Tuesday, January 28, 2014

January's Tutorial Tuesday - The Patchwork Charm Skirt

Are you ready for another special addition to our newsletter? We are pleased to introduce Tutorial Tuesday. Every fourth Tuesday we will be offering a new tutorial.

The Patchwork Charm Skirt

This month's tutorial is a cute little patchwork skirt made from charm bundles.  The skirt is super easy to make and takes very little time.  It's sure to be a favorite with your little princess.

Click on any of the photos to enlarge. 

What you will need:
  • 18-52 charm bundle squares
  • 1 yard of coordinating fabric
  • 1 yard of 3/4" wide elastic
  • coordinating thread
  • quilting ruler or yard stick
  • fabric marking tool (chalk, water soluble pen, etc)
  • rotary cutter and mat (or shears)
  • iron and ironing board
  • sewing machine
We have a nice selection of kits on our site that contain the charm squares, coordinating fabric, and elastic you need to make this skirt.  You can find those kits here.  Use the code TutorialTuesday to save 20% off any kits through Monday, 2/3/14.

Pick the size that best matches your child's measurements. The most important measurement to go by is the hip.  The waist size can be customized with elastic and the length can be shorten or lengthen by adjusting the hem band.
Size 18M/2T 3T/4T 5/6
Waist 19.5"-20" 20.5"-21.5" 22"-23"
Hip 20.5"-21.5" 22.5"-23.5" 24.5"-26"
Waist to Knee Length   12"-13" 13.5"-14.5" 15"-16"

Size 7/8 9/10 12/14
Waist 23.5"-24" 24.5"-25" 25.5"-26.5"
Hip 27"-28" 29.5"-30.5" 33"-35.5"
Waist to Knee Length   17"-17.5" 18.5"-19.5" 21"-23"
*All seam allowances are ¼" unless otherwise noted.*

1. Using the charts below, cut your waistband pieces, hem band pieces, and ties from your coordinating fabric.
Size 18M/2T 3T/4T 5/6
# of Charm Squares            18
  (2 rows of 9)  
  (2 rows of 10)  
 (2 rows of 11) 
Waistband - Cut 4 3" x 12" 3.5" x 13" 4" x 14.5"
Hem Band - Cut 2 3.5" x 20.75" 5.5" x 23" 7.5" x 25.25"
Ties - Cut 2 5.5" x 25" 5.5" x 26" 5.5" x 27"

Size 7/8 9/10 12/14
# of Charm Squares            36
 (3 rows of 12) 
 (3 rows of 12) 
 (4 rows of 13) 
Waistband - Cut 4 3" x 15.5" 3.5" x 16.5" 3" x 19"
Hem Band - Cut 2 3.5" x 27.5" 6.5" x 27.5" 3.5" x 32"
Ties - Cut 2 5.5" x 27.5" 5.5" x 28" 5.5" x 28.5"

2. Set your cut fabric pieces aside and open up your charm bundle(s).

3. Next, you will need to lay out your charm squares in pattern you would like them on the skirt.  Use the chart in step 1 above to find the number of charm squares you will need.  Some sizes will have 2 rows, some 3 rows, and the largest size will have 4 rows.  Arrange the charm squares until you get the look you want.  Remember that the first column of squares will be sewn to the last column.

4. Start sewing the first row of squares to each other (right sides together) using a ¼" seam allowance.

5. You will end up with a long strip of charm squares like this.  Do the same with the second row creating another long strip.  If you need to make a third or fourth row continue this process.

6. Press open all seam allowances on these strips.

7. You will now begin to stitch your rows of charm squares into one skirt panel.  With right sides together and matching up seams, pin your first row of squares to your second row of squares.  Stitch together.  Continue this process until you have all rows of charm squares attached and have made one large skirt panel.

8. Press all seams open.

9. With right sides together and matching seams, pin the two short ends of your skirt panel together.  Stitch together forming a circular skirt panel.  Press this seam open.

