Archive of ‘tutorial’ category

Kindergarten Chair Pockets Take 2

You know that thing that happens when the world finds out that you sew? You are flooded with requests to sew things.  Bless them, right? Everyone means well. Remember those kindergarten chair pockets I made for my son’s class last year? Well, you can probably guess where this is going…at least a little bit.  About halfway into this school year J’s first grade teacher approached me about sewing chair pockets for his classroom, just like the ones from last year (link includes my tutorial on how to make them, btw).  chair pockets perfect for kindergarten classrooms | a happy stitch

Much as I loved making chair pockets for his classroom last year, it is time-consuming, monotonous and costly (it takes A LOT of fabric).  Plus, it seemed inequitable to me.  If classrooms need chair pockets is it fair that the only classrooms who get them have my kid in them? Not really.  So, I suggested that the school identify how many classrooms need chair pockets and write a grant to cover the cost of store-bought chair pockets.  J’s teacher came back and suggested that the ones I make are sturdier than the mass-produced kind.  I was terribly flattered.   I agreed I could make them and quoted her a price per classroom (at 25 chair pockets per classroom) that paid for my time and supplies.  She submitted the grant and it was only after the grant was accepted that I found out that nearly the entire school needed chair pockets, 300 to be exact. Turns out every first grade and kindergarten classroom except for two needed chair pockets….one of those two classroom has special chairs and the other has the pockets I made last year.  Ha! I was totally overwhelmed.  (more…)

DIY fabric buckets

DIY Fabric Buckets // a happy stitch

I’m not exactly sure how many years Sanae and Ute have been running the Secret Valentine Exchange but it seems like I’ve managed to miss out on it a million times.  I honestly read Sanae’s blog religiously and every time I see it announced, I intend to sign up and then forget.  But not this year! I signed up and participated and loved it.  I received the best, beautiful suede-like bag and cement magnets from the lovely Aida. I feel so lucky! For my part, I made my secret partner these hand-stamped fabric buckets.  They nest together and form a lovely ombre pink effect when they are all sat inside of each other. (more…)

Hand-Painted Baby Blankets in bubble gauze

Hand-Painted Baby Blankets in bubble gauze // a happy stitch

I have always admired those high-end, gauzy baby blankets from Aden and Anais. You know, the totally gorgeous, clean and beautiful things that seem kind of a silly investment for a baby? Naturally, I wanted to make something similar but could never find good gauze fabric so I was thrilled when Michael Miller Fabrics let me play with some of their bubble gauze, newly released from Sarah Jane. I also made a baby blanket with the double gauze from this collection but more on that later.   For the bubble gauze I decided to hand-paint sweet polka dots. (more…)

2015 It’s a wrap :: on creativity and so much sewing

2015 Wrap Up // a happy stitch

Oh my goodness, 2015 was such a wonderful year.  Now that I’m safely on the other side of it I’m so thrilled to announce I accomplished my primary goal for the year. Yep, I did it!

I made a vow at the beginning of the year to buy nothing new with my Nothing New Project and I succeeded.  Every piece of clothing that newly entered my life this year was sewn by me or bought used. (more…)

Sewing With Sweater Knits :: The Laurelhurst Cardigan

Sewing with sweater knit fabric - The Laurelhurst Cardigan

I love the drape and feel of sweater knit fabric but I’ve long been scared to sew it given how lightweight it is.  Seems like this scrumptious sweater-like lightweight fabric is just the kind of thing my sewing machine loves to tangle up and eat. As soon as I saw the Laurelhurst Cardigan from Straight Stitch Designs I knew I had to make it as a sweater knit.  It was time to conquer my fear!  Along the way I learned a few things and I’m sharing them on the UpCraft Blog.  What is better than a sweater knit in fall? Not a whole lot! Sewing with sweater knit fabric time, y’all!

Sunprinted Tablecloth and Napkins

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Way back (ah, decades ago!) when I was in college in Madison, WI, I met a vibrant, adventurous, elegant woman whose bohemian and artistic outlook was a revelation and an inspiration.  One of those friends whose free-spirited nature stills shapes me to this day.  When she got married this summer I knew I wanted to make her something special as a wedding gift.  I decided to make a sunprinted tablecloth and napkin set. (more…)

The Great Pattern Hack :: My Marigold Blouse and Marigold/Alder Dress

The Great Pattern Hack :: My Marigold Blouse and Marigold/Alder Dress

It is finally my turn to share on the Great Pattern Hack tour! I had so much fun hacking this Marigold blouse and Marigold/Alder mashup Dress.  Also, I also have a million things to say and don’t want to forget any of them.

