When I was pregnant with my daughter, Eden, something overwhelming hit me: I NEEDED TO SEW MY BABY GIRL A WARDROBE FULL OF DRESSES! Little girl dresses 🙂 And thus began my obsession. Dress pattern after dress pattern, there I chugged away on my Pfaff. But my favorite pattern to date is the the Tinny Dress Pattern by Straight Grain Patterns. Here is the reason why I love this pattern: TONS OF VERSATILITY!
In Kids fashion, it is super important that I stretch my dollar. I really appreciate that this pattern is like getting 2o patterns in one. An, the creator-in-chief over at Straight Grain, has made sure to really pack a ton of options in this dress pattern. For me, right now, Eden is all about the “twirl factor”. I call her my “Twirl Girl” Look at her spin!
This pattern not only offers a skirt that twirls (Circle Skirt) but there are two other skirt options as well. In fact, there are 8 collar options, 2 bow options, 3 sleeve options, and 2 bodice options! And, can we please just talk about what every sewist wants in a pattern? It is being able to print just the size you need. And that is just the way I like it. With any luck, I’ll have Eden twirling for eight more years to go.
Have you made a Tinny? What’s your favorite combo? Do you have a little girl dress pattern that you are ga-ga over? Tell me about it! Leave me a comment below. Please follow me on Instagram @WeatherKim to see what I make – would love to connect.
About a week and a half ago, my girlfriend @AmyLouWhoSews (on instagram) asked me to tag along with her to the talented Laura Gunn’s house. Laura’s soon-to-be-released fabric collection called “Vignette” for Michael Miller Fabrics, had arrived and she was busily getting projects sewn up with the fresh stash for promotional uses. So, I grabbed some wire lampshade frames and headed over! Before you knew it, Amy and I were knee-deep in pretty and starting our next challenges using Laura’s array of textiles. It is fascinating to know that all her work starts out as paintings. Here are AmyLouWhoSews and I below in Laura’s living room.
Once I got home I had my pretty fabrics (“Bouquet Stripe” and “Scattered Posies”) all ready to go and a vintage shade begging to be clothed in them!
What do you think? I can’t seem to stop making these shades. If you want to follow my process, just follow me on Instagram (I’m @WeatherKim). I like to post pics of what I am up to every step of the way (and often ask for advice!)
WOULD YOU LIKE TO LEARN HOW TO MAKE THESE LAMPSHADES?
WANT TO SAVE 10% OFF SUPPLIES?
Read on and I’ll tell you how you can WIN A BEGINNER DVD and where to SOURCE THE SUPPLIES.
A little over ten years ago I was trolling the acres of Brimfield, in Massachusetts looking for my usual diamonds in the rough. Think of Brimfield as endless farmland with countless antique estate sale finds, just begging to hop in your car to be taken home. I came across something unusual, though – beautifully hand-sewn lampshades. They weren’t grimy or tattered, but rather over-the-top AH-mazing! I purchased one from the artist selling them and over the following year, commissioned her to make several more for me.
Here’s a look at the shade that got me hooked:
I studied them closely and tried making my own. I got the hang of it, but I had a problem: other than stumbling across vintage-style wire frames at garage sales and other “picks” across the northeast, I didn’t know where to source the wire frames. Luckily for me, I came across Mary Maxwell and her website: Victorian Lampshade Supply.
Mary has been sewing truly beautiful victorian style lampshades for 38 years and has mastered her craft. Not only does she offer the wire frames for purchase on her website, she also carries the other materials needed for the lining, seams, fabric, trim, beads, and even the lamp bases themselves! But here is the BEST PART: she has created DVD’s to help you learn how to make these one-of-a-kind shades yourself!
Here are just **some** of the lampshades Mary has made. The frames are available for purchase on her website:
I am a sewer who likes to make garments for my baby girl and the occasional quilt. But LAMPSHADES? I can’t stop! If you come from a quilting background, making lampshades are perfect for BUSTING into all those FAT QUARTERS you’ve been hoarding:-) If you start small (with a boudoir style lamp shade), they really don’t require that much fabric. I **do** recommend always sewing the lining fabric in (as boring as it may get) because if you don’t, you are liable to see the lightbulb outline directly through your outer fabric. The lining truly makes the light more diffuse and stops from having an ugly lightbulb appearing through your darling outer fabric.
