Thursday, December 16, 2010

It's Just Charming!

Juicy Couture, the design house that made track suits chic, carries all sorts of unique and colorful charms that speak to lifestyles, hobbies and frankly a love of fashion and passion for Juicy. But it wasn’t difficult for us to pick out our favorite. Their little pink sewing machine ($58) is a must-have trinket that no sewing enthusiast can resist. It’s sweetly detailed with a rhinestone-encrusted hand wheel, a spool of thread and even a miniature plug. Can you say, Christmas gift? Visit a Juicy Couture Boutique near you, or log on to www.juicycouture.com and click on “Charms.” ~Amelia Johanson, Associate Editor

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The White Issue: A Teaser Preview

You'll need to put Issue #134 on your must-have list! The January/February 2011 edition of Sew Beautiful, is our celebration all things wonderfully WHITE. Newsstand sale date is 1/4/11, and subscriber copies should start mailing out within the next few weeks. Keep your eyes out for this amazing issue - it will be worth the wait.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Apologies and a Christmas giveaway!

Hello friends, and please accept our apology for the an extended hiatus on the SB blog! We have such a small full-time staff that in the wake of our super-busy schedules getting Christmas and January issues out on time, we've let the blog fall by the wayside. We do fully intend to revive it as soon as we can dedicate some time to developing some new content for you! And submissions for future posts are ALWAYS saved, so feel free to send them to blog@sewbeautifulmag.com.

In the meantime, we just posted a new Christmas embroidery giveaway contest on our Facebook page that we hope you'll enter! We're giving away TWO packages, each of which includes: a copy of our Retro Christmas Stitchin' machine embroidery CD; a copy of our new Craft E-Pad; a Sewline Mechanical Fabric Pencil; a blank floursack towel with red trim; a blank linen towel with dotted trim; and a package of John James Sharps, size 8. Retail value is over $50! To enter, visit our Facebook page immediately, as this giveaway ends tomorrow, Friday, December 3rd at 12:00 p.m. CST.

Thanks for your continued support, it means the world to us!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Celebrate Halloween with Sew Beautiful!

Happy Halloween from the staff at Sew Beautiful! It's that time of year, and whether you're aiming for spooky or sweet, we have lots of ideas for you to create your own holiday magic. This autumn, we celebrated the release of our new vintage-inspired Halloween Stitchin' machine embroidery CD, complete with 20 multi-format designs (eight 4x4 words or phrases and twelve picture designs in both 4x4 and 5x7 sizes). You can snag one for $40.00 in our online store.

For some ideas on how to use these fun new designs, we featured a spread of projects in Issue #132, including a cute embellished pennant (templates available on the pullout centerfold of that issue), a custom treat tote (instructions and templates also on the pullout centerfold), and simple embellished linens (linen blanks available in our online store). Once you have your Halloween Stitchin' disc in hand, all you need is some ribbon, rickrack, buttons and felt baubles to get creative.

TIP: Don't have the time or patience to sew on all that trim? We are fans of using products like Steam-a-Seam 2 and Fabri-Tac glue when in a pinch! Or use our old favorite, Roxanne's Glue-Baste-It - you can tack it in place now, and sew it later for a permanent finish.


In Issue #132, we also shared some easy costume ideas from designers Audra Kennedy, Kari Mecca and Sis Hutchison that would be perfect for trick-or-treating, or even just playing dress-up.


The top three costumes pictured above are made using our blank skirted bubbles and embellished with sewn-on chiffon ruffle tutus and Whimsy Stick trims, while the bottom tutu is easily made with strips of tulle netting and elastic. Easy instructions for both tutu styles are available in Issue #132; information on the "Not-so-scary Witch" costume is available on our website.

For even more Halloween ideas, we referred back to our Pumpkin Parade feature in Issue #126, September/October 2009. Appropriate for both Halloween and autumn alike, free downloadable instructions are available in the Freebies section of our website for these smocked jack-o-lanterns, embroidered tea towel, stuffed pumpkins and pumpkin pillows.

