Sunday, June 19, 2016

Gatorbunnysews Is Now The Blue Dot Blog!

That's right!  I've been blogging at Gatorbunnysews for years and now it'll be The Blue Dot Blog!  The content won't change....just the name.  I'll still be writing about my adventures in sewing, inspiration, tutorials, projects and my general love of sewing.  It's a bit tricky moving a blog but here goes...thanks for following and I hope you'll stay with me!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Khaki Skirt - New Look 6035

You know how sometimes you just have one of "those days"?  Well this has been one of "those projects".  You know the ones where it’s supposed to be simple and for one reason or another, or in this case several reasons, it turned to be not as quick and simple as I was expecting. There was nothing wrong with the pattern it was of “those projects”.

I've enjoyed working with fabric prints lately but it's time for me to add some summer basics to my wardrobe. I purchased this stretch cotton slightly brushed medium weight twill a couple of months ago in hopes of sewing up some pants but instead I stitched up an aline skirt using New Look 6035. 

For starters, I prewashed the fabric and it came out with stains.  I’m not sure if it was my machine or it was damaged when I bought it but, ugh. I counted it as a loss but after a few days I washed it again and got most of the stains out.  It wasn't enough for pants but there was enough to eek out a skirt.

The skirt is pretty plain and although I'm looking to add basics to my wardrobe, I wanted to avoid the "Armed Forces" look (there's nothing wrong with a uniform look except when it's not supposed to be a uniform). I looked to my "Sassy Skirts" Pinterest board for inspiration and decided to add pockets and belt loops with top stitching, back darts for shape and 6 inches to the length.

The skirt should’ve gone together easily and quickly and the instructions were good but it took quite a bit longer than the 2-3 hours it should have.  I put the invisble zipper in 3 times because I kept stitching too close to the coil (really?), I forgot to put the belt loops in the seam when attaching the waistband and found another stain on the fabric as I was working.  Thankfully, I was able to get it out.

Well folks, I persevered and came out with a skirt I’m happy with.  For sure someone needs to print a “#sticktoitiveness” t-shirt for me.  I’m having a little difficulty figuring out how to style it because the topstitched pockets make it a bit too casual for the tops I wear to work.  I think it looks best with a simple t-shirt and sandals or tennies.  Any ideas on styling?
A print sundress is under my sewing machine now.  I’ll share soon!


Sunday, June 5, 2016

Pattern Testers - I Couldn't Do It Without Them

There's a lot that goes into the development of a pattern; design, pattern making, testing, writing, testing some more, refining and the list goes on.  But the best part of the development of a pattern is when it goes out to the testers and I get to what people make.

I'm amazed at how gifted, skilled and generous my pattern testers are!  They made some really fun Ally skirts, gave awesome feedback and were all around supportive during the entire process. Their suggestions have been invaluable.  I couldn't have done it without them!

Here are some of the makes from these lovely testers:

Michelle from ThatBlackChic added pockets and flaps for a young and funky Ally.  So much fun!

Melissa from Mahlicadesigns made a dark denim skirt with snaps.  A great wardrobe builder, right?

Karen made a wool version (so classic!) with pockets and then a higher waisted denim version for her lovely daughter.

Lindsay of Inside The Hem made a corduroy skirt.  When Lindsay sent her photos I had to giggle because I had just finished a brown cord version myself!

Caroline made a fun black Ally that can be worn all year with a light t-shirt in the summer and a chunky sweater and boots in the winter.  I love it!

I'm the luckiest designer ever!  Thank you pattern're the best!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Blue Dot New Release - The Ally Skirt

The newest addition to the Blue Dot Patterns Collection is the Ally Skirt PDF Pattern!  It's now available on the BDP website!

To celebrate the new release, it's on sale for 30% off....just $7.00.

Ally has length and pocket options and best of all, it sews up really quick!

Head on over to the website and check it out!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

I'm Happy To Announce....The Ally Skirt

I'm happy to announce the newest pattern in the Blue Dot Collection, The Ally Skirt PDF Pattern!

The Ally Skirt is a 6 gore skirt with 2 length options, button front, topstitching and flap or pocket
option (because we love our pockets!)  Instructions include directions for a custom fit. View A is above the knee a with flap and has a finished length of 17 1/2".  View B is knee length with an inset patch pocket and finishes at 22 1/2”. This pattern is designed for the beginning/intermediate sewer.

She doesn't take much fabric and is a really quick sew.  Ally is a great way to add to your wardrobe.  I hope it becomes one of your TNT patterns.

Upcraft Club is doing an exclusive release today so head on over and take a look!

The pattern will be available on the Blue Dot Website on June 3rd.

I hope you like it!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

New Pattern Is On The Way...June 1st

I’ve got some happy news....

It might look like there hasn’t been much sewing going on here but really, it’s been a happy sewing marathon as I've been getting ready to add a pattern to the Blue Dot Collection.  I’m excited to announce I’ll be releasing a new pattern and her name is Ally!  
Upcraft Club will do an exclusive release June 1st and the pattern will hit the Blue Dot Website beginning June 3rd.  

