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!

Envelope Pillow with Ribbon

Day Two of the Stitch Savvy blog tour!  I asked the lovely ladies who are taking part of the tour to follow one “path” through the book and share it with you, and today Kathy Mack of Pink Chalk Fabrics and Pink Chalk Studio is doing just that.  Stitch Savvy is meant to be an intermediate sewing book–not the super beginning skills, but not a niche book focused on very advanced or esoteric or obscure sewing, either.  I designed the book with five “tracks” based on the idea that most of us gravitate toward one type of sewing (in this case, the five are home decor, sewing for kids, handbags, garments, and quilting).  On top of that, to encourage us to try sewing projects we might not otherwise be drawn to attempt, each project leads you to “next steps,” other projects in the book that share skills or techniques with the one you’ve just done.  So you can follow a track (do all the quilting projects) or do all the Level 1 projects (one in each of the five tracks) or you can skip between tracks and follow a path through the projects based on recommendations at the end of each one.

Kathy is sharing her path today, and I’m super excited not just to see how the book led her through a series of projects, but also to see how excited she was as each new project was “revealed”!  How totally fun for me to observe someone going through this book that I’ve been nesting with for so long.

I’m sharing with you another version of a book project that didn’t make it into the pages of the book: the Ribboned Envelope Pillow.

IMG_5815

This is the Level 1 project from the Home Dec section, the very first project in the book.  It’s another approach to sewing a pillow, something to add to your toolbox on top of the pillow in Stitch by Stitch.  On top of that, I like that this project asks you to think about what you can do to a pillow front before you assemble the pillow itself–once you recognize that you can embellish or quilt or stencil or bedazzle the front of any pillow, your whole house opens up!

IMG_5820

It’s also a chance to work with pleats, which show up in a number of projects throughout the book.  I like gathers, but I LOVE pleats, and tend to use them where patterns call for gathers.  Something about the crisp structure of them really speaks to me.

IMG_5818

This one sits in the playroom at our house, which I very recently stripped down and re-organized, spurred on by my success with the closets.  I emptied all the cases and shelves of every toy and re-arranged and displayed them, so now sitting in this chair looking out the sunroom windows is a joy!  And I’ve got a lovely pillow to rest against.

Screen shot 2013-01-10 at 12.27.14 PM

Take the time to tour Kathy’s excellent blog while you’re peeking in on her Stitch Savvy post.  I had the great pleasure of visiting with her at Quilt Market in Houston this past October, and she is smart and thoughtful and very witty–plus she has exceptionally good taste in fabric and patterns, and genuinely loves not just sewing, but interacting with others who love it, too, and building a community.  Plus she’s got real vision about how the interwebs can work for those of us who sew, and offers downloadble patterns right from her site, along with a fantastic selection of tools and notions that you don’t often see from online vendors.  If you’re not already subscribed to Pink Chalk Studio, Kathy’s blog, or getting the Pink Chalk newsletter, I can’t encourage you enough to do so, like, today.  You’ll thank me later.

See the rest of the Stitch Savvy blog tour in the next ten days, and on the final day, check back here for a giveaway and a surprise!

Wherever Jacket

Today’s the first official day of the Stitch Savvy blog tour!  I am delighted to let me friends take over most of the reveals and inside peeks on the book, and while they do, I’m going to take the chance to share with you some of the garments that didn’t make the pages!

IMG_5802

As I was working on the patterns and designs for Stitch Savvy, I had such fun–I mean, really almost unnatural amounts of fun–picking out and investing in the fabrics I used to bring these projects to light.  When I wrote Stitch by Stitch, I used fabrics that I had on hand or that were very popular at the time, and didn’t really give much thought to how they would photograph or even (I know, it’s shameful) to how they would show off a particular project.  The ones that I chose because I just loved the fabric and wanted to use it–like Bari J’s fabric on the pillow that’s featured on the back cover of Stitch by Stitch–were the ones that got the biggest reaction and most compliments, and I learned something from that: choose the things that YOU love best, and they’ll show off the prettiest and brightest, because that’s where you will have put your heart and time and energy, as well.

