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Tamara Kate: Frolic Fabric Collection

2017 June 6

Sometimes I wonder if my girls realize how lucky they are to have so many amazing clothes hanging in their closets. Amazing artists and designers design fabric and I get to sew with it and then they get to walk around wearing the gorgeous artwork-turned-creation!

Case-in-point, Tamara Kate’s latest collection for Michael Miller Fabrics ~ Frolic. I was able to feature the knit fabrics in this collection a few weeks ago, and now am fortunate to be able to work with the wovens. Everything Tamara designs is beautiful, and I am loving the last few collections especially. The bright springy colourways, the watercoloury designs. Did I mention the colour? I LOVE colour!

Michael Miller Fabrics provided these woven Tamara Kate “Frolic” prints for me to play with. My opinions are always my own. Thank you for reading!

This time I sewed up two Sally dresses. This pattern is easy to sew, has no closures for easy dressing and has HUGE pockets! This time I rounded the corners of the square neckline. I found that the squared off corners tended to fray over time – but maybe it was just me? Anyhow, it was an easy fix. and it keeps the original intent of the pattern in tact.

The girls love the contrasting pockets. (And I’m waiting to find the youngest’s rock collection in my washing machine, LOL.) Plus it gave me a chance to show off more of Tamara’s fabric. I also added an inset into the bodice in the same fabric to tie the whole dress together. It was fun fussy cutting the inset to match each fabric print!

I also played around with a fun heirloom-style stitch that comes with my on-loan Janome S9. I have used the cross-stitch looking X’s on so many projects – they are simple and add a nice touch without being overly decorative.

The girls surprised me again and picked the opposite favorite colours for their dresses! My blue-loving youngest girl chose (my favorite) On the Wind in Spring with contrasting pink Big Love in Candy. The pink-loving oldest chose On the Wind in Blue with pockets and inset in Maggie Jean in Sky. Fun Fact: The Maggie Jean print is named for Tamara’s grandmother – how cool is that?! This print is my absolute favorite and I’ll be hoarding the scraps for until I find the perfect project for it.

The Tamara Kate Frolic collection will be shipping to stores on June 15th, 2017. Ask for it at your local shop! To find more Frolic inspiration visit Tamara Kate to find all of the Frolic Fabric Tour posts as they are released.

Thanks for visiting, see you again soon! ~ Sherri

Canada 150 – It’s in the Bag Tour

2017 June 5

Happy Monday to you! Thought I’d drop in today to let you know about a fun tour making the rounds right now. As you might know, it’s Canada’s 150th birthday on July 1st – and some amazing bag-makin’ ladies decided to make a tour out of the occasion.

You probably know by now how much I love featuring Canadian content – so I’m pleased to say this tour features all Canadian pattern designers, bloggers, sewists and even some Canadian tartans! (Which I just found out actually exist – so cool!)

Visit Emmaline Bags for all the details, tour stops and to enter to win some great prizes. Each tour stop has a giveaway of its own – plus there’s a huge Grand Prize to be won!

Today’s tour stops include Sew Far North, and she was kind enough to make my Forest Glen Satchel pattern as part of the tour! In fact, she even made a test version first – so now she’s made two! #bonus Her tester version (above and below) is impeccably sewn with lovely rose fabrics and photographed on a Canadian-appropriate snowy background. LOL

I can’t wait to see her final bag – she sent me the moose photo above as a teaser on Saturday and I thought I’d share it with you! Head over to her blog to see more hear her take on the pattern and enter for your chance to win it too!

Happy Birthday CanadaSherri

Octo-bundle

2017 June 3

Little did I know, when I was oohing and awing over Heather Bailey’s ‘Hello Love’ collection last fall, that I’d get to put together a bundle based on it. Woohoo! Watch out folks – it’s a bright, summery one…

Fabric Spark provided me with this fat quarter bundle and sponsors this blog. My opinions are always my own. Thank you for reading!

