Stitch Savvy Sample Giveaway!

OK, I’ve been promising all along throughout the Stitch Savvy blog tour, and here it is: I’m giving away TWO samples of projects from the book!  These are the actual samples, made by me and photographed here on the blog or within the pages of the book, using the patterns and projects included in Stitch Savvy.

IMG_5869

First up, the knit tee!  This has been a really popular project throughout the blog tour, and I personally love this top.  But I’ve got the blue one from the book, and so I am letting this one go!  It’s a very drapey Italian jersey knit, lightweight but easy to layer.  It’s made on the size M from the Knit Tee pattern, which is a size 6/8 in off-the-rack (but it has a good amount of ease plus it’s a stretchy jersey, so the sizing is pretty forgiving).  I think it’s such a great top for spring/summer/fall layering!

paris satchel

Second sample you could win?  The Reversible Quilted Satchel from the book, in the amazing Japanese cotton/linen canvas Paris print!  I adore this bag, and the fabric, but giving this one away will just motivate me to make another–and it’s such a dreamy fabric!  Perfect size, just the right shape, plenty of body but without being heavy.  Fabulous bag, and on its way to a loving home, I hope!

To win one of these projects and have it sent right to your very home, simply LEAVE A COMMENT here.  Tell me WHICH of the two you’d like–I’ll choose randomly for each prize, but want to be sure if you want the tee and not the bag that you don’t end up with the bag and find yourself disappointed!  If you’d be happy with either, just say EITHER in your comment.

Giveaway is open to anyone, worldwide.  Comments will close on Saturday, January 26 at midnight.  Winner will be awarded Monday, January 28!

sewing buddy icon

While you’re at it, sign up for a Sewing Buddy?  That closes Feb 1, so get those requests in now!  I’m already pairing folks up and just getting ready to send out the first batch of Buddy matches!  Woot!

Enchantment Under the Sea Dress

The final day of the Stitch Savvy blog tour!  I’m so pleased to have my dear friend Marisa of Creative Thursday writing about the book today--she and I met through Lizzy House at Quilt Market years ago, and I think she is just smart, and funny, and open and kind.  I always enjoy spending time hanging out with her on the rare occasions when we’re in the same city, so reading what she has to say about my book is extra sweet!

And as the last sample to share that didn’t make it into the pages of the book, I’ve got TWO versions of the Enchantment Under the Sea Dress!

retro strapless dress stitch savvy

I make no secret of the fact that I love Back to the Future.  And in the scene where Marty takes his mother to the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance, she’s wearing this divine 50s full-skirted, fitted-bodice dress with a little accent flap in a contrasting fabric on the upper edge of the bodice:

Back-to-the-Future-back-to-the-future-8229147-640-480

In my memory, the upper edge didn’t have that little snip-and-dip to it, and so the design of the dress from the book reflects that.  My goal wasn’t to re-create the costume exactly but rather to create a dress that’s modern and wearable and that channels the feel and the shape of the 50s–but that’s also completely SEW-able for someone of nearly any skill level.  I feel as though I’ve done that, and this is now one of my very favorite styles from the book.

enchantment under the sea dress stitch savvy

This version is the one I made for myself this past Easter (and a coordinating one with straps, from the book, for my oldest child), and believe it or not, it’s made out of quilting cotton.  I know!  Nothing super fancy or hard to find at all, just a lovely print in a familiar cotton.  The bodice is lined with the same print, and there is interfacing throughout.  No fancy boning or complicated seaming, just a clean, easy sundress that feels great to wear.  The shaping is from darts at the front and back waist, and at the side bust.  There’s an invisible zipper at center back, and a nice, simple hem.

back to the future dress bodice stitch savvy

For this version, I wanted to exploit the stripes in this print, so rather than cutting the bodice on the fold at center front, I cut it in two pieces, on the bias, and created a chevron with the stripes where they meet at center front, instead.  I loooooove the effect, and it has been a super popular display piece at the shop!