So with Stitch Savvy, I worked hard to choose fabrics that I loooooved, for the reasons above and also because I learned after the first book that all these samples COME HOME, so if I made one in fabrics I wouldn’t ordinarily choose, thinking that someone else would like it and I should play to their tastes, I was just going to end up getting it back later–and not knowing what to do with it.  These fabrics are ones I wanted to have and to wear and to use over and over.

IMG_5799

That also meant I had a hard time editing the fabrics down, because I did love all of them so much.  Which means that when it came time to photograph the projects for the book, I had two or three (and sometimes four) photo-worthy samples for each project.  It was a LOT of sewing.  Not all of them could be featured in the book’s pages, but I can show them off now!

IMG_5798

Today on the blog tour, Amber of One Shabby Chick, one of the most talented and warm and aesthetically-minded bloggers I know, is sharing her impressions of Stitch Savvy.  And I’m sharing with you the Wherever Jacket, one of the five women’s garment patterns featured in the book.  I wanted a great unlined jacket that could be dressed up or down and could be made in a variety of fabrics to suit every season–there are two in the book, and then this third to share with you today!

IMG_5795

Check out Amber’s blog and see her amazing sewing while you’re there reading about Stitch Savvy–she’s tremendously gifted at the machine and has the best eye for putting fabrics together and making what could be a simple project–like a camera strap or a zippered pouch–become something lovely to treasure through her stitching.  See the rest of the stops on the blog tour in the coming two weeks, and I hope you love every glimpse these talented bloggers give you!

Stitch Savvy Blog Tour

Hooray!  My second book, Stitch Savvy, is out in the world and available.  It was two years in the making, and quite honestly, a ton of work–but I think it’s just beautiful, and couldn’t be more grateful to my publishing and editorial team at F+W for making it such a joy to hold!

9781440229473_5inch_72dpi

I’ve asked some of my very favorite people to help me introduce the book to you over the next two weeks, and I am so flattered and pleased that they’ve agreed–so over the coming days, I’ll be showing photos of some of the projects from the book, and then leading you over to their sites to see more from the inside, hear their impressions, and get excited about taking your sewing to the next level!

Stitch Savvy is written as a kind of sequel to Stitch by Stitch, and is geared to the advanced-beginner-to-intermediate sewing level.  I wrote Stitch by Stitch because I really wanted a go-to book for folks who were very first learning to sew, something that started at the very beginning and worked in a logical sequence from there.  I love the book, and have been overwhelmed by how many people have really enjoyed using it, and even how many shops have designed beginning sewing classes using the projects I designed!  Stitch Savvy will hopefully pick up where Stitch by Stitch left off, and is designed to allow each reader to choose their own sequence of projects as they work through the book.  I’ll let the folks on the blog tour tell you more about that, but I’m really excited about the format of the book and the projects in it–I hope you love them!

For a sneak peek of the insides of the book and a little more about it while you wait for the blog tour to get rolling, check out this lovely mention on Sew, Mama, Sew from the holiday season.

Stitch Savvy blog tour

Wednesday, January 8:  One Shabby Chick

Thursday, January 9:  Pink Chalk Studio

Friday, January 10:  Noodlehead

Monday, January 13:  Fresh Lemons

Tuesday, January 14:  This Mama Makes Stuff

Wednesday, January 15:  I’m a Ginger Monkey

Thursday, January 16:  MADE

Friday, January 17:  Stitched in Color

Monday, January 20:  The Long Thread

Tuesday, January 21:  Creative Thursday

Wednesday, January 22:  right here on Whipstitch, where I’ll be giving away a copy of the book PLUS two samples from it!

#scrappytripalong

scraptripalong full

Good heavens.  That Instagram.  It’s a breeding ground for quilt viruses.  And this one was a treasure to suffer through.  Thanks to Katy, Rita and Brenda, the #scrappytripalong sprang up between Christmas and New Year’s, and within three days of watching everyone’s photos roll past, I was sunk.  I’m may be a sucker, but I’m a sucker with a hot little quilt, y’all!

scrappytrip railing

Rather than go in true scrappy fashion and throw fabrics in willy-nilly (because my particular constitution makes it near impossible for me to shut down my brain long enough to truly avoid editing my selections), I started with a fat quarter bundle of Honey Child and then added in bits and pieces from my scrap bag and my stash in colors that went with those bright and happy hues.  Then, for good measure, I threw in a strip of Kona white every third fabric–I almost always choose a solid OTHER than white, but in this case, I thought it would look a bit like Granny squares in a good way, and figured, What’s the worst that can happen?