Fabric Spark and I go waaaaaay back, lol. They were the first sponsor of this blog and the first to ask me to curate a bundle as well! #bonuspoints

This time they asked if I would choose this month’s Monthly Sparks subscription bundle. These bundles are put together by bloggers and sewists from around the web – and lots of my favorite bloggers are on the list! #fangirl

You can find five unique Monthly Subscriptions at Fabric Spark! It’s so fun to get fabric in your mailbox every month – You can choose to receive any (or all!) of the following options:

It’s always fun to peruse an entire shop’s collection and choose a few fabrics that might go together. But, how do you ever decide?! Usually, I end up finding a fun print to start with and go from there. This time around it was Heather Bailey’s ‘Octopus’s Garden’ in coral. It’s great because it has lots of pinks, reds, purples and a lovely mustard yellow. These inspired filling the bundle with blenders to match.

I tend to make a quilt from each Fabric Spark bundle I’ve curated. So far I’ve started an Hourglass Quilt, am using one for my Sewcial Bee Sampler and recently finished this Trip around the World inspired quilt.

Do you have a favorite quilt pattern that uses roughly 12 fat quarters? I can’t choose between all the one’s I’ve pinned on my (apltly named“Quilts I Might Make” inspiration board!

Speaking of quilts – Fabric Spark will be at Quilt Canada, coming up June 14-17 in Toronto. Come meet them up close and in person – and pick up a few fabrics you need too. #buyallthethings I’m hoping to be able to get there on the 17th, cross your fingers I can bring the girls with me!

Thanks for visiting. See you again soon ~ Sherri

P.S. About halfway through photographing this bundle I realized it matched my kids’ colouring bucket and spent an inordinate amount of time trying to photograph both it and the bundle. And yes, the kids do keep them in rainbow order!

Katarina Roccella: inBlue Fabric Tour

2017 June 1

Enter stage right – Monday – full of after school swimming lessons and general busy-ness, newly finished dresses and previous days of unpredictable rain. Enter stage left – Me – with a rushed plan to fit a photoshoot right smack in the center of it all (before it rained again!). Any guesses to how it went? Lol. Thankfully, after a bit of a rough start (followed by a few minutes of silly selfies), we all got our act together. Whew!

Today is my turn on the Art Gallery Fabrics tour for Katarina Roccella‘s recent collection – inBlue. Aside from my excitement at being asked to show off this beautiful fabric, I’m so pleased that you get a chance to win the Pollywoggles Pattern I used and lots more in the giveaway at the end of this post!

Art Gallery Fabrics provided these Katarina Roccella fabrics and sponsored this post. Pollywoggles Patterns also provided their Primrose Anne pdf dress pattern. My opinions are always my own. Thank you for reading!


First, I have to say my girls and I LOVE these dresses so much! The sweet florals and thoughtful design – I love Katarina Roccella’s design style and my girls do too.

The Bloesem Sweet floral was an instant hit with my oldest and suits her dress well as the main fabric. We used the Bloesem Royal and Chinoiserie Kobalt in the ruffles to highlight and offset it. The little one loves blue, and as we mused over (the many!) she wanted, came back to the light blue backed hot air balloons from Fly Away Laat. Two tiny florals, Weide in Blue and Rose finished it well pulling the corally-pink colour out. I had such a hard time deciding which balloons to feature on her bodice front – did you see the swan balloon?! There were fun surprises hiding throughout this print.

Fabric Quality: I am also glad to write a glowing review of these woven Art Gallery Fabrics. They provide, hands-down, the best quilting cotton to use for sewing apparel. (And I already knew this!) Lately, the trend has been to use apparel fabrics for garment sewing and leave quilting cotton for quilts and other projects. No need here – AGF woven cotton has great drape, feels amazing and behaves beautifully in garment projects.

Sewing Pattern: This is the Primrose Anne pdf pattern from Candian pattern designer Pollywoggles Patterns. I sewed her kids’ robe pattern earlier this year and was so impressed with the instructions that I asked to use this pattern when AGF emailed about their tour. (Thankfully Heidi said yes!)

