Sunday, December 19, 2010

It's a dogs life: Take 2

If you read the last post, you'll know that Skilos was not too happy with the argyle jacket I made her.  I thought it was okay - but she was not happy with it and made no bones (get it?) about letting me know she was not happy with it! 

After enough of her evil glares I finally made another jacket for her - this one is pink with large polk-a-dots - which reminds me of a good case of measles. But as you can see below - she seems to love!
Skilos wearing her new jacket waiting for the first customer of the day!

I used a pattern this time AND took her measurements to make sure it would fit.  It didn't take me as long to stitch together as the first jacket did.  And, in my opinion, it wasn't far off from what I threw together without a pattern. 
When I went to go put it on Skilos she looked it over and gave me the OK, by not curling her lips, when I slipped it over her head.
She likes it!  Hey Mikey!  She likes it!
I'm not going to say I spoil her but:  1. She is definitely a Doggy Diva, 2.  She doesn't like "home made" looking items and 3.  She doesn't like argyle - even if it is pink.

Skilos napping with her Teddy Bear/Baby

Thursday, December 16, 2010

It's a dogs life

If you've ever been to Sewtropolis you most likely have met, Skilos the shop dog.  Skilos is so good at her job that she has her own facebook fan page AND people ask where she's at if they are not greeted by her right away! 
Between greeting people she likes to nap on her mat (custom made by a fan of hers).  It's been so cold lately that she has been shivering, so I decided to make her a polar fleece jacket - which turned out super cute - but didn't quite fit her.  She didn't seem to mind that people were giggling at how small her jacket was, but as her mom (and sewist) I decided to try to make another one... this time I took her measurements!  (I'm not sure if I wanted to admit that - but there it is). 
I'll admit, I didn't use a pattern for this jacket, I kind of figured how hard could it be?? Well, it wasn't hard if you just wanted a jacket... but if you are sewing for a Doggy Diva then I say start with a pattern!  
Here is the Doggy Diva herself:
That is not a happy look on her face!

One thing I noticed when putting on this jacket is that she curls her lips (to indicate she's not too happy with wearing it) every time I put it on her.  With the first jacket she didn't once curl her lips. Maybe I should have stuck with that one.   

Is that the evil eye she's giving me?
Okay, okay - stop with the glaring I'll make you another one! 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Quick & Easy Gifts

I teased in the latest newsletter that I made napkins, coasters and potholders in less than an hour to give away as gifts this season.  Hard to believe I know, but really it's super simple and can be done. 
Here is how I made the potholders: 

One fat quarter (18" x 22") will make two pot holders.

Cut the fat quarter so that you have two 9" x 18" pieces.

Fold one of the pieces, right sides together, so that you have a 9" x 9" square.

Sew a 1/4" seam down the two sides - leaving the top open.

Cut the batting so that it measures 8 1/2" x 8 1/2". 

You are going to insert the batting into the folded piece, the easiest way I found to do this is to lay the batting on top of the sewn piece (which is still wrong side out)  and turn the whole thing right side out, as one.  It will still take some fussing, but I find it's less then trying to stuff the batting in after turning the fabric piece.   

Turn the opening in 1/4" and press.

Now you get to sew!  Using a 1/8" seam allowance sew closed the opening first.  Now go all the way around the potholder using a 1/8" seam allowance until you are 1/4" away from the first seam you made.  Leave your needle in the down position, lift the presser foot and turn the potholder 90 degrees.  Use the side of your presser foot as a guide and sew 1/4" away from the first stitches until you get to 1/4" away from the second seam you made.  Keep going around and around your potholder this way until you get to the middle.

End your seam by going back and forth in the center to lock your stitches.

 The coasters are made the same way, but starting with a 5" x 10" pice of fabric and 4 1/2" x 4 1/2" batting.  The napkins were made using a fat quarter cut to 18" x 18" and using the rolled hemmed on either your serger (which is what I used) or your sewing machine, to finish the edges of the napkin. 
My gift set includes: 4 napkins, 4 coasters and 2 potholders.  Total fabric needed: about 1 3/4 yards, total time: about one hour!


Monday, November 29, 2010

Idea file: Mini bloomers from Colette Patterns

Looking for a quick and easy project? We’ve got the perfect answer… these mini bloomers from Colette Patterns! The pattern is available as a free download from Colette and all you need is an hour or two, a yard of fabric, and a couple yards each of elastic and ribbon!

For our version we used Café Dots, a lovely soft cotton from the Oliver + S City Weekend line of fabric for Moda. We think the bloomers would also be perfect in a lovely double gauze or even a fun knit.

