When I send out my patterns during the testing stage, I always make sure to tell my testers that they should go ahead and make any changes that they want to the pattern. I do this so that my testers can end up with a finished product that they actually love and will actually use! I also do this because I find it so inspiring to see all the different ways that people can take my patterns and make them their own.
This blog post is going to highlight some of my testers, their bags, their thoughts on their bags, and some of the changes that you can make to The Huxley Bag!
I've been so excited to write this blog post because it's about my first time helping someone test a pattern. I didn't know people in the sewing community did that for each other! I've been discovering a wonderful group of people on Instagram and one of the people I follow is @GoheenDesigns. One of her posts said: "Pattern Testers Needed!!"
So I thought to myself "what's the worse that could happen?" and decided to write and said I'd be willing to volunteer. My fear was that this bag looks soooo complicated to make, and as y'all know - I'm still a beginner-ish at the art of sewing. But even with that, Madeline (owner of Goheen Designs) said she would love for me to try it.
I received the instructions on May 4th and she said she would be interested in getting all feedback back by the 28th. With me going on a trip to Orlando on the 24th for the rest of the month, I needed to get working on this right away. I wanted to make sure that if I found it too challenging, I would have that feedback for Madeline before I left for Orlando.
THE PATTERN FILE
I received an email from Madeline with a ZIP file. Within the Zip file, there were 8 files: 2 A0 format files, 2 Tiled, and 2 Wide format files. There were 2 files of each because the Huxley bag gives you a Large and a Small version of the bags. In addition to the patterns, there was a file with instructions (all 47 pages of it!), and a file with testing parameters.
I decided, based on the suggestions in the instructions that I will go with the View A in Large. Why? Because the instructions had the View A as the primary, with the zipper option as the alternative view. And Large because I wanted to use it for my Mac laptop and the instructions suggested to use the Large version if I wanted to make one that fits a laptop. Once I find some free time, I might try the alternate view and make the one with the zipper, I've seen some pictures online already of this view and it's also oh-so-pretty.
PRINTING THE PATTERN
The next day, I went over to FedEx office to get print the pattern out in wide format. I've never done this, and I don't even remember the last time I went to FedEx/Kinkos to get something printed. It was probably 10+ years ago when I had to do a school project. Anyway, the rep knew exactly what to do with the file I provided and soon after, I was walking out of the store with this really long print out that was rolled very nicely. Wow, did this exercise just saved me an hour of printing out, cutting and taping the pattern? Yes it sure did! Totally worth it! FedEx charged me like 12 bucks for it, so yes, definitely worth it!
When I first started reading the instructions, I got really scared! I've never seen sewing instructions that would take 40+ pages to describe, so it was really overwhelming. But when I showed it to the beau and he said in a nonchalant tone of voice: "this will be so great for you babe, you'll learn so much going through it", this alone encouraged me to move forward and instead of overwhelm feelings, I was now super excited! I immediately went upstairs to my fabric stash to see which fabrics I will be using for the bag, soon to realize I didn't even know how much I needed of each. Oopsie - back down to read the instructions. :)
Once I started with the instructions page by page, it didn't seem as scary anymore. It's like when you have a huge project and if you look at the big picture, it can get very overwhelming. But if you break it into sub-tasks, you're like "I've got this". This is how I tackled this pattern testing as well. I started thinking - "ok, let's do page 1 and 2", and next thing I knew, I was done and onto page 3. The directions were super clear and easy to follow. I did have a small hiccup with the handle reinforcement, but a quick email to Madeline and a fast response, straighten my confusion and was able to move forward in no time.
MATERIALS I USED:
THE HARDEST PART
Believe it or not, it was the rivets. I've never used rivets before, and I didn't know which tools to use. I googled and youtube'd several resources and at the end, I was still confused. I purchased a set of snap and rivets setters kit on Amazon based on this YouTube video on How to Set Rivets, but when I tried using the tools, mine didn't come out good at all. When I used the hammer alone, it came out ok. I mean, it totally makes sense to use a tool that's concave so that when you hit the rivets with the hammer, it doesn't flatten the cap. Perhaps I had rivets that didn't need the concave tool? Or maybe I had the wrong tool? I don't know, I'm still confused about this one...
And here is the result of this pattern test - I am in LOVE with it. It's super cool that you can switch how you wear the bag from one shoulder (messenger type) to backpack to hooking it on your bike and go! I've gotten so many compliments already from my friends and I'm sure this pattern will be such a good seller! In all honesty, it's a really good challenge and I feel like I've learn many more useful skills now that I've gone through this. Yes rivets - I'm looking at you!
