Thursday, September 27, 2012

Instant Download for Etsy - one month followup!

 newborn cocoon pattern; image by Butterfly Chaser Photography.
Today marks one month that I've been sending my customers their patterns via instant download from my etsy shop, tiedyediva. It has been a smashing success! It sounds like customers are happy to get their patterns right away, especially the 30% or so of my customers who live on the other side of the world and no longer have to wait for me to finish my beauty sleep.

Some comments about instant download from my etsy feedback in the last 30 days:

"Great pattern! Tons of pictures, easy to follow & adorable design! Love the instant download!! :-)"

"YAY! Got my download link within a minute of checking out. GREAT detailed instructions, can't wait to make my peas :)"

"This is such a fantastic service... instant purchase! Thank you!"

"Cute pattern, received it within minutes..........."

"Awesome transaction! Easy download and file save! Thank You"

I hope everyone is enjoying it as much as those happy customers. If you have any problems with the instant download, of course let me know as soon as possible. As a seller, besides not having to worry about waking up, or rushing home, to send patterns out, I also love being able to ensure that each customer has downloaded their patterns - so different from simply sending them off into cyberspace and trusting that they arrived.

In other Tie Dye Diva news, I've been busy with kiddos and back to school time but sloooowly working on some new patterns that I can't wait to share with you! Here's a little sneak of the one that will be coming up next, the Pixie Belle Skirt pattern, in case you missed in on the Tie Dye Diva Facebook fan page.

Isn't she pretty?

Winner of Sewn Hats Giveaway

Congratulations to Commenter #41, Karen, who left the comment "LOVE LOVE LOVE HAT BOOKS! This one looks fantastic" and won the copy of Sewn Hats! I'll be contacting you for your mailing address so Wiley Publishing can send your prize to you.

Thanks to everyone who commented, I loved reading about the kinds of hats you've made or would like to make. Sewn Hats is available at a great price on Amazon and is getting rave reviews, click the image below to go to the Amazon listing.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Sewn Hats Blog Tour & Book Giveaway

[UPDATED: Comments are closed. Winner to be posted shortly, stay tuned!]

Sewn Hats is here! This long-awaited, gorgeous book is chock-full of hat patterns for everyone with a head. Besides being beautiful and packed with adorable patterns by well-known designers, and pulled together by the amazing Carla Crim of Scientific Seamstress, it gets even better ... yes it does ... the patterns are available in PDF format! No copying or tracing from the book, no enlarging or fiddling. You go to the provided links, print on your regular printer paper, and get sewing, following the pristine diagrams and crystal clear instructions. Thirty-five hat patterns for the price of one book. Really.

Now if you know anything about PDF patterns, you know Carla's Scientific Seamstress and Sis Boom patterns (collaborated with the swoon-inducing Jennifer Paganelli) are top-notch (and are available, among other places, in the Scientific Seamstress etsy shop). Sewn Hats reflects Carla's perfectionism and attention to detail on every page and is even sprinkled with clever her sense of humor. I was so excited when she called me and asked to include two of my patterns in her book. Both patterns we chose are for fleece hats, easy and fast to sew, frugal on fabric, and for everyone on your list from baby to Dad. They are both great patterns for beginners, both due to simple design and because fleece needs no seam finishing and its pile is forgiving of slightly crookedy seams and other minor sewing infractions.

One of the two Tie Dye Diva patterns in Sewn Hats
Here are some tips for sewing with fleece:

1. Fleece doesn’t fray or unravel, so there’s no need to finish your seams. You can of course use a serger if you prefer.

2. Fleece is a knit fabric. Now don't let that scare you! This just means that seams that will be stressed (stretched) when the finished item is worn should be sewn with a stitch that will allow the fabric to stretch. You can use a serger, a stretch stitch, a narrow zigzag stitch, or a 'longer than standard' straight stitch (about 3.5 on my machine). 100% polyester thread also helps with allowing the seams to stretch along with the fabric.

2. It can be tricky to figure out which side of fleece is the “right” side. On some fleece, the right side is furrier, and easy to distinguish from the wrong side. On other fleece, both sides look similar. If you cannot tell by looking, stretch a piece along the cross grain (stretchy direction); the fabric edges will curl to the wrong side.

3. Consider use long pins with heads when sewing fleece. Traditional pins can get lost in the pile. When your project is complete, double-check for pins before letting anyone try it on.

The full Sewn Hats blog tour list is below, and each stop will include a giveaway, so make sure you visit them all!
9/20 – Tie Dye Diva Patterns [You are here!]
9/26 – Bari J.
10/1 – Sew Mama Sew
10/2 – Aesthetic Nest
10/4 – Betz White
10/8 – Yummy Goods
10/10- Wiley Craft

For each stop on the blog tour, including this one here at Tie Dye Diva, Wiley Publishing is giving away a copy of Sewn Hats to one lucky winner (in the US only; no PO Boxes). Just leave a comment below answering the question, have you ever sewn a hat (what kind)?  and you'll be entered for your chance to win. Be sure to leave a way to reach you! I'll draw a random winner on Thursday, September 27. [UPDATED: Comments are closed. Winner to be posted shortly, stay tuned!]