There are only two pattern pieces that make up the mini bloomers, making the pattern easy for a beginner. The only ‘special' skills’ required are a passing familiarity with elastic and the buttonhole function on your machine.

The waistband is a clever and elegant application of quarter inch elastic threaded through two simple casings stitched on the folded over waistband. Sizing is super simple – just cut a length of elastic to wrap comfortably around your waist (or use the measurements given on the pattern packaging if you’re making as a gift.)

The leg bands are created by threading a length of ribbon through openings created by sewing a pair of buttonholes on the front of each leg. A quick way to create gathers and a perfect fit.

And there you have it! Sweet and simple bloomers!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Quilt Retreat

I like to joke that I've been sewing since I was 9 years old, but stopped when I opened Sewtropolis.  I sometimes find myself so busy running my business that I fail to take the time to create (outside of sewing store samples) and after a while I can't resist the urge to create something!
Pieced back with Piano Keys boarder
Twice a year I get to 'escape' and head up north to Quilt Retreat where spend 3, 4, or sometimes a whole week sewing and quilting with girlfriends. That's where I was over the weekend and I was able to start, and finish up, quite a few projects.

First up is this queen size Batik quilt my son, Drew and I were working on. (Next best thing to sewing with girlfriends is sewing with your kids - especially boys!) The top was complete so I pieced together the back using the left over fabric. When I measured though it wasn't quite large enough so I cut and pieced the smaller leftover pieces to create the piano key boarder. My plan now is to find a place that will allow me to rent a long arm quilting machine.  

I also made "Trip Around the World" quilt which I am 'hiding' as it will be a Christmas gift for a friend once I get it done.  I'll post pictures after the New Year.

fabric bowl

Once I had two quilts pinned I started in on the smaller projects including this fabric bowl.   I made it for "Fat Cat Gimley", but because he'll have it full of hair in no time, I have it at the store until I make another one.  I need time to enjoy it before Fat Cat takes it over. (he's 17lbs) 

bottom of bowl
Gimley the Fat Cat

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My Sandalwood Coat

Even though I finished Amy Butler's Sandalwood jacket a couple of weeks ago I am just now getting around to sharing it with everyone.

After making Favorite Things, Uptown Coat (which made me look pregnant), I decided to stick with a style coat that would flatter my figure instead of work against it.  
I chose the Sandalwood jacket because it's long and A-lined (which works well with all shapes).  The jacket is a lined jacket, but because I intend to wear it into the winter I lined it with batting - which bulked it up a bit and caused me to make it the next size larger. 

For the fabric I used decorator weight fabric by Alexander Henry and cotton weight fabric for the lining.   The coat is striking and I've gotten lots of compliments on it.  What I don't really care for is the collar; when the coat is open the top (points) of the collar poke up into my face.  There is no good picture of the front of the jacket on the pattern so I really didn't give it much thought.  I thought about adding buttons down the front of the coat in order to keep the points of the collar down,but I think by doing that it will throw off the way the coat laps in front.  For now I intend to wear a heavy scarf to keep the points down and out of my face.
If I were to make this jacket again (and I'm thinking I will make one from the laminate fabric this spring), I'll round the collar a bit and maybe add a hood.  I'll also add belt loops and shorten the belt itself.  (which seems to be abnormally long). 

*p.s., the skirt is the Barcelona Skirt also by Amy Butler. (one of my favorite)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Patchwork Scarf

At the last Minneapolis Modern Quilt Guild meeting I mentioned that I don't tend to get a lot of quilts done because all of them are large and once I start they seem to overwhelm me - especially now that my time if very, very limited.  One of the members suggested I work on a small project.  She just had a baby and knew that if she stopped quilting, she might not start up again.  I liked that idea very much - but breaking my habit of working large is a hard habit to break.  Until I tried this patchwork scarf. 

It totally satisfied that itch to quilt, yet I was able to still finish it in a day!  I could have made it a lot more elaborate, but I stiffled the urge, afterall the satisfaction of finishing something is suppose to outweigh the habit of starting a project and not finishing it. 

Making the blocks was easy enough - just when I finished them I took 5 of them and cut them up again.  I wanted all sizes of blocks and it didn't seem right that I finish this in under a day.  I then joined my blocks, added a pocket, backed it with flannel and voila!  A patchwork scarf!  This one is for the store, the next one I make will be mostly pink (my color).

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Self Stitched September - Wrap-up

Well, it's October 2 and looking back on September and I'd say I did 'okay' in my challenge to wear at least one self stitched item a day.  I started out motivated to try and sew more, but as the weather changed and the days became cooler and cooler, I found that I couldn't keep up with sewing enough warm clothes.  By the middle of the month the 'self stitched' items I found myself wearing the most were scarves... and by the end of the month I had gone back to wearing my sweaters and pants.  (non-self stiched items).

