietor of U-Handbag, has created the preeminent source for all of your handbag fashioning needs. U-Handbag is a wonderful resource for all things bag-related. The store stocks everything from unique bag handles and purse frames to all of the essential finishing touches you could hope for. And that’s just a start for all of your bag needs (and hopes and dreams)! The Beginning: Before U-Handbag Lisa sewed handcrafted items to sell at a local craft market to supplement her “boring” day job. Lisa writes, “I started making tote bags, and Basket Style Bags from funky USA quilt weight fabrics and they sold like hot cakes! I couldn’t make them fast enough. I began to need to buy bag making supplies in bulk amounts and I found that getting well priced bag supplies in a wide range of styles was difficult, and lots of other bag makers that I met complained of the same thing. So I decided to set up U-Handbag to feed my habit. I had a good idea of what supplies bag makers would need, and I wanted to show people that you don’t need fancy machinery to make your own bags and purses at home....

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June Flickr Pool Winner

Dress by Donna, Purple Kappa The June winner of the SMS Flickr group prize is Donna of Purple Kappa. She wins a $25 gift certificate to Sew, Mama, Sew! Donna has a fresh, new blog (don’t you want to click over to know what the significance of Kappa is?– Hint: look on her right sidebar) and a shop where she sells her Japanese-inspired children’s clothing. Donna’s a great source for tips on inspiring Japanese craft books and is actually teaching herself Japanese too! Enjoy more of Donna’s work (like these darling bee shoes) in her Etsy shop and Flickr site. Don’t forget to share a photo of your work in the Sew, Mama, Sew Flickr Pool. You could win your own $25 gift certificate! The drawing is random and your name is entered once so you have the same chance of winning whether you add one photo or many (but we like to see them all!). While you’re at it, be sure to add your bags to the Sew, Mama, Sew Bag Month Flickr Pool and enter the contest too. Don’t you want to...

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Tutorial ~ Bag Straps, A Variation

From Beth: Lisa’s back, with this variation on her first tutorial for a basic strap style. Enjoy! For a variation on the basic strap style, cut the fabric at least 5″ (no less, but you can do it wider if you want). Because the strap will eventually be sewn up folded length-wise, to reduce bulk, I always cut the interfacing a bit narrower. The formula I use is this: For a 5 inch wide fabric strip, I divide it by 4, which comes to 1.25″ and subtract that from the total width. So for a 5 inch strip, you...

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Tutorial ~ Bag Straps

You asked, and we cajoled Lisa into doing two fabulous bag strap tutorials for us all! We’re sure you remember her inspiring work, but while you’re thinking of it be sure to browse through her Flickr site and Pink Lemonade Boutique blog for more of Lisa’s beautiful bags. This is the first of Lisa’s two tutorials.: For a basic flat handle you would cut the fabric 4x the finished width. For example, this 1″ strap started off with a piece of fabric cut 4″ x 20″. You would also cut the interfacing to the same dimensions. Interfacing is a...

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Pattern Review ~ Stash and Dash Bag

From Beth: Rachel, from Creative Quilt Girl, made two Stash and Dash bags from Katie Jump Rope Daisies Geranium fabric. She likes the result and we do too! Read her pattern review and don’t forget to check out her introduction too. Pattern Stash and Dash Bags by Amy Butler Description Small bags for life’s essentials. Stash and Dash Bag by Rachel, Creative Quilt Girl Materials Light to medium weight fabric, sew-in interfacing, zipper and thread. Overall Design I love little bags. It’s great to be able to throw small things like lip balm and keys into a small bag, then throw the small bag into a larger bag. In the past, I’ve made several plain square bags for just this purpose. When I saw Amy Butler’s pattern for little bags, I thought, “These are so much prettier than my plain square bags.” So I was excited by the opportunity to review this pattern. The pattern includes three different sizes, so you can pick the size that best fits your needs. When determining which size to make, compare the lining pattern pieces. This piece will give you the best idea on the finished size.   Written Instructions I don’t need to say a lot. The written instructions were detailed and easy to follow. A beginning sewer could follow these instructions without problems, while an experienced sewer could learn a trick...

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Introduction ~ Rachel

From Beth: Rachel created a beautiful Stash and Dash bag and wrote a great review of the Amy Butler pattern for us. She’s been sewing since around the age of eight and her blog, Creative Quilt Girl, provides a fantastic archive of her creativity and a fun look at her current creative passions. Her goal list on the sidebar provides a peek at her productivity (and organization we could all hope to aspire to!). Enjoy Rachel’s blog, Flickr site with galleries to her quilts and more and then enjoy her pattern review. From Rachel: Hi! I’m Rachel. I share my adventures in sewing and in life on my blog Creative Quilt Girl. Sewing satisfies so many of my needs. I enjoy figuring out how things fit together, I love to see how different colors works together, and I get to express myself creatively. When I’m not sewing, I spend my time working as technical writer, exploring the great outdoors, and passing precious moments with my husband,...

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Flickr Feature ~ Bag Month

Have you checked in with the Bag Month Flickr Group lately? There are some beautiful bags there, and more to be found in the Sew, Mama, Sew Flickr Group too! Here are just a few of the many bags we’ve noticed: Bag by Rashida, I Heart Linen It’s easy to see why Rashida’s blog is named I Heart Linen when you look at her beautiful bag. The pattern was inspired by a Japanese Zakka site and recreating the pattern was fairly easy for Rashida (though the pleats were more of a challenge). We think the pleats were a success! In addition to her blog you can visit Rashida’s Flickr site for more of her work. Bag by Valerie, VM Jess We love Valerie’s version of the Amy Butler Swing Bag. She primarily used Moda Uptown fabrics with a lovely result! Valerie sells some of her work via her Etsy shop, and you can look on her blog and Flickr site for further glimpses into her creativity. Tote by India, Twelfthknit India enjoys knitting, spinning and silversmithing in addition to her sewing. She used Leisl’s A Day in the Park Backpack Tote pattern (Leisl is one of our illustrious judges for the contest) for her tote. India writes, “I’m completely bowled over by the elegantly ‘simple’ design of Leisl’s tote. This is the first time I have seen a design...

