Friday, February 12, 2016

X-large Cherry Zip Pouch

Have you downloaded your Cherry Zip Pouch yet? Did you notice there was a bonus size? Yep, I fell in love with the little zip pouches, I needed a larger one. There is just something about the shape of them that I really like.
 They are slightly longer and taller than the small size.
 So pretty right?
 The fabric is Amy Butler Bright Heart Bloom in Midnight and the lining is Amy Butler Love Sunspots in Mint.
 Perfect for storing sewing notions
or your elastic stash perhaps? You DO have a stash of elastic right?

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Upcycled Subway Bags

Does any one else's kids collect the Subway bags that come free with the kids' meals? Mine do. Each bag is a treasure, and can't be thrown out. Our bag collection was starting to get a little out of control so I thought there had to be something I could do with them to make them more usable (because honestly, these messenger style bags with cheap-o clasps are good for nothing!)
So I created a little zip pouch pattern. One with darts on the bottom so it would be nice and shapely. Plus an overhanging zipper, so the pouch with open nice and wide.

And now we have a useable zip pouch that we can fill with crayons.
...and airplanes
...and anything else the kids can find.
Do you want to make one too? You don't even need to use the Subway bags, you can use regular fabric too. You just need 1/4 yard (or one Fat Eighth) of each outer fabric and lining. You will also need a 7 inch or longer zipper. 

The pattern is FREE and you can get your copy over at my Craftsy Pattern Shop

I am releasing this pattern as part of the Aspiring Designer Challenge, so be sure to head over to the Swhetty Bettie's to enter a drawing for a chance to win ALL the Zuzzy Patterns.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Nothing But Knits: Project Run and Play Sewalong

It's been a while since I've posted on here. 3rd year of surgical residency is ROUGH. Each year just seems to get harder and harder. There are laws that are supposed to prevent residents from working more than 80 hours a week, and there's a maximum of 30 hour straight shifts, and like 10 hours off inbetween or something like that. But my husband goes over 100 hours all the time, he has to work all day, do surgery all through the night, get to come home for a 2 hour nap from 8-10am and then back to work, then that night he gets home at 11pm sleeps until 1am when his pager goes off and he has to go in for another emergency surgery! AHHH it's so hard on my husband, and it's hard on me to be a single mom without any break. My kids have had hand foot and mouth disease for the last week forcing us to stay at home until the kids aren't contagious anymore. Can I just say, THIS is why I sew. Residency is sucking out my soul and sewing is my creative outlet. My sewing room is my haven, I turn on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and disappear for 20 minutes. It's the reason I'm still alive.

So want to see what project kept my sanity this week?
Project Run and Play is back to its regular competition schedule, and this week's challenge is Nothing but Knits.
I love knits. One of the first things I did when we moved from our small city apartment into our house with my very own sewing room was buy a serger. Then last summer I splurged on a coverstitch machine. If you like sewing knits, I'd highly recommend it, changed my life. Okay, that's a little dramatic, but it makes my hems SO PRETTY and professional looking.
This outfit is super simple, it's just a t-shirt and leggings, but I adore it and so does my little monkey. We have a Disney trip coming up this March and of course that means I need to sew a whole wardrobe for the trip right?! So Mickey Mouse and Princesses for EVERYONE!
The leggings pattern is from Love Notions (my favorite legging pattern and it's FREE!) the princess fabric is from the custom print fabric group Kiddie Prints. This fabric is divine, so incredible soft. I'm trying to decide how ridiculous I would look in a pair for myself, because I am jealous of my 5 year's pants. haha!

The t-shirt is my Marigold Tee (I've posted about it here- maybe I'll scrounge up enough time soon to put it out as a pattern). The polka dot fabric is a cotton jersey from Girl Charlee. It's soft and drapey, but doesn't have as much stretch as I'd like,
The vest is a faux fur from Hancock fabrics, with a cream knit from my stash for the lining. I used PKB's High Five Hoodie as a base and slightly modified it for the vest. The vest is not going to be coming to Florida with us (obviously!), but added a little warmth to the outfit for our pictures today.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Kids Clothes Week: What's on my list

kid's clothes week
It's Kids Clothes Week again! I love this week so much, but unfortunately I have a busy schedule this week. I'm not sure how much I'm going to be able to get done. The hardest part for me actually is the photography, I'm getting the sewing in, just not documenting it. On KCW day one (Monday) I sewed up a little Halloween tunic with black leggings for Christine, and she wore them to preschool yesterday and I never managed to snap a picture of her wearing the outfit. Now it's crumpled up in the bottom of her laundry hamper. It's hard to not be upset about that, I mean I sewed up a cute Halloween outfit that my daughter adores, that's pretty great right? but I still really want that photo in my KCW gallery and it feels like a failure to not manage to find 5 minutes sometime between preschool and ballet and making dinner. I'll see if I can press it with the iron to get a picture later this week.
I even struggled getting these photos, after I put the kids to bed I pulled out my camera to snap a few pictures of my KCW to-sew list. I got these two pictures then my camera screen started flashing telling me my battery dead. So here you get a TINY glimpse at what's on my sewing desk this week.