First of all, though, the fabric.  I fell in love with the entire Indigo fabric collection from the moment I saw it at the Michael Miller offices.  I’ve always been fascinated by the gentle art of sashiko embroidery and I love the way this collection mimics both sashiko as well as a woven ikat look. It’s very wearable too.  I ended up making three garments some with Indigo and one with the MMF solids line Cotton Couture and I love them all.  Love, love, love.

But before the nitty-gritty I need to get minorly sappy.  I’ve been kind of cheerleading about this whole pattern hacking idea without really explaining why.  When Kait from Michael Miller asked me for an idea for a blog hop I suggested pattern hacking because I’ve noticed a split in the sewing world.  It sometimes seems there are two persectives and they are polar opposites…you either follow a pattern to the letter or you learn how to make your own patterns from scratch through pattern drafting classes.  I see it all the time among students in my sewing classes; this feeling that those are the only two options.  Yet, I know that somewhere quietly in the middle lives pattern hacking. It’s in hacking up a pattern that some of my best lesson have been learned….frustrating ones for sure, but alongside the failures has been the highs of successes.  I love that I don’t have to be a fit expert to take a pattern, tweak it a little and make it into what I’m looking for.  I started sewing because I wanted to make things that fit my body shape and define my own style.  I like being able to tinker with an existing pattern to make something my very own; my vision and no one elses but without the hassle of figuring out a sloper, etc. I don’t have to reinvent the wheel; I’m a hacker, baby!  I’d much rather pattern hack than pattern shop. I’d rather sew and experiment than read a pattern making book.  You feel me? I want to DO THE THING!  (more…)

The Great Pattern Hack :: The Sewing Rabbit hacks shorts to a skort!

Great Pattern Hack _ The Sewing Rabbit Hacked Shorts into a Skort

Yay!! It’s here! Today is the official kick-off of The Great Pattern Hack co-hosted by myself and Michael Miller Fabrics and we are starting off with such a great pattern hack! The inimitable Jess from The Sewing Rabbit loves bike rides with her husband so she pulled together an ingenious Skort DIY.  She hacked a pair of BurdaStyle shorts in peacock Seedling fabric. Such a perfect, happy summer outfit idea and she stitched up an adorable little girls outfit to boot! Catch all the details (and bury yourself in amazingness) on her blog!

Are you a pattern hacker? Then, play along!
I hate when blog hops feel like a party I didn’t get invited to and I don’t want this one to feel that way to anyone!  Do you tweak your patterns and stitch up magic just like Jess does? Then join in! Grab some Michael Miller fabric and show us your skills! Hack a pattern, any pattern, and share your creation on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.  Make sure to tag your photos so we can find you– @michaelmillerfabrics and @ahappystitch and use the hashtags #GreatPatternHack #MichaelMillerFabrics #AHappyStitch .

No time to stitch something new? Leave a comment and tell me about your favorite pattern hacking experience.  Let’s inspire each other, my fellow sewing ninjas!

There will be lots of giveaways —fabric and patterns!–throughout the hop so stay tuned!  Tomorrow we get to see what Kait, the behind-the-scenes beauty at Making It Fun the Michael Miller blog has sewn up!

The Great Pattern Hack team:
Monday 6/29 :: kick off with Jess Abbott from The Sewing Rabbit
Tuesday 6/30  :: Kait Witte from Making it Fun (Michael Miller Fabrics)
Wednesday 7/1  :: Flash Giveaway Day!
Thursday 7/2  :: Jane Kohlstein from Buzzmills
Friday 7/3  :: Me!  A Happy Stitch
Monday 7/6  ::  Rachael Gander at Imagine Gnats
Tuesday 7/7  :: Tamara Serrao at Kaya Joy
Wednesday 7/8  :: Betsy Blodgett from Indygo Junction
Thursday 7/9  :: Laura Titchner from Craftstorming
Friday 7/10  :: Kristin Timm from Skirt As Top
Saturday 7/11  :: Jessica and Ericka at Violette Threads
Monday 7/13  :: Celina Bailey at Petit A Petit and Family
Tuesday 7/14  :: Sanae from Sanae Ishida
Wednesday 7/15  :: Erin Sundet at Sewbon
Thursday 7/16 ::  Delia Randall from Delia Creates

Friday 7/17 :: Wrap up and Surprise Giveaway!!!

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