Saturday, September 26, 2009

FOUND: the cutest pupper ever

Last week as we were driving home from a Sunday outing, we saw a small yellow furball run across the road and into the woods. "It's a puppy!" And, knowing all the doggies in the neighborhood and their roaming habits, was suspicious that this little guy didn't have a home.
So, long story short, we took puppy home with us and became quite attached, as he had the coolest little personality, not to mention uncommonly beautifully eyes. Realizing I couldn't keep one more animal, I sent one of my best galpal's a quick email (and this picture). "Blond haired, blue eyed, what is Pupper Williams doing in the road? You need to come get your pupper!"
Now, this friend, the Mrs. Williams of the family, has not owned a dog since I've known her these some years, so I didn't think it would go very far.
Her response: Serious to God, you have that dog?
hmmmm, more interest than I thought...
But she is traveling. It may take a while to talk to her hubby and really consider this.
Next day: Is that guy at your house? Hubby is in!
two hours later: I'm rethinking this. I don't know about owning a dog.
thirty minutes later: I have got to have that damn dog! U still got him?
Yes, and I'm just rolling up to your house!
She is still not back from Boston, so I deliver Pupper Williams to Hubby who point at me and says "This one pulled a fast one with that email!"
Awww. How cute is this puppy? They named him Kirby and he's actually quite a dork, throwing himself headlong into unsuspecting bushes and refusing to walk on a leash.
Oh, and he has a brother....If you just really need a cutie pie.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

It's Moda Day! It's Moda Day!
This is the day I get to go to Moda's warehouse in Dallas and meet with a customer rep and push a buggy down the warehouse aisles!!! I dreamed about it last night: Wandering down aisle after aisle of fabulous fabrics. "I'll take this and this...oh, this print is so much bigger and more vibrant in person!..." Filling my cart with Tula Pink's HushaBye and Mill House Inn and Monkey fabrics just because they are there....

And, you know what? It was a LOT like that! And I saw future fabrics to come that I just stood there, tormented like I was choosing between my children. "I have GOT to have all the bird patterns! The mint, the green, the pink!" Oh, my gut aches thinking what I didn't choose even right now.
I kept telling the customer rep (the best rep ever, btw), "I'm just small potatoes. I can't buy every bit of this." But she made me feel like a princess. Like I was indeed a fabric mogul. We went through almost every aisle and , gosh, those people make pom pom dangles!
giant ric rac! zippers and threads and storage plastic things and rotary cutters and batting and they have lines of velvet home dec (who knew?). So I explain to her again that I'm just really small potatoes and my brand new company credit card is going to self destruct in my pocket as we walk you know, they offer 60 day terms? They do!
So I gotta go, me and my new best friend, the customer rep have some shopping to finish up.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Anna Maria Horner's Bo Peep Skirt

So I must admit, I have been sewing for a long time...and not very well, for a long time. I have sewn curtains and doll clothes and purses upcycled out of coats and hardware from belts and I recovered a couch! Well, I didn't know how to put in a proper zipper so I stitched up the cushions, then I ripped them out to wash them....then I never stitched them up again. But with the right amount of "merchandising" (you know where you fold the fabric to the back, place a pillow to hide a gap...) I get by fine.

I always thought it was my most practical nature that spurred me on to sew: to save the couch from the dumpster, to save money on curtains, to avoid throwing away those great clothes--yes, I even feel a pang when I give them up to Goodwill. It was probably also this trait that caused most of my frustration. Trying to buy too little fabric, not a proper trim, and really, there are a lot of bulky seams in old coats...

Now that I am surrounded by a plethora of fabric from my little fabric shop, , I have been spurred on to sew. Really ambitious things like Amy Butler's Lounge Pants from her book, In Stitches, patchwork pillows on a round pillow form from her inspiration page on her website, Anna Maria Horner's garment bag from her latest book, Seams to Me, and her Bo Peep skirt from the same. Okay, not really advanced sewing here, but, folks, it takes a little more planning than I am used to doing.

So I will post here about my progress or frustration or whatever the task brings up in me because I would like to see some improvement over the year in my skill level. I am afraid that if I don't proclaim this publicly, I might whittle away my entire shop of bolts with nothing to show for it save scraps. Then I'll only have a scrap business. And lots of lint and thread bits....

My first project I want to share is the Anna Maria Horner Bo Peep skirt. It wasn't my first project, but one of my more successful and I'm feeling good about that. So here it goes.

First of all, I intended to read all of the first five chapters which covers tools, spaces, notions, pattern terminology, bias tape making, and choosing different types of fabrics. It's a really pretty book, sort of vintage-y feel of antique yardsticks and patchwork quilts, yummy feast for the eyes. And lots of good, in depth information. I did thumb through all of it.

Now, on to the pattern: I had just gotten in a bolt of Joel Dewberry's Antler Damask in Celadon. It had been backordered for months so I was thrilled to have it and wanted to make something to showcase it. I started making a tote. A rectangular tote. But I wanted to cry with boredom and I had just cut the pieces out. So I look thru the book and come across the bo peep skirt for little girls. Now earlier that day, I had been junktique-ing at one of my favorite haunts and came across these great victorian bloomers or nickers --- long ruffley white pants with lace insets and pleating and beautiful details. Should have taken a picture. Anyway, these reminded of the skirt. And I thought(rationalized) that while the nickers probably shouldn't happen in public on a grown women, somehow, the skirt with ruffles was a compromise.

First, cut rectangles based on your waist size and the length you want. Ruffles and trim cut out. Easy, done. Roll hem on ruffles, done. Gather the ruffles, got it. Now you figure out where you want the ruffles and baste them on the side panel. Hmmm. I thought you might do the ruffle trim first. As a matter of fact, I did that already. I have attached the ruffle trim to the ruffle and then I want to attach it to the side panels. Oh well. It works. And now I am so excited with the ruffle detail that I am deflated to see and try to make sense of "with the wrong
sides together" and "with the Italicright sides together..." Breathing in, breathing out, I try to picture why I would sew wrong sides together. At this point, still so stoked about the ruffle detail, I abandon the book and finish the skirt as I can make sense of it. I had to take up a bit of fabric in the waist (yes, now I see that she was trying to teach me French seams). And since I loved the longer length, I added a waist band piece to save the below knee length.

Pretty easy. Love the skirt. A little disappointed I didn't calm down enough to trudge thru all of the seams twice over. That is the point of these lessons after all. But here it is, and my favorite middle daughter modeling it for me. Deep Bo Peep curtsy to you all.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Thistle Hill Fabrics Update

O my, Lots of news! What came this week for Thistle Hill Fabric shop:Jennifer Paganelli's Zebra print in brown! Heather Bailey's Pop Garden Pop Daisy in Red! I didn't think I was getting these! Yes, yes, released earlier in the year, but new to me! And I don't think the world's had quite enough Pop Garden and Zebra.
And....Heather Ross' Far Far Away by Kokka: Unicorns, frog princes, princesses and cute! In double gauze which was new to me, too and I had to learn about how it is especially soft and light weight and this was a big factor to Heather Ross when she decided to design something for Kokka, a Japanese fabric line. No, the US manufacturers aren't making this type of fabric...yet. Here's a link with more info about double gauze:
Oh such a busy week for a fabric junky!
And...I got an email from my rep that Amy Butler is releasing her new line....LOVE!Actually it will be ready in December, but I got a peek! Really fun with a new color palette for her. I guess you'll just have to wait... a little while longer.
So more stuff to come shortly. More inventory means less room in my studio, thus, I'm destashing with a $5.00/yd section in my store. Be sure to check it out. Beautiful premium designer quilting weight fabric!