Here are some “before” and “after” shots of the shades I made over the last 3 weeks.
The larger shade took me about 2 weeks to sew together (a few hours each night after the kiddos went to bed and 2 weekend days). The smaller shade took me about 2 days (16 hours.) I would like to point out that this process would probably go a little faster if I wasn’t a stickler for sewing on the trim. As you will see in Mary’s DVD’s (if you get one) she uses glue for that part and it looks like it saves a lot of time 🙂
So, did I provide enough eye candy for you? Are you ready to get started sewing? I HEAR YOU!! Mary is so cool. She has graciously agreed to let readers of my blog save 10% off their purchase in her store now through March 1st 2015. All you have to do at the checkout is leave “WeatherKimShades” in the comments section of the checkout and she’ll apply it to your purchase (this excludes shipping.) I encourage you to check out this link HERE and HERE and consider purchasing one of Mary’s two beginner lampshade KITS & DVD combos. The kit/dvd combo is awesome because she provides everything you need to make the shade featured in that kit for one low price. Below are the 2 kit/beginner dvd combos available:
Additionally, she has a ton of wire frames, lining fabric, trim, seem binding and other materials to help you on your way. All is located in her online shop HERE.
To top it off, Mary has graciously agreed to give one lucky winner a FREE COPY of her beginner DVD🙂 !! Not to worry, though, if you go ahead and purchase the dvd and end up winning it. She said she’ll give the winner copies of her other 2 DVDs featuring advanced techniques should you have already purchased the beginner one 🙂
HOW TO WIN A COPY of “HOW TO MAKE VICTORIAN STYLE LAMPSHADES” dvd:
- Follow @weatherkim on Instagram (that’s me!)
- You must follow me on Instagram to win AND you must tag 2 friends on Instagram in the comments section of the picture of my Instagram feed featuring this give away.
That picture looks like this:
- Another way you can win is by following @WeatherKim on Instagram AND re-gramming my picture featuring the give-away with the hashtag #WeatherKimShadesGiveaway on your feed. You decide.
I’ll announce the winner on my Instagram feed sometime Monday evening February 9th. Until then, let your fingers do the walking right on over to Mary’s website and bust out that fabric stash – we’ve got some lampshades to make!
Every summer I retreat to the far northeast reaches of our country with my family to escape the traffic and heat of our Capital Beltway and breath in the fresh pine tree air of Maine. This year, my quest for lobster could only be trumped by my quest for fabric. In part I of this series, I told you all about two adorable modern fabric shops (not too far from each other) along Maine’s “midcoast” region. Today, I’ll tell you about two other places to procure yummy, sewable fiber that are also kind of close to each other: Under the Dogwood Tree in Southwest Harbor and Marden’s in Ellsworth, Maine.
UNDER THE DOGWOOD TREE
SOUTHWEST HARBOR MAINE
This shop has all kinds of on-trend items from stationary, apparel, jewelry, dry goods, rugs, artwork, children’s books to a cozy upstairs corner of modern fabric.
While they don’t have a large selection, what they do have is modern, fresh and current. I love the over-sized wooden spool they use to house some of the bolts.
Mixed throughout the shop (and it is no different in the fabric section) are old and new items. Aren’t these vintage buttons darling?
Off to the side corner near the stairway is a small section of sale fabric ranging from $4-$6 a yard.
I love the idea of this cutting table. I also appreciate the honor system the owner puts into our hands – allowing us to cut what we need, writing it down on a slip of paper to bring to the checkout downstairs. Unfortunately, the planks on the table are not even so your trip with the rotary cutter skips over fabric during the dips. It gets an A for form but a D for function.
I noticed a nice selection of Heidi Boyd patterns (who is a local Maine artist) for felted toys. They were so cute! I love it when boutiques carry items from local artisans. Yay!