10. Grab your two hem band pieces.  With right sides together stitch the two short sides forming one long circular hem band.  Press these seams open.

10. With wrong sides together, fold your hem band in half lengthwise and press.

11. Flip your skirt so that the bottom is pointing up.  With right sides together slip the hem band over the skirt panel.  Match up the edges and pin in place.

12. Stitch the hem band onto the bottom of the skirt.

13. Flip the skirt over and finish this seam by either zigzag stitching or serging over it.

14. Press the seam to the top of the skirt.

15. Flip the skirt back over and topstitch on the on the skirt very close to the seam.  You can lengthen your stitches for this a bit.  It gives it a more professional finish.  You want to stay very close to the seam and make sure you are catching the seam on the backside as you stitch.

16. Your hem band and skirt should look something like this when you have finished.

17. Grab your two two tie pieces, with right sides together, fold in half lengthwise and press.  I like to cut my ends at 45 degree angles.  You don't have too, but it adds a cute touch.

18. With right sides still together stitch along the raw edges of your ties.  Leave one short end on each tie unstitched so you can turn your ties.  If you 45ed one end, keep the opposite end open.

19. Trim your seams and clip any corners.  Turn your ties and press well.  You might want to use a skewer or chopstick to press out and roll the seams as you press with your iron.  Make sure nothing is tucked under.  Set your ties aside.

20. Grab your four waistband pieces.  Select two of them for the waistband lining and two of them for the waistband.  On both the front and back waistband pieces measure down 1⅛" from the top and mark a line with your fabric marking instrument.

21.  On the front waistband piece also make a mark ¼" from the bottom on both sides.

22. With right sides together, lay your ties on top of the front waistband.  Match up the raw edges of the ties with the two sides of your waistband piece.  The ties need to fit between the top line and the bottom lines that you drew on the waistband piece.  If they don't, see the picture below.

23. Pin ties in place on the waistband front.  Note that if your ties are too wide you might have to pleat them a bit to get them to fall in between the two lines you drew.  You DO NOT want your ties to fall outside these two lines or you will accidentally catch them in your seam!

24. Stitch the ties to the waistband front.  You also might want to fold and pin your ties to the front of the waistband to keep them out of your way for the rest of this tutorial.

25. With right sides together stitch the front waistband piece to the back waistband piece on both sides.  Do the same with the front and back waistband lining pieces.  Press open all seams

26. With right sides together slip the waistband inside the waistband lining.  Match up the side seams.

27. Match up the top raw edges, pin place and stitch together.

28. Turn the waistband right side out and press well.  Make sure you use a chopstick or something to press out the top seam while ironing.

29. Stitch along the top line you drew leaving a 1" opening in the back to insert the elastic.  (Or you can stitch it all the way closed if you inserting your elastic at the very end.  See the note in step 31 regarding this.)

30. Top stitch very close to the edge along the top of the waistband casing.

31. Measure your child's waist for the elastic.  I usually like to cut my elastic 2-4 inches shorter than the waist measurement.  Insert the elastic into the casing and stitch it together.  Stitch closed the casing in the back of your skirt.  *Note: you can add the elastic later if you prefer.  It will make stitching the waistband onto the skirt a bit easier.  It will require you to rip out a few stitches on the inside of the skirt, at a side seam, within the casing area.  This is how I actually prefer to do it.  Your choice.

32. Next gather the top of your skirt.  You can do this by stitching basting stitches and then pulling the bobbin threads.  I prefer to do it on my serger.  Once you have your skirt gathered, with right sides together and matching up the raw edge of your skirt with the raw edge of your waistband, pin the waistband to the skirt.  You will want to evenly space your gathers while you are pining.

*It might be helpful to identify the sides of your dress so you can make sure you are evenly distributing your gathers..  If you used an even number of charm squares in each row then you could just line up your waistband side seams with the seams from the charm squares.  If you used an odd number, like I did, identify what you want to be your front and then lay out your skirt panel, with the front centered, and press with your iron to identify and mark your sides.  Line up the side seams of your waistband with the sides of your skirt when pinning.

