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Meet Sewing Entrepreneur Emily Thompson from Life Sew Savory

Meet Sewing Entrepreneur Emily Thompson from Life Sew Savory

Meet Sewing Entrepreneur Emily Thompson in this week’s episode of the Style Blues Podcast!

Meet Emily Thompson, Successful Sewing Entrepreneur|chambraybluesblog|chambrayblues.com
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Life Sew Savory

 

I love interviewing people with successful sewing businesses. It’s very inspirational to find out how they got started and what has made them successful. I have known Emily for several years, and it’s been fun to see how her business has grown.

Emily Thompson is the owner and creator of Life Sew Savory.  Since 2010 Life Sew Savory has been bringing you sewing inspiration, recipes and free pdf patterns to make sewing fun. In addition to running her website, Emily also loves hanging out with her three kids and husband, enjoying biking, hiking, swimming and traveling. She loves to exercise, read and have coffee with friends when she has time. Emily had been featured on the PBS Television show It’s So Easy, and has her own weekly sewing Facebook Live show @Lifesewsavory every Wednesday at 3pm EST.

Emily creates a lot of her own knitwear patterns for women and children, and is a brand ambassador for Brother Sewing Machines.

Show Notes and Questions;

  1. What made you want to learn to sew?
  2. Who taught you to sew?
  3. How did you learn to make your own patterns? Do you draft? Drape? Design in Adobe Illustrator?
  4. Which patterns have been your most successful?
  5. What patterns would you recommend for beginner sewers?
  6. Where do you get your fabric from? Sincerely Riley.com where you can purchase boxes of knit fabrics such as sweater knits for $3-4.00 per yard.
  7. What’s in the future for your sewing business?
  8. Is there a technique or sewing skill you have yet to master? See the Clear elastic serger hack on You Tube
  9. Where can people find you on social media? You can find Emily on Facebook and Instagram

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If you like this post try some of these other posts:

7 Reasons Why the Big 4 Sewing Pattern Companies Don’t Want You to Stop Pattern Hoarding

Style Blues: Sewing a Clutch with Your Cricut Maker

How to Have a Sewing Portfolio: Interview with Candice Ayala

Sewing Rainwear, What You Need to Know for Success

How to Triumph Over Your Unfinished Sewing Projects

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7 Reasons Why the Big 4 Sewing Pattern Companies Don’t Want You to Stop Pattern Hoarding

7 Reasons Why the Big 4 Sewing Pattern Companies Don’t Want You to Stop Pattern Hoarding

In this Episode of the Style Blues Podcast, we are talking about Sewing Pattern Hoarding. Here’s why the Big 4 don’t want you to stop your hoarding habit!

Why they want you to keep hoarding patterns|Chambraybluesblog|chambrayblues.com
How big is your sewing pattern stash?

Why the Big 4 Sewing Pattern Companies Don’t Want You to Stop Hoarding

We all love a good sewing pattern sale, I love them as much as anyone else. Here’s why pattern companies don’t want you to stop hoarding their sewing patterns.

 

Welcome back to the podcast! I have been sick for over a week, and I apologize in advance for my gravelly voice. But I am really passionate about today’s topic and I can’t wait to share my observations with you.

The question I want you to answer is “How many of the big 4 pattern company sewing patterns do you own?” Do you have a binder full? A Box full? A Room full? Maybe you don’t even know how many you have. Perhaps you have taken place in the pattern destashing I have been organizing my sewing room this month, and I recently went through all of my patterns. I have about 50 of them, almost all of them were purchased in the last year. I have used many of them, but there are just as many that are unused and I will probably never use.

 

Lately, I have noticed a trend in the sewing groups on Facebook, for pattern sale announcements. One person posts that the fabric store is having a .99 cent sale, and everyone else runs out and purchases a cart load of patterns. The next week it’s the craft store that’s having the sale so everyone does the same thing again. Then we all post pictures of our “pattern haul” online.

 

I came across a posting in Facebook marketplace recently from a lady who was selling a collection of 425 patterns spanning decades of about 30 years. It was a good deal for $75.00 and for a brief moment I actually considered purchasing it. Who in the world has room to store 425 patterns? How could you possibly keep them organized? Wouldn’t they get full of bugs and mildew??

 

Personally, I have purchased too many sewing patterns already and I don’t have that many. The madness has to stop.

 

But I will not do that anymore. This is real life. I have been thinking through why in the world the pattern companies would mark down their product so drastically that we all run out and buy boat loads of patterns we may never use. In this day and age when fewer women sew than ever before, why would they do such a thing? It seems as if we are slaves to the pattern companies in a massive unhealthy manner. Why?

 

Pattern companies don’t want you to stop your hoarding habit

1. They are creating a buying FRENZY by the excitement of the seasonal pattern launch: New patterns are released several times each year. By creating these super sales, manufacturers have us running into the store to buy their new designs. It is a buying FRENZY and they love it!

 

2. They are still making money, even if the patterns only cost $.99. Patterns are after all, just paper. By mass printing more and more the cost of each becomes less and less. By selling them as cheap as possible, they are selling more than ever. Obviously, the pattern company is still making a small profit with this technique or they wouldn’t be doing it.

3. McCalls, Butterick, Simplicity and Vogue Need the Business: The Big 4 pattern companies as they are called, are actually two companies now. They have consolidated because the apparel sewing business isn’t a good as it used to be. I think mainly this is due to the entire sewing industry is shifting as we begin to purchase more and more pdf patterns from independent designers. For the first time they are up  against real competition that they haven’t ever had before. Bloggers with YouTube channels, Indie pattern designers have left the pattern companies scrambling to change with the times.

