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Archive for the ‘Sewing Tips’ Category

Hey Chickies–We’re Back!!!

Meet Oscar--The DIYStyle Studio Kitty

After a short hiatus from DIYStyle, we are back and ready to SEW!! If you have kept up with us on Facebook, you have heard about some of our adventures. Allyce, I and the Creative Chicks have been super busy with our own personal projects all summer and fall (Allyce now designs for her line Allyce King Swim too). Now that we are headed into the holidays I can let you all in on some EXCITING goings on here in the DIYStyle studio!

We have a BIG announcement (at least big for us!). We are writing the very first book from DIYStyle! I can’t divulge the actual topic and title just yet, but stay posted and watch for that news as soon as I get the green light to spill the beans from our publisher. Due out in Fall/Winter 2013, we hope you will love all the great projects we are having fun whipping up for you.

And we have a new member of our team. Meet Oscar our studio kitty! He’s 7 months old and a bundle of energy. Getting in the middle of all of our creative messes and finding every stray thread to play with. He’s running the miniature daschund (Reese is 12) around in circles, and will probably add years to his life with all the extra exercise.

So what’s on the horizon for DIYStyle.net? A relaunch by spring with MANY more projects, a whole new sewing tips and video section and some brand new techy additions (is techy an actual word?). It’s a TOP SECRET website component–I can’t tell yet. SOOO…..keep watch and LIKE us on Facebook to be the first to get the scoop.

SEW ON Everyone :)

 

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How a Sewing Machine Works!!

Click on our Blog Page for the Video Link!!

I found this on the Science Channel’s website and just LOVE how it shows how a sewing machine functions. Just good info to know–helps a lot when you need to troubleshoot any mishaps on your machine. And found it pretty cool they used a sewing machine from the nice folks at Brother USA too.

Happy Sewing

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DIYStyle Guest :: Jan Saunders Maresh

Sewing for Dummies cover

 

When I was asked to write Sewing for Dummies, I was thrilled and…I’ll admit it…flattered. As part of the Dummies author group I rub elbows with experts on everything. Computer geeks of the tallest order like Andy Rathbone, Windows for Dummies (15 million books in print), to famous coaches — Notre Dame University’s Richard “Digger” Phelps, Basketball for Dummies. But as I revel in that warm momentary glow, reality slaps me in the face as potential readers – sewers with years of experience tell me they are put-off by the title. After all, they don’t consider themselves “dummies” and figure that a book like this is for beginners – which it is – and it isn’t.

So let me clear this up. The Dummies formula is familiar to readers – a great resource presented with a sense of humor that breaks down a topic into bite-sized pieces.  And here’s the good news for readers who sew.  Whether beginner or experienced – each chapter and each topic within each chapter is written as a standalone.  So you don’t need to read anything before or after that chapter or topic to understand it. 

How do you use this in your everyday sewing projects? As you work through your next project and your next step is to sew a dart, edgestitch that pocket, or insert a zipper, flip to the topic in the book and see how I suggest you do it. My hope is that you’ll read my words, hear my voice and find a better, easier way to get the job done. Keep the book next to you as you sew, make notes in the margin – use it to your heart’s content.  When you do, I hope that you, treasured reader, will understand that “Dummy” is a term of endearment.

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Pi Day is Allyce’s Birthday!

Pi Day Embroidery

When Allyce was in school they had “Pi Day”, on 3-14 (you know pi is 3.14….). She loved it because she got dessert on her birthday, March 14th TWICE! Both as a special celebration at school (with pie of course), and again at home with her favorite confetti sprinkles birthday cake….talk about sugar overload! So, when we discoved a FREE embroidery design by a super company called Urban Threads, celebrating Pi Day we thought it would be a great way to celebrate Allyce’s 23rd birthday AND get you all a free Pi Day embroidery download!

So, if you have not yet checked out our new bestest (is that a word?) machine embroidery friend, then this is the perfect time to see all of their fab designs. Don’t waste any time either. This free download is only available until March 14th. Not your grandmothers embroidery (I know–you’ve heard that before!) REALLY! Watch for new projects coming on DIYStyle that will feature their edgy embroidery. We think they are way cool………..

