creative journal..

travel - prep - travel - prep - travel - - - >> and other CRAZY makings April 18 2014, 0 Comments

My head feels like it's spinning... or maybe this is just my brain's new and constant state... I am preparing for Quilt Market. I'll have my first booth and launch my first fabric line, and speak at my first schoolhouses... meanwhile I'm jet-setting and perhaps loosing my mind (but in only the best possible way, right?!)

I recently found this quote, and it's definitely a favorite right now;  From Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland - The Hatter says to Alice “Have I gone mad?" Alice replies "I'm afraid so, but let me tell you something, the best people usualy are.”


Well, I hope Alice is right, because I often feel as if I'm loosing it.

 

The family and I just took a lovely little trip, slightly north of home, to Cuyahoga Valley. We rode a beautiful train and visited museums and spent such a wonderful time together. My mind was slightly calmer there and it was hard to come back home, but when we did, there was an important package waiting for me.  A smallish box, full of beautiful, supper soft, perfectly folded yards of MY fabric. The first cuts of the finished goods, HERE, for me to start making [ALL THE THINGS]!!  [insert super happy/excited and cringey smile emoji here]!  

 

So I've been spending lots of time sewing, however now it's time to pack my bags again. This time I'm flying away to Colorado, one of my very favorite states. I'll be visiting some fabric shops and wrap-up another little secret I've been working on. The first day there will be spent on the set of Sew It All (that was the secret part) and after that I'll get to spend time with with some great ladies... I really hope you'll join us if you're in the area!!  

 

On Thursday, April 24th, I'll be at Fancy Tiger Crafts for a meet and greet from 6-8 PM - I adore Amber and Jaime! My mom and I have had a delightful time getting to know them over the past few years, eating and chatting together at markets. They've come to Columbus for a yarn show and we've had the pleasure of showing them around our town so I'm excited to get to see their. 

 

(photos stolen from Fancy Tiger's facebook page.. )

 

After that, I'll take my show on the road, north to Fort Collins, for another meet up at Mama Said Sew on Friday, April 25th, from 6-8 PM. Angela is delightful and all the ladies at their shop are so much fun, I'm really looking forward to spending time their. They're having a great drawing for a $50 gift certificate so you should totally come!! 

 

(photo from Mama Said Sew's site)

(more photo credit here)

 

I'll be bringing along my new fabrics to show plus a traveling trunk show of my patterns and some giveaways too!!! This mini tour will also be the debut of my printed Riding Peplum and Party Dress pattern.

 

In all honesty, I get a little nervous in these types of situations, but it would be far worse to be standing around all alone, so please come and bring your friends!!!

 

>> - - xo - - >
   April

Sew To Speak is 6 + Rainbow Unicorn's Are Magic!! March 21 2014, 0 Comments

Our shop's sixth birthday party is tomorrow and we decided to go crazy by celebrating with a "Unicorns and Rainbows" theme!!

Being that I adore making softies (did you know that?!... I really do!!! I don't have enought time to do it often but I love to)...

anyways, being that I adore making softies, I decided to stitch up a magical little rainbow unicorn of my own..

 

 

 

and because I love my mom, and she asked me to do it, I made it into a pattern for you all to use too....

 

So here it is!! 

BE WARNED:  IT'S NOT FANCY!!! 

This is for FUN and it's FREE! Also I drew it up in about 20 free minutes this morning... (it's not to be indicative of the professional patterns I sell)  ...just a quick drawing scanned from my sketchbook... and written in my awful chicken scratch! ...BUT if you're semi familiar with softie making or if you're feeling adventurous, you can likely use it to make your own magical little unicorn (or horse) friend.  

 

 

To make it you will need:
Felt for body
Pearl cotton and an embroidery needle
Black thread and a smaller needle for stitching eye
Yarn for mane and card stock if using the doll-hair making method I suggest. 

 

Here is a link to Wee Wonderfuls yarn hair tutorial - the best way to make doll hair! To make the mane, simply follow her steps for wrapping yarn around card-stock and machine sewing, remove card-stock and attach yarn to horse by hand... cut loops, trim and style as desired... trim bangs and make it funk! Have fun.... for the tail, loop a few strands of yarn around your fingers, attach to the bottom, trim and style. 
 

 

If you do make it, I hope you'll post a photo of it on IG or facebook or something! I love seeing the amazing things you all make :)

hey! let's give it a hashtag.... maybe... #RainbowUnicornAreMagic!

yay. 

tag your creations so I can see them, ok? 

 

- xo -

April 


>>> the BIG reveal <<< March 05 2014, 21 Comments

today is the day . . . the one I've been so anxiously waiting for. . . . .  

It's finally here!!!  

I can show you my secret project . . . 

 

 

IT'S FABRIC!!

 

Many of you already guessed that. Thanks so much for all you excitement and anticipation! . . .(and patience... {smiles and winks})!

I have been dying to share the whole story with you and now that the day is here, it feels quite surreal!

 

For years, I've dreamt of designing fabric. While ordering for the shop, and attending Quilt Markets, I've thought to myself "wouldn't that be fun"?! You know. . . to have a fabric line!  To have sewers use your designs to make their visions a reality. To have people wear your prints.. to quilt with them and wrap up in their warmth.. to have your work woven into the incredible patchwork of this creative community we're in.

I want to do THAT 

Still, I can't quite wrap my brain around it.

