Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A chef, a gardener, and a meteorologist....

Sewn Hats was designed to appeal to all ages, genders, and professions, and the latest stops on the blog tour are great examples of the diversity of styles you will get from this book!!!

Yesterday, Melissa Stramel (from Lilac Lane) posted about her darling Sweetie Pie Chef hat,  It is reversible, available in child and adult sizes, AND has a  comfortable stretchy knit band. As I've mentioned probably a gazillion times, my husband is a classically trained culinarian, and this hat really warmed his sub-zero iron-chef heart!  Go visit her blog to see some precious pictures of the prototypes.  Once you are there, leave a comment and win (then go check out the beautiful patterns in her etsy shop)!

In keeping with the super-sweet and delectable theme,  Joanna Figueroa posted about her adorable Summer Blossom hat on the Fig Tree Quilts Blog.  I have to admit...when I signed on to do this book, It was like winning the lottery to find out I was going to work with so many of my fabric designer heros on this project!!!   I about died when I found out Joanna amongst them!  She also has a beautiful new book out, entitled With Fabric and Thread.  For sewn hats,we collaborated to come up with the most perfect baby/toddler sunhat ever. Go on over to her stop on the blog tour for more details, a chance to win, and some absolutely darling photos!

The next hat is perfect for the weather we are having on the East Coast today.  The retro-inspired Raindrop Rain Hat is made out of laminated cotton, and is great for braving the weather in style.  It was contributed by Alexia Abegg of Green Bee Design & Patterns.  This lovely young woman has designed everything from quilts to totes to clothing (for kids and adults).  I have to say, her writing and illustrations are impeccable.  There are so many awesome designer laminates available, the possibilities are endless for a great rainhat.  In her stop on the blog tour, however, she mentions that she made test versions out of a variety of fabrics, and they all came out great. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Popping my head up!

Such a great blog tour is going on for Sewn Hats, and here I am stuck painting and scouring :p .  Every now and then I'll wash my hands and hop on the computer, but then I have to jump up and sand or grout something.  Good news is, the house goes on the market tomorrow, and I can relax and ride along on the tour.

I just want to share some of the amazing stops we've had so far!!!

First up  is Patty Young of MODKID Boutique!  I so love her designs, and her techniques are impeccable.  Her own book, Sewing MODKID style, came out earlier this year, and it is loaded with wonderful patterns and techniques for working with knits. For this collaboration, She came up with a precious, easy-to-make sunhat for babies and little girls.

I love the ruffled brim and woven ribbon accent.  It has a cute covered button option at the tippy top, and it is reversible - 2 hats in 1!

Then we go on to visit Kaari Meng of French General fame!   Not only is she the owner of a fabulous shop in California, she is a wonderful entertainer (ask Martha Stewart), fabric designer, and a big name in the scrapbooking industry.  She has published several sewing books, and she had a very distinct vision with regards to her signature sunhat.  She provided me with the raw materials, and "voila" a beautiful hat was born!  You can read all about it here (as well as some wonderful comments from her readers).

Next, we travel up the West Coast to visit with Dolin O'Shea of Lulu Bliss.  She has a garment industry background, is amazingly talented in writing/editing sewing patterns and instructions for best-selling sewing books (she's worked with the likes of Jennifer Pagnelli and Amy Butler)!  She also has her own line of crochet and knitting patterns (available here on Craftsy).  Her Jackie Pillbox hat is so fabulous!

It is put together with perfect vintage couture construction (Dolin's specialty), but is so simple and straightforward to make.

Going even further up the West Coast, we stop off to see Kathy Mack of Pink Chalk Studio.  Kathy is the owner of Pink Chalk Fabrics, and the author of a line of very popular sewing patterns.  Pink Chalk was the first big online fabric shop to venture out into downloadable patterns, and she has been such a great partner in getting the word out about Sis Boom and Scientific Seamstress patterns.  She is so precise, professional, and enthusiastic in both her writing and sewing.  So needless to say, I was thrilled to work with her on this project!   She put together the perfect visor for both adults and children.  It keeps the sun off the eyes, and the heat off the head.  So go over and read her post (still time to win a copy of the book from her)!