And Happy Birthday Girl!!! We love you :)

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DIYStyle Read::Sewing for Dummies

Sewing for Dummies cover

No, you don’t need to be a “dummy” to buy this book, or even a beginner sewer…..the simplicity of organization of hardcore info in this sewing handbook is what we all wish for when in a late night sewing pinch! Like me, you have probably perused several of the Dummies books, most of them pretty darn useful and written in a voice that I can understand. Sewing for Dummies is just that, from this easy-to-navigate category of books by Wiley. Written by industry veteran (and a long time friend) Jan Saunders-Maresh, this book is a must have for every level of sewist.

I love books that are an easy read, especially when I am grappling with a subject that is new or seemingly difficult to me.  Just check out the other Dummies books on my shelf…mostly internet and computer related. Jan has a knack for making the step by step instructions for everything from zippers to pockets, and piping to slipcovers as easy as pie, and fun to boot. Some of the included cartoons are so on target, and hit home. A lighter note when you are trying to figure out just how to get that particular technique down.

Sections in the book cover major sewing opportunities, including Fashion sewing (our fav of course!), Home Dec, Alterations, and the “trademark” top ten lists. Sewing for Dummies even has some handy charts included, perforated so you can keep with you as you hit the fabric store. Fabric conversions, sheet sizes and needle specs are included to take on the go.

Sewing for Dummies has become our go-to handbook at DIYStyle for all of our sewing questions, especially used in classes at the DIYStyle Workshop. Add it to your list of must have tools for your sewing room. It’s reassuring to have a good friend like Jan at your side even if it’s only in book form. Now, we just need to talk Wiley into staffing a midnight to 7am Sewing for Dummies call hotline for those of us that are truely sewing dummies (more like zombies) when we’re up sewing all night long! For now, the book will do….and very nicely I might add.

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Project Runway 6::Behind the Sewing Machines::9.10.09

Project Runway Sewing Room Entrance

I actually got to watch this week’s episode last night! After a LONG day running around NY, Allyce and I were exhausted and fell into bed pretty late (by my standards anyway). Too cool that I could still watch this episode….the time change (CST to EST) helped immensely to be able to catch this weeks antics. BTW, New York is SO cool (despite the rain). We are here at the beginning of Fashion Week, and there is definitely a building of anticipation as the shows really fall into full swing today and the rest of the weekend into next. We’ll be backstage and watching Nicole Miller this afternoon and evening and try to catch a couple more shows if we can this afternoon. Then it’s onto Alice + Olivia tonight. Need to eat my Wheaties to keep up the pace (gives new meaning for running in heels)!

Back to this week’s PR episode. Not anywhere near as much drama as last week, but the designers did pull out some neat looks for their models. The challenge of designing something their models could wear to an industry soiree was a great idea, kind of turning the tables on who was making the design choices.

Logan and Ramon sewing their Blue creations at the Brother sewing machines!

Logan’s creation was dubbed “the smurf” dress (I think he said that, not Tim!) during his critique. I did think the idea of doubling the lace on the top to mute the flower pattern was a pretty good trick, even though it did turn out a little heavy. Neat fashion design tip though to tuck away for a future DIYStyle project. Ra’mon is working on the “flower” that topped his dress. I think this is kind of an “old” 80′s Oscar look, but the judges seemed to like it.

Althea working on the sheer top that captured her win.

Althea’s stitching the sheer that became that tank top. Evidently the judges loved this, since she was crowned the winner of this challenge. It was cool, but I don’t think it was THAT unusual. I really thought the dress Epperson created was the best for getting attention at the model party that they attended. Those strips pieced on the sheer stretch was pretty awesome.

Althea’s winning look Episode 4

Ra’mons strip pieced sheer dress

Allyce and I were somewhat amazed at the judges comments and how harsh they were on some of the designers. And our friend Qristyl was “out” for her black cocktail dress, that got some nasty review. We thought the dress was cute, but not enough to make her model stand out at the important industry event. Boo-hoo……….we still think you are great Qristyl!