It's overwhelming.

THIS is my chance, and I feel so many different emotions... the strongest of which is honored!

Even to have the chance at "that". . . I feel honored.

 

When Pat, the owner of Art Gallery Fabrics, first reached out to me about this project last fall I was simply shocked to get a message from her! I must have said "yes", "yes, yes" and "oh my goodness, yes", at least a dozen times throughout our first chat. My head was spinning I was so thrilled. Now after working with, and learning from her, I feel blessed beyond words! She believed in my abilities and my vision and allowed me to express myself fully through this line. 

I'm so happy with it!

 

So.. it's happening. I've pinched myself, but it's true, and I can't wait to hold the actual fabric in my hands!  I long to cut it up and sew it into dresses, bags, cushions and quilts. . . I want to make ALL THE THINGSSSSssssss!!!!!

 

 

<< - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - <-> - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - >>

 

The collection is called Arizona.

 

It's inspired by my love of the South West and tribal design. Even though I grew up in the Midwest, I was always surrounded by images of the South West as well as Native American art as a child. My parents honeymooned in the Grand Canyon and I remember cherishing their photographs, souvenirs and stories. 

In high-school I fantasized about traveling after graduation. I wanted to take off, across the country in my little pick up truck. To camp in the desert.. to watch the sun set over canyons and to capture all it's stunning colors with my camera... I was a bohemian and I wanted to be a cowgirl. I had romantic visions of riding horses through the mountains. Independent and free.

This collection expresses the spirit of that wild, dreaming girl... 

 

It is very tribal and the colors are predominantly feminine and romantic, though I've tried to offer some gender neutral pieces as well. 

 

I've put my heart into this collection and I feel satisfied and proud.

I really hope you're as excited as I am!!!

 

  

The yardage releases in May.
I can't wait to see what you make with it!!!
Take a look at the Limited Edition video on Vimeo for more info!

 

>> - - - xo - - - >
April

 

 


stream of [self]consciousness... February 28 2014, 8 Comments

Laying awake tonight... Restless and itchy inside. I feel the urger to get something out of me...

 

I'm often posting (on various social media) with the exclamation of "hey, look!!" and "yay" and "thrilled" 
but I just need to be honest and say that I feel self-conscious about doing this.

 

In fact if we were speaking in person about my work, I would probably feel really awkward and uncomfortable.

 

I shared at a guild meeting tonight and I felt that way.
It's something I've been struggling with more and more lately.... 

 

For some reason it doesn't feel so strange on the computer screen, to say "hey, look at this thing I did..."  "I really like it"
however, in real life, I get all tongue tied!  

 

 

What is this fear/discomfort and how do I get rid of it?

 

It's really important for me to work through this.
I want to be able to share myself. I want to feel confident. 

 

I've poured so many hours into this project and I love it so much.

 

I don't want to seem ungrateful, when I awkwardly say.. "oh, it's really no big deal..."       because that is far from the truth! 
It's a huge deal, to me, and I am very grateful!!  I'm proud, but I'm scared.

 

Maybe the truth is that I don't want it to be a big deal, because if it's a big deal, then I could potentially be a big flop.

 

Putting ones work out into the world is terribly scary. Especially when it's something as objective as design...
and I often feel like an amateur.

 

Finally, I just want to ask that the world be gentle with me.

I'm just a beginner. 

 

 


Blossom Issue #2 February 22 2014, 0 Comments

 

I had the honor of writing a short essay for Amy Butler's beautiful magazine, Blossom. The second issue just released and you can read my little note on page 200...

 

 

 

I was truly flattered to be asked by Amy herself to contribute. I must say that she is one of the dearest women and it is no shock that she has had all the blessings and success that she has. She exudes every bit of the love, beauty and kindness that you see in the pages of this publication and I am so grateful for her personal support and encouragement!! It's the sort of thing that really blows my mind when I look back at the last few years.. at my creative journey. I am so blessed, by the acquaintances, the colleagues and the very close friends I've made in this short time... Had anyone told me 5 years ago my life and community would grow into this I would have shook my head in disbelief!
 

 

Now back to the magazine... there is so much heart in this one issue!!  All the people that contributed to it have shared in such a genuine way. It's incredibly inspiring. 
Be sure to read Ali Dejohn's story of Making The Markerie... I found her words so touching. I can deeply relate to her feelings of guilt and confusion, as if something was missing, before the pursuit of a creative life. I also put my creative outlets on hold when I was a new mother, and even though motherhood was the greatest thing that ever happened to me I felt as if I lost part of myself for quite a while. Sewing is what brought me back. It made me myself again.
Now, after reading what Ali shared I am determined to go on one of her retreats!!!!

 

 

 

 

xoxo

April

 

+ Just in case you didn't know Blossom is entirely free!! Such an incredible gift to be shared! ♥

 

 


I've been keeping secrets. February 05 2014, 7 Comments

I have a bit of [REALLY BIG] news I've been holding back... I still can't spill ALL the beans yet, but I'm able to start dropping a few little hints :)

Obviously it involves sewing. It's a collaboration of sorts..

 

A special _______. A beautiful _____. With _____ and _____ and ______. 

 

I know, I haven't said anything at all have I?

 

Well let me say this,

I could have never imagined, when I first began sewing, all the adventures my craft would take me on. All the doors it would open. All the ideas it would inspire. 

