Thursday, September 27, 2012

Blooms And Bugs Studio - Whats up and whats going on!

Blooms And Bugs Studio: Upcoming Sewing Projects

Its been a while since I gave you an update on whats happening here in Blooms and Bugs studio. You might have found my blog a little quieter than usual ( or it could just be my imagination and you don't give a damn). Either ways, I just thought it would be fun to pop in and talk about whats happening in my little nook.

Of late, I have been trying a lot of new things in my projects. New things as in, trying out new patterns, sewing more stuff for boys, trying out new embellishing mediums, trying out new fabrics and also some new techniques. You may have caught some glimpses of these attempts in this Sprinkles Tee, Frooty Skirt but there is still a lot of fun stuff that hasn't been revealed on  the blog yet. So watch out for a lot of new and exciting tutorials and projects in the months to come.

I'm also collaborating with a couple of manufacturers and experimenting with their products to give you the scoop on the best supplies out there. You may have already seen the tutorials I have been doing for Clothworks and there are some more in works. I am also now a designer for Pellon ( look its me here on their website :)). I have a few projects planned out with Pellon products and I'm pretty excited about it. Did you know that there are about 50 different kinds of interfacings in Pellon's repertoire. Yeah, Me neither! Now I'm getting a chance to try out some of them and I have some very interesting things planned out.

In addition to manufacturer, there are also blogger friends  with whom I keep collaborating on various challenges and carnivals. Right now its Rikka ( of Ricochet and Away) and her Fab Fold 2012 challenge that I have been working on. Pleats and pin-tucks kind of scare me, I'm more of a ruffles and frills person. That was one major reason to join this challenge so I could push myself out of my comfort zone. But at the end, I fell in love with the design in the picture and ended up making the dress shown. So no precision sewing for me finally but at least I participated ( and made a dress I love).

I also did a guest tutorial this pair of leggings over at The DIY Mommy. There are some more kick-ass guest posts I have been working on, but they are a bit of hush-hush at this point. I will have more details on them in October hopefully.

Then there's this birthday that is sneaking up on me very fast. A certain 3 year old is so darn excited about her birthday that its contagious. I want to just drop everything I am doing and begin preparing for it with her.

Err...actually that is exactly what I have been doing...

Speaking of sneaking up, I was having this nervous feeling that Halloween is not very far out either. Until last week I didn't even have a plan for the costume but things suddenly fell into place a couple of days ago (plan that is, I still have to make the costume).
Image courtsey Sew Chibi via Me Sew Crazy

At least I'm far ahead of the game at my other blog Sew Pretty Sew Free where I'm sharing hand-picked Halloween costume tutorials everyday. This blog is also getting a lot of attention and gaining momentum steadily. Have you checked it out yet?

Amid all this flurry of activity and excitement, it is easy to let some major milestones and achievements slip by.  But there is this one milestone that I couldn't let go without sharing with you all. Blooms And Bugs recently hit half million pageviews mark. 500 freaking thousand!!! In a little over one year! How darn awesome is that? Thanks a lot for taking some precious moments from your busy life to join me here in my sewing tales. I really appreciate your coming here.

I have also been pretty active on various sewing/crafting forums and have been getting great traction there. Craftsy is one such forum. I have been posting all my tutorials there and now I'm just one shy of 200 followers. Our facebook pages Blooms And Bugs and Sew Pretty Sew Free have been thriving too with about 500 fans combined. Pinterest is another great social media which can't help going to. Blooms And Bugs Pinboards are now being followed by over 400 people. The only place where I am feeling pretty lonely is Stumbleupon. For some reason I haven't been able to connect to a single person on Stumbleupon. Was it something I wrote there?
Anyhow, life is pretty awesome. When I started this blog last year, who would have thought I would come to love it so much.

One of my tutorial has also been featured on Money Saving Mom for the first time. I have been trying to get featured on her blog for a long time now and it was so cool to see my tutorial there. Not only its great exposure, but I just a big fan of Crystal and her blog. If you never been to Money Saving Mom you're really missing out. This girl does save you some serious money, but she also encourages you and motivates you to be more organized, more positive and a better steward of your money and time.

I know some of you subscribe to All Free Sewing newsletters, this month many of my projects got featured on these newsletters too. 

Now if I could only take pictures good enough to be on Craftgawker...Got any great photography tips to share?

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Monday, September 24, 2012

Durathon Digital Iron by Hamilton Beach: Product Review and a giveaway

Hamilton Beach Durathon Iron Review
Hamilton beahc iron giveaway and product review

Recently Hamilton Beach contacted me to ask if I would be interested in testing out their new iron called Durathon. They thought that it is the best iron in the market till date and wanted to see if I would share their confidence. Since iron is a must have tool in any sewing room, I thought it was a great idea to test their claims about this new iron.

