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holly jolly christmas: day 3

Congratulations to our Day 2 winner, Stephanie N!

One of my favorite parts about blogging is being in a community of like-minded sewists. It’s so comforting to know that I can say things like “I love fabric” and “I should buy this fabric, right?” and “another floral fabric? here’s my credit card” around you guys, and you just get it. You understand. I can tell you all about the cool fabrics shops I visit and post videos on Instagram Stories of my fabric stash without worrying for one second that you’ll judge me or wonder why it’s so important to me. We’re all friends here.

In a perfect world, I would be able to shop for fabric whenever I want with no concern for money. (I’d wager a guess that most of us feel this way.) Instead, I have to be thoughtful about my purchases. Sometimes I splurge, but most of the time I buy things when I can and when they’re on sale. It’s all about balance. Sometimes I buy things for a specific purpose, but mostly I buy fabric because it’s pretty and inspires me and I have to have it. (Also, my average “buy” amount is 4 yards. I get that question a lot.) When I was in college, I discovered an online store called Fashion Fabrics Club, And I never looked back.

I was the first in my class to find this little gem of a fabric shop, and things quickly got out of hand in the best (and funniest) way. For broke college students in a major that required fabric and supplies purchases, we took whatever help we could get – and FFC has really amazing prices on fabrics. Searching and finding just the right fabric on that site is also like a treasure hunt, so it was even more exciting to find exactly what you were looking for. I’m pretty sure we all showed up to open lab at one time or another with an FFC package that had just been delivered – too excited to open it by ourselves.

Over the years, I have gotten some of the prettiest fabrics from this place, and I knew they would be a perfect fit for this giveaway project. So, the winner of today’s giveaway will be getting $100 gift card to Fashion Fabrics Club – and I’m a tad jealous because that will get you a lot of good stuff. You will have fun spending that, for sure!

Top row, left to right: Vogue 9104, Vogue 8789, McCall’s 6696

Middle row, left to right: Vogue 8379, OOP Vogue, Vogue 8772

Bottom row, left to right: Butterick 6446, Vogue 8788, my design.

Fashion Fabrics Club was also kind enough to provide me with the fabric I used for this project, and it’s one of my favorites of the year. This is a polyester chiffon with tone on tone pearlized daisy sequins. It is absolutely gorgeous.

As with all sequin projects, it’s best to keep it simple. Don’t over complicate it, stick with clean lines and just a few seams. Having already made a sequin dress and skirt this year (both of which were underlined) I kept thinking about doing something a little different. The beauty of this fabric is that it doesn’t scream special occasion so you can get away with it during the day. I used an old, out-of-print unlined jacket pattern, made a couple of adjustments to eliminate some unnecessary seams, and got busy. I love how well this piece came together, and just like the wrap in yesterday’s post, it makes a great gift. (And yes, I know I’m wearing this differently than it’s been designed without the “collar” turned back, but I think it’s a little more modern and fresh this way. Plus, you see less of the wrong side of the fabric.)

I’m a big believer in learning and practicing and always striving to be better, so books and resources are a big part of that. To that end, in today’s giveaway is a copy of Couture Sewing Techniques, which I think is a must have in every seamstress’s library.

Also important? Irons. Irons are super essential. HUSQVARNA VIKING® is providing today’s winner with a SINGER Expert Finish1700 Watt Steam Iron.

The winner of today’s giveaway will receive:

  • A $100 gift card to Fashion Fabrics Club,
  • Couture Sewing Techniques, 
  • and the SINGER Expert Finish1700 Watt Steam Iron.

Big, big thanks to Johari at Fashion Fabrics Club for being so awesome and happy to join us for this giveaway project. I am a customer for life, so hurry up and restock the sateen prints for me! 🙂

And, like I’ve been saying for years, HUSQVARNA VIKING® is the best – and we’ve got even more in store for you to win next week. (Big stuff is coming!) Remember, we’re taking the weekend off so we’ll see you at noon on Monday with three more days of giveaways. Thank you for participating, and good luck!

holly jolly christmas: day 2

Congratulations to our Day 1 winner, Katalin H!

By now it should go without saying that sewing is special to me. I enjoy everything about the process, and each piece I create is special. (That’s the goal, anyway. There’s still a miss every now and then.) I admittedly suffer from “I want to make all the things” disorder, but I also don’t want to waste my time on silly little nothing projects. I want to invest my time and energy into projects that – no matter how easy or difficult they may be or how often or infrequently I wear them – become treasured pieces in my closet. Double bonus if those things also make a thoughtful gift, and that’s exactly what the project in Day 2 of this giveaway event is.

This accessory came about because I had just enough of this gorgeous emerald viscose challis left over from a previous project, and I knew exactly what to do with it: a sophisticated, chic wrap. I also knew what I needed to make it really pop, and that was black lace. Emerald and black is such a striking combination, and of all the projects you’re going to see over the course of this event, this is one of my favorites. And, it happens to be incredibly easy to sew and makes a wonderful present this season. It can easily be made in a couple of hours, and the color and trim options are endless. I’d like to make a spring version in handkerchief weight linen with white lace.

My search for the perfect black lace began and ended with M&J Trimming in New York City. This is a company whose depth of inventory will make all your rhinestone, ribbon, and ribbon dreams come true. It’s a place I love to browse when I’m looking for something to catch my eye and inspiration to strike. Sometimes, it’s something as simple as a piece of lace to make an idea a reality, and they have everything you could possibly think of in terms of trim.