More details about Ally coming soon...

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Come Take a Class With Me...Georgia Top

On June 11th I'll be teaching a Georgia Top class at Fabricland in Orange, CA.  I would love to see you there and have a chance to sew with you.  
If you’re new to sewing with knits or want to brush up on your knit skills, this class is for you.  In this class you will make the dolman sleeve Georgia Top PDF pattern and learn how to:
  • Choose the right knit fabric for a project.
  • Use and put together a PDF pattern.
  • Sew knits without a serger.
  • Choose the right needle and notions for knits.
  • Use a twin needle.

And best of all, you’ll have a new top to add to your wardrobe and a pattern you can use over and over!
Saturday June 11 from 12:30 - 4:30
Class Fee: $45
Class fee includes PDF pattern.  Bring basic sewing notions and machine (optional - we have machines available for use free of charge during class.)

Class supplies:  Fabric for top (see pattern for yardage), thread to match.
Please email me if you're interested or call Fabricland to sign up: (714)974-1214.
I look forward to seeing you!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Anna Sui Georgia Hack

I bought this Anna Sui fabric back in February on a trip to Mood Fabrics.  It almost became one of those fabrics I couldn’t cut into because it is just too pretty.  It’s silly treat fabric that way so I forced myself to cut it anyway. 

This fabric lends itself to a simple pattern because a frilly blouse combined with this print would end up looking too young for me.  I wanted something easy to wear and casual.  I believe the fabric is silk but it really feels more like a silk/cotton blend because although it has a sheen, it drapes more like a cotton lawn than a charmeuse.

I used the Georgia Top View C.  I know most sewers look at this pattern and think “sweatshirt” but Georgia is more versatile.  View C is made for a woven fabrics combined with knit bands.  

There are some master Georgia hackers out there and I’d almost call this a hack but I only made three simple modifications: 
  1. I hemmed the bottom and sleeves.
  2. I added a bias trim on the neck instead of a knit neckband.
  3. I added a front keyhole with pintucks next to it.

It was simple a fun and I’m glad I cut into this precious fabric. I’d like to made a solid cream skirt to go with it.

Happy Sewing!  Diane

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Beach Glass Margo Blouse

I made a Margo Blouse this week I’d like to quickly share with you.  I’m in desperate need of some solids in my wardrobe and because I like pretty much all shades of blue (you probably guessed that since my pattern line is called Blue Dot), I thought this “beach glass” colored linen would make a perfect wardrobe addition.

I made View B with no alterations and added etched shell buttons from my stash.  I’ve made quite a few Margos, as you can imagine, and next I’d like to make a sleeveless white one for the summer.

On a completely different note...guess what I just found out?  My 16 year old son can take pictures.  I talked him into taking these pics for me and it turns out he’s pretty good.  It was a different experience than my usual photo shoot when I typically take 10+ pics in the same pose and come back with a ridiculous amount of photos that take forever to sort through.  My son took one pic of each pose and said “I got it, do something else.”  Guys can really make things a whole lot simpler.  He’s going to wish he wasn’t so good because I’m going to ask him again.  For sure I’ll have to bribe him with a milkshake next time.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Wrap Skirt - McCall's 5430

I’m throwing back to a skirt pattern I haven’t used in years.  I’ve been channelling the 70’s lately I’m sure because I was inspired by ThatBlackChic’s 70’s projects last month. As I was going through my pattern stash, this wrap skirt looked perfect.   It’s McCalls 5430 and I made it about 5 years ago and happily it’s still in their current catalog.

Most of my projects start with fabric as inspiration and this one is no different.  This print is a classic Kaffe Fasset print and every time I walk by it at Fabricland, it calls my name.  There are so many amazing quilting fabrics out there but sometimes I find it’s tricky to use them in clothing.  Summer skirts, however, seem to be a great place to get them into my wardrobe.
I was about half way through making the skirt when I realized in order for the print to work it needed a trim.  The fabric has yellow, orange, pumpkin and green and I purchased this pretty yellow linen to add 1/2” trim on the waist and side.  I did some unsewing but it was well worth it.

On a side note, a couple of summers ago my family and I drove through Big Sur. As I was making  this, I remembered something from the trip.  It was way passed lunch time and we were looking for a place to get something to eat before everyone got crabby.  The first restaurant we came to was Nepanthe.  It looked like Shangri-la.
It’s set high on a cliff overlooking the water with beautiful umbrellas.  As I was eating I saw what looked like Kaffe Fasset paintings on the walls.  I took a closer look and found the restaurant was started by his family.  How did I not know this?  It was serendipitous!
Have you been there?
Are you summer sewing?


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

We Are Looking For Pattern Testers

Would you like to be in our database of pattern testers? We are looking for beginning/intermediate to advanced sewists in a range of sizes to test Blue Dot women's sewing patterns.

