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Friday, April 27, 2012

Sew & Tell Saturday April 28 2012

Welcome to Sew & Tell Saturday!
 I'm back from all of my travels and ready to dive back into some sewing projects I have planned. There is nothing like a little trip to get your creative ideas flowing again !
I'm getting organized to make myself some new projects as I will be participating in Me Made May. If you sew and don't know about this fun challenge you can learn more about it here.
I also have a few projects to enter into the Project Run & Play flickr pool. You can view all the Flickr projects here.
I also have a lot of work to do as I am working on some bunk beds for my girls!


Here are the featured projects from last week:

I fell in love with this little track suit at You And Mie. 
This was such a creative design for a maternity top at The Seek Speak

Let's see what you have been working on! Post your projects below. Please link to your blog post in the form.
Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

My Visit With Lady Danburry

Something I love about running a creative blog is the interesting people I have met through it.
I have been following Lady Danburry's fashion designs on her blog Thinking With Shapes for about six months. As well as having a cool fashion design blog, Lady Danburry also has a shop were she makes everything she sells.

  I  appreciate her sense of style and am always impressed by her original designs, which she posts almost on a daily basis. This girl can sew crazy fast.
Follow me on a little trip through Lady Danburry's world.

Designs from the Thinking In Shapes blog:

A custom suit. These are some serious tailoring skills here!
Trousers and a blouse designed and sewn by Lady Danbury in her online shop. 

  I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to visit and be the houseguest of the gracious Lady Danburry and her husband Drew last week when I attended the SNAP Conference in Utah. I had fun chatting with her and Drew about raising chickens among other things! Drew is a musician and barber who owns a classic style barber shop where he gives straight razor shaves and wears a chic white coat designed for him by his wife.
  One of the things that struck me about Lady Danburry was how young she was. I knew from her blog that she previously owned a tailor shop, and has had numerous commissions as well as running her online shop, so I assumed she was older.
  When I visited her studio I noticed she was working on a wedding gown. 
"Is this your first wedding gown?" I asked her.
 "Oh no."she answered. 
"How many have you made?" I asked her. 
"Oh about twenty."
  Twenty bridal gowns ? I was amazed that this young lady, about the same age as most people are when they are just graduating design school and starting out, was already a seasoned and highly skilled designer.
She was taught to sew by her mother who was a costume designer and has been sewing clothes since she was a little girl. She is home and self taught. Proof that you don't always need an expensive degree to do what you love.
Here is a peek inside the studio of the Lady Danbury: 
Her mom made these fabric storage shelves for her as well as the cutting tables. What a cool mom! Did I mention Lady Danbury's sister is Jess from the Running With Scissors children's sewing and design blog? Can I please be adopted into this family? 
She sews on industrial machines like this Singer serger. Industrial machines are the best but you need a lot of space for them as they come attached to big, clunky tables.
This Consew is a tank and will sew through practically anything!
Sketches of designs from a recent fashion show.
I liked this  photo area. It's nice to have a dedicated spot like this to photograph finished designs.
Lady Danbury at work. 

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

7 Tips For Buying Kids Clothes At The Thrift Shop

I just got back from the half price sale at the thrift shop!
As usual, I feel like I bought a few things for my girls that were cute but might not get worn very often so I wrote this little guide below as much for myself as for you, dear reader, who may be new to buying thrift store clothing. It's so easy to overdo it and buy too many things because they are so cheap.

So bookmark my little guide here to read before you head to thrift shop.

Or tweet it to share the love!
Thrift store shopping tips for kids clothes:
1. Buy only your child's current size.
Unless you have a business reselling clothes, try to buy clothing only in your childs size. How many times have I bought a cute dress thinking " Oh, Lily will grow into this. I'll put it away until it fits. Invariably, you will put it in a box somewhere in your garage and forget about it. You will then find it one day months later, it will be too small by then and you will wonder why the heck you bothered to buy it and into the thrift store giveaway pile it will go. Money wasted.
2. Just because it's a dollar doesn't mean you should buy it!
Try to buy only things you love. Its easy to buy something that is only so- so because its practically free. But that just adds clutter to your life.
3. It may be adorable, but will it go with clothing you already have at home?
Over the years I have bought so many cute separates but if they don't go with anything else, they lie in the drawer unworn. And believe me, those thrift store purchases add up over time. If they are unworn, they are just more money down the drain!
4. Examine pieces closely for signs of wear and stains. 
You don't want  to look like you bought your kids clothes at the thrift shop, even if that is what you did! It may be Ralph Lauren, but if there is any pilling, faded parts, or stains you think you can get out at home, do yourself a favor and put it back on the rack. Whoever gave it away most likely tried to remove those stains themselves, and didn't have any luck.
5. Don't become a thrift shop hoarder!
Here is one of the worst things to do which I have done once or twice and am embarrased to admit. Scenario: You find an adorable little vintage baby boy outfit. You don't have a baby boy but you buy it anyway thinking,"Maybe I will have another baby boy someday I will save this for. Or, I can give it to a friend who is pregnant or to so and so who has a baby this age...Stop right there partner! You are venturing over that fine line that distinguishes the savvy thrift store shopper from the crazy thrift store hoarder!
6. If you already have enough clothing for your children which is likely, think to yourself before you buy anything from the thrift store or anywhere for that matter.
Are your children's drawers stuffed to the brim already? How many dresses does one child really need? Maybe you should just leave the dress for someone who might really need it. I like to thrift shop because it is environmentally friendly but I can afford to buy new clothing. Sometimes its best to leave some things for those who are really struggling and dont have that option... Share the thrift store goodies.
7. Only buy used toddler shoes if they are brand spanking new and unworn.
I recently had a discussion with a podiatrist about the dangers to a child's developing feet from buying improperly fitted and worn in, used shoes. When it comes to my kids shoes, I don't skimp. Buy new, and hopefully in a shop were your child can be properly fitted. And preferably leather for breathability.There are a whole lot of problems that can happen to a child's feet from wearing ill fitting shoes!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Ragamuffin Patchwork: Everyday Is Earth Day !