There is one alternate version featured in the book–the original dress has straps, of course, and one strapless version is shown on the boo’s pages.  When the photos were taken, though, the stylist neglected to fold down the flap at the upper bodice edge!  Eeek!  I don’t think it’s the end of the world, and I certainly love every single photo in the book, but the dress is designed so that you can leave the flap UP for more coverage or when you make it with straps, as a sundress, and worn DOWN for a sassier strapless dress look.  This one is in an amazing silk taffeta from Italy, and I bought it simply because I wanted to have this dress in something so pretty, to wear to some summer party to which I have yet to be invited but I just know I will because this dress should NOT go to waste:

silk taffeta retro strapless dress stitch savvy

I love the straight seam at the waistline, and the fullness of the skirt that isn’t too poofy and overwhelm me with frilliness.  I love the fitted simplicity of the bodice, and how simple this entire style is to sew.  It’s really fun to make, and makes me feel so pretty to wear!

Screen shot 2013-01-22 at 4.51.57 PM

Be sure to take some time to explore Marisa’s blog while you’re there reading her Stitch Savvy post today!  She has some amazing paintings that I love, and her own book about her creative journey and how you can tap into your own–a book that is so warm and well written that I can’t imagine you can make it another day without owning it.  Marisa’s fabric, too?  Yes, thank you!

Tomorrow here on the blog: I’m giving away two of the samples featured in Stitch Savvy!  That’s right: two of the projects shown in the book could belong to YOU.  See you then!

Piped Footstool Slip Cover

Today, in the next-to-last post on the Stitch Savvy blog tour, I’m so pleased to have Ellen Luckett Baker of The Long Thread giving her review of the book!  Ellen is such a talented lady, with such a keen eye for clean, modern design.  I’m so excited to see what she thinks of the book–and totally love her fabric suggestions for the projects she liked best.

And I’m sharing the alternate view of the Piped Footstool Slip Cover, which has been really popular with folks over the course of the tour:

stitch savvy piped footstool cover

This is such a fun, simple slip cover to sew up, and the piping really makes it pop.  In Stitch Savvy, the original slip cover is straight and fitted.  This one is a gathered variation, which is also featured in the book as an alternate construction.  I love how light and fluffy it is–just right for a soft girls room!  This was made for an Ikea footstool that came in a number of variations–inexpensive and just the right size for adding a seat in any room in the house!

stitch savvy piped footstool

And when you have such cute babies who need seats, why not add an ottoman or footstool to every room, right?  I wish the pink in this Anna Maria fabric worked better with the girls’ room, because this sweet footstool would totally live in there if it did.

the long thread header

Take some time to tour Ellen’s blog while you’re there to read her review of Stitch Savvy!  She’s got an amazing array of tutorials, but even better than that, she does regular round-ups of tutorials around the web, making it a great one-stop place to find a huge range of ideas and sewing projects.  Plus, Ellen’s new fabric line, Stamped, makes me actually drool with desire!

Last stop on the Stitch Savvy blog tour is tomorrow, and Wednesday of this week I’m giving away TWO samples from the book!

Reversible Girls Jumper

Hooray!!  Stitch Savvy blog tour, day…not sure what day, but everything has been so pretty and so fun that I could totally do this forever, so let’s not spoil it by counting, OK?  Today, I am so excited to have Rachel from Stitched in Color as part of the tour with her Reversible Girls Dress:

8392977974_f236865824

This project was designed years ago, actually, back when I was still manufacturing children’s clothing–it was one of my favorite designs ever, because it includes all the attributes that make me love a garment for my girls, like reversibility, adjustability and subtle retro styling.

The dress is really TWO dresses sewn together at the tie ends around the upper edge, and then hemmed together (with or without the rick rack that Rachel used–is that darling??).  That way, if you’re in our family, anyway, if when you spill yogurt down the front of your freshly-laundered dress, Mom can simply flip it over and you’ve got a whole new (mostly) clean dress to wear!  On top of that, the ties are fully functional rather than being decorative, which means that as she grows, the dress can be adjusted: it’s a mid-calf dress when she’s little, then a mid-thigh tunic as she gets taller, then a hip-length top before she’s too big to wear it!  The sizes are listed as XS-L, but our girls would wear the size S from age 2 up to age 5 with no trouble at all.  Love!