All in all, the project took me about 10 days from start to finish. But it's not like I worked on this bag every single day. I didn't have all the materials, so some days I'd be sitting here just waiting for the items to arrive. And other days - well, I got distracted with other sewing projects. :) I would say though, if I did this continuously - it probably took me 3-4 days to finish.
What do you guys think? Like the bag? Want to join the challenge? If you're interested in sewing your own Huxley bag, head over to GoheenDesigns|Huxley as she has now officially launched the pattern! Hurray!
It's here!!! The Huxley convertible bag sewing pattern is here!
A cross-body bag, a backpack, and a bike bag all in one.
Combine that with the two different sizes, and the two views (one with a lid flap and one without) and you have here in this pattern 12 possible bags. All the options you need for going from bike, to hike to car. You can create the perfect bag to keep up with you on all your adventures. The larger size fits a 13” laptop, while the smaller size is perfect for carrying a tablet. Just enough room for your essentials, without so much room that you are tempted to bring the whole kitchen sink (over-packing is a serious problem for me).
Wear it on your back to keep your hands free. Throw it over your shoulder as a cross body for quick access to your essentials. Or snap it onto your bike for easy sweat free riding.
As adaptable as you are.
The perfect bag for all your adventures.
This pattern started out as me solving a problem for myself. I wanted one bag that I could use in several ways, depending on my mode of transportation for the day. Backpack for walking around, cross body for getting in and out of the car to run errands, and a bike bag for when I'm riding around downtown. I also wanted the transition between these options to be easy to sew, and easy to use. And I think I succeeded!
After making this bag for myself a few years ago, I decided to offer it as a finished product in my Etsy shop. And while I had a TON of people loving it, the bag didn't really sell because I had to price it so high for my time and materials. Then, as I started building up my pattern line, I realized that it would make the perfect bag pattern for other sewists! As I worked on it, the bag kind of took on a life of it's own as I gave it two sizes and two views, a ridiculously in depth instruction guide (it's seriously like 45 pages), and then even an option for hardware kits.
Part of what I love about the Huxley bag is that when you use the right materials and hardware, it looks so impressive. People are always so surprised when I tell them that I made the bag myself. And yet, it's not a super complicated bag. There are a lot of steps, and a lot of pieces to keep track of, but all the sewing itself is straight lines, and you don't need to worry about fitting at all.
This blog post will continuously be updated to let you know where and how to get your Huxley Kits!
I've just released my Huxley Bag pattern! It's a convertible backpack that can also be a cross body bag and a bike bag! I absolutely love this pattern, but I know that finding all the hardware for a project like this can be intimidating. So I've set up some kit options for you!
I've got a great little downloadable freebie for you guys!
I've always loved the idea of Me-Made-May, but I've always been intimidated by it. For those of you who don't know, MMMay is a challenge started by Zoe Edwards of SoZo to help sewists develop a better relationship with their handmade wardrobe. It is a huge deal on instagram every year, because most people pledge to wear all handmade for the entire month, and post a selfie every day on instagram using the #MMMay18
Which is super intimidating right?? My handmade wardrobe is not nearly filled out enough to wear only handmade all month. And posting a picture of myself every day to instagram is quite a commitment for me.
But then, I listened to episode 38 of the Love to Sew Podcast, which featured Zoe and the MMMay challenge. And Zoe emphasized that this challenge is NOT a photo challenge, and it is NOT the same challenge for different people. You get to choose what you want to challenge yourself to do. You don't have to wear me-mades from head to toe. And you don't have to post an instagram selfie every day. You can track your challenge however you want!
So of course, my mind jumped straight to bullet journaling!
I'm obsessed with my bullet journal, and I love creating new spreads to help me keep track of my life, so I whipped up a few pages to help me track my newly inspired MMMay!
I made a page for writing down my pledge, and another with a space to review at the end of the month. I also created a fun spread for cataloging my handmade closet!
I made a monthly overview spread, to make sure I had a place to mark off each day that I succeeded (I love crossing things off) and to write out any big events that may affect what I'm wearing that day.
Lastly, I created spreads for the individual weeks. Each day gets its own space where I can draw up a little flat sketch of my daily me-made, and write a couple notes, like the weather for the day, what the rest of my outfit was, or what I did that day. And there is even more room for notes at the end of each week, to jot down some ideas on how to fill in wardrobe gaps, or record your favorite outfit of the week!
I love my Me Made May spreads, and I think it is going to really help motivate me to stick to my pledge this year!
I started wondering if other people may want to use a fun tracking system like this too, and I decided to throw them up in my shop as a free printable for you! It's a fun way to participate in the challenge without the added pressure of selfies! I'm still gonna try to put pictures up on instagram, but somehow it seems more doable if I don't HAVE to do it.
