Hi! So, a lot has happened since our last update and while I’ve kept active in our Facebook group and on Instagram, I didn’t really have anything to update you about. This pregnancy has been a series of complications and absolutely no solid information to report on. The good news is I’m still pregnant and made it to 30 weeks! I was restricted to some very modified activities: no lifting, pushing, walking far, or driving (thanks to roundabouts)… with a side of bedrest. We had a few scares that sent us to the birth unit for monitoring. They are worried about pre-term labor, so at ANY sign we have had to call or go in. My last few scans have showed everything is holding steady thanks to daily progesterone, and the baby is growing well, so I don’t need the constant monitoring any more. Slowly the restrictions will be lifted, and it will be safer for me to move around and do a bit more without help. The irony is that as I get past the danger zone, I’m feeling less of the scary cramping and pressure and more just miserably and uncomfortably pregnant… but as the doctor put it (in the nicest way possible of course)… “As long as the baby is OK, we don’t really care about you.” :P
Bedrest! I’ve run out of Netflix!
Bob says he looks like Batman… Yes, it’s a boy!
So, here’s an actual update. Yay!
What I’m doing now:
Prototyping. I made a cute tote bag that I will turn into a series of blog post tutorials, kind of like a sew-along featuring straps one day, fussy cutting the next. I have sketched narrowed down to 16 styles I have started to play with, so that’s happening, just slowly!
Keeping up. This is huge improvement for me right now and a good day is one with 0 unread emails
Catching up on admin tasks like accounting… boring and not blog worthy, but necessary and dreadfully behind.
A pile of baby sewing: pram liner, burp cloths, and blankets are all on the list! Possibly also some maternity clothes since they all seem expensive or horrible. Birthday gifts and the random bag have also worked their way in.
Photo lights. I can’t write any patterns or tutorials until I have photo lights. I don’t get the right kind of light in my sewing room at the right time of day to use natural light. These have been backordered since February but I’ve been promised they will be in stock this week. (But that’s not the first time I’ve heard this. Customer service over here can be terrible!)
An iMac. Many of you might know my iMac imploded the week before I left Chicago. I managed to pull backups, but the plan was to get a pattern out right after my 90 day hiatus was up and buy a new one. That didn’t happen. I’ve been working off my 11″ MacBook Air, which is great for email and bedrest and Netflix but not so much for sorting out my 600GB Aperture library that corrupted 10 minutes before I got on the plane, or designing pattern pieces in Illustrator. We are waiting to see if new models will be announced at the end of the month, and that’s my time frame for having some new prototypes ready to start drawing.
Dual feed. They warned me that giving up my Bernina 750 with dual feed would require therapy. They were right. My 350 and I had to practice quite a bit to get used to each other, so my first few projects on her were just some very simple zippered pouches. Apparently she doesn’t know how to put her presser foot down when you step on the pedal. Not her fault, but a muscle memory thing that needs to be re-learned or it results in quite a knotted mess. I’m having to pin *everything* really well and use my walking foot for projects I wouldn’t normally use it for due to the wider seam allowance it needs. I did manage a really awesome Two Zip Hipster and an Outta Time Tote, so I think we can get along for a while, which is good. Maybe I’ll get lucky and find a used one, or maybe Bernina would like a non-traditional ambassador. :) (They usually prefer quilters, fabric artists, and garment sewers, but I think bag making really gets taken to the next level on the 7 series! Hey, I can hope, right?)
What to look for:
More of the same style patterns: Detailed instructions that feel like sewing lessons. Functional bags that are fully thought out and tested. Clean designs that teach you helpful techniques. Finished linings that look as good on the inside as on the outside. Tutorials that you can refer to when making any bag. More cross body bags, diaper bags, wallets, medium size purses and totes, and lots of practical bags like messengers and duffles are all in my sketchbook.
More patterns with an emphasis on quick construction and/or inexpensive materials: Before the strictest part of the bedrest, I made it out to a couple sci-fi conventions and a craft show. Several booths had some awesome handmade stuff, and we chatted a bit about their markets. They need fast projects that don’t take a ton of feature fabric. Things like front flaps or panels made in Star Trek or Doctor Who fabric, with straps and main bodies made out of denim or canvas. No one could make a Daytripper in these pricey fabrics ($22/metre in Oz!) for less than $150. I saw several Zip and Go’s, which was incredible! But things like pencil cases, front zip pouches, wallets, baby bibs, and bow ties dominated. After bouncing ideas off group members, it’s clear you also want projects that can be made for gifts or craft shows without clearing your fabric shelf or wallet and taking up your entire weekend to cut and sew. The Outta Time Tote has been super popular, more than I ever would have thought, so I’ll be taking that lead with that and focusing on some simpler styles in between my usual process of inventing zipper installation methods on a monthly basis.
Tutorials… as mentioned above with the sew-along style tote, I’ll be posting some tutorials. I’m also going to explain how I made my zipper display board. As I dive into baby-sewing, who knows what we’ll get! And if you have any special requests, let me know!
A new website. This was on my list for Q3 but it’s not happening. I know sometimes it’s not easy to navigate, but clicking Tutorials and Pattern Shop at the top should get you to most of what you need. I’m going to make as many minor changes as I can without a full redesign.
So, now that you’ve been updated…
If you haven’t heard… Canada, Australia, and a few other countries are being hit hard on their US Dollar exchange rates right now. Australia is at 70c and is expected to go to 60c. Just a year ago they were even. That means a $14USD pattern is currently $20AUD, and will go to $22AUD. To help a bit, I’ve bumped our $14 patterns down to $12, and lowered a few of the others as well. There is also a group discount right now if you join! Take a look in the PDF PATTERN SHOP!
Best ways to follow right now:
INSTAGRAM. I know not everyone has it, but it’s so easy and fast and it’s extremely interactive, so IG is almost always updated first.
The Facebook GROUP. Not only can you get answers right away from someone awake in your time zone, but the conversations are really encouraging and the bag pictures are inspiring! The most common question I’m asked that I recommend asking in the group is about modifying and re-sizing patterns. I haven’t made every mod or used every fabric combination, but I’m sure someone in the group has! We giggle at sewing memes and drool over someone’s zipper or fabric order. The best part is that you don’t need to wait for me to post, like on the Facebook PAGE, to interact. Someone will always tag me if I’m the only one who can help, like a question about an order. And Bob is there to cause trouble and get scolded by the girls for misbehaving. He’s also able to post updates or get a message to me and back to you, if for some reason I can’t do it myself.
Email me: I’m caught up now, yay! If you need anything, it’s firstname.lastname@example.org. My phone pretty much never leaves my hand so if you’ve got my email address, you’ve got me. AOL has been spamming our pattern receipts containing download links, so I’m here if you need me to re-send or re-set your downloads. No problem, just let me know!
We will get back into updating everything regularly, but those are by far updated the most often (and probably always will be!)
Thank you for sticking by us in this extended hiatus!