The League of Adventurous Dressmakers: Superheroes Who Make Clothes

When I was in college, I was required by the School of Theatre to do a semester in the costume shop.  Most of the other kids groaned and whined and did whatever they could to get around the requirement.  My reaction was more along the lines of, “Don’t throw me in that there briar patch!”  It was magical, and it changed everything about how I sew.

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New Clubs for 2016: The League of Adventurous Dressmakers and the Murder Mystery Quilt

Hooray, hooray!!  A whole bunch of you have already registered for the 2016 Sewing Buddy Project.  I am beyond delighted to welcome back some familiar faces and to greet some new ones–yippee for Sewing Buddies!!  The Sewing Buddy Project is a year-long pen pal program, and for just $10 you get a personalized pen pal match, monthly emails, sewing prompts and project ideas, plus access to a private Facebook group and lots of support from the community!  I think this year is going to be the best one yet, and at such a small price point and low level of commitment (nothing to send, no deadlines to meet, just a promise to communicate with one another), it’s an excellent way to connect with others and give your sewing a boost.  We can all use a new friend!

In addition to the Sewing Buddies, I am both elated and a little terrified to unveil the other TWO clubs I’ve been busily building for 2016.  These are my babies, and a lot of the courage I found to launch them came when you all confirmed through your survey responses that I’m not crazy for thinking these are really fun, needed ideas.  They combine all my most favorite parts about what I do at Whipstitch: designing curriculum, shooting video, writing, creating patterns, and building community.  These groups, along with the Sewing Buddies, are my primary focus for 2016–if I do nothing else this year than these clubs, I will rest easy and feel fulfilled.  I’ve invested hours and hours, and am nervous and giddy headed into the Big Reveal.  Do you want to hear more about them??

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Sewing Buddy Project Now OPEN for 2016!

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The Sewing Buddy Project is BACK!!

Registration is open NOW through January 30, 2016.  All Buddy pair matches will be emailed out no later than February 1, 2016.

The Sewing Buddy Project is a pen pal program.  People from all over the world register, and are matched with a personal pen pal who will communicate with them via email.  You won’t know who your Buddy is or where they’re from until you’re matched, and then the rest is up to you!  This is a year-long commitment to communicate with another person who loves to sew, as simple as that.  For the price of a couple of cups of coffee, you get to meet a new friend and sew together, as much or as little as you like!

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Posts of Christmases Past

Today, on a whim, I searched my own blog to see what I’d posted in past years during Christmas time.  If you had asked me, I would have told you there were two or three posts, four max.  But I’ve been writing for a long time, and it turns out there are a TON of posts about how we do Christmas at our house, what we make, where we go, and what matters to me most at this time of year.  Below, a selection of the best of them, for inspiration and as a snapshot of how our family has grown and how it has stayed the same over the years.

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Take the Surveys!

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Yesterday, in my newsletter, I sent out two different surveys looking for feedback as I plan for 2016.

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Holiday Gifts: Tutorials to Get Them Done

What is it with this year?  December is going SO QUICKLY.  Hanukkah is already upon us, you guys!  Seems like usually by this point in the Christmas season, I’ve already cut out most of my projects and have set aside night after night for stitching them up–but this year, I’ve struggled to get my feet under me.  I know I have some folks to sew for, but I haven’t even really determined to make for all of them.

Assuming that I am not the only one in this boat, and that others of you are still searching for the perfect (and perfectly QUICK) project to sew for someone on your list, I’ve gone through the Whipstitch archives and compiled a handy list of tutorials for simple, classic projects that go together in a single sewing session and make great gifts.

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Advent Calendar Sew-A-Long

Advent Calendar Quilt

Years ago, I re-created my mother’s Advent calendar and interpreted it as a quilt-as-you-go project, complete with template.  The year I finally buckled down to make this for our family, I worked on one house a day each day in December, and had a completed calendar by Christmas Eve!  Every year since, I have taken tremendous pleasure in bringing this piece out of storage and adding a ribbon here and a detail there, so that it becomes even more precious to our family as time rolls past. Read More

Right Brain, Meet Left Brain: Sewing Feeds Them Both

There is some debate still about whether there is a distinctive division between our right brain and our left.  But most experts agree that each half of your brain bears the larger portion for certain mental tasks.  And sewing?  Sewing allows you to tackle both.  It’s basically the perfect activity for long-term brain health.

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Most of us rely on our left brain for the bulk of our daily tasks.  The language processing centers of the left brain allow us to interpret what we hear and organize our thoughts when we speak.  The left brain is also in charge of analysis, mathematical computation, and recalling memorized facts.  Our modern tech-driven society strongly rewards the skills performed by the left brain, and our educational system is largely based around emphasizing and amplifying those skills.

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Family Halloween Costume 2015

family back to the future costumes for halloween

We’ve done a family Halloween costume for the past four years.  We did Scooby Doo, Sound of Music, and Harry Potter.  This year, we did a little more steering than previously, where the kids had a heavy hand in picking the costumes–this year, we convinced them to join us in Back to the Future costumes.

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How To Get Smooth, Professional Princess Seams

When I looked at the photos I took of my Halloween dress, I noticed some puckering at the princess seams that made me feel unhappy:

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