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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.

 


a holly jolly christmas

I love this time of year. The music, the colors, the lights – it’s all so inspiring and uplifting. I have the best time decorating our house and planning holiday meals for the Christmas season – and I also love any excuse to sew something fancy and get dressed up. If ever you needed a reason to wear an enormous tulle skirt and a glitzy sequin top without people wondering what costume party you were headed to, this season is it.

I’ve had more fun sewing Christmas projects this year than I ever have before. This is partly because that’s just where my mind is right now (sequins! red! Christmas plaid! green!) and partly because – as some of you know – we’re remodeling the entire first floor of the house we bought in August so there will be no Christmas tree or decorations or big holiday meal here this year. (We have no walls or cabinets or floors – it’s wild.) It’s a bummer, but I’ve poured all of the energy that I would have used decorating our house into another project – and I think you’re really going to like it.

2017 was my first full year blogging. As with most things, it took some time to find my voice in the sewing community and figure out what my contributions could be. It’s been the best kind of challenge, and I have loved every minute (and I can’t wait for next year!). I cannot put into words how rewarding this journey has been so far, and I am truly humbled by the opportunities that came my way this year – the biggest one being a brand ambassador for HUSQVARNA VIKING®. (You can read about how that came about in this post from February.)

We’ve had so much fun this year, and we wanted to celebrate the holiday season with you. So, HUSQVARNA VIKING® and I have partnered to bring you a huge giveaway event. And if HUSQVARNA VIKING® is involved, you know what that means: notions, supplies, embroidery goodies, and yes, machines! And, in addition to everything from HUSQVARNA VIKING®, we’ve got loads of other goodies from some of my favorite brands, including McCall Pattern Company, Threads Magazine, Promenade Fabrics, M&J Trimming, Online Fabrics Store, and Fashion Fabrics Club – and that’s in addition to books and supplies and software and tools and other accessories. There’s tons of good stuff, you guys.

This is a six-day event, and the fun gets going on Wednesday, the 13th. Each day will feature a new project to inspire your holiday sewing, and there will be a daily giveaway package for one, randomly selected, US-based winner. (I’m so sorry to all you cute Aussies and Canadians – silly legal things keep this one on American soil. Fingers crossed for an international giveaway in the future.) Look for a new post at noon (central time) each day, and enter to win the giveaway right here on the blog. There’s no messing about on a bunch of different websites or social media accounts. Just come here and enter. You have until midnight each day to submit your entry, and we’ll announce the winner the following day.

Here’s the schedule:

Wednesday, December 13th: ‘Tis the Season

Thursday, December 14th: Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Friday, December 15th: Jingle Bells

Monday, December 18th: Holiday Gala

Tuesday, December 19th: A Merry Little Christmas

Wednesday, December 20th: Presents Under the Tree

I’m so excited about this, and I can’t wait to watch you guys win some truly incredible prizes. See you Wednesday!