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Pattern Review ~ Amy Butler Frenchy Bag

From Beth: Cathy wrote this wonderful review of Amy Butler’s Frenchy Bag. Be sure to read her introduction! Pattern Frenchy Bags by Amy Butler Description Stylish and fun handbag and shoulder bag. Frenchy Bag by Cathy, Miss Marzie Materials Light to medium weight fabric, sew-in interfacing (for light fabrics) and a magnetic purse fastener. Overall Design When I first saw this pattern I really wanted to make it. The photograph on the front using Amy’s gorgeous ‘Lotus’ fabrics really appealed to me, and I like shoulder bags as I am tall and smaller bags don’t suit me as much as a shoulder bag. It looked very fresh and smart and I knew it would be fun to play around with the design. I especially thought the pleats were brilliant.I decided to make the Shoulder Bag but there is also a smaller version in the pattern which looks equally as lovely.The description and the materials list was quite accurate, although you could get away with a little less fabric. I like the fact that she mentions that if you use a heavier weight fabric you don’t have to use the sew-in interfacing (which means less sewing).   Written Instructions The actual written instructions were very detailed and in easy to follow point form. Diagrams / Images Personally, I am more of a diagram sewer, so I found the diagrams very...

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Introduction ~ Cathy

From Beth: Cathy has lots of fun with her design and fabric experimentation. We were thrilled to have her review Amy Butler’s Frenchy Bag to kick off a month of bag pattern reviews here on the Sew, Mama, Sew blog. Cathy shares her work from her home in Melbourne via her blog, Miss Marzie and her Flickr site. Read her introduction, then be sure to enjoy Cathy’s great review! From Cathy: I am a SAHM to three school aged boys. Their ages are 14, 11 and 6. I am a self-taught sewer although my mum tried to teach me when I was young but I just wasn’t interested at that time. After my third child I was finally diagnosed with PND (or PPD). My self confidence was at its lowest. A few of the mums from school used to come over on a Friday and we started teaching each other what we knew about fabric, knitting, crochet, cooking and quilting. So my interest was sparked and my fabric collection started to grow. Now I know it is essential in my life and for my self-esteem. It has been a real privilege to be asked to do a pattern review for Sew Mama...

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Bag & Purse Resource Madness

Are you getting excited about Bag Month? Don’t forget to check out all of the bag and purse resources already here on the Sew, Mama, Sew Sewing Blog as you plan out your month of sewing!   Pattern Reviews Looking for pattern reviews? We’ve had some talented people give us the nitty-gritty on several Amy Butler bag patterns. Take a look at the Swing Bag, In Town Drawstring Bag, In Town Smart Handbag and the big and beautiful Betty Shopper. Ready to make one of these beauties? These Amy Butler bag patterns (and more… So much more) can be found here.   Tutorials & Embellishments Searching for a few bag tutorials? Back in March we compiled some of our Readers’ Favorite Bag Tutorials. Embellish your bag with some applique or fabric flowers via more of our Readers’ Favorite Tutorials.   Inspiration Looking for a little inspiration? Check out some of our past Flickr Features here and here, then look for more and more in the Sew, Mama, Sew Flickr Group.   Your Turn Excited? Join our Bag Month Flickr Group and look for more pattern reviews, tutorials and guides all through Bag Month this July. Put all of that excitement to work and join us! Sew along and join the big...

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Announcing… The Big, Big Bag Month Contest!

We’re kicking Bag Month off in style here on the Sew,Mama,Sew! blog with a big, fantastic, grab-your-scissors-and-start-designing Bag Month Contest!  You’ll find all of the details in this post, so read, bookmark, and get ready for some Bag Month fun.  You’ll be amazed with our judges and you’ll be thrilled, we’re sure, with the fantastic prizes!   Dates: Bags must be started and completed between June 22nd and July 23rd.  (We’re looking for freshly-constructed bags.) Bags must be submitted by July 23rd. We’ll announce the winners on July 31st. Categories: Shoulder Bag Tote Handbag Other (Messenger, Backpack, Makeup Case, etc.)  Criteria: Design Creativity Fantastic Use of Fabric specific to Design Overall Appeal/Aesthetics Utility/Practicality Interesting/Good Discussion about Bag in Entry Prizes: There will be three winners in each category, with a prize for each winner (that’s twelve lucky winners if you’re already too dazed with excitement to do the multiplication). Four $50 Gift Certificates to Sew,Mama,Sew!  Four Fabric Packs of 10 half yards from one of four beautiful fabric groups: Joel Dewberry, Mod Girls, Alexander Henry and Katie Jump Rope. Four Amy Butler sewing patterns courtesy of Amy Butler Design.  Judges: The following are our talented, illustrious and ever so knowledgeable judges.  Be sure to keep reading (below) for profiles on our wonderful judges.  All of these ladies will be looking at your bag! Carrie Sommer of Sommer Designs Jennifer Paganelli of Sis Boom (and...

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Craft Slink ~ Katie Jump Rope

In the spirit of imitation being the most sincere form of flattery we’re proud to announce our first Craft Slink post (thanks to inspiration from Apartment Therapy: Nursery’s Surreptitious Links to Other Good Sites). Denyse Schmidt’s incredible new collection, Katie Jump Rope, hits all the right notes of retro and modern, bold and beautiful. The cheerful, summery fabrics are popping up in beautiful creations everywhere. Here are some of our latest favorites: Baby Blanket by Amanda, Amandasan Child’s Pocket Apron by Amy, Angry Chicken Shirt by Bess, Keeping Up Skirt by Kathrin, Kasa Amend Table Runner by Sally, Shim + Sons Pick up some of your own Katie Jump Rope summery...