I think my favorite part of the dress is the back bow and clever strap construction. Close second, though, are the tiered bottom ruffles – which I think match the spirit of Katarina Roccella’s fabric – and look so pretty on the girls. The minute they put the dresses on you could see they felt great in them. Lots of twirling to be had! And speaking of ruffles, I was super grateful for the rolled hemming foot (included with my on-loan Janome Skyline S9) when I needed to hem the 7 yards of ruffles per dress!

In fairness to Heidi’s original pattern, I did alter one dress from the intended tea length. My youngest is going through a “maxi dress please mommy, so they can’t see my shoes” phase! The elastic back bodice makes this dress really easy to fit and should allow it to fit the girls longer as well.

I’m getting long-winded, so I’ll end with the giveaway and ask you for your thoughts. (Plus, take a look through the tour links below – so much great inspiration and options for boys as well!)

What your thoughts are on the fabrics and dresses? How do you approach your garment projects? And have you ever been in a hot air balloon?

Tour Schedule

Monday

I Married Superman

Tuesday

Coffee and ThreadHandmade Frenzy

Wednesday

Sunflower SeamsHandmade Boy

Thursday

Thread Riding HoodPear Berry Lane

Friday

Ammon LaneSew and Tell Project

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tamara Kate: Frolic Fabric Collection

2017 May 25

This past Monday was a lovely warm Canadian holiday, perfect for a trip to the park. The girls and I explored a new area nearby and had a great time taking photos of Frolic – Tamara Kate’s brand new collection for Michael Miller Fabrics. (Best fabric line name ever! Love it!)

Michael Miller Fabrics provided these knit Tamara Kate “Frolic” prints for me to play with. My opinions are always my own. Thank you for reading!

I am fortunate to know Tamara personally. (She’s Canadian too!) I’ve enjoyed meeting and working with her several times. Her fabric collections are filled with bright gorgeous designs, on-trend animals and pretty water-coloury florals. She’s a fantastic quilter and lovely and fun to hang out with in real life too!

Michael Miller Fabrics produced 8 knits along with the quilting cottons for this new collection. (Apparel fabrics, woot-woot!)  Great for easy summer sewing, and a first for Tamara’s designs. My favorite kids’ handkerchief-hem Banyan tunic always turns out great. It’s comfortable and looks stylish too. The girls chose the “Frolicking” print in Berry and Royal Blue knits.

By way of a recommendation, if you ever get the chance to work with Michael Miller knits – they are my favorite! I found them when I started sewing knits a few years ago and can’t say enough good. The stretch and recovery are fantastic, they are simple to sew (without many of the usual issues you can get with knits) and they wear really well.

I was curious and did a test to see if they shrink during pre-wash and dry. My 4″ test square was only about 1/8″ shorter afterward. And I love that there wasn’t a need to press the fabric before cutting out my pattern pieces. These shirts are truly wash-and-wear.

The Tamara Kate Frolic collection will be shipping to stores on June 15th, 2017. Ask for it at your local shop! To find more Frolic inspiration visit Tamara Kate to find all of the Frolic Fabric Tour posts as they are released.

I’ve got another Frolic project to share with you soon. If you’d like, follow along to get sneak peeks on Instagram.

What is your favorite knit sewing pattern?

P.S. I love finding great scrappy knit projects and the girls’ headbands were easy to make with my offcuts. I used this knot headband tutorial from girl.inspired. They literally took about 10 minutes each with my serger!

P.P.S. Did you see the cute sizing tags? I made them with my on-loan Janome Skyline S9 - the little clothesline is perfect!

Thanks for visiting, see you again soon! ~ Sherri

A Finished Quilt!

2017 May 11

Hey there! It’s been so long, how are you doing? I’m ok, still doing my best to recover from whatever it is that’s got me down. In the meantime, I’ve got a long-finished project to show you. Thankfully there are tons of these in the wings – just gotta get the energy to write about them!