M&J Trimming kindly supplied me with the lace to bring this project to life (thank you!), and they are also giving the winner of today’s giveaway a $50 gift card. That will get you a lot of crystals, you guys. And you know how I feel about crystals.

I used Vogue 9249 to make this wrap, and it’s the second item in today’s giveaway. You know that Vogue patterns are my favorite, and this is another good one. It’s a super simple pattern (it’s just rectangles, folks), but I appreciate all the ideas for appliques and trim. My rayon challis version isn’t the warmest wrap ever made, but it sure is beautiful. A soft, lightweight wool would be a wonderful option for those of you who need a little extra warmth. (It snowed here in Austin for a half hour last week and we all went a little bananas. Texas doesn’t know what to do with that kind of weather.)

I get comments and questions quite often about how I know what fabrics to choose for my projects. It’s something I think I’m generally quite good at, but I have a few textile and chemistry classes under my belt to thank for that. I also have old textbooks and reference guides in my library, which come in handy when I have a question about something or need a refresher on a particular fabric. Resources like this are invaluable, and no matter how experienced you are or how many fabrics you’ve worked with, it’s a nice thing to have. To that end, the third item in today’s giveaway is a copy of The Fashion Designer’s Textile Directory. It’s an amazing fabric guide with descriptions of fabrics and suggestions for how to use them. This is one of those books you don’t loan to friends – you may never get it back!

My friends at HUSQVARNA VIKING® are also including a few things to make projects like this easier: thread, a 5mm narrow hem foot, and knife edge applique scissors. Your life will never be the same once you have that narrow hem foot, and the duck bill scissors are pretty much the best invention ever.

The winner of today’s giveaway will receive:

  • a $50 gift card to M&J Trimming,
  • pattern Vogue 9249,
  • The Fashion Designer’s Textile Directory,
  • and an accessories pack from HUSQVARNA VIKING® that includes thread, a narrow hem foot, and knife edge applique scissors.

Thank you to Debbie and the team at M&J Trimming for the gift card, and high five to HUSQVARNA VIKING® for the accessories. I’m telling you, we have some incredible, generous companies participating in this project and I’m thrilled to have them.

For the giveaway guidelines, go here, and remember to submit your entry before 11:59PM Central Time today. Best of luck!

Finally, thank you all so very much for the response to this event so far. I’ve read all of your comments and messages, and I’m just so happy to wrap up 2017 in such a fun way. We’re just getting started – see you tomorrow!


holly jolly christmas: day 1

Today is the day! Holly Jolly Christmas has officially begun, and I can’t think of a better way to kick off this huge giveaway event. Tulle skirts have been one of my favorite things since, well, forever, and it was one of the most popular items I sold when I was in business a few years ago. I love this skirt all the time but especially for the holidays, because it’s just so dreamy and flirty and fun to wear – and I promise there’s not much else that’s more fun to dance in. (Read the tutorial for making it here.) In the tutorial I mention waiting to serge the center back seams until after the tulle has been basted to the underlining – which brings me to the first item in today’s giveaway: a serger. Yes, the incredible HUSQVARNA VIKING® H|CLASS™ 200S overlock machine! I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve talked about this thing this year, but it’s a lot. I spent a few years without a serger – and it’s totally doable – but, gosh, they sure do make your sewing life a lot easier. This serger is an absolute workhorse in my studio, and the hundreds of garments I’ve made over the years have pretty, clean seams because of this machine.

My version of a tulle skirt is simple but effective: it’s layer after layer after layer of tulle. The difference in this skirt and others you may see online is that mine is cut using 108″ wide tulle so that there’s only one seam (it accommodates the length of the skirt). When I was developing this method a few years ago, I spent a lot of time looking for 108″ tulle – and at that time it wasn’t as readily available as it is now. In my search one day, I stumbled upon Online Fabric Store. They sell, among other fabulous things, 108″ tulle by the bolt in various colors. There’s 50 yards on one bolt, so that was perfect for me because I could squeeze out at least two skirts with that much. It’s also a great amount to share with a friend or split among various projects of your own.

So, along with the H|CLASS™ 200S overlock machine, today’s winner will also receive a $100 gift card to Online Fabric Store. Between the tulle and the gorgeous home decor fabrics and the supplies available (batting, thread, foam, zippers and more) you’ll have no trouble filling that shopping cart with pretty things for new projects. They have amazing things!

The projects you’ll see during this six day event were all made using commercial patterns (two favorites, three newbies), with the exception of this tulle skirt. I drafted the pattern myself (a super easy circle skirt), and while I don’t draft patterns from scratch as much as I used to, it’s still something I do quite often – but I definitely spent a lot of time altering patterns to correct the fit or add length or change style lines. In order to do this successfully, there are a few tools I must have on hand – and the third bundle of goodies in today’s giveaway is a few of my favorite pattern drafting tools: pencils, pattern hangers, rulers, Sharpies, tape, and a hole punch. I’m especially in love with the two rulers: the 18″ straight edge (it will never break; believe me, I’ve tested more than my share of rulers over the years), and the flexible curve. I use that thing all the time to measure waistlines, necklines, and any design line with a tight curve. It’s much, much easier to use a flexible ruler in those areas than it is a straight edge.

So the winner of the Holly Jolly Day 1 giveaway will receive:

  • the H|CLASS™ 200S overlock machine from HUSQVARNA VIKING®
  • a $100 gift card to Online Fabric Store,
  • and a bundle of patternmaking supplies.

See the official rules here, and best of luck! The winner will be announced tomorrow!

Many thanks to HUSQVARNA VIKING® for the donations for this event, and special thanks to the kind folks at Online Fabric Store for the $100 gift card.