Saturday, October 29, 2011

Highlights of the week ♥ 12

Hello, there!
I'm  taking advantage of the long weekend to sew like a mad woman and I'm pretty excited about it. I got some new exciting patterns in the mail this week, so hopefully I'll be able to show you something cute soon.
How are you going to spend the weekend? For the moment, enjoy this links :)

1. A brilliant idea to spice up an old cardigan.
2. Serious bedroom envy.
3. Wouldn't this little gadget be perfect for a Christmas gift)
4. I think Mena's "Make This Look" posts are genius, and this one stole my heart.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Interview: Gingermelon

These interviews are starting to be a regular thing on my blog and I really hope you're enjoying them as much as I do. I fall in love with blogs or Etsy shops all the time and I really like to share them with you. I must say that it's also a great way to satisfy my curiosity, getting to know better who's behind all of these wonderful creations.
So today, I'm delighted to have Shelly and the beautiful creations she sells in her Etsy shop Gingermelon.
Introduce yourself: tell us something about where you live, your origins, hobbies, etc.
My name is Shelly and I live in beautiful British Columbia, Canada. I'm originally from South Africa and my family immigrated to Canada when I was 17.
I've always been fascinated with art, and even from a young age was sketching and colouring whenever I could. 

How did you start your shop, Gingermelon?
About three years ago, I came across an article in a magazine that featured a Canadian artist who had an Etsy shop. I had never heard of Etsy and was very intrigued about this new handmade place, so I immediately typed the website onto my computer and a whole new world was opened up to me! What a fabulous place for sharing anything and everything hand made!!
At that time, I just got myself registered on Etsy as a buyer and for the next year, I bought items from all over the world. Mostly, I was buying fabric, trims, felt and other wonderful items I could not find locally. 

I am a huge fan of Japanese culture and am very inspired by their cute,  sweet, kawaii designs. After much thought, I finally decided to make some cloth dolls that would have hand embroidered faces and outfits made from the Japanese fabrics that I'd been collecting. I really wasn't sure how well they would do, but, by some miracle, people started buying them and also requesting little outfits to go along with them. From there, I started expanding my collection to little felt bears, bunnies and kittens and also ventured into making art dolls with paper clay.

As time went by, I started getting many special requests for things I had made and, at first, this was wonderful. But, I was finding it very hard to keep up with the custom orders and always felt a little stressed out, especially when I had more than one or two on the go. I work from home as an apartment manager, as well as a hairstylist, so my projects are squeezed in between taking care of the building and hair appointments.

Because my sewing skills have always been limited, all of my creations are designed to be as simple for me to make as possible. With this in mind, I decided to make the patterns for my Sweet Stufflings available to others who loved to sew, and from there, each new design I come up with is eventually converted into a pattern. I keep my patterns very easy to follow and include hand drawn illustrations along the way to help guide the sewer at each step.

What are the main satisfactions you get from your shop?
I love reading the feedback that my customers leave for me and also enjoy seeing pics of their finished creations - it's so amazing to see how others interpret my patterns!
I am very passionate about what I do and customer service is extremely important to me. I want my customers to feel that they're getting something special when they've ordered from my shop!

How and where do you advertise your business?
Most of my advertising is done through my blog and usually, when I've come up with a new pattern, I always do a little giveaway with them. Facebook and Flickr are also great ways for me to let friends know what's new in my shop and also what I'm working on next.

Do you have any advice for who wants to sell or already sells handmade?
For those new to selling online, I would suggest that you invest in a good camera and take some time to learn how to use sites like Paint Net or Picnik. They offer excellent tools to fix lighting issues, sharpness, brightness etc. I cannot live without them as we live in a rainforrest and it can be quite gloomy here for many months!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Make-up Bags

If you're like me and you're already starting to think about diy presents for Christmas, read this post!
I recently found two patterns for medium-sized pouches that I really love and I can't recommend you enough. They're not for free, but I think it's money well spent.

The first one is Strap Clutch by Keyka Lou and the one you see in the photos has become my new makeup bag. The strap is so unique and beautiful, the pouch is very sturdy (the lining is interfaced and the exterior fabric has batting) and it's very very roomy. I made another one as a gift for my best friend (using green and black materials) and she really loved it. I wouldn't recommend it to a complete beginner, but if you have some skills, the instructions are great and easy to follow.

The second pattern is the Emmy clutch by PaisleyPearQuilts and I found it by chance on Etsy. The pleating is very elegant and the bag is very roomy, and very easy to make too. The instructions are well written and have many pictures.
The only modifications I made were adding some piping (yes, my obsession) and quilting the bottom, so that the bag can stand on its own more easily. The pouches you see above are for sale in my Etsy shop.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Highlights of the week ♥ 11

Hi, everyone!
A superquick post just to wish you a great weekend and to share some stuff you might like. Enjoy!

