Tuesday, October 13, 2009

More Fun with Baby Quilts!

Here is one of my latest small baby quilts. Easy to make and fun to construct. The main idea is the playful animal fabrics in soft pastel fabrics. By choosing pastels you can easily mix either pastel fabrics for a soft feminine quality, or choose bright colorful fabrics to enhance the images and give to a little boy.

The size of this quilt is approximately 30" x 40" so it is not too large and it is quilted with a soft interlining and pastel blue "minky" on the back of the quilt. I purposely kept the quilt simple in design and construction, but used fun, bright colors in all cotton, for easy washing and drying.

Another lovely quilt that I made a few months ago for a baby shower gift is the ABC Quilt in 100% cotton and beautiful bright primary colors. This quilt is much larger, 40" x 60" and is bound around the edges with 1/2" piping in contrasting red fabric.

I also made a pillow to match which is nice if the quilt is used later in a youth bed. This quilt is fully lined in white "Minky" which is extremely soft, durable and totally washable.

A Story Quilt for Baby!

My youngest son asked me if I could make a quilt for a very good friend of his who recently had a baby but it was to be a special quilt for a special little boy. The parents are of Asian background and I thought it would be nice to make a quilt that tells a story. In searching for subject matter, I found a beautiful Japanese cotton panel which I designed the quilt around. The design depicts two rabbits leaping over the moon and there is a story which surrounds this image.

Tsukino Usagi, is a pun -- as it sounds like the Japanese phrase, "tsuki no usagi" which translates to "rabbit of the moon". It is in reference to a Japanese myth that proclaims there is a rabbit on the moon pounding mochi, or rice cakes. There are a few different Japanese and Chinese stories that refer to a rabbit on/from the moon which explains the reason for the pun.

The fabrics are all cotton, and the design was kept simple on purpose so as not to overshadow the main panel design. To add emphasis to the panel, I stitched all around the design in the center to enhance the image. The back of the quilt is lined with a matching blue "minky" -- a super soft fabric that wears well and is totally washable. I made the quilt to fit a crib or youth bed - 40" x 60" or they could also use it as a wall hanging if desired.

By using images and colors that evoke special meaning to the parents and child by connecting their heritage, a gift then becomes more of an heirloom quality piece. I particularly love adding a little story to the quilt as well.

Thank you to my Son for giving me the opportunity to make
this a special gift for your friend. This experience has inspired me to start making more "Story Quilts" for babies.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Keeping Busy!

I Love creating new things. Aside from working on aprons day in and day out, and creating new aprons from fabrics that I haven't used before, my creativity is always kicked up a few notches by new projects, such as these cute shopping bags that I made for my daughter as a belated Christmas gift. We shopped together to find this fabric for some shopping bags she asked me to make for a friend of theirs, at Christmas last year, and since there was so much fabric left over I told her I would make them a set too.

Well, so much for promises.
I tend to get busy with things that need to be done "right away" and the other projects get stuck on the back burner.

So this time when she was visiting in June, I promised I would make them right away. A month late but at last I finished them this week. These are good sized shopping bags with a square bottom, and are fully lined with brown cotton/polyester fabric. I have included a pocket on the outside so you can stick small items in that and a pocket on the inside for sunglasses, business cards, etc.

Depending on how you use these, you could put the straps over your shoulder and carry the bag with you on shopping trips or to the beach for a beach tote. They are fully washable in cold water and line dryable. Size is approximately 14" tall, and 16" wide with a 7" width. I have reinforced the bottom with plastic mesh fabric for stability.

The next project I completed was these cute little wine totes. Made from pressed acrylic felt (two layers bonded together for
durability and strength) these are perfect for a gift or for taking a bottle of wine along to a picnic. The base of the tote holds one bottle securely between two double layers of felt, a strap is fastened to the sides and bottom and forms a handle on the top of the tote which can be opened with velcro The felt also provides a bit of insulation to keep the wine cold and protects the bottle from breakage.

Here's another with a more wine
appropriate color. The fabric on the handle has the names of different wines written on it. I have also included a pocket to hold a wine opener. Essential on a picnic.

Last but not least is my garden project which is finally in bloom. I attempted to plant three tomatoe plants, some basil and parsley in my garden but alas, the gophers developed a taste for my heirloom tomatoes and within two weeks all three plants disappeared.

So not to be deterred, I decided to try planting my tomatoes in containers and placed them on my patio. This time, many weeks later, they are successfully growing and happily producing tomatoes. Here are photos to prove it! Including some peppers and yellow and green beans? I'm so happy. Never thought I'd be happy to plant vegetbles in pots, but its much easier to manage than an actual a"garden"....so much fun.
I can't wait until they ripen~!

Happy Peppers and Green Tomatoes....