My mother was a sewer and her mother before her, as well as many of my aunts. It is one of the few constants in my life. 

For as long as I can remember, I've always had love, the support of my family and the ability to make things (especially from fabric).

Sewing has forever been an outlet me. A tool for self expression. 

Throughout grade school I prided myself on buying clothes from the thrift-store and altering them with my mom's (now vintage) Bernina. I loved having things to wear that no one else had (even though some of those things were ridiculous)! My ability to sew gave me choices. I had the power to take something and make it something else. It was liberating.

Then, about 6 years ago, after my mom and I opened our fabric shop, I really began to grow in my craft.  I started using patterns and devouring their lessons. However, I couldn't resist the urge to alter things a little. I don't know when it happened, but I decided to try drafting my own patterns. I used large sheets of craft paper taped together and even sheets of newspaper. I started making my own designs from beginning to end. No more altering what already was or using a pattern for a guide. I just did my own thing. And my own "thing" was surprisingly wearable. It was thrilling!

Now, sewing has liberated me in a whole new way, and while my machine hasn't seen a lot of action over the past few months...

(It's mostly sat, right here, rather quietly, waiting...) 

 

my creative attention has been directed elsewhere. I've found another outlet.

Instead of my machine and sheers, I've had other tools close at hand. Tools I've held before, but never used in this way.  Again I find myself devouring their lessons and enjoying them equally!

 

It's so hard not to say more! I want to share the "news" with you right now!!! But perhaps you can guess what I'm up to?!! 

 

I will share other bits and pieces throughout the month, with a full reveal in March!

 

Hope you're excited. I know I am!


Getting PEPy with GLITZ January 21 2014, 0 Comments

YAY! Lucky me.. I got my hands on some Glitz by Michael Miller,  just pre-release, and oh how I love it!! I thought it would make such a great New Years Peplum Party Dress so I whipped up this one for NYE... and of course Amanda looked incredible in it, not to mention the fun we had dancing around at the Hart and Honey studio!

 

The gold glittery print is perfect for the girly swing of the skirt and romantic shape of the hemline... I wish I could get all dolled up and wear it everyday. Sadly, I must except my reality, I'm a momma, and date nights, though we try to have them regularly, don't often call for this level of dressy.

If only I was a little girl.. I could wear gold dots everyday!!!! 

{INSERT DAUGHTER}

 

Ah-ha!! A mini me!!

 

 

 

It just might be true, that the only thing better than being a little girl, is living vicariously through one. In "fashion sense" that is! 

 

[Hey. Don't get any ideas! I'm still a maker of women's wear sewing patterns.] 

 

This being said, I had to try my hand at a mini version!  and again, lucky me, Michael Miller sent just enough of the Quarter Dot Pearlized in Confection to cut out a tiny second dress. My "mini me" wanted her Party Dress to look just like the big one. 

 

After I made it, I had to put on the original to play dress-up with these cuties. It was an entirely different setting than the grown up studio in my last journal post, but every bit as fun!!

 

We giggled and shared the dress with one of my daughter's best buddies. I only wish I'd had the time to make another before her mom, Suzanne, snapped these photos of us. They would've made some seriously cute twinsies!!

 

 

 

Both girls agreed with me that the Confetti Border Pearlized in Mist would also make a darling dress!! 

 

Now I just need to get cutting...

 

Happy GLITZy Sewing,

April


✧ Cheers!! ✧ December 30 2013, 1 Comment

to a beautiful New Year!!!!

<<- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - < - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ->>

 

 

[Peplum Party Dress in Glitz by Michael Miller]

 

 
[Peplum Party Dress in Palos Verdes voile by Cloud 9]

 

[Peplum Party Dress in Anna Maria Horner Dowry cotton from Sew To Speak]

 

I panned on sharing more from the #HolidayPepalong photo shoot just before the Christmas holiday, instead here they are, just in time for New Years Eve... delightful Peplum Party dresses, fit to ring in 2014! 

 

[Riding Peplum in Anna Maria Horner Field Study voile from Sew To Speak]

 

We had quite a nice time taking these photos (all by Suzanne Gipson ♥) at the gorgeous studio of  Hart & Honey, in Grandview, Ohio. The owners Ashley and Lily, are two amazingly talented ladies and it was an inspiring space to send the afternoon. The light was brilliant and Amanda was stunning as always.. I pretty much wish my whole world looked exactly like this... brilliantly clean with warm wooden accents, pretty dresses hanging on an industrial rack, softly painted chairs and a scull above the doorway. Yes. Just like that.

 

Perhaps I'll make my world look like this in 2014.. I think it will be a year full of makings... 
and I'm excited at the thought of it! 
>> - - - HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! - - ->
April

 

 

 


#HolidayPepalong December 17 2013, 0 Comments

Perhaps you're still busily making gifts... 

but if all your package's are wrapped, then seize the moment and make yourself a festive dress!! 

 

It's a very good thing that the Party Dress pattern sews up FAST because I just finished this red deer dress less than an hour before today's shoot, 

and now here it is...

 

 

The main fabric is Lineage in Coffee by Anna Maria Horner.. a gorgeous print with a beautiful backstory, the back is a knit lace I've had for sometime now, both are from our shop, Sew To Speak.