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Flickr Feature ~ Ginger, Golly G

Fabric-Covered Inspiration Board by Ginger, Golly G Ginger is fairly new to the “online crafty world,” but she was inspired by Sally Shim’s beautiful wall boards. She found a thrifted cork board, bought some of Moda’s Uptown fabric and there was no turning back! Ginger lives in Canada and while she doesn’t have a blog yet, we predict it’s only a matter of time. For now you can enjoy her work on her Flickr site, and her embroidered baby blocks (below) and toddler totes are available for purchase from Quiet Hours Toys. Golly G Baby Blocks Be sure to add photos of your latest creations to theSew, Mama, Sew Flickr pool. We love to browse for inspiration, feature your work and you can also win a $25 gift certificate to Sew, Mama,...

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Flickr Feature ~ Irene, Mushroom Villagers

CD Holder by Irene, Mushroom Villagers Irene made this snazzy CD holder for her car utilizing some of our favorite Ovals fabric. It holds six CDs, fits perfectly in a slot in the dash and Irene is going to do a tutorial for us all on her blog! Yippee! It’s coming soon so be sure to check her blog, Mushroom Villagers. While you’re immersing yourself in all of Irene’s crafty talent be sure to enjoy her Flickr site too. Irene has three children and is putting her new sewing machine to great use. She makes wonderful things for her two boys and darling daughter to wear, like these linen pants below. She also finds time for skirts for herself and a bag or two as well! We noticed Irene’s CD holder right away in the Sew, Mama, Sew Flickr pool. Be sure to add your crafty photos to the group for a chance to win the June $25 gift certificate to Sew, Mama,...

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Interview ~ Abby, While She Naps

Most of you have probably encountered Abby’s work; she has become a preeminent soft sculpture artist within just a few years of her daughters’ naps. Abby has a natural way of sharing her process and creations on her blog, While She Naps, taking readers from her sketches to breath-taking birds, book characters and animals. With her first big show completed last March, Abby is jumping into new challenges with her art. All soft sculptures by Abby, While She Naps A Family-Focused Life Abby has two daughters, Roxanne (3) and Stella (1), and is home with her children full-time. Her day starts at 6:30 a.m. when her children wake, eager for play, library and playground visits, reading, and drawing that encompass their days together. Abby’s husband Charlie leaves at 8:00 in the morning and returns home around 6:00 most days, and Abby cooks a great dinner from scratch for the family to eat together each evening. After the children go to bed around 7:00, Abby enjoys time with her husband. Abby anticipates the inevitable question: “So when do I sew? I do sew every day. As soon as the kids are down for their naps at one I run down to the studio and get started and I sew until they wake up. And I sew in the evenings from 7:30 until about 9:00. The occasional time that I have...

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Flickr Feature ~ Lisa, Pink Lemonade Boutique

Wavy Patchwork Purse by Lisa, Pink Lemonade Boutique Lisa’s beautiful work always catches our eyes in the Sew, Mama, Sew Flickr group. She has an amazing way of combining fabrics, color and shape to create the perfect bag or purse. This first purse incorporates linen and was inspired by the Denyse Schmidt Hop, Skip & a Jump pattern as seen on a baby quilt from Pink Chalk Studio. Lisa lives just outside of Providence, Rhode Island with her husband and six year old daughter. Lisa stayed home with Olivia when she was born and started to sew. For more about Lisa and her beautiful collection of sewing artistry visit her website, her blog and her Flickr site. Lisa also sells her work on eBay. Scrappy Log Cabin Bag by Lisa, Pink Lemonade Boutique Add your photo(s) today to the Sew, Mama, Sew Flickr group for your chance to win this month’s $25 gift certificate to Sew, Mama, Sew! You can also just browse for an hour or so, admiring the amazing collection of talent and inspiration in the...

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Interview – Stacey, Karma Baby

From Kristin:  As part of our continuing series of interviews with sewing women who inspire us, Beth has written this splendid profile of Stacey of Karma Baby.  I first “met” Stacey on the Mothering discussion boards.  Not only did she seem to have a great thing going with her baby carrier company, but she was incredibly helpful to other moms starting out in small business.   I hope you enjoy her story. Stacey started Karma Baby in 2005 right after her son Elijah was born. Elijah recently turned two and Karma Baby slings are now sold worldwide. The growth of Stacey’s business (helped by some 80+ hour work weeks along the way) will leave you breathless, but one of the most inspirational and successful components of Stacey’s work is how she’s woven Karma Baby, her life and her ideals together in such a cohesive way. Elijah is the center of Stacey’s world (and a VIP employee of Karma Baby… Take a tour of the old studio with Elijah here) and the importance of early attachment in childhood is a passion for Stacey. Stacey and Elijah with a Karma Baby sling. The Growth of a Mother and a Business Stacey completed her Masters degree in psychology right before Elijah was born. Stacey writes that she wanted “to specialize in the attachment issues of young children and create a therapy practice focused...

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May Flickr Pool Winner

Bib by Tara (modeled by Daphne), The Lazy Russian Horses Show   The May winner of the SMS Flickr group prize is Tara of The Lazy Russian Horses Show. She wins a $25 gift certificate to Sew, Mama, Sew! Just think of the wonderful things she’ll create for her darling little girl with free fabric. Tara has lots of fun pictures of her daughter and her crafty creations on both Flickr and her blog. This cute little dress was made with an IKEA children’s duvet cover and a Burda pattern (9708). The Sew, Mama, Sew Flickr group continues to grow with, at last glance, as many members as there are days in the year! That’s a lot of sewing inspiration in one place. Share a photo of your work with us in the pool and you could win a gift certificate in June. The drawing is random and your name is entered once so you have the same chance of winning whether you add one photo or many (but we like to see them all!). Some of us are still working on our Skirt Month efforts (better late than never!). Don’t forget that the Flickr Group Sew-Along is still up and ready to accept all of your skirt pictures. Add yours...

