A Giveaway!

Nothing says spring sewing like bright colours and pretty fabric! So when Daryl from Fabric Spark contacted me and asked about holding a giveaway, I was super excited. She has a great selection of fabric and lots of bright colours that are perfect for the type of modern quilting that I love.

Fabric Spark Fat Quarter Bundle Giveaway
Fabric Spark Fat Quarter Bundle Giveaway

Putting together the bundle was quite the challenge – there were just too many great choices. I chose fabrics in bright pink and turquoise with some nice darks for contrast (don’t want to be too predictable!).

The fabrics are:

Fabric Spark is giving away a bundle of eight fat quarters to one lucky reader. The contest is open to international entries, which is always great, and closes on Friday at midnight.

Good luck!

This giveaway is now closed.

Hosting a giveaway is always lots of fun. And I’m happy to announce that a winner has been chosen for the Fabric Spark Fat Quarter Bundle Giveaway. The winner is Dandi. Daryl from Fabric Spark will be getting in touch directly to organize all the details.

I have a bundle of my own in front of me, so I can’t wait to show you what I’ve been working on. Fun, fun, fun!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hear Me on Canadian Quilt Talk

I’m in a podcast! A little while ago Brandy Lynn got in touch and asked me if I wanted to be part of Canadian Quilt Talk.

She explains on her website that “Canadian Quilt Talk is a weekly online podcast that aims to inspire quilters and fibre artists alike with tips, tricks and the latest products.”

Apparently she saw one of my Big Lists online and thought it was an interesting resource and so we set up a Skype call and did an interview and you can check it out today beginning at 4 p.m. PST/7 p.m. EST.

If you are coming here after hearing the podcast then you might want to head right to one of my Big Lists.

And after hearing the podcast, you might be curious about how I use an app to keep track of my fabric stash. You can find that here. And if you are looking for some of my quilts, you can find those here.

Brandy Lynn is incredibly nice and recording the podcast was a lot of fun. Her podcasts air every week and I highly recommend checking them out.

Canadian Boxing Week Online Fabric Sales

Did Santa leave you a little extra Christmas money under the tree this year? Looking for some Canadian boxing sewing week sales? I’ve put together a little list of online sales going on this week.

Please note that this information is provided as a courtesy, and I don’t guarantee 100% accuracy. Always check the shop site before purchasing to ensure the sales listed are still on. If you see one I’ve missed, let me know in the comments.

Our Sponsors

Warp & Weftto January 10
You may have heard that Warp & Weft is closing. There isn’t much inventory left, but what is available is beautiful and there are huge discounts.

Fabric Spark to December 31
Fabric Spark is having a Mystery Fat Quarter event for Boxing Week. Every person who buys a yard or more of fabric will get a fat quarter of designer fabric chosen to coordinate with their purchase.

Stay Home Fabrics
Use the shipfree4u promo code to get free shipping or take15 to get 15% off your entire order.

Other Shops

Mad About Patchwork to January 6
Enjoy 20% savings on selected products with coupon 12DAYS

The Workroomto January 1
Discounts of 10-20% on 2m or more.

fishskin fabric to December 28
10% off your total purchase and free shipping in Canada.

Hamel’s Fabrics to January 1
Discounts of 25% on fabric and 50% on Christmas fabric.

Flare Fabricsto December 31
Discounts of 30% or more on selected fabrics and patterns.

Kids Fabrics
A 50% reduction on existing inventory, excluding new stock.

iThinkSewto January 7
Up to 50% off iThinkSew sewing patterns.

The Fabric Snob
20% off

Thread Theoryto January 7
Everything is discounted from 15% to 40%

Birthday Bears

There was a birthday at our house this summer, and it involved a teddy bear sleepover party.

I wanted to make something fun for all my kids, something that wasn’t too young for the biggest one or too old for the youngest. But I’ve had all four kids at home all summer so time has been limited.

I started with these cute tiny bears. I used the free pattern for Warren the Charity Bear by Shiny Happy World. It is a super easy pattern, and very squeezable.

Birthday bears by The Finished Garment.
These are just right for little hands.

I thought the original pattern looked a bit big, so I scaled the PDF down to 50 per cent. It’s just the right size to be snuggled by my littlest. Instead of buttons for eyes, I just embroidered the whole face and because of the small size, I embroidered the hearts as well.

It’s a bit tough to see, but each bear has slightly different coloured eyes, just like my kids.

Birthday bears by The Finished Garment.
I hand embroidered the faces.

I used some white minky fabric that was left over from an Easter bunny costume (never blogged) for the bears. It’s super soft and cuddly.

The bears were cute, but they took no time at all. So I decided to make them each a sleeping bags. There are couple of cute patterns around, but I ended up using The Three Bears’ Sleeping Bag by Flossie Teacakes.