We hope you feel inspired to create a few last minute Halloween projects with these easy ideas! Sew on, sew well, and Sew Beautiful.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Our Reversible Bonnet Tutorial at Sew, Mama, Sew!

Our friends at Sew, Mama, Sew! are celebrating two weeks of Baby Shower goodness, and we are thrilled that they asked us to be a part of it! Head on over for a free tutorial on this super-sweet reversible baby bonnet, courtesy of our Martha Pullen Company president Kathy MacMakin. Be sure to enter to win a print from Belle & Boo while you're there.

We have also prepared bonnet kits for you in both red and green, available in our online store for just $8.00 each. Grab one or two to make your own cute bonnets! They're the perfect go-to baby gift.

Amelia's Silver Lace Dress

"In September, I had the good fortune of being invited to the Kent State University Museum in celebration of its 25th anniversary – the dress code – “Cocktail with a Touch of Silver.” I had been working over the summer on an early ‘50s-inspired dress I had cut from a steel gray stretch suiting; I hadn’t put in the zipper, tacked the lining or the hem. With this special occasion looming, I knew just how I was going to finish my dress. Martha Pullen Company had purchased all that remained of silver-dipped lace edging from Jennifer Osner. (Kathy Barnard and I had snatched it up at the Vegas market a few years back.)

"This vintage trim turned out to be the perfect feminine frill to dress up my fitted silhouette and mannish fabric. I outlined the neck, bust and waist lines of the dress with the ½” edging and added two rows of the 1” edging to the hem. The heading of the lace is beautifully woven in the silver threads, so to attach it, I simply straight machine stitched down the center with a metallic Sulky thread (color #142).

You can still purchase the lace (limited availability) at www.sewbeautifulmag.com; click “Shop our Products, and then “Issue #132). The dress pattern is a discontinued Vogue (#9668), but a Google search reveals that there are some copies still out there. (Great pattern, by the way.) And I did do a little research on cleaning the silver lace. Chestofbooks.com has a section from Henley’s Twentieth Century Formulas Recipes Processes Encyclopedia by Norman W. Henley and others, which offers tips ranging from the use of very fine alabaster power to curdled milk."

– Amelia Johanson, Associate Editor, SB

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Portobello Painted Gown

Our friend Leslie Roe of Rosebasket has offered to share the most beautiful painted antique gown with us. We hope you enjoy her story about this amazing piece of heirloom history!

"Portobello Market, the bustling antiques market on Portobello Road in London, is always a treasure trove for collectors of all kinds. The treasures I look for in the small crowded shops or from a vendor on the street are christening gowns, baby bonnets, and toddler dresses. I touch the materials of the vintage clothes—batiste, silk, and exquisite laces—and am amazed at the intricate work I see, whether of embroidery, or tucks, or lace, and inspired by creative elements in design. When I visited in early July, I had the privilege of seeing three gowns in Julia Craig’s personal collection, brought for me not to purchase but to view and enjoy. Julia purchased this one ten years ago, with no provenance, but she dates it around 1870, because of the style of the gown and the dating of the Maltese bobbin lace."



"I found it so interesting, because of the center panel of ecru silk on the bodice and skirt, on which were painted lovely roses, reminiscent of Redoute. The Maltese lace borders the center silk panel from the neckline to the hem as well as at the waist, forms the sleeves, and edges the neckline. Aside from the silk in the front panel, the gown is cotton."


"Nineteen tucks detail the hem of the front skirt, which is attached to the bodice with the tiniest gathers."


"With the gown were darling bootees, also with roses hand-painted on the silk. Julia has never seen another gown like it. It is a treasure that I take pleasure in sharing with you!"

Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful piece with us, Leslie! -SB

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Fancy Tiger Crafts - Denver, CO

In the newest issue of Sew Beautiful (#132), we took you inside a fabulous Atlanta-based sewing lounge, Whipstitch. Today, we're taking you across the country to another unique hotspot for the sewing and crafting community – Fancy Tiger in Denver, Colorado.

