Hi there. Posting from my phone again.
This has been an excellent week. I taught wonderful and interesting women and learned a lot myself. I roomed with Tula Pink here in Sisters and got to know her better. She's such a doll. I just totally love her. You know, when you are assigned a room mate you hardly know it can be sorta scary. I think we lucked out though. We got along just great.
Yesterday's class was tons of fun. It was called "get ready for the holidays" and was a gift making class. Students were able to choose from 5 projects and do two.
This sweet lady did the ruffled belt from my book. And others made pot holders and aprons. Love this one made from Paris Apartment. She decided to add a touch of collage too.
Today I'll be hitching a ride home with another teacher headed back to the bay area. But not before I head out to see the festival! More on that later.
Keep up with my day on twitter! http://www.twitter.com/barij
I'm so thrilled to announce that I'm teaching a class online with Rick Rack: Thread Therapy for Sewers.
Let me tell you why you need to take this class:
A: If you've ever been afraid of installing zippers, this bag will make that phobia Disappear!
B. I'll teach you how to make those nifty flowers.
C. If you are already a handbag and zipper expert, you like totally need another handbag.
D. I'm very charming and funny "in person" even though my husband says I don't have a funny bone in my body (a fact I have been disputing for 20 years).
Plus all this is part of the class!
1 autographed copy of my book, Inspired to Sew (optional if you have it already)
1 downloadable Inspired to Sew Patchwork Rose Zippered Bag how to sew video demonstration;
1 downloadable project instruction sheet w/step-by-step color photos (PDF);
Supply list; and
1 hour live chat with ME! (Seriously, who could pass THAT up? Giggle. Snort.)
To sign up, click HERE!
Register today through July 20, 2011. Class starts on July 22, 2011.
This sure has become the land of give-aways lately. It's madness. But I promise you, you are going to want to stick around for this one.
It's time to give away a one of my Paris Apartment design cards for Slice Fabrique!
Of course, you do know that they're available from Strawberry Patches if per chance you don't win. I hear they are really popular at her store. Speaking of which, Susanne, we are passing through in July and I intend to halt the Ackerman-Mobile for a stop there. Hub and the kids will be *thrilled*, I'm sure. But Pam Kitty Morning tells me that it is a must do. And I always listen to Pam. Right, Pam? I always listen.
Wow... I digressed. Where was I?
How about a Slice Fabrique Machine to go with that card? You don't want a card without a machine, do you? That doesn't make much of a giveaway. Luckily, Making Memories has generously offered a machine as well. (No, Mom, Ilisa and Lara, you can not enter this giveaway.)
This little mint green sweetie makes the cutting fast and easy, and of course it is super accurate. As a bonus, I love the sound it makes as it's cutting. It's this low "I'm working and doing my thang" sound. I don't know. It just makes me happy. I also like to look under that clear plastic window and see the mechanism moving. (crazy town? I don't think so. I betcha' you'll do the same thing.)
Below are some projects I have already made. I think my next endeavor will be the dress form. I have a slight penchant for them. I should show you my little dress form collection one day.
You'll probably note that though I've machine appliqued each project I can't help myself but add little embroidered details. I think you should too. It seems only right that when machines are doing most of the other work that you should pitch in a teeny little bit.
This pillow was made for my booth at quilt market. I love that it fills up an entire 16" pillow.
This is another version I did for the card's packaging. As a side note, Making Memories took this photo. I've been wondering whose bed this is because I think it needs a pretty quilt. I'm just saying. It's a nice photo and all, but I'd like to see some Paris Apartment fabric on that bed.
This tea towel comes as free project with full instructions with the card. Indeed, I have been wondering who's kitchen it is in. I'm liking the granite a lot. And I totally want to know what the cups say on the inside. I'll have to ask them about these things, huh?
I'm planning on incorporating this piece into a quilt possibly. You can embroider any message onto the banner that you'd like. This just says, "Paris". Apparently this little birdie has never been and would like to go. (That's a hint, Super Husband... read: I am the little birdie. I want to go to Paris.)
To enter to win...
Leave a comment saying which applique you'll do first and what you'll put it on.
A winner will be picked on Friday the 24th using random.org.
Please visit the Slice Fabrique Blog
and the Slice Fabrique Facebook page for more information about the products.
And the winner is... #166, SoCalGal!
COMMENTS ARE CLOSED, A WINNER HAS BEEN PICKED. Thank you too all who participated for your wonderful comments!!!
It's a hard bit to swallow, being reviewed is. Truth told? I don't have exactly the thickest skin ever so I'd been putting off reading reviews of my book, Inspired to Sew. You know, when you send your baby out into the world, the last thing you want to see is her criticized.
Admittedly, I'd glanced to make sure nothing totally evil had been said, but today I got brave and ventured over to Amazon to take a deeper look. And turns out I was worried over nothing. Isn't that always the way it is? Nine reviewers said really really nice things and there are even a couple great editorial reviews.
At any rate, I'm not saying all this to get you all to say "aren't you wonderful" blah blah... But just to say that it's so nice to see my work be appreciated. I'm honored beyond words that you like what I do. To all who have purchased Inspired to Sew and to the sweet people who left reviews of it... Thank you. You make my days.
The original of this piece was made for an auction in SIsters, OR this summer where I'm teaching at The Quilter's Affair. So if you're going to be there come and bid high for a good cause!
But if not... I wouldn't want to leave you out. I've made it into a PDF pattern. And, not to leave you hanging if you don't already know the the stitches... there are 7 embroidery stitches included with detailed instructions and illustrations. Never you mind you'll only use five of them in this pattern. Two are just for fun!
This pattern is based on my Paris Apartment fabric line, and will be one in a series of patterns.