First up is finishing up the Halloween costumes. Christine told me she was going to be HUMAN Ariel, with her PINK dress. So one sparkly pink princess dress was my number one priority, and I've finished that one. Next was Jacob's costume. Christine really wanted him to be Prince Eric, but I just couldn't get excited about black pants, white shirt and a red waist sash. So I convinced Christine it was okay for Jacob to be Sebastian. That's what you see in the picture above, a crab costume sketch. I drafted a fleece pants pattern that I was able to whip up really quick. Then I'm using PKB's High Five Hoodie for the top using the same red fleece as the pants (because fleece is cheap!). I'm sticking little crab legs out of the side seams, and crab eyes on top of the hood. Then I drafted some crab claw mittens, that I just adore. I forgot to buy a separating zipper for the sweatshirt so I'm at a standstill until I make it back to the fabric store.
Once the costumes are done, I have this shirt I embroidered and wanted to make a skirt out of the cute arrow fabric I found at Hobby Lobby. That should be a quick project. Then there's these leggings I cut out last week using some fabulous lycra knit from Eurogirls. Hopefully I can whip those up in 15 minutes. Then of course there is the Halloween tunic that I mentioned already, that I made on Monday. Then if there's time (there won't be) I've been working on turning this coat into a PDF pattern. It's turning out beautifully, but taking a bit of time. Getting just the right length, the perfect look of the collar, trying to decide if I wanted to add welt pockets. (I do want welt pockets. They are amazing).

Hopefully I'll be back soon with some completed outfits! Check out the KCW Project Pool or #kidsclothesweek on instagram to see what everyone else is making.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

What is the best machine embroidery program?

I took a little break from my machine embroidery posts, but I'm back today to talk about embroidery programs. Once you get an embroidery machine, you are probably going to want a program to create and edit stitching files.

What confused me most when I began researching the different programs is there are different companies, and those companies offer several different types of programs. There are lots of options available, but I'm going to discuss the most popular ones.

Here are the companies and their programs I researched when I was deciding which program to purchase.

S&S Computing
Monogram Wizard
Bows and Clothes
Super basic

Express- free

Combine Design $11
SewWhat-Pro $65
Essentials $150
Embird $164

Stitch Editing

Enthusiast $180

SewArt $75
Stitch Artist $170
Studio $150

SewWrite $40
Alpha Tricks $105
Font Engine $145
Monogram Wizard $249

File Images
SewIconz $25
Thumbnailer $45
Iconizer $20

When you are first getting started, you want to look at the basic programs, something that will allow you to create words and combine several pictures(stitch files like .PES not jpegs) together. So let's look at the different basic embroidery programs. Please keep in mind I'm still a beginner myself, so I focused on what features were important to me as a beginner.  Also, expensive is a relative term, I have a feeling I'm going to get a comment saying that $200 is very cheap for a good embroidery program. Perhaps it is, but it's still a lot of money to me ;)

SewWhat Pro
·         A lot of features for a great price
·         Includes density adjustment and pull compensation- you have to pay an extra $150 for this feature if you go the Embrilliance route
·         While not as amazing as using BX fonts in Embrilliance, the feature View>Album Icons for merging letters is very useful
·         Workspace is outdated (it looks and feels like a program from the 90s)
·         There is a bit of a learning curve, most features are not intuitive (but there are plenty of youtube videos to teach you the program)
·         Offers the ability to convert any True Type font into a stitch file, but looks HORRIBLE. I thought people were exaggerating on this until I tested it out for myself. It really is bad, you need to purchase embroidery fonts. You won’t ever use the true type feature
Download a free 30 day trial with a limited 60 number of saves
*You may notice S&S also offers a program called SewWhat, in my opinion if you are going to buy SewWhat, you might as well spend $15 more and get SewWhat Pro

Embrilliance Express
·         It’s free!
·         Uses BX fonts  to allows you to type words with the keyboard, instead of placing each letter individually like the other programs
·         Easy to use controls for manipulating words like line spacing, letter spacing, word spacing, and slant
·         Limited features. Pretty much only good for using BX fonts

Embrilliance Essentials
·         Easier to learn
·         Workspace is more intuitive than the other programs
·         Easier to manipulate objects, more control and options
·         If you have a Mac, this is the only program that is native to macs
·         Expensive
·         Does not include density adjustment and pull compensation tool, must buy Enthusiast in addition to Essentials
Download Express version for free, no trial version for advanced features. You’ll have to watch youtube videos to get a feel for the upgrade

·         Includes all the basic features like resizing, editing, splitting,  and printing
·         Expensive
·         I personally hated the interface. Not intuitive at all. I gave up learning this program because it was too frustrating.
·         Offers nothing better than the other programs. Essentials is so much better, and SewWhat Pro is so much cheaper. I personally didn’t even consider purchasing Embird
Download a free 30 day demo program

Combine Design
·         Able to combine multiple designs and save as a single file. Very useful.
·         VERY affordable
·         Only saves PES files, make sure this is compatible with your machine before purchasing!
·         Very limited features
·         Slow to merge each individual letter- BX fonts (Embrilliance) or View Album Icons (Sew What Pro) are much faster
No trial

So which one is best?

Embrilliance Express is pretty close to 1st place because it's free and works so well. It ALMOST convinced me to buy Essentials. Go download it right now, there’s no reason not to. You’ll love it. You'll need to get some BX fonts to use it, but most shops offer BX files with their fonts now.

If you are tight on funds I suggest Combine Design. You can create your words in Embrilliance Express, and combine them with other .PES files in Combine Design. This will keep you happy for quite a while I imagine.

I almost got Combine Design because it was so cheap and I didn’t need anything fancy at first, but I knew I’d eventually want to upgrade so I decided I might as well put the $11 towards SewWhatPro.

Why did I buy SewWhat Pro instead of Embrilliance Essentials? Essentials really is much nicer than SewWhat Pro but the price difference (HALF the cost!) was big. The kicker though was the Density Adjustment/Pull Compensation tools. They aren't a vital tool but useful when you need to fiddle around with a poorly digitized file or when working on a difficult medium.

I hope this helps you decide what program is best for you.