Curiosities

Last week I shared a pattern from my latest mini-collection, Curiosities Vol. 1. I'm happy to share that the whole collection is now available on Spoonflower in all 4 colorways!

This collection was inspired by natural curiosities. And if you didn't guess from the name of the collection, I'm hoping to add more patterns over time - next up, the ocean!

Making Friends

This week's Handmade Holiday gifts are a lot of fun to make and even more fun to play with! I'm sharing how to make stuffed toys from cut-and-sew panels and fabric.

This type of project holds a special place in my heart...a few years ago, I designed a doll house pillowcase for my niece for Christmas.

She loved it and ultimately it became my first commercial fabric line, Let's Play House. That project is now available here as a free pattern from Robert Kaufman.

Today I'll be sharing 3 different cut-and-sew toy projects that sew up in no time and are sure to delight the little folks in your life.

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Supplies needed: for the Matryoshka dolls, I used a fat quarter of quilting cotton. For the Nutcracker friends, I purchased a panel of Alexander Henry fabric and some green dotted fabric for the backs. For the Cactus Family, I used my cut-and-sew panel from Spoonflower, printed on a yard of minky. You'll also need a bag of stuffing, thread, and a needle for hand-sewing.

Cost: for the Matryoskha dolls, everything I used was scraps from my stash. The fabric for the Nutcracker friends cost about $15.00. The cut-and-sew Cactus Family is $27.00. A bag of stuffing will cost about $4.00.

Time: about an hour for each set.

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For the Matryoshka dolls, I began with a small amount of standard quilting fabric. Your fabric could have animals or trucks or anything you'd like to make into a stuffed toy. Cut out the doll shape, leaving about .25" seam allowance around the print. Then cut out a matching piece from the fabric to use for the back of the doll.

Place the pieces together, right sides facing, and pin around the edges. Sew using a .25" seam allowance, leaving the bottom open for stuffing. I also recommend clipping the curves after sewing so the doll will turn right-side-out nicely.

Flip the doll right-side-out, and fill the doll with stuffing. You can hand stitch the opening closed in a number of ways - do whatever type of hand sewing is easiest for you.

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The Nutcracker panel has plenty of white space around each of the characters. Since these characters were more detailed than the Matryoshkas, you can leave the cut quite rough, planning to trace a wide outline using the sewing machine. Likewise, the backing fabric doesn't need to be cut to shape - only to size.

Place the pieces together, right sides facing, and pin around the edges. Sew a loose outline at least .25" away from the print, and trim the excess fabric.

Flip the doll right-side-out, stuff and sew closed.


The cut-and-sew Cactus Family has cut lines to follow, and a piece for the back of each character.

Pin the pieces together, right sides facing and sew around the edge using a .25" seam allowance, leaving the bottom open for stuffing. Flip right side out, stuff and sew closed.

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Fat Quarter Tea Towels

This week's Handmade Holiday gift idea is a fat-quarter friendly tea towel project.

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Supplies needed: fat quarter of medium- to heavy-weight fabric (see note below regarding fabric selection), ~5" of ribbon or twill tape (scraps will work fine!), thread, scissors, sewing machine, iron, pressing board, a couple of straight pins or Clover clips

Cost: up to ~$15.00 (price will vary greatly based on your fabric choice)

Time: 15-20 minutes, plus the time you spend shopping for fabric, which could be considerable

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A note about fabric selection

For a beautiful, long-lasting tea towel, you will want a fabric with a heavier hand than quilting cotton. I would recommend linen, twill, or canvas. For my tea towels, I'm using Linen Cotton Canvas from Spoonflower. I'm not just pimping Spoonflower because I have designs for sale there...there are a few reasons this works well. First, the Linen Cotton Canvas is a durable choice for tea towels. Second, while a standard fat quarter of fabric is about 18" x 22", fat quarters of this fabric are 18" x 27", which is a great size for a tea towel. Third, Spoonflower introduced a feature earlier this year where you can Fill-a-Yard of fabric with multiple designs, so one yard of fabric can yield 4 different tea towels! This saves you money, and allows you to make unique towels for everyone on your list.

Now to dive in!

If your fabric has any selvedge, trim that away before pressing.