Fried Green Tomatoes anyone?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

New Baby in the Family

Wow---how time flies! Can't believe I have neglected my blogs for so long. I love writing but it seems my life has been pretty hectic for the past month, ever since the baby shower, and my new and first Grand-daughter, beautiful little Gabriella, came into the world on June 11th, bright eyed and so beautiful It has pretty much consumed our lives. Here she is at only five days old!

I had a full house of company for two weeks or so as well, so please excuse my absence. I have completed several new sewing projects over the past month in addition to all the family events and I will be posting those in the next week. Stay tuned for new projects such as the Mom's Nursing Apron, and new baby projects (a new quilt, bib and hat).

Now that I have a new model for my products! I am hoping her Mommy won't mind me borrowing her for that and spoiling her with new hand made items every now and then.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

My Labels Arrived!

Finally they arrived! In less than two weeks from final "ok" my labels arrived last week. I opened the box with eager anticipation. Each and every one was absolutely flawless, and they are everything I wanted and more. I could not wait to start sewing them into my products.

This label is sewn into the side seam of an apron shown here, just under the waist straps. The label was sewn beautifully, showing all the fine details in the letters as well as the tiny dots of paint on the palette. It is hard to imagine how they can sew something with such fine detail on such a tiny label, SO perfectly, but they did it and they look wonderful. They are just right, not too large and not too small. The color is slightly off-white so that the colors stand out very well against the background and yet do not clash with the colors of my products.

This is another apron in the Corazones Heart pattern. Such a brightly colored fabric, the label could have gotten lost on the pattern but by sewing it into the side seam it is more visible.

Placement is pretty important when sewing your labels into your merchandise. You want it to be visible but not detract from the garment.

Needless to say, I am thrilled with the labels and have none other than Lisa Rosenberg from Clothing Labels 4U to thank, again. These are awesome! They add the finishing touch to an already great product and one that I am hopeful will become known by the logo and the name. As much as I hesitated going forth into this project, I am so glad I did and encourage anyone who is contemplating doing it, don't wait as long as I did. But better late than never.

Monday, May 11, 2009

To Label or Not to Label

Does clothing make the woman? Do labels make the clothing? No doubt, labels are important. Some people purchase items ONLY because of the label. But, does a label identify a designer or the clothing? How important is it for me to even have a label? That is a question I asked myself for a long time since I began Sew Artsy Creations last year. Having woven labels made to sew into clothing is a big investment of capital for a small start-up business. In the beginning, I didn't know where my business would take me and I decided that defining my name, and creating an identity for my product and business, though very important, was an ever growing process which needed time and much thought. I also had to get to a point where I felt confident that my products were going to be well liked and accepted in the marketplace--something every artist wants, no matter what the product. I had already created a hang-tag of my own which identified my business name but a sewn-in label just seemed like the next step.

So, once I decided to create a label, decided on my business name, designed a business card and product hang tags for my products, I also decided I wanted to invest in woven labels to sew into my products. It seemed like a fairly simple thing -- to have my label attached to my products so that whoever buys my product will know that this little article of clothing was created by someone who cared enough to give it a name---so to speak. However, this turned out to be not such a simple and easy thing to do, at least it wasn't for me. To me it was like developing another whole side of my personality, or trying to determine my "identity", not for me - but for my products. Obviously I was making it much more difficult than it needed to be--of course that is an observation I can make now, in hindsight.

First, I had to decide on a design or logo based on my business name, and whether or not I wanted to design it or have someone else do it. My problem for months was not whether someone else should do it, but what did I want on the label? What was my logo to be? I had no clue. I even went through hours of remorse over my business name!! I spent countless hours going over websites looking at other peoples labels and coming up clueless as to what I wanted for me. Then, one day a friend suggested an idea of using a palette and a needle and thread....It seemed so obvious....Sew Artsy...right? Well I wasn't so sure of that, but then I asked my son, who is very creative, and he came up with almost exactly the same idea, so I decided that perhaps my friends and family were more perceptive than me. Maybe I was just too close to the idea to make it simple. I tended to over complicate things by thinking TOO much...

Anyway that is how I came to design my logo for my label with the help of my friend Terry Albert, who is a fabulous artist in her own right and could easily have designed my label, and my Son, who is also a fantastically creative soul with his own business, Pre-Fab-Pets, who also could have designed a label for me, (and he almost did by sketching down a few ideas). Well, it was enough to get me motivated, and I came home and spent some time with pencil and paper drawing up ideas and playing with fonts, and eventually came up with my label's design.

Here is the first sketch:

My next step was to find a label company I could trust to do a good job--since I was a total novice in this area, I went on line to search. I found my first label manufacturer and started to communicate with them and soon found out (or not so soon) that knowing what I wanted and communicating my ideas to them was a different story. They were mis-interpreting almost everything I wanted in my design and the colors were all wrong, and too many weeks went by of wasted effort. Luckily it did not cost me anything except time. Several weeks or a month to be exact. So I resumed my search. I had little to go on for information because I knew no one in the clothing business, but I trusted my instincts once more.

