Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Fabric Design Collections

 I mentioned awhile ago that I was working on creating some fabric designs after watching Bonnie's classes on Skillshare. Well, this summer I took it a step further and enrolled in a special workshop that Bonnie runs through Skillshare in which she helps guide you to make 3 focal point print patterns in three weeks.

This worked out great for me because I was already doing an independent study through my local community college to create a series of surface pattern collections and assemble them into a portfolio. Completing the workshop gave me another reason to work on patterns and get some feedback along the way. Also, there were some prizes to be won for the most promising work and  GUESS WHAT....I ended up winning the first prize! I was so excited I could hardly even believe it! I was able to have a personal chat with Bonnie about my portfolio and what it takes to get into the industry which was super cool!

Anyway, I thought I would share the collections I designed for the challenge. I'll start with the first one, which is lovebird-themed and called "All-Aflutter." I designed a focal print along with some secondary and blender prints to round out the collection.

This one is the focal point print.

A blender print to coordinate.

A secondary print.

Another secondary print using the flower motifs on their own.

This one shows an alternate colorway.

Another blender print.

Thanks for stopping by! I'll be sharing the rest of my collections soon. If you're interested in learning how to draw with Adobe Illustrator and make repeating patterns, I highly recommend checking out the classes on Skillshare. You can get 3 months free for just 99 cents right now, which is plenty of time to try out some fun courses.

PS: If you're interested, these fabrics are all available in my Spoonflower shop!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Trick or Treat Card Free Download

Hi guys! I've been having so much fun getting ready for Halloween this year. I made up a little card and I wanted to share it with you all. You can print it at home or any print shop. Click below to download it!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Sewing Project: The Brynna Dress by Sew Liberated

I've been on something of a sewing hiatus these last few months. I've been super busy finishing up my graphics degree at the local community college (while working two jobs to pay the bills).  As I've been working on getting my design portfolio and resume completed, sewing has been kind of put on the back burner. Which is why I was really happy to come across a pattern that moved me to break out the scissors and thread once again- the Brynna Dress by Sew Liberated!

I bought this pattern on a trip to Birch with the lovely Tanya when she was in town a couple of months ago. It's always great to be able to meet up with online friends in real life, especially when fabric shopping is involved! I have to admit I couldn't resist the cute sailor-esque collar on this one and the fact that it looked like it would be really comfy (gotta love an elastic waist). Oh, and it has pockets!

I made the dress in this really pretty rayon challis that I had gotten as a Valentine's day gift from Phillip a few months back. It's a Cotton and Steel print (unsurprisingly as I'm kind of obsessed with those). It was a great choice for this pattern and made for a super soft and comfortable dress. It's a little bit trickier to cut out than cotton because it tends to shift so I went heavy with the pins.

I did make a couple of alterations- you can probably tell that I shortened the sleeves by a lot. I played it fast and loose and didn't make a muslin beforehand but I usually try things on as I make them to see if I need to make any adjustments as I go.  I was finding the original longer sleeves were looking kind of frumpy and shapeless on me. I also tend to wear cardigans with my dresses and I wanted to be able to wear one without having the sleeves get all lumpy and bunched up underneath. Secondly, I added a few inches to the hem of the skirt (I always like my skirts to end an inch or two past me knees), and I added some fullness to the skirt. The original pattern has a pretty straight skirt while I wanted mine a bit more roomy to avoid any hip-clinging. One thing I found strange is how low on the skirt the pockets are placed (I'm not sure if it's obvious in the pictures). If I make this one again I'll definitely move them up at least 3 or 4 inches.

The sailor collar is definitely my feature of this dress. I did have a bit of an issue because when I went to attach it the collar piece was much longer than the neckline. I even checked to make sure I had cut out the right size piece (I had) so I'm not sure if it was a pattern issue or if the rayon just really stretched. I ended up having to un-stitch and take out about 3 inches at the back of the collar. So if you make it I would recommend pinning that on to make sure it fits before you sew the collar and undercollar together. The instructions that come with the pattern don't have as many illustrations as most commercial patterns, so certain parts can be a bit tricky to figure out. Sew Liberated actually provides tutorial videos for all of their patterns so that can really help if you get stuck on a certain step.

I ended up wearing this dress for the first time on a little trip we took for our first anniversary in June. This dress really went through the ultimate test of a day at a theme park (Universal Studios) and I'm happy to say it was comfy to wear all day, even in the nearly 100 degree heat! I definitely plan to make this one again.

The essentials:

Pattern: Brynna Dress by Sew Liberated
 Size: 16
 Alterations: Added 3 inches to hem, some extra fullness to the skirt, and shortened the sleeves.
Trims: n/a
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Fun With Fabric Design!

 Hi guys! I just wanted to pop over and share something I've been super excited about for the past month or so- fabric design! It all started when I finally watched Bonnie Christine's awesome classes on
 As you may know, I've been studying Graphic Design for the past year or so and have slowly been building my skills with Adobe Illustrator. I've been wanting to experiment more with fabric design since I created my cat-print fabric for the Cat Lady Sewing Challenge, and Bonnie's class was the perfect push I needed to get on track! She shows you an easy way to use Illustrator to create repeating patterns. I also learned a few other new tricks from her even though I've been using the program for more than a year.

