Posts Tagged ‘sewing’

Earlier this summer we were sewing up a storm getting ready for the Quilt! Knit! Stitch! show down in Portland, Oregon. In addition to all our fun Let’s Play Dolls panels and accessories, we took some of our other best selling patterns- one of which was our Hang it Up! Organizer pattern.

Since its release over a year ago, our Hang it Up! pattern has been our top seller due to its versatility and ability to be adapted for any number of uses. It started out as a great way for little girls to contain all of those 18″ doll clothes and accessories. Well, you can’t forget the little boys, so we made a version perfect for holding toy cars or even for organizing small building block or other bits and pieces they collect.

Organizers

We have also come up with all different ideas for the adults as well… I personally love using my Hang it Up! to help keep all of my electronic accessories (chargers, cords, cases, cards, etc) all in one place. Best of all I can just tuck it away in the closet until the next time I need something. No more digging through drawers and pulling out a tangled mess! It is also perfect for organizing jewelry- the clear pockets make it so easy for you to find just what you are looking for.

Hang it Up Display in Portland, OR

Hang it Up Display in Portland, OR

One of our customers emailed us last year with her own variation- She made up the Doll Closet Version (with the clothes bar at the bottom) added  few shower curtain rings to the rod and created the perfect place to keep all her scarves and matching jewelry. She made a few of them as gifts for her family and friends- such a great idea! The possibilities are endless and you are sure to come up with your own unique version and use.

 

In making quite a few of these organizers over the past year we have come up with a few tricks that will really save you some time, especially if you are making more than one.

The first trick is to use a Bias Tape Maker. I have gone years without one of these and totally regret it! This handy little tool will save you so much time- you can whip up yards and yards of double folded bias in no time.

Bias Tape Maker

Bias Tape Maker

I was always one of those people that pressed the fabric strip in half and then went back and pressed the edges to the center burning my fingers in the process. Just feed that fabric strip through the bias maker and it does almost all of that folding for you. Best of all NO fingers close to the iron!

Making Bias Tape

Making Bias Tape

 

One slight change in the instructions for the Hang it Up!– rather than cutting 2-1/2″ strips you only need to cut 2″ or 2-1/4″ strips so that they feed through the bias maker easily.

 

The next trick is to always have Wonder Clips on hand. Really this is more of a rule for  all sewing projects… I LOVE my Wonder Clips.

Wonder Clips 10 Pack

Wonder Clips 10 Pack

 

These handy clips were originally developed for attaching binding to your quilts but have become a sewing room staple. They are the perfect pin alternative- for when a pin just can’t handle a tough job or you don’t want to put all those holes in you project (like on vinyl or leather). They are the perfect tool when preparing your rows for the organizer.

Wonder Clips Holding Pocket Pleats in Place

Wonder Clips Holding Pocket Pleats in Place

 

Last but not least, Painters tape can be a miracle worker! I have used blue painters tape for years when I am sewing to mark unusual seam allowances on my machine base or to label quilt blocks or rows, but this handy tape can be super helpful when sewing with vinyl or laminated fabrics.

First, if you don’t have a Teflon foot for your machine, stick a bit of tape to the underside of your foot to prevent the vinyl from sticking or catching. Then, you can also apply it to any area (metal especially) on you machine where the vinyl likes to catch.This will save you a lot of aggravation. Some recommend sewing with the vinyl between layers of paper or tissue but I find this tedious and I really don’t like having to pick out all the paper bits when I am done sewing.

 

Those are all of the tricks that I have for now. I hope they make sewing your Hang it Up! Organizers a bit easier, or that you can apply these tips to the rest of your sewing. It is amazing where little tricks you pick up came in handy.

Happy Sewing!

Michelle

P.S With a all of the new fabric that is available and a brand new booth and show, we decided to change up some of our models and try some new combinations. We also kitted up some of these great fabrics and combinations to take to the show for easy shopping. A few of these kits are NOW available on our website while they last!

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Over the past couple of years making lots of 18″ doll clothes we have discovered a few tools and tricks that make all the difference when sewing 18″ Doll Clothes.

