Sewing It All in the Make-It-Center

Here’s a sneak-peak of what’s to come this spring in the Expo Make-It-Center.

Look at the cute new project featured in the Make It Center at the Expo in Atlanta and Schaumburg!

Right from the set of Sew It All TV series 700, this really cute, handy, fully-lined To Go Box Zippered Bag, made with luscious fabrics from Westminster Fabrics and thread and zippers from Coats & Clark.

We recently had a “test sew-in” at the Expo office and had 100% success. It was so much fun to sit and sew together. We have lots of different sewing levels among our Expo team. And, yes, even Holly finished hers!

At the Expo in Atlanta, stop by the Make It Center and sew with Jessica Guiardino from Sew It All TV and Sew News Magazine. In Schaumburg, sew with Beth Bradley from Sew It All TV and Sew News Magazine.

They’ll guide you through the project and share the latest news from the TV show and magazine as you sit and sew at one of the great new sewing machines provided by our generous machine sponsors!

Just drop by the Make It Center. It takes about 45 minutes to complete the bag and you’ll learn a lot! And have fun! And you can make more at home!

Everyone will want one – and everyone needs one! Don’t forget the guys in your life, too. They are great for sunglasses, electronic cords and plugs, spare change and whatever else goes along with your friends on the go.

Join the Make It Center festivities in Atlanta and Schaumburg this spring! See you there!

A Journey to New York, NY

Aly here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had the privilege of traveling to New York City last week to visit the DG Expo. This is a two-day show providing an exhibit location for businesses owners looking to buy needs at wholesale cost and includes different workshops on promoting their businesses.

 

Walking the rows were designers, manufacturers, private label retailers, party / event planners, retail fabric stores, and others that buy fabric and trimmings wholesale; people from literally all over the world! Quite the place to be in NYC in the heart of the fashion district. I made great connections with some talented people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I, of course, jaunted over (or, rather, ‘subway’ed over) to some other areas of the city, including:

Times Square

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Empire State building

 

 

 

 

 

 

The F + W office

 

 

 

 

 

 

The stars of Grand Central Station

 

 

 

 

Even making a super connection with The Sewing Studio, NYC’s leader for sewing instruction. They have also joined with F + W Media, and since we are now ‘co-workers,’ I thought I’d introduce myself.

If you’re in the city or the surrounding area, this place will hook you up with everything you need to know about sewing and the related crafts. Great classes, great services, great staff. This is really an enthusiastic space with incredibly knowledgeable and energetic staff members- not to mention it’s just nested on the 8th floor of a high-rise, which makes it notably cool.

 

Despite the winter storm that emerged while I was there, it was a productive and fun week! Original Sewing & Quilt Expo is excited about the merge with F + W media, the largest craft and hobby publisher in the world, and the many different communities we now get to be a part of!

 

Next trip planned: the Baltimore Expo! See you in March!

 

Sewing ABC’s and 123′s

Thread is  one of the most basic things you need for any sewing or quilting. There are all-purpose threads, cotton quilting threads, bobbin threads, hand sewing threads, upholstery threads and they all come in a wide array of colors.

There are so many kinds to choose from, but how do you know which is the best thread for your project?

Thread is sold by weight. But what does THAT mean?

The answer can be confusing because a finer thread has a higher weight number than thicker thread. It seems confusing, until you know how thread weight is calculated.

The thread weight is determined by how many meters of thread it takes to weigh 1 gram. It takes more yards of fine thread to weigh one gram, so finer threads have a higher thread weight.

For example, it takes 70 meters of 70 weight bobbin thread to weigh 1 gram.For a 35 weight thread, like Coats Cotton Covered Dual Duty XP™ All Purpose thread, it takes only only 35 meters of Dual Duty XP thread to weigh 1 gram.
Dual Duty XP is suitable for most hand and machine sewing.

Thanks to Coats & Clark for helping us learn more about thread and for generously sponsoring all the sewing thread used at Original Sewing & Quilt Expo in the classrooms and in the Make It Center.

 

You’ve Got To Try THESE At The Expo!

Have you heard of the exciting new Features and Events the Expo has added this year? If not – it’s not too late to join in on the fun!

