Monday, August 26, 2013

And then this happened...

I know, I know... it's been ages since my last post. But I promise you I have a very good reason. I had a baby!

Our son Jackson was born October 12, 2012 and weighed in at 9 lbs. 12 ounces. My husband and I couldn't be happier. I mean, just look at that smile.

As any of you who are parents know, the first months flew by in a blur. It was basically feed, sleep, change, repeat, which left little time for fun stuff like sewing and crafting. Plus, I went back to work full-time when he was just 8 weeks old, so even as we started to gain ground in the sleep department, I had one more thing competing for my attention. I really admire those bloggers like Rad Megan who manage to keep blogging even after they have a baby. (And yes, Megan, plenty of us love your onesie posts!)

I may still be underslept but I do feel like I've turned the corner -- and better still, I've started sewing again. In fact, I even treated myself to a new machine. I've sewn for years on the Husqvarna 215 machine that I wrote about here, and it has definitely served me well. But I was ready to upgrade to a newer machine that had certain features I was craving -- an automatic thread cutter, a knee lift for the presser foot, better buttonhole options, an integrated walking foot, a wider throat, and brighter lighting in the work area. I got a Janome Memory Craft 8900 QCP, and so far I love it. In the interest of full disclosure, I should add that I contemplated getting a Bernina, but I just couldn't justify the added cost for that brand name.

For now I'm mostly sewing baby clothes. Did I say clothes? I really meant pants. Big Butt Baby Pants. Those things are so stinking cute and they go together so quickly. So far I've made two pairs for Jackson, including the ones in this video, and I have three more on the cutting table now.

At some point I'll try to post still photos of the pants. In fact, I planned to take pictures of Jackson showing off his new crawling skills in them tonight, but guess who had a blowout at daycare today? Oh well, it just gives me a good excuse to take more photos of my sweet little babe! As if I needed an excuse to take more photos of this cuteness.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Make do and mend

My favorite pair of cargo pants have been sitting in the drawer unworn for months, thanks to an unexpected tear that developed on the left leg. As I was looking through photos, I realized that the last time I wore them might have been on my honeymoon!

Us enjoying our trip to Tybee Island, Georgia

For whatever reason, it's taken me this long to get around to fixing them. It's silly really, because it took me less than thirty minutes once I actually sat down and did it. 

I figure that if I felt overwhelmed with a little mending project, maybe some of you would feel that way too. Well, I'm here to tell you that making your own iron-on patch is simple! All you need is a few basic supplies and less than half an hour.

What you need
+ scissors
+ pinking shears (optional)
+ coordinating fabric
+ double-sided fusible webbing (ex: Pellon 805 Wonder Under)
+ iron and ironing board
+ sleeve board (or a makeshift sleeve board)
+ press cloth

Make the patch
Eye ball the size of the hole and cut a piece of fabric that's at least 1" larger in each direction. Cut a piece of fusible webbing that's a tad smaller, so that you don't end up with adhesive on your ironing board cover. 

Follow the manufacturer's instructions and fuse the webbing to the fabric. For me, this meant putting the bumpy side of the fusible face down on the fabric and then pressing with a hot dry iron for 5-8 seconds. (Sorry -- no picture of this part!)

 Let the piece cool before you handle it, so that the glue can set up. Use your scissors or pinking shears to trim the patch. Pinking the edges will help make sure that your patch doesn't start to unravel after repeated washings. Finally, peel off the paper backing.

Mending and making do

Iron on the patch
Turn your project inside out and head over to the ironing board. If you're fixing pants like I was, you'll need a flat surface that you can slide inside the pant leg. I used a sleeve board, but you could also use a scrap piece of 2x4 wrapped in a towel.

Mending and making do

Next, position the patch over the hole. Spend a little extra time lining up the raw edges of the hole and making sure that any torn threads will lie flat once the patch is in place.

Mending and making do

Use a damp press cloth and a hot iron to fuse the patch, pressing firmly across the entire surface for 10 to 12 seconds.  The press cloth is just a piece of muslin that I wet under the faucet and then wrung out so that it was just damp. You can see that I chose to pin the bottom half of the patch and fuse the top half first, since I wanted to make sure that the patch wouldn't shift as I was fusing.

Mending and making do

Once the top half of the patch was fused, I removed the pin and fused the bottom half. Don't forget to use a section of the press cloth that's still damp.

Mending and making do

And voila! Here's what the finished patch looks like on the inside.

Mending and making do

And here's a shot of me wearing the newly mended pants. I debated about whether or not to reinforce the patch with some topstitching, but I decided that I'd wash the pants a few times and see how it holds up. I can always go back later and add reinforcement.

