Saturday, January 29, 2011

One down, a bazillion to go

Well, that's kind of how it feels anyway. After very ambitiously cutting out four Antonia's to make for my Cobblestone Park Etsy store, I have finished exactly one. That makes it sound like I've been slacking, when in fact I've been working very hard! First of all, I'm not just doing the four for the store; I'm simultaneously making the exact same four for my daughter. That way, I can work out all the kinks on hers so the store's will be as perfect as I can get it. Also, I've also spent countless hours over the last week embroidering all these shirts. These will be some fancy tops! I love each and every one, though, I have to admit. I'm very glad I decided to make all of them for my little girl!

Anyway, here's a sneak peak of the shirt that is going in Cobblestone Park.

Pattern: Farbenmix Antonia

Cobblestone Park will probably open up the week after next. I'll be getting finishing up my first round of inventory hopefully by the end of next week. I plan on having the four Antonia's I mentioned, plus a couple little boys' shirts, maybe a big boy's shirt, and if all goes swimmingly, I'll do a fancy Vida like the one I made for the auction. That's a lot of sewing to be done!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bamblue Fabrics is open for business!

It's official: I am now in the fabric business. I got my final shipment of inventory yesterday, and put everything up on Etsy last night. Within minutes of adding my first listing, I even had a sale! Granted, it was to a friend of mine who, if all goes well, will likely become my first employee as well, but still, it was quite an exhilarating moment.

What is in stock right now are the bamboo jerseys, bamboo french terry, and the hemp stripes. The bamboo french terry is nothing short of divine. When those rolls arrived yesterday, I seriously had to restrain myself from spreading them out on the floor and rolling around in them - they are that soft.

I will also be adding some other, non-bamboo knits in the near future.

Here is the link to the store:
Bamblue Fabrics

In other news, I am ramping up my inventory for my second Etsy store, Cobblestone Park. By "ramping up" I actually mean "sewing into the wee hours of the night." I've got eight girl's shirts cut out, and am about halfway through embroidering them.  Let me be totally honest: these are some seriously cute shirts, probably the best I've ever done. When they are finished, I'll put a sneak peak up on this blog so you can preview them before they go live!

As for a stock date, I hope to have all the shirts done in the next couple days, then I'll do a few boy's shirts and probably a fancy Vida, like the one I did for the auction. I ordered my clothing labels and hang tags yesterday, so those should arrive in ten days or so. So, hopefully, Cobblestone Park will be open for business just before Valentine's Day! I'll keep you posted here on the blog.....

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Exciting shop news!

Well, exciting to me anyway. Yesterday, I actually purchased some inventory for Bamblue Fabrics! Hurray! I find it quite amusing that I had to place the order while I was sitting in my car, parked in the driveway while Skoober napped, samples spread all around me. Ah, modern technology.

It's a pretty small order, relatively speaking, but I have to start somewhere, right? What did I buy? Bamboo jersey, of course!  In seven wonderful colors. This stuff is so soft, and it drapes marvelously. Now the trick is to convince myself that I actually need to sell it rather than hoarde it all for myself!

I'm placing another order today for some bamboo french terry. This stuff is just amazing - so incredibly soft, and it comes in the most beautiful, bright, vibrant colors. I cannot WAIT to use some of this stuff for myself. Oh, wait - I have to sell the french terry, too. Sigh.

In other enterprising news, I am very seriously considering selling children's clothing as well as the fabric. I love to make Euro style clothing, and every single time one of my kids steps out wearing such a thing, I'm asked if I sell my creations. I'm getting a little tired of saying no! So, today while the kids are in school, my job is to investigate things like clothing labels and size tags. And opening up another Etsy store. And coming up with another name. So much to do!

The final piece of good news for today is that I finished up the school auction donations this weekend. The last set is an Ottobre 5/06 onesie with skirty pants and hat. I just love the colors on this one. But while making it, I did experience some rather deep pangs of regret that I did not start sewing until my daughter was 2.5. I would have loved to make these itty bitty mama-made onesies and hats for her!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

School Auction, Part 2

As I mentioned in my last post, I've been sewing some clothing to donate to our school's auction in March. My plan was to make an older boy's shirt next, but I was having trouble deciding on fabrics, embroidery designs, etc. As usual, I turned to my favorite blogs for help, and was reminded of Willow & Moo's gorgeous Hilde shirts she made for young boys. I couldn't help myself: I needed those shirts for Scoober! I mean for the auction!