8392978712_418bae0803

Plus, because this style takes hardly any fabric, it’s a great chance for you to show off those bits of fabric that you don’t want to break up into a quilt, and enjoy them for so much longer.  I hated it when my girls would outgrow something that I loved–what on earth was I supposed to do with an outgrown garment in fabric that I really, truly, deeply loved??  With this style and its simple retro A-line shape, you don’t have to make that decision.  You can put it over a tee shirt or under a cardigan, wear it with shorts or with pants, or all by itself–all year long (much like the Pinafore; there is a method to my madness, y’all).  Rachel did find a bit of errata in her construction of this dress, for which I am thankful–keep your eyes out for a Stitch Savvy (hopefully very short) errata page with updates!

Screen shot 2013-01-18 at 2.31.40 PM

Take some time to tour Rachel’s blog while you’re there reading more details about her Reversible Girls Dress.  I’m so flattered and tickled, seriously, to read what she had to say about the Paving Stones Quilt!  It was such a fun quilt to design, and to think about all the variations that could come out of the pattern–knowing that someone who is such a skilled and talented quilter, who loves to work with color and shape and improv the way Rachel does, was attracted to and inspired by my design is such a day-brightener!  Rachel uses print and color in such amazing ways, and always pushes herself to experiment with new techniques and new looks in her quilting–plus her voice on her blog is so friendly and honest and transparent in her journey as someone who sews that it’s a true joy to read each day’s post.  Check out especially her gallery of finished quilts and her (very impressive) work over at do.Good Stitches, a charity quilting bee run through Flickr.

Next week, the last couple of stops on the Stitch Savvy blog tour, and a chance to win one of TWO samples from the book!

Flattering Knit Top for Women

Today on the blog tour, I’m excited that my friend Dana from MADE is taking part and reviewing Stitch Savvy!  Dana was one of the very first internet friends I ever made, more than five years ago, and her style and color sense and exceedingly good taste have made her one of the real vanguard in the online sewing community.  I’m so proud and grateful to call her friend, and so excited that she had such lovely things to say about Stitch Savvy!  If you haven’t had a chance to see the projects inside the book yet, her post includes some lovely photos of the pages and highlights some of her favorites.

Once you’ve done that, check out the Knit Top from the Garments section!

IMG_5869

This is an alternate fabric for this top, one which didn’t fit into the Garments chapter.  The model (the very, very happy model, as folks have pointed out–the one with the awesome hair) was wearing this blue version:

IMG_5864

I chose the blue first–as anyone who shops for fabric with me will cheerfully tell you, if something comes in blue or green, I’m almost certain to get it in those colors.  I don’t think of blue as my favorite color–if you asked me, I’d tell you it was leaf green or Whipstitch yellow–but I sure do own and wear a lot of it.  So when I made this version of the top originally, I fully intended it to end up in my own closet.

IMG_5865

I love the V-neck, and the way the easy gathers accent the best parts of a woman’s figure, but downplays the parts that most of us would rather downplay.  Very loosely fitted at the waist, so it’s great for casual wear, but with the pretty neckline, it also looks great under a blazer or with a scarf.

IMG_5862

This fabric is a lovely silky jersey that feels amazing on, and the blue is actually teeny tiny circles that overlap one another.  I didn’t he the sleeves or the lower hem, because I like that vaguely bohemian look that comes with letting the jersey roll at the edges the way it does.

IMG_5873

This other version is a French import print that I think is really edgy and fun.  It has a little more body than the blue jersey does, which makes the gathers pop even more.

IMG_5866

I love that this pattern has an easy raglan sleeve that is both easy to sew and easy to wear–no easing in the sleevecap to get a good fit, but a smooth edge where the seams join.