I'm very blessed to have the dress modeled by lovely friend Amanda and photographed by Suzanne. We shot at the gorgeous studio of Hart & Honey.  I can't wait to share the other photo's... I'll probably be posting them here and in various other places in a few days. They are pretty much magical. The waiting might kill me. 

 

Join me for a #holidaypepalong on IG and Facebook ;)

 

Merry Holidays!!!!
April
XX

THE RIDING PEPLUM or PARTY DRESS!!! December 10 2013, 2 Comments

Yippy!!! It's done. I'm so happy to push "publish" on this one. It is my favorite by far! 

Now, here it is, hot off the press and fresh in the shop! 

 

 

Plus if you feel like reading my little blurb about it...

THE RIDING PEPLUM or PARTY DRESS is a quick-to-sew, easy-to-wear pattern with subtle bust darts and a slightly loose waistline. The riding-length peplum is perfectly designed to be pulled on and worn effortlessly with your favorite skinny jeans or leggings. Run out and ride a horse, a bike or a motorcycle! Shoes and accessories can quickly dress it up or dress it down. The party dress-length peplum has the same easy fit with added length for a fun, swingy skirt. It’s perfect for ladies’ night out or New Year’s Eve and that midnight kiss!

 

 

We all had a great time shooting. Chilly but fun. A lovely shop friend, Nancy, welcomed us onto her farm for the afternoon and we all got a little dose of the beautiful country Ohio can offer, even in winter (which is often much more grey). Her horses were lovely, and Emma, center stage above, obviously loved the camera! :)

 

 

My testers made some amazing peplums and dresses too.. I'll share them soon! But for now, check out the hash tags..
#ridingpeplum and #peplumpartydress
to see more!!!

 

Happy Sewing
>> - - - ♥ - - - >
April

 

 


SIMPLE SEWING - blog tour and book giveaway! December 03 2013, 0 Comments

 

Boy have I been busy... It's a fun busy, but busy none the less.  I am trying so hard to launch my new patterns before the year is out!

 

Needless to say I welcomed the chance to change my pace a bit....

 

My local friend and very sweet crafter, Katie Lewis recently published her first book, Simple Sewing!  I have the pleasure of taking part in the book's incredible blog tour, along with Shannon of Luv In The Mommyhood, who is also posting today.

 

I decided to make the bow ties. They look very precious on the children in the book.

 

 

but I had another fun thought, so....

 

 

I used Katie's pattern and attached the bows to chains for bow tie necklaces.

 

I made one for each of my girls, purple is C's favorite color right now and AV will adore the gold dots! The leopard is for myself (of course!!) and the other is for a friend. They went together very quickly and finished so neatly that I want to make many more! I plan on sewing a few more, as Katie intended, for hair clips and little boy neckties, and I may make some to put on top of my Christmas packages.

 

 

 

 

Pardon my goofy selfies.. but a quirky and cute accesory? I like. 

 

In addition to these bows I've already prepped and half-way sewn 5 Microwave Heat Packs. All that is left is to fill them with rice.. and I'll add a bit of lavender for a relaxing sent. These and many of Katie's other projects will make great gifts. They are quick and perfect for busting a bit of stash! 

 

 

 

You know what a huge fan I am of simple sewing. Well, these projects are SIMPLE with a sizable margin for customizing (something else I'm a big fan of!)!!!

So I really like it and I think you will too! 

♥ ♥ Way to go Katie! I'm so happy to know you! ♥ ♥

 

NOW HERE'S A CHANCE FOR YOU TO WIN THE BOOK.. 

 Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!

  

or purchase it at any of the following sites.. (BUT PLEASE TRY YOUR LQS FIRST!!)

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Books & Things

 

By the way.. doesn't the lady in the red headband look familiar..?!   Weird ;)


#howdoyouSTYLEyourSTAPLE? November 27 2013, 1 Comment

A little something fun I'm doing over on Instagram and Facebook...  

I had this idea that I'd really love to see how you are all wearing your Staple Dresses... especially as the seasons change. I have put some of mine alway until spring but overs are still great for layering. Are you wearing yours this season? What are your favorite layers or accessories to pair with it? Belts, scarves, jewelry, leggings... ?

 

It's a super simple dress that's lots of fun to style. So how are you styling yours? From now until Dec 1st post a photo of yourself in a Staple and hashtag it with #howdoyouSTYLEyourSTAPLE? and#thestapledress. Then on Dec. 2 we'll randomly draw 4 entries, who will each win an advanced PDF copy one of my new patterns (to be released mid Dec).

 

Post as many Staples as you like. I know some of you have made more than one so post a photo of each of them or style one Staple in several different ways!! Enter as many times as you like. Can't wait to see how you're all wearing it!!

 

Yesterday I styled my rayon leopard print (fabric by Anna Maria Horner) with a double gauze infinity scarf, a chunky sweater and a thrifted tweed blazer (actually a little boys suit jacket) plus grey stockings, my brown button booties and the yellow cap my mom knit me for Christmas last year! :)

 

Yay!

How do you STYLE your STAPLE?

 

 


Fall Market Recap.. and a little bit about what I've been doing.. November 14 2013, 4 Comments

It's been a while since I've posted here... I post A LOT over on Instagram! It's a nice place to do that, especially when I'm rushing about or just not feeling very wordy.

