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holly jolly christmas: day 6

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:

  • The TRIBUTE 145M sewing machine from HUSQVARNA VIKING®,
  • a $50 gift card to JOANN, 
  • and a one-year subscription to Threads magazine.

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.

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.