 

What They Don’t Want You to Know

4.They don’t want you to know that you are buying the same patterns over and over. Having worked in the apparel industry, I can tell you this secret. The patterns that you keep buying are actually the SAME PATTERN. How does this work? When I worked as an assistant designer for a lingerie company in Chicago, it was my job to make the first patterns. The designer would make a sketch of a garment, and it was my job to make the pattern for it so it could be cut out of fabric and sewn into the first sample garment for fitting. In design school they teach you to begin with a pattern sloper, that is a basic style which you then alter and create any additional styles. This is rather time consuming. But large companies don’t have to do that. They already have many years worth of patterns sitting in the back stockroom. So, all I had to do was find the style that was the closest to the one that the designer wanted and change it. I would go find pattern XYZ and copy it. Then I would change the neck or sleeve and we would have our new style, ABC. That’s how it works, you are essentially buying the same pattern with a different sleeve, neck or hem over and over again. The pattern companies don’t want you to know that it would be bad for business.

5. Pattern companies want you to rely on them. They want you to think that you need more patterns. This is not true. If you have a small amount of basic styles to work with, you can sew just about anything. Look for a basic pattern sloper that you can make to your size. Then, you can change it into whatever style you are looking for. Way back when, women knew how to do this. Women were not pattern hoarders, even though the made all of their own clothes. They learned dress making techniques from their mothers and grandmothers. They didn’t need a lot of sewing patterns because they knew how to make their own.

I am not saying that if you have never sewn before in your life you won’t need a sewing pattern. This is not true. I am saying that if you already own 425 patterns in your stash you should take the time to learn how to alter the pattern to your needs and free yourself from the Pattern Hoarding mentality.

Some great fitting patterns to use are:

M7279 a basic dress pattern with darts

M7352 a basic princess seam dress

M6361 a basic pant and skirt

M2718 a basic dress to be used with gingham or plaids

M5894 Jeans

These are McCalls patterns that I own, each pattern company should have a similar basic fitting pattern. Choose the company that is closest to your body measurements and stick with it. I have some upcoming workshops to help you in this process, if you are interested just send me an email at Jessica@chambrayblues.com with the words “Fitting workshop” in the subject line and I will keep you posted on the upcoming event.

6. Runway looks yield big business with designer patterns. I love watching Vogue patterns on Instagram, they take runway looks created by professional designers and make similar knock off pattern styles that we run out and buy. Last year it was Meegan Markle and the Royal Wedding, we were all chasing after styles worn by the royals to the epic events. The thing is, you can make your own patterns, using what you already own without buying all the new patterns all the time. Depending on where you are with your sewing skill level, you can create these looks easier than you think.  Take the time to learn some basic fitting and pattern making techniques. Read some books, watch some YouTube videos, experiment and practice. I will help you with this journey. It’s not to say that you can’t go out and buy your favorite design inspired pattern once in a while because I do this too. I am just saying that you don’t need to buy every single new pattern that comes out each season. I happen to be partial to the Vogue patterns designed by Badgley Mischka. I have a number of these patterns, there is something different about the way they look and the way they are constructed. He designs things in a way I never would have thought to things. Every time there is a new pattern release of his, I am very tempted to run out and buy it. But, I know that since I don’t hoard patterns at any other time, a little indulgence now and then is okay.

7. Pattern companies want you to think that you need to buy more patterns to become a better sewer. This is a huge misconception. They start you out with easy and basic patterns, they the add the average construction and finally the advance or expert category. The expectation is that you will buy from each category as you become a more experienced sewist.

The Hoarding Solution

Not many of us follow all the rules all of the time. Once we have a taste for basic sewing and what we can accomplish, there should be no stopping us. Expertise comes from practice and patience, not from having dozens of patterns in your stash. You can do more than you think with less mental clutter. You can accomplish more sewing than you imagine but if you never try you will never really know. How many of us have bought a pattern we just love, only to open it up and read the complicated construction directions and then become completely deflated in defeat before we even begin sewing? I have done this myself. I can’t tell you how many times I have noticed mistakes and unnecessary steps in commercial sewing patterns.

When I was a student at the Fashion Institute of Technology, on my first day of sewing class we were going to make a basic blouse. The pattern was button front with long sleeves, with a two piece collar and button cuffs. I had considerable sewing experience before I was a student, I had never sewn a complex tailored shirt before and I was a bit intimidated by the class on my first day. The first thing our professor asked us to do was to take out the pattern directions, write our name on them and hand them in.

After he collected the papers he announced:

“Now we can finally learn to sew.”

I was devastated. It felt like my security blanket was just ripped away from me. How was I supposed to learn to sew without the directions???? You know what? He was absolutely right. I learned to sew and have never forgotten. I am not confused or swayed by any pattern directions or techniques because I know how to put things together without them. It is LIBERATING. In apparel manufacturing, they don’t have sewing directions in the sweatshops. They pump out hundreds or thousands of garments a day. You can make professional looking garments without any help from the commercial pattern companies.

We would love to know your feedback on this episode! It may ruffle some feathers in the sewing community. Let me know how you are doing with your pattern hoarding or If you are interested in joining my fitting workshop, send me an email to Jessica@chambrayblues.com with FITTING WORKSHOP in the subject line and I will make you get notifications for future events.

As always please leave me a review on Itunes, it helps me get more guest to interview as well as sponsors so I can continue to help you fix your Style Blues!

Until next time!

