For years before I became an official brand ambassador for HUSQVARNA VIKING® I was already spreading the word about this brand and telling anyone with an interest in sewing about everything it has to offer. So this past year as an official ambassador has been very special to me, and I’m very thankful for the opportunity to share my love of this brand with you. In 2017, I took four machines for a test drive, visited the headquarters in Nashville, partnered on a huge holiday giveaway event, and I’ve refined my own skills as a seamstress. It’s been immensely rewarding, and I think it’s quite appropriate that we capped off the year with DESIGNER EPIC™ sewing and embroidery machine. I remember when this machine made its debut a couple years ago. I was totally floored by it, and for good reason. With over 1200 stitches, more than 650 embroidery designs, an enormous tablet-like touch screen, built-in tutorials, WiFi connectivity, a larger sewing area with bright LED lights, and a fully automatic needle threader, this sewing and embroidery machine will absolutely spoil you rotten.
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I took this picture shortly after I turned the machine on for the first time. (And, side note, it plays a little song when the home screen comes on. It’s the cutest thing ever.) There was a brief moment when I wondered how I would even begin to navigate the screen, but you don’t even need a crash course to figure it out. If you’re even remotely familiar with a smart phone, you’ll have no trouble getting the hang of this. It’s so easy!
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Yesterday, I highlighted the embroidered jacket project I made on the DESIGNER EPIC™. Not only did I use the DESIGNER EPIC™ for the embroidery, but most of the designs on the jacket itself come from the machine too (651 designs come with it). I didn’t download anything from online – there’s plenty to choose from on the machine. That project was one of those “I pretty much know what I want this to look like, but I’m also kind of, sort of winging it” situations, so I actually embroidered one of the pieces twice when I saw there was lots of blank space that could be filled. I picked the designs from the EPIC (not the computer, ignore me when I say that), duplicated them, spaced them according to the size of the yoke piece, and embroidered them after I’d already done the chain stitch. The back yoke piece ended up being one of my favorite things about the jacket. It’s so interesting – and perfectly straight!
The really crazy thing about the DESIGNER EPIC™ is that through the mySewnet™ services cloud
you can access embroideries from multiple devices, including your computer or tablet or phone and even the DESIGNER EPIC™. The free mySewMonitor app sends you real time updates to your phone. So while you’re working on something else as the embroidery hums away in the background, you’ll get a notification to your phone when it’s time for a thread change or when the embroidery is finished. If you needed further proof that it’s 2017 and technology is crazy awesome this is it.
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Embroidery is just one of two things the DESIGNER EPIC™ is exceptionally good at, and the other is sewing – of course. After I embroidered this jacket I thought, “Okay, great, this embroidery is so awesome that I’ll just use the EPIC for embroidery” but this machine does everything with such precision and ease that to not take advantage of how beautifully it sews everything would just be silly. I absolutely want to make a leather handbag now!
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In a time of high tech gadgets (and sewing machines) and all the conveniences they bring, I still appreciate packaging and old school thoughtfulness. The DESIGNER EPIC™ is in a class by itself in terms of modern technology and sewing and embroidery capabilities, but it also comes with a canvas machine cover and a canvas suitcase for the embroidery unit. I wish I’d gotten my reaction on video when I unboxed all this. I mean, a machine of this quality should come with things like this, but that doesn’t make it any less cool in the moment. And, quite frankly, I’ve always wondered how/where to store embroidery units when they’re not in use but you want them easily accessible. Well, this is it.
In just about every HUSQVARNA VIKING® I’ve written this year, I’ve wrapped it up by encouraging you to familiarize yourself with the brand and visit a local dealer – most of which are in JOANN stores. I’m going to do the same thing today, because purchasing a sewing machine is no small thing. It takes research and thought, and seeing things in person and being able to do a little sewing for yourself before buying a machine is a huge benefit.
I always have been and always will be a cheerleader for HUSQVARNA VIKING®, and it’s been an absolute pleasure to shout from the rooftops how wonderful this brand is this year. I know this series has encouraged many of you to purchase new machines, and I’m very humbled by that – and I hope it continues!