Mending and making do

Friday, February 03, 2012

Making lemons into lemonade

Ever have one of those moments in sewing where things don't go according to plan?

I was at Open Sewing last night and I heard one my the students say, "Oh no!" She was holding what looked like a finished pillow cover in front of her. Only there was one problem.

She had sewn the pieces together backwards, aka wrong sides together. Drat!

My first thought was to reassure her that this is something that happens to all of us at one time or another. It's certainly happened to me more than I care to admit, especially when I stay up until 1am because I just... have... to finish... the project...

I was about to tell her that she could grab a seam ripper and start picking out all of the stitches, but then it hit me.

French seams!

If you aren't familiar with French seams, they're a great way to create a finished seam on homesewn garments. And they start by putting the fabric WRONG sides together, which is what we were dealing with. (FYI -- You can find plenty of French seam tutorials online, including here, here and here.)

I showed the student how to trim down the existing seam allowances, flip the project inside out, press the edges, and then finish creating the French seam. It was definitely the easiest way to remedy the problem (anything to avoid picking out more than a yard of stitches!). And better yet, I got to introduce her to a new technique that she can add to her bag of tricks.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What's new in 2012

Where did the last three months go? I can't believe that the last time I posted here was October! I was consumed with getting everything ready for the annual holiday craft show I organize and scheduling classes over at Sew Make Do.

I'm happy to say that GLAM Indie Craft Show was a hit again this year. We moved the show to Villa East, a venue that has a cool NYC loft vibe, and everyone really loved it. It was the first time we've done a mix of indoor and outdoor spots, and that seemed to work out well. Several of the vendors even told me that they had their best sales ever. It makes me so happy that I'm able to help these artists and crafters make money doing what they love to do!

KMS Designs at GLAM 2011
I've also been spending a lot of time at the Sew Make Do teaching beginner sewing classes and hosting Open Sewing. This Saturday I'm holding a grand opening party from 7pm to 10pm. If you've been curious about the studio, it's a great way to come check out the space and learn more about the classes we offer. We'll have beverages and light bites for you to enjoy. Plus we'll be holding a drawing for a sewing class, so there's a chance you could even get to take a class for free. Please feel free to drop on Saturday evening. We'd love to see you!

Teaching class at Sew Make Do (photo by Kristen Bartlett Grace)

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Drunken French Toast

Ever run out of an ingredient in the middle of cooking? Today I realized that we were out of maple syrup AFTER I had already made French toast. My solution? Improvise.

I grabbed a bottle of aged rum, some turbinado sugar, and a few pats of butter. Ten minutes later we were eating what I've now dubbed drunken French toast.

The flavor was divine. It carried the rich oakiness of the Ron del Barrilito rum, but without any of the heat since the alcohol cooked off. Plus the rum was from our summer trip to Puerto Rico, so it made me feel like we were wandering the streets of El Viejo San Juan again.

I may never go back to plain old maple syrup!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Join me for sewing classes at my new studio!

I am so freaking excited to announce that I'm opening my own studio! Sew Make Do will be a modern sewing and craft studio right here in Gainesville, FL. I already have a few classes posted and more will be coming.

Get Started with Sewing!
Saturday, Oct. 8 -- 9am to noon -- $35

Learn to Work with Patterns
Saturday, Oct. 8 -- 1 to 5pm -- $50

Sew Your Own Gameday Dress
Saturday, Oct. 15 -- 9am to 5pm -- $85

The studio will also be available for open studio time, so if you're an enthusiastic sewist who has yet to purchase her own machine, then this is the perfect solution! I'll also have my serger available for use, so you'll be able to give the seams of your projects a professional finish.

Sew Make Do is also a great place to host your next girls' night out. Just drop me an email at classes(at) and we can brainstorm about projects that might be fun for your group to try. You can even bring your own favorite snacks or drinks to enjoy! (Did someone say bubbly?) Plus, the best part is you don't even have to clean your house.

I'm so excited about this new project and can't wait to share it with everyone! Please feel free to "like" us on Facebook ( and check out our website for more information ( Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Calling all North Florida crafters!

I know it seems way too early to start thinking about Christmas, but now is the time to start applying to holiday craft shows. For crafters like me who live in North Florida, that means GLAM Indie Craft Show. Here's a shot of me in my booth at the 2009 show.

Last year GLAM had more than 30 unique vendors from around Florida. This year the event is moving to a new, larger space, so it promises to be even better!

Think you might be interested? Here's the link you need in order to apply:

Don't delay--the application deadline is Sept. 30.


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