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Flickr Feature ~ Skirt Month Sew-Along

The Skirt Month Sew-Along Flickr group is hopping! Some of us really thrive on a deadline, you know, and there are tons of skirts showing up in these final May Skirt Month days. Here are just a few for you to enjoy! Skirt by Berry, Ca pleut ca mouille Berry is new to sewing and just got her machine four months ago! If there’s interest she’s willing to share how she created this “true waist tulip shape skirt with an invisible side zipper” on her blog, so visit her blog and let her know that you’d love for her to post a tutorial! Her blog is in French but you can use a translator to understand it and she’ll write the tutorial in English… Il est merveilleux! Skirt by Linda, Craft Apple We can’t get enough of these new Barcelonas, and Linda’s is so beautiful with her Heather Bailey Freshcut fabric. Linda also has some interesting notes about the pattern on her wonderful blog, Craft Apple, where her wit and humor (we love her version of the pattern cover!) and skilled craftiness abound. Skirt by Nancy, Sew Nancy Nancy used the comprehensive, easy-to-follow and let’s just say fantastic tutorial from Dacia at Dacia Ray to create this beautiful skirt with some of some wonderful Alexander Henry fabric. Enjoy more of Nancy’s creativity on her blog, Sew Nancy, and then...

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Pattern Review ~ Amy Butler Barcelona Skirts

Beth here, bringing you my Amy Butler Barcelona pattern review (my intro was back here). After a bit of pre-college-exam-like worry I faced my first and second zipper (invisible, at that), made both versions of the skirt, and the verdict is… Pattern Barcelona Skirts by Amy Butler Description This includes patterns for a vintage-inspired layered skirt, an A-line skirt and an apron overlay. Barcelona A-line by Beth, Write, Mama. Write. Materials Under the pattern picture, click “View Larger Images” to view the materials list for each of the three pattern options. For each skirt, in addition to your fabric, you’ll need a 7″ coordinating invisible zipper, thread and one small hook and eye. The apron requires interfacing. The pattern also suggests an invisible zipper foot and chalk pencil or fabric marker. Overall Design Both skirts look beautiful and drape in a very flattering way. I’m way too conservative when it comes to my skirts and thought, before I made it, that the layered skirt looked a little too unorthodox for me. I really love it now though because the layers and fraying are so subtle but add a unique touch. Written Instructions I’ve found Amy Butler’s patterns to be very comprehensive with easy-to-understand directions, and the skirt patterns further confirmed this impression. There were, however, several points along the way where I wished I had a little more information...

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Flickr Feature ~ Skirt Month Sew-Along

Have you checked in with the Skirt Month Sew-Along Flickr group? It’s fun to look at the skirts and lots of people have shared more about their patterns, process and the finished products. Ali, Lynn and Meg all wrote about their skirts on their blogs: Skirt by Ali, Domesticali Though it’s only the second item of clothing she’s ever made, Ali bravely forged ahead with her Amy Butler Barcelona skirt pattern. She shares things like zipper tips and fabric hints in the great discussion about her work with the pattern on her blog, Domesticali. Ali’s efforts were a success, don’t you think?! Skirt by Lynn, Craftstew   Lynn took this from a circle skirt to a half circle wrap skirt to an apron to its final, beautiful conclusion as a circle skirt. For more on how Lynn worked this all out visit her discussion of the process on Lynn’s blog, Craftstew. Skirt by Meg, Make it Snappy This was Meg’s first skirt using Sew What! Skirts and she was very happy with the result. Meg shares lots of details about her successes (and even when things don’t go as planned too) on her blog, Make it Snappy. Meg added a zipper to the skirt using Michelle’s zipper tutorial and, as Meg put it on her blog, “…Putting in the zipper was a breeze. Woo hoo!”    There’s still lots of...

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Pattern Review ~ One Hot Skirt

From Beth: Linda said she was thrilled to do this pattern review because her summer “uniform” is a skirt with a cute top! She’s written the fantastic and comprehensive review below and adds that the pattern gives permission to make multiple skirts as long as the company is given credit; this is nice for people who enjoy making items to sell. For more about Linda be sure to read her introduction and her blog, Whatever Is On My Mind Today. Pattern One Hot Skirt by Betsy Ross Description A simple, A-line skirt with front/back facings, darts, and side zipper. Materials For the first skirt, I used a stretch woven picked up from a local manufacturer that periodically sells their fabrics (Canvasbacks). For the second skirt I used two quilting cottons bought from a local quilt shop (Dovely Quilts). I only needed 1.375 yards of 60″ fabric to make my knee length skirt. I needed 1.625 yards of 45″ wide fabric. If you refold your fabric so that you only double the width of your skirt, you will have some nice largish pieces leftover that you can use for bags or any little crafty item. Skirt by Linda, Whatever Is On My Mind Today Overall Design This is a classic design. It is a simple skirt, yet not shapeless, and would be good for beginners as well as advanced seamstresses....

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Introduction ~ Linda

From Beth: Linda’s extensive sewing experience shows in everything she creates. She is an experienced pattern reviewer and has a wonderful way of sharing her knowledge, with great photos to help you sew along. We were so happy to have Linda’s expertise here with her One Hot Skirt pattern review. Enjoy her review and be sure to check out her blog, Whatever Is On My Mind Today, for more! From Linda: I’m a happily married mama to three children, ages 11, 7, and 2. I’m sure I goofed around with sewing and crafts as a kid, but I started seriously sewing clothes when I was 15. I had knee surgery that summer, and my mother took me over to the fabric store, we picked out some fabric and an easy pattern, and I made a sun dress on her Singer Featherweight. I was hooked. I went on to get a two-year Associate of Arts in Fashion Design, and then, after graduating in 1990, I moved to Scottsdale, Arizona. There I did a three month stint sewing patio furniture (cushions, umbrellas, YUK!), and then got a job in the dressmaking department of a fabric store (Couture Fabrics, which unfortunately closed last fall). I got married, and moved back home to Milwaukee.I took a little bit of sewing in here and there before we started having kids, but once my first...

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Flickr Feature – Skirt Month Sew-Along

The Skirt Month Sew-Along is gaining momentum! Of course you knew this would happen with all of the neat pattern reviews, tutorials and other resources here in May. There are lots of lovely new skirts out there and it’s fun to see all of the skirts added to the Skirt Month Sew-Along Flickr Pool. While some of us are still working on our skirts, Kim, Malka and Nancy have already shared these beauties: Skirt by Kim, Kim Kelly Kreations Kim’s skirt was made with the help of this wonderful Twirly Skirt tutorial from House on Hill Road. For more of Kim’s creations visit her Flickr site and her Kim Kelly Kreations Etsy shop. Skirt by Malka, A Stitch in Dye Malka drafted the pattern for her skirt with the help of Sew What! Skirts. Malka’s a fiber-related artist with an extensive website. Take a look at some of her quilts and look for more of her work on Flickr. Skirt by Nancy, Belle Epoque Nancy’s skirt is her design (part of her Summer Picnic mini-collection) with an embroidered vintage hankie pocket. Find more of Nancy’s work on Flickr, her Belle Epoque blog and her Etsy shop. Ready to work on your own skirt(s)? Add it to the Skirt Month Sew-Along...

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Pattern Review ~ It’s a Wrap

From Beth: Tiffaney made several skirts with this Indygo Junction skirt pattern and she says they can easily be done in under an hour! Wow! After you take a moment to imagine the possibilities, make sure you check out Tiffaney’s introduction and her blog, Folded Gingham. Pattern It’s a Wrap by Indygo Junction Description A simple wrap skirt with tie closure. Materials For 44″fabric you will need 3 yards for the long or short skirt For 54″fabric you will need 2 yards for the short skirt and 2 1/3 yards for the long skirt. Optional materials include 9 yards of 1/2″wide double fold bias tape (I chose not to use this). Short skirt front, by Tiffaney Short skirt back, by Tiffaney Overall Design The overall design is simple and classic. It’s a great skirt for the beginner sewer and a super easy project for the more advanced sewer. It can be worked up in under an hour (it took me about 30 minutes) so it’s great for those days when you need a last minute “something new” to wear. Plus, it could easily be jazzed up with ribbon and rick rack or a decorative machine stitch. Written Instructions I gave the written instructions 4 stars because I felt they were lacking a little guidance if a beginner sewer were to use this pattern. I would have included a few...

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Introduction… Tiffaney

From Beth: Tiffaney is a busy woman! She has six children and shares bits of her life with her family, her crafting and thrifting on her blog, Folded Gingham. She also has an Etsy shop and with all of this she took the time to do a pattern review for the It’s A Wrap skirt for us. Check out her great review above. From Tiffaney: I’m your typical stay at home suburban mom who likes to keep herself busy with sewing and crafting projects and some fun thrifting thrown in. I’m a self taught sewer without any instruction other than trial and error and tips from the internet. I started off hand sewing everything from Halloween costumes to curtains then my sister gave me her old machine and I learned the basics on that old Singer. Over the years, and several sewing machines since, I have become quite comfortable tackling almost any project I can come up with. And with 6 children, there is always a new project on the horizon. We live in Maine, which unfortunately does not have the greatest variety of fabric stores, so thank goodness for the internet! I’m so happy to have found SewMamaSew with their beautiful selection of fabrics, now I just need to find more time in the day to make all the ideas I have in my head for my pretty...

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Flickr Group Feature

Skirt by Mindy, One Wish World Mindy shared this picture in the Sew, Mama, Sew Flickr Pool and we wanted to learn more. Her daughter Skylar is modeling the skirt and One Wish World is Mindy’s up and coming online shop specializing in handcrafted items created by women, for women. Mindy’s Flickr site gives you glimpses into her creations (check out this recycled scarf) and you can see more skirts for girls here. Don’t forget to add the skirts you’re creating to the Flickr Group Sew-Along pool and send those pictures (and anything else you’re working on) over to the Sew, Mama, Sew Flickr Group too. You could be the winner of the May gift...

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Pattern Review ~ Cute Skirts Pattern

From Beth: This fantastic pattern review by Megan kicks off a month’s worth of skirt pattern reviews. Megan makes a good case for immediately starting your own Cute Skirt. For more on Megan don’t miss her introduction and, if you haven’t already, you’ll want to become a regular reader of her blog, The Scent of Water. Pattern Cute Skirts by Favorite Things Description A simple skirt with 8 panels, and options to add gores or a flounce. Materials 1¾ yards fabric (44 inch wide) ¾ yard fusible interfacing 1 pkg. 1” waistband elastic thread Additional fabric for flounces or gores listed on the pattern. Overall Design It’s not often that sophisticated style meets easy construction, but it does here. The 8 panels combined with the elasticized back waistband make for an individualized, flattering fit, and the flounce and gore options mean you can achieve a multitude of looks with the same pattern. Written Instructions The written instructions are clear, easy to follow, and a little less formal than most, which was an appealing touch. My first read through of a sewing pattern usually leaves me a little bewildered on the details but this time I was quite confident on how the skirt went together before I started sewing. It is constructed differently than I would have imagined if I had just seen the cut out pattern pieces, however, and...

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Introduction… Megan

From Beth: Megan wrote a wonderful pattern review for Cute Skirts above. You might remember her from this recent Flickr Feature. She creates beautiful things and shares her wonderful writing and photos on her blog, The Scent of Water. From Megan: I am a thirty-something stay at home Mum of three school aged children. I have recently completed a Bachelor’s degree in English, which has left me with plenty of time to sew, blog, and collect fabric. I also drink too much tea. I now find myself in search of a new challenge (there are only so many blog posts one can write in a day, alas) and though I am not yet sure exactly what this will be, I await it with eager...

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April Flickr Pool Winner

Skirts by Rebecca, Coyote Craft This month’s winner of the SMS Flickr group prize is…. Drum roll, please… Rebecca (but most people call her Bean) of Coyote Craft. Rebecca wins a $25 gift certificate to Sew, Mama, Sew! Yippee! Rebecca has some beautiful work in her Flickr sets (check out this incredible crocheted play set, made without a pattern and with hand-dyed wool). Enjoy her blog, Flickr photos, and this picture Rebecca shared of the matching yellow gingham lollipop outfits she made for Annabel (her daughter) and Norah. Our Sew, Mama, Sew Flickr group has over 200 members now and the work is just amazing. You can win a gift certificate too! Just be sure to share a photo of your work with us in the pool. The drawing is random and your name is entered once so you have the same chance of winning whether you add one photo or many (but we like to see it all!). It’s Skirt Month now, you know, and we’d love to see your skirt in the new Flickr Group Sew-Along...

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Flickr Group Feature

Pencil roll by Megan, The Scent of Water Megan lives in New Zealand with her husband and three children. It’s been said that she’s “crazy smart with a wicked wit and she also takes beautiful pictures” (said over at Creative Little Daisy). A click to the About page on Megan’s blog, The Scent of Water, quickly confirms this. Megan recently completed her bachelor’s degree in English and her writing is always beautiful, contemplative, honest and interesting. Her Flickr site is equally amazing (the I make things collection alone has well over 150 photos of inspiration)! Click away and have fun on Megan’s blog, her Flickr site and enjoy one of her tutorials. Once you visit you’ll stick around for more of that wit, for those wonderful pictures and for her great ideas like this pencil roll. You want to make one now, don’t you?! Don’t forget to add the roll (or anything else you’ve been making) to the Sew, Mama, Sew Flickr...

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Flickr Group Feature

  Bag by Mona, Mistry Designs  Mona’s unique fabric combination in the above bag is just the start of her beautiful and creative body of work at Mistry Designs. Mona works from home as an interior designer and shares some of her sewing creations with others through her Mistry Designs Etsy shop. Go look at her Rainbow Drops Handbag (it might be under the sold tab by now!) for a quick view of the attention to detail and the clean lines in Mona’s work. For more Mona-related goodness you can also view her Flickr site (her Purse Portfolio has over seventy beautiful bags) and look for her additions to the Sew, Mama, Sew Flickr Group under the name forksandspoons.     Don’t forget to add your own creations to the Sew, Mama, Sew Flickr...

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Interview – Erica, Pumkinlittle

Our quick glimpse of Pumkinlittle weeks ago made us hungry for a better look at Erica’s business and her creations. This interview with Erica continues our series of inspiring women (if you missed our first interview check here, and then come back!). All dresses and photography by Erica, Pumkinlittle Family life Erica lives in northern California at 5000 feet in elevation. Her husband quit his LA “rocket scientist” job to become a teacher north of Tahoe, and the pace is slower for the whole family in the mountains. Erica’s children Josiah (13), Peter (almost 12), Noah (8) and Abby (6) have lots of freedom in their more secluded locale, and the whole family enjoys quiet without a lot of interruption (or TV… as Erica says, “Internet is my friend!”). Her grandmother was an influence on Erica’s crafty life early on. Erica says, “My grandmother is an amazing quilter and sewer. She has done it all: tatting, crochet, knitting, needlepoint, cross-stitch. She quilts now and all of the grandkids and great grandkids have more than one from her. I think her craftiness has definitely seeped into the rest of the family! That need to be busy doing something you LOVE, not just work, work, work. Work, of course, but after that you play!” Erica started creating early and remembers being eight or nine, working on plastic canvas and cross-stitching. Creativity-...

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Flickr Group Feature

Amy Heather Butler-Bailey Quilt by Carol, wip Carol made this quilt as a birthday gift for her sister who lives in Florida. She writes, “The colors and prints of the fabrics that I used remind me of the area where she lives. Naturally, the quilt got its name from designers Amy Butler and Heather Bailey.” 12″ Squares She adds, “I didn’t have enough of either fabric for an entire quilt and noticed that they really worked well together. I started with 12″ squares of different fabrics and slashed through them with my rotary cutter, mixed ’em up and sewed them back into squares.” Sewed up into squares Carol likes “winging it” when she designs and sews her quilts. She writes, “I didn’t start quilting until I was around 40. Before then, it seemed like there were way too many rules for me and I was afraid that the Quilt Police would come and ticket me if I did it wrong. With turning 40, I somehow cared a lot less about what people (or Quilt Police) would think about my work and I just went for it. I make HUGE mistakes, sometimes I fix them and sometimes I live with them but I always learn from them.” You can find more of Carol’s work on her wip blog and her Flickr site. You must visit her embroidery album in Flickr:...

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Flickr Group Feature

Maternity Top by Mary Beth, Supafine! Mary Beth’s due at the end of May and she makes pregnancy look good (and stylish) with the maternity tops she’s been sharing in the Sew, Mama, Sew Flickr Group! This first top is a Simplicity pattern (Simplicity 3887) with a modified neckline and sleeves. Mary Beth’s Supafine! site gives you fun, incredibly well-written glimpses into things like toddlerhood and bad haircuts (this is the tip of her blog iceberg… It’s a fantastic blog). Her Flickr site gives you more background (you can see her amazing creations, fun in home improvement, the progression of Supafine!…) and more views into Mary Beth’s adventures in motherhood and life. Modified Simplicity/Built By Wendy 3835 Visit Supafine!, check out Mary Beth’s Flickr site for more information on these tops (and an upcoming sundress) and don’t forget to add your own projects to the Sew, Mama, Sew Flickr Group. Built by Wendy 4111, altered for...