 

 

 

 

If you like this post try some of these other posts:

Style Blues Podcast

Style Blues: Sewing a Clutch with Your Cricut Maker

Basic Sewing Terminology, What You Need to Know to Start

The History of Sewing, How We Got Where We are Today

The Tale of the Seamstress

How to Have a Sewing Portfolio: Interview with Candice Ayala

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Style Blues: Sewing a Clutch with Your Cricut Maker

Style Blues: Sewing a Clutch with Your Cricut Maker

Sew a Clutch with strap with the help of your Cricut Maker! The Maker uses a Simplicity Pattern for this adorable project!

Sewing a Clutch with Strap|Chambray Blues Blog|chambrayblues.com
You can make this cute bag with your Cricut Maker.

 

Sewing a Clutch with Strap

Welcome to Season 2 of the Podcast! I am excited to be back! I have a ton of great things planned for this podcast. I had to take a break from podcasting last fall. We were traveling so much, doing construction on our house, and it just wasn’t conducive to podcasting. It has now been about a year since I started my Chambray Blues blog, and it’s been a great journey. One of the things that I never expected to happen was to have a corporate sponsor to work with on the blog. Cricut has been such a great partner in my blog this last year and I am excited to announce that they are the sponsor of today’s podcast!

 

The Cricut Maker has become an integral part of my sewing room. A year ago, I had never use a Cricut, and I had no idea what I was missing. Now, I cannot imagine how I got along without it! There are so many things it can do that make sewing so much easier and less stressful! Don’t even get me started on the crafting projects, because we could talk about that all day. I love that they have hundreds of projects to choose from already on their website, and I don’t have to design things from scratch all the time.

 

My partnership with Cricut has very rewarding, they have been a great sponsor of my blog, and I just love the versatility of the Cricut Maker. Cricut has a partnership with Simplicity Sewing Patterns and there are a number of patterns in Cricut Design Space that can be downloaded directly to the Cricut Maker. This fabric Clutch with a shoulder strap is one of the Simplicity patterns.

Sewing a Clutch with Strap|Chambray Blues Blog|chambrayblues.com
This clutch makes a great gift, or a fabulous accessory to your handmade outfit!

Walking Through the Clutch Project

I thought I would walk you step by step through cutting and sewing a complete project with the Cricut, so you can understand how it all works. You can create a free account at Cricut.com. “Design Space” as it is called has many free projects, some are subscription with a monthly fee, and you can also pay for a specific project if you choose. This particular Clutch Sewing Pattern is $4.99. I think that’s a bargain considering how much time it saves. Think about it, there are no tissue pages to cut out by hand (does anyone else hate cutting these out?), iron and layout on your fabric, etc. Especially if you are a beginner sewer, using the Cricut can make things much less confusing!

The Simplicity patterns are individually priced, but you have lifetime access to them afterwards.

 

Here’s the link to the Clutch with Strap project on the Cricut website.

 

Once your in Design Space you can start a new project by clicking the plus sign in the left corner. Then search for Clutch with Strap or Simplicity patterns, and you will find the project.

•The first thing I like to do is read through all the cutting directions, so I know exactly what the project involves. Then scroll down to the bottom of the screen and there will be a link in green to the specific sewing directions pdf document, which I print out to have ready for construction.

•Cricut has laid out the project for you step by step, it will tell you how much fabric you will need, and any additional supplies. Recommend fabrics for this project are heavier in nature, including cotton denim, pinwale corduroy, and cotton Duck.

Sewing a Clutch with Strap|Chambray Blues Blog|chambrayblues.com
Pocket detail, I love contrasting pink pockets with the hot pink zipper!

Supplies Needed (affiliate links included for your convenience I will receive a small commission from your purchase at no additional charge to you, thank you for your support!):

Cricut Maker with Rotary cutting blade

Cricut Washable Fabric Pen

12′ x 24″ Fabric Grip Mat

½ yard of 3 different fabrics, 45” wide (my fabrics are Waverly from Walmart)

¼ yard of contrasting fabric, 45” wide (Waverly from Walmart)

½ yard of lightweight fusible interfacing (Pellon Craft Fuse)

Additional Supplies:

Thread

12” Zipper (I used a Jelly Zipper cut to length)

Magnetic snap

⅝” D-Rings (2 of them)

⅜” Rivets (2)

Swivel Hooks (2 for ½” strap)

35” x 1” length of leather like material for strap

Heavy duty sewing machine and needle

Heavy duty sewing thread

 

Envelope Clutch with Zipper

 

The first step is to cut the fabrics to size, according to the directions and put them on the 12 x 24” fabric grip mat. It is important that the grain of the fabric go longways on the cutting mat. Press your fabric first if needed, and place it face down on the mat, adhere to the mat with a bayer to be sure there are no wrinkles.

Select the “Make it” button in Design Space. You will have to select your machine, the Maker from the top menu on the screen. Then follow the prompts to start the Cricut Maker, insert the mat and cut each piece of fabric as directed. When the pieces are cut, remove them from the cutting mat and scrap it clean away any threads with the plastic scraper tool.

Next cut the interfacing, lining and any additional pieces of fabric as per Cricut directions.This project has an Interlining and an Interfacing. What’s the difference between the two? The purpose of interfacing is to stabilize and strengthen the fashion fabric. The Interlining basically covers the back of the fabric/interfacing and is essentially lining the inside of the bag.

Time to sew!

Sewing Directions:

1. Fuse interlining to bag front and back sections. Fold 1/4″ seam under top edge of contrasting band. Stitch lower contrasting band in place, stitch again 1/4″ away from first line of stitching.

