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.

flip flop unlined 8

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:

neckline gaping

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I Wonder Why I Do This, Any Of It

sewing needles and thread for hemming

I sew, a lot. Way more than normal people–and by normal, I guess I mean the average person, who probably doesn’t even know how to sew, making that an unfair and inaccurate comparison. So maybe I just sew way more than most people who sew–which would be a massive amount, because sewing seems to attract the obsessives, the folks who really like to DIVE IN, the ones who don’t just try something, they DO it, in the purest Yoda sense. They don’t think, “I might try sewing,” they go to the store and they buy ALL THE TOYS and ALL THE FABRIC and they get home and THEN they figure it out. Or maybe sewing makes us all obsessive, we didn’t start that way, we became that way because the POTENTIAL is so enormous that it’s difficult to look away from the bright light of possibility that comes once you learn how to thread that needle and make it go in a straight line.

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Results of a Dress Muslin

Halloween dress

I have gotten into the habit of sharing finished projects, and hardly ever walking through the steps to getting from fabric selection to final garment.  It’s just SO much faster.  But this dress was an exception–I tried it on during construction, but with a center back zip, all those fittings (alone in your sewing room with a dimly lit mirror and no one else to help) are pretty rough approximations.   It wasn’t until this final fitting before taking photos that I spotted An Issue.

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Halloween Projects Now LIVE!

wreath a

Now live and waiting for you: Halloween projects have been added to the Hand-Sewn Year online class!  This class began as a Christmas Camp, and is gradually growing to include all the holidays in the calendar.  With Halloween, harvest, Thanksgiving, holiday and Christmas projects now included, there are over 45 lessons waiting for you!

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Co-Ordinating Sew Together Bag with Corduroy Bias Tape

My corduroy tote for this fall is bringing me enormous joy.  And if you’ve read about my sewing projects for any length of time, you can guess that the only thing that could possibly bring me as much joy would be MATCHING ACCESSORIES.

sew together bag with corduroy bias tape

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