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Sewing Tutorial: Shirred Peasant Sleeves

I love showing you how to get more out of your Tie Dye Diva patterns! This tutorial was inspired by this amazing photo by Jeannine of Kinder Couture Clothing.

How could one not be inspired by that gorgeous set, happy girl and stunning photo? Jeannine used the Tie Dye Diva Peasant Top for Girls pattern and without altering the pattern at all, added some shirring to the sleeve and left the sleeve hem ungathered. The shirring causes the top of the sleeve to balloon into gorgeous little puffs and shortens the length. (More about Jeannine's outfit shown can be found on the Kinder Couture blog.) Thanks to this inspirational set, I bring you:

You can use this tutorial for the Peasant Blouse for Girls pattern and Belle Tiered Twirl Dress for Girls pattern.

I love the shorter sleeve length naturally formed by this method, but if you wanted to keep the sleeve at full length after shirring, you can to lengthen the sleeve pattern by 1" to 2" before you cut the fabric (I lengthened by 2", it was a bit more than needed). To do this, cut across the pattern below the "peak" at the bottom of the armhole. The natural break in the printed pages is a fine place! Separate the top and bottom of the sleeve by the amount you want to lengthen the sleeve. Be sure to keep the vertical centers of both pieces aligned.

Slip some paper beneath and tape into place. Redraw the under arm seam by blending the lines through the new portion.

Cut around the new pattern piece.

Hem the sleeve as in step 1 of the peasant blouse pattern instructions. Then, instead of following Step 2, leave the sleeve hem ungathered. Next, draw shirring lines. First draw a line parallel to the sleeve hem 2" beneath the peak at the bottom of the back (double-notched) armhole (on the right of my photo).

Then draw two more lines, each 2" apart.

[If you want to create sleeves with this style for one of the baby-sized patterns (Peasant Top for Baby or Belle for Baby) in size 6 months or smaller you will need to reduce the proportions for the shorter sleeve; try beginning 1.5" from the back armhole peak and subsequent lines 1" apart; you will not get as much 'puff' between the shirring lines).]

Shirr along these lines on the right side of the fabric with a top thread that matches your fabric and elastic thread in the bobbin.  Shirring isn't scary. It's as simple as hand-winding your bobbin with elastic thread and sewing straight lines. I'll go over the basics here; or you can find dozens of tutorials online, and I offer a more thorough shirring tutorial including troubleshooting in my PDF pattern for the Belle Tiered Twirl dress in either size range. If you really don't want to try, I suppose you could get a similar look by following the general method in this tutorial but stitching bias tape casing to the wrong side of the sleeve instead of shirring and threading elastic through. You could also stretch 1/4" elastic and zig-zag stitch it directly to the wrong side of the fabric if you did not mind elastic against the skin.

The first step in shirring is hand-winding an empty bobbin. First feed one end of the elastic through the hole in your bobbin, from the underside. I find it really helpful to use a long thin object with a handle for this next step; for example, my small sewing machine screwdrivers work perfectly. Place the bobbin on your tool. With your non-dominant hand, hold the loose end of the thread down, and also hold the bobbin firmly against the handle of the tool. With your other hand, wind the elastic thread on the bobbin. Keep only the slightest bit of even tension on the elastic, trying not to stretch
it. When the bobbin is fully wound, clip the end of the thread coming through the hole.

Load the bobbin into your machine and draw the elastic thread up through your throat plate as usual, pulling both threads behind the presser foot. Using your longest stitch length and regular tension, sew along the marked lines from the right side of the fabric.

Backstitch at the beginning and end of each line of shirring, or, alternatively, tie the top and elastic threads together at each end when you are through. Don't steam your shirring just yet.

Complete steps 3 and 4 as usual. On Step 5, when you are sewing up the side seam of the top and underseam of the sleeve, it is best to sew with a sewing machine, then finish the edge of the fabric with a serger so that you don't serge through your lines of shirring.

Complete the top according to the instructions.

Last, steam up the shirring lines by hovering a steam iron over the elastic (don't iron on the elastic!). Then enjoy the pretty shirred sleeves on your Tie Dye Diva Peasant Top!

The thinner the fabric, the poofier your puffs will be. My fabric is a bit thicker than the fabric used for the Kinder Couture top and so my poofs are not quite as full, but I love the look nonetheless.

You can find the sewing patterns for the Tie Dye Diva Peasant Top for Girls, Peasant Top for Baby, Belle Tiered Twirl Dress for Girls, Belle for Baby, and more than 50 other patterns at the Tie Dye Diva patterns website or in the Tie Dye Diva etsy shop.

So many adorable designs at Kinder Couture Clothing. Show her some love for sharing her method that inspired this fun tutorial! Thank you Jeannine!