Thursday, August 20, 2009

Sis Boom Stitches

I've had a Brother PE-700II embroidery machine for about a year and a half, and I can't believe how much use I've gotten out of it! Just about every gift I give has embroidery and/or an applique on it. It gives the extra special touch to handmade creations, and really jazzes up simple purchased items like towels and onesies.

I just love love love the motifs on Jennifer Paganelli's Sis Boom fabrics. They are so rich and intricate, and are truly works of art dappled on fabric. I just want to put them all over everything that isn't nailed down! Soooooo, I talked to Jennifer about the possibility of having her artwork translated to embroidery designs. That gal is up for anything fun and crafty, so she told me to go for it. I knew just the digitizer for the job, in fact. HeatherSue is one of my testers (and a good friend), and she has a reputation for absolutely perfect work. At first, I emailed her scans of motifs, and she turned them in amazing dimensional designs. Then I just mailed her some pieces of fabric, and she used her digitizer's eye to choose motifs for the designs. The finished products are available for download on SWAK Embroidery, sister site of and my absolute favorite source for machine embroidery designs.

I've been going to town stitching these gorgeous designs on things for my friends, my home, and myself :) . Here are some examples:

I have so many other projects in mind...pillows, jeans, machine is going to be busy! I'm especially looking forward to making things that combine Sis Boom fabrics AND the embroidery designs - true Sis Boom Bliss!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Portrait versus Molly

On my last post, I received this great question from Emily….

“I really like the dresses I have seen with your new Molly pattern. How is this one different from your Portrait Peasant pattern? Is it that the new one has elastic in the waist? Couldn't you put elastic in the Portrait Peasant? I love all your patterns. Keep them coming!

Thank you Emily! I myself have pondered “I have a peasant pattern out there, why on earth do another???” Well, the truth is that there are so many variations on the classic peasant, that one could do a thousand incarnations and still have a really unique design :) . This new peasant was dreamed up by fabric designer Jennifer Paganelli, and her flair really comes through in the styling. I really love both designs, and see them as distinct “cousins” of one another. I’ll compare and contrast for you…

The Portrait Peasant and the Molly Peasant are both traditional peasants in that they have elasticized necklines and arm openings. They are both very easy to put together, are empire-waisted, and come in a range of skirt lengths. They can both be made casual or formal depending on your fabric choices, embellishments, etc.

Style – This is of first and foremost importance, I think. The Portrait Peasant is very full and flowing…a very dreamy underdress or nightgown that can add substance to another creation. It can also stand alone, very princess-like. The Molly is more of a fitted peasant, and gives a dainty silhouette that is very hip and “now.”

Sleeves - Portrait Peasant has patterns and instructions for the whole range of sleeve lengths from cap to full length…but so does Molly! With the Portrait, you can add a cute bit of extra ruffle at the neckline and sleeve opening. Molly has a really awesome bell-sleeved option (which the Portrait does not).

Bodice – The Portrait Peasant’s front and back are cut from the same pattern piece, giving a relatively uniform neckline. The Molly has separate front and back pieces, which give a very sweet shape to the neckline. It is not low-cut by any means, just very delicate and flattering. Portrait Peasant has a loose, “babydoll” fit at the empire waistline, and Molly is elasticized for a fitted, yet comfortable look. You could put elastic in the waist of the Portrait Peasant, but the full skirt would make for a very bulky waistline. A better alternative might be to add a bit of shirring to the waistline of the elongated option

Skirt – The Portrait Peasant’s skirt is very full, and can have one or more ruffles. The Molly has more of an A-line type skirt, and is a great canvas for applique, embroidery, and/or your choice of trim.

Size Range – The Portrait Peasant is more “little girly” and only goes up to a size 8. The Molly is a great style for tots to tweens, and goes up to size 11/12. And for the teen and grown-up girl sizes, we have the Meghan Peasant which has very similar styling and all of the same great sleeve and length options.

In summary, the styles are different enough to justify owning both patterns :) . Both are loaded with tips and tricks to make for an easy, fun sewing experience. Between the two of them, you can make a peasant to suit all tastes and occasions. Check out these great side-by-side pictures from our Flickr Group...thanks so much to Jeanne for sharing!


Thursday, August 13, 2009

A visit with the shrink...

...The Grocery Shrink, that is! I've been interviewed by Angela Coffman over at her fabulous blog about saving money, eating healthy, and great ideas for creative living. I talk about my patternmaking business and how it impacts our household (the good and the bad). Check it out!

I've really enjoyed getting to know Angela...she and I have so much in common! For one thing, she is a patternmaker! Her sewing pattern line Blessed Designs has lots of great offerings for mamas and their little ones. Oh how I would have loved one of these carriers when Louie was a baby!

Angela and her family are also very committed to frugal living, especially with regards to food. She even has an eBook on shrinking your bills and growing your pantry! It is amazing how affordable delicious cuisine can be! Around here, my husband does most of the grocery shopping, and he is very attuned to price and value. One thing that he is really big on is NOT buying expensive, out of season vegetables. That doesn't mean we do without, however. In fact, this time of year we make great strides towards shrinking our grocery bills. Here are some harvest pics in Angela's honor:











Our freezer is getting very full, and the process has been very therapeutic! Thanks, Shrink!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Meghan and Molly are here!

The Sis Boom Peasant Patterns for women and girls are now available on!!!



I can't say enough good things about these versatile, wearable designs. They have Jennifer Paganelli's classic, yet hip styling, and are incredibly easy and fun to put together. Molly, the girls' version, covers a size range from 6 months to 11/12 years. Meghan, the womens' version, goes from XS to 3X. The style is very flattering for all sizes and body types. I love that they are so easy to wash and wear, too. I've been living in my cap-sleeved dresses all summer, and plan to make some long sleeved tops and dresses for fall. Thanks so much to Meg and Christa for the stunning photography. These two talented ladies really know how to capture beauty and show off the different design options.

I also want to give a HUGE shout out to our testers! They were so helpful, and really added so much to the development of these patterns. You can meet all of them over at my new website! We've also formed a group on Facebook. We would love for you to join us!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Long time, no blog!

I know...I've been terrible about blogging this summer! I'd like to say that it is because I've been spending lots of time in the garden and hosting lavish outdoor parties, but the truth is that I've been glued to the computer, working away. It's not like anyone is standing over me with a whip, I just really really really enjoy what I do! And the good news is that Jennifer and I have not one, but TWO eBooks ready for release on any day now! Here is a fun little sneak peek from the fabulous Meg of Brassy Apple:

I've also got two other exciting bits of news to share! My dear friend Cathy (also a sewing scientist) gave me the support and "activation energy" needed to open an Etsy shop. It is stocked with my line of Scientific Seamstress ePatterns, and ready for business! Stephanie, another one of my brainy lab personnel, started a Flickr group for photos of clothing made from my patterns. It is amazing to see so many clever concoctions all together in one place! Please check it out and add your own photos! For future reference, there is a "Flickring" button on the left hand side bar.

Despite my inattention, the garden is thriving and providing us with lots of yummy food. These pictures are a few weeks old, but right now we are in peak tomato season and loving it! The eggplant seedlings have really taken off, and we are hoping to have a bumper crop of them as well.

The squash plants have gotten MUCH bigger, but they've been taken over by some sort of mold and aren't so pretty any more. They are still producing, however, so we are keeping them around. I really need to get out and give them some attention...maybe when these eBooks are finished (yeah, right).