Keep watching for our posts from behind the sewing machines, with a little help from our friends at Brother!

 ****And, stay tuned for more posts from NY Fashion Week!!!! Hoping we don’t get too drenched.

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Threads Up….Tale of Two Purses

The great thing about sewing is that you can, as they say on American Idol, “make it your own”. In the denim purse , an old pair of jeans, Coats Jeans Zippers and Coats Jeans thread created the look. But change the fabric to a fantastic Amy Butler print and solid, coordinating colors of Coats All-purpose zippers and Dual Duty XP Multi-color threads and you have a total makeover! This purse is a free download, just in time for your summer travels!

CS0058 Zippity Purse

Thread color depends on the look you are after-and there are so many options-342 of them in Dual Duty XP alone!! Choose a bright color for contrast. Or select a heavy thread like Dual Duty XP Heavy or Coats Jeans thread for bold, prominent stitching. Working with a print? Select a color closest to the predominant color. For solids, a slightly darker shade blends best, because it will appear a little lighter when sewn in. 

So, break out that favorite pattern and sew it up again. This time you can whip it up oh so much faster, and get set for summer with some wonderful print fabrics.

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DIYStyle Workshop: It’s Finally Here!

Grab your most stylish girlfriends and bring them with you to the fabulous DIYStyle Workshop! Our Workshop is a new, fun and exciting way to get together with friends and try something different.  Whether it’s a fashion, home decor or simple crafting project, the Creative Chicks can help with it all.

The DIYStyle Workshop will offer many events and classes including Girls Night Out, Panty Party, open sewing times and even private lessons.  We welcome all types of sewers, whether you have little or lots of sewing experience.  You will not be let down by the unique and trendy projects that we will feature!

Check out the Workshop section of our website to get more information!  If you are interested and have more questions or would like to register for a class please call us at 636.925.1829

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Lights, Camera, Action!

Do you ever find yourself questioning your designs, whether it be color choice, pattern or style??? Wow, I do all the time! You know just looking at something straight on never seems to give me the “true” look of the project. So, what I use to do was stand in front of the bathroom mirror, hold the design up and try to decide if I thought it was worthy. That helped…somehow it gave me a view that seemed removed from the project. But it didn’t always give me the help I needed…especially if no one is around for a second opinion.

Now, what I have found, is that I “audition” my designs with pictures. I use my digital camera and shoot photos of the project. Like last night, I was working on a quilt and needed to decide the borders and whether to use rick rack or not. So, I photograph the quilt with a green border only, a green border and black rick rack and a green border, rick rack and a second black border. Then I sat at the computer and auditioned the photos. There is something about seeing the project on the screen that makes a huge difference. I selected the green/rickrack/black borders. Not, what I thought when first just looking at the project. And guess what, I am extremely pleased with the outcome!!!

You know I wish I had some great explanation as to why this works…it just does. And, it works every time! So, try it out next time your not too sure about some aspect of your project…see what a difference the camera can make.

And, hey it is January, no big holiday celebrations taking place, so get sewing and enjoy!!

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TGIF Gifts Contest:: Our Christmas Week Gift and Winner Announced

DIYStyle TGIF Gifts Contest

Hi All!

So, who won the Clover Gift basket???? The goodies go to Angie. Congrats :) Thanks for your nice comments about DIYStyle, and the tip about using leftover wrapping paper to make pattern alterations–great idea!

And the winner of the “DIYStyle Tips” and the felting tools set goes to…….Cheryl. Your tip about making gathers easier (who hasn’t had the dreaded broken gathering threads to contend with?!), by stitching over a heavier thread or yarn like crochet cotton. Cheryl we love your tip!! Watch for Cheryl’s tip to be a segment on our next season of DIYStyle!!

And now, our final gift in the TGIF Gifts contest is from one of our very favorite sponsors, Sulky. Actually Sulky was the very FIRST sponsor we had at DIYStyle……they believed in our idea from the start (Thank you so much Jason and Fred!). So be sure to thank them for helping make DIYStyle possible (and for making such great products too!).