Everyday is Earthday when it comes to my wee ones wardrobe. If it's not handmade then a lot of it is thrifted or  handed down.
For instance, this outfit here.
A collaboration of my design, my nine year olds design, some thrifted , some handed down, and a little bit of Tokyo fashion too.

My nine year old Lily designed and sewed this patchwork skirt for her little sister from scraps in my scrap bin.
 I love how it turned out and Gigi loves it too, especially since her big sis made it.

The sweater was made by me . I cut down an old shrunken sweater and added some Liberty of London  bias tape to the neckline.
I brought the t-shirt back from Tokyo. It has the word CUTE appliqued on it.

The shoes are from the seventies!I bought htem for a dollar at an estate sale. They reminded me of a pair I had and loved as a litle kid.The scarf was my mom's and the tights were big sister number one's.

This is one of my favorite silk souvenir scarves from the 1930's that my mother gave to me. Gigi got some saltwater taffy I brought back from the SNAP Conference stuck in her hair and I couldn't get it out in time to leave for the zoo today so I threw this scarf on her head. A happy accident! We finally got the saltwater taffy out after many tears and holding her hair under warm running water to melt the taffy off.

linked to

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Crafty Freebies from the Snap Conference

The SNAP bloggers conference this past weekend in Utah was was an excellent event. The organizers worked so hard and had an amazing array of informative workshops presented by and for creative bloggers. I am so excited about all the things I learned. I learned a great deal about utilizing social media, SEO, book deals, photography, trend research, starting an online business and the importance of having an authentic voice and point of view as a creative Blogger. There were a few fun make and take sessions as well, a nice break in between lectures.
It was fun meeting so many bloggers in person who I knew online from visiting their sites. If you are considering going next year I would definitely recommend it.
It was so worth my 200 dollars. Dinners and lunches were included for the three days. The dinners were all out gourmet catered affairs  and of course, the decorations were all handmade and utterly fantastic. What more could be expected when the likes of bloggers from Tater Tots and Jello,  Thrifty Decor Chick, House of Smiths, Whipperberry, Vintage Revivals, and The Idea Room were the organizers!
But if that wasn't enough, the freebies themselves were probably worth more than the ticket. Here are some but not all of the freebies that were given to the attendees which were graciously donated by the following companies that I am linking to below:
This  necklace was among the freebies. I love it and have been wearing it nonstop! Visit Amy Cornwell's Shop to see her jewelry creations.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Sew & Tell Saturday April 21

Welcome to Sew & Tell Saturday!
I should be at the SNAP Bloggers Conference in Salt Lake City as you read this on Saturday.
 Actually as I write this, it's 3:50 AM in the morning on Thursday. I got back from Japan yesterday and although we had a fantastic time, I am suffering from some terrible jet lag and don't feel like going anywhere! But I already bought the tickets months ago and will try to get at least an hour of two of sleep. I'm anxious about leaving my two year old again as last week was the first time I had been anywhere without her for more than one night. I hope I am not a total zombie at the conference. I know I will have some serious bags under my eyes. Oh gosh! Of course,what the heck am I complaining about? A cool trip like that is totally worth a couple of days of feeling like crap!
Something I am excited about is that I am going to be staying with fellow blogger Lady Danbury from the Thinking In Shapes blog and have been looking forward to meeting her in person. I just I hope I don't fall asleep as soon as I get to her place! Oh well, hope for the best and expect the worst, right?
 I am looking forward to meeting Lady Danbury, designer extaordinaire, and her cool vintage barber shop owning husband and I will be sharing a post about her work next week on the blog as well as a post about the SNAP conference. There will be some blogging big shots from the DIY blogging scene there and the schedule sounds really interesting.
So  I haven't done any sewing but I did do plenty of fabric shopping in Tokyo and if you haven't read my previous post about shopping in Tokyo, you can check it out here.
But what have you been up to? Post away my fellow blogistas and blog men if you are out there!