Here are some of the designs I've created so far:

These first two I made for the class project. I based them off of photos I took during my time in Tonga as a Peace Corps volunteer. I think they still need some work but it was fun making them nonetheless!

I made this next one as an entry in one of Spoonflower's weekly design challenges. I figured entering the contests on a regular basis will be a good way to practice surface pattern design and develop my personal style. I made it in two colorways which you can see above. The voting on this challenge is still open if you'd like to see all of the entries.

The next design I made was this "Christmas Houses" one, inspired by vintage Putz cardboard houses. This is one of my favorites so far!

This is my most recent design-coffee mugs!

I'm going to keep working on new designs and fleshing out collections, and by the end of next summer I'm going to try making a printed portfolio. I've also been posting my designs on Spoonflower and some of them are now available to purchase.

By the way, if you're interested in trying Bonnie's classes, send me your email and I can send you an invite that will give you and me both a free month of membership- it's a win-win!

Disclaimer: I was not paid or otherwise compensated to write this post- I just really like Skillshare and Bonnie Christine!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Sewing Project: The Octopus Dress (Duplicating Ready-to-Wear Garments)

   Hi guys! I just wanted to share a quick sewing project with you. I did this one a few weeks ago, squeezing it in my free time between work and school. I spend a lot of time these days walking back and forth from classes and sitting in the computer lab working on projects and my go-to outfit has become a comfy casual dress and leggings. This red dress from Target is is my absolute favorite- it's so comfortable and easy to throw on in the morning that I decided I wanted to duplicate it!

 I started by measuring the dress in all of the crucial spots- the waist, the skirt length, the skirt circumference, the bodice length, etc. From there I drafted a pattern on paper, frequently checking the measurements against those of the original. Then I added a 5/8 inch seam allowance to all the edges and an extra inch for the hem. I did a muslin first once I had the pattern made, gave myself a tad more room in the bust, and then went ahead and made my final version. I used this amazing octopus-print cotton lawn I purchased a few months ago from Birch/Fabricworm- I'm so excited to finally use it!

  Since it's such a casual dress, the pattern is very forgiving. There are no bust darts, no buttons or zippers, and all of the shape is achieved with the elastic waist.  I can just pull it on over my head and I'm ready to go!

  I made it extra-easy by simply finishing the neck and armhole edges with bias tape and forgoing the pin-tucking on the original in favor of a simple false button placket. I also decided the waist tie wasn't necessary so I left that off as well.


Pattern: Self-drafted from ready-to wear dress (from Target)

Cotton Lawn- Cotton and Steel Tokyo Train Ride-Octopus by Sarah Watts
 Size: ?
Trims: Gray bias tape, plastic buttons
Skill Level: Beginner/Intermediate
Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Graphic Design Projects

Hey everyone! Yes, I'm still alive. A big reason for the silence around here this last month or so is that the Fall semester is in full swing and I am back in school full-time. I know I sound like a nerd but I'm so excited about my classes! I'm taking Photoshop, Typography, and Web Graphics. It's been really fun learning how to use digital tools to execute the ideas in my head. I've been watching lots of tutorials in my spare time to learn as much as I can, though I have to say my sewing has suffered a bit as a result! Anyway, I thought I would share some of the projects I've been working on:

The photo above is a packaging design I made for my Adobe Illustrator class last semester. We had to create a package for some kind of edible product, and I decided to do salt water taffy (yes, it's so I had an excuse to put a cute mermaid on the front). I kind of went all-out with the ocean theme and did a shell cut-out for the front window and seaweed and bubbles on the sides.

This was another project for my Adobe Illustrator class. We were tasked with coming up with a design for a skateboard and T-shirt that had a limited color palette appropriate for screen-printing. I decided to do a retro, feminine design (yes, I know I'm so predictable). I found this great image of female skateboarder Patti McGee and simplified it into a sort of posterized design. I went for a color palette that seemed to hearken back to the 1960s and early days of surfing.

My next project was for my Adobe Photoshop class this semester. We had to create a "fantasy portrait" and place ourselves into an image/environment of our choosing. I was hoping to find a good image of a fabric store in the 1950s or 1960s but was unsuccessful, so I decided to use this fashion ad from a magazine instead.

This is a shirt design for a contest put on by my community college. I decided make my design in the style of the vintage-look badges that are everywhere right now. I tried to make this design with a more unisex look than I usually do and make it mildly funny. The contest is still ongoing so I don't know if they'll choose it. I figured I would come up with a design for the practice more than anything!

The last project I'll share with you is these Christmas cards I designed just for fun. I found some cute vintage Christmas images in one of my McCall's Needlework and Craft magazines and decided to play around with making cards. I liked them so much by the time I finished that I printed a few and listed them on Etsy, so if you like them you can purchase them here.

PS: I decided to try to learn how to use Wordpress so I made myself a little portfolio site this week just to try it out. It was harder than I thought but I think I finally got the hang of it. You can check it out at Let me know what you think!

Friday, August 21, 2015

My Ava Jacket in Sewing World Magazine!

A few months ago, Kerry of Very Kerry Berry contacted me about featuring my BlueGingerDoll Ava Jacket in an article she was writing for Sewing World Magazine. I'm excited to say that the September issue is out so check it out if you get a chance. Thank you Kerry!