Archive for the ‘Sewy’

A List of Handmade Marketplaces

Mar 20

Here’s a random list of handmade marketplaces online I’ve been compiling for awhile. Perhaps they will provide artisans some options and/or give shoppers more places to shop!

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FOTD: Hawaiian Print Fabrics

Dec 23

Fabric of the Day: Hawaiian Print Fabrics

Hawaiian Print Fabrics

Left to Right: Trendtex Fabrics BG-004, Trendtex Fabrics BD-014R, Unmarked. The last fabric did not have a marking on the selvedge.

My mom and brother just got back from a fabulous Hawaii trip! They picked out the fabrics themselves and brought it all the way back to NY. The fabric was purchased at what they describe as a “huge fabric warehouse filled with giant spools of fabric” in Maui. I believe it’s this place:

Fabric Mart Maui
55 E Kaahumanu Ave Ste D
Kahului, HI 96732
(808) 871-5770
http://www.fmart.com/

❤ Thanks Mom and De!

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Your First Sewing Machine – For Under $200!

Oct 17

Usha Butterfly Sewing Machine by Usha, India
Usha Butterfly by Usha, India

What do you look for in a Sewing Machine?
Especially your very first adult sewing machine? Style? Cost? Features? I struggled with my first machine because I didn’t want to invest too much as a beginner. I just needed something to tinker with… Taking sewing classes to start is smart because you can learn and try out machines at the same time. But what about when you’re ready to buy?

I didn’t want to spend too much yet I still wanted the best machine I could find for my purpose. Basic yet versatile, so I could easily try whatever type of sewing struck my interest. Well-built so I could sew comfortably and for many projects to come. And lastly, something I wouldn’t outgrow too fast.

How much would that cost? What options were available? What’s a good value for the price? There’s lots of options, it’s hard to know where to begin. So here’s what I found during my research. Whatever your budget or purpose, hopefully this list will help you research and find just the right one. It’s a comprehensive list of home sewing machine manufacturers and the factors I used to narrow down options. You can get a decent well-built machine ranging from $70 – $160!

Sewing Machine Brands in Other Countries
Elna, Switzerland Website
Baby Lock, Juki, Japan Website
Consew, USA Website
Feiyue, China Website
John Lewis, UK Website
Kenmore, USA Website
Necchi, Italy Website
Usha, India Website
Yamata, China Website
Toyota, Japan Website
Merry Lock, Taiwan Website
Michley Tivax, USA Website

Sewing Machine Brands in North America
Singer, USA Website
Janome, Japan Website
Brother, Japan Website
Bernina, Switzerland Website
Husqvarna Viking, Sweden Website
Pfaff, Germany Website
Juki, Japan Website
Ikea, Sweden Website

IKEA SY Sewing Machine by Ikea, Sweden, $69.99
Ikea SY, $69.99
Singer Promise 1409, $91.99
Singer Promise 1409, $91.99

❤ Price/Cost
$200 or below. Entry-level beginner machines usually range from $100- $499. To be honest, I wanted to see if I could get away with a kids’ hobby sewing machine for $100 or less but I found a vintage machine for $25 and went with that to start instead.

Under $100 can get your kid a great first sewing machine or budding home sewer their very own machine to experiment on. Affordable enough to take the plunge, plus it’s cute! It can even get the savvy crafter a very functional sewing machine that will serve them well.

Under $200 is generous enough to cover crafties like myself who need a solid basic they can rely on and grow with who doesn’t want to invest in the holy grail of sewing machines yet until they find what kind of sewing they’d like to focus on most!

$499 can buy a machine that can handle the seriously savvy or creatively crafty mom who not only sews for their pleasure but can double as a tailor, halloween costume maker, throw pillow/curtain/tablecloth maker and casual accessories designer/etsy shop owner on the side.

It’s a strict budget but it’s realistic. It can buy a trusty sewing machine that can both perform all the essentials and grow with you at the same time. Great for the dabbler, great for the serious kid learner, crafty mom, or for an adult learner like me who wants to gradually try it all.

Vintage Singer Treadle 66, $25
Vintage Singer Treadle 66, $25
Singer Fashionmate 7256, $160
Singer Fashionmate 7256, $160

❤ Features & Options
Straight Stitch, Back Stitch, and Zig Zag Stitch are all I needed. They are also the 3 most basic and most essential stitches needed for all beginning to intermediate sewers. Every modern sewing machine comes standard with these stitches.