I've been asked over and over for pdf sewing patterns. I've debated, I've hemmed, I've hawed, but I've finally made the leap into the "wave of the future" with a few downloadables! I'm looking forward to hearing what you think. So... how about I do a little PDF pattern giveaway? Comment here, letting me know what you think of PDF patterns... Do you use them? Do you prefer them over paper? What do you like about them? What would you like to see from me?
Tomorrow at 5PM(ish) I'll pick a random winner to receive one of the two pdf patterns below for free. Pleeeeaaase don't forget to leave me your email address so I can send it to you, k?
New, and not available on paper:
A long time favorite:
And the winner is, #12, Mary Grace!
Comments are now closed
I'm exhausted. I shouldn't be writing this because I should go to sleep, but I felt compelled to tell you that I'm exhausted. I've finally got my patterns about ready to go to print (thank heavens), I've been sewing like a mad woman and everyone in my house is ticked off at me for ignoring them. And that includes the dogs.
People in this house are not used to me throwing frozen lasagna at them and saying "see ya". And heavens to Betsy, they've had leftovers too. People are not happy with me. They're socks don't match, their clothes are not clean and more than once a teenager has called from school to say, "Hey, my lunch account is not full." That's life in this household right now. That's life in this household the month before quilt market.
Ah well, whatever and whatever. I have my patterns almost ready, I've ordered postcards (above), the booth is being built (thanks to one INCREDIBLE Super Husband who has more fabulous ideas than you can imagine), and samples are being made. Oh, and I ordered "I'm Inspired to Sew" pins for 100 lucky people. I'll pass them out at my book signing (Saturday the 14th at quilt market, C&T booth) and then the rest will get given away at my booth. And "oh" again! I have a surprise, non-fabric related product that will most likely debut in my booth. It's pretty stinking cool, if I say so myself.
Maybe someday I'll send my kids to college with $ from this business and they'll thank me for not matching their socks.
Based on the original Millie Fleur from my handbag line, this new sewing pattern is updated a bit. Now it's fully reversible. It's also easy to sew with a drawstring closure. This pattern will be available early May. Featured here in my Paris Apartment fabric line from Lecien.
Edit (7:20PM): My sister just pointed out that it was the day of my grandma Millie's birthday. This bag is named for her. I knew it was her birthday when I wrote a check this morning, but it didn't occur to me until my sister said something on about it on Facebook. Oddly, I felt driven to post this today. I finished the sample late last night and spent the day photographing. Happy birthday, Grandma. You must be watching down from above.
It even has a pretty back side with a sweet pleated pocket:
And you get two bags for one with it's reverse side.
Since my Paris Apartment samples arrived last week, I've been on a tear to finish my sewing patterns. I'm loving how this one turned out. Jolie Vie will be available to order in early May. This new series of patterns is all about living pretty. I'm hoping you'll be brave and put it on the floor! It's washable and has a felted wool backing so it's nice and cozy too. If you insist on being a sissy, I'll allow it to go on a table top as well. It sure would be "pretty".
I've been giving you snippets here and there of Paris Apartment. I have now been cleared for take-off and can show you the complete collection. As much as I love my three previous lines, there is something so entirely close to my heart in this one. I can't put my finger on it, but when the samples came the other day from Lecien it brought me to tears. The fact that it came from Japan made it even more amazing to me. This line went to print in southern Japan the day before the earthquake and tsunami hit the north. I'm told the mill continued functioning in Osaka. It's due to their hard work and spirit that I am able to hold this fabric at all. As I sew, I will be thinking of them. I can't wait to see the pretty things you all make with it.
Quilt shops: the collection is available to order from Lecien.
Fabric is due to arrive in stores in June.
Be on the lookout for a free quilt pattern coming soon!
I need to get cracking with the writing part of this, but I thought I'd share a little of my process with you.
I was thinking about this as I was working on it. A lot of how I work has changed over the years. For one thing, I'm much more patient with myself. I know that there are a lot of variables that come into play that I don't think of when I come up with my "great idea". Oftentimes, it takes many tries to get it right. Sometimes, many many tries. The Izzy Pincushion Pattern for instance? That took me six tries before Izzy would stand up on her own. And at one point, I was so tired, that I sewed her tail to her head and her ear to her butt.
So, with that kind of experience behind me, I knew when I started this bag, that could be the case. When the challenges came up, I was prepared. In the past you might have found me curled up in the fetal position claiming I was never going to make it and that possibly the world was ending.
Years ago, the first bag I made was an envelope clutch. Not only did I not have a pattern, it was the first time I'd taken out my sewing machine aside from 10 years earlier to make some very simple curtains. It took at least 10 attempts before I figured out the geometrics of that first bag. And I wasted tons of fabric doing it. It was incredibly frustrating. Now if I need to make something that is brand new to me, I at least know to make a muslin first.
For this bag, it wasn't exactly "new to me". So I decided to "skip the muslin". Afterall, it's based on a pattern I made years ago for my handbag line, the Lizzie Pocket. So it was going to be "no problem."
Except, for the sewing pattern, I wanted to change a couple things. First, I wanted to add a zipper. And I also I wanted it to have a handle.... And I wanted it to have a flat bottom. Oh, and also? I wanted to finish the ends of the zipper using ribbon. I knew how to do all of these things except that I'd never added a zipper underneath a flap before I'd never used ribbon at the ends of a zipper, and I wasn't exactly sure where the heck the handles were going to go. I knew in the seam with the zipper it would have been bulky and goofy, so it wasn't going there. Since I was at a loss, I decided to bag the handle for the first prototype. (yes, I totally knew there would be more than one prototype.)