Still, I've been meaning to devote proper time to publishing some photos from Houston Quilt Market... It was a very rush-rush sort of trip (as usual) and I didn't snap as many photos as I typically do (was I chatting too much?! perhaps..) but what I did capture is a lot of color and texture. Beautiful and inspiring. 

Here are some of my market faves...

The booths:

Botanics by Carolyn Friedlander

A gorgeous modern spin on traditional patterns and primary colors

with amazing use of METALLICS!!! 

{LOVE this pieced ranch so much!!!!}

 

DOWRY by Anna Maria Horner 
Brilliantly curated color,
dramatic yet bright.

{notice Anna Maria in the foreground snapping photos of her booth for IG?}

Notice Anna Maria In the foreground? snapping photos for her IG.. ;) 

 

HAPI by Amy Butler

A gorgeous and eclectic mix of print and color

with a bright bohemian vibe.

 

Meadow by Leah Duncan

Soft and dreamy with the best shades of green, yellow and peach.

I was thrilled to help with Leah's market prep and make her a Staple and Date Night dress from this new line. She didn't have much fabric left to work with so we got thrifty and used the small pieces to  create a color block affect. It looked fantastic on her!

 

Cotton & Steel

Of course they didn't have anything to show this time (except this little tease of framed logos) but when they do I'm certain it will knock all our socks off!!!

Melody, Rashida, Sarah, Alexia and Kim are some amazingly talented ladies! 

Did you see their video?! RAD!

 

Ordering:

I always have a bast ordering with my mom, for Sew To Speak!!!

I buried her in a pile of beauty at the Kokka/Seven Islands table.. 

here's some Japanese I picked for the shop. I'm so very excited to work it!!!

Of course we got our Amy and Anna...

as well as Rae's AWESOME new line from Cloud 9.

And I gushed over this Palos Verdes' voile!!!

{shhh... it actually might appear on my next pattern cover! Eeek!!}

 

♥ ♥ Then there was the great moments spent talking with friends and meeting so many wonderful and creative people ♥ ♥ 

Had a much needed coffee and chat with my girl, Rae Holkstra! So happy about her news!!

 

And I finally met Caroline in REAL LIFE!

Pus, I ate some amazing meal with mom... the best or which was a at very decadent restaurant with a great crowd of super cool shop owners and designers. The type of situation I never imagined I'd be in... such great conversation and laughter.

 

Phew. The whole trip was quite exhausting and exhilarating all at once. It always is. And I can't wait until the next time!

;)

 

What have I been doing since then?!

 Fiddling around with two new patterns!

 

The Riding Peplum & Party Dress

and 

The Popover Poncho

 

I don't have any official photos yet but these are a few peeks I've posted.. (the wolf print was just a wild muslin I made and have been wearing surprisingly often).

I hope to have them out (as PDFs) before Christmas. It's kind of a lofty goal, as there is still so much work to be done, but I'm sure going to try.

 

{oh and I got BANGS!! hehe..} 

   

  

More soon
>> - - - ♥ - - - >
April
....

How to: Lengthen Your Dress Pattern September 30 2013, 2 Comments

A flattering length is crucial. Most of the time I like my dresses to hit at the knees or just a inch or two above. Often the length I choose depends on whether or not I want to style a dress with leggings or not. I LOVE LEGGINGS!! [yay for fall!] I tend to keep my hem lower if the weather is warm and my legs are bare. I am on the shorter end of the height spectrum and being so, I almost always have plenty of length. Shortening a dress is easy. It's always easier to take some off then it is to add it! 

When creating my patterns, I have tried to aim for an average knee length, however, no one length is right for everyone.  

What if you're blessed to be tall?  

If you are over 5' 7" or if you just like a longer dress, you may want to lengthen your pattern a bit. Don't be intimidated. It is a very easy adjustment to make, though it MUST be done before you cut into your precious fabric.

I made you a little video:

Here's what you do:

Find the main pattern pieces, Front and Back. On my patterns, The Date Night Dress and The Staple Dress, I have included a "shorten and lengthen line" on both the front and back pattern pieces. This line is at the exact same level on both sides so that if you add the same length to each piece they will still line up properly. 

1. Cut the pattern apart at the "shorten and lengthen line." 

2. Decide how much length you will need to add. On another piece of paper, draw two perfectly parallel, horizontal lines, wide enough for each pattern piece. Then draw one line perpendicular to these to continue the "place on fold line."

3. Re-align pattern pieces and tape.

4. Draw a new, smooth side seam line. And cut off access paper.

5. Use your new lengthened pattern pieces!!

 

Now why would I make a longer dress?.. well, I wanted this one to be modeled by my sweet friend Daria. I did't add the full length that is shown in the video above but instead just an extra 1/2" (because when you've got great legs you should show them!!!)  Also, a detail I really enjoy, is the slight drop in the back of the dress hem, so even if the dress is a bit above the knee in front it doesn't show too much at the back of the thigh (an area I'm personally self conscience of about..eeek! no shorts for me.. [sad face]).

 

 

This dress is another attempt at perfecting my cross stitch arrow print. This time I've used Spoonflower's new Performance Knit and it is quite nice! It has such a great drape and not a wrinkle, ever! The pattern is my Date Night Dress, without shirring or belting. The drape of the fabric weights the dress perfectly. It's slinky, lose and comfortable while still complimenting her figure. This fabric cuts like butter, plus it doesn't fray at all! It is a bit tricky to work with however, so here are some tips I discovered along the way.. 