Join us Friday evening from 6-7 for a fun, social, informal gathering showing off what you’ve made, want to make, or come if you just need some general sewing inspiration! It’s been a hit this year – attendees have so enjoyed the creative environment (not to mention there are great prizes and tasty snacks!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a style makeover experience? Get a one-on-one experience with a fashion expert! This showcase features some of our fashion teachers that work with participants to create a whole new look and instill fresh confidence! Some fashion personalities featured include Barb Callahan of Barb Originals, Cynthia Guffey, Carol Steinbrecher of Style Solutions LLC, and Linda Lee of The Sewing Workshop!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Come see young, enthusiastic sewers show off their projects at our Sewing’s Next Generation runway event. Each Saturday afternoon at the Expo, youth ages 9-18 have the opportunity to present their handmade goods, whether it be fashion or quilting related. Know of a young sewist who might be interested in participating? Visit our website to get all the details!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OSQE has three locations left on the calendar for 2013. Join the Expo in Minneapolis, Tinley Park, or Overland Park – or go ahead and join in on all three!

See you at the Expo!

 

Classes, Classes, Classes in Raleigh!

Well – I’m officially a part-time “empty nester,” and it’s time I start sewing again.  There is no longer a bed or evidence of a teenage boy living in my sewing room!  I have organized all my “had-to-have” patterns and fabrics and I’m ready to roll for Spring and Summer sewing.  But first I think I need some refresher classes that sound great at Original Sewing & Quilt Expo in Raleigh this June 20-22.  I checked to make sure the following classes still had plenty of room in them (often the hands-on classes sell out early), so here is what I plan to indulge in:

Thursday:

What Does This Fabric Want to Be?  – how great will this be for my HUGE stash of had-to-haves…9:00 – 10:00

Laminated Beauty Bag:  Let’s Make Up  -  this sounds really fun!   12:30-3:30

Downtown Bags  -  you can never have too many fun bags, right?   4:00-5:00

Hipster Chick  -  sew many techniques in this class – I’m excited to have a travel e-reader sleeve and learn how to do a monogram!  6:00-9:00 PM –will sleep well tonite!

Friday:  

Mix it Up  -  Another class with ideas for using different fabrics (different teacher, also)  9:00-10:00

Soup to Nuts Bracelet

Bead Soup to Nuts Bracelet  -  I saw a sample of this….so awesome!!  12:30-3:30

3:30-6:00   -  SHOPPIN TIME!

Color Me Confident  -  I’ve always wanted to know if the colors and fabrics I love are good choices for me.  I’m bringing lots of swatches!  6:00-9:00 PM

Saturday:

Seven Core Sewing Skills  -  Fabulous sounding class from an impeccable seamstress  10:30-11:30

Seams Make the Difference  -  I’d REALLY like to know more than serged finishes!   12:30-3:30

Sew,  I am bound and determined to push myself with a pretty strenuous schedule, because I KNOW I will come home with completed projects, samples and knowledge to get myself back on the sewing track.  Next time I go to an Expo,  I think I might dabble in some beginner quilting classes!!!!   RALEIGH,  here I come!

Do You Sew For A Cause?

Our team is off to Baltimore, Maryland this week, and we have the privilege of showcasing a wonderful internationally-known not-for-profit organization called, Dress for Success®.

WHAT IS IT?

Baltimore’s Chapter of Dress for Success® responds to the needs of women in the Baltimore area by providing programs that help economically disadvantaged women acquire jobs, retain their positions, grow into new positions and succeed in the mainstream workplace by building a career.

The mission is to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.

WHAT WILL THEY DO?

Join us each day at the Expo this week for a Dress for Success® SEW-A-THON!

Stop by the Make-It Center anytime between 2 and 5 p.m., Thursday-Saturday, to join other volunteers in sewing easy-fitting professional-style clothing. The garments that are made will be donated to Baltimore Dress for Success®. Come sit and sew, and you can be a key part in the transformation of clients into empowered, professional women who will excel not only in their careers, but in their lives as well!

There are also tons of other ways to get involved! With over 120 affiliates all over the world, check out your local Dress for Success® chapter and see what’s needed.

HOW CAN I SEW FOR A CAUSE?

If you are inspired by these kinds of stories, and want to hear more about what you can do, check out some of these items that were made to help others in need.

What are you passionate about? Easy-to-make items like this Infinity Scarf can  be made and sold, with profits going to a charity of choice. (You can also learn to make your own at the Expo!)

 

 

 

Like to travel? Get your garment-sewing juices flowing and make some simple-dimple pillowcase dresses. These were some dresses donated to little children in need in Africa. (Check out  Little Dresses for Africa for some great information, and build some core sewing skills in some of our expo classes!)

 

 

 

 

KNOW OF A GOOD CAUSE?

