Monday, November 18, 2013

Fort Firefly Shift Dress Free Pattern and Tutorial

Boatneck Shift Dress Free Sewing Pattern


I am having a real bad case of writer's block. I never thought it was even possible to have this happen to me. I'm a crafter/seamstress after all, writing is just a necessary evil to reach out to my readers. Was I ever wrong? I got the nasty block. Would you believe, that I have posts sitting all written in my composer just waiting for me to press 'publish' but I'm avoiding doing that...and I have no idea why.


I made this Fort Firefly Shift Dress Pattern and Tutorial for Birch Fabrics blog a while ago, but never got a chance to share it on my blog. So here it is - Fort Firefly Dress made with Fort Firefly Fabric Collection by Tegan White for Birch Fabrics.


The dress is full of cute details like this butterfly at the back, exposed decorative zipper and square pockets that go from front to back. It also has a yoke accentuating the boat neck. I'm sure you will like at least some of these details and I hope you will be inspired to try them in your own sewing.



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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Product Review: Pop Up Soft Light Portable Photo Tent and Kit

Product Review: Pop Up Soft Light Portable Photo Tent and Kit by YesComUSA
portable photo tent by yescom usa


You know how it happens sometimes that you are scratching your head over a problem, not knowing how to solve it and just then, the right solution appears, served on a platter. It doesn't happen as often as I would like, but when it does - its an awesome feeling. Like the universe is listening to you and nodding along and trying to make things happen for you.

The product review email from YescomUSA was one of these awesome events. See, I have this etsy store that I sell tutu dresses and accessories in. I have been trying a lot of different things to make my pics better for the store. With a lot of trial and error I figured out that my dresses are best shot on a mannequin with our backyard fence as a background.  However, I was still not sure how to properly take pics of my accessories. For one thing they come in many different shapes and sizes compared to dresses, which follow roughly same structure.

rainbow dash pony ears

I tried taking pics with a head-only mannequin, but the backdrop proved very distracting. In fact, I had to use less than perfect pics during Halloween, because I just couldn't figure out how to take better pics of my pony headband and I was in a rush to list items before Halloween.

Another problem I faced was the daylight. Since I go to work during the day, I had a very small window where I could take pictures in sunlight, and the pictures taken indoors in artificial light just didn't work.

However the  24" Pop Up Photography Soft Light Studio Tent Kit sent by YesComUSA changed all that. They shipped it super-fast. When I opened the package, I happened to have a relative who is very interested in photography. In his words - "This is not a portable studio, its a photographer's jackpot". Indeed, with all the items that were included, the pop-up studio tent kit seemed like a bonanza.


soft light adjustable lamps
It has two of these sturdy lamps which can be adjusted in height and angle to get the light at just the right place.


adjustable lamps
These lamps come with natural soft-light, height adjustments they even have a switch right on the wire so you don't have to worry about plugging and unplugging them.


pop up tent

It has this very easy to use portable tent, which folds flat when not in use. It also has a slit in the front cover so you can have complete control over the lighting inside the tent. The tent folds flat when not in use.



Then there are these backdrops in 4 colors which have velcro to attach them to the tent. 
In short, this kit has everything to make photographing small items ( upto 24" ) a cinch. I'm really impressed with the value it provides for $69.99. It took about 15 mins to get everything out of packaging and ready for the shoot.



Want to see how much difference it made? Here is one picture to show you. They say one picture is equal to thousand words. I think I will just leave it at that.

Disclaimer: YesComUSA sent me the 24" Pop Up Soft Light Portable Photo Tent and Kit for poduct review. The opinion in the review is 100% mine.



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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Where have I been? What have I been doing?


No, I haven't forgotten about the blog I have...Not for a day. In fact, I missed blogging here so much. But I had to draw a line somewhere before I killed myself trying to do all the things, all at the same time.


I was working on my dream, dream of having a kids clothing boutique someday...The dream of being know for having the most stylish, most beautiful, stunning and gorgeous clothes for little girl. The kind of place every mom wants to dress her princess from. It may not sound like a big one like changing the world, eradicating poverty etc, but for me it is a huge dream...and its a dream I need to work on, before I could do anythings else.


And it is also a dream that scares the daylights out of me because I can never contemplate what not living up to this dream would feel like. I just dont have the nerve...I just dont want to think about it..not yet.


Right now, I'm just working. Plugging away every morning. Finishing up the orders, working on new designs. Packing those boxes. Ordering supplies...trying not to think too much. Just breathe.