So here was the first try (make a note of this... I finished this whole bag, hated it, ripped out each seam and made it a second time with the same fabric)
My reaction (I talk out loud to myself in my studio): "Whoops! That right corner doesn't want to sit right... And wow, I think I made the loop a little long for the button. Do I want a button? Yes, I want a button because some people won't have the magnetic closures so I need to give them an option here. Also, It sure would be nice if it came in two sizes... Hmmm... I'll deal with that later."
Here's take two, I worked it with the handles. And it was a great idea... except...
Me to self and possibly to Izzy and Max the giant Labradors who live here: "ooooh, that's much better. Still not crazy about the loop. And what am I going to do about the handle". ((You can't see here, but it was flipping backward)) "Hmmm, maybe I'll add some buttons" (I tried that, I don't like how it looks) "Hmmmm... maybe a *bunch* of buttons will make it work. Could be cute?What about some French knots? Oh, what the heck, I'll try both."
Ah! Much better:
Hello? What about actually SEWING the handles to the top of the bag? Oh. I see. (Sheepishly) That works nicely.
Some other challenges along the way... first, the zipper: Turns out, you need two pieces of ribbon for each end, and you have to sew them on at the same time. (3 tries, 2 uses of the seam ripper before I got it straight.)
Another of the things that had to be different about this pattern as opposed to the Lizzie Pouch was that it needed to use different pattern pieces for the flap, back and front whereas Lizzie is made from one piece of fabric that is folded to form an envelope. One of the reasons for this was of course, the zipper. It needed a seam to rest in. Which meant that the zipper, the flap and the back panel would go in that seam. That actually turned out to be only slightly challenging. I relented, and did the "B" word. Basting. And it truly required it so I didn't mind so very much.
That's it in a nutshell... at least the prototyping part. It wasn't too painful, and the pattern will be better for all the effort that went into it.
Now for actually Writing, Illustrating, and Designing the pattern booklet itself. Since I took lots of photos as I went along and wrote lots of notes, that'll be a snap, right?
I'll be sure to let you know.
This was the first day I had the opportunity to sew in about 2 weeks. I need to finish the edges and bind it. but. Soon. This will be a pattern. It will come in several sizes and varieties. And I just may have figured out the perfect material to back it in to make it nice and thick. I think I'm going to use this one by the bath.
Truly. Nothing can make me happier than making something. I think I may have my mojo back.
Teaching. It is one of the most satisfying things that I get to do. I feel really lucky that I'm getting to do quite a bit of it this year. The past two Wednesdays I taught my Patchwork Rose handbag from Inspired to Sew. There were four students and each left with a finished or almost finished bag which was really exciting.
Each student did their own version of the original in beautiful fabrics. This one is Sheila's bag. I think the mix of fabrics made it really interesting to look at.
There were the original velvet roses...
And then Laura Fraga who is a designer and expert at hand applique decided to do a different kind of rose on her bag. These are her roses made with bias trim and sewn on by hand. She showed us how to make them. They are apparently a traditional flower that is done on Baltimore Album Quilts often. If she gives me permission, I'll do a tutorial. I just love the pristine look of these.
Here are a couple finished bags. This is Connie's. I love her smile. She was super-excited to go show it off at school pick-up after class.
And here is Nancy. I love the Victorian feel of her bag.
Nancy also brought in a tree inspired by the one in my book but smaller that she is working on. It was so exciting to see it take shape!
Next class up is the container garden pillow at Cotton Patch in Lafayette, CA. Can't wait. See my sidebar for details. Psssst. It's the same as the pillow I made for my mom (two posts down).
My mommy is in town for a visit. And she found the unfinished version of this pillow which I made in July for a class sample. It's a project in Inspired to Sew and this one is an UFO I'd entirely forgotten about. Mom wanted it and that was just the excuse I needed to divert my attention from what I was doing and make it into a pillow for her. Glad it's finished and has a new owner.
I did manage to finished up two of the Slice Fabrique projects and sent them off to Utah for photographs before I got distracted. Of course I took a few of my own before they left.
And in other news, my studio appears in the newest edition of Studios magazine with the one an only Ty Pennington on the cover!
And look! We're BFF's in the table of contents... Yup. That's my studio pictured right beneath his.
Ty Pennington. Bari J. Ackerman. BFFs.
I'll be getting a few copies in stock soon if anyone wants one.
A ways back I posted about a project I was working on for Making Memories Slice Fabrique Digital Cutting Machine... custom applique designs that can be cut out automatically. I don't know if maybe you remember?
Well, I'm so excited about it now, I could pee! Yesterday I received a sample digital card with my very own designs on it. You guys, it is SO flipping cool. I love this thing. It is so easy. You just iron fusible web on your fabric back, set it on the Slice cutting board and press a button. So totally addicting.
I've been dying to show you. My card, like my upcoming fabric line is called, Paris Apartment, and the designs will coordinate. I'll be designing quilts and projects to go with both that will debut at Quilt Market. This is a small sneak peek a just a few of the projects. There are 18 layered designs on the card altogether.
Above is the chandelier design (yes, there's a chair too!). It can be cut to assemble to an amazing finished size of 17 1/2". This one will go on a 24" pillow. It took me less than an hour to cut all the pieces (there are 22 in all). I machine appliqued them on and did little French knots for the drippy crystals. It's made from the Lecien Flower Sugar line.
This cake stand design is 5.2" wide. I'm making this piece into a tea towel. I used my light box to trace the words "let them eat cake" on it and then I used a backstitch with Cosmo Multi-work Embroidery Floss to embroider it. The fabric is Paris Apartment and a touch of Flower Sugar.
Below is the cameo design. I'll be doing a bit of embroidery around it then leaving it in the hoop to display. I've again mixed Paris Apartment and Flower Sugar. The cameo itself is a dark grey shot cotton.