#1 FUSE ‘N GATHER

Fuse 'n Gather

Fuse ‘n Gather

This amazing product is a fusible gathering tape that lets you create gathers or ruffles effortlessly. Simply iron the pre-stitched fusible  tape on the wrong side of the fabric where you would like the gathers.

Ironing the Fuse 'n Gather Tape

Ironing the Fuse ‘n Gather Tape

Gently pull the blue threads and you get perfectly spaced gathers every time. They pull so easily that you will never want to stitch your own basting stitches again!

Gathered Princess Peplum

Gathered Princess Peplum

The best part of this product you don’t have to worry about pulling out those basting stitches when you are done. They are hidden from view on the wrong side of you project. We use this handy tape on any of our 18″ doll outfits that requires gathering. It is especially helpful on the Princess Costume!

Let's Pretend: Princess Costumes

Let’s Pretend: Princess Costumes

 

#2 HOLD IT PRECISION STILETTO

One of our favorite new tools is the Hold It Precision Stiletto from Joan Hawley and Clover.

Hold It Precision Stiletto

 

This is the most versatile stiletto that we have ever used. One end is made out of heat-resistant silicone and is perfect for pressing seams open. Especially the tiny seam on doll clothes. Just think… no more burned fingertips!

Pressing seams open with the heat resistant stiletto.

Pressing seams open with the heat-resistant stiletto.

The other end, your more traditional stiletto point, is great for guiding fabric when sewing. Perfect for holding pieces in place while keeping your fingers clear from the fast-moving needle. The innovate curved tip also makes it so that you have the greatest visibility when sewing.

Sewing with the more traditional stiletto end.

Sewing with the more traditional stiletto end.

One last great advantage to this handy tool is its overall design. It fits perfectly in your hand- not to small- so no hand strain after hours of sewing. This tool never strays far from our machines- well, unless it is over at the pressing board.

 

#3 MINI IRONING BOARD

While our next tip is a bit more of an investment, it is definitely worth it. We have a couple different mini ironing boards that we have picked up over the years and they have proven to be very useful in making doll clothes and other small projects. Makes sense right? A mini ironing board for mini clothes! Using one of these boards does wonders when pressing collars, sleeves, etc. Just slip them over the end of the board and you get a perfect press every time.

Mighty Mini Ironing Board

Mighty Mini Ironing Board

Mini ironing boards have been a little tricky to find. Recently Joan Hawley worked with Clover to develop the Mighty Ironing Board as part of her Press Perfect line of tool (the same line that includes the Stiletto from #2).

While it  is a bit larger (4 inches wide) than some of the other boards that we have tried, it does have the best construction and is very sturdy when you are working with it. And the best part, the cover is washable and replaceable! It is definitely one to consider.

 

#4 HOOK AND LOOP TAPE 

Last but not least, our favorite closure for all of our doll clothes- Hook and Loop Tape! While we do use snaps of buttons every once in a while when the style of the outfit calls for something different, we use hook and loop tape for nearly all of our doll clothes.

It is the easiest for us to apply and also the easiest for children to use during dress up. A hook and loop closure makes the doll clothes so easy to put on and take off and it  holds up well after hours of play time. You won’t be loosing any buttons or pulling off any snaps.

Colored Hook and Loop Tape

Colored Hook and Loop Tape

We even have a whole stash of colored hook and loop so that we can coordinate it with the outfit- sometimes black or white just won’t do. It also makes it less noticeable when the colors coordinate, even if they don’t match exactly. We also don’t worry about the width of the hook and loop tape that we buy- we simply trim it down to about 1/2″ or smaller depending on the outfit or garment.

 

We hope these tools and tips eliminate some of the frustration in your sewing. Whether it is 18″ doll clothes or another sewing/quilting projects it is so important to find those little things that make life a little easier.

Happy Sewing!

Sharon and Michelle

P.S. All of these products can be found at your Local Quilt Shop or sewing supply store. We also have some of them available on our Website.

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There is no denying it… Fall is upon us!