We have a number of charities and not-for-profits that often host a booth at the Expo.

Including:

Quilters Comforting Kids: Volunteers provide quilts made to comfort kids battling life-threatening illness or victims of abuse.

 

 

 

 

Project Linus: Providing comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of new, handmade blankets, lovingly created by volunteer “blanketeers.”

 

 

Quilts of Valor: Seeking to comfort all combat service members and veterans touched by war with healing and meaningful Quilts of Valor.

 

 

 

 

 

If you have been a part of or know of a great helping-cause that you want to give a shout out to, or you think should have the opportunity to be showcased at the Expo, write a comment and let us know!

 

See you in Baltimore!

 

Original Sewing & Quilt Expo: Atlanta!

3 days. Gwinnett Center. So. Much. Fun.

Filled with joy, inspiration and so much creativity, the kick-off of Original Sewing & Quilt Expo shows for 2013 began in Atlanta, Georgia.

Here’s a sneak peak into some of the highlights and happenings of this awesome event!

Check out Amy Butler’s Alchemy Collection by Rowan. The show included 10 esteemed garment designers – including some of our own Expo faculty. With Linda Lee commentating, the audience saw unique pieces from the fun, print-filled fabric, really taking our fashion show to the next level of excitement! Join us at the next Expo to be one of the FIRST to see this great collection!

Dawn shared this amazing quilt with us as part of Go Tell It.  We’ve teamed up with the Quilt Alliance to collect stories about quilts.  Dawn made this amazing quilt over a few years, following a watercolor technique to manipulate color.  We’ll link up to the video story soon so you can hear about the secret of this quilt…

A new feature at the show this year is The Spot, a hub of activity on the show floor.  Part of The Spot is dedicated to the Make It Center with a rotating schedule of fun activities from infinity scarves featuring Amy Butler’s Alchemy Studio Collection from Rowan to zipper flower pins.  The picture above is of a BRAND NEW SEWIST!  This was her first project – quick, easy, fun and DONE!

Last night was our first “I Made It Myself” event too!  A Friday evening social hour with food, drinks, new friends and all kinds of great handmade items. Hope to see you at the “I Made It Myself” meet ups at upcoming Expos!

Check out more pictures of the Atlanta Expo on Facebook!

Next stop…Lakeland, Florida! Then, back to Cleveland, Ohio!

Feeling inspired? Let us know how!

Alchemy – A New Collection from Amy Butler & a GIVEAWAY!

Thanks to Amy for giving us a peek into the creative process behind Alchemy!  Leave a comment about what you sew (garments, bags, quilts, all of it?) on this post for a chance to win a one yard cut of each of Amy’s new substrates – Voile, Sateen Bliss, Velveteen, Rayon Challis, Linen Cotton, and Linen Rayon. Giveaway ends on Monday March 11th at 9 AM EST.

Congratulations to Mary Arsenault, the winner of the fabric giveaway!

MY ALCHEMY STUDIO COLLECTION –  my first premiere collection dedicated to fashion sewing and created exclusively for my independent quilt shops worldwide!

Supple rayon challis, silky sateen bliss, flowy voile, buttery velveteen and soft linen cotton fabrics designed to all work as one stunning (and easy to buy) fashion group. Everyone is getting into fashion sewing, for themselves and for their homes! I want to make it easy to inspire fashionistas at every level by offering a cohesive collection in 12 skus . Imagine a pencil skirt and a voile blouse to go with, or a gorgeous rayon challis dress combined with a natural linen cotton jacket. Perhaps voile curtains with velveteen pillows and quilt. I had a ball with creating this mix! My idea is that in only 12 skus there is tons of versatility and variety in fabric substrates to allow sewists to make a wide variety of projects for garments, accessories, quilts and even home decor. The other key ingredient is the mix of colors and prints and that all of these different substrates coordinate and make one big beautiful story that allows the sewer to make a rayon challis blouse that will look gorgeous with velveteen pants, all from fabrics in this one core collection. My naturally inspired prints & bohemian graphics on these luscious substrates creates a new, fresh pattern mix to poetically layer and personalize. We all need great new ideas to get the fire going, and this is an exciting time to introduce the bright spark of fashion!

 I JUST COMPLETED MY ALCHEMY FASION RUNWAY SHOW THAT YOU CAN CHECK OUT HERE!!
Dalynn, Katie and I move you through an exciting experience where you get to the see the fabrics “in action”. It really does give you a whole new perspective and it was so much fun to create! Have fun watching!