  • Pin, pin, pin.... it's slippery and it does not take to pressing! Use SHARP, thin pins such as silk pins.
  • Cut it flat on a mat with a rotary cutter. This will help you to avoid any slipping while cutting and eliminate jagged edges.
  • Use a new, SHARP sewing machine needle, a size 9 is best. Despite the fact that it is a knit you DO NOT want to use a ballpoint needle.
 

Happy Monday!! 

Hope you have lots to smile about,

April

 

P.S. Visit me on IG and Facebook today for a chance at 2 PDF pattern GIVEAWAYS!!!!!

 

 

 


The winner!! September 19 2013, 0 Comments

YAY!! Congratulations goes to Amiee. She left comment #67 and is the winner of the Alison Glass Feather's fabric and beautiful embroidery pattern! 

But wait!! There is still time to try for the BIG Fabric Giveaway on Alison's site, so head over there to enter!

Happy Thursday,

>>---->

April


Alison Glass Blog Tour - fine Feathered Sweet & Low + A GREAT BIG GIVEAWAY!!!! August 30 2013, 106 Comments

After seeing Alison Glass's new Sunprint line at Market in Portland, I was completely thrilled at the chance to get my hands on some of her Feathers print! I distinctly remember telling my mother that we could order every single color of this one! It's somewhat rare to find a print that could be good for anything. Feathers, however, is beautiful in patchwork and great for apparel (I can see it being used for women's, men's and children's). It would make a dreamy quilt binding and perfect drapes or even better pillow shams and sheets! I seriously love it. So when Alison asked me to join her blog hop I quickly said yes then I said "FEATHERS!" [and I most likely made grabby hand gestures in the air!]

But what to make?!!! I was certain Alison asked me so that I might show the potential apparel possibilities but I needed a little break from the SD and the DND..

So, how's about a skirt?

I particularly love high low hem skirts right now. Dress them up or down. They are so fun and girly while keeping a certain edgy quality that I personally appreciate.

I have been working on my Sweet & Low Skirt pattern for quite sometime now. It's slow going. I pick it up and mess with it. Put it back away for awhile. Bring it back out again. Honestly, I choose to make it and post about it for the tour as an extra push to get it done. All I can say is that I hope to have it ready someday.

The skirt will included two hem options, this drop hem version and an alternative shirttail-maxi hem, as well as two waistband options, an elastic waist or this faux belt with side zip closer.

As a general rule, I avoid quilting cotton fabrics when making a drop hem garment... but there is one reason that this print and others like it are exceptions. Aside from it being totally awesome, it is also a high contrast print on white ground so the underside/wrong side of the fabric looks like a faded version of the front, unlike  most prints where the wrong side is much more obvious. This is important because when the back of the dress hangs so much lower than the front you can see it.

After sewing it up and trying it on, I shortened this skirt by 4" all the way around. The added body of the quilting cotton fabric is better suited to a shorter skirt. I really like the result.

My sweetie actually shot these photos for me. It was fun and good for us to work together. He even suggested the location. However, I strategically chopped my head off in the top 3  because he made me laugh too much, and if I wasn't laughing, I was trying hard not to and looking very serious because of it ;)

 

After I had the skirt all done, I started playing with some of the scraps....
Have you tried these hexies?
My friend Amanda taught me to English paper piece and, my goodness, it's addictive. Something about making them.. calming, methodical... watching the pile build. At first I started with a bright range of color. It was fun but I've set those aside for now and started combining lots of blue and black prints for something a little more subdued. I love how the Feather print plays so well with all the others I've added. At first I didn't know what I would do with all these hexagons but now I'm pretty certain they'll be the outside of a new clutch like the one Katy taught at Camp Stitch-alot.
Fun, fun. 

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Now, do you fancy yourself some Feathers?! and an Alison Glass embroidery pattern?!!!

One lucky reader will receive 2.5 yards of Feathers and one of these 3 embroidery prints (winners choice)!

 

 

To enter leave a comment in the box below and tell me what you want to make with the Feather print and which pattern you'd like to stitch! 

(Don't see the box? well, my site's funny like that... you may need to scroll to the top of this post, click on the title and then scroll to the bottom again... Silly. I know.) 

>> Be sure to enter your correct email address so that I can contact you if you win!!! <<

After you enter here, you will NEED to go over to Alison's site to enter The BIG FABRIC GIVEAWAY!! She is offering up a major set of  74 fat quarters. That's one of each of her new fabrics!

Finally, this is an incredible tour, just check out the rest of the list!!! Eeeek!:

Group 1 – Feathers, Text, Party Streamer
8.21.13 - One Shabby Chick
8.26.13 - Threadbias
8.28.13 - KD Quilts
8.30.13 - April Rhodes
Group 2 – Feathers Quilt Pattern
Group 3 – Clover Sunshine
9.16.13 - Crafty Fox
9.18.13 - One Girl Circus
9.20.13 - Sew Sweetness
9.23.13 - There and Back
9.25.13 - J.M.B.
9.27.13 - Modern Maven
Group 4 – Corsage, Bike Path, X & +
9.30.13 - Gen X Quilters
10.7.13 - Jacey Craft
10.9.13 - Bijou Lovely 

 

Pretty crazy awesome. 

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Happy Weekend everyone!!!