Stores are setting up their Halloween and Harvest displays and my Pinterest feed is filled with great ideas and recipes for my favorite season. While the weather hasn’t quite changed yet here in the Pacific Northwest, I am so ready. Bring on the rainy days, hot cocoa, late night sewing and baked apple anything!

In honor of the arrival of Fall and with Halloween just around the corner we are unveiling TWO new Let’s Play Dolls panels from Andover Fabrics– a Princess and a Rock Star doll costumes. Perfect for dressing up on October 31st or anytime during the rest of the year.

Princess and Rock Star

Let’s Pretend: Rock Star and Princess Costumes

Each costume comes in a PINK and an AQUA colorway, and the aqua princess reminds us of a certain “frosty” princess that is all the rage these days.

New Princess and Rock Star Outfits

Like all of our Let’s Play Dolls panels, both costumes fit most 18″ dolls and we have step-by-step picture tutorials posted on our website should you get stuck while you are sewing. They also each come with a great accessory to complete the look. The Rock Star panel comes with a Zebra print headband that can also be used as the perfect hair tie. The Princess panel comes with an adorable little crown that you can decorate with rhinestones and glitter to really make it shine.

Let’s Pretend: Princess Panel in Pink

Each of the Let’s Pretend panels are available at local quilt shops (find one near you HERE) and Online. Watch for a helpful tutorial using one of our favorite notions here on the blog- it will definitely come in handy while you are stitching up the Princess dress. Now time to get back to sewing!

Enjoy the Arrival of Fall!

Michelle

P.S. We have added some adorable shoes and accessories to our website that match the costumes perfectly. Be sure to check them out.

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Lavender harvest is in full swing this month all across the country (even the world!). It is one of my favorite parts of summer. Fresh cut lavender smells so good and I just can’t get enough. This spring I even started my own lavender hedge around my greenhouse. I can’t wait until it grows in a bit and I have all the lavender I could ever ask for.

Lavender in my garden!

Lavender in my garden!

Not only does this wonderful herb smell so incredible, it is my go to cure for those pesky mosquito bites I get when I am out working in the garden in the evening. Just a dab of essential oil and they disappear! I also love having it next to my bed or on my pillow to help me drift off to sleep.

 

In honor of the Lavender season we wanted to share with you our Lavender Bliss: Project Booklet filled with projects that you can make using dried lavender. One of my favorites is this Hanger Cover. It helps protect my clothes while also bringing a bit of freshness to my closet. The booklet includes sachets, pincushions, spa essential and lots more.

Lavender Hanger Cover project included in the booklet.

Lavender Hanger Cover project included in the project booklet.

We are also excited to announce the arrival of a new lavender print fabric! This is the perfect print for all of those small projects and don’t you just love the color?

Our latest lavender fabric print in purple.

Our latest lavender fabric print in purple.

THIS WEEK ONLY! With each Lavender Bliss: Project Booklet ordered we will be including a FREE fat eighth of our latest lavender fabric. Begins 7/21/14 and ends 7/27/14. Visit our website at www.firetraildesigns.com or simply CLICK on the image below.

Lavender Bliss: Project Booklet Cover

Lavender Bliss: Project Booklet

P.S. For those of you that don’t have a lavender farm near where you live, we have Dried Organic Lavender Florets on our website so that you don’t miss out! (Certified organic by the Washington State Department of Agriculture)

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Thank you so much for the amazing response to our Fresh Market Flowers giveaway! It has been so much fun reading all of your comments- over 300 of them! We are truly feeling inspired for Spring and all of the new possibilities it will bring.

A lot of you can’t wait for the horrible winter to end. Others are anxiously awaiting the arrival of Spring flowers or the time when they can get out in the garden and get all of their flowers and veggies growing. There were also quite a few big life events you are looking forward to… new babies, weddings, family trips, etc. All so exciting!

Blocks from our Fresh Market Flowers Panel.

Blocks from our Fresh Market Flowers Panel.

Now, TIME TO ANNOUNCE THE WINNER of our Fresh Market Flowers fabric bundle..

Capture

We selected the winner by assigning each comment a number and then randomly selecting one of those numbers using a Random Number Generator.