Ironically, two members of our staff visited Fancy Tiger while on separate trips to Denver over this past summer, and both returned raving about what a cool place it was. We've assembled a handful of pictures from the shop (which also offers many classes and community events) to take you there on a virtual trip.

Located in the Baker neighborhood, the oldest community in Denver, Fancy Tiger is a DIY boutique that showcases designer fabrics, patterns, sewing and craft supplies, beautiful yarns, and more. It also hosts a full calendar of fun and interesting industry events and boasts a diverse class schedule.





We hope you enjoyed our quick peek into this great sewing spot! Keep up with the happenings at Fancy Tiger Crafts on their blog and get a full class schedule on their website.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sensational Sweater Makeovers from Issue #132: A Video Tutorial


In our September/October Issue #132, the Sew Beautiful staff shared an assortment of ideas for embellishing store-bought sweaters. Two of our favorites from editor Kathy Barnard are pictured here: a cream-colored cardigan with a textured black chiffon trim...

...and a black bolero sweater featuring an interesting pleated ribbon technique.

Kathy shares a quick how-to on each of these techniques in the following 2-part video. Check it out to learn more!





We hope you have fun getting creative with your sweaters using these cool handmade trims. Check out SB Issue #132 for even more embellishment ideas!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Blog Tour Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations to Denise Norris, who has won our giveaway contest!
Included in the prize package is:
Denise, be on the lookout for an email from us! Thank you so much to everyone who entered. If you are interested in purchasing the supplies needed to create the camisole featured in the blog tour, we have assembled supply lists for your convenience. Check it out on our website here!

We appreciate every last one of you and know that we could not continue to publish SB without your support. We hope you are enjoying our first ever blog tour. If you're just joining us, visit our blog tour landing page for more information and to see all of the videos.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Whimsy Week Giveaway Winners!

We hope you enjoyed Whimsy Week here at the Sew Beautiful blog, where we celebrated the release of Kari Mecca's new book, More Sewing with Whimsy! As most of you know, we held entries for different giveaways every day last week. Today, we are announcing the winners!

Autographed Copy of More Sewing with Whimsy
Amanda White and Annie Catlette

Sassafrass Dress Kit
Tamara (sanch5 at frontiernet dot net)

Grab Bag of Ribbons
Ammie Cain and Britni Tucker

Sewing with Whimsy DVD
Belinda Karls-Nace and Pam Hodnett

Whimsy Sticks Combo Set
Karen (KJRum at aol dot com), Kristen B. and RebeccaM

Congratulations to all! Be on the lookout for an email from us so that we can get your mailing address and get your prizes to you right away.

Thanks to everyone for playing and participating in Whimsy Week. We had a great time with you and we hope you enjoyed our week of whimsical goodies. And don't forget – you can grab your very own copy of More Sewing with Whimsy in our online store!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Whimsy Week Day 5 - Whimsy Sticks: How-to and a Giveaway!

Welcome to Day 5 of Whimsy Week, where we are celebrating the release of designer Kari Mecca's newest book, More Sewing with Whimsy! Visit the rest of our posts from this week as we have shared behind-the-scenes videos, excerpts and previews of the book, a special interview with Kari, and best of all - GREAT giveaway opportunities every day! We will announce a selection of different special "Whimsy" prizes each day this week. Reply to the posts of the giveaway(s) you would like to win and we will announce the winners next Monday, August 16, 2010.
Today's giveaway is 3 combo sets of Kari Mecca's Whimsy Sticks! Head to the end of this post for more information and to enter. Kari Mecca's latest innovative invention, these creative tools are used to make precise loops that are easily transformed into an endless variety of trims & flowers! This simple technique of wrapping ribbons and trims around these "sticks" will have you creating mounds of embellishments for your favorite projects in no time. Made of high quality acrylic, each Whimsy Stick is a different width for varying sizes of flowers and trims.

Be sure to check in with Kari on her blog this week as well, where she is celebrating Whimsy Week with even more sneak peaks and free downloads. Check out her Tips & Tricks and inspirational photo collection!