I decided to check for references and testimonials on websites. These were very important. That is how I came to discover a company in Orlando, Florida, called Clothing Labels 4U. Clothing Labels 4U is owned by Lisa Rosenberg and she has been in business for about ten years with a very impressive list of clients. Their website was extremely well done, organized and very easy to understand. I was impressed with the testimonials from satisfied customers and their gallery of fabulous labels which date back many years was very exciting and inspiring. This to me says a lot. If the customers are happy and the end products are beautiful, that indicates a deep desire on the part of the business to work with the people. Two things I expect in my own business is good service and a great product -- no, a fantastic product!

Lisa mailed me a package of samples right away and I talked to her on the phone. The first time we spoke I knew there was a definite connection. She was right on point with what I needed and definite that she could produce a product I would be happy with. Her personality is one of a person who has patience and experience in dealing with first time customers who don't know anything about the business -- like me. She had an easy way of explaining and helped to walk me through the process with ease. Within the first week I had my first sewn label to review. It was my decision at that point to change the colors around a bit and it meant waiting another week but as Lisa said "Perfection takes time"....that made total sense to me AND the final sew-out production sample was perfect. See here:

What you are seeing is my label front and back. When completed this label will be folded in half and only show the Sew Artsy creations on the front and by lifting the tag, you'll see the care instructions. We are in the "creation" phase as I write this, so this is a very exciting time for me. It feels like I'm giving birth to my business and its products for the first time! In about two weeks I'll be sewing them into my products with any luck. But the hard part for me is done. Now the rest is up
to "Clothing Labels 4U".

Thanks to Lisa and her great team of assistants, I was able to communicate my ideas and needs in a timely and professional manner. They always got back to me immediately and were always available by phone for help or questions. If anyone out there is considering labels for their products I highly recommend Clothing Labels 4U. The one other thing about Lisa's company that is great for the entrepreneur just getting started, there are no set-up fees, low minimums, pricing is very competitive and she now offers woven organic cotton labels and bamboo and hemp. Things that you don't see with everyone. Check out her website and contact them for more information. I will keep you posted when the new labels are in and on the clothes, and a huge THANK YOU to Lisa and the team at Clothing Labels 4U!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Sew Artsy Re-Creations

"Dream Big, but furnish your castle in the sky Room by Room". Dream it, Believe it. Then work your patootie off every single day, and you might achieve it. Take one step at a time toward the goal..." from "Apronisms" EllynAnne Geisel.

Today, as another step toward achieving MY dream, I am adding to my ever growing collection of new products, this is not exactly a new idea, one I'm sure that has been done often by many seamstresses, and could even stretch the limits of sewing to be labeled a craft or an "art" -- that being said, I call them my Sew Artsy Re-creations because I am re-creating something old into something new and fun. These clothes are meant to be worn with joyfulness and a have fun with your wardrobe attitude. Casual elegance, you could pair a jacket or vest with a simple black tee with a silk scarf, a long skirt or jeans and you're ready to go out on the town!

This first fabric shown on a jacket is called "Frida's Garden" from the Alexander Henry designer line of fabrics. A very colorful dedication to the life of artist Frida Kahlo who was married to the famous artist Diego Rivera, and includes images depicting many important aspects of her life. The colors in this beautiful 100% cotton lend itself well to use with denim. One of my favorites.
(Click on images to see details)
Jacket Front (above); Jacket Back (Below)

Frieda's Garden fabric details of back with embellishments. Above, detail of shoulder and pocket.

Denim jackets and vests are timeless accessories for most women and are ageless. Women of any age can and do wear denim.

It is warm, comfortable and durable. The problem is that a lot of people tend to tire of them after a few years and end up shoving them to the back of their closet and forget about them. I say why not rev up the denim....make it look new and fresh by adding your favorite materials and what a fun way to re-purpose a favorite jacket, jeans or vest!

Next is a denim vest decorated with the "Los Novios" fabrics in bright summer colors.

These items are for women of all ages and range in size from small to large. Each piece is a one-of-a-kind re-creation in my own sewing studio.

Here I am using various combinations of folklorico fabrics so popular in my aprons.

(Detailed of Los Novios fabric

The fabrics are inlaid and bonded to the jacket or vest. In addition I sew around each piece of inlaid fabric (as in applique), and later embellish the piece with a little "bling" to create a new look for a tired old jacket, and one that is an actual quilted work of art. Each piece of clothing takes between 6 to 8 hours to complete and a lot of patience. But the end result is fantastic!

This jacket shows the back side with all three panels inlaid with The Virgin of Guadalupe fabric icons.

(Click image to see close-up)

This is a Baccini Jacket with red leather trim inlaid with Festival

(Click on the photos for a
closeup view of the details)