Happy New Year!
At the HUSQVARNA VIKING® headquarters in Nashville, June 2017. <3
Endings are always bittersweet, and the big finale of this giveaway project is no exception. The sweet part, however, is only because I’m super excited to take a nap and relax for a couple days. Otherwise, I’m so not ready to see this come to a close. What fun it’s been! I have to say, too, that the fun really started a couple months ago when this idea first came up. Figuring out how to structure this thing, scheduling it, reaching out to brands, planning and making all the projects – that was nothing but a good time. I wish we could have done more!
For this last day of the Holly Jolly Christmas Giveaway event, we’re pulling out all the stops. There’s a very Christmas-y finale dress (ooh-la-la), a little sparkle (of course), a JOANN gift card (who doesn’t need one of those?), and a one-year subscription to Threads magazine (because learning is important).
Wait, I think I’m forgetting something . . . oh, yes, that’s right, today’s winner is getting a sewing machine! (I’m sorry, I just had to keep the suspense going a little longer!) HUSQVARNA VIKING® is giving one lucky sewist a brand new TRIBUTE 145M Anniversary Sewing Machine. I am absolutely thrilled that today’s winner is getting this machine. To really bring things full circle, I’ll tell you this: I entered a contest hosted by HUSQVARNA VIKING® a few years ago and won. And what did I win? The 140th Anniversary Tribute sewing machine. So, to whoever wins today: we’ll be sewing machine twins!
Here’s mine, sitting next to my H|CLASS™ 200S overlock machine:
This is a fantastic machine, and it can sew anything under the sun. I refer to mine as my “workhorse” machine, because I’ve really put it to the test over the years. Name the fabric and that machine has sewn it – and with ease. I sew all of my sequin and tulle garments on it, and I trust it to sew leather and thick denim too. No doubt this 145th Anniversary version is just as reliable, and it comes with a few bonus presser feet (gathering foot, clear piping foot, and the braiding foot – all helpful).
For today’s post, I wanted a finale dress that was both special enough to be considered a finale dress but also still my style. A few months ago, I found this delicious rayon/nylon blend ponte knit at JOANN. I’ve used the same fabric for previous projects and raved about it, so when I saw it in this rich, deep Kelly green I had to have it. I had no idea at the time what I would make with it, but I loved the color instantly. Fast forward to December and the finale dress I needed. I wanted something that was floor length with a mermaid style skirt, and it had to have sleeves. Enter, McCall’s 6886 for what is now the fifth time (see version one here and versions 2-4 here). Because I wanted a mermaid style skirt, I knew I could achieve the look simply by adding a circle skirt to the bottom of the dress. I was just careful to watch the proportions and make sure I didn’t make it too long or too short.
Today’s winner will also receive a $50 gift card to JOANN.
The beaded leaf appliques are from Britex Fabrics in San Francisco. I got them in July and, again, I was just waiting for the right project to fall into place. Without them, the dress is well fitting and pretty but a little dull. I like the placement of that detail because it highlights some curves in a very sophisticated, mature way, and it draws the eye up. The appliques are attached to the dress by hand. I absolutely love this dress, but I might remove the mermaid skirt eventually so I can get more wear out of it. Or, I might be able to just shorten it to ankle length. Either way, without the floor length skirt it’s instantly appropriate for a lot more occasions – and those gorgeous appliques need to be seen!
The last goody in this giveaway is yet another item that is not only exceptionally useful but also special to me. In college, one of my professors gave me a subscription to Threads magazine, and I’ve read it ever since. We live in a world of internet personalities and wannabes posing as experts – so information is readily available, but it’s not always the right information. Threads is not only the premier resource for how to do things the right way, but it’s also a consistently inspiring magazine to read. I particularly enjoy the tips from readers. I’ve picked up a number of helpful hints in that section. Today’s winner will receive a one-year subscription to Threads magazine.