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Readers’ Best Sewing Tips PDF

You provided some excellent tips the other day! We thought it would be fun to have a handy PDF for you to print and reference when you’re deep in your sewing zone. It’s set up to fold into a little book, if you so desire. Add a hole and some ribbon, and the book can live near your machine! 1. Print SewingTips1 first on three pieces of paper. 2. Then, on the blank sides of those sheets, print SewingTips2. 3. Fold the pages in half (the two Tools + Such sections and Technique sections should meet if you want continuous categories). There’s no particular order to the pages. Thanks for all of the wonderful tips! Some of the comments were altered so we could squeeze it all in; let us know if you’d like us to change anything. Happy...

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Flickr Group Feature

Coasters by Jo, The Complete Adventures of Violet & Rose Jo created these coasters with a fantastic tutorial from Allsorts. The coasters were made from a bit of our favorite Erin Michael fabric. You can visit Jo’s blog, The Complete Adventures of Violet & Rose, for looks at her creations (beautiful dresses, aprons, quilting, knitting… it’s all there!), documentation of her amazing taste in fabric and so much more! Jo shares pictures on her Flickr site and has a store to sell her work, Violet & Rose (Funky, Old Fashioned Favorites, Handmade Gifts for Kids Big & Small). You must go look at her latest “Freshcut” paper dolls, inspired by her daughters’ new pajamas and Heather Bailey’s fabric. ...

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Interview – Beki, Artsy-Crafty Babe

Many of us yearn for other women a doorstep away waiting, just like us, to grab a cup of mid-morning coffee and chat about our latest projects (and maybe what the kids are up to today). Luckily the world of crafty blogs brings those women to our door in a new, albeit familiar way. We get glimpses into family life, we’re inspired, we find new recipes and ideas for projects and, if we’re really lucky, we feel like we’ve made that new friend a doorstep away. Here at the Sew,Mama,Sew! blog we want to bring you a step closer to learning more about women who create and inspire in their daily lives. The women we interview might be in your state or they may be across the ocean, but we think you’ll enjoy getting to know them better as you visit us here. Beki, a.k.a. Artsty-Crafty Babe, is a busy woman. She works each day, has three active and happy children, crafts by night (and weekends!) and she has a beautiful blog that integrates all the components of her busy life. Beki shares her world with others through her blog, Artsy-Crafty Babe. While craftiness has always been a part of Beki’s life (the “Things to Make section in Highlights magazine was a fun focus in her childhood), she creates more now than ever before. Beki first discovered blogs about...

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Readers’ Favorite Tutorials Part 3

We just had to add these to our Readers’ Favorite Sewing Tutorials! Have you already checked out Readers’ Favorite Sewing Tutorials Part 1 and Readers’ Favorite Sewing Tutorials Part 2? Do you have another tutorial for us to include?   Little Owls Alex from MOONSTITCHES provided this wonderful “Tutowlrial” so her readers could make some darling owls of their own. The original pattern was from a Japanese craft book but Alex has made it her own through adaptations and shared her process with us. Try one yourself and thank her over at MOONSTITCHES (while youe’re there you might get lost in her beautiful pictures of her everyday life in Japan).   Easy Applique Barbara Brandeburg is the author of twenty quilt books and she is also a fabric designer. Though shee’s currently busy with a new line of patterns and a new book for That Patchwork Place, she kindly shares her expertise with you in her Easy Applique Tutorial! Take a look at her blog for quilting, sewing and design inspiration.   Fabric Flowers Blaire’s creations on her Wise Craft site provide inspiration for many crafty bloggers. She started a craze awhile back with her Fabric Flowers Tutorial (women in small villages in India are now making them out of silk!). Create your own beautiful fabric flowers and then stop by the Fabric Flowers Flickr group Blair started to...

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Flickr Group Feature

Girl’s Dress by Erica, Pumkinlittle Erica created this stunning dress with Moda’s Paint by Numbers fabric (Erin Michael). She sells her beautiful clothing for children (and bags for their mamas) through her Pumkinlittle site, eBay and Blossom Street. Erica founded Pumkinlittle in 2002 after the birth of her daughter. She is primarily self-taught in her sewing and, as Erica says, she loves simple style and gorgeous fabrics. Erica designs incredible clothing, she has four children and she also has a blog, Bits and Pieces of a Happy Life. The photos of her children on the blog and her Flickr site will leave you in a state of awe. Girl’s Dress by Erica, Pumkinlittle Now that you’re beyond inspired, find some more of Erin Michael’s Moda prints here. Be sure to share what you create with our Sew, Mama, Sew Flickr...

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Readers’ Favorite Tutorials Part 2

We now present (Ta da!) a continuation of easy links to Readers’ Favorite Sewing Tutorials! Did you miss the first installment? Check here and then come right back because today you’ll be inspired to make a bag (or two or three) and you might just learn something new with these projects focused on sewing techniques and quilting. Let us know if you have other favorites to include! BAGS: Tote Bag Mariko at Super Eggplant has a popular Tote Bag tutorial with very easy instructions and photos. Patchwork Bag Autum from Creative Little Daisy was inspired to create a Patchwork Bag from a bag she found in a Japanese craft book, Machine Made Patchworks. She looked at the photos, made some adaptations and then shared her process with all of us! Tiny Happy Shoulder Bag The Tiny Happy Shoulder Bag tutorial comes to you from New Zealand (and Melissa at Tiny Happy!). It’s not really all that tiny but the bag will certainly make you happy! Drawstring Bag Amy from Happythings wanted to make a Drawstring Bag and had a hard time getting it right at first. After finally asking her mother for some guidance, she figured it out and kindly passed her techniques on with this handy tutorial. Mama Backpack The Happythings Mama Backpack builds on the techniques in Amy’s Happythings drawstring bag tutorial. The full creative process is...

