Enter our inaugral Triple Fox Giveaway!Read More
Ever wonder what to make with paper pieced fabric hexies? A tote is the perfect way to share your fabric love. This reversible tote is a snap to make, just follow the photographed steps.Read More
Follow Heidi's process in creating her first fabric line. Then come to Alewives Fabrics in Nobleboro, Maine on September 12th, 10:30am - 12:30pm to meet Heidi and receive special savings on Forest Frolics.Read More
Find out how to make these gorgeous bracelets that will preserve your summer memories.Read More
It feels like a dream when I sit down to design new products for our business. After years of designing for magazines I relish the freedom to develop my own ideas. The trick is narrowing in on an imagery that I love and that will resonate with our customers. The sewing industry has two international trade shows a year, Spring and Fall Quilt Markets. My goal is to have new products ready to release at both shows. This Spring we launched three new kits a Penguin and Cat softie kits and a Chickadee hoop kit. All three were warmly received and have been selling extremely well this summer. Here's a behind the scenes look at how the kits come together.
Who can resist fun and quirky penguins? I've always been entranced by their movements. I always start with pencil sketches, then reach for a roll of trace paper to break the design into pattern pieces. I was thrilled to develop a single pattern piece that formed the entire penguin back, from the tail all up and over to the folded beak. It's a craft miracle when the form is perfect and the construction is simple.
The little fledgling was much trickier to develop than his full sized dad. I stitched a whole flock of misshapen chicks that circled me on the couch until I tweaked the pattern to perfection. The finished duo make irresistible pair, they were by far the most loved at the show.
I've been hoping to add a pair cute cats to our product line. I was a cat crazy girl and still have a soft spot for charming felines. The design process required a special consultation with my cat savvy and artistic neighbor Claudia. It's hard to design in a vacuum and her advice was exactly what I needed. I thinned out the faces that were getting fat and lion-ish. She also encouraged me to stick with the engaging stretched out pose instead of a passive curled up sleeping pose.
I'm really pleased with The Purrfect Pals, they're sweet and playful. Wouldn't it be fun to use these patterns with lots of felt colors and make an assortment of ginger, calico, coon and tuxedo kitties?
It's probably not wise segue into birds after talking cats. My new hoop kit is directly inspired by my Forest Frolic fabric line. Every time I work on Chickadees their repetitive call resonates in my head, chicka dee dee dee. The first step is tracing the inner hoop onto the paper and then I start drawing. I reference photos whenever I can to help get the animal shapes right. Half of drawing is erasing, you have to start with bad lines to find the good ones. Tracing paper helps me convert the drawing into applique pattern pieces.
To cut down on the amount of pattern pieces I combined the wings and lighter tail section into a single grey piece. See the dark felt strips in the upper right corner? They were my first round of branches. The dark color competed with the chickadees black caps, the lighter squash color worked much better. I'm constantly exploring options to achieve the best possible design. I think the two birds along with the bright bittersweet sprays makes this hoop especially engaging.
Here's the finished kit in both the boxed and bagged packaging options. I love the way the Chickadees works with the rest of the series. Now that we're halfway through summer, it's already time to get serious about developing new products for fall.
I just started working on a new set of woodland tea towel kits that also coordinate with my fabric. This time I'm planning on also packaging six transfers in a single package for quilters. It would be wonderful to see them used in tandem with the fabric. I'd love to hear your suggestions for new Softie or Hoop kit ideas!
Preparing for trade shows can be overwhelming decision making process. Starting with 'What new products should we launch?', followed by 'How should we decorate the booth?', ending with 'What should we give away?'. I've worked through the new products and will share them with you next week. I'm tackling the booth decor this weekend. The past couple of days I've been playing with one-inch button making instead of working on pressing design deadlines. This is the one give away I hope will end up on attendees badge ribbons and tote bags.
After much research I decided to invest in the middle of the road button maker. I ordered an Artec off eBay for just over a hundred dollars, it came with the parts to make 500 pins. The American made Techre is the elite button maker and would be my first choice if price wasn't a consideration and I was going to produce buttons on a regular basis. There's a very inexpensive hand held Badge a Minit product that I was forewarned would be too time consuming for large quantities. I unboxed my new toy on Monday. It arrived without any instructions. Fortunately I found a utube video that helped clarify how to assemble the machine and make the buttons.
Making a button is simple. First you cut out the paper circles. I didn't bother with the included circle cutter. I reached for a trusty old Marvy 1" paper punch. I sharpened it by punching out a few circles of folded aluminum foil.
I'm lucky to be surrounded by talented graphic designers. Maria Gonzalez put together a wonderful sheet of 1" circles for me. The images are from my 'Forest Frolics' fabric line and our new Whimsy Kits. I'm thrilled with how well the images held up in miniature.
The button maker has two sliding cylinders on the base. Fit a metal shell, right side up into the left cylinder. Top it with a paper circle and cover it with the included Mylar circle.
Slide the loaded cylinder under the center handle and pull down. The parts will be suctioned up into the handle base.
Fit a button back/pin right side down into the cylinder on the right.
Slide this cylinder under the handle and pull down again.
Presto, the covered shell is attached to the pin back.
I've had a couple duds where the shell hasn't attached to the pin back. Be careful to insert just a single layer of Mylar, it won't work if two layers are stuck together. It also doesn't work if the pin back is loaded pin side up!
The Fox design from my fabric is my favorite of the bunch. The Techre model uses a metal collet to clamp the Mylar edges and the bent wire pin back needs to be inserted by hand into the shell back. I have piles to make and am grateful to skip these extra steps. The buttons are piling up in my bowl, just a few more hundred to go!
If you're coming to Quilt Market or TNNA please stop by our booth and button up!
I love color and Stephanie Sersich art beads offer up gorgeous glass color pairings. Wearing her earrings is a guaranteed conversation starter. For the last couple of years I've ordered a pair from her website for my birthday. This year I ordered just the beads from her Etsy shop and enjoyed making them myself.
Although I spend a lot of time creating with fiber, I still love beading. My bead collection is the happy result of years of jewelry book design.
I keep my stash sorted by color. I found fishing tackle boxes work best, they offer lots of compartments and clasp shut.
I was planning on pairing Stephanie's blue bird beads with glass beads but the flower shapes of the vintage plastic beads worked best.
I test strung the beads on a long head pin. Slip a small seed bead first, it will prevent the larger holed beads from falling off.
Play with the arrangement until you find the right balance of colors and shapes. I rediscovered glass mushroom beads in my stash and turned them into a pair of earrings too.
Use round nose pliers to shape the end of the headpin into a loop above the last bead.
Clamp the loop with the bent nose pliers while you grab the short wire end with the round nose pliers. Wrap the end tightly around the base of the loop. Trim the wire end with the wire cutters. Repeat the process with second earring dangle. Link the finished dangle to the loop end of the earring wires, then hang a little sunshine from your ears.
Share the gift of creativity. Download my Paint Sheet and tuck it into a acrylic gift set.Read More
Follow the steps to make these surprising Easter Eggs. Miniatures are set into real egg shells with melted wax.Read More
If you love gnomes and woodland sewing projects please check out my newest book Stitched Whimsy. In honor of National Craft Month I'm giving away two of my new Whimsy Stitching Kits. They include everything you need to make your very own stitched felt creation.Read More