I'm so excited to be releasing my third garment pattern! This is the my first pattern that uses my animal sizing, which I absolutely love. And it's already a staple in my closet! I've made three for myself, and I already have plans to make a fourth one! Robes are one of those garments that I never knew I wanted until I had one. My mother in law surprised me with a super fuzzy and warm robe for Christmas a few years ago, and now I barely take it off during the winter because I'm always freezing. But I decided I loved wearing it so much that I wanted a cute summery version too.
And voila! The Inara was born. The name is a nod to the show Firefly, because Inara is one of my favourite characters and a flirty robe seems right up her alley! The robe is short and sassy with a hem that curves up on the sides, and it works great with all the lightweight drapey fabrics in your stash. It can be a beach coverup, a bridesmaid gift, lacy lingerie, a maternity delivery robe, a house coat, or a light outer layer for summery days. So much possibility!
And it's a great pattern for Capable (advanced beginner) sewers! The curved hem, the thread belt loops, and the homemade binding might be new skills to add to your repertoire, and they each come with step by step instructions, tips, and even a few videos to help you along your way. And of course, I'm always here as a resource! I can't wait to see all the fun you have with this pattern!
I have a new PDF pattern for you guys!! It is a super quick and easy anatomical heart appliqué!
As I'm sure you know by now, I'm obsessed with all things Halloween. I love the big elaborate costumes, but I also love little touches of macabre. Things that I can wear all October long, simply as a part of my outfit, without drawing a ridiculous number of stares. And this simple little heart is absolutely perfect! You can add it to a tshirt, a dress, a coat, or a costume. Make it really stand out with contrasting fabric, or make it a subtle addition as I did here.
I appliquéd this thrift store sweater last friday, and then immediately wore it out to Kings Island for their Halloween Haunt night and it was perfection!
Now I just need to make about ten more!
If you haven't picked up the pattern yet, you can head on over to the shop to grab it. I have the basic written instructions on the one page pdf as well, but if you want a more detailed tutorial, you are in the right place!
Cut out the 2 (only two!) pattern pieces, and use them to cut your fabric. I really like the look of having two different tones for the two different pieces of the heart. A super easy way to do this is to use the same fabric, just flipped to the back side, which is what I did here! One is right side up, and the other is right side down.
Transfer the dotted line markings from your pattern to your fabric. I honestly just used a black marker since I planned to sew over them in black thread anyway.
If you are using a fabric that may unravel along the edges, you can use fray check or some sort of stabilizer to help keep your fabric intact.
Once the fray check has dried, intertwine your two heart pieces together so that they look like so:
Pin them into place on your main fabric (whatever you are adding this appliqué to) and topstitch them in place! I just followed along the edges of my heart pieces, and then sewed down a few of the dotted lines as well.
Then, if you like, you can use embroidery thread to really make your heart lines pop!
Boom! Done! Enjoy your new anatomical heart! And don't forget to use #anatomicalheartapplique so I can see your creations!!
Hello and welcome to the Tombstone Pillow Sewalong! It's time to start thinking about Halloween decorations (I just got mine out of storage today!) and this creepy pillow is a great addition to any spooktakular home setup!
If you don't have your own copy of the pattern yet, you can pick it up in the Goheen Pattterns shop, or in my GreenGraves Etsy shop.
If you would like to order a custom Tombstone (you get to pick what the epitaph is) I can do that too!
The Tombstone Pillow Sewing Pattern is rated CONFIDENT on my sewing levels chart. This means that you sew on the regular, are familiar with sewing patterns, and you know your sewing machine like the back of your hand! Basically, if you have never sewn anything before in your life, this one might not be the pattern to start with.
HOW IT WORKS
Over the next few weeks, I'll publish a series of blog posts taking you step by step through the entire process of making your own tombstone, from PDF pattern to finished pillow. You can sew along with me, ask me questions, and share your techniques and advice with other sewists following along as well! You can leave comments and questions here on the blog, in our Goheen Patterns Sewing Group on facebook, or on instagram with the hashtag
I'll try my best to answer any questions as quickly as I can, but feel free to jump in and help each other out too!
The Tentative Schedule for the Sewalong is:
Aug 17th - Part 1 - Intro, Gathering Materials
Aug 20th - Part 2 - Putting together the pattern
Aug 23rd - Part 3 - Cutting out the fabric, and Quilting the front
Aug 30th - Part 4 - Making cording and Sewing your tombstone together
Oct 7th - Part 5 - Flipping, Clipping, Stuffing, and Closing your pillow
Show off your finished pillows! To be featured, email me a photo at email@example.com or use #TombstoneSewalong
So if all goes according to plan, you will have a finished decoration by Oct 7th! Plenty of time to use it for Halloween 2017!