The Three Bears' Sleeping Bag, sewn by The Finished Garment.
This print is Licorice Cats by Anne Kelle.

It’s an adorable pattern. I made the Daddy Bear size. It’s just right for a typical 12-inch baby doll, but mostly gets used for stuffed animals at out house.

The Three Bears' Sleeping Bag, sewn by The Finished Garment.
This print is Sunset from the Fly Away collection by Amy Schindler, and the binding is Kona cerise.

I used quilting cotton and batting left over from previous projects, but I matched the fabric in each sleeping bag to clothing that I’d made for each kid, so that they would know which one was theirs. With four sleeping bags, there was a lot of switching thread.

The Three Bears' Sleeping Bag, sewn by The Finished Garment.
Here I used Ladybugs by Anne Kelle and Kona in medium grey for the binding.

The pattern was good, but the fabric requirements were a bit off. If you want to make a large sleeping bag, you’ll need 1/3 yard for the sleeping bag lining, and 1/3 yard (possibly a mixture of assorted prints) for the outer fabric, as well as 1/3 yard for the batting.

I made three changes. I quilted the entire sleeping bag, I used double-layer bias tape for the binding, and I machine-stitched the binding in place. I think this last part will make them a bit tougher.

The Three Bears' Sleeping Bag, sewn by The Finished Garment.
The print here is Whales in bright by Anne Kelle, and Kona cottons for the pillow and binding.

I’ve seen some very cute versions with quilt blocks for the main front section, but I had to make four, so I stuck to simple single-fabric panels and straight-line quilting.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any action shots of these, but I can definitely say they see a lot of playtime. On any given day, I might find a single bear, a pair of dolls or an entire menagerie of sea creatures inside. And best of all, they are machine washable.

Birthday bears by The Finished Garment.
My first tiny bear. These took no time at all.

I love making toys for the kids. It is so much fun. I have to keep myself away from adorable doll and stuffed animal patterns. They are just way too tempting.

This project was part of the Sewcialist Scraptember Sew Along and the Stashbusting Sew Along Kid Challenge.

Summary

Pattern Review 1: The Three Bears’ Sleeping Bag by Flossie Teacakes.

Fabric: Assorted quilting cotton and batting scraps left over from other projects.

Cost: Fabric: 0$. Pattern 10$.

Sizes: Daddy Bear.

Sewing Level: Beginner.

Modifications: Quilted both layers, used double-layer binding and machine stitched the binding in place.

Results: Cute!

 

Pattern Review 2: Warren the Charity Bear by Shiny Happy World.

Fabric: Minky scraps left over from another project.

Cost: Free!

Sewing Level: Beginner.

Modifications: Scaled the pattern down to 50 per cent.

Results: Cute and super easy!

The Three Bears' Sleeping Bag, sewn by The Finished Garment.
Hey, what are you still doing up?

Does that pattern come in my size?

For those of you here for the sewing, I ‘ll have some dresses up soon. But first I wanted to look at something that I discussed in my last post on why it makes economic sense for indie pattern makers to extend their size ranges.

In my last post I showed a couple of distribution curves that illustrate what percentage of the population could use a pattern with a given size range. But I thought it would be interesting to see what range of sizes existing indie companies are actually offering.

I figured I would just choose the top pattern makers, but how to choose? The ones on someone’s list? The most blogged? The ones I like the best? The hippest style, nicest drafting or most clever instructions? So I hopped over to pattern review.com, and looked at some of the patterns that have made their top ten patterns of the year, over the past few years. You may or may not agree that these are the top patterns, but they’ve been sewn by a large number of people, and have obtained many good reviews.

A reminder: In the following charts, I’ve shown size range in the general population, across a normal distribution. Then I’ve charted the sizes offered for specific sewing patterns as the area under the curve (the green area) to calculate what percentage of the population could use the pattern. See my previous article for a more detailed description of these concepts.

Indie pattern range
A common indie pattern range.

First shown is a range of pattern sizes (6-18) used by some indie pattern makers. About 43% of the population can use these patterns.

This is the distribution curve for the Burda Magazine 04-2009-101 "Skirt with Front Pockets". Only 31% of the population can use this pattern. The pattern makers offered 5 sizes to cover that range.
This is the distribution curve for the Burda Magazine 04-2009-101 “Skirt with Front Pockets”. Only 31% of the population can use this pattern. The pattern makers offered 5 sizes to cover that range.

Next is a pattern from BurdaStyle magazine: 04-2009-101 “Skirt with Front Pockets”. Only 31% of the population can use this pattern. Considering this is a simple straight skirt, that would look good on a wide range of figures, it’s surprising that the pattern is offered in so few sizes.