And I just have to mention, the model was my son's first grade math teacher.  She is beautiful inside and out, and I was so happy she could be the face of this great design.  Oh, and her mom works at our local quilt shop, so of course she has great taste in fabric :) .

Finally, head straight across the country to NYC!  Lisa Carroccio, of Domestic Diva's Distasters, is a perfectionist seamstress, self-proclaimed pattern snob, and one of the wittiest people I've ever met.  I've "known" her since the early days of eBay boutique.  She started out making one-of-a-kind doll clothes and then moved on to fancy girlie AND cool boy-centric designs (Lou owns one of her creations and he is not allowed to outgrow it).  Now she has transitioned to commercial production with her Downtown Joey line, and is still such a great support to all her designer friends from the boutique world who are moving into commercial production. 

One of the accessories in her line is an awesome skater/military hat, and she kindly contributed the pattern to the book.  Even though she originally designed it for little guys, it looks great on big boys too (as evidenced by the hot bearded guy on the cover ;) ).  I have to mention, she was also a great mentor for me during the writing and editing process.  She also contributed the awesome Spiderweb Rosette embellishment instructions to the book...you can get the free tutorial here

We've had some additional blog tour stop confirmations, too!!!  Please check out:

9/15 - figtreequilts.typepad.com - Joanna from Fig Tree Quilts
9/18 - prudentbaby.com - Jacinda and Jamie!!!!

Oh, and my winner for the Monday drawing (I'm so paint encrusted and technically inept to do a random drawing, so I literally covered my eyes and pointed)...is  Lainie!
she said...

"I am so excited for this book!!! I love the Newsboy in addition to MANY others. I'm definitely a hat girl ;)"  Lainie, you are the winner....please send me your mailing address and any inscription suggestions - info@scientificseamstress.com !

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Sewn Hats is here!

The original publisher, Wiley, sold this title to Turner Publishing. Please send an email to: info@scientificseamstress.com to get a copy of the patterns 

I am so excited to kick off the blog tour for my first book, Sewn Hats!   It is a collaborative effort that brings you patterns and instructions for a great variety of toppers.  For this project, I got to wear many "hats" (both figuratively and literally).  I was the collection curator, which means I worked with star contributors who provided their signature hat patterns.  My job was to represent their unique styles and highlight their specialized techniques.  As a contributor myself, I got to come up with designs to round out the collection, and also provide styles that were near and dear to my family and lifestyle.  Finally, as technical editor and illustrator, I gave a cohesive, step-by-step approach to construction each and every hat. I am thrilled with the end product, and am very grateful to my publisher, Wiley, and all of the contributors for bringing this to life.

Shown above is a gallery view of the styles in the book.  There are all-season offerings for men, women, and children.  Most of the hats come in a wide range of sizes, so you can make them for lots of loved ones.


The awesome contributors will be blogging about their own hats, so I just wanted to mention a few of my beloved hats.  Above is the Fantastic Fedora, and I was thrilled that they used a picture of my own little Lou to show it off.   He LOVES this hat.  He's also gotten a lot of wear out of a lightweight denim version.  This style is so in right now, and looks great on guys and gals alike.

Here a little scan of some of the illustrations, just to show you how I infused the Scientific Seamstress style into the book.  If you have used my patterns before, you know I am very detail oriented.  The publisher and editors were great about keeping that high level of explanation, but in a concise and easy to read format.


Another one of my favorites is the Hitch and Pitch Cap (shown above).  It is the perfect baseball/trucker hat!  The skill level is listed as advanced, but like all of the patterns in the book, could be made by a beginner with some time and patience.  
What I have shown you is just a smidgen of the great hats you can make from this book.  Throughout the next month, our fantastic contributors will be sharing their designs.  The schedule is as follows:

9/5 -  MODKID Boutique
9/11 -  LuluBliss.com
9/21 – Figgy's Patterns
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

Each stop will include a giveaway, so make sure you visit them all!

Please leave me a comment about your favorite hat style, and you can win a signed copy from me!!!  The drawing will be held next Monday, September 10.