scrappytrip laid out

The hash tag folk on IG were all using the Scrappy Trips Around the World tutorial, which is strip-pieced.  It makes these blocks insanely addictive an quick to stitch up–to the degree that I meant to stop at 30 blocks and do a quilt that measured 60″ x 72″, but FORGOT TO STOP PIECING and ended up with 36 blocks.  At 72″ square, this is the largest quilt top I’ve made in a long while–I don’t think I’ve gone over 60″ x 60″ since I made the Chain Reaction quilt for our son.  And that was years ago!  Here are all the blocks laid out on the living room floor, just before I stitched the final one and plopped it in place.  I love the bright cheerfulness of these colors–really looks like me!

scrappytrip gods eye

When all the blocks go together, you can do any number of settings–I like the basic many trips setting, since I think it looks like those God’s Eye things we all made out of yarn at summer camp.  Remember those?  Can’t you totally see that in the center of each diamond here?

scrappytrip curved

I did throw in some darker fabrics here and there, and wonder if I should have avoided that.  They certainly stand out, but on the whole, don’t bother me–I just wonder if I would have liked the overall effect more with a more consistent value.  Which is why I’ll be doing another in ALL YELLOW.  Whipstitch rides again!

scrappytrip detail 3

I confess that I used not a single pin anywhere in the making of this quilt top.  Some of the seams don’t line up perfectly, but I don’t think any are off by more than 1/8″, if that much.  The tutorial tells you to iron all your seams to the side, facing one another, which I did.  I know a lot of my Instagram friends chose to press their seam allowances open, but with 1/4″ seams that always burns my fingers, and I love working with locking seams when it comes to putting a block together.  Pressing to the side following the tutorial instructions worked really well for me, and the majority of these seams line right up, even without pins.

scrappytrip detail 2

Before I can quilt it, I’ve got my two postage stamp quilts to finish.  I’ve GOT to get on those, since we’re making the big out-of-the-crib-into-the-toddler-bed switch in the next six weeks (eek! no more baby in the crib!!), and I’d like to have matching quilts for the girls when we do that.  But once those are finished, and my thread order arrives, I am so on quilting this–hopefully by Valentine’s Day or so?  At which point I can make the yellow one.  Oooh, I think I’ll call that one the Yellow Wonder.  Just planning ahead.

scrappytrip folded

Sewing Buddies OPEN for 2013!

sewing buddy icon

Can you believe it??  The FOURTH year we have done Sewing Buddies.  That’s crazy town!  I can hardly even think about how much has happened in those four years, and I am so excited to see another round of Sewing Buddies get paired up.  I very clearly remember sitting on a sofa we no longer have in a basement we no longer own reading through emails and matching up that very first group of Buddies–over 200 of them.  And every year since, I have had the pleasure and privilege of going through the process again with a new batch of folks, and then seeing where those relationships bloom.

Screen shot 2012-07-06 at 9.56.27 PM

The Sewing Buddy Project began in 2010 in response to an informal survey I sent out, asking people to examine what it is that prevents us from reaching our sewing goals, and looking for ways to surmount those obstacles and achieve Sewing Greatness in 2010.  Each year since then, we’ve worked on the same ideas and continued to build–and the most popular of those is the Sewing Buddy Project, the idea that a pen pal who loves sewing as much as you do will keep you motivated and on-task, and give you encouragement and inspiration to get the sewing done that you most want to do!  The Sewing Buddy Project has always been FREE, and is largely a service I provide to match people up to one another–where you go with your Buddy after that is totally up to the two of you!

Screen shot 2012-10-08 at 9.18.57 AM

Last year was the first year we did Sewing Buddy Challenges.  The idea behind the Sewing Buddy Challenges was that once each quarter, every three months, I would present a sewing task for Buddies to accept, using a theme or concept.  I wanted a way for us to build community that had a time frame and a deadline–there are lots of ways to jump in and get to know one another, but something that’s got a firm end date tends to get our creative juices going, right?  And what better way to get to know someone than by working with them!  The entries were posted to Flickr, and winners were chosen with prizes and everything.  This year, I had planned three, but we ended up doing only two–the first was amazingly awesome with tons of participation and excitement.