Congratulations KARLA RUSCO!

On Thursday she posted, “So excited for the arrival of spring. Even if the weather isn’t cooperating. Some bulbs are up and buds are growing. Ready to plant a new perennial garden as well as flower boxes and tomato plants. Always feels better when there is new life in the yard and garden. Creating with this new fabric would keep the flowers of spring around all year long.”

Join us in congratulating Karla, we will be sending her bundle to her this week so that she can get sewing!

Again, thank you all for your support and if you were not the lucky winner, Fresh Market Flowers is now available at your local quilt shop. Be sure to follow along with us here on the blog or “Like” us on Facebook. We have a lot going on this Spring and you don’t want to miss out. We even have another GIVEAWAY or two up our sleeves : )

~Michelle

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THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW COMPLETE. THE WINNER WAS ANNOUNCED APRIL 7TH, 2014. Thank you to all of those who entered.

In honor of Spring we are giving away a bundle of our latest fabric collection, Fresh Market Flowers, from Andover Fabrics. It includes a Fat Quarter (approx. 18″ x 22″) of each allover print (13 total) and one complete panel. Just enough for the winner to make some beautiful Spring projects or to incorporate into other projects they already have started.

Fresh Market Flowers Giveaway prize!

Fresh Market Flowers Giveaway prize!

TO ENTER just make a comment on this blog post- maybe tell us what you are most excited about this Spring!

The winner will be randomly selected at 9:00 AM PST on MONDAY, APRIL 7TH 2014 and will be announced here on the blog. We will also be posting some of your comments, along with some of our favorite things about Spring, on our Facebook page over the next few days. Be sure you “Like” our page and follow along with us!

Good luck!

Michelle

P.S. Don’t worry if you don’t win, Fresh Market Flowers is now available at local quilt shops and online.

 

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The past few days in the Pacific Northwest have been amazing! I spent most of the afternoon yesterday out in the garden preparing the beds and even getting the potatoes and onions planted. I’m hoping to plant my favorite vegetable, peas, today. Last week we also took a trip up to the Skagit Valley to see all of the beautiful daffodils in bloom. Just a few more weeks and the tulips will be up!

Daffodil fields in the Skagit Valley, Washington 2014.

Daffodil fields in the Skagit Valley, Washington 2014.

Spring had definitely arrived and so has our latest fabric line with Andover Fabrics, Fresh Market Flowers. Inspired by our local Pike Place Market and the incredible flower markets we visited in Paris, this line includes NINE stunning flower allovers. Tulips, Mums, Irises, and Daisies! It arrived just in time for all of your Spring projects, maybe even a table runner or napkins for your Easter table.

Fabrics included in our Fresh Market Flowers Collection from Andover Fabrics.

A few of the fabrics included in our Fresh Market Flowers Collection from Andover Fabrics.

This line also includes a PANEL with eight, different flower market scenes. Perfect for a colorful quilt, table runners or other items to use around the house. Each block pairs perfectly with the market allover or wide awning stripe. We have a FREE Downloadable quilt pattern available on our website that uses one panel and a selection of the colorful flowers. I love using the green awning stripe as binding!

Free Downloadable Quilt Pattern for Fresh Market Flowers.

Free Downloadable Quilt Pattern for Fresh Market Flowers.

Watch for a fun GIVEAWAY of Fresh Market Flowers coming on the blog. You can also “Like” us on Facebook to make sure you don’t miss out.

Happy Spring!

Michelle

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Spring is here and who isn’t ready to escape all of the winter weather!

We are so excited that Spring has arrived. The cherry blossoms are blooming, the garden is coming alive and we can’t wait to start planting lots of new flowers and veggies. It is also the time of year when we all must to find a new balance between our life outside and our life inside. After all, we can’t just abandon our sewing machines, they might rebel!

A few of the prints in our new "Summer Fun" collection.

A few of the prints in our new “Summer Fun” collection.

What better way to get in the “Spring Sewing” mood than with a new project and a new fabric collection. We are so happy to announce that our new fabric collection, Let’s Play Dolls: Summer Fun is now available. It is the perfect fabric group to celebrate Spring and everything it has to offer. Full of fun florals and butterflies in bright, cheery colors it is a great way to freshen up your home and your sewing.

