Sunday, January 22, 2012

Pinterest and skirt tutorial

Over Christmas my friend told me about Pinterest and I was immediately hooked on their crafts section. I perused these photos for hours on end during my week off and found some great ideas!

It’s a website with pictures of other things on the internet and grouped by category. I also look at food and quilts and then ‘pinned’ the photos to my boards by group and saved them to look at or make later. It gives you links to the sites with the actual recipes or instructions.

I saw these interesting skirts made from old men’s dress shirts but no tutorial so I made one.  Since I didn’t have any old shirts, I bought one at Costco for $17.99. The fabric is a beautiful soft herringbone in light aqua and it says “NO IRON” which is a big plus.



Concerning size, it doesn't matter about the neck size, just that the width of the body of the shirt is much larger than your waistline so it gathers nicely.

I would buy the longest sleeve length that is available to have more to tie around your waist.

My sleeves weren't long enough to go all around my waist so I attached them to the side seams. You could also use some of the back of the shirt to make another tube to attach between the two sleeves.

Remove pocket.

Remove any labels that show at hem.

Take off sleeves or cut off.


Press sleeves, turn inside out. Draw line to cuff to take off some width.

Stitch and trim seam.

Mark across front of shirt in straight line from armhole to armhole. Cut.


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At top edge of skirt, stitch 1/4" from edge and then press it under.

Fold over the width of your elastic plus 1/4". I folded under 1" and used 3/4" elastic.



Stitch close to edge of fold leaving 4" open to thread the elastic through.

Try on and adjust elastic, then stitch ends together and trim off excess elastic.

Stitch down the remaining 4".




Take the sleeves and pleat them at the end.

Place it pleat side down at the side seam with sleeve going towards the back of skirt and stitch across at the point to include all the sleeve/you can see below that you need to cut off about 3”.


Then fold the sleeve to the front and stitch on top of that seam close to fold, if desired.

Tie sleeves in front to wear. Can’t wait for Spring now so I can wear it! NO, REALLY! I CAN’T WAIT FOR SPRING TO COME!!!!!

Sunday, January 15, 2012


When I wrote the Koos Collage Couture book, it was the first time we thought about licensing the author’s work for other related things.


Since we were introducing this in the Quilting market, I contacted King’s Road which was just starting to do quilting fabrics.  Koos did two lines with them and then they pulled out of the quilt fabrics market. Below are headers of his fabrics.

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Some of the prints were then made in silk and I particularly like this blouse that Koos made for me. It has a scarf with some yarn edging.


Along with the fabric line, I got Koos a contract to provide patterns of his designs to Vogue Patterns.  As many of you know, Koos has about three patterns a year and has an enthusiastic following!  Many just collect his patterns.  It’s wonderful to be able to make a similar piece of clothing that would cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars in his Madison Avenue boutique!


This latest jacket pattern, Vogue 1277 is their current top selling pattern!  woo hoo!  Koos was so excited to find this out and called right away. It was the back cover of the catalog.

While introducing Noriko Endo’s book, Confetti Naturescapes at Fall Quilt Market in 2010, a booth in the row behind us was getting so much attention. It was so noisy and busy over there that I had to see what all the fuss was about. It was the Accuquilt booth with the introduction of the small portable cutting device called the Go Baby!  Everyone was wearing the pink Go Baby! shirts around market. 

A few weeks later, I thought about it and it clicked!  Wouldn’t it be great to have one of those to cut hundreds of cherry blossom shapes to make one of Noriko’s quilts? She had told me that she and her husband had cut out maybe thousands of these five petal shapes by hand and then colored the centers. I couldn’t imagine doing it and doing it well. 

So I contacted the very friendly people at Accuquilt and they not only made a cherry blossom die but also one that cuts confetti.  Noriko’s technique involves cutting confetti of many colors and it is hard on your hands but with the dies, it is a breeze to have it all cut in a few minutes!  It’s a dream come true!

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The dies can be pre-ordered but will be ready in February when Noriko is in Utah to teach at the High Desert Silk Experience. If you can take a class with her, you will love her and the technique.

Right now I’m designing a project to use the cherry blossom die for something other than a quilt/stay tuned for a photo.