To tell you the truth, I didn't know if it will work, I didn't know what will work? When a friend said that maybe I should price a bit lower because I am new...I shrugged. This is the best I can do, if I get any lower it will stop making sense for me financially. But in my mind, I was wondering...maybe she is right, maybe I should decrease $10 and see....



I didn't even want to share about these dresses here, on my own blog...because I just wasn't ready. I wasn't confident. Looking back over the last three months, that seems like the silliest things to do...but I found plenty of reasons to rationalize it....
"Oh! I don't want to use my blog to pedal things", "Oh! only crafters visit my blog..they want to learn to make things, not buy handmade things"...and so on.


And then the unthinkable happened...somebody ordered one of the dresses! "Oh they are friends, they are being nice!" I thought. When the little girl wore the dress to her birthday party...look another order, "Must be a fluke! not to mention another friend being nice", and then an order from online store, from a total stranger..."Huh? Guess somebody would really pay me to make these. No really?" And then it happened, a dress here, an accessory there, a custom request from someone, a rush order from somebody else..."What the...!". And then the panic... "How on earth I'm going to make all these orders?"


I'm practically living in tulle town these days and somehow now I have enough confidence to present my second baby to you all. And I'm feeling like a mean mom who suddenly wants to own her child because she is beautiful ( or rich) after abandoning her when she was not...but I'm just going to seize this opportunity and introduce Blooms And Bugs to you and go on my guilt trip later.


Blooms And Bugs sells made to order special occasion dresses and accessories for little girls. Look us up for the flower girl dresses, birthday outfits, Halloween Costumes and accessories for your little one.

I know most of you like to make things for your little ones, but if you know someone who is looking to buy special occasion dresses or Halloween costumes for their kids, I will deeply appreciate your recommendation.

And if you have made this far, and feeling a bit, you know, serious, heavy about all the stuff written above....Lets play a game, you know, to just loosen up things a bit around here.

One of the dresses featured above was designed for my daughter's birthday, at her request...can you guess which one? And while you are at it...why don't you vote for your favorite...just for fun :)



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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Waverize It! A Contest from Joann and Waverly

Waverize it Contest By Jo-Ann and Waverly Fabrics

I'm a bit late to write about it but there is still time to enter the "Waverize It" Contest hosted by Jo-ann and Waverly to mark the 90th anniversary of Waverly fabrics.

Basically you need to sew a project with Waverly Fabric, upload it to the contest website and if your project gets selected you could win up to 9 yards of fabric and a gift card. Sounds good! so go enter the "Waverize It" contest here.


Need some inspiration? Here is a great pinterest board called Waverly @Jo-Ann curated by Jo-Ann. This board features tons of great ideas that have already entered "Waverize It!" and will surely get those creative juices flowing in your head.

I have also received a yard of pretty waverly fabric from Joann's to sew a project with and I will be posting again about what I made with it.


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Monday, September 16, 2013

Everything Blue Block Hop - My Unquilty quilt block contribution









Last month I got an invitation to join Everything Blue Block Hop, hosted by Clothworks Blog. They sent me some gorgeous white blue fabrics and asked me to make a quilt block.
I dragged my feet for a long time around this project simply because the precision required for quilting scares me. There! I said it! I'm scared of quilting, I'm scared of the commitment to dimensions it requires.


I finally finished my block today, because the deadline for submissions is..guess what...today! Now that I have somehow finished my project, I have discovered ...Surprise! Surprise! I'm not a quilter.
The block came out as crooked as possible.


I had this idea in mind to quilt a block that looks like a stack of books on a shelf. Well I still think that the idea was full of possibilities, but its the execution where I got into trouble. Somewhere between cutting and sewing, the lines took directions of their own.

To add insult to the injury there are those pretty and perfect blocks scattered all over the Clothworks Blog.

But hey! I tried. You know, what they say about putting yourself out of your comfort zone. Well! I ventured outside, got uncomfortable and came scurrying back into the safety of skirts, tops, pants and dresses.  So you go check out the Everything Blue Block Hop while I lick my wounds and look for some simpler quilting blocks to try.


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Monday, September 9, 2013

Free Sewing Tutorial: Peekaboo Pleated Skirt

Back to School Sewing : Pleated Peek-a-boo Skirt


Today's tutorial is a guest post from Remona of The Stitching Scientist.