April

 


NOW HIRING July 20 2013, 0 Comments

UPDATE: 

POSITION HAS BEEN FILLED!!!

huge thank you to everyone who replied to the notice :)

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Hello all you lovely sewers,

I am seeking  a studio assistant!

 

 

Do you know anyone in the Columbus (Clintonville/UA) area that might be interested?!?!!

I am looking for someone who would like to come to my home studio and work with me as an assistant, 2-3 days per week, from about 11 or 12 o'clock until 3 or 4PM.

Hours and days would be slightly flexible if needed. 

The job would be very broad in nature. Tasks might include sewing samples, shipping orders, helping with my website, helping keep the studio tidy, possibly some light bookkeeping and even making funny faces with a toddler once and awhile.  

Many things will be on job training. Some sewing experience is required.

 

One of our first missions together might be to move shop into a larger part of my house. My bedroom studio is not cutting it and the finished basement could make a very nice & BIG studio. It has enough windows for some natural light and is getting fresh paint soon.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I have known for sometime that I could not do this alone. The need for hired help is becoming more and more pressing.. Honestly it feels a bit awkward asking someone to come into my house to work as an assistant but I suppose it is not unheard of. But I will hold my assistant in the highest esteem, and pay the best my budget will allow!

The fact is - I have several boats in the water now and I need help staying on course!

 

Excepting applications immediately.

Email me at april [AT] april-rhodes (DOT) com

I hope to have the position filled by the end of August.

 

Many thanks for reading,

April


Time for a DATE NIGHT!!!! July 19 2013, 1 Comment

> > > the new DRESS & SLIP pattern is available now < < < 

 

Wishing you all a happy weekend... with time for sewing and perhaps a date!

>> - - - - - ♥ - - - - - >

April

 

 

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all of the cover photographs for my patterns were taken by Suzan Gipson


Test Results: POSITIVE July 18 2013, 3 Comments

I am so very happy to say that all the testers have sent back great feedback about The Date Night Dress!!!

Here's are their results:

First, Emily of Queen City Stitcher made this awesome grey polka dot dress. Doesn't she look lovely?

Such a good choice with her beautiful red curls (I hope my little Camilla's curls turn out just like this!!!). 

Ashely of Every Thing Else We Do, made this gorgeous dress in AMH Field Study Rayon.. 

This photo of her in the field makes my heart skip. Lovely.

Ashely was also the only tester to send photos of the slip independent of the dress. I am grateful to have one test example of that to show.

 

Teresa of Dandelion Drift made this lovely blue dress which looks amazing against the great red caboose.

Now I want to have a photo shoot with a red caboose!!!

Spencer of 12oz Beehouse made her's in Denyse Schmidt voile and I am now seriously coveting that fabric. She looks stunning in it and you have to love those black frames!!

 

Rachel of Rachellake from Scratch posted beautiful photographs of her Date Night Dress. She made it a Robert Kaufman Chambray Union and added a great Lotta Jansdoter sash!!

 

Abby of Making Good Choices (I love her blog name) made her Date Night Dress in this seriously awesome print.. I need to find out what it is.. Abby?!

Emily from Strawberry Patch Ramblings made two! I love the super sheer chiffon she made her first one in and you can see how the dress and slip layer here. She also added a line of shirring to the chiffon which is a great option. The second one is a prefect little black dress, simple, no shirring, worn with a belt.

Lynn from craftstew made another Anna Maria print dress. This beautiful blue voile dress is stunning on her. 

She also took a photo of what the dress looks like unbelted so that you could see the natural silhouette before belting. 

Finally, Caroline from Sew Caroline gave it a run through for me as well. She is always such a beauty but I think she loos especially sparkly here. My daughter Aelyn saw these photos and said "Is that your friend? I want to meet her." It made me happy and I'm certain she'd like her a lot.

 

You can read more about each of their experiences on their blogs.

I am very grateful to each of them for putting the time and energy into this dress. It takes many hands to produce a sewing pattern and dedicated testers are so important to me.

 

- - - - - - - - - > Now, why isn't it out yet?! < - - - - - - - - -

 

Well if you are asking this, I will tell you!

Because.... it's summer. And summer is nuts!!! My childcare canceled on me for the week. I have 2 very busy girls. No help with them. No help with pattern production either. I wake up to a mountain of emails everymorning and a pile of orders to be packed and sent every evening... It's taken me days to write this one blog post :(

I guess it is time to rearrange somethings. My mommy's helper/childcare comes back next week.. so that will help get things back on track...

However, I am seriously thinking about hiring an assistant. I have no idea what that is going to look like. I work from home, in a tiny little room.. Can I justify a studio assistant!? Will anyone want the job?!

Please, if you have any words of wisdom about hiring help for a home business, do share!!!

 

My next post will be announcing the release of The Date Night Dress. I promise.

 

>>April<<

 

 

 


THE STAPLE TOUR FINALE with Caroline and Rae!!! July 13 2013, 0 Comments

It's the final day of THE STAPLE DRESS BLOG TOUR/HOP and I have two beautiful bloggers sharing....  

Sew Caroline & Made By Rae

Caroline Hulse is a wonderful lady that I am just recently getting to know. She blogged about the Staple awhile back, when it first released as a PDF and a friend sent me the link. I can often get stuck under a rock when it comes to the blogging world and I hadn't even seen her site yet. I instantly fell head-over-heals for her! How could you not? ...with her looking so sweet, kicking her foot up in her photos the way she does ;)

Not to mention her great sense of style and well written charm. I hope to meet her in real life someday, even though I feel I already know her through her coffee dates!! [LOVE those] ..I'm certain we'd have a great time on a real coffee date!