Fun, right? Well, back to work... and making dinner and cleaning up this joint. I'm teaching tomorrow (see sidebar) and my mom is coming to visit for a week! I'm so looking forward to all our misbehavin! I'm taking her to my favorite tea room, Crown and Crumpet! I'll take pictures to share, no worries.
In my real life, I've never been to Paris, let alone lived there. But like many Americans, it's something I dream of.
My upcoming fabric line from Lecien, Paris Apartment, is how I imagine I'd live my life there.
The names of the prints (all translated to French) express rooms that would be in my apartment, designs you'd see in it and the people who would be with me. There's a sewing room for Anna (le salle du couture d'Anna), my 15 year old daughter...
I imagine Super Husband and I would enjoy relaxing in our lovely sun room (le salle du soleil) and I'd fill the place with chintz prints (le chintz moderne) and vintage linen (le linge d'epoque). And of course, it would be overflowing with flowers from our little garden (le jardin).
Of course, I'd love for you to visit me in Paris. I'll save a guest room just for you.
PS. These are fabric "strike-offs". They are the first prints that the mill in Japan does to show the fabric company and designer what it will look like and so color etc can be approved. What you are seeing here is the first I'm seeing on fabric. Some of these colors may not end up in the finished line.
This line begins to show to distributors and stores in March and it sounds like they will end up in US stores in June.
Did you sew today? After the gym, errands and a large round of procrastination via Twitter, I ended up with an ounce of afternoon sewing time. I've been wanting to make a spider web quilt even though probably everyone else is totally done with them, so I started that quest. Now, however, I'm thinking of making just this little star portion into a zippy pouch because I don't really have time to finish it and I loathe UFOs sitting around. The Ladies in Waiting (projects I have fabric and ideas for already) own a large enough portion of this studio. So this may be as far as I ever get on a spiderweb quilt. I guess I just wanted to know how to do it, then once I knew, I didn't care anymore. I'm like that sometimes.
Were you inspired to sew today? What'd you make?
In other news...
My good friend Monica asked me to pick the winner for her Inspired to Sew Giveaway...
So here goes...
Out of 193 (wow!) entries the winner is #19! Nancy, claim your copy of Inspired to Sew!
This was going to be another zippy pouch. But then I spent an inordinate amount of time on the embroidery.
Cause I love hand stitchery.
The purple and red are all hand done and the stitching on the seams is by machine. Maybe now it wants to be a pillow?
Or add blocks and make a big quilt? Maybe a bigger handbag. What do you think?
BTW, it occurs to me... if you are interested in these stitches, I'll be teaching them in a free online class... You can check my sidebar for details. I promise it to be lots of fun.
For those of you who are curious, the roses on the roofline are bullion stitch mixed with some french knots and lazy daisy stitches.
On the side of the house lavender is growing. Also made with bullion stitches. And on the ballerina's dress I added a little yellow rose made from bullion stitches.
And this is the piece prior to hand embroidery.
Any ideas? What should this be?
My mom was always big on Valentines day with her kids. There are four of us. And for each of us she always put something special in our rooms on Valentines Day morning. It made me feel really important to her, and it's something I always remember. I've made a point of doing the same for my kids. I little piece of jewelry, candy and other goodies has been our tradition. This year I'm also going to hang treats on their door knobs for an extra surprise. These are so simple to make and can be used throughout the year for all sorts of gifting purposes. This free pattern includes instructions for a rolled felt rose and for the the blanket stitch. Enjoy!
1. I'm clearing scraps out of my studio to make room for more creative thought.
2. During the process of creating these bags I might just come up with that one incredible idea that I wouldn't have thought of otherwise.
3. My mom has requested a bag like this but with pockets for her knitting needles. So now I have to make at least one more.
4. It relaxes me. If I'm relaxed I'm more likely to come up with some fab sewing pattern designs.
5. I need more bags. No. Really. I need more bags.
6. I'm using up my supply of leather handles which is taking space in this studio.
7. They are starting to fill the website. Sort of.
8. Creativity breeds more creativity?
9. I can't help myself.
10. I can't help myself.
Have you ever wondered why one of your favorite bloggers was Inspired to Sew in the first place? What got them started? Who taught them to sew? Why do they love it so much? The Inspired to Sew blog tour will include answers to these questions and ...
each will Give Away a copy of Inspired to Sew as well!
Mark your calendars and remember to stop by for a chance to win. And be sure to tell us why YOU are inspired to sew!
January 31 Mary Abrue: Confessions of a Craft Addict
February 1, Jennifer Paganelli: Sis Boom!
February 2, Jona Giammalava: Stop Staring and Start Sewing
Feb 3, Rashida Coleman Hale: I Heart Linen
Feb 4, Sarah Fielke: The Last Piece
Feb 5, Jenny Doh: Crescendoh
Feb 6, Cara Wilson: Cara Quilts
Feb 7, Deborah Moebes: Whipstitch Fabrics
Feb 8, Monica Solorio-Snow: Happy Zombie
And... (edit) Susanne Woods will be giving away a stack of my Full Bloom fabric (which is no longer in print) at the end of the tour on the Stash Books Blog on February 9!
My lovely twitter friend, Cara Wilson, from Cara Quilts came up with this fun idea: Get people from all over the world together all at one time to talk sewing/quilting. We do this on Twitter. Live on Tuesday evenings 9PM EST! And people really do show up and chat with us from all over the globe.
It's Called Talkin' Tuesdays. All you have to do is search #talknt and then follow along in the conversation. Chime in if you'd like.
And, to win prizes, Re-tweet the prize tweets.
a 4-pack of sewing patterns and 10 fat quarters of Country Lane. I'd love to see you there!
Long ago in a land far far away I started sewing handbags. My initial idea was to create one of a kind pieces. But before I knew it the business expanded into offering design your own handbags, and really what were production handbags. I was using a local seamstress and then a sewing contractor. What I loved, sewing, had gone off to someone else to do.