It rarely happens that something comes out of nowhere and leaves you wowed! When Remona asked me for guest post explaining that she is a new blogger I reluctantly clicked on her blog thinking that it might be just a roughly put together blog with a couple of posts ( yeah! something like the way mine looked..and still looks) but oh my! was I in for a shock! Her blog is so professionally put together, starting from social media icons, down to the well clicked shots, everything is polished to perfection. And don't even get me started on her tutorials. I had such a hard time picking a couple to highlight here. Once you look at them you will know why:

Take for instance this Bow clutch:


Swoon..sigh! I would love to carry this baby to a party.


Or this Gypsy Doll Face Pillow. My daughter would bug me until I make her one if she sees this.


I could go on and on about sewing freebies she has on her blog but lets talk about this Pleated Peekaboo Skirt that she has brought us today. You can check her
complete sewing tutorials here.

Take it away Remona...

I would really like to thank Anshu for giving me the opportunity to guest post on her blog. I am fan of her work and she is truly an inspiration.
I decided on this pleated peekaboo skirt because I think pleats are a true classic for back to school styles. I found this alphabet fabric at my local fabric store and fell in love with it. What better than a pretty little skirt for my pretty little girl. I think this will look great for fall with a cute yellow or white top or in the winter with a cute pair of tights and cardigan.




The skirt has box pleats all the way around and is wrapped with a curved upper fabric. It is then tucked in on the side with a big button. It has an elastic waist which makes it easy for little girls to put on and take off by themselves.


Skill Level:Beginner

Time:
1 hour

Supplies (2T):
1/2 yard of bright colored cotton
1/4 yard of coordinating upper fabric
1" wide Elastic 20" long
Liquid Starch
Pattern: 
Self drafted - Drafting instructions included

Seam Allowance:
1/2"

Techniques Used:
Box Pleats

Construction:
For the main fabric, measure the waist of your child and multiply it by 3. My daughter's waist is 20" so I cut my main fabric 60" long. To get the width, measure from the waist to just on the top of the knee. My main fabric ended up being 60"x10".

For the coordinating top fabric, measure the waist of your child and multiply it by 2. To get the length, cut 2" shorter than your main fabric. My measurements for the upper fabric ended up being 40"x 8".
For the elastic, take the waist measurement plus 1". Mine was 21".

To make the upper part of the skirt:

Fold the upper fabric in half. Put a mark on the bottom of where the fold is. Put another mark about 3" from the top of the other end. Connect your two marks making a curve. Serge or zig-zag all your edges.


To make the main part of the skirt:

Hem the bottom of your fabric by folding 1/4" in and then another 1/4". Serge or zig zag the top and the sides of the fabric. Take your fabric to the ironing board and make 11/2" box pleats. This is done by folding 1/2" of the fabric in and then another 1/2" over (hard to explain). Here is a video to help. The key to pleats in my opinion is good starch! Something that will hold down the pleats. I use Mary Ellen Best Press Ironing Starch. The stuff is amazing. It holds pleats together even after washing.


 Make box pleats with the entire fabric, starching and ironing as you do each one.


Once you have all the pleats done, sew a basting stitch about 1" from the top to hold the pleats in place.


Putting the two pieces of fabric together:

Take your upper fabric wrong side down and lay it on the top of your main fabric right side up. Sew the two together 1/12" from the top. If your fabric doesn't line up because of the pleats not being equally spaced, simply cut out a few pleats to make the bottom main fabric line up to the top.


Fold both pieces inwards and sew the ends close all the way down the side using 1/2" seam allowance.


Fold the top down and sew all the way around leaving 3" to thread the elastic through. Once the elastic is in, sew close your 3" opening.


To add the button, scrunch up the front piece of the upper fabric and hand sew the button.


 That's it! Enjoy your little girl in her Pleated Peekaboo Skirt. I am sure all eyes will be on her as she models this creation to school!


Thanks Remona for stopping by. It was great to have you here at Blooms And Bugs.

Readers, if you liked the tutorial please visit The Stitching Scientist and let her know or better yet subscribe to her blog so you don't miss the sewing awesomeness that she is going to share.

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Friday, September 6, 2013

Free Sewing Pattern: Baby Kimono Top

Free Sewing Pattern: Baby Kimono Top
free sewing pattern kimono top

Here is my latest free sewing pattern and tutorial for Baby Kimono Top on Cutting Corners College ( Riley Blake Fabrics).

Kimono Top free pattern

This cute top features a yoke in the back and velcro closures. Makes a great baby shower gift and great "Sewing for baby" project.
The fabric I have used is Boy Crazy by Dani Mogstad for My Mind's Eye.


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