Please add me to your party list and if you enjoy my blog, please Like me on FaceBook or GFC. Thanks.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Buying Sewing Fabric and Pattern Books in Tokyo

The main store of Tomato fabric with six floors in Nippori Textile Town Tokyo. There are some great deals here!
The second Tomato shop across the street. It's two floors and has top of the line Japanese fabrics.

My favorite fabric shop in Tokyo was Tomato fabrics in the Nippori Textile Town district next to Ueno in North Tokyo. To get there take the JR train to the Nippori exit and walk out the East gate.
There are several small fabric shops on the street but Tomato is the largest and has three stores on one block.
Tomato fabrics had so many gorgeous fabrics and the prices were much lower than the other store I visited in another part of town, Maruno in Shibuya. Although Maruno had a nice selection on five floors, the prices were double there on some of the same fabrics I saw at Tomato. If you are in Japan and serious about getting fabrics, it's worth the train ride up to Nippori Textile Town next to the Ueno area. Make sure you bring cash because none of the shops in the area accept credit cards.
Like many travelling sewists I didn't have the time to linger like I wanted because I had my husband and son with me and after an hour of waiting for me, they started to complain.
In fact, as soon as I got back to my hotel with my fabric purchases, I wished I had been more organized with my time there because the quality and variety were so good! I bought some cotton ginghams, Liberty type cotton prints which were on the clearance wall,  floral linens and polka dots, a patchwork type hanky pattern, and an interesting sweater knit.
Inside Tomato 

A remnant bin at Tomato.

Some of my selections.

So two days later when I had a little time to myself I went back to Tomato and spent about two hours going through all six floors of the main store. I oogled bag hardware, oilcloth, linen prints, cute notions, ans craft books.
However, in my experience, the best place to buy craft books in Tokyo was the big bookstore, Kinokuniya near Shinjuku station. I think there were hundreds of different pattern books there! The books were also at least half the price of buying them in the US.

Sewing pattern books at Kinokiniya bookstore Tokyo.

Another cool thing about Tomato was the 100 Yen a yard fabric wall and the remnant bins on each floor. I'm still kicking myself for not getting any of the amazing oilcloth prints I had never seen before. I think there were a couple hundred different cute oilcloths and laminated fabrics.
It does seem that a lot of Tokyoites are into sewing because the store was packed and it made for some fun people watching. Two super hip Harajuku type fashion designer guys were buying lots of far out fabrics and there were traditional grandmothers in the quilting section. As well as all the cute kawaii type prints, cotton ginghams, Liberty style print fabrics, Japanese designers fabrics, and double gauze cottons, Tomato had a beautiful selection of traditional type Japanese textured textiles like the type kimonos are made of.
I just have to say that the quality and hand of Japanese clothing fabrics are just phenomenal! I was familiar with the Japanese quilting cottons we have back home by Echino and Kokka. They are fun prints on a canvas linen fabric. While great for crafts and decor they are a bit too stiff and thick for clothing. But Japanese clothing cottons are perfect!
Some other places to buy fabric in Tokyo are the 100 yen shops like Dazou which have small cuts and notions. I bought some super cute fabric covered brown gingham buttons and crochet trim at Dazou for 100 yen each package.( $1.25).
 Tokyu hands department store in Shinjuku and Shibuya also have lots of supplies.
 I didn't get a chance to spend as much time as I would have liked looking for craft supplies since  I was sightseeing with my husband and 18 year old so. They were patient to come to Nippori Town, but we had about a hundred other things on our agenda. We were fortunate to see the cherry blossoms in full bloom, ate sushi for breakfast at Tsukiji fish market in a 160 year old restaurant, stayed on futons in a traditional Ryokan hotel, and enjoyed an outdoor Japanese bath in an onsen in the hills of Hakone. It was a wonderful trip.

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Monday, April 16, 2012

40's Style Work Jumpsuit Made From Dishtowels!!

Factory girl overalls
 My inspirations for this piece from Gigi's Spring Collection were 1940's women from World War 2
 For the first time women were doing the mens' jobs in factories, building planes and ships. Also, a new mode in fashion, sportswear was evolving and female designers like Clare McCardell were leading the way. For the first time in fashion, function and practicality became important. 

Of course I made some overalls!

 I was going to enter this project for the sportwear challenge this week at Project Run And Play but I think it is more fitting for the upcycled project since it's made from dishtowels.
Factory girl overalls

The Santa Paula Airport is known for its vintage airplane scene so I thought it was perfect to photograph Gigi in her overalls.
I made these overalls from dishtowel fabric and they are really durable.

Here I am with Gigi in my Grapes Of Wrath dress.

These little overalls tie onto loops on the front. I got the pattern from the book One Yard Woders.

I can't recommend this book enough. It has 101 projects to do with one yard of fabric or less. I added pockets and cuffs to the pattern. Kids love pockets!

Ready for takeoff!

I loved this old plane.

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