HERE ARE SOME GREAT SHOTS FROM MY RECENT ALCHEMY FASHION SHOOT!

The Liverpool Tunic
The Emily Bag

The Drawstring Dress – Sew Red

Bag – Umami’s Fabric Canvas World
The Drawstring Dress – Sew Red

The Charm Clutch

The Roxanne Top – Victory Patterns

The Drawstring Dress – Sew Red
Bag – Umami’s Fabric Canvas World

Colette
Bag – Umami’s Fabric Canvas World
Dress – The Roxanne Top – Victory Patterns

The Charm Clutch

Fitz Patterns – Fabienne Shirt Dress
The Emily Bag

Lavender Sachet

Weekender – The Weekender Bag
The Drawstring Dress – Sew Red

AND MY DECORATOR FABRICS –  a brand NEW substrate mix of rayon and linen- it’s delicious and versatile!  I created this 8 sku mix to coordinate perfectly with my Alchemy Quilting cottons to add in that versatility piece again. Mixing and matching across fabric substrates gives us all so much flexibility and tons of ideas  The weight of this decorator linen makes it an exciting and versatile substrate. Heavy enough for upholstery, yet has a wonderful drape for all kinds of sewing projects!  I am planning on backing my new quilts with it.. it’s soft enough and very easy to sew with. I think this would be a great time to get everyone excited about home décor projects this winter! You can see by my illustration how easy it is to mix the decorator with my quilting fabrics.

I snapped a pic when my fabric yardage first arrived. OMG it’s like Christmas!!

I love this shot! The beautiful Kelsie is zen like in this sea of color. The bench, couch cushions and gumdrop pillow in the foreground are all made with my Alchemy Decorator Linen/ Rayon.

MY ALCHEMY LAMINATED FABRICS – I love working with these laminated fabrics. The soft texture and ease of use is the perfect combination for so many fun sewing and crafting projects. These 6 skus are some of my favorite prints! I love mixing my laminated with my new Decorator linen and my quilting cottons. For hot tips on working with laminated fabrics and links to great tutorials check this link out from my web site.
This is the “Emily Bag” from Ithinksew.com and it’s perfect for my laminated prints. I used my Decorator linen for the lining and handles.

The Emily Bag – The Emily Bag

The Emily Bag
Dress – The Roxanne Top – Victory Patterns

For loads of laminated inspiration you can check out my ‘Wonder” story in Blossom


Download my “Creative Project Suite” which has fabulous instructions for repurposing a vintage table and covering the top with laminated fabric.

MY ALCHEMY ORGANIC QUILTING COTTONS – 8 buttery beautiful prints! This collection launched in September 12′ and has been so well received!

Creating an organic collection has been a long time dream of mine and I’m proud to get to work with Westminster Fibers on developing and growing this category of material. There is an ever increasing demand for organic fabrics and I’m proud to offer this petite and powerful mix of prints.
This is a  sweet collective of my favorite botanical inspired designs translated in brilliant hues that are irresistible on my yummy 100% organic quilting cotton. This luxurious material makes the most delicious quilts and just keeps getting softer and softer with every wash. The incredible feel of the fabric & uplifting prints will have you dreaming up special projects for the ones you love! Printed sustainably with low impact dyes, my Alchemy fabrics  are certified organic through the G.O.T.S. affiliate Control Union Certifications – Netherlands  To see my full collection and loads of inspiration and project ideas check out my Blossom Magazine story “Indian Summer”
This is the end of my visit and I wanted to thank you for having me pop in today.  Thank you too everyone for your time. It’s been a joy to share my Alchemy Collections with you. If you’d like to connect or have feedback for me, hot tips, suggestions, I’d love to hear from you! You can drop me a note at amyb@amybutlerdesign.com or visit me on Facebook, Twitter – @amybutlerdesig1, Instagram – amybutlerdesign, and now on Pinterest.  Wishing everyone love, light, peace and wonderful creative adventures in 2013! XO AMY

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See Amy’s new fabric at the Expo!

 

Alchemy – A New Collection from Amy Butler

We are so excited to feature Amy Butler and her new Alchemy collection for our blog! Enjoy!