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You'll press 1/2" on all 4 sides, and then fold that over and press again to enclose the raw edges.

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Cut a piece of twill tape (or ribbon) to about 5" long, Tuck this under the pressed edges in one of the top corners, running diagonally across the corner as shown below.

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In order to keep the twill tape from shifting during sewing, you'll want to secure it with a couple of pins or Clover clips.

Since the stitching will be very visible on the front of the towel, I like to sew from the front. Do whatever floats your boat, though! You'll stitch at the 1/2" mark around all 4 sides, pivoting at the corners.

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And that's it! You've made a beautiful tea towel that adds personality to any kitchen.

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If you're interested in purchasing the design shown in the example photos, you can find it here in my Spoonflower shop. If you'd like to learn how to design a tea towel calendar of your own, check out my calendar design class on Skillshare.

Simple Circle Pouch Tutorial

Earlier this week, I was preparing for a road trip and found myself in need of some pouches to organize bits and bobs that I'd be taking with me. I didn't need anything big and fancy, and didn't want to spend much time on them. I just wanted something sturdy and cute that I could toss in my bag.

I sewed up a couple of these simple circle pouches using my Let's Play House fabric, but this project is also suitable for scraps. Altogether, I used about a fat quarter of fabric for each, including the lining and zipper tab.

To create my circle pattern I used a small plate from my kitchen, which measured a little over 7", so my fabric pieces just needed to be a little larger than that.

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You will need to cut:

 - 2 circles each from exterior fabric, lining fabric, and batting

 - 1 rectangle at 2.5" x 5" from lining fabric (or a suitable size for your circle)

You will also need a zipper that is longer than the width of your circle. For my ~7" circle, I used 9" zippers.

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Set aside one set of circles, and cut one of each fabric/batting exactly in half. These will make the front the pouch. I did this by folding them in half and cutting along the fold.

Take one of each half-circle and pin with the top edge of your zipper in the following order, bottom to top:

 - Lining fabric, right side up

 - Zipper, right side up

 - Exterior fabric, wrong side up

 - Batting

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Sew through all layers using a zipper foot. If you don't have a zipper foot, use 1/4" seam allowance and sew carefully!

Flip the fabric/batting away from the zipper and press. Top stitch through all layers 1/4" from the zipper.

Flip the unsewn edge of your zipper up, and repeat the steps above for your remaining half-circles.

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Take the rectangle of lining fabric, and press it in half, long edges together.

Unfold the rectangle, and iron the long edges in to the middle line you just creased.

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Fold along the crease and press again, making sure the long, raw edges are tucked in. Sew along the open edge with 1/8" seam allowance. Set aside.

Open the zipper slightly, and pin the opening closed. Baste the opening, across the zipper teeth, close to the edge of your circle. Go slowly - be careful not to break your needle on the zipper teeth.

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Now fold the zipper tab in half, and place at the opening you just basted. I put mine inside the circle by about 1". Leave the raw edges to hang with the ends of your zipper (we'll cut the excess away later), and baste in place.

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Take your fabric circles, and layer as follows, bottom to top:

 - Lining fabric, wrong side up

 - Batting

 - Exterior fabric, right side up

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Make sure the zipper on your pouch front is open and layer it with your fabric circles. The pouch front should be lining side up. Pin in place all around the circle.

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Using 1/4" seam allowance, sew around the entire circle through all the layers. Take care as you sew over the zipper teeth. (Can you tell I've broken a few needles in my time?)

Using sharp scissors, trim through the excess zipper tape. I also trimmed the raw edges of the pouch with pinking shears to prevent fraying.

Flip the pouch right side out and press. Topstitch through all layers using 1/4" seam allowance and a long stitch.

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Now your pouch is ready to be filled with whatever goodies you'd like!

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Let's Play House!

The wait is finally over! I'm delighted to share that my first line of fabric for Robert Kaufman - Let's Play House -  is now available in stores and online.

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I'll be visiting Silk Road Textiles in the Cincinnati area on 9/12 to share my fabrics and have some fun giveaways, and I will be hosting a workshop for the Let's Play House Pillow on 10/14 at Sew to Speak in Columbus. if you're local to Ohio or will be passing through, I'd love to see you!