2. Insert the small tab piece into the D-ring, baste ends together. I forgot to do this, don’t loose these pieces they are small!

3. Apply the magnetic snap to the bag as directed, stitch tabs in place at sides of bag.

4.Fuse interfacing to the pockets (there are two). Fold over, stitch with right sides together with 1/4″ seam allowance. Leave an opening to turn right side out along the bottom edge. Trim corners, turn right side out. Hand sew bottom opening closed.Press.

5. Apply pockets to bag lining, matching marks made on back of fabric with the Cricut fabric pen.Stitch along edges.

6. Install zipper along top edge of right side of printed fabric, with zipper face down. Stitch close to edge of zipper teeth. You may need to trim the zipper length, it should be 1/4″ longer than the length of the bag between the two marked dots. Whip stitch across zipper teeth before cutting off the ends of the zipper.

7. Sew the lining (right side) of the bag to the wrong side of the zipper, through all thicknesses, enclosing the zipper tape between the outside of the bag and the lining using a zipper foot. Apply bag back and lining to the other half of the zipper stitching 1/4″ from upper edge in the same manner.

8. Press zipper teeth toward the bag front and back lining sections, opening out fabric lining. Press. Line up raw edges with right sides together and stitch around the perimeter of the bag, leaving an opening to turn bag to right side at bottom of lining.

9. Turn bag right side out, press. Slip stitch opening in the lining closed. Attach zipper pull if using a separating zipper. Push lining down into bag, close zipper and press.

10. Fold the strap in half lengthwise, stitch along both edges with 1/4″ seam allowance.

11. Wrap ends around swivel hooks, mark placement and pound rivet in place (I sewed mine in place). Attach strap to D-rings on bag when finished.

sew a clutch with zipper|chambraybluesblog|chambrayblues.com
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That’s it! By marking and cutting the project with the Cricut Maker, it moves along so much faster. This project would make a nice gift for a friend, or to match a handmade dress for a special occasion. Thank you to Cricut for Sponsoring this post!

Before you go, I saved the best for last! Cricut has given a special discount for my readers! This discount is not available anywhere else, be sure to take advantage of it!

 

Use the code STYLEBLUES to get 10% off your purchase at Cricut.com. (The discount excludes machines, Cricut Access subscriptions and Digital Images. The cart sub total needs to be greater then $50 for the discount to be activated.)

 

I appreciate your listening to this podcast! Leave me a review on Itunes to help me get more sponsors, and don’t forget to share this podcast with a friend!

Be sure to check out these other posts:

Cricut Easy Press Gadgets Explained for the Non-Crafter

Make a Chill’n Cricut T-Shirt Collection with #YogaLife

15 FAQ You Always Wanted to Know About the Cricut Maker

How to Make a Recycled Denim Ruffled Purse with Cricut and Simplicity

Super Simplicity Bow Tie with Cricut Maker

 

 

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How to Have a Sewing Portfolio: Interview with Candice Ayala

Do you have a place to host all your sewing projects, connect with other influencers and brand partners? Sewing Portfolios is exactly what you need to fill the void! In this episode we talk with Candice Ayala from Sewing Portfolios.com.

Interview with Candice Ayala|Chambraybluesblog|chambrayblues.com

Welcome back to the podcast! I have a treat for you today. My special guest is an amazing business woman. She has found a huge need in the marketplace for connecting influencers who sew with brand partners. Sewing Portfolios is a way to showcase your work and find connections for sponsored posts, collaborations and other sewing business related relationships.

Sewing Portfolios|chambraybluesblog|Chambrayblues.com

 

 

  1. Tell us a bit about what inspired you to create Sewingportfolios.com? Are you a sewer?
  2. Can you give us some examples of how Sewing Portfolios has worked with influencers who sew?
  3. What are some brand partners that you have worked with?
  4. How does one become a member of Sewing Portfolios?Do you work with specific types of influencers like bloggers, Instagrammers, You Tubers?
  5. What’s in the future for Sewing Portfolios? I just saw your new Look Book and it is great!
  6. I would love to see a conference where brands and influencers can connect, is that a possibility?
  7. How can people connect with you? What’s your favorite form of social media?

Thanks so much for being here and sharing your story! Here’s how you can connect with Candice:

Website: SewingPortfolios.com

Twitter @sewingportfolio

Instagram @sewing portfolios

Facebook: Sewing Portfolios

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Sewing Rainwear, What You Need to Know for Success

Sewing Rainwear, What You Need to Know for Success

In this week’s podcast, we talk about sewing rainwear and what you need to know to get the job done.

Sewing Rainwear, What You Need to Know for Success|Chambray Blues blog|www.chambrayblues.com

The Ins and Outs of Sewing Rainwear

I decided it would be fun to try something completely different from my usual sewing projects. With the rainy season here, I decided on sewing a raincoat.

There are several different types of fabric you can use for rain wear, either waterproof or water resistant. They are not the same thing. Waterproof fabrics do not allow any water penetration, verses water resistant fabrics that just repel some of the water.

To achieve truly waterproof fabric requires two or three layers within the fabric. The material, and an inner layer or layers are bonded together, usually by a high tech process called Ultrasonic welding.

Ultrasonic welding is achieved by multiple panel edges are carefully aligned together, pressed, then fused together with high levels of ultrasonic sound waves.  The energy from these sound waves is transformed into heat, which permanently bonds the two panels together (usually containing a thermoplastic material), making the two or more panels into one solid panel, with no holes whatsoever.  This type of machine is expensive, the technicians that run them are also more expensive than an average garment worker, and the material cost is reflected in this technology. This is where science and technology have changed so much in the sewing world. The result is a completely waterproof fabric that is also breathable due to the inner layers.