IMG_5868

And I love the clean line of the neckline, but that it also meets the soft gathers at the bustline.  It makes for a flirty feminine top that doesn’t push the line into girly.  It’s a comfortable, flattering knit top for a grown-up.

IMG_5871

I’m actually not at all surprised that this has been one of the most popular projects in the book so far.  I know it was one of the very first that I had in my head when I was writing the book, and that I knew for sure belonged there.  So I’m really excited to see that everyone else seems to feel the same way!

sewing knits button

Speaking of which, if you’re loving this knit top and wanting to make it but not sure you have the skills and experience, there’s still space in my Sewing Knits e-course that starts in just a couple of weeks!  This is a five-week class that’s really fun–and covers everything from where to get knit fabric and how to find the best stuff online all the way to how to sew a really lovely seam with just your sewing machine.  See more details and register on the Sewing Knits e-course page!

Screen shot 2013-01-17 at 2.29.22 PM

Giant thanks again to Dana for her post in the Stitch Savvy blog tour today!  I would be startled and shocked, honestly, if you told me you weren’t already reading her blog–she is such a brilliant and funny and down-to-earth lady, and has had such a tremendous impact within the online community with her gorgeous photos and really clever projects and ideas.  There is so much about her blog to love, but check out for sure her Rollie Pollie pattern (I’ll be making one of these for our boy’s room when he moves up to his big boy bed) and her Diaper Cover tutorial (we have used this a ZILLION times), and of course the Shirt Dress, which might just be the tutorial that started it all.  She’ll be your new best (online) friend!

Keep checking in on all the Stitch Savvy blog tour posts, and come back right here next week for a giveaway of TWO of the samples from the book PLUS a freebie for everyone!

Paving Stones Quilt

Another exciting day on the Stitch Savvy blog tour! Today, Katy from Monkey Do (you might know her by her Twitter/Instagram handle I’m A Ginger Monkey) is sharing her fave projects from the new book. Hers might also be my favorite reaction on seeing the book for the first time–she said, “It’s beautiful! And HUGE!” Which made me laugh, but also feel puffed up with pride that a book with my name on it could get that kind of reaction from someone who has for sure seen her share of sewing books. Whee!

And in my on-going series of sharing with you photos of alternate versions of the book’s projects that we couldn’t fit into the book because it was already so huge, today I’m sharing another look at the Paving Stones Quilt!

quilt blog 2

When I wrote the quilting section of Stitch Savvy–which has five projects of increasing challenge, all patchwork and quilted–I originally had a full-size quilt as the Level 5 project.  Obviously.  Because it’s a FULL quilt, right?  But then I realized that maybe it was kinda dumb to ask readers to make four other patchwork-and-quilted projects and keep referring them to the quilting instructions for THIS project but make them wait to actually MAKE this project. Duh.  So I made this the Level 1 project–the first quilted project in the quilting section is a complete quilt!  Woot!

quilt blog

The version showcased in the book is in a really cool citron-and-grey version, which I hope will weather the test of time and be just as cool-looking ten years from now.  This version, though, was always and forever made to be used in my den at our new house, which we had only just bought when I was finishing up designing this quilt.

quilt texture

The quilt is made with 12″ blocks, four pieces of fabric per block, and then each of the blocks can be rotated to create a seemingly-random pattern of rectangles and squares.  Then, to make it even funner, I used only four fabrics in this version, two of them very close in color, and allowed like fabrics to touch each other without editing–resulting in a bunch of shapes I couldn’t have put together easily any other way.  I think it makes for a very clean and modern look here in this all-Kona-solids version.

quilt detail

The quilting is done with a walking foot in straight lines, all spaced about 1.25″ apart.  I love that really tight, straight, parallel, Japanese-inspired quilting, don’t you?

quilt

This has become one of our very favorite quilts to snuggle under while watching TV or looking out rainy windows from the playroom.  Or, if you’re a four-year-old boy, to wipe your ketchup-stained chubby cheeks upon, thereby leaving stains on your mother’s brand-new quilt.  Which is fine by me, actually, although I won’t be telling him that: quilts are meant to be lived with and loved, and a stain here or there just reminds me that my family love to be at home and together.  (Although I might be reading too much into a ketchup stain.)