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Kismet Trinket Boxes

This weekend, I sewed up some Kismet Trinket Boxes by Sara Lawson of Sew Sweetness. I'd been wanting to give these a try for some time - I had so much fun making her Crimson & Clover train case pattern, and this set of itty bitty cases was just too cute to pass up.

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I made the large and small versions of the square case using some of my upcoming fabric, Let's Play House.

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This fat quarter-friendly project was easier than I expected. I had to take my time on the small curves, but the boxes came together pretty quickly, and I'm really pleased with how they turned out.  

 

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Dreaming of a Hawaiian Vacation

We're going hiking in the Utah desert this July (yes...we know it will be hot), but that hasn't stopped me from daydreaming about one of the two remaining states we need to visit before we can say we've hit all 50.

Every week in June, Spoonflower is hosting a contest with Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki to find patterns that embody island life at the property. Here are the designs I submitted for each week's theme.

Rainbow Tower

 

Mid Century Modern Hawaiian Village

 

Blue Hawaii

 

Friday Night Fireworks

Happy Hour Tea Towel Calendar

Every year, I design a tea towel calendar as one of my Christmas gifts. My friends and family have come to expect them, and I look forward to coming up with a new theme each year. I knew that we were going to need lots of cocktails in 2017, so I featured 12 of my favorite grown-up beverages.

I sketched each of the drinks in pencil, and included simple recipes. I knew that the recipes would be too much text for the tea towel, but who knows what else I might do with these illustrations?

I inked my drawings and pulled them into Illustrator for finishing.

After I finalized the layout, I uploaded my design to Spoonflower for printing. The calendar is sized to fit on a single fat quarter of Linen Cotton Canvas, and a simple hem around the edge is all that's needed to make a towel that will liven up any kitchen or bar!

If you'd like your own Happy Hour tea towel calendar, you can purchase this design in my Spoonflower shop!

Honesty is the best policy

It's been a long time since I posted - too long. Life has been busy on all fronts - something I'm sure everyone can relate to. The day job is chaotic, design projects are plenty, and back-to-school is always an overwhelming time of year. Mix in a few emotional life events and you've got a recipe for not doing a great job at all of the things. I decided to give myself some grace when it came to blogging and focus on getting some other s*#$ done. I've been working on some exciting stuff that I look forward to sharing with you soon. In the meantime, here's proof that I haven't been idle this summer - just busy.

Summer is for Sno-Cones!

...and bomb pops, and twin Popsicles, and push pops, and now I'm just making myself hungry!

Last month, a friend and I were talking about tasty treats for summer time and decided we needed some fabric featuring our favorite cool desserts for summer. I came home and set about sketching, and before you know it we had our wish!

Ice Ice Baby is now available on Spoonflower, and was also the inspiration for July's coloring page!

New Month, New Fabric, New Coloring Page!

The garden is in full bloom at Casa Hersey - tulips, begonias, spinach, kale - it runs the gamut! I can't take any credit for the lovely and delicious things growing in our yard...I have a brown thumb when it comes to plants, so I stick to drawing flowers that can't die and leave the gardening to my green-thumbed, botanically-gifted husband.

Speaking of flowers I've drawn, my latest collection of patterns - Acadia -  is now available on Spoonflower.

Acadia Quilt

This collection was inspired by our visit to Acadia National Park and our wide-spread exploration of Maine a couple of summers ago.

Acadia Pattern Collection

As frequent visitors to the western United States, it was quite a change to spend time along the northeastern coast. The flora and fauna are so different from what we're used to, either at home or traveling. In this collection, I've tried to capture some of the unique beauty found in the Acadia region.

The artwork from this collection is featured in this month's coloring page. I hope you enjoy it!

April Showers Coloring Page

April has arrived, and with it some less-than-ideal weather. You expect to get rain in April, but I personally could do without hail, snow, and crazy winds. In the hopes that it calms down and just turns to showers, this month's coloring page features a variety of umbrellas suitable for April weather.

These umbrellas are also featured on fabric, wall paper, and gift wrap in my Spoonflower store.
 