Over the years I came to realize that what I really connected with was sharing my love of sewing. By creating sewing patterns, focusing on writing a sewing book and doing surface/textile design I was back to my true passion. I couldn't be happier.
I made the decision to make this the focus of my business a year ago, but I missed my little one-off projects that were so special you can't really make them into a pattern. And I hadn't really changed my website to reflect my change in focus either. So this past week I finally made the switch.
I changed my "about" page to reflect the change, I fluffed up my home page, and I took down all the "old" finished products and replaced them with new one of kind pieces. I'll be offering my sewing patterns, my book, some fabric, and one of a kind handmade goodies made just by me. I simply listed three items yesterday. One sold within 20 minutes which made me realize that my instinct is probably the right one.
Today I've started making simple fun little items to continue to list on the website. The unfinished piece at the top of this post will be listed soon. It features my some of my favorite techniques: collage, patchwork and a little bit of embroidery.
I hope you'll keep watching for more of these little bits of happiness. And of course new sewing patterns, fabric and more are on the way as well.
From the first stitch I ever took, I was hooked. I was hooked on fabric, on thread, on color, on pattern and especially on the act of creating something out of nothing. It truly brings me happiness unlike anything else. That's why the name of my book is Inspired to Sew. Every project came about from this unending love of creating something sewn. I hope that the projects in it will inspire you to sew as well.
Because I'm hoping you are, I've put an "I'm Inspired to Sew" blog button in my sidebar... feel free to "steal" the code for your blog! And if you are interested in a signed copy, they are now available to pre-order on my website. I expect them to ship next week. Use code, iminspiredtosew, for 10% off, and be sure to choose USPS for the least expensive shipping cost.
If you are local, there will also be a book signing at Wooden Gate Quilts in Danville, CA on January 22. I'd love to meet you there! Please check their class schedule as well, I will be teaching the Tea Party Accessories from the book on January 20 from 6 to 9 PM.
Additionally, be on the look out for an upcoming blog tour!
My last project of 2010. I made two of these iPad covers. The first one was a massive fail that ended with me pitching shards of fabric in the trash. And several curse words. After I work out some kinks, I think maybe I'll put together a pattern with several gadget cover patterns included.
Happy New Year to you all!
Everyone in my family is under the impression, that if you want to learn to do something you go to YouTube and search for your subject. Super Husband learned how to fix our television, how to catch squirrels in the attic and how to fix the window that refused to go back up in our car. My girls have learned to make soap, found recipes for body scrubs, and how to put on make-up. There was the infamous hair cutting incident that started with a YouTube video and ended up with an unwanted mullet on the part of a certain 14yo girl, but never the less, YouTube is our Go-To. I have learned knitting and crochet, fashion drawing, and I recently learned a great method for cutting hexagons and a method for machine piecing hexagons.
Of course, I didn't want to hand piece hexagons. But lucky me, this video was listed in the sidebar of related videos.
This quilt has been relatively easy so far using both of these methods, and I feel like a super-accomplished quilter having tried something new.
You do get left with a bunch of these little triangles when cutting with this method, but luckily, they are perfectly usable. Of course, I can see making anything with these taking a lifetime, but then, maybe I'll just spend the next 60 years making little hexies out of tiny triangles.
On another note, this post would be incomplete without introducing you to my latest tool obsessions as I gained a few in the process of making this quilt. Are you a sewing tool junkie too? I may buy more tools than I buy fabric. I could be exaggerating, but maybe.
This quilt-go-round, I found these erasable pens. They erase when you iron them and mark very nicely on fabric. Even when you mark on the bias, the fabric doesn't stretch. Love that! My hot pink Frixion pen has been invaluable for marking the 1/4" starting and stopping points on my hexagons. I can't wait to use them for embroidery and applique.
And speaking of marking the 1/4" starting and stopping points, I really like this Jinny Beyer Perfect Piecer tool. It has all sorts of angles marked and little holes where you put the pen through to mark your points. And I imagine there's tons of other uses for it too that I've yet to figure out.
On that note, I'll leave you with a bit of advice... make sure your teenage/pre-teen female children understand that not all YouTube videos are useful. Especially ones that advise using your leg shaving razor to cut your hair. I'm just saying.
PS Since I know someone will ask, the fabric I'm using for the hexagon quilt is Flower Sugar by Lecien. Available here.
[Edit: I'm so honored! Kaye Wood commented on this post! For another way to piece hexagons watch Kaye Wood's Hexagon Cut and Sew video. This method allows you to avoid having to mark your 1/4" points!]
I had the honor of being in on the secret of Mary's book writing early on as we are both C&T Stash authors. She's been a friend to me throughout both of our journeys for which I can't thank her enough. And needless to say, with the inside scoop of how awesome this book was shaping up as she went along, I could not wait to see it in all it's glory.
I most certainly was not disappointed. When you take a look at the cover of this book, it's not difficult to fall in love, but open it up and you'll have an all out romance with sewing.
The photography is gorgeous, the instructions are impeccable and you get a ton of bang for your buck with four patterns that create an entire wardrobe of clothing.
This is Mary's debut sewing book and it clearly shows she is no newcomer to sewing. She's an expert, and today, we are lucky to have a bonus guest post from her with her favorite sewing tips, below.
Oh, and did I mention a give-away? Why yes, I believe I did. Leave a comment at the end of this post, and I'll pick a winner on Monday.