1. So much inspiration from the Luis Vuitton S/S 2012 collection.
3. A handy technique for making bias strips. I usually use this techinque, but this is great as well!
4. I want this woman's wardrobe!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Interview: solaWu

My dear readers, today I'm really glad to feature an artist whose Etsy shop I discovered by chance and immediately fell in love with. Cindy's creations are so special and unique that I immediately got in touch with her and asked her for this little interview. I'm sure you'll find her story (as much as her work) to be very inspirational!

Introduce yourself: tell us something about where you live, your origins, hobbies, etc.
My name is Cindy Wu. I came from Taipei, Taiwan. It is a small country in southeast of Asia. Two years ago, my husband made a plan, which is studying in the United States. Therefore, I came to Maryland with my husband and started our new life!

How did you start your shop, solaWu?
After I came to U.S.A., I lost the focus of my life. My English was not good and I had hard time to find new friends here. I became an incompetent housewife. All I need to think is what we eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner… I felt empty. I didn’t know what I could do in the U.S.A. I was a fashion designer before I decided to come to the United States. I was worry about my future and my return to Taiwan that whether I could go back to my designer position again or not.
The first year was so tough for me. At that time, I tried to find out what could I do; what is my dream and passion. I always want to be a designer. Fortunately, I found the Etsy website. I thought maybe I could design and make some clothing or bags for selling. I also wanted to support my small family with my own ability. 

How did you choose the name of your shop?
I love American life style. My husband and I love traveling. Camping is our best way to enjoy nature. I love flowers and animals, especially azure blue sky and ocean. Shapes and colors are gifts from our mother nature, which gives me lots of inspiration. I love design, ideas and colors; I love flowers, birds and sky. Sky in Japanese is "sola". “W.” is Wu, my last name. This was how I came out with the name of my shop.
sola W., my freedom, my love.

 Do you have formal training (art, design, sewing, etc.)?
I was studying at one of the most famous universities for fashion designing in Taiwan. I also graduated with first place in my year and Special Talent Award in 2003.
After my graduation, my work " Picasso Variation" won the individual Fine-piece Award on fashion design and group Fine-piece Award on textile design when I attended the competition hosted by Ministry of Economic Affairs, Industrial Development Bureau of Taiwan in 2003.
Then I went to Bunka Fashion College for further studying and I got my license for “Japan Fashion General Education development Association- Pattern Making Grade 3”.

What are the main satisfactions you get from your shop?
My satisfaction comes from my friends and customer, especially when I realize that how much love I get. When someone tells me he/she really loves my work or he/she can feel what I try to interpret, I feel that I’m not alone. J

How and where do you advertise your business?
I’m not a good advertiser. I just do my best on my design, make them, and hope people find them and then love me. However, my husband tries to do some promote for me. He make a blog "Fashion King", which writes some helpful sellers’ tools and promote many shops and items on his blog because he wants to help people like me and it’s totally free.
I hope everyone could take a look at my pieces and we could exchange our experience and story.
Here are my blog, Facebook page and Etsy shop.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Inspiration: Dahlia

Hello, there!
To start the day on the right foot, I want to share with you a series of dresses from Dahlia, a British brand I discovered last week via Skunkboy Creatures.
Just so you know, I want to replicate each and everyone of these beautiful dresses!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Burda 11/2011

The moment has come. This is the last issue of Burda included in my subscription and I'm really torn. I haven't forgotten all the bad stuff in the latest issues, but this one looks so promising! I think I'll end up renewing my subscription anyway, but maybe I'll wait a couple of months.
Ok, let's see what the November issue has to offer.

First of all, I really like the photoshoots in this issue. That's also the reason why I'm so attracted to this super easy skirt.

This dress looks sexy! The technical drawing leaves me a bit puzzled, but I'm very curious.

This looks very original end extremely flattering. It's strange that it fits so well a large-chested model (it's not a plus size pattern). Maybe it's a pattern for us curvy ladies :)

Nice sweater, no? My problem is just that I have such a hard time finding knits...

I LOVE the lines of this blazer and the curved hem. I also really like how it's styled in the picture.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Highlights of the week ♥ 10

Hello, lovely readers!
The weekend is here again and I hope you're enjoying autumn weather as much as I do.
Before I leave you to some pretty links, I want to thank everyone who commented on my Apple blouse. Although sometimes I don't answer to each one, I read and appreciate every one of them, so thank you!