Only problem was, I don't have the Farbenmix Hilde pattern. It's not too far off from the Imke, which I do have, so I just modified it a little. Actually, the amount of work that went into that slight modification was ridiculous! I first tried to use the stand-alone Imke pattern. I traced sized 98, which is what Skoober wears now. Well, it was just enormous. HUGE! I kept holding the pattern pieces up to him, and kind of squinting to see how these could possibly fit. I went so far as to cut out the fabric, and realized this was just not going to work at all, especially as I will have to do another set of these for the auction winner. Presumably, the winner will want clothing that actually fits the child!

I decided to try the Imke pattern that came in the Sewing Clothes Kids Love book. I first held my size 98 piece up to the equivalent piece in the book - it was about 2 sizes larger, in both width and length. Crazy!

Anyway, that was a lot of blah, blah, blahing to talk about a couple of shirts. Enough!
Pattern: Modified Farbenmix Imke
Embroidery: Huups

I was originally going to do just one shirt, but then it occurred to me that one shirt doesn't sound very exciting as an auction item, so I decided to make a pair. Here is my second one:

Pattern: Modified Farbenmix Imke
Embroidery: Kunterbunt

This one gave me some trouble. I had originally stitched out the Superhero on the front using different colors. After all was said and done, I didn't like it. I sat there, staring at this shirt front, which I had already pieced together, topstitched with decorative stitching, and embroidered. And hated it. I groaned inwardly, but decided I had to do it over. This was the original:

I think I made the right choice.

The funny thing is, I have no idea how much a couple of boy's t-shirts will go for, auction-wise. I mean, I know a lot of people go crazy and spend fortunes on their daughters' wardrobes, but boys' t-shirts? It's hard to justify paying a lot of money for them, since adorable t-shirts can be purchased at Target for $10 or less. But, I hope people will get into the spirit of the auction (it is a fund-raiser for the school, after all) and at least bid on them!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A fancy Vida

Our school district is in the midst of a severe budget crisis. Well, not just our district; most public schools in the state are suffering from unprecedented budget cuts. The end result is crowded classrooms, program cuts, layoffs, you name it. It's the crowded classrooms that bother me the most. When my son started kindergarten, there were 20 kids in his class. Two years later, my daughter started kindergarten. There are 27 children in her class. It's just terrible.

Anyway, our school is having an auction to raise money for the school, so I thought I'd make a Farbenmix Vida as a donation. I just love how this turned out! I actually went out and bought fabric for this dress - I didn't use my stash. I can't remember the last time I did that!

The back:

Pattern: Farbenmix Vida
Fabric: Moda Bliss by Bonnie and Camille

This dress will just be the "sample" shown at the auction, after which it will become my daughter's. The winning bidder will be able to choose what size they want, and I will make the whole thing again! Thank heavens I've got a couple of months before I have to repeat the process. Although now I have to turn my attention to the other donations I am making: a boy's shirt (sounds boring, but I'll try to make it worthwhile) and a baby outfit.

Cross your fingers that they bring in some money for our school!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

What to do when a pattern eludes you

I have been trying to find a certain pattern for ages. I started seeing gorgeous interpretations of it on European blogs, and I was just dying to try my hand at it. The pattern is Roos 5011, and I think when you see these examples, you will understand why I was in such desperation to find it. Here is one, here is another, and if you aren't fully convinced, look here. I mean, seriously cute, right? Well, there is a catch! Roos patterns have, to the best of my knowledge, all gone out of print. I have found a couple of European sites that sell Roos patterns, but sadly not this one. I was in despair.

But then, I was flipping through my Ottobre magazines the other day, and what should I happen to find? This! From Ottobre 1/09.

It's not exactly the same thing, but it's pretty darn close!