This is the distribution curve for the Cambie dress from Sewaholic Patterns. About 49% of the population can use this pattern. The pattern makers used 9 sizes to get that range.
This is the distribution curve for the Cambie dress from Sewaholic Patterns. About 49% of the population can use this pattern. The pattern makers used 9 sizes to get that range.

The Cambie dress is similar to the curve used by indie pattern makers, shown above, with a couple extra sizes near the middle. However, since Sewaholic patterns are drafted for pear-shaped figures and I’m comparing pattern sizes based largely on bust measurements, in reality this curve is probably shifted a little to the right and probably covers a slightly larger percentage of the population.

This is the distribution curve for the Archer shirt from Grainline Studio. About 53% of the population can use this pattern. The pattern maker used 10 sizes to get that range.
This is the distribution curve for the Archer shirt from Grainline Studio. About 53% of the population can use this pattern. The pattern maker used 10 sizes to get that range.

The Archer shirt uses a curve similar to the Big4 pattern companies.

This is the distribution curve for the Anna dress from By Hand London. About 61% of the population can use this pattern. The pattern makers used 8 sizes to get that range.
This is the distribution curve for the Anna dress from By Hand London. About 61% of the population can use this pattern. The pattern makers used 8 sizes to get that range.

This is the Anna dress from By Hand London. Although their sizing system is slightly different, this dress goes up to the equivalent of a size 24. It’s a curve similar to that of used by the Big 4 pattern companies, but shifted up slightly.

This is the distribution curve for the Peony dress by Colette Patterns. About 61% of the population can use this pattern. The pattern maker used 10 sizes to get that range.
This is the distribution curve for the Peony dress by Colette Patterns. About 61% of the population can use this pattern. The pattern maker used 10 sizes to get that range.

Here we see the distribution for Colette’s Peony dress. It covers 61% of the population, just like the Anna dress above, but the pattern maker offers 10 sizes to cover the range, instead of 8.

This is the distribution curve for the Moneta dress by Colette Patterns. About 80% of the population can use this pattern. The pattern maker used 7 sizes to get that range.
This is the distribution curve for the Moneta dress by Colette Patterns. About 80% of the population can use this pattern. The pattern maker used 7 sizes to get that range.

Colette recently extended their size range with new patterns for knits. This is the size range for the Moneta dress. It covers 80% of the population, in only 7 sizes. This isn’t one of the top patterns on pattern review.com (it’s too new to be considered), but I think it’s interesting to look at, compared to the previous size range for this company.

This is the distribution curve for the Tiramisu dress by Cake Patterns. About 85% of the population can use this pattern. The pattern makers used 5 sizes to get that range.
This is the distribution curve for the Tiramisu dress by Cake Patterns. About 85% of the population can use this pattern. The pattern makers used 5 sizes to get that range.

The Tiramisu dress is also a dress for knits. It covers a slightly larger percent of the population (85%), but this time with only five individual sizes.

This is the distribution curve for the Jalie 2919 "Pleated Cardigan and Vest". About 8% of the population can use this pattern. The pattern makers included 27 sizes (including children's sizes) to get that range.
This is the distribution curve for the Jalie 2919 “Pleated Cardigan and Vest”. About 8% of the population can use this pattern. The pattern makers included 27 sizes (including children’s sizes) to get that range.

Finally there is Jalie. Their large size range is part of their marketing strategy and their patterns are often drafted for both kids and adults. Jalie 2919 can be used by 88% of the population. It’s the largest percentage, and they definitely have the largest number of sizes per pattern (27!). But, compared to some of the other companies, Jalie doesn’t offer the largest sizes.

Some Caveats

These numbers are only approximations based on the model I described in my previous blog post. The same statistical caveats discussed in that article apply to these curves. Keep in mind, I’m using bust measurements, based on this chart, to do a comparison across various different companies, all of which use their own sizing systems. I used bust measurements because they are always listed, and because there is a historical precedent in vintage patterns. Using a different measure (waist, hips, etc.) would result in slightly different curves for each pattern. Overall, though, the differences between companies should be similar.

I’m choosing patterns from patternreview.com. It’s possible that there is a sampling bias. Maybe the people on that site prefer patterns of in a larger range of sizes, for example. There are probably many more patterns out there that have curves that look like the BurdaStyle skirt, than ones that look like the Jalie top.

Covering the entire ranges of sizes may not be the goal of a given pattern maker. In some cases, certain pattern companies may be marketing to specific niche markets, and so they may not intend to cover the largest range possible. In other cases, resources are limited. Nevertheless, I think it’s interesting to look at examples of what specific, successful pattern companies are doing.

Comments are always welcome! And I promise the next blog post will include actual sewing 😉