On this last day of Whimsy Week, we have a great video that we shot at the July School of Art Fashion in which Kari explains how to use a Whimsy Stick to our editor, Kathy Barnard. Tune in to learn more about these cool tools!



Today's giveaway is 3 combo sets of Kari Mecca's Whimsy Sticks! To enter, reply below with your name and email address. We will announce the winner of this and the rest of our Whimsy Week giveaway prizes next Monday, August 16th. Entries will remain open until then!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Whimsy Week Day 4 - Mitered Spaghetti Leaves Tutorial (and a Giveaway!)

Welcome to Day 4 of Whimsy Week, where we are celebrating the release of designer Kari Mecca's newest book, More Sewing with Whimsy! Join us every day this week as we share behind-the-scenes videos, excerpts and previews of the book, a special interview with Kari, and best of all - GREAT giveaway opportunities every day! We will announce a selection of different special "Whimsy" prizes each day this week. Reply to the posts of the giveaway(s) you would like to win and we will announce the winners next Monday, August 16, 2010.

Today's giveaway is 2 copies of Kari Mecca's first DVD, Sewing with Whimsy! Head to the end of this post for more information and to enter. The Sewing with Whimsy DVD brings all the benefits of Kari’s sought-after teaching style to your sewing room. You’ll be able to watch and listen as Kari shows you how to duplicate the trims and fabric techniques that consistently put her garments on the cover of Sew Beautiful magazine and make her a popular teacher at the Martha Pullen School of Art Fashion. Step-by-step instructions come alive through Kari’s voice and hands as rickrack and ribbon flowers bud and blossom before your eyes. You’ll learn Kari’s secrets for contrasting hembands, mitered and layered trims, using your sewing machine’s ruffler foot for gathering and adding the sparkle of beads. Kari’s sewing artistry abounds from beginning to end, and her fanciful designs will leave you completely enchanted!

Be sure to check in with Kari on her blog this week as well, where she is celebrating Whimsy Week with even more sneak peaks and free downloads. Check out her Tips & Tricks and inspirational photo collection!
Today on Whimsy Week, we have a fun technique to share with you from More Sewing with Whimsy as featured on one of Kari's favorite new patterns, "Flirty Girl" (pictured above) – how to make little leaves with lace out by mitering spaghetti bias! You'll find this technique plus many more in the invaluable "Trims & Techniques" section of More Sewing with Whimsy.


Mitered Spaghetti Leaves
Made from bits of spaghetti bias and lace, these cute little openwork leaves add that special touch that says it's an original.


  1. Cut a piece of spaghetti three times longer than finished leaf size. With right sides together, fold spaghetti in half. Hand tack edges 1/8" from fold.
  2. Press open forming point. Overlapping ends, angle to make leaf curve up. Hand tack to hold.
  3. Place lace behind leaf and curve to fit. Hand sew in place and saturate entire leaf in fray stop glue. Once dry, trim lace slightly shorter than leaf edge.
  4. Hand sew in place as desired.

For more great embellishment ideas, check out Kari's new book, More Sewing with Whimsy!

Today's giveaway is 2 copies of Kari Mecca's first DVD, Sewing with Whimsy! To enter, reply below with your name and email address. We will announce the winner of this and the rest of our Whimsy Week giveaway prizes next Monday, August 16th. Entries will remain open until then!

Check back every day this week for more fun Whimsy Week posts and giveaways!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Whimsy Week Day 3 – Behind the Scenes at the Photoshoot (plus another great GIVEAWAY!)

Welcome to Day 3 of Whimsy Week, where we are celebrating the release of designer Kari Mecca's newest book, More Sewing with Whimsy! Join us every day this week as we share behind-the-scenes videos, excerpts and previews of the book, a special interview with Kari, and best of all - GREAT giveaway opportunities every day! We will announce a selection of different special "Whimsy" prizes each day this week. Reply to the posts of the giveaway(s) you would like to win and we will announce the winners next Monday, August 16, 2010.