I really like how the Roos version has rounded panel edges and binding all around, and a snap/button closure instead of the ties. So, armed with many pictures of European versions to inspire me, I came up with a fairly reasonable copy, if I do say so myself! Here is my version, done in Tina Givens fabric. I originally intended to use pre-made Michael Miller bias tape, but I didn't have enough! So, groaning audibly, I decided reluctantly made my own. In the end, I'm glad I did because I think it looks a lot better.

Pattern: Ottobre 1/09

Where is the embroidery, you may ask? They may be slightly camouflaged with everything going on in that fabric, but the little flower snap closures are embroidered. I finally figured out how to do a freestanding embroidery (ie, one that looks "finished" from both the front and back sides), so I was eager to try out the technique. Seemed to work pretty well! If anybody is interested in how to do this, let me know and I can set up a little tutorial.

Anyway, I naturally had to make a shirt to go underneath, and for that I used my old standby, the Farbenmix Antonia. It took awhile to pick out the fabric; I was originally going to go with just a solid color for the shirt front and back, and dots for the sleeves, but it just seemed so....boring. I eventually stumbled upon this tiny little scrap of some much adored fabric, and was struck by how well the colors matched. I thought it may be a little loud with the Tina Givens fabric, but, well, what can I say. The spirit moved me.

Here's the Antonia:

Bird embroidery: Lynnie Pinnie
Frame embroideries: Tinimi

Aren't those frame embroidery designs perfect? I just embroidered them around text that I had cut out of the Tina Givens fabric, and it turned out perfectly! I was so pleased with how the whole set came together. This was actually my "tester" version - I have another one planned out in my head, using some expensive European fabric, but that will have to wait until I can find some time (not to mention energy).

Goodness, could I possibly blather on any more about a sewing project? The answer to that, of course, is yes I can. But I'll spare you.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year!

OK, well, I'm a couple days late, but better late than never, right? Our New Year's celebration was pretty quiet. With three young children in the house, our days of crazy, stay-up-all-night type celebrations are a thing of the past. But, we did enjoy a delicious cracked crab dinner, an annual New Year's Eve tradition in our house.

I spent most of my free time last week trying to track down suppliers of bamboo jersey. This is not an easy thing to do! Life would be so much simpler if I was opening yet another quilting fabric store, but really, does the world need another one of those? Besides, a huge reason for opening my own online store is that I can never find the fabrics that I want to sew with, so I may as well become my own source! Anyway, bamboo jersey, despite being the "in" fabric right now, is very difficult to come by. I did find a few wholesalers, but they want enormous minimums that are prohibitive. I mean, do I really have room in my garage for 500 yards of fabric? No, I do not. But I did manage to find a few that have smaller minimums, so I will not despair!

The other thing that sucked up an inordinate amount of my time last week was trying to find a good banner image for my Etsy shop. Do you know how many days, even weeks, of your life you can fritter away looking at images online? I only checked out two places, Dreamstime and iStockphoto, but was absolutely paralyzed by the number of images available. Too many choices! I still have not made a decision, which is why this blog does not have a fancy banner on it. Sigh.

Anyway, on to sewing-related matters. Last week, during all this indecision surrounding suppliers and images, I managed to sew an outfit for my little guy, or "Skoobers," as I like to call him. Both the pants and top are from Ottobre 4/06. The pants nearly ended up in the garbage, however. They call for tremendously complicated front pockets, which I was totally intimidated by, but I screwed up my courage and pressed on. Well, my brain could not wrap itself around the construction of them. Usually, Otto instructions are so terrific that illustrations are not needed; this was a huge exception. In desperation to save the pants (I didn't have any more of the black sweatshirt fabric left), I just hacked off the offending pocket area, then replaced it with another blue side panel. Success! Sort of!

Ottobre 4/06
Embroidery: Huups

Also, I wanted to post a picture of my daughter's Christmas Eve dress, since I'm rather proud of it. Unfortunately, she was WAY too excited on Christmas Eve to even consider getting a good picture, so no modeled shot. This will have to suffice:

Modkids Kyoko