I couldn’t wait to try this out! Who ever thought that sewing was boring??? Fabrics that use this type of technology are 2 or 3 ply Ultra-Tex, SWB-Tex, Hyro-Shield Ripstop, and Storm Fit.

For water resistant fabrics, fabrics are woven together very tightly, water molecules are small and can filter through the fibers because it doesn’t have a backing. Light rainfall cannot pass through these tiny pores since rain drops aren’t always that big, but high water pressure from a constant downpour or submersion will cause water to find its way through the fibers.

Fabrics that are water resistant are coated Taslan, Microsuede Polyester, coated Taffeta, ripstop, Silkara, Weather Max-65 and Ten Mile Cloth.

For my project I purchased two different fabrics, the water resistant 2 ply Ultra-Tex and a soft silky water resistant Silkara for a second project.

Supplies and Resources:

Fabric sources for rainwear fabric and supplies such as grippers, waterproofing tape and buttons can be purchased at: Seattle Fabrics, Fabrics.com, LA Finchfabrics.com, Moodfabrics.com.

    1. a gabardine or twill fabric and add waterproofing after the garment is sewn instead. Can’t use fusible interfacing, it doesn’t stick to Gorex or fabrics that have a rubberized backing.
    2. Alterations to fit, lengthen the pattern. Easy to fit a dolman sleeve.
    3. Simple is easier, don’t add the fine details if you are not comfortable with them.
    4. Cutting and sewing a lining. Slippery stuff! So hard to cut! Use pattern weights and very sharp pins and scissors.
    5. Buttons vs. Grippers: Gripper snaps are easier to install but can cause tears in the fabric unless it’s interfaced. Use a good quality denim gripper for best results.Rainwear sewing techniques, waterproof fabrics are a little different animal. Can’t rip out stitches because the needle leaves holes. Can’t pin either for the same reason. Can use

    Waterproof Fabric Tips

    1. Waterproof fabrics require special care when cutting. You can’t use pins because they put holes in the fabric. Also, fabrics such as Gortex has the heavy backing which is very thick and pins won’t poke through it. You will need to use pattern weights, and lots of them when laying out the pattern to cut.
    2. Fusible interfacing doesn’t work with this type of fabric. I tried ironing some on at low heat (so the fabric doesn’t melt), and though it seemed like it was working the glue did not hold in the long run. Use a sew in interfacing instead for this project.
    3. A walking foot is essential for sewing this “sticky” fabric. One side of the fabric is slick, the other sticks like glue to everything. It gets stuck under the presser foot and doesn’t move as you are sewing. If you don’t have a walking foot, you could try using a piece of freezer paper under the presser foot to help it slide under the presser foot.
    4. A sharp needle is a must. I used a size 14 all purpose needle for this project.
    5. Good quality thread makes a huge difference, Gutterman thread was recommended by the fabric supplier and that’s what I used. Fabric was purchased from Seattle Fabrics.com.
    6. Making buttonholes was challenging. The pattern had buttons and snaps as options, I decided on buttons because they were easy to find. I think snaps would have worked better because the button holer kept sticking to the fabric as I mentioned above and was very cumbersome to use. I made several mistakes with my buttonholes, and I just have to live with how they turned out.
    7. You can’t rip out stitches with this type of fabric because it leaves holes. You only get one chance to do it right, and for the same reasons Gortex is just difficult to work with.

    Waver Jacket Pattern Review

    I have not sewn with many pdf patterns, as I usually just stick with one of the name brands. This pdf was overall well designed, but I spotted a couple of things that could have made this project turn out so much better.

    1. The Center front wasn’t cut on the straight grain: This may seem like a small detail, but this one change could have made this coat so much better. Grain line placement makes a huge difference in how the finished coat hangs. As you can see from my photos, the coat appears to have too much fullness at center front, and hides the buttons when hanging. This is because the marked grain line was at an angle to the center front, generally a no-no in the design world. Particularly with center front button plackets, the front grain must be cut on the straight grain for the best result. I knew I should have changed it when I cut it, but for some reason I didn’t. Live and learn from my mistake!
    2. Pocket placement could be better: The pockets are way to close to the center front. I did alter the pattern and added extra fullness at the side seam. The pockets should have been moved at least 2″ closer to the side seam.
    3. Lining hem could be longer: Most quality coats have what is called a jump hem. That is, a hem that has 1/2″ or more extra length in the lining so that when you move your arms and shoulders the extra length keeps the hem hanging straight and doesn’t pull up as you move. This coat was not designed this way and I discovered too late that the hem pulls up in an unattractive manor when moving about. If I make it again, I will add extra 1″ of length to the lining. For now, I stitched the hem of the lining independently from the jacket, allowing the extra movement that is needed.

    Overall this was a challenging project. The fabric I chose was not easy to work with, but I am still pleased with it. My purpose in making this jacket was to have something to wear for walking outside and working in the yard on wet days. The jacket serves it’s purpose even though it isn’t as perfect as I would like. The color alone makes me happy every time I put it on.

    See the full sewing tutorial here.

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How to Triumph Over Your Unfinished Sewing Projects

How to Triumph Over Your Unfinished Sewing Projects

We all have sewing projects we haven’t finished lurking in our closet. This week on the podcast we talk about how to work through the tough projects and finish them!