Screen shot 2012-06-15 at 3.56.01 PM

The second was a little more subdued, as we got into the summer months and our days got busy and sewing wasn’t always a top priority. Which is a shame, because I loved the idea behind it, and loved seeing the Sewing Buddy projects come in–all the sewn projects in the photos in this post were made by Sewing Buddies in 2012!  Something wasn’t quite gelling, though, which is fine–I think in any endeavor, the most important thing is to listen to feedback and work to make it better.  Sewing Buddies is a project that I truly believe is worth tweaking and making better.

So this year, I’m asking for those of you who want to sign up to be a Sewing Buddy in 2013 to suggest ideas for how we can all interact with one another this year.  As part of your comment, you’ll include ONE suggestion for a project, outreach, bee, challenge, ______along, or what-have-you that might be appropriate for the Sewing Buddies for this year!  See the two challenges from 2012 for ideas, but keep in mind that I’m looking for three really GREAT suggestions for the later months of 2013–I already have an idea for the first quarter, which we’ll roll out in February once all the Buddies are matched up.  I’ll select three suggestions from all the Buddy comments, and we’ll be on our way into a new year with new Buddies to inspire our sewing!

SewingBuddy

Additionally, I’m bringing back the Sewing Buddy Inspiration e-mails!  That’s right: all my 2013 Sewing Buddies will be added to the list to receive my Sewing Inspiration emails, and will receive a monthly message of stitchy motivation, right in their inbox, complete with ideas and techniques to help you really bring your A-game to the current quarter’s sewing challenge.  You have to participate to get the email, though.  Doesn’t that totally make you want to play along??

Sweet!!

As in the past, it all begins with you throwing your name in the hat, so let’s get started!

Guidelines for 2013 Sewing Buddy Project participation:

  • Agree that you will leave no email from your Sewing Buddy un-answered.  A Sewing Buddy is a pen pal who loves to sew, and pen paling with your pen pal is the best way to get that all going–remember what Gramma said: to have a friend, you have to BE a friend.  Simply replying to each message as they go back and forth will build your commitment and resolve.  If your Sewing Buddy-ness goes no further than encouraging emails once a week, that’s awesome!  It will keep you on-track to meet some goals or to challenge yourself in a way you might not have otherwise.  If you both decide to start your own Flickr group or joint blog or do some mail exchanges, even better.  At a minimum, though, resolve to always answer your Buddy’s emails–any other participation in challenges or contests is completely voluntary.
  • Branch out and get a new Sewing Buddy, even if you’ve already been rocking it with your 2010 or 2011 or 2012 Buddy.  You can never have too many friends who sew!  You can keep your other Buddies and learn great stuff from a new one.  Isn’t friendship awesome?
  • Sewing Buddies can be at any skill level and do any type of sewing.  We welcome beginners, intermediates, advanced and lots of mixy types at in-between-y skill levels.  Don’t quilt?  Maybe your Buddy can help you learn!  Don’t sew garments?  Maybe the two of you will start together!  The only requirement is that you’re willing to communicate and interact with one another.  That’s it!
  • Sewing Buddies can be from anywhere in the world, as long as you’re willing to communicate in English.  We’ve had folks from Britain, Australia, Denmark, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Brazil, Canada, Austria, South Africa, New Zealand and a host of other nations participate, and you can, too!  I can’t promise you’ll get a Buddy who is geographically near to you, but isn’t that part of the fun, that discovery?  Hooray for international diplomacy!
  • Be on the lookout for contests, challenges, secret passwords, and even (gasp!) meet-ups designed just for Sewing Buddies!  We’ll have our quarterly sewing “activity”, TBA based on your suggestions, but there is plenty more that we can do–and I’ve taken suggestions and comments from past Sewing Buddies very seriously as I work to make this the coolest pen pal experience you’ve ever had!

That’s it!  I’ll begin matching names in the magic whirly-bin of Sewing Buddy Science on January 15, 2013.  Sign-ups will close February 1, 2013 at midnight.  Pairs will be notified no later than February 2, 2013 and the first Sewing Buddy activity will be announced the same day!