Veranda Quilt Pattern

In January, I released my Hideaway fabric collection to Spoonflower, and decided it was high time I made a quilt with my own fabric. I came up with a simple pattern that allowed me to show off the prints, and I'm calling it the Veranda quilt.

I received a lot of positive feedback on this quilt, and by popular demand, I'm excited to offer this free pattern to you! The instructions include directions for a throw size quilt (60" x 60") or a baby quilt (48" x 48"), but this 12" finished block can be used to make any size quilt your heart desires!

You can download the pattern here, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed designing it - Happy Quilting! And be sure to share your quilt on IG - #verandaquilt

Hideaway - my latest fabric collection!

It's cold and snowy here in Ohio, but I got a little taste of spring today with the arrival of my latest fabric strike-offs! I'm excited to share my newest collection, Hideaway, available now in my Spoonflower shop!

This collection was inspired by my recent trip to Mexico, and I tried to capture what I loved about the bright colors, beautiful flowers, and carefree spirit.

The collection is available in three colorways, and offers large scale, ditzy, and blender prints in a combination of organic and geometric forms. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed designing it!

Now we're cooking!

Waiting is difficult. As a seasoned adult, I should be better at it by now - but I'm not. The time it takes to go from sketch to digital design goes by in a blink compared to waiting for strike offs to arrive and a collection to actually become available. By the time I have fabric in hand, I've usually moved on to the next collection. My recent wedding and honeymoon kept me (rightfully) distracted while I waited, but I'm pleased today to share that my latest collection, What's Cooking?, is now available on Spoonflower!


What's Cooking?

I'm excited to share a preview of my latest pattern collection with you. The name of my collection is What's Cooking?, and it was inspired by the hustle and bustle of Grandma's kitchen as she prepared Sunday dinners.

I also used elements of my patterns to create a tea towel calendar.

I had so much fun with this project! I knew I wanted to develop a collection around kitchenware. I'm not much of a cook, but I love kitchen gadgets and have many fond memories of helping my grandmother as she cooked and baked for the family.

Here are my mood boards.

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I sketched in pencil and then traced my drawings in Illustrator.

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Now I'm working on additional colorways for the collection, and look forward to sharing the whole line with you soon.

Nature's Sketchbook

I recently shared my Seeds Gone Wild pattern. I used that pattern as a springboard for a collection of 6 patterns.

I sketched in pencil, and then traced some of my drawings in Illustrator using my Wacom tablet and inked some of them using a lightbox and pen.

Here are close ups of the individual patterns.

I'm now awaiting the arrival of strike-offs, and the collection will soon be available in 4 colorways in my Spoonflower shop!

Seeds Gone Wild!

I'm working on a collection of patterns celebrating the garden. I drew inspiration from vintage seed packets and flowers from our yard.

I usually use a lightbox and pen to get my drawings ready for scanning, but I was encouraged to use my Wacom tablet, so I just scanned in my pencil drawings.

I traced my sketches in Illustrator, and applied 4 different color schemes that I've been working on.

Here's the final version of this pattern in repeat.

And here it is on a dress, because...well, why not?


Happy New Year!

I hope everyone enjoyed a restful holiday with their loved ones. I had a wonderful break from work with my family - I think this was one of my most enjoyable holidays yet!

In the run up to Christmas, I was hard at work on gifts, including quilts, aprons, handbags, and pillowcases. I was most excited about two quilts in particular, for my daughters. These poor kids have a mother who sews incessantly but had never made them quilts of their own. I remedied this situation for Christmas.

The other project of which I am pretty proud is a dollhouse pillowcase I designed. I sewed a few of these up as gifts for little friends, and they were a huge success (if I do say so myself).

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This design is available as a one-yard, easy-to-sew project (complete with dolls and a kitten!) in my Spoonflower shop.

With Christmas projects behind me, I'm ready for an exciting new year! I hope you are too!

Counting the days

I'm not actually in a rush for this year to be over. I know that once October is done, the Christmas prep starts. I am not a fan...I like to enjoy each day, month, and season in it's turn. But I am looking forward to the new year and my 2015 Just Desserts Tea Towel calendar being useful as well as ornamental.

My proof copy on a linen cotton blend material arrived from Spoonflower this weekend, and it's now hemmed and hung, waiting for 2015 to arrive.