Marden’s is a locally-owned chain of 14 discount supply stores. They exist only in Maine. You will find everything under the sun in this place. I could go on and on about the shoe department alone, but I want to let you in about Maine’s best kept FABRIC secret! Are you sitting down? No? Then go hit the restroom, get yourself a snack, put your phone in airplane mode (unless you’re reading from your phone, of course), hide yourself from your husband-kids-pets-nosy neighbors-whatever distracts you- because I am going to get your fabric seeking radar on HIGH ALERT! Feast your eyes:
Now, if you’re looking in the front row of this picture and are like “no great shakes” then I HEAR you. BUT, you did not prowl through each and every bolt of fabric in this joint (don’t forget the bottom shelves on the floor) as I did. Anna Maria Horner ring a bell? CHECK. Denyse Schmidt Chicopee collection anyone? RIGHT OVER HERE, Tula freakin’ PINK??? Ummmm Hmmmmmmm. “Fine” you say. “Fine, my local fabric shop carries that – what’s all the hoopla about?” you say. I’ll tell you:
$1.50 – $5.49 a yard
is what. And that $5.49 was mostly on select Riley Blake fabric (I don’t understand this, but this particular store had a minor crush on Riley Blake (not that there is anything wrong with that) and had all their fabric priced the highest – unless it was in the super-sale section.) I’ll tell you this – I didn’t pay a dime more than $4.50 a yard for my haul. Now, will there be some, let’s say, less desirable fabric you have to weed through? YES. But is it worth it? YES.
Above is a look at their sale section (yes a store who’s prices are less than $5.50 a yard has a sale section.) If you squint you might be able to make out that pink sign that says $2.99 a yard. Below is an example of some of their $1.50/yard fabric.
I had baby girl with me that day and I was torn over this vintage-looking rainbow fabric, also for $1.50/yard. (I wish I had gotten it.)
Here is some Denyse Schmidt for you. Again, all this was priced between $3.50 & $4.50 a yard:
Now, if you’re thinking “No problem, I’ll just give Marden’s a call and order some.” Good luck with that. They don’t ship fabric. They don’t take orders over the phone. So, you’ll have to take that leaf peeping trip this fall to Maine and hop a flight to BGR or PWM (don’t pick the wrong Portland or you’ll end up in Oregon.) Whatever you do, be prepared to spend hours in that place. Remember, I didn’t even go into the shoe department details. You might be wondering “How do they get this stuff?” Well, the inner journalist in me asked and basically one of the examples an employee game me was that there was a fabric store in some other part of the country that had a fire in their bathroom. Insurance company comes in and takes all the inventory away to replace it. The inventory wasn’t damaged at all. Marden’s steps in to buy it all. CHEAP. Thank you, Marden’s.
IF YOU GO:
- Allow a good 2 hours
- Don’t deprive yourself of a lobster roll while in Maine
- Bring me back some whoopie pies (also sold there)
- Store locations: Biddeford, Sanford, Scarborough, Gray, Lewiston, Waterville, Brewer, Lincoln, Calais, Houlton, Ellsworth, Presque Isle and most recently Rumford and Madawaska (and each one’s stock can vary.)
Oh please please PLEASE share your Marden’s victories with me in the comments below. Oh how I love to hear how a good bargain is procured 🙂
I don’t mean to put JoAnn Fabric down. Let’s face it, it’s the go-to place to buy so many items to feed your quilting-crafting-sewing hunger. Armed with those inevitable 40% off coupons, how can you go wrong? But, I must say, I was never really that enthused about their fabric selection. It tended/tends to be on the traditional (boring) end of the spectrum for me. But every once in a while, something catches my eye. A few weeks ago, after our first fall-like cool-down in the weather pattern, I was jonesing to make something Fall-y. H E L L O BURLAP FABRIC 🙂 Why, you’re not just burlap, you’re burlap with MUSTACHES printed all over you! Come with me to the cutting table why don’t you?
I had just figured out how to install an invisible zipper, so I was on an invisible zipper kick. So a plethora of pillows ensued. Here is how the burlap fabric got transformed:
After Mr. Mustache Pillow came together, I decided he was crying out for a companion. He needed something a little more Halloweenie. Jo-Ann to the rescue again! This time the burlap fabric had spiders all over it. SCORE! I made the throw pillow out of a slightly smaller size (16″ square) and added some piping-ish stuff to the edges (it reminded me of really wide shoelace material – I guess I could get up and go look at what it is called, but I’m sitting on my foot kind of funny and it fell asleep and I don’t want to go through the pins and needles phase, so sorry!) That was the trickiest part – getting the wide (1/2″) shoelace material to be a nice square on the front cover AND go around the edge of my pillow cover peacefully with the invisible zipper. But I channeled my inner Tim Gunn and had a “make it work” moment.