Removable Sewing Bed. Hemming pant legs or sewing cuffs? Working with sleeves or skirts? Anything tubular where you will have to sew around the edge of a ring is difficult without this feature. The base of the sewing machine will pop out revealing an arm-type base. You should be able to slip a sleeve or pant leg on there and sew it around. Not all modern sewing machines come with this feature.

Foot Pedal Operated. Every modern sewing machine comes standard with foot pedal operation. Vintage machines do not though. They can come with anything from a knee pedal to a hand crank.

Sewing Feet and Bobbin Winders. Like detachable feet for Zipper or Button-hole makers, and Bobbin Winders. Bobbin Winders and Zipper Feet usually come standard with modern machines.

Reliable Stitch Length/Tension Control. Adjustable Tension Control is also standard among all sewing machines. Being able to control how tight your stitches are is handy for basting and working with different textiles. A machine that can do this reliably and accurately is important and not all machines can promise this.

Durability. How long the machine will last, if the feed dogs can reliably feed different textiles through, and how accurate the stitches are are what make a sewing machine reliable and durable to me. Perhaps if it can sustain long periods of accurate sewing at its maximum speed is also a factor.

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Sewing in Afghanistan

Aug 17

Woman and child sewing together. Kyrgyz lands of the Wakhan Corridor, Afghanistan. Photo by Cedric Houin - National Geographic Traveler 2012 Photo Contest Winner
Woman and child sewing together in a yurt in the Kyrgyz lands.
Wakhan Corridor, Afghanistan.

Above is the winning picture for the National Geographic Traveler – 2012 Photo Contest by Cedric Houin. This captivating photo first drew me in by its strong sense of place. A snap in a moment of time, present day, yet so far away as to seem ancient. Then I noticed the remarkable textiles and cultural garb and then the antique sewing machine. And then best of all – she’s sewing!!! A fellow modern day sewer worlds away in a completely different context yet not so different. Novel!

This image was shot in the Kyrgyz lands of the Wakhan Corridor. The intimacy of this everyday life moment, shot inside of a family yurt, is in total contrast with the harsh environment these nomadic tribes live in. On the right we notice a television and a sound console. These tribes live weeks away from any village by foot. In spite of being located at an altitude of 4,300 meters in one of the most remote areas of Afghanistan they are equipped with solar panels, satellite dishes and cellphones. Ancestral ways of living, with touches of modernity. –Photo and Caption by Cedric Houin

National Geographic contributing photographer Alexandra Avakian, one of this year’s judges, shares her thoughts on the first place winner:

I’ve slept in the guest yurt of Kyrgyz nomads in remote mountains while on assignment for Elle magazine; the location is hard to reach and off the beaten path for most travelers, and therefore of educational as well as aesthetic value.

Morondava , Madagascar. Photo by Ken Thorne
Baobab Trees, Morondava, Madagascar. Photo by Ken Thorne

This year the National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest had over 12,000 entries of daily life from 152 countries and the photos are always breathtakingly stunning. From a moment in time at the ends of the earth to extraordinary landscapes, the transportive images are unforgettable. Winners receive awards from trips to prize money and of course get to share a slice of their beautiful culture, land, or just a snapshot of their travels. National Geographic also provides these awesomely beautiful photos in high-resolution wallpapers for your desktop, iphone, or ipad!

Via http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2189479/National-Geographic-reveal-winners-2012-Photo-Contest.html
Via http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/traveler-magazine/photo-contest/2012/

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Thimble Blossoms Quilt Patterns

Jun 17

Thimble Blossoms Booth at Quilt Market 2012Look at these wall to wall gorgeous quilts by Thimble Blossoms!!! ❤ ❤ ❤

I love the designs, textures, color schemes… And especially the unique modern vintage style of each. It’s quaint and nostalgic but fresh and contemporary. Borderline hipstery, folk hipstery!

And very “decoratable”! The designs are unique yet versatile enough to fit a variety of home decorating and interior styles! Hooray!

Left: Quilts shown Flower Girl, Spool, Dilly Dally, Hopscotch at the Thimble Blossoms booth, Quilt Market 2012.

Thimble Blossoms is designed by Camille Roskelley who is a 5th generation quilter. I discovered her mom’s a quilt designer too and I can see where Thimble Blossoms got their design chops! I also love her fabric range that she designs with her mother, Bonnie, for Moda! (Love Moda!) Here are just a few of my fave quilt patterns from both Thimble Blossoms and Cotton Way, Camille’s mom’s pattern designs.

#142 Swoon by Thimble Blossoms #152 Dilly Dally by Thimble Blossoms #149 Hopscotch by Thimble Blossoms

Swoon, Dilly Dally, & Hopscotch
Quilt Pattern Designs by Camille Roskelley
All patterns $7.95

Sweet Pea by Cotton Way Peppermint Pizzaz by Cotton Way Sherbet Stars by Cotton Way

Sweet Pea, Peppermint Pizzaz, & Sherbet Stars
Quilt Pattern Designs by Bonnie Olaveson
All patterns $9.00

Simplify Quilt Patterns by Camille RoskelleyCamille also has a cute quilt pattern book out! I checked it out on Amazon and it has a lot of quilting basics and tips and tricks for quilting! It includes patterns for quilts and pillows and according to the reviews is great for beginner quilters! It uses pre-cut fabric packs like jelly rolls etc which takes a lot of the cutting out from the quilting process.

Book $15.85

Where To Buy
Thimble Blossoms Shop http://thimbleblossoms.bigcartel.com/
Cotton Way Shop http://www.cottonway.com/zencart/
Bonnie & Camille’s Fabric @ Fat Quarter Shop http://www.fatquartershop.com/
Book by Camille Roskelley on Amazon Simplify: Quilts for the Modern Home

Swoon Quilt Pattern by Camille Roskelley Spools Quilt Pattern by Camille Roskelley
Swoon” and “Spools“, my two fave patterns!

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Etsy or Regretsy? Not So Handmade Markets!

Jun 02

Robot Time Square
Robots in Times Square also sold on Etsy from Regretsy.com

When Etsy first hit the scene circa 2005 or so, I remember where I was, what I was doing, and who I was talking to about it. Melodramatic, yes, but it was a big deal for me back then (as a tech professional, indie shopper, and crafter) and quite the nifty concept. An online market with a focus on handmade, quality handmades. What set it apart for me was that it not only gave everyone access to local handmades but it in turn gave handicrafts and handmades a better reputation. It wasn’t that long ago that the majority of handmades had a bad connotation for being shoddy and unskilled. You’d have to wade through so much bad to get to one decent, it just wasn’t worth it. It used to be only those in the creative or artist communities knew where to look for and how to spot the truly exquisite things.

To put it ironically, Etsy brought handmades to the mass market! It blew up into what it is today, a widely popular online shop where independent crafters can easily sell their wares. Simply register and start posting up your stuff. Fees, if any, were nominal. No need to set up shopping carts or payment systems. Or know much about webpages and websites. It was easy and accessible. It was a DIY business for DIY crafts that gave you access to a wide global audience.

For shoppers, it was a hub to find wonderful new artists and their fresh wares connecting an average shopper to an artisanal community they may not have found if not for Etsy. It brought say Brooklyn local to the web. You no longer had to live or shop in Brooklyn to get a taste of the wares it had to offer. It gave shoppers from all over the world the opportunity to shop similar experiences and at much more affordable prices too since the cost of setting up shop was low.

It grew so popular that Etsy Labs, a subsequent Etsy Craft School of sorts, and its collab with 3rd Ward emerged and echoed its dedication towards handmades. Etsy brought the handmade market to the forefront on the internet for many crafters and helped ring in a new era for handmades and DIY.

So, what happened?

These days Etsy is far from strictly handmades and independent artisans. It’s overrun with resellers who claim their item is handmade when it blatantly does not look handmade and can be bought in bulk from wholesaler websites! Or is ripped off from another website and passed off as their own work. It’s now a free for all marketplace not much different than Ebay. Except worse. It runs under the guise of being a handmade marketplace. Whereas Ebay makes no secret that it’s an open free for all marketplace period.

Even worse, Etsy censors comments and feedback that “call out” a shop owner who tries to pass off someone else’s work as their own personal work! That shop remains up and running, passing off those same goods, while the commentor is either banned or kicked off.

Someone’s pulling the old “switcheroo” as they say.

Etsy not only claims to be a handmades-only marketplace but a patron of sorts for the handmade arts. Yet we see examples like the above. To me as a consumer, it’s all misleading. Kind of like someone trying to pass off gold-plated for solid gold.

To artisan crafters and shop owners, it under cuts their sales and bottom line. Who can compete with mass-made items being sold for a fraction of the cost? I, as a consumer, may think why pay more for that handmade when this handmade is cheaper? It’s also sleazy to pose as an artisan when you are clearly not.

In the end, it’s just plain wrong for a shop/owner to make false claims whether it be about it being handcrafted or eco-friendly. And it’s doubly wrong for Etsy to allow it especially if they are well aware of it. And let’s face it, if there’s nothing genuine about the handmades themselves or the marketplace that features them, then where is the value in that? (more…)

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21 Free Quilt Patterns Spring 2012

May 19

Every single quilt pattern below is FREE from Art Gallery Fabrics. And is just a few of many other free quilt patterns they have. The skill level varies greatly but the patterns aren’t really marked. So if you’re a beginner quilter, try gauging how difficult a pattern is by looking at the intricacy of the pattern. Does it contain a lot of complex shapes? How many different shape variations are contained in the one quilt? Some easy ones are “Dream of a Garden” and “Posh Flowers”.

Art Gallery Fabrics - Alhambra Quilt Art Gallery Fabrics - Quiltology Quilt Art Gallery Fabrics - Sanctuary Quilt Art Gallery Fabrics - Jewels Blue Quilt Art Gallery Fabrics - Kaleidoscopic Quilt Art Gallery Fabrics - Love Freedom Quilt

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Pattern: Saddle Bag

May 09

Saddle Bag Pattern by Pat BravoThis pattern is available for FREE from Art Gallery Fabrics. I found it while browsing all their lovely fabrics. It’s a really cute bag and the pattern is pretty simple! Available for download in PDF format, the pattern includes easy to follow illustrated instructions and real size templates that you can use to cut your pattern out.

Art Gallery Fabrics

Saddle Bag Pattern by Pat Bravo
Finished Size: 9.5″ x 6.5” not including straps

Notes:
They also have a whole page of other really cute free sewing patterns that they designed! And also a ton of FREE QUILT PATTERNS that are really good ones! Post about free quilting patterns from Art Gallery Fabrics coming soon.

Switch out the above fabric combination for something more subtle and versatile. Perhaps try a corduroy.

I plan to make this bag out of denim! I have a lot of old denim sitting around that I’ll probably never wear (or fit in) again! Le sigh. So in an effort to make lemonade out of a sour situation I plan to re-purpose that denim for pieces to make this bag. Possibly in a patchwork denim style. The strap will definitely include patches of different kinds of denim. Perhaps the body of the bag too. Great for odd shaped pieces too. Stitch those together free-form quilt-style to make a larger piece of fabric to work with. Then use this fabric to cut the pattern out as is to form some great irregular designs!

If using a heavy weight fabric like denim, skip the interfacing and just follow the directions as is.

Recycle your old clothing, linens, scrap materials etc. This is the perfect project for it. It doesn’t need large swaths of fabric, so it can be a great way to make use of scrap fabric.

I also like this pattern because I wanted to make a toddler or baby purse and was hoping to translate the pattern to a smaller scale for a cute little girlie purse! Or perhaps enlarge the pattern for a larger adult messenger-style purse.

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My Singer Fashion Mate 7256

May 04

Singer Fashion Mate 7256

I have two sewing machines now! Here’s my new Singer Fashion Mate 7256 !! It’s my first modern sewing machine and will be my main machine for as many years of sewing as I can squeeze out of it. As the name suggest this machine is great for Dressmaking or Fashion Sewing. Which is just what I needed. My vintage Singer Treadle 66 was a great starter machine at $25 (and ideal for Quilting given the flat bed is flush to the table) but was cumbersome for most of my other projects which are mainly clothing and accessories.

I’d been looking for a machine for awhile and just couldn’t commit to one. So instead my darling BF did it for me! :) I got this for Christmas last year. He picked it out all by himself and surprised me. The Best! (Rygo is getting a run for his money!) And it turned out to be just the perfect machine for me to graduate to. It has everything and more a budding home sewer needs from fashion sewing to quilting to home/dec sewing. And it’s well under $200!

Best of all, I get to sew all my future projects on a machine that was carefully selected by my darling BF! Who knew nothing about sewing or machines lol! He spent a lot of time researching though, looking for the best value (which I like!) that suited my needs, and last but not least “one that had lots of decorative stitches”! He personally likes colorful decorative stitches like embroidery, monograms, embellishment stitches etc. Too cute! It’s just perfect! ❤ ❤ ❤

Singer Fashion Mate 7256

Compact Yet Packed with Features
I went from doing everything manually on my old machine to a machine with 70 stitches that’s packed with features where everything is automatic! Little things like removable bed, Back Stitch, and Zig Zag Stitch are all luxuries for me so I love that. But this machine also has fully automated button hole maker, automatic threader, and an automatic tension setter! All this in a compact frame so it’s great for small apartments.

Learn and Grow
Start with whatever you’d like to learn. Your first A-line skirt, a pair of paints or shorts, a dress, a top, a tote bag! Or if you’d like to try your first quilt or make some curtains to spruce up your apartment. So it’s great for an adult beginner sewer or hobbyist sewer.

Quiet and Speedy
Compared to my old sewing machine it’s whisper quiet and really fast! My vintage Singer Treadle 66 can be really loud (and louder at full speed) and it’s fastest speed, compared to modern sewing machines, is slow!

Built To Last
This sewing machine features an all metal frame underneath its plastic compact shell. So it’s a great full-sized machine that fits in small spaces that will also ensure many years of happy sewing to come. It comes with a 25 Year Limited Warranty too.

Great Value at Under $200
It costs $160! Well under $200.

Singer Fashion Mate 7256

Specifications:
70 Stitch Electronic Sewing Machine
6 Fully Automatic One-Step Buttonholes
8 Basic Stitches
8 Stretch Stitches
48 Decorative Stitches
Needles: 2020 & 2045
Bobbin Class: 15J
Light Bulb: LED
14.5 x 7.5 x 12 inches

Price: $159.99
Product Manual: Singer Fashion Mate 7256
Read all about the Singer Fashion Mate 7256 on the Singer Co. website.

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Singer 160 Anniversary Limited Edition

Apr 17

Singer 160 Anniversary Limited Edition Sewing MachineWow! Old meets new in the new Singer 160 Anniversary Limited Edition celebrating 160 years of Singer sewing machines. Sew stylish and worth a mention. This came out early this year for the first time on HSN I believe. I just found out about it yesterday while doing research for a new sewing machine I got!

Pros:
~ It’s a beauty with a stylish nod to the past and slick modern features!
~ Extra-Large Sewing Space – The arm measures 14.7 inches, allowing sewers to easily manage quilts and other large projects.
~ Drop Feed – A conveniently located lever lowers the feed dogs for free-motion embroidery, monograms, and button sewing.

Cons:
~ Expensive! It was originally priced at $599.99.

Price $349.99
Date Issued January 2012

Overall, I like that it’s a beginner-ish machine that tries to do it all. For a hobbyist that might like to try anything from dressmaking/fashion sewing to quilting to craft sewing it does a good job of trying to give some great features for each.

Until recently I sewed on the vintage Singer Treadle 66 seen below which is from the 1920′s. I got a new Singer last year for Christmas so am now learning that one!! Do you have an old Singer Sewing Machine? As part of the celebration they also created a new page for My Singer Story. Go there to enter your story or find out more about your machine!

*** CONTEST! ***
FYI: Check out my Pinterest for details on how to win the above sewing machine!! Contest ends April 23, 2012.

More Info/Where To Buy:
Amazon – http://amzn.to/IrDNAs
Singer Co. – http://www.singerco.com/160
Joann – http://www.joann.com/singer-160th-anniversary-sewing-machine-/zprd_11457413a/

Singer 160 Anniversary Limited Edition Sewing Machine
Singer 160 Anniversary Limited Edition

Timeless Style and Modern Innovation. Introducing The SINGER 160™ limited edition sewing machine. The SINGER 160 Anniversary Limited Edition Computerized Sewing Machine features a nostalgic heritage shape and color with updated features and new technology. Created to commemorate the SINGER® brand’s 160 year anniversary by taking design cues from the past while introducing our simplest and most easy to use machine available. –Singer Co.

Singer Treadle 66
My Vintage Singer Treadle 66

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