Finish Your Sewing Projects|Chambray Blues|chambrayblues.com
We all have unfinished projects, here’s how to finish them!

 

Sewing Unfinished Projects

There are three projects sitting on my sewing table that I have been avoiding. One is frustrating because I don’t have the right equipment to sew it quickly. The second is not fitting properly, the third one I hate the pattern that I am using. What to do? Here are ways you can get through the project when the going gets tough!

  1. Go through your stack and reevaluate why the project is unfinished. Sometimes things sit for so long we forget what the problem was in the first place. Make a note of what needs to be done on a sticky note and store the project in a large size plastic baggie with all of the pattern pieces, notions and supplies. Attach the note to the bag and set it aside. Do this for all your unfinished projects.
  2. Line up your unfinished projects with the easiest one first. Make a commitment to finishing one project per week or month as you can. Try to finish all those projects first before starting new ones.
  3. Evaluate your frustration with the project. Did it not fit well? Perhaps you can read some books on fit, take a class or consult with someone else to figure out how to fix it. Don’t be afraid to post a photo in the Chambray Blues group, we can help evaluate the problem.
  4. If your project stalled because of a sewing machine issue, take your machine in for repairs. A good cleaning can solve a host of problems. Bring a sample of the fabric and stitch you were using to show the repair technician. Often they can help you decide how to correct a wonky seam.
  5. Was the fabric not ideally suited to the project? Sometimes we don’t always get it right on the first try. If it was a large dollar investment, you have to evaluate whether or not it’s worth continuing. Perhaps it would be easier to repurpose the fabric into something else instead of trying to continue with a frustrating project. Repurchase a different fabric and try again.
  6. Was your garment cut off grain? This is a popular problem that even experienced sewers can make. Off grain pattern pieces will never hang straight. Buy more fabric and recut if necessary.
  7. Was the pattern construction hard to follow? Many times I have been stuck on a pattern with poorly written instructions or unclear drawings. You can purchase another pattern with similar design and look at how they wrote the instructions. Sometimes I read directions for patterns in the fabric store that I don’t even buy. A different point of view can make the light bulb go on in evaluating how to fix it. Going to the shopping mall and looking for construction ideas also can be helpful. Find a similar garment in the store and turn it inside out to see how it’s constructed. Most commercially produced garments are far simpler than the ones designed by pattern companies. Take pictures with your cell phone of seams and finishes so you can refer to them later. You can even try the garment on to Compare fit. I keep a tape measure in my purse to measure garments in the store that fit me well. You can change your pattern and sewing directions to work through your frustration.
  8. Do you have too many sewing commitments? Are there a dozen people bugging you to sew for them? Learn to say no to people that want to take advantage of your skills for free. Suggest they learn to sew themselves. Give back the unfinished projects you have already collected, tell the owner you simply don’t have time to finish them.
  9. Make note of how much time you have already invested in your project. Is it worth it to invest more time to finish it? Sometimes it’s freeing to add the whole works to the scrap pile and count it as a learning experience. Feel free to move on to a new project with a clear state of mind if it seems like it’s already been a waste of effort. We all have been there at one point or another, don’t let this keep you from starting something new.

How to Triumph Over Your Unfinished Sewing Projects|Chambray Blues|Chambrayblues.com

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Meet Mimi Goodwin, Successful Sewing Entrepreneur

001: Interview with Melissa Viscount of Silhouette School Blog

Basic Sewing Terminology, What You Need to Know to Start

The History of Sewing, How We Got Where We are Today

The Tale of the Seamstress

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Meet Mimi Goodwin, Successful Sewing Entrepreneur

Meet Mimi Goodwin, Successful Sewing Entrepreneur


Download this episode here!

Recently I had an opportunity to chat with Mimi Goodwin of Mimi G Style. She is an inspiration to so many women, listen to her amazing success story!

Intro: I met Mimi at a business Conference a few years ago. Love her unique sense of style! I’ve been following her ever since. Mimi is a huge influencer in the sewing, fashion and lifestyle niche. She is very accomplished with her tutorials, online courses, and her partnership with Simplicity patterns. I had asked her a bit about how she works with Simplicity and we will learn more about that in today’s episode among other topics. Mimi has been through a lot in her life, she’s been on her own since she was 15 years old. She’s got an amazing story to share, from being a victim of abuse, becoming homeless, and struggling as a single mom. Her great sense of style and business savvy has made her the successful entrepreneur she is today.

I am incredibly excited to have her with me on the podcast!

Mimi’s bio: Award winning trending Expert Mimi G. is Editor-in-chief of the outrageously popular Fashion, Lifestyle, and DIY blog, MimiGStyle.com, as well as the Mimi G Style YouTube Channel, which houses tutorials, fashion and beauty tips, health and fitness videos, product reviews and more.

Her axiom, “Buy It, Make It, Mix It, Rock It!”, is the mantra for her fully engaged daily followers, as well as industry professionals. Garnering thousands of “new followers” by the day, Mimi G has quickly become an International fashion icon, influencer, role model, and an “in demand” speaker and panel member at blogging conferences across the country. Mimi G has also developed her own line of products ranging from ready to wear collections to commercial sewing patterns. She was recently featured on Project Runway Junior alongside Tim Gunn on Lifetime TV, has won numerous awards including Best Shopping Inspiration by InStyle Magazine and Best Latina Blogger.

Mimi G is a contributing designer to Simplicity Patterns and has a number of online sewing courses. Her YouTube Channel,  blog, Instagram and FB are followed by thousands of people. Mimi also has her own style conference. Mimi is a wife and mom who loves to sew and create for real life curvy women.