My favorite professor (the same professor who gave me the Threads subscription) gave me a few boxes of her Threads magazine catalog a couple years ago, and they are now part of my cherished sewing library. She had not only read each one but made notes in the articles and tabbed helpful information. Some of the issues are from the 90s so the styling and fashion trends reflect that, but the information is no less helpful and inspiring.
A few of the issues from my professor’s stash:
The winner of today’s giveaway will receive:
Thank you all so very much for participating in this giveaway event. I’ll be back tomorrow to announce the winner of today’s giveaway along with a little recap and a look ahead and what’s coming up next week. I’m so excited about everything you’ve won, and I hope you enjoy it for a long, long time. Remember, get your entries in before 11:59PM central time today.
Congratulations to our day 3 winner, Cate R.!
On this 4th day of the Holly Jolly Christmas Giveaway event, you’re going to learn a couple things about me. (Also, another amazing giveaway is happening, yes!) The first thing you should know is that I have only three things in black: a vintage Calvin Klein wool blazer with a beaded shawl collar (it’s pretty spectacular), a basic cotton cardigan, and my new tulle skirt. That’s it, no dresses or skirts or blouses or pants. I know it wouldn’t be a bad idea to add a few black items to my closet, but the color just doesn’t inspire me. For me, navy is much better alternative, and on top of that: how am I supposed to get excited about making anything in boring black when we are completely surrounded by such stunning colors?!
For as long as I can remember, my mom has been telling me that red is a good color for me. For about as long, though, I was all “red is too bold!” and “where will I ever wear anything red?” and “I can’t pull it off.” Fast forward to the holiday season of 2017 and I want all the red things. And one thing you learn pretty quick when you’re making your own clothes and then taking pictures in said clothes is what colors work for you and what colors you should stop wearing immediately. Things I’ve learned this year? I need more things in deep, rich green, white does absolutely nothing for me, and my mom was right. Red is pretty alright. So the lesson here is that you should always listen to your mama.
This is my second version of Vintage Vogue 8789, and my fabric is a poly/Lycra blend red floral satin from Promenade Fine Fabrics in New Orleans. All I can is this: favorite dress of the year. The funny part about that is that my second favorite dress of the year was also made with fabric from Promenade. (You’ll see more about my favorites in my “hits and misses” round up soon.)
I found Promenade Fine Fabrics a couple years ago, and in that time I’ve not only bought some incredibly pretty fabrics, but I’ve gotten to know the owner, Cole. He has gone above and beyond, taking my orders over the phone, shipping things to me quickly, emailing me right away. This is a guy who not only understands the business and consistently stocks the best quality, most stunning fabrics, but is truly invested in his customers and loves to see them happy. As a former small business owner myself, I know what the grind is like and I appreciate the hustle. When I was putting this giveaway event together a couple months ago, Promenade was my first call – and the winner of today’s giveaway will receive a $100 gift card to Promenade Fine Fabrics.
Today (and tomorrow and Wednesday, for that matter) are a big deal in terms of the giveaway. I wanted to include as many companies that mean something to me as I could in this event, and that, without question, includes JOANN Fabrics & Crafts. We all shop there, right?! Going to JOANN is one of those errands I actually look forward to and enjoy. I like to go in the morning with a cup of coffee and thumb through the pattern catalogs, browse the fabrics, and stock up on notions and supplies. It’s the best. And, as you know, lots of HUSQVARNA VIKING® dealers are located in JOANN stores, so this was a great fit. JOANN has kindly given us a $50 gift card to send to today’s giveaway winner!
And, I just have to say, on a personal note, this is extra special for me. When I started studying fashion design in college I worked at our local JOANN. I lived in Phoenix at the time and our store was one of the older, smaller shops that eventually closed after a newer, bigger store was built. (My button stash officially began when I got hundreds of buttons on closeout sale when we were closing that store.) I absolutely loved that job, and the memories of going to classes during the day and working there at night are some of the best and most meaningful to me, because it was the beginning of my sewing and design journey. So this is a big time full circle moment, and I’m just really, really happy to have JOANN on board for this event.
The winner of Day 4 of a Holly Jolly Christmas Giveaway will receive: