Summer is finally here in Rhode Island! With kids home from school, lots of sewing planned, and so many fun things to do here on/around Aquidneck Island, blogging is taking a back seat for the season. I will still check in now and then, showing new products (several in development as I type), and updating my festival and market schedule.
With beauty like this (Fort Adams State Park overlooking Newport Harbor), who wants to be staring at a screen?? I'll take lots of photos and barrage you with posts this fall instead!
Enjoy your summer, friends!!
If you follow my page on Facebook (look for "DancingThreadsRI" and click "like!"), you may have seen a recent photo showing a new zipper technique I tried. This served double duty, as the bag in the photo was an end-of-year gift for a teacher. Two, in fact. My gift recipients are often guinea pigs for my expanding sewing skills, but thankfully, they don't seem to mind. (I tend to do this with dinner guests too, serving recipes I've never tasted before...)
This zippered tote design is on its way to becoming the ultimate handbag. The zipper installation needs some small adjustments, and I want to add several interior pockets to make the bag truly useful. Since this is the bag that I would most likely use every day, it will be on the larger side, not a small cross-body style. It won't be nearly as large as my beach/market tote, so somewhere in between. It slings over your shoulder easily. Would you like to see what I've designed so far?
Thank you teachers!!!! I hope your summer is off to a fantastic start!
Why do so many of my products use anchor-printed fabric? I'm so glad you asked!
Pinterest and I have a beautiful relationship. Pins inspire me. Pins help me market my Etsy shop. I've had a lot of success following tutorials linked through the site. I've seen quite a few duds too, so I usually only pin those things that are actual instructions, not just a picture (which might be fake leading to all those hilarious "epic Pinterest fail" posts you see around the web).
Today I thought I would share some great sewing links I've found through Pinterest. Please don't ever take a tutorial that says "for personal use only" and try to sell something from it. That's just rude, illegal, and will bring down loads of bad karma. Everything I have ever made to sell is either an original design or something I have licensed from another indie designer. That said, I hope this helps you have an inspired-to-sew Monday!
Art quilting is something I've only discovered within the past year. These links are inspiring me to think creatively about the piles and piles of scrap fabric that I generate. Wall hangings, quilts, maybe different designs could be added to tote bags.
Have extra buttons??
Who knew upcycled denim could look this fabulous??
Inspiration to be more creative making my reusable gift wrap bags. Furoshiki is an art I would like to explore more. This pin reminds me to find more time to play with fabric.
Would you like to see more posts with things I find inspiring on Pinterest? Only sewing-related, or other ideas as well?
With Father's Day this Sunday, I wanted to gift some wine, but not in a brown paper bag. Here is a navy blue lobster tote, that will do the job nicely.
We are planning to cook lobsters for dinner that day, so I think the bag will be a hit! There are a few listed in my Etsy shop that are a bit smaller than the one shown here. Happy Father's Day!
This list is ever-changing as I discover new blogs, or find a blogger going in a completely different/new direction that isn't relevant to me anymore. Some of them focus on parenting, some on living a simpler lifestyle, some have business models that inspire or teach me to run my business better, and then there are loads of blogs that deal with sewing. Some are treasure troves of tutorials, some have high level technique to which I aspire (it's always good to challenge yourself from time to time), some are just beautiful and worthy of admiration.
Grab your favorite cuppa and browse a while. What is your favorite blog to read?
Stitched in Color
In Color Order
The Pleated Poppy
No Big Dill
Sew Mama Sew
Gerties Blog for Better Sewing
See Kate Sew
Sew Much Ado
Craftiness is Not Optional
Plain and Joyful Living
While She Naps
**Last updated, June 2014
Lobstahs--perfect for the summertime. This is a bag I made for myself this weekend. It's *huge* and should work well everywhere I need to go this summer. The pattern I used was from Sew Sweetness, the "Locked and Loaded Bag," available from Sara's online shop. The bag was straightforward to assemble, though it was quite time consuming with all the interfacing. It's well worth the time investment to make a professionally-finished bag. One change I made was to use a magnetic snap for the flap closure instead of the twist lock. No real preference, other than I had magnetic snaps already on hand.
Here are a few more pictures.
The fabric took on a slightly distressed look after washing. I like it. A lot a lot a lot. It really complements the beachy lobster-ness. I love me some lobstahs.
This post by Nicole Bertram demonstrates a fabulous series of yoga poses specifically designed to help ease a tense neck and shoulders resulting from sitting at a sewing machine for a few hours. I need to do this every day!
We had a garden tea birthday party this weekend, and thankfully the weather cooperated. It's a lovely way to celebrate age 8, don't you think?
Favors--hand sewn drawstring pouches (along with a teacup each girl decorated herself at the party).
Strawberry Lemonade cake.
A simple and pretty table setting outside on the deck (too windy to set up in the garden that day). Real dishware and cloth napkins. An assortment of tea in a basket. A tiered plate rack (empty in this photo, but filled with finger sandwiches). I think the only plastic we encountered was the tea bag wrappers.
Strawberry teapot fabric from my stash cut as a simple table runner over a simple white tablecloth (my grandmother's once upon a time).
Flowers from the garden in a strawberry-shaped pitcher. There were more activities planned, but the weather was so lovely, the girls enjoyed spending most of their time playing together on the swings. It was a beautiful day!
This is an insightful post by Brooke McAlary of Slow Your Home that I found on Becoming Minimalist.
Have you thought about the free items that seemed like a deal at the time, but now clutter your house (or the thrift store, or a landfill)??
Reading this made me think long and hard about free items I include with Etsy sales. Several customers have left feedback that they love what I included (usually a travel tissue pack). Not all have. How many of those tissue holders are being used? I have no idea.
Instead of including a freebie, a customer might really appreciate a coupon incentive to come back to my shop. If it goes unused, then it's just a digital series of letters and numbers that never ends up as trash. If it's used, it likely will cost me, as a business owner, the same that it cost for me to produce the tissue holder in supplies and labor. Even if it costs more, that seems worth it not to contribute to accumulated clutter or trash.
Look for a new coupon code the next time you purchase something from my shop!
As co-owner of Stitchery in Portsmouth, RI, I teach sewing classes to children and adults. Welcome to my blog Dancing Threads RI.