I finished this quilt top almost exactly two years ago, June 2015. Backed, quilted and bound it early this year and photographed it in February. Sounds like May is a good time to write about it then?!

You can read about the process I took to make the top in this post entitled “How Not to Make a Quilt” – for realz – that’s the truth! Back when I wasn’t a quilter, it seemed daunting. After my 2 years more experience it took very little time to finish it up and now it’s a kids cuddly lap size at about 44″ square.

It is quilted using the dual feed foot on my on-loan Janome Skyline S9 with diagonal lines in robbins egg blue with navy thread in the bobbin. I just aimed the machine at the next corner in line and went for it. Each square is about 3 1/2″ square finished, so it was a nice easy finish. I also used basting spray for the first time, love it!

The backing fabric is a gorgeous border print from Sarah Watson’s collection with Cloud 9 Fabrics called “Biology”. The quilt top is made from a generous amount of Cotton and Steel fabrics (from when they first took over the fabric world, lol) with a few other gorgeous prints sprinkled in.

There’s actually a label this time! Stitched in shaky blanket stitches that I was too lazy to redo, or maybe just felt like leaving it to show that I don’t fix everything before it’s posted. Found in a Missouri Star Quilt Company post lately…

Finished is better than perfect!

The colours in this are so bright and cheery. It gets used a lot even if it does clash with my red living room furniture. Quilt top fabrics are a Monthly Sparks bundle I put together for Fabric Spark two years ago, the backing was ordered from them as well. Binding is from a Solids Club subscription with Sew Sisters Quilt Shop. Both are lovely sponsors of this blog and Canadian online shops.

As an aside, I just realized that I’ve replaced photos of “quilt on a barn” with photos of “quilt on an abandoned building”. #citygirl #lol

How to Quilt on an Embroidery Machine

2017 April 11

Turns out there are four ways to quilt something – by hand, on your home machine, with a long arm machine or on your embroidery machine. Guess which one I’m going to talk about today?! (#spoileralert Check the title!)

When I was loaned the Janome Skyline S9 combination sewing and embroidery machine last year, I was excited to see a page in the embroidery designs called “Quilting Designs”. Fast forward to now, and I’ve finally managed to use them!

Here’s a little tutorial so you can do it too!

I’m quilting an Easter throw pillow for this project. You can find the instructions for the traditionally pieced 12″ block here: Spring Bunny quilt block.

This post is sponsored by Janome Canada. The Skyline S9, AcuDesign app and iPad Mini have been loaned to me as part of their Artisan program.

1) Prep your project as you would normally for quilting, with batting and backing. Since the backing won’t show on this throw pillow, I used some inexpensive broadcloth in place of a better quality fabric.

2) Use a removable fabric pen to mark the areas to be quilted. I chose to mark out four equal 6″ squares for my throw pillow.

3) Choose a hoop and a design to embroider. I chose the first design in the Quilting Designs folder – the center reminds me of a kite – perfect for spring! There are 12 quilting designs included with the Skyline S9 machine. You will also need to choose a hoop size that will accommodate your quilting. In my case, the largest RE20a hoop worked well.

4) Set up the machine. You will need to thread the machine, attach Embroidery Foot P and choose a needle. I used a blue tipped Janome needle and regular Gutermann thread in both the needle and bobbin.

5) Size the design. You can do this on the machine, or send it over wi-fi or USB key to the AcuDesign app – available for purchase and downloadable to Apple devices. Use the sizing feature to re-size the file as needed. I wanted the quilting to be square, and just smaller than 6″. When finished, send the file back directly to the embroidery machine.

6) Hoop your project. I found that the thin batting I used fit in the hoop along with the pillow front and backing. Be careful not to overstress the hoop.

7) Position the file. I used the free Acusetter app (downloadable to Apple devices) to position my file. First, receive the file to the Acusetter app. It will lead you to photograph and line up the hoop. Then position, angle and scale your file as needed and send it back to the machine.

8) Place your hoop in the machine and start quilting! (Here’s a fun Instagram video of the machine working.)