Back at the blog

I analyzed my posting habits, and I realized I just don't blog enough in the summer.  In the past, I've come up with all kinds of excuses - potential move, working on a book, etc.  The truth is, I am hot and I am lazy.  I spend far too much time outside in the a.m., battling evil weeds and nasty squash beetles.  Then I come inside, and have to feed and entertain my kid.  That means slapping together PB&Js and heading to the pool.  In between gardening and parenting, I sew and write about sewing.  I make it sound awful, but I of course love it.  Blogging gets shoved to the back burner, which is inherently wrong because I have so much to blog about!

Soooo...where to start?

Last summer's excuse for not blogging is this summer's big news!  My first book, Sewn Hats was released on 8/28/12!  Here is the description from the publisher:

35 hat patterns for everyone!
Sewn Hats is a collaboration of hat designs from some of the industry's most-loved fabric designers, pattern designers, and bloggers. Expertly edited by top designer Carla Hegeman Crim, the patternmaker and blogger behind The Scientific Seamstress, Sewn Hats offers a collection of patterns that uses a wide variety of fabrics, from felt to silk, corduroy to cotton, and everything in between.
Sewn Hats is packed with beautiful photography, precise instructions, and detailed illustrations to make creating the hats a snap. You'll find an array of hats for every age, gender, occasion, and style. Most projects are sized from baby through men's sizes and inspiration for fabric selection and embellishments make each pattern even more versatile. All pattern pieces are conveniently located online. Simply click and print to get just the pattern pieces you need—no more tracing or keeping track of used pieces.
Whether you dig vintage or want to craft something cute for your kid, are looking to breathe new life into your own wardrobe or make a hat as a gift, Sewn Hats has everything you need to create something for everyone.

And how cool is this?  All the patterns are housed online in PDF format - no tracing, no folding and tracing...just click and print!

In fact, I'm kicking off the Blog Tour, right here - TODAY!  You'll have a chance to win a copy, so stay tuned. 

I had an absolute ball presenting at Martha Pullen's Sewing Market in Arlington, Texas.  I was really nervous about telling my life story, but Martha had me dance the Hokey Pokey and Macarena with her on stage, and I was ready to rip!  I had my wonderful friend and tester Shannon by my side, and she was such an angel.  It was a treat to spend time with her, and she and her family were so much help getting "goodie bags" together.

Big Move!
Our family is up and moving from the Baltimore 'burbs to the Catskill Mountains in Upstate NY.  Chef Del got a dream job as the Director of Dining at SUNY-Delhi. So I am in serious "primp the house to sell" mode right now.  We love this big spacious home and the amazing gardens, but honestly, it is way more than we can properly manage at this point.  We are going to rent for a bit, then find a little dream home in the Village of Delhi. In the meantime, I hope to be doing lots more writing, patternmaking, and blogging!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Everlasting Gobstopper of Pants

Check it out - Jessica used the Easy-Fit Pants pattern to make her son Dallas some PJs when he was barely 5 years old. Fast forward 4.5 years, and he is still wearing them! Look how much he has grown - he's gone from cute little kindergartner to handsome young man. His jammies, in the meantime, have gone from long pants to cool board shorts.


His mom is the sewing whiz behind Magical Memories by Jessica Boutique. She makes awesome appliqued shirts, dresses, and of course...PANTS! She says "I really love this pattern. I think this year I made him 3 new pairs for Christmas, birthday and our Disney trip." I love that she is still getting so much use out of it after all of these years!


Easy-Fits are great for boys and girls alike. They are soooooo easy to make (only 1 pattern piece), and are super comfy. The full-fit and long rise allows for years of wear. Louie wore the heck out of the pants he modeled in the picture above, and then we passed them down to his younger cousin. The pattern ranges from sizes 6 months - 10 years, and we have an adult version that goes from tween size up to 3X...Easy-fits Forever!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Divine Devon!

I've taken way too long to introduce the newest downloadable Sis Boom pattern - the Devon Peasant Top/Dress ! Like our other popular peasant, the Meghan, this versatile style is super easy to sew, can be made in a range of lengths, and has lots of sleeve options!