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Flickr Group Feature

Lunch bags by Tracy, Jumilla Bugs We’re starting a new feature on the SMS blog. Each week we’ll highlight a project in the Sew, Mama, Sew Flickr Pool. Our first project by Tracy of Jumilla Bugs utilized SMS oilcloth and she didn’t just create these beautiful bags. Tracy explained, step-by-step, how you can make your very own oilcloth lunch bag (or two or ten)! Tracy keeps busy; her Jumilla Bugs blog is a beautiful collection of craft and glimpses into her family life. She makes some amazing things and has just joined a new collaborative blog Sew Green where she recently wrote about starting anew in her yard with native plants. Tracy takes beautiful photos and shares them here. Wherever you find Tracy you’re sure to be impressed and inspired. Tracy wrote about her lunch bags on her blog here, and shared her pattern with you here. For your oilcloth you should, of course, stop by here! Be sure to share your own creations in the Sew, Mama, Sew Flickr Pool. Each month we have a drawing from the pool entries for a $25 SMS gift certificate (you could get a little...

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Readers’ Favorite Sewing Tutorials Part 1

The craft world is full of wonderful, free patterns and tutorials. Here are some of our reader favorites. Do you have anything new to add to the list? Write a comment and we’ll check with the author to see if we can include it in our compilation. We’re starting with softies and other fun things to make. Check back soon for our compilation of favorite sewing techniques, links to help with quilting and favorite bag tutorials. Now go explore and sew! SOFTIES: Wee Bunny Hillary Lang from Wee Wonderfuls has many fun, easy patterns available on her site. We love the Wee Bunny and all of the variations we’ve seen. After downloading the pattern head over to the Wee Bunny group on Flickr for some more inspiration. Felt Monsters Nina created this Flickr tutorial for making stuffed Felt Monsters. Her blog Informationi Inutili features more of her creations and illustrations (it helps a little if you understand Italian!). Design Your Own Softie Michal of Yarn and Coffee created a Flickr softie tutorial to help people with the steps as you design Your Own Softies. Owly Tutorial Sophia was seven when she created this Owly, and she worked with her mother to create a tutorial. Her mother Lizette’s work is really the product of family collaboration; for more you can visit Lizette’s site. FUN THINGS TO MAKE: Luggage Tag Colleen...

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Pattern Review ~ In-Town Bag #2

From Kristin: This pattern review was written by Beth. You can read her introduction here. This is the second of 2 reviews for this pattern.   Pattern In-Town Bags by Amy ButlerBag #2–Drawstring Purse Description The pattern has instructions and measurements for making a 10″ wide x 14″ tall drawstring bag with handles. It also includes one full size pattern for the Smart Handbag (separate review), a 10″ x 10″ bag with handles and a very “finished” look. Materials 1st Coordinating Fabric: 1/8 yard of 44″ mid-weight cotton (handles and drawstring) 2nd Coordinating Fabric: 1/4 yard of 44″ mid-weight cotton (top section) 3rd Coordinating Fabric: 1/8 yard of 44″ mid-weight cotton (middle section) 4th Coordinating Fabric: 1/4 yard of 44″ mid-weight cotton (bottom section) 5th Coordinating Fabric: 1/3 yard of 44″ mid-weight cotton (lining) 22″ each of two different ribbons Scrap of fusible interfacing 1 spool of coordinating thread Overall Design The design is simple and lends itself well to embellishment and alterations for unique bags. It’s a good, easy design. The inside of the bag can look a little bunchy with all of the seams hidden by the lining, but if you press it well it makes for a nice bag. Some pockets on the lining would help with a little in-purse organization (something I know I always need). Written Instructions The written instructions are excellent. They are clear...

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Pattern Review ~ In-Town Bag #1

From Kristin: This pattern review was written by Beth. You can read her introduction here.   Pattern In-Town Bags by Amy ButlerBag #1–Smart Handbag Description The pattern includes one full size pattern for the Smart Handbag, a 10″ x 10″ bag with handles and a very “finished” look. It also includes instructions and measurements for making a 10″ wide x 14″ tall drawstring bag with handles (separate review.) Materials Exterior fabric: 1/2 yard of 44″ mid- to heavyweight cotton* Interior fabric: 1/2 yard of 44″ mid-to heavyweight cotton* 1/8 yard of 13″ wide Timtex** 1 yard heavyweight sew-in interfacing 1 spool of coordinating thread optional buttons & ribbon for closure*see notes about amount of fabric in the review **see notes about Timtex in the review Overall Design The design is very good and precise. You could easily modify the handles and closures to make variations, but the pattern is quite good for a little handbag. It’s not a hold-extra-diapers-wipes-sippy-cup-wallet- pens-makeup-everything-else-Mama purse, but it’s a “Smart Handbag” and looks good. The pockets inside help keep everything organized.     Written Instructions The written instructions were excellent. Any time I ran into trouble I would double-back to reread and usually the pattern seemed to state a tip in BOLD letters that specifically addressed how to avoid the mistake I just made. I had just missed it. I tried to be good and precise...

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Introduction..Beth

From Kristin: For the past few months Beth and I have been corresponding in various ways–she as a customer of SMS; me as a big fan of her blog; she as a volunteer pattern reviewer; me as an overworked mama looking for some help. Beth makes beautiful things, which she sells in her shop, Kitchen Table Mama, and she is a wonderful writer. I’ve asked her to write for the Sew,Mama,Sew! blog on a regular basis and I’m ecstatic that she has agreed. She’s started off by compiling all of the tutorials that were suggested by readers, and she’s also written a great review of the Amy Butler In-Town Bags pattern. Look for those things in the coming week. Welcome, Beth! Beth’s Introduction: Life has changed a lot (in a good way) since our little guy arrived a year and a half ago. I used to teach 25 first graders each year; now I spend my days looking for pinecones, dancing on the rug, snuggling under blankets with a stack of board books and strolling around town looking for crocus blooms. In the evenings, after the boy is asleep, I create! Most of my creations are for the boy, for family and for kiddo friends when they celebrate big days (1! 2! 3!) but the rest goes into my little shop. I try to keep track of it all...

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