Monday, August 27, 2018

Fabric That Makes Me Change My Social Plans.

On one hand, I get frustrated with not having a life to wear the clothes I want to make. On the other hand, I cringe at the introductory awkwardness and small talk involved in participating in social events. I recently received an invitation to an event by a casual acquaintance. My initial (and usual) reaction was to RSVP "Thanks, but no."

Within a few days of receiving and mentally rejecting the invitation, I  got some happy mail from Nature's Fabric. The moment I felt the super soft double brushed poly (DBP) fabric, I decided to accept the invitation. I needed to wrap my body in this wonderful stuff! I wanted to make a pretty dress and was excited to have a place to wear it.  



I have six yards of this yummy fabric in two colorways. For my first project, I chose to use McCalls 7654, a "Create it" pattern that lets you mix and match the elements. I used the bodice of view B and the skirt of C.
                                     
     
   

This was my first time sewing DBP fabric so I treated it like any other knit fabric. I pre-washed and dried the fabric prior to cutting with a rotary cutter and mat.  For construction, I used a ball point needle, serged the seams, and pressed seams with steam as I went along. I had no issues with the edges lettuceing, or snagging of the fabric as I sewed. 

The pattern calls for interfacing to stabilize the bodice and a zipper closure. Because of the stretch, I omitted them. To keep the dress up, I added an elastic casing to the upper front and back between the dress and lining.


I kept the interfacing at the top of the sleeves and with movement, this dress is not going anywhere. It is so comfortable and I love these sleeves! They balance the close fitting body and bare shoulders without me feeling self-conscious, 


If making a knit version, it is an easy pattern to make with no complicated steps. It is a good "next step" pattern for a newbie sewist. It includes darts and a lining, but that is as challenging as it gets.


I love this dress! It is just what I had in mind when I felt the fabric. It feels soft and cozy while having body for this project. I don't think I will be able to wait until that event to wear this, date night here we come.



Happy Sewing,
Bianca




Monday, August 13, 2018

New D.I.Y Felt Embroidery Kits Now Available in My Etsy Store!


I am so excited to share my new iteration of my Afro Diva and Puff Diva designs. They are now available in my Etsy store as laser-cut felt embroidery kits.  


The kits are available in floral embellished Afro or Afro Puffs. The designs can be further customized with a range of skin choices and sunglasses color.








The kits include background fabric, felt, coordinating embroidery floss and a needle. A basic stitch guide is included as well as suggested stitches to use. I love that each maker can put their own spin on the design. It can be used with the flowers or without. Add freestyle design stitches to the elements to make it your own. Use the included colors of floss or mix it up with your own.


Do you want to order a large quantity for a girls night out, a slumber party or sorority event? Do you want custom flower, hair or floss colors? Do you want stock for your store? Email me here so we can discuss it.

Happy Sewing,
Bianca

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

On Newsstands Now!

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! 

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you may have seen this and know how excited I am. My print publication debut can be seen in the Aug/Sept 2018 issue of Sew News magazine! In it, I give instructions on how to paint fabric with flour resist. I demonstrate the technique and used the fabric to make an Urbanista Hobo Bag (blue stripe with silver pleather bag) and a self-drafted bag with leather straps (grey and tan strap). 


I did not know what to expect with this publication process when it began. After the contract details were worked out, I was required to write the article and submit the finished pieces to the magazine. I was unaware of the the creative decisions that would be made or how the project would be presented. I am so delighted with the end result.  When you pick up your copy, let me know what you think. 

This will be one of many articles I will write for the magazine. If you don't have a subscription, be sure sign-up so you don't miss any of the great writing and featured patterns. 

Happy Sewing,
Bianca

Friday, June 29, 2018

Space dye Activewear: Mama and Me.

They say the body you want in June begins in January. With another round of knee surgery, I was immobile in January and February. A healthy healed body was a priority over any real or imagined summer beach body. With a good doctor, rest and physical therapy, I can begin to think about rebuilding strength in my body with workouts. When I work out, I am usually that person in the gym or park wearing mismatched t-shirts, a shorts bra and uninspired shorts. My logic has been, "they are going to get gross and sweaty, so why does it matter?".

                           
Little Miss is old enough to workout with me at the gym or alongside me at the park. She has awesome fitness clothes that I bought her when a local store went out of business. The times I have taken her to workout with me, she has looked great, me, not so much. She doesn't care what I wear and is not embarrassed by me; she is just happy we are there together. Seeing how cute she looks however, made me want to make more of an effort.

 


I took advantage of Nature's Fabrics sale last month and bought Midnight Blue Space dye and Ocean Space Dye Knit with the goal of making activewear for myself. When the fabric arrived, I loved it so much, I didn't want to make workout clothes anymore! I don't enjoy working out and didn't want to "waste" such yummy fabric on a dreaded activity. I hemmed and hawed for most of the month vacillating between day wear and workout gear. In the end, I decided I should go ahead with the original plan because the wonderful feel of the fabric could only improve the workout experience.