GATHERING YOUR MATERIALS
Materials and Tools you need by Aug 20th, for Part 2:
- The pattern (available in the pattern shop)
- A way to print the pattern (printer at home or at a copy shop)
- Paper Scissors
- Clear Tape
- A ruler or measuring tape
Materials and Tools you need by Aug 23rd, for Part 3:
- 1yd (1 meter) of any 40-60" wide woven fabric, prewashed. I love using a nice textured grey fabric from the home decor section!
- 1/2 yd (1/2 meter) of "lining", prewashed. This can be any fabric at all, it will not be seen on the outside of your tombstone, so it is a great stash buster.
- 1/2 yd (1/2 meter) of any quilt batting (18"x22" for you scrap busters)
- Contrast Top stitching Thread (black thread is great on a grey tombstone)
- 145" of 5/32 of welt cording (370 cm) Etsy is a great place to find this if it's not at your local craft store. You can also sub in 5/32 inch clothesline found at a hardware store or even a grocery store!
- Fabric Scissors
- Fabric marker/chalk
- Sewing Machine
- Handsewing Needle
- Skinny Black marker
- Press and Seal OR Transfer Paper OR Tissue Paper
That's it for now! I'll see you back for Part 2 on the 20th!
Let me know if you have any questions about gathering materials!
This blog post may be coming a little late, but my excitement about releasing a garment pattern is so fresh that I figured it’s still relevant!
The process of creating and releasing a sewing pattern, especially one that requires grading and testing, is a lengthy one. I started patterning my first rendition of The Eddie Tank in January, and didn’t release the finished pattern until May. Obviously, I wasn’t working non-stop on this project all those months. I was also working my day job, fulfilling Etsy orders, working on the wholesale side of my business, and also doing all the back end administrative work as well. Finding (or creating) time to work on the patterning side of my business isn’t always easy. Which is why I’m so excited to finally have the fruits of my labor ready for the picking!
The Eddie was inspired back in January by…. You guessed it…. Eddie! For those of you who don’t know him, Eddie is my husband, and his signature look in life is a running singlet. Years of running every day, often multiple times a day, means that running tank tops are one of the staples of his closet, and an easy pick even for when he’s lounging around in the Indiana summer heat.
Inspired by this, I wanted to create a simple, comfortable, and stylish workout tank that is a quick sew.
For my household, this garment is one that we can make over and over, and wear over and over.
Exercise is a very high priority to us, and we aim to work out in some form every day, and Eddie's usual form is running. And when you run every day, you can go through 7 of these puppies in a week. And that is only if we manage to do laundry every week (we don’t). So quick to sew was a must. Stylish is the other side of the coin. The swoosh in the front is just enough to add some interest to the tank, a way to make it stylish, and a way for you to individualize your singlet by incorporating different fabrics into the same tank. The bound arm and neck holes also allow for a contrasting fabric, and give the top a very clean, professional look. Also, the side panels not only add to the style of the top, but also allow for use of a mesh fabric to keep super cool and comfortable when you are working out.
For this sample of the Eddie tank, I used performance honeycomb mesh on the top and sides and regular performance mesh for the main back and front pieces. I found these at my local Joann’s (I was surprised too!) and they have been great to work with.
Along with all the photos I took of Eddie in the Eddie (he is such a trooper) I wanted to share some of my testers’ photos too! They did a great job, and I love seeing the different color combinations they came up with.
Basically, I love my Eddies, both human and fabric, and I can’t wait to see even more of them pop up as more people try out one of their own.
New product alert!
I’ve got some new Indianapolis themed goodies, just up in the shop! I debuted these at the IHE last month, but I’ve just gotten around to listing them on Etsy (that’s what traveling to Alaska and then to London in the same month does to your work schedule).
These pillows are actually a result of narrowing my product line! Last year, I had made a few throw pillows for a local shop. They wanted to round out the Indiana products with some basic pillows as well. So, I made some pillows, which were sold on consignment, which means when the store later closed down, these pillows came back to me. By this time, I had realized that the products I had been offering were a little too varied for a cohesive look and feel. I had decided to stay clear of basic pillows, and only offer ones that have a little something extra special (a new shape, a face, etc). So these square ones sat around for a while until I realized DUH! I could add a skyline onto them and make them into something extra special!
I love how they turned out! I love my Indiana shaped pillows, but not everyone wants a pillow with such an odd shape. Square ones are a much more subtle nod to the circle city.
creative business owner. designer. hoosier. crafter. runner. sewer. swing dancer. outdoor enthusiast. entrepreneur. wife. material hoarder.
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Madeline Stage firstname.lastname@example.org
"Never give up on a dream because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway."
- Earl Nightingale