Another one with GREAT style is my dear friend Rae Hoekstra. I feel so privilege to know Rae and I feel as if we've been friends for years. We've had great laughs together and talked at length about our shared passion for pattern design. Her Washi Dress is a true sensation and I hear she has another women's garment piece on the way! I can't wait to see it!!!! She is a truly talented woman with amazing vision. Also, she's coming to visit Columbus soon so stay tuned for the dates!!!!

Rae first made a Staple Top for her and her precious little one, here. And today she has posted a STUNNING DRESS!!

 

I must say, when I opened this photo attached to an email I thought "DAMN!" I couldn't help it. I mean seriously?!??!!! Gorgeous!! 

 

Both of these ladies are so inspiring to me that it feels overwhelming to have them help with this tour! 

I am truly grateful to be in an industry were woman support and collaborate with one another in this way. I don't think it would be worth all the hours otherwise. Not for me anyhow. The connection I gain to the creative spirit in others is the most important part. 

 

So today you must visit both Rae and Caroline! They are awesome!!!! 

And you can also take a look at all of the other tour stops. There are still many chances to win the pattern...

Mon. July 8th:  Aneela Hoey -  Comfortstitching
Tues. July 9th: Katy Jones - I'm a Ginger Monkey
Wed. July 10th: Jeni Baker - In Color Order
Thurs. July 11th: Julie Herman - Jaybird Quilts
Fri. July 12th:  Carrie Bloomston - SUCH Designs 

 

Thanks for following along!!!

>> - - - - - - ♥ - - - - - - >

April

 

 


Carrie Bloomston's SUCH Staple July 12 2013, 1 Comment

DAY 5 OF THE STAPLE DRESS BLOG TOUR!!! 

Carrie Bloomston is posting about The Staple Dress over on her blog today.

Carrie is a fabric design rockstar on the rise and I feel blessed to know her. She is (as I've written before) a truly genuine, caring and spirited woman with amazing talents. 

We are all anxiously awaiting the arrival of her first fabric line Collage, for Windham Fabrics.

I was delighted to make her a Staple from the Collage Bauhaus print.. I think it makes a fantastic dress!

Carrie sported it in her Quilt Market booth, looking so beautiful! Sadly, I don't have any photos of her the day she wore it, but I love this photo that my husband took of the two of us. She's wearing a gorgeous dress by Karen LePage of One Girl Circus and I have on my rainbow, strip pieced, Staple maxi. :)

Take a look at her blog today to see what she's saying and have another chance at winning the pattern!!

 

April

 

 


Jaybird Staples July 11 2013, 1 Comment

well.. we had a little mix up today.. hehe... so we are switching up the line up..

we'll be scooting miss Carrie over to Friday and today you will have Julie!! :)

 

Her actual pen name is Jaybird Quilts but she seriously sports some Staples... Julie Herman is posting today for

THE STAPLE DRESS BLOG TOUR: DAY 4!!!!

She's made several (see below!) and she's labeled all her fabrics so sweetly! 

I LOVE the Robert Kaufman Chambray Union and I really want to use some of the dotted one.

 

Head over to Julie to hear more about them and another chance to win the pattern!!!

 

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here is a recap of the tour

Mon. July 8th:  Aneela Hoey -  Comfortstitching
Tues. July 9th: Katy Jones - I'm a Ginger Monkey
Wed. July 10th: Jeni Baker - In Color Order
Thurs. July 11th: Julie Herman - Jaybird Quilts
Fri. July 12th:  Carrie Bloomston - SUCH Designs 
Sat. July 13th:  Caroline - Sew Caroline & Rae - Made By Rae

Jeni!!!!! July 10 2013, 0 Comments

THE STAPLE DRESS BLOG HOP!!!! - DAY 3!!

In Color Order - Jeni Baker is like apple pie ala mode. She is fun and pretty and very, very sweet. Plus she has the cutest bunny I've ever seen!!!

She is an inspiring, young talent making gorgeous quilts, garments, bags and more. I love her vintage sense of color and I think her many dresses show it off well.

I grabbed these other two photo's of Jeni from her Instagram. If you're not already following, you should find her there, @jenib320

I could probably scroll through her IG feed and like every photo based on color and cuteness alone!! 

And then seriously? How great is this one?!
Now head over to Jen's blog to hear about her newest Staple Dress!
I think it's quite lovely.

 

April

 


An extra stop on the BLOG HOP!! July 09 2013, 0 Comments

My awesome friends over at Fancy Tiger posted about The Staple Dress yesterday! 

They are carrying the patterns in their brick and mortar store, in Denver, CO.

The dresses they've made are so awesome, I just had to share.

^ Fancy Tiger Crew - Claudia, Caitlin and Jaime in their Staples (I want to steal those orange shoes!!!!)

^ Look, Jaime made 2!! :)

Jaime and Amber are great ladies and if I am ever anywhere close to Denver I am running straight to their shop!

From seeing pictures alone, I can honestly say; It's the stuff dreams are made of!

 

 [All photo's in this post are from Fancy Tiger ---> THANKS LADIES!!!]