Today's giveaway is 2 grab bags of ribbon trims from Kari Me Away for using with Whimsy Sticks and embellishing your garments from More Sewing with Whimsy! Head to the end of this post for more information and to enter.

Be sure to check in with Kari on her blog this week as well, where she is celebrating Whimsy Week with a variety of sneak peaks and free downloads.

On this third day of Whimsy Week, we have a behind-the-scenes video from the photoshoot for More Sewing with Whimsy. We taped this back in March, when Kari was in town to finish up photography for the book. Jennifer Tarkington of Jennifer & Company Photography does almost all of our photography for Sew Beautiful magazine as well as our other publications at Martha Pullen Company. We hope you enjoy this peek into our photography process!



Today's giveaway 2 grab bags of ribbon trims from Kari Me Away for using with Whimsy Sticks and embellishing your garments from More Sewing with Whimsy! To enter, reply below with your name and email address. We will announce the winner of this and the rest of our Whimsy Week giveaway prizes next Monday, August 16th. Entries will remain open until then!

Check back every day this week for more fun Whimsy Week posts and giveaways!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Whimsy Week Day 2 – An Interview with Kari Mecca (plus another great GIVEAWAY!)

Welcome to Day 2 of Whimsy Week, where we will be celebrating the release of designer Kari Mecca's newest book, More Sewing with Whimsy! Join us every day this week as we share behind-the-scenes videos, excerpts and previews of the book, a special interview with Kari, and best of all - GREAT giveaway opportunities every day! We will announce a selection of different special "Whimsy" prizes each day this week. Reply to the posts of the giveaway(s) you would like to win and we will announce the winners next Monday, August 16, 2010.

Today's giveaway is a complete kit for the Sassafrass dress from More Sewing with Whimsy! (Dress kit makes sizes 2–8; pictured below) Head to the end of this post for more information and to enter.
On this second day of Whimsy Week, we are thrilled to bring you an insider's interview with Kari Mecca, the amazingly talented and creative designer behind More Sewing with Whimsy. Enjoy!


SB: Kari, thanks for taking a few minutes to answer some of our burning questions! We are thrilled to be celebrating the release of your new book, More Sewing with Whimsy. Let's start out with the basics; tell us a little bit about the book.
Kari: A second installment in my Whimsy Series, the book is once again is based on 3 basic patterns and unique embellishing techniques. Each Chapter focuses on a pattern, with 3 to 4 different projects with basic sewing and embellishing changes to create uniquely different projects. I am also happy to introduce my new “Whimsy Sticks” and “Going in Circles” tools. Using these tools, I have developed easy and original ways to make trims, flowers and quick flounces. The patterns included are: a square yoke, a round yoke and bottoms in 4 lengths. What’s really great is that the patterns are very easy to sew and both the square and round yokes are simple pull-over-the-head styles. No need to sew on buttons, buttonholes or plackets.

SB: How does this book differ from your first book Sewing with Whimsy? Tell us a little bit about your favorite features.
Kari: One of the biggest differences is that More Sewing with Whimsy is 1-1/2 times larger, a full 136 color pages! The yoke patterns have both top and dress lengths, the bottoms (pants) are in 4 lengths and there are several pocket styles. But my favorite new features are the “Change It Up” and “Flip Side” views. These are actual samples of projects showing how to make minor changes for yet another look to projects.

SB: From where would you say you get your inspiration for your sewing projects and designs?
Kari: It’s funny you should ask, the first chapter begins with just this question. The answer is really very simple, there is inspiration in everything, you just have to look for it! And remember, it may not be a chilling goosebump kind of a thought, it may just be a small detail that sticks in your mind. I suggest you make a creative file or box to keep clipped pictures, sketched ideas and notes. Then pull out your file or box when planning a new project.

SB: Hand-in-hand with inspiration goes motivation; as creative types, sometimes even though we have plenty of inspiration, we can't seem to motivate ourselves to actually keep creating! How do you combat this struggle?
Kari: Creating is a type of therapy, you have to make time for it because you're worth it! Crazy as it may sound, because I make time, I am happier and more energetic, therefore I can accomplish more! Positive energy is positively energetic!