To participate in the 2013 Sewing Buddy Project:

  • To add your name to the list to be matched with a Buddy, simply leave a comment below–that’s it!  Include a working email address that you check (this will be captured when you leave your name, so it isn’t necessary to leave it in the body of your comment).
  • You’ll receive an email from me asking you to (1) confirm your participation and (2) name a favorite color and a number between 1 and 10.  I’ll also ask you to suggest an “activity” for Sewing Buddies to participate in during one quarter in 2013–these suggestions are wide open, and a have no bearing on what Buddy you get; they’re for research purposes only, I promise.  These emails will go out in batches beginning January 20; Buddies will be matched from within each batch.
  • I’ll use the responses to the emails I receive along with a super-scientific system here at the Whipstitch Labs to match you to the PERFECT Sewing Buddy based on a four-fold formula that’s much too complicated to write about here but that is really awesome and time-y wime-y space-y.
  • I’ll send an email to the both of you giving introductions in proper Victorian style (a lady never spends time with someone to whom she has not been properly introduced), and then like a mother whose chicks are leaving the nest, I’ll step back and watch as the friendship flourishes.
  • You and your Buddy will make the initial contact and see where it leads you!  Contests?  Maybe.  Inspiration?  Certainly.  Life-long friendship?  Golly, I hope so.

That’s it!  I’m really looking forward to hearing more from all of you this year, can am so pleased so many of you are looking to continue the Sewing Buddy love.  Hooray!

2013 Sewing E-courses!

new year sewing

Hooray!!  A whole new year has begun.  And I have an overwhelming sense of optimism this year.  I’m excited to see what comes and where it goes, and how I will fit into that picture.  Are you feeling it, too?  Because I keep hearing, from people close to me and from strangers, that we’re all ready for brighter days, and that this winter, we’re taking our cue from the world outside our windows: resting and rejuvenating and renewing ourselves beneath the surface, so that as the sun returns and the air becomes warm again, we can burst forth in the most vibrant and electric version of ourselves.

I think that’s what taking a class and learning something new is all about–truly, I don’t just say that from some cliche sales place.  The most marvelous thing about the internet is the way in which it has given us the means to explore and discover and learn on a near-constant basis, if we’re only looking for it.  Your teachers might be folks who are learning alongside you, or folks who have been experts longer than you’ve been alive, or something in between.  But always, I think, most of what it means to be human is to be looking for a place where we can grow and explore.

I’m beyond excited about my 2013 e-courses.  I’ve been teaching online since early 2010, and it has been such an incredibly rewarding and challenging and inspiring experience for me, so each year when I compile the list of classes I’d like to offer, I get a little bit buzzy about it!  I really sit down and look at what I’ve taught before and what I’ve been asked to offer, plus what else is available online and in person, and how my online classes can be a part of that but add something new.  I really think I’ve been able to do that in 2013 in a way that I haven’t in years past, and I’m so excited to share it all with you today!

ecourse button 2013

Announcing: the 2013 Whipstitch Sewing E-courses class list!  Read details and background below, and visit the e-course page for more details on dates and registration for the classes that interest you.  Feel free to leave a comment or email me directly if you have questions by writing deborah (at) whipstitchfabrics (dot) com!

Essential Sewing and Essential Quilting

essential sewing button

In past years, I have offered an Essential Sewing course–designed for those new to sewing or the self-taught looking for a more formal class–and an Essential Quilting class–a similar course to Essential Sewing, but focused on quilting and quilt-making skills from start to finish.  Because I limit how many classes I teach to seven per year, and because I liked to offer Essential Sewing twice each year plus Essential Quilting, that meant I could only offer four other e-course titles each year.  But I LOVE coming up with new classes and new projects and inviting back students who have taken courses with me before to learn something they haven’t tried before.  So this year, I’m mixing it up: Essential Sewing and Essential Quilting are going year-round! 