1. Beautiful jewellery, via Kingdom of Style.
2. Want a knitted hat but you can't knit? Read about this great French initiative.
3. These photos from the latest issue of Lula are so dreamy...
4. This video made smile (and the clothes are beautiful!).

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Apple of My Eye

I think I fell in love with a pattern. It hasn't happened since I made my first Macaron dress, and now I'm head over heels.

Do you want to know why? Let's see: this blouse has a peter pan collar (AND it's asymmetrical), it has a button placket that it's easy to sew and it's really cute, it has no closures, the fit is great (thank you, double-pointed darts in the back) and it's extremely versatile.
The pattern is from "La mia boutique" and the only modification I made was to shorten the sleeves and put elastic at their bottom (instead of another plaquet). 

For my first go at it, I chose this super cute viscose (if I'm not wrong, it's the same thing as rayon... please let me know) with fuchsia apples printed on it. At first I was afraid it would look too much like a pajama top (that's also why I shortened the sleeves), but as soon as I've tried it with some of my clothes, we became best friends.
Another great thing: it was extremely fast to sew! I tried out some new techiniques for me (the button plaquet, the bias bound neckline and double-pointed darts) and they turned out great. I was so impressed with the finished blouse that I immediately made another one, with some modifications (coming soon).

Although I made some mistakes (the collar is covering the placket, the neckline binding is not perfect), I adore my new little creature.
And now I feel so good! First, the Stretchy Jenny (thanks for your lovely comments! as some of you pointed out, I'm actually getting so much wear out of it already), now this adorable blouse... I hope I can keep my sewing mood on this track!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

La mia boutique 10/2011

In my neverending quest for new patterns (should I call it addiction?) I stumbled upon the October issue of "La mia boutique", an Italian sewing magazine that I never buy because the patterns it contains are more often than not for an older targer or... plain strange.

Anyway, last week, while I was at the supermarket I flipped through it and then I immediately put it in my cart. I wanted to share with you the reasons why:

It's a super simple dress, but I think it has lots of potential. I really love the pleating under the bust.

A sheath dress with a fun detail! Those circles might end up being unflattering for my full hips, but I'm sure the silhouette would be so flattering for my body shape.

A cute jacket with a peter pan collar. I really like that the back looks kinda like a trench coat.

The shirt is one of the "strange" patterns I was talking about, but it attracts me for some reason.
The skirt has enough details to pick my interest and, since I have some problems fitting clothes for my large hips, I like elasticated waists more and more.

And, last but not least, the actual reason why I bought this magazine. I've already made two shirts from this pattern and I LOVE THEM. You'll see the first one of them in a couple days, so stay tuned!

p.s. You might have noticed that I made some changes to the blog... I hope you like them :)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Highlights of the week #9

Bonjour, everyone! How are you?
I allowed myself the luxury of taking a break from my studying for almost the whole week, and I sewed a lot. It was so fun! If only it could be always like this...
I wish you all a happy weekend and I'll leave you with my usual collection of fun links. Bye! :)

1. Aya shared an incredibly creative video that shows many ways to wear a man' shirt. It's genius.
2. I found this tutorial for a head wrap/cowl on Pinterest and I fell in love with it.
3. Cupcake nail art tutorial! Need I say more?
4. Finally, one more tutorial; it's for this beautiful skirt and it's beginner proof.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Stretchy Jenny

What better project can you choose to go back to sewing than one that is quick, extremely simple and uses up scraps from another project?
Yes, instant gratification is the best. And in this case, it's this grey pencil skirt loosely based on the Jenny pattern by Burdastyle. The fabric is a medium weight jersey I had left from the super secret project I've mentioned before.

I went on a limb witht this project, because I've always been afraid that pencil skirts and bodycon skirts would be extremely unflattering for my full hips and even fuller derrière. Turns out, I really like the fit! Sometimes it really pays off to risk a little.


And finally, this skirt is so versatile! It can be styled in so many different ways. Now that I've overcome my fear of pencil skirts, I think the Jenny pattern will come in really handy...

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Highlights of the week #8

Another week has gone by and I haven't uploaded any sewing content yet... I'm sorry! I'm actually working on a super secret project which I hope I'll be able to reveal soon, I've sewn a bit for my shop and this weekend I hope I'll be able to make some more :)
In the meantime, here are some lovely links. Enjoy!

1. Yummy pumkin pie! I want to try this recipe soon.
2. A tutorial to make tinted mason jar. It's so simple, but the result is beautiful.
3. If you love pattern mixing as much as I do, you'll die for this look.
4. I want to sip my afternoon tea in these cups! I also think that you can easily make a DIY version.