33. Stitch the waistband to the skirt. 

34. Being careful not to catch up your skirt gathers, finish your seam by either zigzag stitching or using a overlock stitch.

35. Press the waistband seam to the top of the skirt.
36. Topstitch on the waistband very close to the seam.  Again, I lengthen my stitches slightly to give it a more professional look.  Make sure you are catching the seam below as you stitch.

37. If you have waited to add your elastic, do this now.  On the inside of the skirt pick a waistband seam.  Using a seam ripper pick out a few of the stitches to open up the casing. Thread your elastic through the casing and stitch it together.  Whipstitch closed your casing seam.

38. To keep the elastic in your waistband from twisting, stitch in the ditch of the two side seams to hold the elastic in place.

39. Add a cute tag on the hem and you're all done!

If you would like to purchase a Patchwork Charm Skirt Kit you can find those here.  They contain all the fabric and the elastic you need to complete your skirt. Don't forget to use the code TutorialTuesday to save 20% off any kits through Monday, 2/3/14.
 The above skirt was made from an Avignon kit.

Happy creating!
Danielle Storm

Monday, January 27, 2014

Weekly Special - 20% Off Riley Blake Medium Dots Yardage

This Week's Special is 20% Off


Riley Blake Medium Dots Yardage

These are a great staple to have in your stash!


Over 30 different colors to choose from.  
Stock up now while the price is right.

Happy creating!
Danielle Storm

Monday, January 20, 2014

Weekly Special - 20% Off Zippered Presentation Bags

This Week's Special is
 These will protect and give your creations a professional look.
We offer four different sizes of zippered presentation bags.  

Happy creating!
Danielle Storm

Sunday, January 19, 2014

TODAY is the LAST DAY to save BIG!

Our next sew-along will begin on Monday, January 27th. We will be sewing the Exchange Dress by Trisha's Treasures. This is a great dress that features interchangeable and reversible front panels that are perfect to showcase you favorite embroidery/applique designs.   

We are offering supply kits again to make everything super easy for you. Use the coupon code SewAlongSavings to save 20% off your Exchange Dress supplies TODAY ONLY!  From Monday, 1/20 thru Monday, 1/27 the code will be worth 10% off all Exchange Dress supplies.  

To learn more about how our sew-alongs are run you can check out our sew-along blog. We also have a Facebook group  to join where we chat, ask and answer questions, share pictures, etc.  Check it out.  We would LOVE to have you join us.

 Today is the Last Day to order this Week's Special

Fabrics listed in our Quantity Discount Preorder Category are listed in 5, 10, and 15 yard cuts and are discounted from 25% to over 31% off our regular prices.  If you like to purchase larger amounts of fabric this is the way to go.  Check out Country Girls by Tasha Noel now and save big!   Today is the last day to purchase Country Girls at this discounted price.  Place your order so you don't miss out on these savings.
Photo by tashahorsley.typepad.com

Happy creating!
Danielle Storm

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

January's Featured Customer - Lucie Monroe of Lucie's Treasures

We are super excited about all of the new things we are bringing you in 2014. One of those changes is all about you, our customers. On the second Tuesday of each month we will be featuring a work-at-home small business. Today we would like to introduce you to Lucie Monroe.
*Click on the photo's to enlarge*

Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your business Lucie.
I am the owner of Lucie's Treasures. I have been married for almost 8 years and have 2 beautiful children - Lexie (almost 4) and Cassian (1.5 years old). I was born in the Czech Republic and after graduating high school there I decided to spend a year in the USA as an au-pair. During that time I started dating my neighbor who soon became my husband. After he joined the Air Force I moved with him to Mississippi for a few months and later on to Oklahoma where we stayed for 3 years. 
*Photo courtesy of HM Photography.

Where are you located? 
I am an Air Force wife and we've been stationed in Spangdahlem AB, Germany since August 2010. We have recently gotten an approval to extend our stay until August 2018. We are very excited to be able to enjoy this beautiful country for another 4 years. 