Completed 18" Doll Outfits in each Summer Fun color way

Completed 18″ Doll Outfits in each Summer color way

The line also includes two new adorable outfits for 18″ dolls on pre-printed panels. Each panel comes complete with one 18″ doll outfit, matching doll accessory and complete sewing instructions. There are also step-by-step illustrated tutorials for each panel on our website if you should get stuck.

All About Summer Top and Capri Pants Panel

All About Summer Top and Capri Pants Panel

For all of those little girls that love to dress just like their doll, the matching outfit patterns are also now available and include sizes 7 to 14. Each patterns comes with a bonus accessory pattern to compete the look!

Matching Girls Outfit Pattern in sizes 7-14

Matching Outfit Pattern in sizes 7-14

Be sure to watch for new ideas and tutorials coming soon in the next couple of weeks. Maybe even a Giveaway or two… We also have lots of projects that we hope to have done before Quilt Market in May- both personally and professionally. We can’t wait to share!

Happy Spring Sewing!
Sharon and Michelle

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Happy Belated New Year!
And what a new year it has been… and it is only the first month.

A lot has been going on here, both for Firetrail Designs and for me personally. My life kind of got turn upside down at the start of the year, but here is to new beginnings! We have also been working like crazy to develop all kinds of new thing from Firetrail Designs. Although some of it won’t be released until late this year, we can’t wait to share it with you.

One thing I have been most looking forward to for 2014 is the Handmade Birthday Club I joined at the end of last year. Susannah Kate put together this amazing club of crafters- we are divided into groups of 12 and each month we make a handmade gift for someone’s birthday. Then, in our birthday month we get spoiled by our 11 group members with their handmade gifts.

The only bad part… I have to wait all the way until September for my turn. It is so much fun to learn about each person and come up with the perfect project for them. And it is not just limited to sewing, people are making jewelry, knitting, crocheting, stitching and so much more!

 

January Birthday Girls! In my group, we had 2 girls with January birthdays. That means I had 2 gifts to make this month, but then I have a month off later this year.

First, there is Jessica (@SameOldKits), she loves rich colors, spends most of her free time knitting and cross-stitching and loves having handmade things around to decorate her home. After doing a little cyber-stalking (Pinterest, Instagram, etc) I decided to make her a pouch for her Q-Snap frame and cross-stitching supplies.

I used the new Anna Maria Horner Dowry collection (I am in love!) and designed my own pattern. It turned out perfect… lots of pockets to store all her supplies. I like it so much I am going to make one for myself (cross-stitching is my new nightly obsession).

The perfect pouch to hold all of your cross-stitch project essentials.

The perfect pouch to hold all of your cross-stitch project essentials.

Another view of the Cross-Stitch Pouch for Jessica. Love the deer pocket!

Another view of the Cross-Stitch Pouch for Jessica. Love the deer pocket!

Then, there is Gwendellyn (@TheRainbowRevolts), and she is a PINK girl! Did I mention she loves pink? Oh and she is a new sewer so she was looking for supplies to fill her craft room. One of the projects I have been meaning to make for myself is a sewing machine apron, to help contain my ripper, scissors, ruler and other supplies I always have by the machine.Apron Pattern

I thought this would be the perfect gift for Gwendellyn and her new hobby. The question was what fabric to use? Oh, how about pink! I used this pattern from Janae King and whipped up both the apron and matching pin cushion. I love how they turned out and best of all, the Birthday Girl did too.

Pink Sewing Machine Apron for Gwendellyn.

Pink Sewing Machine Apron for Gwendellyn.

I am happy to say, both of my packages arrived safe and sound and both girls loved my gifts as well as all of the wonderful gifts they got from the rest of the group. They were spoiled… but I guess that is the point! Now to start preparing for February…

Michelle

P.S. Check out the other gifts that were made by the rest of the group by visiting our Flickr page.

 

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This is a project that I have been planning for months, maybe even years!