The most annoying part making these pillows? The burlap frays. Really Bad. I was fortunate that my sewing teacher loans me her backup serger. So, what do you think? What tricks do you have up your sleeve to make big seasonal changes on a tight budget? I’d love to hear your ideas 🙂
So, I have this double baby shower coming up quick this weekend. When I *can*, I like to make hand-made gifts. Obviously, this is something I enjoy, but I also like to give things that are unique and made with love. Thankfully my sewing teacher, Cindy, had just the perfect idea: baby receiving blankets. They are pretty simple to make and don’t take F O R E V E R (like some quilts can!)
The baby shower I am going to is for two women. One is expecting a girl and one is expecting a boy. YAY! It also helped that over at Jo-Ann Fabric, their flannel was on sale 🙂 Love love love 60% off! Here are the three I have made so far (I still have to make one more baby girl blanket.) I plan on giving two each.
The first one I made was the pink and brown blanket. I love pink and brown together. I also appreciate how RIPPING YOUR FABRIC (instead of cutting it) keeps your fabric from getting WONKY. You know what I mean? They do this all the time on Project Runway – ripping the fabric. This is when you put a little snip where you want to cut and then tear instead. What happens is that you end up ripping along the grain of the fabric and it gives you a true straight edge. Even better, your blanket will LIE FLAT if it is ripped along the warp and weft threads of the fabric. Good sewing teachers instill this in you and I can say Ms. @CindySews did her job! Here’s how the baby girl blanket turned out below.
And, finally, my most recent blanket I made to compliment the puppy blanket above. This one, though, is a little more modern. The flannel features buildings. I was actually kind of surprised that Jo-Ann even had this fabric. I find that their selection is rather traditional. So, I kind of did a little jig in the aisle when I found this fabric. I like how it compliments the puppy blanket colors. Also, the orange in it gave me a good excuse to flaunt my tacky Winker Weather Kim label in the orange and turquoise color scheme (note to self: next time you order sewing labels, consider how infrequently you actually use this color scheme despite how much you love it!)
So what do you think? Tell me what kind of hand-made baby shower gifts you like to give. I would love some ideas! Drop me a comment below. I’d love to hear from you 🙂
It only took me 6 months, but I finally finished Eden’s quilt. I feel guilty because I made a quilt for another cutie-pie first (her baby shower was in December and I knew I wanted to make something.) For Eden’s quilt I wanted to create something with an Anthropologie vibe that was all-over kind of neutral with punches of color.
As I type, Eden just turned 6 months old. What you don’t know about that picture above is that I plopped her down like twenty times only to have her roll onto her side before I could safely let go and take the picture! You can imagine how happy I was to have her both upright AND smiling!
I spent the final month of my pregnancy painting Eden’s crib. I found a zero VOC paint at Lowes by Olympic Paint. The color is Calypso Berry and it was that color from which I picked out my fabrics to use in making the quilt. I used a lot of Art Gallery fabrics (seriously, I love LOVE LOVE them!), some Joel Dewberry, & the base is just a neutral Jo-Ann grab. The Art Gallery fabrics are from their Summer Love & Modernology collections by Pat Bravo (this has to be one of the nicest designers around – her videos make you want to jump into the screen with the crew and start dancing!) I hope to meet her at Spring Quilt Market in Portland OR in a few months. (And I am just DYING to meet Bari J! She is one of the newest members of the Art Gallery Team. I’ll be crafting with some of her LillyBelle fabric that I have stockpiled soon (waves to @BariJ !) But back to Eden’s quilt… The Joel Dewberry fabric is from his Aviary 2 collection and is the Woodgrain in the Bark color line that essentially trims out the quilt with the binding.
Here she is, above, playing with her appliquéd letter “E”. Or she’s thinking about eating her toe. Actually, I am pretty sure it is the second. Thank you to @CindySews for all her help, especially with the appliqué stuff. She is not only my sewing teacher, but also my dear friend. Between Cindy and her friend (now mine), Pam (who owns Delray Fabrics – you should buy all your modern fabrics there. Seriously) I find myself cracking up whenever we’re all together. Got a problem with one of the Real Housewives? Chat about it with Pam – she’ll back you up.
Couldn’t end this without my Sweet Eden’s gummy grin. I hope she reads this one day and knows all the love I put into this hand-made quilt. Baby girl, mommy L O V E S you to the moon and back!