I received my iron about three weeks ago and I tested it right away. Hmm, a bit heavier and sturdier than my earlier iron. My earlier iron used to drip like crazy and I was wondering if there was any truth to Hamilton Beach's claims of Anti Drip iron.
But oops! this one dripped some water too, but before writing them an email about it I decided to check the water level in my iron.."Oops I filled it above the maximum level"...aha! So I tried again a couple of times with water below the "Max" mark and it has never dripped afterwards. Lesson learned.

The representative who contacted me claimed that this iron has a lot of steam ( no pun intended), oh boy was she ever right! It does give out a lot of steam which makes ironing much easier and faster. I also tried it on "No steam" setting and it still heats up well. Here I could clearly see the difference between this iron and my old one. I used them both to fuse vinyl and this one does it much faster than my old iron.

The only thing I would change in the design is its fabric type selection system..I found it kind of counter-intuitive. I prefer the old dial method of fabric type selection. Other than that I love this new iron and use it practically everyday. i haven't compared it to every iron in the market but against my old iron it wins hands down, plus Hamilton Beach gives it a 10 year warranty (10 years!!!!) for its non-stick sole plate that they claim is virtually indestructible.

Now how would you like to win one of these irons? Hamilton Beach graciously offered to giveaway this iron to one of our readers. Here are the simple rules:

  • Giveaway for US residents only.
  • Leave a comment on this post with your email id to enter the giveaway. Comments without email id will be deleted/disregarded.  you could leave email id in the following format [your id]at[gmail/yahoo/hotmail] if you are concerned about spam.
  • Do not leave multiple comments
  • Giveaway closes on Sunday Oct 7, at midnight PST

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Peasant Dress Sewing Pattern and tutorial

Free Sewing Pattern: Peasant Dress

My peasant dress tutorial and free pattern ( 12- 18 months size) is now live at Clothworks blog. Check it out. This one turned out really cute! Made with Organic Cotton Picnic Pals Collection by Alyssa Thomas for Clothworks.

I also went ahead and added a pair of shorts to complete the look. My nina loves the pair! The tutorial for the shorts is work in progress.

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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Princess Costume Sewing Tutorials Compilation

Princess Costumes Sewing Tutorials
Belle Costume Tutorial Courtsey Tidbits
Belle Costume Tutorial Courtsey Tidbits

Are you also having an uneasy feeling of missing something lately? Feeling like something is sneaking up on you fast and you are not prepared? Yeah me too! Until I realized that it was Halloween. For sewing enthusiasts Halloween is like the bonus holiday, you get to show off all that you know about sewing in the form of a costume, and become a rock star in the eyes of your kids. But oh the pressure!
I have compiled a hubpage with just the Princess Costume tutorials to help you decide. Browse this compilation of sewing tutorials with your little one and decide whether you want a Belle, Cinderella or Ariel this Halloween.
bat costume DIY
Bat Costume DIY courtsey Alphamom

Don't worry if your little one is not into princess, or you are blessed with adorable boys. On my other blog Sew Pretty Sew Free, we are already having a Halloween Party with all kinds of costume Sewing tutorials for both girls and boys. We are featuring one or more sewing tutorial everyday, so don't miss out, join in the fun. First costume tutorial ( My Little Pony) of this series here.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Contest At Moda Bake Shop

Moda Bake Shop Sewing Contest

Some of you may already know that I have written a couple of tutorials for Moda Bake Shop in the past. The picture above is the Lucky Layers Toddler Dress made with Moda Precuts.

There is also this Grow and Gather Dress, made with Debbie Strain's Meadow Friends Collection.

And this Belle Layered Skirt, which I made so many times again, because I just love this pattern.

And last but not the least, this "My Little buttefly" infant jumper dress.

So why I'm going down the memory lane today? Well, Moda Bake Shop is hosting this Love It, Pin It, Win It contest right now. You could pick your favorite from any of their recipes and pin it with all these hashtags  {#modabakeshop #modafabrics #lovepinwin}. Remember to pin the posts on Moda Homepage, not thsi post, ok? 

Read all the details on Moda Contest Page and enter for a chance to win some fun prizes. Best of luck!

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Fab folds sewing challenge and my entry

Big Bow Dress: Entry for Fab Folds Sewing Challenge

Beginning of this month, Rikka of Ricochet and Away invited me for her Fab Folds Challenge 2012. Since I always avoid precise measurements and techniques related to it, I thought this challenge would be a great way to get me to do some of the pleating, pin-tucks etc that I have managed to avoid so far. With that in mind I joined the challenge.

However, When I was thinking of what to make for this challenge, I came across an adorable dress with a pleat in the center and a big bow. I just couldn't help but make it. This wasn't exactly the reason I joined the challenge, but it is just so darn cute. I had to make it before it got buried in a fab fold of my brain. ( Sorry! couldn't resist)

So here's my big bow dress. I love everything about the dress, except that the fabric I chose was a pretty heavyweight so it doesn't drape the way I wanted. But the pattern is pretty easy and looks great. I need to make another version with a lighter weight. I'm thinking of doing another in a yummy color of baby-wale ( baby cord). Maybe, we could do it together then?...Hmm

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Tiered Tshirt Dress tutorial - Sew Easy part 16

Tiered Tshirt Dress Sewing Tutorial

Do you remember this dress I showed many months ago? Well it was part 2 of my firefly crush ( part 1 here) and I really liked it. But my daughter was not really into sleeveless dresses ( or fireflies) at the time and it languished in her dresser for a while. But these days she suddenly decided that she loves dresses, and if its sleeveless, even better. So that's how luck smiled on this dress and it became her current favorite.