Screen shot 2013-01-16 at 2.24.41 PM

Speaking of quilting, spend some quality time catching up with Katy’s blog, I’m A Ginger Monkey, while you’re there reading her blog tour post.  She’s one of the ladies to blame for suckering me into the #scrappytripalong, and does some of the most amazing things with scrap fabric that any human has ever seen.  I really love her eye and her sense of style–and, quite frankly, her sheer audacity when it comes to combining colors and fabrics.  Her sewing is downright inspired, and I’m delighted she’s part of the Stitch Savvy blog tour!

Stick around for more Stitch Savvy blog tour and to win one of TWO samples from the book next week!

Fuzzy Lovie Blanket

luvie-blanket-project1

Could you absolutely DIE from how cute these bunnies are??  These were made by Carrie of This Mama Makes Stuff as part of her post during the Stitch Savvy blog tour.  And they’re amazing.  LOVE.

The Lovie Blanket was designed to be part dolly and part blankie–as the mom of three kids who love their special blankies, I came by the inspiration for this very honestly (my oldest never had a blankie, but even she thinks this project is pretty cute).  It’s a shaped and stuffed animal head with lined ears attached, and then the whole thing is sewn, not to an animal body, but to a soft and cuddly blanket for loving on.  It has a compact size that I love, which makes it great for napping or traveling.

IMG_7369

The original was in a white faux-fur with silky-lined ears.  Carrie’s version is A-DOR-A-BLE with the textured fur and these vintage cotton prints for the ears and the blankie lining.  I can hardly stand how great they turned out, and how much they look like a treasured toy from a simpler time, as if you’d walked into your parents’ or grandparents’ houses years ago and found their favorite toy, just new and fresh.  So sweet!

Screen shot 2013-01-16 at 1.46.44 PM

If you’re not currently reading Carrie’s blog, This Mama Makes Stuff, you’re missing out.  She makes the prettiest things, and is a true trained patternmaker and seamstress, with a really lovely bent toward the vintage that makes all her sewing turn out like something from a magazine 50 years ago.  Plus, she runs and manufactures running skirts, and is the best Sewing Summit roommate I could have hoped to have.  Check out especially her Rock & Roll Baby Gown tutorial–put the lovie together with that puppy and you’ve got the coolest baby shower gift in town.

See you here tomorrow for another stop on the Stitch Savvy blog tour–and next week, the big giveaway of two of the samples!

Reversible Quilted Satchel

Another day for the Stitch Savvy blog tour!  I’m seriously delighted today that Faith from Fresh Lemons is sharing her favorite projects from the book–she writes some of the best quilt block tutorials on the web, and I have made the most lovely star quilt using her guidance.  So to have her flipping through the pages of my book makes me really excited and happy.

At the same time, I’m sharing photos of another version of the Reversible Quilted Satchel from the book, one that didn’t get photographed for the pages but that I love just as much!

rever satchel

I love this bag, way more than any human should.  It’s reversible, so I got to use two fabrics I really love, and it has quilted panels on both sides, which gives the flap lots of shape and body.  The two sides of the flap are quilted separately, too, so I got to play around with thread colors and my quilting stitches as I was making it.

quilting satchel

This version was a great chance to use an awesome Japanese cotton/linen blend that I’d been hoarding–I did my graduate thesis on archaeological analyses of acorn use in prehistory (true story), so I have a long-standing and on-going affinity for acorns and squirrels.  When I first saw this fabric, I yearned for it but didn’t have any idea what to do with it–so I did what a lot of us do, and bought a single yard that I stored away and only looked at once in a while, stroking it lovingly.  This bag takes a half yard-ish of fabric, so it was perfect!

satchel

The interior is a solid natural linen.  The side panel is reinforced with Peltex, so it’s good and stiff and really holds its shape well.  Plus: prefect size!  Love.  The version in the book is another example of a linen/cotton blend that I’d been hoarding and finally put to good us, too, you know:

paris satchel

If you’re looking for some ideas of ways to perk this bag up (because, really, isn’t it the perfect blank canvas for patchwork and fancy quilting and applique and all manner of embellishment?), you could do a whole lot worse than to take a tour of Faith’s blog while you’re over at Fresh Lemons for today’s blog tour post.  She has piles and piles of tutorials and does some of the best patchwork and quilting series I’ve seen on a blog.