If this sounds interesting to you, here's what we are looking for:

  1. Beginning/Intermediate to Advanced sewing knowledge.
  2. Access to a printer (since you will be testing a PDF patterns you will need to print the patterns).
  3. Interest in testing women's patterns (no prior testing experience is needed).
Here's what you'll do:

  1. Receive a "working copy" of a Blue Dot PDF Pattern to make according to the instructions.
  2. Provide at least 2 well lit photos of your finished project.
  3. Keep the new pattern a "secret" (shhhhh) until the pattern is officially released.
  4. Give feedback on the pattern and instructions on the provided form.
Here's the other stuff you may be wondering:

  1. Pattern testers will receive a "working copy" and a copy of the final finished pattern.  There is no compensation for being a tester.
  2. You don't need to have a blog to be a pattern tester.
  3. We will be choosing a few testers for every size of the pattern.  These testers will be chosen at random.
  4. The turnaround time for pattern testing is typically between 2-3 weeks.  This means, once you agree to test a particular pattern, you will need to turn in the photos and feedback before the deadline.
  5. If you don't have time to test a pattern during a call that's no problem, you can let us know and we will still keep you in the database for next time.

If this sounds good to you, email us here with the following info and we will contact you about being a tester:

  1. Level of sewing experience: beginning/intermediate, intermediate or advanced.
  2. Blog URL, Instagram or Facebook if you have one (this is not required).
  3. Bust, Waist and Hip measurement.
Don't be shy!  We are looking for all sizes and levels of sewing experience.

Thank you!  Diane

Monday, March 28, 2016

My Summer Sweatpants - Butterick 6137

A while back I saw an Instagram post of a pair of loose joggers that the sewist referred to as her "secret pajamas" (for the life of me I can't remember who made the post...if you know please tell me).  That made me giggle and also made me realize I need a pair of secret pajamas too....but I'm calling mine "summer sweatpants".

My biggest wardrobe deficit by far is solid or almost solid basics.  Clearly, with all the prints I use I'm miserable at closing this gap but the other pieces I'm missing are everyday comfortable pants to wear when I'm running around.  Sweatpants really, but something light and pretty for those days when temperatures hit the 90's.

These rayon batiks were just delivered to Fabricland and I couldn't pass this one up.  It's perfect for pants because it's light, washable and comfortable to wear.  I always prewash my fabrics and for this fabric I washed it in warm water and dried it on a medium heat to take out any shrinkage.

I used Butterick 6137 with pockets.  There are several leg opening options for these pants but I added 2" to the length and left the legs open.  To be honest I'm a little leary of the "jogger" trend because of my body shape but I may add elastic to the ankles for my next pair.

Word of warning here, these pants are high waisted...I mean really high they could easily be granny pants.  I shortened the crotch depth 2" and they still landed near my waist.  I'll shorten them even more next time and bring the side seam in to give them a slimmer leg.

My favorite part of the these pants are the pockets.  I attached them using a decorative stitch in contrasting thread.  Rayon can get a little "squidgy" so to keep everything even and in place I used spray starch when I placed and pinned my pocket before sewing.  It worked great!

I had a ladybug land on my arm.  Lucky day!
What are you sewing?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Silk Shell - New Look 6035

A while back I had a Cynthia Rowley shell pattern that I really loved.  It was a tank with small gathers and bias trim around the neckline.  I made it up in a silk twill I bought in New York and I LOVED that blouse!  I wore it and wore it and finally I had to accept that it had to come out of rotation.  It needed some time off.

A couple of weeks ago my dear childhood friend from Nebraska came out for a visit.  She was able to stay for two days and since she's a fabric lover we went to LA for fabric. We went to Mood and The Fabric Store and I picked up a few prints, a couple of bottom weights (I really needed some basics but you know how it is...) and this silk twill.  When I saw it at The Fabric Store I knew I would make up my beloved shell again.

This time I used New Look 6035.  It's a great basic pattern and I'm sure I'll use it over and over since I wear sleeveless tops so often.

I made two changes to the pattern:

Shoulder darts were added to the back neck.  I think the pattern makers in the sixties really had it right when they put shoulder darts on everything.  It eliminates the icky gap I get at the back neck and honestly it's the easiest adjustment you can hope to make.

Twisted bias trim was added to the neckline.  I cut strips of bias fabric 5" wide, pieced them together and sewed them into one long tube.  I probably used about 90" of bias....maybe more...I wish I would've measured.  Ugh.

Beginning at the center back, I gently twisted, pinned and folded the bias into soft folds.  There was no rhyme or reason to my twisting I just kept working until I like how it looked.  I'll be honest here, this took quite a while and when I was happy with the pinned result I hand sewed it to the shell.  I do like hand sewing so this was enjoyable but all total this process probably took me 2 hours (primarily in the car or during my lunch break, I typically save my hand sewing for these times).

The shell itself went together in under two hours not including time spent stitching down the neck and sleeve bindings (again, I saved those for my "down times").  I will certainly use this shell pattern again.   It's a great "basic but not too basic" pattern that I can keep simple or embellish.

I went to Santa Barbara, California for a quick getaway with my daughter.  The weather was perfect for hiking (and eating) and it was wonderful to have some time with her while she's back from school.  She took these photos for me... I turned the camera on her....hee hee.

Thanks for reading.  Happy Sewing!