9) Repeat the steps to embroider the other areas of your project. I took time to mirror the image for each of the 3 remaining corners of my pillow using the Skyline S9 embroidery editing mode. This way they look like one cohesive quilt design.

Finish your project as desired!

I love this feature on the Skyline S9 machine, it makes quilting very quick and easy. Plus, my pillows look super professional, and it only took about 37 minutes of total embroidery time!

This week, I’ll also be posting a tutorial including how I used the quilt bar and dual feed feet to finish the front and how to turn any 12″ quilt block into a throw pillow. See you again soon!

Let me know what you thought of this tutorial. Was it helpful? How do you usually quilt your projects?

Spring Bunny Quilt Block

2017 April 11

I am overwhelmed by the amazing comments and emails in response to my last post! Thank you, thank you! It reminds me just how much I am not in my own sewing bubble, and how the DIY community is so lovely and supports it’s people so well. I already feel more energized and excited to begin this new way of thinking and writing along with you.

In the works over the past month or so I’ve written instructions for a Bunny Quilt Block! Cute, cute for Easter, or any spring project. But of course, my mind also thinks it would be perfect to use in a baby quilt – if I only had the patience (#notaquilter) and someone with a baby that needed a quilt!

So I’m popping in today with the block instructions for you. Plus, to let you know I’ll be posting about how I quilted it (on my Janome embroidery machine!) and also with a quick tutorial on how to turn any 12″ block into an 18″ throw pillow. **Update: Find out How to Quilt on an Embroidery Machine.**

Click here to find out how to sew a 12″ Finished Bunny Quilt Block!

 

Where I’ve Been and Where Things are Going.

2017 April 10

Can NOT even believe the last time I wrote here was halfway through March, and now it is already into April and almost Easter. I’ve spent a lot of time on the couch thinking the last few weeks was due to as-yet undiagnosed vertigo and tiredness that doesn’t seem to want to leave. Though I’ve tried (valiantly, even) to send it on its way!

It’s been a battle of my mind as much as my body since I hate not being able to “do”. Despite my lack of ability to sit for long periods of time, it has been a good time to reflect. Things that were happening in the background of my life became a lot more visible and important.

Short story – I think I am finally ready to try to slow down and remember why I started blogging in the first place!

Long story – If you’ve been following this blog for a long time (THANK YOU so much!) you’ve probably noticed the content has changed over the past year or so.

Last year I found I was having trouble keeping up – my self-imposed deadlines loomed and I constantly fell behind. Instead of creating, I spent my time worrying. New things like speaking at conferences took a huge toll on my mind. Anxiety set in and my body started to rebel. Simple tasks felt like huge mountains. And yet, I still imposed crazy deadlines and knocked myself down each time I “failed”.

So I’ve decided (with my husband’s help) that this year I will focus differently. I want to start by taking some of the time spent worrying or working and use it to play with the kids, plan and make healthier meals, clean the house better, finish my quilt tops and sew the projects I have planned that I can’t ever seem to get to. (Some of them have been waiting for years!)

I’m going to try to ignore the impulse to “not miss” an opportunity I could take due to the unknown “good thing” it could do for my business. I’ve started changing my diet to be healthier and trying (again) to add in some exercise.

I started this blog to share my love of sewing and learned along the way that my passion is to help people learn to love sewing. Unfortunately, along the way, I’ve let myself become pressured into making it about gaining readers and doing “that thing” that will grow the blog. It’s exhausting! Plus, I’ve learned I’m not very good at self-promotion (it always feels funny) and that doesn’t help when you need social media promotion to grow.

I will be slowing down. Writing here needs to take a bit of a backseat to other life things right now. I need to detox from the “pressure to post” and remember how it feels to love doing it again.

I will still be blogging though! In fact, I’ve been asked to join some newly-releasing fabric tours, so they are already planned and booked. I’m still working with Janome and have exciting things coming up! Plus I have long-term projects with other people that I really want to finish and patterns I’d still like to release. And, of course, I want to show you my girls’ Easter Dresses! (Still gotta work on those… eeep!)