SB: You have had your business Kari Me Away for quite some time; how did it all start for you?
Kari: I can honestly say I have been “in a business” since middle school! Whatever crafty endeavor I was engrossed in, I had my Mom pedaling to her friends and co-workers. After having kids, I did some custom sewing and then stumbled across smocking stitches in a book. I was hooked. I found a local smocking shop, took classes and found Sew Beautiful magazine. In one of the issues, Martha Pullen had a sewing contest for “The Most Beautiful Clothes in the World”. Well, up for any challenge, I entered and won 1st place for Girls Heirloom Sewing. After that I started contributing articles, started Kari Me Away and began publishing embroidery plates, patterns and books.

SB: Let’s talk favorites. What is your favorite article, pattern and garment from your books?
Kari: It’s hard to pick a single one but here are a few and why they standout for me. Sew Beautiful Article; I would say issue #100, a milestone issue that I was proud to have my pattern Sarah featured on the cover (this was also the first feature with rickrack flowers). As for my patterns; I would have to say Lauren’s Fairy Dress, it’s named for my daughter and because what girl doesn’t love fairies! As for garments in the Whimsy books: Rainbow Sherbet in Sewing with Whimsy – it was the dress that sparked the idea of using a basic pattern to empower sewers to not only create, but be creative. In More Sewing with Whimsy; If I had to pick just one, my favorite outfit is Flirty Girl! The girly flounces, fun print fabric, unique sleeves and “Heirloom Cargo” capris make it an all around winner for me.

SB: More Sewing with Whimsy features new tools called "Whimsy Sticks" and "Going in Circles". What exactly are these and how will it change flower and trim making?
Kari: Whimsy Sticks are a set of tools to make quick and easy looped trims in a variety of sizes. These trims can then be added to collars, hems, yokes, appliqu├ęs and more. You can also use the trim to make an endless variety of flowers and flower centers. Loops and be single or double layer and when paired with pretty ribbons and spaghetti trims, the results are astounding. They are the tool that takes the hand rolled rose to the sewing machine!

The Going in Circles tools are clever and easy circle and scallop drawing tools. Precise, quick and fun to use, you will never have to search the house for a perfect size plate, bowl or glass to trace around. Use to make flounce ruffles, swirl flowers, and scallop hems. Also handy for scrapbooking, school projects and drawing targets on pictures of anyone who uses fabric scissors to cut paper!

SB: What are some of your favorite go-to sewing tools?
Kari: In More Sewing with Whimsy I have actually listed my “Favorite 8” tools. They are: Whimsy Sticks, Going In Circles tools, basting glue, fray stop glue, monofilament thread, beading thread, and a ruffler foot.

SB: With the publication of More Sewing with Whimsy behind you, what's in the works next for Kari Me Away?
Kari: Look for my Bullion Whimsies DVD, appearances on Martha’s Sewing Room for PBS, new Whimsy Tools, new classes, a More Sewing with Whimsy DVD, and new patterns.

SB: What would your advice be for a true beginner of sewing?
Kari: Start with a simple pattern, read the instructions from start to finish before you begin and then “just go for it!” Also try embellishing a readymade item or start by taking a class – it’s always nice to make new friends with similar interests.

SB: Any last words of advice for our readers?
Kari: Simply….Live, Love & Sew!

We hope you enjoyed our interview with Kari! Be sure to check in with Kari on her blog this week as well, where she is celebrating Whimsy Week with a variety of sneak peaks and free downloads. By this Friday, you will have been completely showered in whimsy!

Today's giveaway is one complete kit for the Sassafrass dress in pink from More Sewing with Whimsy (sizes 2–8) to give away! To enter, reply below with your name and email address. We will announce the winner of this and the rest of our Whimsy Week giveaway prizes next Monday, August 16th. Entries will remain open until then!

Check back every day this week for more fun Whimsy Week posts and giveaways!