Both of these classes are now going to be offered on an a la carte, on-going basis rather than as a six-week series.  That means you can start whenever you like, take as long as you like, review the lessons as often as you like, and STILL be able to join any of my other online classes throughout the year as your skills catch up.  I really think this is going to be such a great option for so many folks who felt they needed to start with the Essential Sewing class, but found that the scheduling didn’t line up with their lives.  Same with Essential Quilting, where students really wanted to review lessons again and again as they became more skilled, seeking to really cement those foundational skills as they developed new ones–this option will allow you permanent access that never expires to all the content of these classes!

quilt ecourse button

Plus, not only do you get to access ALL the lessons forever, but you don’t lose the one-on-one element of the classes that I always loved the most.  The number of spaces available in each class for new students per quarter will be limited, allowing me to answer each of your questions and comments individually, so you’ll still get the attention you need and the answers you’re looking for, just for you.  And with a live chat every quarter for each class, you can even have real-time interaction with me and your classmates!  It’s the community that gets built in these classes that’s my favorite part, and I didn’t want to lose that–I think that the new format will enhance it, and I’m so excited to see new faces there!

For more details on the lessons, the projects and to register for these classes, visit the Essential Sewing and Essential Quilting pages.

Sewing with Knits

sewing knits button

Back by popular demand!  Sewing Knits without the Serger is a great class for working with these amazing fabrics that we all love to live in, but so few of us regularly sew.  I taught this class first in 2010 and again in 2011, but didn’t have room in my schedule in 2012–and so many of you let me know that you’d been eagerly waiting to see it appear on the schedule!  So after making arrangements to have the Essential Sewing & Essential Quilting classes go year-round, I’ve got time to add Sewing Knits back in, and I’m so excited to teach it FIRST this year.  I adore knit fabrics and love introducing folks to working with them, leading them to build their confidence.  We go over where to buy them–and what to buy–along with what needles, what thread, how to work with the pattern, how to adjust fit, and then make four projects that you’ll love to wear and make over and over again.  Patterns are included in the class, and are staples for any wardrobe!  Winter is such a great time to be thinking about working with soft knit fabrics, and the skills will be a delight in the summer when you’re looking for a quick project to satisfy.

For more details on the lessons, the projects and to register for the class, visit the Sewing Knits page!  This class begins January 28, 2013–spaces are limited, and it’s only offered once this year.  Just so you know, and stuff.

Sewing Clothing for Kids

sewing kids clothing button

The Sewing Clothing for Kids e-course has been such a fun, fun class to teach over the past few years.  It really appeals not just to moms and folks who want to sew for the little ones in their lives, but also to stitchers who don’t sew a lot of clothing and are looking for a place to get their feet wet with apparel that has a little less pressure than making a fitted dress for ourselves.  Because kids sizing and fit can be more forgiving, you’ve got a little more margin for error here, and that has made this class such a great place to cut your teeth on making garments!  Even if you’ve sewn clothing in the past, the class comes with piles of ideas for altering patterns to use them in new ways–like turning a button-front bodice into a button-back bodice on a girls dress, or swapping out buttons for a zipper on a reversible jacket–that there is plenty of inspiration for someone who is beyond the beginner level.  With eight great patterns for girls and boys in sizes 12 months through 6, there is something here for you no matter what your sewing goals might be!

For more information on the patterns and skills included in this class, including pictures of the projects, check out the Sewing Clothing for Kids e-course page.

Everyday Handbags

A new class this year, I am beyond excited about Everyday Handbags!  When I was writing Stitch Savvy, I really spent a lot of time thinking about what it is that we’re all looking for in the perfect bag, and what makes a hand-made bag go from simple to stupendous.  I think I’ve really put together a fantastic selection of go-anywhere bags for all occasions, from totable to danceable and plenty in between.  None of us is just a mom or just a worker or just a dreamer or just a woman–we’re a lot of things rolled together, and we want to be able to be all those things with the perfect handbag.  This five-week class is designed to walk you through making FIVE such bags, in fabrics from classic to fancy, so that you’re ready to tackle every day with the most appropriate accessory.

Everyday Handbags will begin registration in early March 2013.  Keep an eye on the e-courses page for more details!

