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, appliqués 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!

Welcome to the SB Blog Tour! Part 2: Pattern Notes


Welcome to Part 2 of our first ever heirloom sewing Blog Tour! If you are just joining the tour, take a peek over at our blog tour landing page for more information on this project. We are introducing the web to heirloom sewing techniques in a whole new way by taking you along with us as we sew this beautiful lacy camisole. This segment demonstrates the simple pattern drafting steps you can take to transform a basic tank-top pattern (our example is from Sleepwear Especially for You) into the pattern pieces you will need to construct this camisole. Kathy Barnard shows you that adjusting a pattern is not nearly as scary as it seems!



Don't forget to enter in our huge Blog Tour giveaway on yesterday's Part 1 post. Click here for more information!
To continue on the blog tour, head over to our website for a list of tour stops. Have fun!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Welcome to Whimsy Week! PLUS: A giveaway every day this week!

Welcome to the kickoff post 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 an autographed copy of More Sewing with Whimsy! We will have 2 winners of this prize. More information can be found at the bottom of this post.


Is it possible that Kari’s second journey to her land of Whimsy could be more magical than the first? (Kari's first Sewing with Whimsy book is available in our online store.) Opening this book’s pages is like lifting the lid of a treasure box! And it is filled to overflowing with flirty flounces, waving bias, spaghetti appliqué and Kari’s own touch of fairy dust – her newly created collection of Whimsy Sticks™. Three chapters focus on fresh new patterns and variations including the classic square yoke, a scooped round yoke with sleeves, and an array of bottoms and pockets. Mostly Made by Me is her inspirational chapter showing you how to wave your own magic wand and apply a touch of whimsy to ready-made clothing and accessories.

We caught up with Kari Mecca during our July School of Art Fashion, and put together a little video montage for you with a "hello" from Kari, some behind the scenes pictures and video clips from the event. Enjoy!



Today we have two autographed copies of More Sewing with Whimsy 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!

Join our Heirloom Blog Tour! Part 1 & a HUGE GIVEAWAY! **Giveaway Closed**

Welcome to our first ever Blog Tour! In this post we will cover Part 1: General information and Terms. Giveaway information is at the bottom of this post. **Note: The giveaway is now closed. Thanks to all who entered and we hope you continue to enjoy the blog tour!**


In Sew Beautiful issue #132, we feature a beautiful heirloom camisole (pictured above) that we recreated from an antique nightgown. In the magazine article, "Vintage Inspiration," we give you basic instructions for constructing it, but we wanted to go one step further and take time out to teach the basic heirloom sewing techniques needed to create such a garment. To do so, we have filmed a series of video classes, and we have paired with 5 other fabulous sewing blogs to help get the word out about heirloom sewing in the form of a Blog Tour. Each of our blog sponsors has graciously offered to host a video class on these different techniques. Thank you to our friends at Sew, Mama, Sew!, CraftyPod, La Sewista, Southern Matriarch, and Quality Time for partnering with us!


Come along with us as we teach you how easy these techniques are! Click here to learn more about our Heirloom Sewing Blog Tour and for links to the rest of the tour stops! We hope you enjoy the videos.

In this post, we will kick off the tour with a brief introduction to heirloom sewing terms and materials, and we will introduce you to the special sewing supplies you need to get started with heirloom techniques. (This class has been broken into 3 parts.)







All of the supplies discussed in the general information videos (with the exception of the sewing machine presser feet; contact your local dealer) are available from our online store at store.marthapullen.com. To celebrate our blog tour and to encourage new and experienced heirloom stitchers alike, we are offering a special Blog Tour discount code worth 25% off of your order at our online store! Discount code is BLOGTOUR and this offer expires October 31, 2010. There is no minimum order required. Applies to regular priced items only; excludes pleaters.

To continue on the blog tour, visit our landing page for links to the rest of our stops! Join us tomorrow for Part 2: Pattern Notes.

And now for the giveaway! Including our blog, each of our tour stops are offering a giveaway worth over $160. That means 6 chances to win! Included in the prize package is:
  • a complete kit of materials for the camisole through sizes 3X
  • the book from which we drafted our pattern, Sleepwear Especially for You
  • the new issue of SB #132, which includes the camisole instructions and templates
  • a brand new June Tailor Shape 'n Press board
To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment on this post -- be sure to include your name and email address so that we may contact you if you are the winner. Entries will remain open until Thursday, August 19th and the winner will be announced on August 20th, 2010.

Thanks for joining the blog tour and we hope to see you at the rest of our video classes!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Mary Kennedy's Colorful Summer Dress

Reader Jerry Roberts sent us these adorable photos of her granddaughter Mary Kennedy wearing her colorful new summer dress! Jerry used a new pattern, "Irby" from SB designer Sara Norris. Jerry tells us,
I used two coordinating quilter’s cottons and chose to bind the overdress with orange polka dots to enhance that complementary medium turquoise which was the main color of the coordinates. Rather than smock the overdress, I just gathered it along with the underdress and bound them according to pattern instructions. Sara is one of my favorite designers, so I was excited to see this new pattern she has just released!
This is the kind of dress I would have called a "rounder" when I was a little girl - it's perfect for spinning round and round! Visit to purchase either a printed or downloadable pattern for the "Irby" dress in size 2-8. Thanks for sharing with us, Jerry!