Without further adieu, here's my friend, Mary Abreu:
I’m so fortunate that I get to do what I love on a daily basis. Sewing truly makes me happy and I love that I get to share that by teaching others how to sew. Seeing my students complete their first project lets me relive the excitement of sewing my first pillow and I get this warm, fuzzy feeling about sparking a love of sewing in someone else. Bari asked if I’d share some of my favorite sewing tips and I’m delighted to oblige with the list I give my Sewing 101 students. Some of these were passed on to me from my mom, while others are gleaned from my sewing experiences. I hope you find them useful tools for your sewing arsenal.
• Invest in the best tools you can. Many times there really is a difference between the cheapest and the not cheapest. It’s worth it to spend a little more if it means it’s more durable and reliable.
• Designate a sewing space and own it. When my husband was in law school, we turned the walk-in closet of our master bedroom into an office for him. Space was at a premium (two-bedroom apartment for four people) and sacrificing closet space was worth it for him to have a designated study area. It’s a lot easier to enjoy your sewing if you have some space you can call your own, whether it’s a spare room, corner of the dining room or even a closet.
• Wind an extra bobbin at the start. I rarely get through a project without needing to replace the bobbin. It’s a lot easier to just drop in a second one instead of unthreading my machine mid-stream and loading a new bobbin.
• Trim threads as you go. I am horrible about doing this but it’s really the easiest way to make sure you snip all those dangling threads.
• Use a different color bobbin thread when you gather. If you use the thread-gathered method, it’s a lot easier to separate your bobbin thread if it’s a different color than your spool.
• Remove pins ahead of the presser foot. My mom taught me to just sew over pins and it’s really been a hard habit to break. If you’re lucky, you’ll just break a machine needle or bend a pin. On the other hand, you can end up with a pointy projectile or mess up the timing of your sewing machine.
• Round the edges of elastic before pulling it through a casing. It feeds through more smoothly with no corners to catch inside the casing.
• An ergonomic seam ripper is worth it. Everybody unsews. It’s just part of the process. You may as well have one that fits in your hand for those times when you sew and serge the bottom tier of a twirly dress right side to wrong side.
• Start a sewing notebook. I use mine for keeping track of the kids’ measurements (note the date you measured), settings on my serger and a shopping list when I’m running low on an item.
• Sew for the ones you love -- but only if they can appreciate it. People who don’t “get” handmade gifts, people who point out flaws — get them gift cards. Your favorite aunt who taught you how to crochet when you were 10 and praised the 8-foot-long bookmark you made? Sew for her.
One person came to mind. Jenny Doh.
I met Jenny some time soon after I started making handbags. We were introduced by a common friend. Lucky for me, she happened to be up in the San Francisco area, and stopped by for a visit. Jenny is the kind of person who you instantly like.
Through the years Jenny has been incredibly supportive of my work. I was featured many of the Stampington publications when she was the Editor in Chief there (several pictured below). And I have since been featured on her brain-child website, CrescenDoh. I will also appear in her upcoming book, Signature Styles.
I'm generally surprised by the warm reception my work has received. I'm especially grateful that Jenny took an interest in it. And tickled that she "gets it".
As with most of my work, I created the projects in "Inspired to Sew" with a desire to have items in my life that are unique, have a artistic feel and yet are fashion-forward. I knew that Jenny would not only understand what I was trying to do, but also be able to put into words a meaningful Foreword that hopefully will Inspire YOU to Sew as much as the book itself does. I believe she did just that.
Jenny, I can't thank you enough!
(Photo of Jenny Doh from CresenDoh)
Knowing how much my girls love the softness of Minkee or Cuddle (they are brand names for those fluffy, soft wonderous fabrics), I grabbed a couple kits full of fat quarters several months ago to make some blankets for them for Hannukah. Of course, I procrastinated so long that they got them the day after Hannukah ended, but you're not counting, right? Day nine works for me. I don't *love* the colors and prints of these, but they are workable, I think. Next time I plan on finding some of the Moda brand as I hear they have great colors to work with.
I had it in my head that this was going to be relatively easy, that I'd just whip them up and be on to the next thing. And I would have been if I knew then what I know now about working with these fabrics. So I thought I'd let you in on what I learned along the way. Some of these hints came from friends on Twitter where I vented my frustration.
1. Apparently a serger would do a fantastic job with Cuddle/Minkee. But I don't own one, so I was stuck with the sewing machine. But if you have one, Mary from Confessions of a Craft Addict says use it.
2. Next I heard it would have helped a lot if I fused a woven cotton interfacing such as form flex to the back of it according to Debra Lynn from Fat Quarter Shop. I use that on everything, so I have no idea why I didn't think of that myself. But it was too late for the first blanket, and I was too lazy on the second one. But my bet is that this works like a charm.
3. I was smart enough to use a ton of pins, which really helped. In fact, I used 5 for every 8" square. I highly recommend taking the time to do this.
4. A walking foot is a great help if you have one.
5. For long stretches of rows, I started in the middle and sewed to one end, then the middle to the other end. This helped avoid much of the stretching along the way.
6. As I sewed blocks together I did end up cutting any corners that stretched a bit to square them up.
7. I pinned seams before I started a row, but if, as I approached, a seam wasn't matching, I did do a little stretching and tugging in the appropriate direction to "make" it match.
8. You can see I did the two quilts differently. I started with the fun Log Cabin block on the quilt below and used a ton of little squares around it. However, I quickly found this was going to cause me lots of pain with seams not matching etc, so the next one, I cut all 8 1/2" squares. Much better.
9. I did not bind these as if they were quilts, I simply placed the back and front of the blanket right sides together and then sewed them together leaving an opening to turn as if it was a pillow.
10. I also did not quilt these. I put in over 100 pins in one and tried to quilt by stitching in the ditch and made an immediate mess of the thing and ended up pulling out stitches (not an easy feat with this fabric). So my plan is that if the girls are finding the edges are turning funny as they use them, I'll go back and yarn tie them.