I will still be teaching workshops. It is refreshing to teach and recharges my love of sewing, plus I think it’s good for me to get out of my house! I’m in the middle of this 4-week series and it’s been so enjoyable to talk with like-minded people.

Thank YOU! I am and have always been amazed at the growth of this blog. I am so, so grateful for each person who comes by and spends time here. I love comments and questions. I love coming up with fun tutorials and projects. This blog could not go on without you and your encouragement.

This summer marks 5 Years in this space! It feels like a good milestone to take time to reset and make sure it stays true to my original intentions.

P.S. I recently re-read this post I wrote 2 years ago with practical suggestions I hope to start up again.

P.P.S. These photos are from our day yesterday. My husband had a work project to finish up and so the kids and I went out. First a trip to Ikea, where I discovered the play area was closing early. Thankfully, the kids agreed that “texting funny photos to daddy” would make shopping more fun. It was so nice to be outside, that we stopped by the lake for dinner and had our first trip to a playground this year. Note to self: Must do this more often!

P.P.P.S. The youngest declared her socks “look cool” this way. Her decision, not mine or her sisters – as usual! Love it!

One more photo from church yesterday morning. They’re getting so big!

March Break Madness, Winners and Easter

2017 March 17

Hi there, how is your week going? We’ve had a “week off” for March Break, no school for the kids, and the usual juggling and scrambling for my husband and I!

Lots going on (including these adorable sock bunnies!) and in the middle of it all, I decided to get a migraine for the first time in years. So… my wonderful husband took over Wednesday, and I got some rest Thursday, and now I’m trying to ramp up again slowly and still play catch-up. It’s so nice to have help at home and so good to have older kids that can play on their own. (And draw me “get well” cards and get me water and pillows – they’re so cute!) I’ve been well taken care of.

So, today you get a random mash-up of what’s going on around here…

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner! I emailed the latest winners this morning, one who gets a Fat Quarter Skirt Kit and the other three lucky ladies that get to play with the pattern. You can check out who won in the giveaway post.

I managed to finish up the Reversible Fat Quarter skirt I cut out last week. And finish photos for another #FQSinspiration tutorial on how to add Patch Pockets to a skirt. Hopefully, I can write and post it this coming week – the girls were fighting over who would do the photo-shoot, so you know it’s a good one! Plus I’m preparing for my workshop – there are still a couple more spaces if you want to snatch one up!

Also, it’s apparently only one month until Easter  – so the usual (and all important) new dresses for the girls are in the works. As they get older, it’s getting trickier to sew for them. They have lots more to say about how things should look! I love designing their dresses – but if all the hard work doesn’t get worn it’s not worth it. So… they get their say, and I try to work out a compromise – ie. where the fabrics match as best as my stash and I can work out!

This year my youngest is on a big maxi-dress kick and we are going ahead with a “re-make” of my second favorite dress ever – this Annabelle for my oldest – only with RED! And I mean that in a good way. Many thanks to the Elizabeth Olwen fabric I picked up at Jo-Ann Fabric for incorporating turquoise so I can match it up with this gorgeous Henley Studio yardage from my sponsor Fabric Spark. I’ve had both sitting in my stash for far too long. (P.S. My most favorite dress make ever is this yellow one!)

The oldest is still into florals – big time! (Thus the large-scale florals… #seewhatIdidthere LOL) She wants her dress from fabrics she chose at Country Clothesline during last spring’s Creativ Festival and I’m so excited to finally put them together. They’ll match beautifully with this lace-edge fabric for an underskirt, if I can pull it off with the sample pieces I have. She wants a repeat of last year’s epic tulle extravaganza, thankfully the included “minus the tulle” pattern version!

It’s a little sad the girls won’t match this year – but at least they will still wear what I’m sewing. So #winwin all around I’d say!

What are you up to right now? Hope you have a great weekend planned!

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