Our sweet friend Judy of Hickity Pickity was one of the first to ask for this pattern. The child-sized Leighanna Peasants she made were selling like hotcakes in Florida boutiques, so she knew there was going to be a demand for the mama version. Of course, the first thing she did was make a coordinating set for her beautiful daughter and granddaughter.


Ahhh...life is good!


My Texas buddy Jenny also made herself a bright and happy Devon Peasant out of Girl's World Vibe Fabric. She is a self-declared jeans and t-shirt gal, but she and her daughter both loved this classy, yet comfortable top. I adore the color on her!


Jeanne has been testing for me for years now, so I feel like I know her favorite colors and prints. This one really brings out her beautiful eyes and hair. Even though I chose the fabric, she gets all the credit for sewing the top and looking so pretty in it, of course!


I always love love love Jenny's creations! Read about the Devon she made to coordinate with her daughter's Marissa Dress! They both look SO Sis Boom stunning!


My awesome Head Technician Cathy rocks the Devon, which is actually named after one of her lovely little daughters! Read her Sewing Story here!


And how is cool is this?...I got to meet up with Cathy and long-time testers/great friends Tom, Marlo, and Shannon at Disney last month! Notice that Shannon has her Devon on - so pretty, and perfect for a Florida vacation!


I got to see this little beauty, too (the kid, not the top). This is Marlo's tween daughter Nicole, and she is such the Sis Boom Girl! She is mature enough to comfortably chitty-chat with all the adults, but not too grown-up to have a blast at the kids' table!


This one is hot off the presses...Monique blogged it just yesterday, and Jennifer blogged it today! My jaw seriously dropped when I saw it - I love this on her! The style, the print, (and as someone commented) the smile - everything is just gorgeous!

Devon became available on YouCanMakeThis.com just last week, and is already holding the top spot in the "Most Popular" section! Can't wait to see all the Devons that are about to bloom this spring!!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A project in hand...

In the evenings, we typically wind down with a little TV. It is very hard for me to sit still, so I usually work on something else while I'm in my recliner. I was pretty hooked on Sudoku, but would get distracted and mess up completely if the show was any good. So I needed something I could just blissfully do without too much thinking. I've been wanting to hand piece a good old-fashioned hexagon quilt for ages. The little pieces are portable and easy to handle, and the finished product has such a sweet, intricate look.

There are gobs of great tutorials about making hexagonal quilts. There are even whole blog posts like this one that explain and give links to the different methods. I initially thought I was going to go with traditional piecing, but was overwhelmed by the idea of cutting out lots of paper templates. Plus, I knew I'd get bored halfway through the basting step and it would turn it a massive UFO of a project.


I ended up going with a paper-free technique from Snippets and Blabbery. It is a very straightforward method that involves tracing hexagons on the wrong side of the fabric and stitching through the markings. She gives an excellent tutorial, and a comparison with the traditional method. It is working so well for me! I love that I can put it down and pick it back up without too much thought (or mess).


Of course, I'm using all Sis Boom fabrics. To get started, I would take a pair of coordinating prints and cut 7 hexagons from each. I'd surround 1 of print 1 with 6 of print 2, and vice versa. That gave me lots of pretty flowers. I did the math and figured out how many hundreds of little flowers I would need for a queen sized quilt, and decided to expand my existing flowers.


To keep things interesting, I decided to use contrasting fabric for print 3. I really tried to make the inner flower stand out without overthinking the combo too much. After all, this purpose of this project is NOT thinking. So far so good...I've made around 60 small flowers, and about half of them have grown into big flowers.


I keep my supplies right beside my easy chair in a Basic Box from my Case Studies series (I need to come out with some new patterns for my family's newfangled electronic devices...but I digress). Can you find my needle? The foam core makes it so the box doubles as a pincushion!


I keep a stack of small flowers with fabric 3 strips at the ready. That way, when the mood strikes, I can trace (usually on a cookbook), cut, and sew. The little ironing board is nice for sitting on the floor and pressing seams.

I haven't totally decided on a layout for the quilt. I'm torn between piecing the flowers together or separating them with a solid. If I do go with a solid, I'll probably go with something dark so the flowers pop. Decisions decisions. For now, I'm quite content with the piecing process.