Summer Dresses

Of all the classes I’m teaching online this year, Summer Dresses might be the one about which I am most excited.  Probably because I live in dresses in the summer–they’re so simple, just put it on and you’re dressed!  Mix up the fabric, the trim, and the details, and BAM!  You can take just a handful of patterns and you’ll be set for an entire season and beyond.  And if you’re living in a climate like mine, here in the Deep South, a handful of dresses can last you from April through October, no question.  So Summer Dresses is a class I’ve been dreaming of for a while, and I’m over the moon to offer it in 2013!  This five-week class comes with three original patterns and guides you through making the basic design PLUS plenty of variations along the way to make a really exciting wardrobe for the warmer months.  Won’t be warm where you when the class is offered?  Join us anyway, and sharpen your skills for the coming summer!

Summer Dresses will begin registration in early May 2013.  Keep an eye on the e-courses page for more details!

Four-Piece Wardrobe

fall wardrobe 2012

The Four-Piece Wardrobe e-course is such a great class to teach, and to take.  It’s based on the Patterns classes I’ve taught in person in Atlanta, and is designed to be an introduction to working with and mastering a commerical printed pattern for garment sewing.  That means we really walk through what pattern companies are out there, how they differ, how to choose a pattern, how to prepare it and work with it, and THEN we sew up four awesome garments, tackling lots of pattern-sewing skills along the way.  It’s always exciting to develop this skill alongside other folks who are learning the same thing, and this class has consistently been one of the best communities and experiences I could have asked for.  If you’ve finished Essential Sewing and are looking to make garments for adults, I can’t recommend highly enough taking this class next!

To learn more about the patterns we’re using in this class, and see images of the projects, check out the Four-Piece Wardrobe e-course page.

Slip Covers

slip covers button

Last year, I taught a Home Decor e-course.  Of all the projects we did in the class, the ones I loved the best were the slip covers, and I felt almost sad that we couldn’t do more of them.  Then I realized: we can!  This e-course is all about how to create slip covers from very, very simple–covering a pillow–to much more complex–covering a chair.  We go over how to plan your project, how to avoid as much math as possible, how to create a template or pattern for your fabric, and how to make your slip cover look as professional as possible.  By walking through covering pillows, an ottoman, a shaped stool, and two styles of chair, you’ll have the skills you need to tackle the furniture that’s been begging for new fabric–without a trip to the upholsterers!  Plenty of techniques and instruction on adding those little details that make a project look really professional, and lots of eye candy along the way.  Hooray for slip covers!

Slip Covers will begin registering in early August 2013.  Keep an eye on the e-courses page for more details!

Happy Handmade Holidays

holiday sewing class button

We have offered a Christmas Camp in years past at the shop, but most years I was so underwater with all the other things I felt hadtohadtohadto get done that I didn’t get to make all the projects the ladies were teaching.  This year, I resolved to change all that, and designed a Happy Handmade Holidays class, where we could ALL get our Christmas sewing done well before the holiday season took over our days.  And you know what? It was SO MUCH FUN.  I had my holiday sewing done AND my shopping done by the week of Thanksgiving, and the entire holiday experience was a zillion times more enjoyable as a result.  As the class drew to a close, it occurred to me that “holidays” is a pretty broad term, and there are lots of other holidays throughout the year that aren’t Christmas.  Wouldn’t it be cool if this online class evolved and expanded to include those, too?  Yes, yes it would.

So it is.  The Happy Handmade Holidays class currently hosts fourteen original Christmas projects, complete with video, audio, images and downloadable patterns.  You can register at any time to join in on the winter wonderland magic.  In October 2013, I’ll be ADDING to that content, and teaching a five-week series of fall holiday projects, including Harvest, Halloween and Thanksgiving!  The Christmas content will be there forever, we’ll add fall this coming fall, and each year after that, we’ll add another holiday “season” to the mix.  One registration gets you FOREVER access to this content, and you can join in the fun any time!  If you missed taking Happy Handmade Holidays this year, or if you just love yourself some Christmas, register now and you’ll get all the fall sewing projects when they roll out in October–along with the company and daily interaction of a five-week class full of other stitchers who love the holidays, too.

To see more details on this class or to register, visit the Happy Handmade Holidays e-course page!

Thanks for making 2012 so amazing, all of you.  I’m looking forward to seeing both new and familiar faces in my e-courses this year–with hopes that we’ll all get a little closer to our sewing dreams in 2013!