That's all folks... I think in the end these turned out really great. And I would totally work with this fabric again even though half way through I swore I'd never ever ever do so. I guess it's like having a baby. You forget all about the pain once you have the fruits of your labor in your arms. Well, sort of.
If you missed my interview on Pat Sloan's Creative Talk Radio you can download the podcast here. My interview was the one on December 6, 2010.
Check out Sew4home for the how-to on this project and a bit of the conversation I had with Editor, Liz Johnson.
And for a giveaway of my latest four patterns and my "Holiday Traditions" story, visit Where Women Create... There you'll find a giveaway a day and holiday traditions from many designers for their Twelve days of Christmas! They are already on day 9! Run on over there and sign up!
Covering a chair is actually easier than you might think. I'll be recovering another chair just like the one I did for market. I will do an in depth tutorial with pictures of each step when I do that, but for now, this is a brief explanation of how I made this simple cover. The fabrics I used for this are from my Country Lane collection, and I used the curtains from my booth (which is Kona Crush in Natural from Robert Kaufman) as both the skirt for the chair and the skirt on the table.
This is an office chair from Target. I just treated it as if it were a regular chair, ignoring where the seat curved in toward the back (see bottom of post for before photo). In other words, for the back of the seat, I used the same measurement as the width of the top of the chair even though the seat actually curves inward and is narrower.
To create a pattern for the back (which is plastic and therefore, I couldn't just pin fabric on it) I literally placed the chair with it's back down on my desk on top of a large piece of paper. Starting in the middle of the back, I traced the curve of the top of the chair to it's end and around the curve. I then folded the paper in half and cut along the line to get the shape and added the length from the top of the chair to the seat. Then I added seam allowances of 1/2" to the pattern piece. I cut two for the back and front of the chair. I made ties for the back of the chair so that when you sit on it, it doesn't slip forward too much. Then I sewed the front and back pieces together with the ties sandwiched in the seams.
For the seat, I pinned the fabric onto the chair, nicely centered on the grain with the pins where a seam would go. I then traced the seat shape adding 1/2" seam allowance with chalk and cut out the pattern piece. Then I sewed the seat piece to the front of the chair back piece.
For the skirt, I measured around the seat front pattern piece and the back piece and added the numbers together. Then I added nearly half of that number so I could gather it.
After gathering the top of the skirt, I pinned it onto the chair top, leaving half inch at each end. I started sewing and finished sewing around the skirt at those half inch marks and then simply sewed the seam shut using a 1/2" seam allowance. Then I sewed trim on.
That was it. Pretty simple and much prettier than the ugly green chair this was ... eeew.
Stay tuned for another tutorial coming soon which will include draping the fabric on an upholstered chair and putting in a zipper.
More from the rest of the market will be to come soon. But how about a give-away in the meantime?
Two ways to win: Simply comment here... and/or tweet about the giveaway and follow me, then come back and comment that you did so. i.e.: the only way to have an entry is to comment, so you'll have to do that to let me know you tweeted and followed (or tweeted and already follow).
I'll pick a winner using random.org on Monday the 8th of November at 10 PM. You have until then to enter. Good luck!
I'm leaving first thing tomorrow morning for Quilt Market, but I thought you might want to know what my next fun secret was. Here's the low down: Making Memories is launching a new product for fabric cutting at Quilt Market in Houston called Slice Fabrique. And I am creating Bari J. co-branded custom shapes for it! Slice Fabrique is a digital fabric cutter. i.e.: No more cutting by hand! And because the designs are stored on a special SD card, you’ll save loads of money (and space) versus the manual die cutters. My designs will be based on my fabric and sewing pattern designs! This is what the little portable machine looks like (I actually have a PINK one):
(photo courtesy of Making Memories)
If you'll be at market don't forget to visit Making Memories at booths 2236-2239.
And I will be in booth 1261! See you soon!
I've been spending tons of time getting ready for quilt market where I'll be showing my newest sewing patterns made up in my latest fabric line, Country Lane (printed by Windham Fabrics). I'll also be promoting my book, Inspired to Sew, which is due out in January. And while I'm really excited about all of that, I've been keeping a couple other things under wraps. One of those, I've just been freed to talk about, the other I received a contract for last week and I believe word will be out next week. It's all pretty cool.
The big exciting news is my next fabric line will be out this Spring printed by a new company! I'll be with Lecien, a Japanese company, and fabric home of Monica Solorio-Snow, Brenda Riddle and Sarah Fielke et al. I'll not be announcing the name of the line or any of the details at this time, or at market in Houston, but I can tell you that I went beyond anything I've done before and I'm immensely proud. It will be released this Spring at market in Salt Lake City.
I do want to make mention of my friends at Windham, who I like and respect very much. Windham is a wonderful company to work with. My most current line, Country Lane, recently arrived in stores. I love it, and I can't wait to show you what I made with it for this market.
I'm so excited about having my very first solo booth. So because I went and dragged you over here with promises of fortune... Here's a little sneaky peek of bits and pieces of booth #1261... See you in HOUSTON!
Postcards sent to me by C&T to promote my book...
Izzy taking a little nap in a bag:
Brochures, and ... ooh, are those new business cards?
Dude, have some bags!
my most favoritest sewing technique ... collage.
And all these bits and pieces? You guessed it. For another collage. Part of a crazy whacked out idea I had last night... Can't wait to see how that turns out.
The next stop on the Country Lane Garden Walk is at the home of Blue Nickel studios with Scott Hansen.
Scott designed a beautiful runner which he's offering as a free pattern AND he's having a little giveaway! I also answered some questions I'm sure you'll be dying to know the answer to; like who my teenage idol was. I know! You were going to ask me that too, right?