Screen shot 2013-01-14 at 12.36.21 PM

Stick around the rest of this week for more of the Stitch Savvy blog tour, and don’t forget: when we get back round to me, I’m giving away TWO samples from the book plus a fun freebie for everyone!

How About Orange

As an unscheduled stop on the blog tour, hop over to How About Orange and see Jessica Jones’ impression of Stitch Savvy!  The clutch on the cover features one of Jessica’s Outside Oslo fabrics, and people have not been able to push each other out of the way fast enough to tell me how awesome it is.  Which is true: completely awesome.  And while I will give away two samples from the book, this clutch will not be one of them, so just stop hoping, OK?

9781440229473_5inch_72dpi

Giant thanks to Jessica for writing, unasked, a lovely and generous review of the book!  Her fabric appears on multiple handbags throughout its pages, and I am so pleased she made something so gorgeous to inspire me as I sewed.

tulip-bag

The Stitch Savvy blog tour picks up on Monday!

Quilted Sewing Machine Cover

Day 3 of the Stitch Savvy blog tour!  Today, Anna from Noodlehead is showing off the clutch she made using the instructions in the book–and I’m so excited to read her post and see that the book led her to want to make a project she might not have tried otherwise!  Can’t wait to see her Photo Transfer Wall Art–if you read Anna’s blog at all, you know that she has such incredible taste, and everything she makes comes out so clean and modern and chic.

Plus, today I’m sharing with you the original Quilted Sewing Machine Cover I made when working on the book, before making the lovely yellow one with Lizzy House fabrics that’s featured in the Quilting chapter.

cover long shot

I wanted a cover for my own machine, plain and simple.  I designed this project from a purely selfish place, I admit it.  And I love it–I even made a matching one for my serger!  I sent this one off to the publisher about a year ago for photos–they chose only the yellow one to feature, so my sewing machine at home was mostly uncovered all that time.  I’m really relieved to have it back!

quilted sewing machine cover

It does show up in the quilting chapter, so it’s built with a backing and a layer of batting, and quilted before the edges are bound in bias tape.  Oh, and did I mention it’s reversible?  Totally.  Y’all know how I love a good reversible project.  And bias tape.  This project is basically my mother ship.

free motion quilting

I wanted to not only use this cover to illustrate how to bind a seam with bias tape (which is also how the Wherever Jacket’s seams are bound on the interior, since it isn’t lined), but also as a lesson in free-motion quilting.  There are straight lines of quilting done on the diagonal, FMQ in a meandering pattern, and even some pebbles:

sewing machine cover quilting

Plus, what a great project to use to demonstrate how to make quarter-square and half-square triangles!  The quilting section has five projects in it, and if you’ve never made a quilt before or if you’ve made quilts but want to push yourself a bit, I’m hoping there’s a project there that meets you where your skills are right now.

sewing machine cover

And now I get to enjoy my matching sewing machine and serger covers, home at last, where they belong!

Screen shot 2013-01-11 at 2.36.47 PM

Read Anna’s sweet post about the book today, and then stick around and check out her blog, which is seriously filled with great ideas.  She seems to have an encyclopedic knowledge of what cool ideas are floating around the web, and digests them down into lovely images and great projects.  Her gathered clutch and open wide zippy pouch tutorials always turn out SUPER cute, and come spring, my children are all getting one of her bike buckets.

See you Monday for the next stop on the Stitch Savvy blog tour–and don’t forget, I’ve got prizes and surprises coming up next week!