This Spring we’ll have a new book by Jane Sassaman featuring her dynamic graphic patchwork quilts using her fabric designs for Free Spirit Fabric.  With a few simple pieces, she blends colors so you can hardly even tell that the quilts are pieced! This one, for example is a lot of half-square triangles and not strips of fabric…but where are the seams?


Jane already produces many other products using her graphic designs including coffee mugs, mouse pads, notecards and wall prints.  Then if you read this blog a while back, she’s doing a silk scarf for sale on our websites. 

I just think her design style is bold, happy and very contemporary. For years her fabric lines have been so appealing, it makes you impulsively buy it! At least it does for me.

We’ll explore what else we can do with her designs but can’t you see it as a bedding line or a tabletop collection of dishes, tablecloths, trivets,etc?  Somebody should call TARGET or CRATE and BARREL and show it to them!

Leave a comment on what you’d like to see Jane do with her designs and we’ll select one for a free mousepad! Be sure to leave contact info this time.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

What’s in a name?

Or perhaps I should say, what’s in a title?
It is usually very difficult to find the right title for the book we are working on. It is very important and we want it to convey the book content plus have some ‘panache’ so that the person will want to pick it up and check it out. I also like it to be short and sweet. The title is probably second most important after cover art.

Here’s some insight into what we go through. For Laura Heine’s book which was so colorful with lots of variegated threads and free motion work, it was difficult. One morning in the shower it came to me after many hours of thought. I had read about a new restaurant in town that said it was ‘Asian Fusion’.  I didn’t know what that was and thought it would be fun to try it…thus the title became ‘Color Fusion’.  I also wanted Laura to ‘brand’ her style and technique and not just call it general free motion work with variegated thread.

Quilting by Improvisation book cover

For Vikki’s book, we first liked Quilting Revelations but when we ran it by test audiences of students, they thought it was too biblical.  Also improvisation best describes the process that she uses.






limelight_cover Philippa Naylor’s book was probably the easiest title we agreed upon early in the process. She has a famous, award-winning quilt in the Paducah quilt museum called Lime Light.  So we played on that title since now Philippa was getting worldwide recognition for her work and we told about her story in the book.

JBMcover-FINAL-rgb-lg  Since Judith Montano’s book was about mixed media, we had to work to find a title that would encompass everything.  Here is when the thesaurus comes in handy, along with the dictionary.  I found the word ‘Montage’ and the definition described her mixed processes to combine one work of art but it also had a photography connotation so we needed another word to show that this is fabric related.  Since Judith is Canadian, she wanted to spell ‘Fibre ‘the British way.  I agreed because then I was sure it wouldn’t be an existing title.

If we had chosen something with Mixed Media or something common in the title, we’d have to research it to see if a similar title already exists.

M Joan Lintault book cover

Here is a book where I think we made a mistake with the title. Using the author’s name didn’t describe what the book is truly about. It is one of the books I’m most proud of but sales weren’t good. Joan’s work is spectacular and so different than what anyone else is doing.

The book is more inspiration than technique and gives you insight into the artist’s process of designing which is very valuable.

The subtitle, which is important, also helps give more description of the book and here, perhaps it should have been the title of the book.

Presently we are working on a quilting book by Jane Sassaman who makes very dynamic quilts out of her brightly colored, graphic fabric line by Free Spirit Fabric.

Radiating Diamond Here is a list of the titles we were considering:

Fabulous Fabrics Extraordinary Quilts

Fancy Fabrics Fabulous Quilts

Designer Fabrics Dazzling Quilts

Sensational Patchwork Sassaman Style

Astonishing Patchwork Sassaman Style

Patchwork Recipes Sassaman style

Patchwork Idea Book

Jane Sassaman's Art Patchwork

Art + Patchwork

Art meets Patchwork

Jane Sassaman’s Artful Piecing

SASSY Quilting

Jane Sassaman Goes To Pieces!

Some are rather wild but we went back and forth on the title until we came close to the deadline and decided upon: PATCHWORK SASSAMAN STYLE  since the skeleton of her quilts are basic patchwork.

It’s short and sweet and now we have to work on the subtitle:

Recipes for Dazzling Quilts

Bridging art quilts and patchwork

Simple recipes for using fabulous fabrics

Blended piecing…Illusion piecing

Art plus patchwork

OR try your hand at writing a subtitle describing Jane’s quilts and comment below…if we use it/we will send you a copy of the book when it is available.  For inspiration, look at Jane’s Idea blog.