What was your background prior to starting your business? 
I used to work in a Child development center before my daughter was born - my favorite part about it was obviously all the arts and crafts I got to do with the kids :)

What got you started in your business?
Both my mother and my grandmother are seamstresses and I always used to sew with my mom, but I never considered it as a career option for myself. While working in the day care center I used to make my own scrub tops and before my daughter was born I started making some baby items for her. After about a year, many requests later I decided to buy a bigger stack of fabric, make a bunch of dresses and participate in the first Craft Fair hosted at the local AF base. That's when Lucie's Treasures was born.
What choices have you made that helped your business the most?
Working with the best quality materials is a key to my business. I am a perfectionist and everything needs to be done just right. And since I do most of my business online, great photographs are very important as well. By no means I am a professional photographer but I would like to think that if you see one of my items online, you will know I made it.

What mistakes have you made that others could learn from?
I am not sure if anybody can learn from this, but taking part in huge fairs/bazaars just isn't for me. I've done it twice, and though I had fun decorating my booth, the experience just wasn't worth the stress. I prefer working with my customers on one on one basis or participating in smaller fairs, where I don't feel like I need hundreds of items in stock. 

What do you find the most fun and rewarding about having your own business?
I love it when my customers give me the freedom to create. Say you need a tooth-fairy pillow - tell me your favorite colors and I will make it happen! I love choosing and combining fabrics and creating a special design just for that one item. I know this requires a lot of trust from my customers and I am really blessed to have been able to get to this point in my business. 
Tell us a bit about your drive and purpose, your vision for your business.
I love to make people smile and get them excited they got something special for their child or them selves. I don't want them to buy my product because it's cheaper than someones else's. I want them to buy it because they love it. My vision is for my business to become a brand. A brand that represents great quality and something unique made with love. 
What inspires you to create?
I love browsing Pinterest and blogs for new ideas, but lot of times my customers come up with some pretty good stuff as well :)

What do you feel makes your work unique?
I believe it is my attention to detail and the shopping experience itself. When you shop Lucie's Treasures you receive an item that is great quality. I take pride in my business and my items and packaging reflect it.

What’s your favorite piece from your current inventory? Any all time favorite(s)? 
My favorite item right now are my owls. We created the design with my husband so that makes them even more special to me and I just love their colors. They're perfect as a toy, room decoration or a little pillow.
And my all time favorite are my Christmas Stockings. They are superior quality and an heirloom that can be treasured forever - you will never need to buy another stocking again and you will look forward to pulling these out season after season just like I do.
*Photo courtesy of HM Photography.

Where do you see your business in a year? Or where would you like to see it?
I would like to start selling my items in a local children's store - that's in the process right now, so hopefully everything works out successfully.
What words of wisdom do you have for readers who are considering starting their own work at home business?
Do what you love and it will show. If you don't enjoy making it, quit that product and start fresh with something that's more fun for you to make. And don't be afraid to say no. 
As a customer of Whimsical Fabric, what is your favorite thing about our store? 
The customer service is just great. You don't see interaction with customers like this every day. I really enjoy the sew-alongs as well, I think it's a great way for the shop to connect with customers and a nice push for me to make something for my own kids :)
  These gorgeous shorts were created by Lucie during our Class Picnic Sew-Along.

What is your favorite item purchased from us?
I am going to have to say the Bedtime Story Pajamas by Oliver+S. I loved taking part in the sew-along, learned a new trick or two and I've actually made two more bottoms since then and bought fabric for 2 more. Now my husband says we need some pajamas as well :)

If you enjoyed reading about Lucie and her business, please take a minute or two and let her know by leaving a message on her Facebook page.  While you're there you might just want to "Like" her page to see what all she has in store for 2014.  And don't forget to check out her Etsy shop, Lucie's Treasures.  Her shop is full of lots of awesome goodies for the little ones in your life!  

PS If you are interested in being featured in one of our future newsletters please send us an email with FEATURE in the title.

Happy creating!
Danielle Storm