  1. How did you first learn to sew?
  2. What motivated you to start your blog?
  3. What do you think was the most instrumental thing that you did to grow your blog/sewing business?
  4. How did you become a Simplicity Pattern designer?
  5. Tell me about your new adventure with Sew It Academy and the Kids Sewing Classes that you offer.
  6. I noticed that you have also started a ready to wear division. Tell us about how that began and what your future plans are.
  7. What is your favorite sewing pattern(s) you have designed?
  8. What do you do when you are not sewing?

 

Where is the best place for people to connect with you online?

Find Mimi on Twitter

Find Mimi on FB

Find Mimi on Pinterest

Find Mimi on Instagram

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The History of Sewing, How We Got Where We are Today

The History of Sewing, How We Got Where We are Today


Download this episode here!

In this episode of the Style Blues Podcast, I talk a bit about the history of sewing, the beginning of the big pattern companies and how we got to where we are today. It wasn’t that long ago that everyone sewed. Over the last 30 years things have changed, here’s what happened.

Show Notes:

The History of Sewing

Let’s learn a bit about the history of sewing, how did we get where we are today?

Abbreviated History of Sewing as per Wikipedia:

 

  • The Industrial Revolution shifted the production of textiles from the household to the mills. In the early decades of the Industrial Revolution, the machinery produced whole cloth. The world’s first sewing machine was patented in 1790 by Thomas Saint. By the early 1840s, other early sewing machines began to appear.
  • By the 1850s, Isaac Singer developed the first sewing machines that could operate quickly and accurately and surpass the productivity of a seamstress or tailor sewing by hand.While much clothing was still produced at home by female members of the family, more and more ready-made clothes for the middle classes were being produced with sewing machines. Textile sweatshops full of poorly paid sewing machine operators grew into entire business districts in large cities like London and New York City. To further support the industry, piece work was done for little money by women living in slums. Needlework was one of the few occupations considered acceptable for women, but it did not pay a living wage. Women doing piece work from home often worked 14-hour days to earn enough to support themselves, sometimes by renting sewing machines that they could not afford to buy.
  • Fine quality Tailors became associated with higher-end clothing during this period. In London, this status grew out of the dandy trend of the early 19th century, when new tailor shops were established around Savile Row. These shops acquired a reputation for sewing high-quality handmade clothing tailored to one’s particular fit needs.
  • Sewing underwent further developments during the 20th century. As sewing machines became more affordable to the working class, demand for sewing patterns grew. Women had become accustomed to seeing the latest fashions in periodicals during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, increasing demand for sewing patterns even more. American tailor and manufacturer Ebenezer Butterick met the demand with paper patterns that could be traced and used by home sewers. The patterns, sold in small packets, became wildly popular. Several pattern companies soon established themselves. Women’s magazines also carried sewing patterns, and continued to do so for much of the 20th century. This practice declined during the later decades of the 20th century, when ready-made clothing became a necessity as women joined the paid workforce in larger numbers, leaving them with less time to sew, if indeed they had an interest.

One of my friends who is a bit older than I am was telling me that when she was in high school everyone made their own clothes. This was probably in the 1960’s. When I was in middle school in the 1970’s, I was the only kid who made her own clothes. Many of us learned to sew from our mothers but many of us have not had the opportunity to learn from anyone. You can learn to sew and I can help you succeed!

Growing up, I️ always wondered how home sewing was so different from commercial sewing. You would think they are the same but they aren’t. Mass produced garments are sewn by the thousand and use piece work technology to put them together. Garments are completely sewn in minutes, not hours. Commercial sewing patterns have been the same since the 1950s when clothing was produced on a much smaller scale, but the home sewing industry largely hasn’t changed since then. Today we have downloadable pdf patterns and many independent designers that are changing the home sewing industry.

Sew Along with Me!

Sew Along Masterclass 2018, going on now on the Chambray Blues Facebook page.

12 projects using easy commercial patterns, one each month

Video Tutorials, FB live sessions, plus question and answer

Closed group, only open for a limited time

Access to professional designer

Help choosing fabrics, notions, cutting, altering and sewing

Join the fun!

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The Tale of the Seamstress

The Tale of the Seamstress

The latest episode of my podcast is now available! We will talk a bit about my childhood seamstress, blogging, sewing and how it all got started.

The Tale of the Seamstress|Chambray blues blog|www.chambrayblues.com

I am not very good about sharing personal stories. I love to read other people’s stories, but for some reason it always seems less important that I share my own story. In this episode of the Style Blues podcast, I talk a bit about how I learned to sew and what inspired me to go to design school. Perhaps listening my blog story will inspire someone else!

Show Notes:

Intro

Blogging history and story behind my lifestyle blog Designers Sweet Spot.

Your 10 Biggest Sewing Mistakes

  1. Not pre-washing your fabric first
  2. Not believing in yourself, it’s not rocket science
  3. Buying the wrong size pattern
  4. Not measuring correctly
  5. Not making pattern adjustments
  6. Not placing the grainline correctly
  7. Using the wrong type of fabric for the pattern.
  8. Using a machine that hasn’t been serviced
  9. Using the wrong needle
  10. Using the wrong thread

Don’t forget to Pin this for later!

 

 

 

 

 

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Interview with Melissa Viscount of Silhouette School Blog

Interview with Melissa Viscount of Silhouette School Blog

Meet Melissa Viscount of Silhouette School Blog! Learn how she built her business with this amazing computer aided design tool.

Download this episode here!