I have been collecting selvages (or selvedges, whichever you like) over the past few years- in our studio there are separate bins for colored scraps and then one more for selvages. I have even caught myself wanting to buy a quilting fabric just for its AWESOME selvage (pathetic I know!).

The problem has been that I just haven’t found the right project to finally use any of them. And boy, it better be a good one if I have to break into that collection. These are selvages never to be seen again so the project must be RIGHT- you all know what I mean, it’s like cutting into that favorite piece of fabric that you will never find again. I even started a Pinterest board to remember the possible contenders…

Well, I finally decided on my first selvage project- Selvage covered shoes! It combines 2 of my favorites things FABRIC and SHOES, Oh my! I used the selvages that really meant the most to me- favorite colors or collections, special symbols and of course selvages from all of our own fabric collections so far.

I love how these shoes turned out and for the people who understand what they are, they do too. I do get some funny looks when I tell people what they are covered in and they have no idea what in the heck selvages are. If you ask me, they are the crazy ones not me!

Selvage Shoes Tutorial

Selvage Covered Shoes

Here is a short tutorial of how I put these works for art together!

Tutorial: Selvage Covered Shoes

Supplies-

-LOTS of Selvages!

-One Pair of Canvas shoes (I used TOMS, my favorites everyday shoes)- White works best since Selvages are mostly white.

-Mod Podge (or other decoupage medium)- I used Outdoor Mod Podge but I think Fabric Mod Podge would work too.

-Paint Brush

-Sharp Scissors

-A Surface you don’t mind getting a little messy- I put a bath towel down and then a bit of wax paper.

Supplies! Selvage Shoes Tutorial

Supplies!

Instructions-

-Assemble your supplies and begin laying out the selvages how you would like them to appear. Think about combinations of colors and words. I tried to have a nice mix on mine. Not all the same thing and not all lined up.

-Look at how the shoe is constructed and try to work in layers. For my TOMS I love the how the canvas wraps around the toes and wanted to keep that. So I started on one side, worked my way around the back and then tackled the front.

-Start at the bottom edge, painting a bit of Mod Podge on the surface of the shoe. Lay the desired selvage over the top so it sticks and then paint more Mod Podge over the top to make sure it is stuck and to seal it in. Repeat these steps working your way up the side of the shoe, over lapping each row of selvages as you go.

Selvage Shoes Tutorial

Layering Selvages and Mod Podge.

-Just keep layering Mod Podge and selvages, over lapping when needed. You may also find that you want to trim a selvage a bit to get just the right combination of colors, patterns or words showing. I left to top edge blank until I got all the way around the back part of the shoe. When you are ready, use selvages that are a bit wider and adhere them to the top edge. Apply Mod Podge to the inside to edge as well and fold the selvage over, creating a nice finished edge.

Selvage Shoes Tutorial

Finishing the top edge.

-Once I had the back portion of the shoe completely covered I began working on the toe. I started with the “bottom” layer of the show construction, saving the toe wrap around for last. Each piece extended a bit into the portion to be covered later so that I for sure cover every bit of canvas.

-This project is forgiving in that the pieces don’t set immediately, if needed you can always reposition. The only thing you can’t take back is if you cut a piece- the old adage applies- measure twice, cut once. I would even apply the piece uncut and then slip my scissors underneath and trim it down where needed.

Selvage Shoes Tutorial

Complete Shoe

-For the tip of the toe on the TOMS I laid strips up the front fold, then began wrapping the selvages across at an angle. This worked great! Every pair of shoes will be different and you will just have to play with what works/looks best for yours.

-Once you have the shoes completely covered and are happy with the layout, cover the entire shoe in a layer of Mod Podge. Let the shoes dry for a few hours or overnight and apply one more coat just to make sure everything is sealed. You don’t want your beautiful white selvages getting dirty! Let them cure for a couple of days and then they will be ready to wear. Enjoy and show them off to everyone you know- especially the quilters, who will all be extremely jealous!

Selvage Shoes Tutorial

Rocking my Selvage shoes.

~Michelle

P.S. I would love to see pictures and hear tales about your own selvage shoes or other projects. Please share!

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