I am so grateful to have this opportunity to share with you about my new Alchemy fabric collections!  I love the whole process of designing my lines and at the same time thinking about new ways to have my collections work for my sewing friends. When I think about what my sewists need,  it’s passionate color, beautiful prints and lots of versatility in materials and types of fabrics to sew with. There’s a massive jump happening in our sewing world and we are all hungry to work on all kinds of sewing projects like fashion garments , home decor pieces, quilts, bags & accessories and all kinds of fabric crafts!  No surprise.. my full range of Alchemy substrates aims to meet all of these needs. I consciously kept the total number of fabrics smaller and concentrated for this collection so it’s easier for my sewists to mix and match prints and fabrics weights so customizing their projects would be fun and creative.  My goal was to design in total versatility, beauty and ease. Where can you find my Alchemy Studio collection?- at independent quilt and fabric shops worldwide! It’s here where you can have an amazing supportive and creative experience and find the highest quality education and materials.

Another fun piece in the creative process for me is coming up with new ways to share inspiration and ideas, this is one of the key reasons I created my “Blossom Magazine” & “Blossom Club”  so they could be a resource that offers you tons of creative opportunities and to be a voice that supports your heart and soul’s creative nudges… a way for all of us to connect and share about the things we value most and the things that call our passion forward. The other ingredient in the creative process that I love is story telling with my photography and marketing to give loads of ideas on what you can do with my fabrics. I know this is an important piece, it’s the emotive element that hits home and gets us all excited to create! I love it because it’s another way for me to express my vision and ideas and how I want people to experience the materials and I know it’s a great jumping off point that ignites quality creative time.

Here’s a link to my “Blossom Magazine”!

Now I’d love to ” tour” you through my Alchemy Collections! For an extensive and fun tour from me in my Fall Quilt Market Booth, check out my YouTube video here that gives you my personal first hand descriptions and inspirations for all of my Alchemy substrates.

MY ALCHEMY QUILTING AND FASHION – 12 prints total and completely yummy for all kinds of quilting and sewing projects!  I designed Alchemy around the idea of transformation, and infusing elements of nature with exciting color and vivid graphic stories. My vision is to achieve a lovely chemistry of print, color, and texture. I love using my quilting fabrics for everything! The idea of multiple uses really feeds into the versatility concept and provides unlimited ideas and inspirations. I really am that girl that loves to make everything under the sun.. quilts, fashion accessories and home decor projects. It’s really how we all live and what we all love. So much fun!  You can check out my full range here!

Top Left – Free Alchemy Pillow pattern
Top pillow in stack – The Liberty Book of Home Sewing 
Bottom pillows in stack – Honey Bun Poufs

Middle Pillow – Free Alchemy pattern http://amybutlerdesign.com/pdfs/SSlicesPillowPattern.pdf
Bottom Pillow –  The Liberty Book of Home Sewing 
Left Pillow – Free Alchemy pattern – http://amybutlerdesign.com/pdfs/SSlicesPillowPattern.pdf

Gypsy Sling

Honey Bun Pouf 

Weekender Travel Bag 

Free Alchemy Quilt – http://amybutlerdesign.com/pdfs/ALCHEMY_Quilt_Pattern.pdf
Honey Bun Poufs
Gumdrop Pillows

The Swing Bag by Amy Butler

The Birdie Sling

The Weekender Bag

The Spice Market Tote

The Gypsy Sling

AND… please be sure to enjoy my FREE quilt and pillow patterns!

ALCHEMY FREE QUILT
http://amybutlerdesign.com/pdfs/ALCHEMY_Quilt_Pattern.pdf

ALCHEMY FREE PILLOW
http://amybutlerdesign.com/pdfs/SSlicesPillowPattern.pdf

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See Amy’s new fabric at the Expo!

  • Fashion Show – Garments from some amazing designers grace the runway at noon each day.  In Atlanta, Lakeland, Schaumburg, Baltimore and Raleigh.
  • The Spot – join us to mix and match Amy’s great prints and fabric types in infinity scarves! In Atlanta, Lakeland, Cleveland, Schaumburg, Worcester, Baltimore and Raleigh.

Show and Tell

There’s always inspiration around the office. Kari brought in a colorful quilt…

She did a great pieced back, love those colors!

Kari’s next quilt is based on this big bold fish print.  She is going to free motion quilt on print.  This is a great way to use large scale prints.

Liz’s quilting group is working on creating pieced houses for an auction.  Liz paper pieced this cozy home, complete with some cats in the windows.

All ready for quilting!

Ellen is a quilter, but she is making the jump to garments.  She’s making Barb Originals’ Cowl Girl top with a great stretch linen from The Wool House – both found at Original Sewing & Quilt Expo!

Feeling inspired?  Take a class at an upcoming Expo…See the calendar to find a location near you!