The walking tour of the gardens on Country Lane (that's what I've decided to rename my bloggy tour) continues with stops at the blogs of Rebecca Makas (Restitcherator) and John Adams (Quilt Dad).
These two totally rock out the Country Lane fabric combos. I love what both of you have done. Thank you for letting us stop by.
And Then stop by Quilt Dad for a fabulous log cabin quilt tutorial!
I. Am. So. Excited. About this quilt.
It has everything I love: embroidery, applique and collage... with instructions for all of it. You'll learn French knots, backstitch, stem stitch, free-motion quilting and freezer paper applique. And it features all the good things in life: petit fours, cake, flowers, cute shoes and presents... Really, what more could you ask for?
The trim is the pre-made crochet that I love which will be available from Above All Fabric.
Pre-orders for retailers and distributors are available by emailing me at (Bari at BariJonline dot com.) TBD: Oct 20.
Stop by the blog of my friend, Stephanie at Little Lady Patchwork where I tell you all about how I got started doing what I do. I blab quite a bit of the details over there! And you are going to love Stefanie! Her work is fabulous!
And while you are surfing... you might (I'm just saying) want to get in on a giveaway of Country Lane over at Quilting/Sewing Mecca, Fat Quarter Shop!
I'll be announcing stops at the blogs of several other friends in the coming days! Keep your eyes peeled!
PS Pictures included are of the upcoming sewing pattern projects mentioned in the previous post... 'cause I have this rule about no posts without pictures. I wouldn't want to bore you. ;)
The flower at the top is a bonus for the Flower Market Tote.
As you know, handbags are my specialty. I love 'em, can't have enough of them and can't make enough of them. These two are amped up versions of bags that have been in my handbag line for many moons. They have special touches like rounded edges, crochet trim, added pockets, and tailored pin tucks. Bags for sewing patterns are so much more fun to make than finished bags.
With finished bags you have to worry about whether you will be able to find someone who will sew a bag with rounded cuts or someone who will add special trim. And if you do find someone, you worry about how much it will cost to get them to do it the way you want it done. After-all, sewing contractors and manufacturers want to do it fast and on an assembly line.
But with sewing patterns, the sky's pretty much the limit because the "end product" is being created with tender loving care by home sewers like you! What could be better for a designer than that?
The bag below, which was the "Emily Tote" in my original line is now the Flower Market Tote. It's been given a curvy opening at the top and a long rounded top double pocket with pre-made crochet trim on it's front. The trim I used is made by Moda and is available through stores which will be listed on the pattern ... I may end up carrying it as well. I love the stuff!
This bag, which was the "Lara Hobo" in my original line is now the "Notting Hill Hobo". It has added pin tucks to give it tailored look, and it comes in two styles (patchwork or solid fabric) and two sizes. There are instructions for free motion quilting a pretty motif onto your bag as well.
Both bags are available for wholesale pre-order through me (email me at Bari at Barijonline Dot com), and they will be available through distributors soon as well.
Lucky me lucky me lucky me! Nanner nanner nanner. I got me some of Elizabeth Scott's debut line, Red Rose Farm and you didn't!
But... Nanner nanner nanner!
Aw. I'm sorry.
I shouldn't tease you. I just can't help myself. You see, I've got friends in high places ... Ummm... Elizabeth lives, like, down the road and she's my friend, I'm happy to say. So she gave me some of this goodness to play with and I made myself this laptop sleeve I've been waiting to make until I had the perfect fabric.
And lucky for you, Red Rose Farm is shipping next week. And it's available at Fat Quarter Shop.
I really love this line. Run. Go get you some!
I'm so excited about this quilt I just can't keep it to myself any more. This pattern, 1 of at least 4 that will be released in October is my very first quilt pattern for sale. It's a traditional zigzag quilt with a modern twist. In what would be the neutral rows, I've incorporated striped fabrics which are reversing directions, and then (because more is more and I couldn't help myself) I added giant rick rack to add a some flair. I hope you like it as much as I do. More to come very soon!
I've sewn many curtains over the years, but I think I'm really in love with my newest from my Country Lane group which I'm thinking really lends itself nicely to home decor. First I made these for the family room...
The above are just a width of fabric, and are hung half above and half to the side of the window. I didn't line them because they are simply to frame a group of three windows and don't really serve a functional purpose. But when I finished the next set of curtains, I wished I did, because truly, lining curtains gives them a much more luxurious look and feel.
This next pair is lined and fully reversible. They look just as pretty from the outside. I used 4 different fabrics on them... All from Country Lane (Lattice, Prairie Plaid, Meadow Monarchs and Vintage Lace). You can see the butterflies from the lining through the plaid, and when I put them on the tie backs I can turn them so the lining shows.
As a side note, I referenced Deborah Moebes new book Stitch by Stitch because I wasn't sure how I wanted to finish the hem being that it was two-sided. I received an advance copy of it, and Deborah will be stopping by my blog for a chat on September 29th so you'll soon be hearing a lot more about her and her work. Her book, which teaches you to sew step by step, is really helpful even to those of us who have been sewing for a while because it has details in it that sometimes you just don't think of if you haven't done it before.
When I finished with the curtains, I did something I'd been planning to do for a while... with a can of spray paint... You can see them on the back wall of our family room. I'm thinking now that the wall color needs to be yellow or blue. Not ready to decide quite yet, but the sand pebble color definitely has to go. We purchased the two sofas this Spring. The leather on the left is from Crate and Barrel and the white straight ahead is from Pottery Barn. You can see in this photo how the first set of curtains flank the bank of windows. Thinking a version of the curtains should go on the far window. But for now, I better get back to sewing for quilt market which is approaching very quickly!
View my line of licensed fabric designs at
Art Gallery Fabrics
Ships to stores May 2013...
In stores now...
In stores now...