Here’s the gift(s):

We start off with a Sulky Stabilizer assortment starter pack. You know how we’re always talking about using stabilizers on DIYStyle, now here’s your chance to try out each and every one that Sulky makes……..

Sulky Stabilizer Sampler

Then, they add their book “Sulky Secrets to Successful Stabilizing” to show you how to use several of their original and popular stabilizers, as well as some neat projects to boot.

Stabilizer Book

And, added to the gifted loot, Sulky added their latest supplement book (this has info about their brand new stabilizers in it too) “Supplement to Sulky’s Secrets to Successful Stabilizing”. So together, with the book above, you’ll be armed with all the info you need to know about how to keep stitches from puckering, decorative stitches made perfect, embroidery, embellishment tricks, and SEW much more!

Supplement Book

And as if that was not enough, they threw in a can of their super popular spray adhesive, KK2000. This stuff is fantastic for temporarily holding anything in place while you stitch, hooping towels and loose items for embroidery, and it does not make your fabric stiff (it disappears in 24-36 hours!) like some other temporary spray adhesives.

KK2000

So, the winner of this week’s bag-o-xmas sewing goods will have quite the loot to get stitching on some new stuff in the new year. With that, we decided that we’d still love to hear your comments about what you would like to see on DIYStyle (give us your sewing how-to wish list!), and in addition (this should be fun!) we’d really like to know how you learned to sew in the first place. Just kind of short and sweet, something nice for all of us to read—each of us has a story to tell and this would be a perfect time to share and reminisce!

Happy Holidays everyone. All of us at DIYStyle are truely thankful for having such a great group of sewing friends and followers this past year. Keep up with DIYStyle………there is lots more to come………..and please pass the word to all of your sewing and sewing wannabe friends about joining the DIYStyle community. The more the merrier!!

Cindy

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TGIF Gifts Contest:: Our Fourth Gift and Winner Announced

So who won all the loot from our 3rd TGIF Gifts post (in case you forgot it was a copy of My Style, My Place and a set of the DIYStyle patterns)? We had some great posts, but only one gets away with the gifts…………..Pamela you are our lucky winner! You’ll get a note from us soon asking where to send all of your lovely goodies. Congrats!

And, I’m sure you are wondering what is up next?! Let’s see, behind door (or should I say gift box) #4 is a basket chock full of wonderful tools and notions from Clover! This basket includes Clover’s neat felting tools & supplies PLUS some Pom-Pom makers to try out too. This gift basket of Clover Notions goodies is worth over $200!!

Clover Goodies Basket!

So, we’re ramping up the “entry” stakes a bit too! We still want you to post your comments to this blog post, about what you would like to see on DIYStyle, AND we’re also asking you to leave us your favorite quick sewing tip as well. We’ll still randomly pick the winner (so if you are a sewing newbie and tipless, that’s OK–you still get a chance to win the gift basket), but, we’ll also vote on which tip submitted is the best of the bunch, and feature it in an upcoming episode of DIYStyle. And we’ll even mention the Creative Chickie who submitted the winning tip on the show! The tip winner also gets a prize too, a set of Clover felting tools.

Get your comments (and tips) in……….somebody’s gonna get lucky!

Cindy

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Ribbony Needle Roundup

 

Ribbon

Halloween is creeping up very fast and I still have not decided on a costume to make! I’ve been helping everyone around me with his or her costumes, so hopefully when I’m finished, I’ll think of something clever to throw together! The other day I was working on my sister’s Halloween costume (she and her boyfriend are going to be Wilma and Fred Flintstone), and I got frustrated because I could not find any of my hand sewing needles. When I don’t need them, I always mistake them for pins in my pincushion and when I do need them, I can’t find them anywhere! So after I picked all of them out of my pincushion and off the floor, I came up with a really easy way to keep track of them. I cut off a piece of ribbon and tied it in a bow, leaving one leg of the bow really long. Then, I just stuck my needles through the ribbon and tacked the bow on the wall in front of my sewing machine. Now they are out of the way and I know exactly where they are when I need them. It’s so simple I don’t know why I never thought of it before! Wish me luck on my costume!

Christy

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