One day I was trying to change her outfit and she asked me "Am I going to wear firefly dress?" I said "Sure!" and her face lit up :) And then after she put it on she said in all her 3 year old exuberance..."Mama you made it? Its very good!"

There is also this pair of shorts/bloomers that she insists on wearing everyday, and once she wears them, she insists on pointing to everyone that she is wearing some cool shorts that her Mama made.

I think those are the moments where all this become worth it. Maybe she will grow up one day and still love the clothes I make for her. We will see.

Anyhow, with that kind of customer response, it became imperative that I share a tutorial for this dress with all of you here.

I made another one for my niece ( who will be close to an year old when I will finally meet her for the first time)


1 Sleeveless Tshirt/top ( actually any tshirt will do). I bought mine in organic cotton from Walmart for $3.88, I think.

2. Two coordinated fabric scraps
    Fabric 1 - 3 inch X 40 inches
    Fabric 2 - 6 inches X 40 inches

Approximate time:

1.5 hours

Sewing Margin:

3/8 inch ( although it doesn't really matter much in this style)

cut a 3 inch strip

Cut a strip of 3 inch from fabric 1

Serge along one long edge of this strip.

For this dress, I used the cheater's method of making ruffles. I cranked up the tension to 7 ( my default is 5.2). Set the stitch length to maximum and set the machine speed to maximum. Then I sewed a seam along the longer edge of the strip
You will see that the fabric is getting ruffled as the seam is sewn. Once you are done sewing the seam you can even out the ruffles by hand although the ruffles should be fairly even already with this method.

Leave about two inches hanging and sew this ruffle onto the Tshirt hemline ( wrong wide of ruffled fabric with the right side of the tshirt hem). Make sure you are taking in equal amount of Tshirt hem all around ( pin if needed). Stop about 2 inches before the starting point.

Now sew together the shorter ends of the strips ( right sides together) keep only enough fabric to cover the remaining two inches of Tshirt. Now sew the remaining ruffle on to the Tshirt. Serge the new hemline for better finish.

With the second fabric cut two strips of 3 inches X 40 inches and sew their shorter ends together to get a circular strip. Serge both raw edges.

Ruffle it using the method mentioned above. Spread the ruffles to make this new ruffle equal to the earlier ruffle length( 40 inches). 

Did you also think that the dress needed a little something on the front? Well! Me too.

I just decided on keeping things simple and do the name of my niece on the front. There! Much better! right?
You could use any technique from freezer paper stenciling, appliques to buttons, trims and what not. However, these letters were done using something else, a technique that is pretty new to me. I will tell you all about it but after a short while.
Until later!

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Fans garland Tutorial

Home Decor DIY: Fans Garland Sewing Tutorial
craft fans garland

Remember this garland that I showed you some time ago? Its made with a charm pack from Moda Fabrics. This garland can be used in a number of ways to decorate and personalize their rooms, nooks or any space. The best part? Since we are not cutting these squares, you could totally reuse them for your next sewing/quilting project once the decorations are taken down. 

Charm pack squares - I used 15 squares but you could use as many as you want to get the desired length

Approximate Time
One hour for a garland with 15 fans
charm pack square
marmalade by Bonnie and Camille
Fold a charm pack square in half. Iron

Folding an origami fan
Fold both halves into half again onto themselves. Iron.

Folding an origami fan
And again fold the outermost halves onto themselves ( but outward this time). Iron.
Folding an origami fan

Now fold the one closest to the center to complete the accordion fold. Iron.

accordion fold

Repeat this with as many pieces as you want to have in the garland.

sewing a fan from a charm pack

Using a needle and a thread(thread it with 2 strands of thread) , sew a stitch in the center of the folded fabric. Do it twice if you want additional strength.
sewing a fan from a charm pack

Now bring together two corners of the square and sew a stitch joining them.

Your first fan is ready!
making a fans garland

Now leave 3 inches of thread and sew another fan to it.
making a fans garland

Now keep going until you're done with all the squares you ironed.

sewing a garland
Your fan garland is ready to be hung. Enjoy!

sewing a garland

Your lemonade stand, fortress, card table hideout, or just personalizing your room, the possibilities are endless, and so is fun..

And while we are talking about decorating, here is a store I didn't know about until recently ( and should have).

iVgStores is an online store for all things home. They have lot of cool decorating stuff like these wall arts and many interesting items that would help you personalize your home to reflect your tastes. Their representative pointed me to their selection of screens/room dividers and I was amazed at the number of options they have.
How cool is this New York City Scenes Screen? Love it!