A sale at the fabric store lead me to a Simplicity sale and their new patterns.I went with Simplicity 8634 for the top 


and Simplicity 8212 for the leggings
The line art of the patterns made me think they would be a good candidate for color-blocking. It was a fun way to tie the two fabrics together. In a happy coincidence, my fabrics match my swing arm weights and ankle weights. They help me get more bang for my buck on my walks.
     
The patterns were easy to sew straight from the package. I only tweaked them slightly. I added two inches to the front an back of the shirt to give a bit more coverage. 
                          

 The crossover back is secured only at the neckline and shoulders. The overlap covers the back area over the bra, but I wanted more security. I stitched the overlap together along the edge ending where it begins to open. This with the high waist of the leggings, provides the necessary back coverage.
                           
I don't own a coverstitch machine so I sewed this on my domestic machine and serger. 
                 
I used a twin needle with contrasting thread for all the hemming and topstitch details.
  
After planning my outfit, saw I had enough fabric to make a set for my daughter. I considered identical outfits, but I opted for coordinating pieces to allow me to play with a little embellishment.
                      
I don't have a  pattern specific for athleisure patterns for girls in my stash. I found Simplicity 8184 with its tank top and leggings knew it would work.

                    Image result for simplicity patterns 8184
I colorblocked the leggings and added a stripe embellishment to the top. I cut 1-inch stripes of fabric, folded the edges under and secured them to the shirt front using the twin needle.


She too loves the soft hand of this fabric and wants me to make pajamas and everyday clothes with it. This knit has a lot of stretch. For a close to body fit, I suggest going down a pattern size when sewing with it. She loves that she can do handstands and flips without having to tuck her top in first. 

I am so glad I went ahead and made these outfits. It feels good to get moving again. As I was getting ready for my third knee surgery, Little Miss asked, "Will you ever be able to run with me again?". It was heartbreaking! I am still months away from running, but we can go out together and break a sweat!

  

Happy Sewing,
Bianca  
P.s. Thanks to those who voted for my quilt from the previous post! I won the Pattern Review Quilt Contest!


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Big Hair! Big Dreams! I Designed A Quilt!

Friends, I am so excited! I, a longtime admirer of quilts and quilters have finally made one myself. Not only did I make it, I designed it. I have bought many quilt patterns over the years. I have admired the finished projects, but never had the courage/skill to make my own. With my knee surgery and recovery, it has been awhile since I have entered a contest. Always up for a challenge, when I saw the quilt contest on Pattern Review, I thought it was time to pull out one of those patterns from my stash and finally make one.

I chose a popular and fun pattern, I pulled fabrics, then nothing. I was completely unmotivated and uninspired to cut it out. I took a step back and thought about why I wasn't able to move forward. My conclusion was I couldn't make someone else's quilt when I had one of my own in my head. I have had a quilt design in my head for years, but not being a quilter, didn't know how to execute it.  

I have access to a laser cutter and have been playing with various media, wood, cork, foam and acrylic. Once I calculated the settings to cut fabric, I knew applique was a viable design option to finally make mine. I was inspired and excited to figure out how to do it.

Given my skills, I decided on a quilt-as-you go and applique techniques for mine. 


    

You may remember that Little Miss was teased by a child on the playground about having "weird" hair. I began designing Natural Hair love, fabric and embroidery designs to remind her of her awesomeness. I have expanded on that theme with this small scale "Good Hair Day" quilt. It features three girls with the fun hairstyles of Afro puffs, an Afro and Dreadlocks. It showcases hairstyling tools and accessories and the words "Big Hair, Big Dreams".

Once I got started, I made many faces in various hairstyles, skin tones and accessories. I was all in! I was on the way to making a king size quilt when I rechecked the rules and discovered the size was limited to 36 inches wide! 

It was a good thing I checked because I didn't know how much work was involved. The fabric blocks are cut to size and quilted to cotton batting. I used various stitch patterns on each block as a testing ground for the techniques. 

The appliques are fused and sewn to the top fabric to create the blocks.
                  



   

I had a hard time choosing the text for this quilt. We had a long list of text for this quilt. In the end, she went with "Big Hair, Big Dreams".

         
               
                               
The appliqued quilt blocks and batting are stitched together to make the top. The quilt is then backed and then bound.

           
Because this is a wall hanging quilt, I added a rod hanger to the back.


As a first attempt, I am very happy with this! Little Miss loves it and can't wait for her bed sized quilt. There is a fine line between self-awareness and self-deprecation. I see the errors in this process and know it is far from perfect. I will make refinements in the process before moving forward with. I have a gaggle of girls in my sewing room and I am excited to improve on the future makes.

If you would like to see the other entries, and possibly vote for mine, I would appreciate it. Voting is open now! Click here!. 

Thanks and happy sewing,
Bianca