The Style Blues Podcast is finally here! The first episode is now live!

Chambrayblues.com/stylebluespodcast/episode001
Episode 001

 

Meet my friend Melissa Viscount

It’s exciting to be publishing my first podcast episode! I met Melissa Viscount a few years ago at a blogging conference. Her story is amazing, and I hope you will be as inspired as I am! Be sure to leave us a review on Itunes, or on Stitcher if you are an Android user. Don’t forget to share this episode with a friend!


Show Notes:

Interviews are Inspiring:

One of the things I wanted to accomplish with this podcast is to inspire you with interviews of people who have been successful in their sewing related businesses. As creative people, sometimes we think too narrow when it comes to business and making money from what we love.

Using a computer aided design tool is one great way to make your sewing business into something that will make you money. These computerized tools, such as the Silhouette machine are changing the industry in that you can now make quality custom appliques or other items from home with relatively little investment. When I first heard about the Silhouette a few years ago I had no idea what I could use something like that for. I had a blogger friend who told me about “Silhouette School” and I thought she was talking about an actual school in Chicago. Haha! Now, I see Silhouette projects all over the internet!

Just to be clear, “Silhouette School” is not an actual school or place, it’s the name of Melissa Viscount’s blog. Melissa has been very successful in teaching others how to use their Silhouette machines. When I was making a list of potential people with successful businesses to interview for this podcast, Melissa was at the very top of my list. She has really inspired me and I hope you will enjoy listening to how she built her online business around what she loves to do.

So without further ado, here’s the interview:

Talking with Melissa Viscount:

Thank you for joining me today Melissa!

Questions:

Did you ever imagine that your Silhouette machine would change your life?

  1. For those who are not familiar with the Silhouette machine, can you tell us a bit about How the Silhouette machine works? Can you design your own cuts/stencils?
  2. Are available designs copyrighted for home or commercial use?
  3. What are the file types for? Example SVG, DXF, PNG, and EPS
  4. Can designs be scaled for childrens, adult clothing?
  5. Quilting patterns?
  6. Cutting other materials besides vinyl or fabric, wood or metal?
  7. What other things do people use the machine for?

 

What are some of your favorite projects that people have created with Silhouette School?

I understand that your husband works with you full time, how does that work? Boss lady and Bob? Love your #bosslady hashtag!

Tell me about your Silhouette conference? Is it just in Atlanta or other areas?

Where can people find you online, social media?

www.silhouetteschoolblog.com (blog)

www.silhouetteu.com (membership site)

www.ultimatesilhouetteguide.com (books)

www.sofontsy.com (design and font market)

Inspiration for Your Business:

Wow, was she inspiring or what? I just loved hearing her story and I am so thrilled she shared it with us. The potential for having the ability to create your own customized designs is huge. There are unlimited ways to use computerized tools like this in a home based business. Not sure if you caught her mention the gal that paid off her house by designing custom wooden hanger labels for brides? Wow! That is so amazing!

It’s interesting to me that Melissa’s niche is really in education. She mentioned that she doesn’t really do project tutorials but rather focuses on teaching others how to use their Silhouette machines. I think education is so important, sharing your knowledge can make a world of difference to someone else that may be struggling. Melissa does such a great job of that. I also find it fascinating that she is successful on a global scale. People around the world have read her Ebooks and applied her knowledge their businesses wherever they may live.

That’s all for today, thank you so much for listening! I will have more interviews coming up in the next few weeks. I hope you are inspired by today’s episode, I know I certainly was.

Learn More About Melissa:

Melissa Viscount is a Full time blogger at Silhouette School Blog.com and her new site, So Fontsy. Melissa is a wife, mom and author of 10 books on using the Silhouette Machine.

Melissa Viscount launched Silhouette School exactly 4 years ago on a whim after receiving a Silhouette Portrait from her husband for Christmas 2013. Since then more than 35 Million readers have enjoyed her more than 1000 free tutorials on how to use the Silhouette cutting machines, Silhouette Studio software, and accessories, techniques, and tools.  Due to demand from her very loyal readers, Melissa released her first ebook, The Ultimate Silhouette Guide, three years – and now 11 books ago. More than 80,000 copies of her guides – covering topics from Silhouette for business owners to designing in and mastering Silhouette Studio – have been sold since. Many are now sold with the Silhouette machine bundles. In June 2016 – Melissa’s husband, Bob, left his full time job in pharmaceuticals to join her full-time and take over the business side of their quickly growing Silhouette School brand. Shortly after, they launched their premium membership website Silhouette U – which – as of today – has nearly 5,000 active members. Just last week, they expanded their business again with the launch of So Fontsy – a commercial use design and font marketplace geared toward die cut crafters.

It’s amazing that Melissa has not only enjoyed blogging about Silhouette, but her expertise in the crafting industry has made her a sought after Silhouette (and blogging) instructor – having taught hundreds of crafters and fellow bloggers nationwide. She’s also served as a consultant to well established brands and well known brands in this craft industry – or those trying to tap into it.

She has been honored to be the keynote speaker at multiple craft and Silhouette conferences across the country including being invited back multiple times to the All Things Silhouette Conferences.

You can find out even more about Melissa by clicking on the links below:

www.silhouetteschoolblog.com (blog)

www.silhouetteu.com (membership site)

www.ultimatesilhouetteguide.com (books)

www.sofontsy.com (design and font market)

Style Blues Podcast Ep.001|ChambrayBluesBlog|Chambrayblues.com

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If you have questions about this episode contact us at info@chambrayblues.com.

 

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