I did manage to make a new skirt, a pair of pants even a coat - which made me look pregnant.
I also finished a quilt top and stripped the stain off the antique couch I'm refurbishing. 

So as far as trying to sew more, I definitely did that.  It just wasn't necessarily things I could wear all the time. 
I will challenge myself again to wear self stitched items.  I may just modify it a bit so that I can wear 'upcycled' clothing.  It's now October - I have 3 whole months to build that wardrobe! 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Self Stiched September- Barcelona Skirt (again)

I am wearing my Self Stitched item today even though you can't see it - you'll just have to trust me.  It's the Barcelona Skirt with a white top and black sweater.  Here is a previusly posted picture of it for those of you who are really curious as to what it looks like. 
I seemed to have forgotten my camera cord at home which is why I don't have a current picture.  I must find that becuase even though I didn't finish anything for me... I did finish a cute little pair of pants using the Sandbox Pants pattern by Oliver + S.  I was pleasantly surprised at how easy they were - I like these patterns. 

If I can find my cord tonight - I promise to post pictures tomorrow.  

Friday, September 17, 2010

Self Stitched September - Scarf & Skirt

Today I am actually wearing two items that I've made.  The first is a Amy Butler's Barcelona Skirt in fabric by e-studio  This is one of my favorite skirts and I keep intending to make it again in a larger print fabric.  I think it will look more like it's suppose to, as right now the pattern in the fabric is so small the layers of the skirt tend to get lost.  But despite all that it was super easy to sew together and very versitle as I tend to wear a lot of black, white, greys and browns.  
The second item is my scarf.  I made this scarf a few years ago during the bias cut scarf craze when it seemed everyone was coming up with their own version of this scarf.  If I remember correctly it's rayon fabric, layered 6 deep on the bias, sewn, cut, washed and then dried to fray.  I love wearing scarves and this is one of my favorite during the fall months. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Self Stitched September - Tunic

Here is my outfit for today!  I have been eyeballing this tunic for a long time (Kwik Sew 3463), but for one reason or another I just haven't sat down to make it.  I should have - because it literally took me less then 2 hours to make!  I even altered the pattern to make it a little longer (it's now a little too long and I had to fold up the hem for this picture) and topped stitched the neckline.  It's a nice basic piece.  I added a belt to add a little 'something' to it, though I will be working on a scarf to add some more 'umff' to it.

There is one 'whoopsie' in it - when laying out the sleeves I did not take into account the nap of the fabric - which is now laying the wrong way.  If you 'like' Sewtropolis on Facebook you'll know that I am offering 25% off your entire purchase if you come into the store and tell me what the "whoopsie" is... and 10% off just for playing along.  Aren't you glad you took the time to read the blog? 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Self Stitched September - Leggings and Uptown Coat

Today I am wearing a pair of tights that I had made quite a while ago and mainly to wear under my ski pants in the winter.  I thought I would put them on today given the cold damp weather we're having and I learned my lesson from a couple of weeks ago. The pattern is Kwik Sew 3636 and the fabric is a grey double knit jersey.  Don't you love my silver shoes? 

 My real pride and joy is this Uptown Coat by Favorite Things made with fabric from designers Maxwell & Pillow.  I found this pattern at Market and after seeing the sample I thought it would be a perfect winter coat. 

I lined the inside using flannel from Cloud 9 and even put in a layer of wool batting.  One thing is for sure; this is a Minnesota coat!  

Only one problem.... when I put it on I thought I looked pregnant.  :-(  
Sasha Westin from Fabuliss did try to warn me that this coat might not be my style... but did I listen??  NO!  So now it's a store display and I'll be making a different coat for winter - one that Sasha says will look good on me.  Guess I better hurry - the weather, is changing fast! 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Self Stiched September - I am wearing the pants

I finally finished the pants over the weekend.... and I'm even wearing them today, but now that I have them on I know I'll need to do a little more tweaking.  The zipper took some wrestling, but I finally mastered it enough to be happy with it.  However, I thought I would make the legs a little fuller and that didn't quite give me the look I was hoping for.  Back to the sewing machine! 
Oh, this is what I wore on Saturday and on Sunday I wore the orange Peasant Top from that I made a while back.
What will I wear tomorrow?  

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Self Stitched September - Lotus Dress

Today I am sporting Amy Butler's Lotus Dress for Self Stitched September.  I made this dress this past summer using Amy Butler's fabric from her Love collection.  I was a little hesitant to wear it - only because its got short sleeves and it's getting a little cool here in Minneapolis.  But, I threw on a pair of tights (lesson learned from Tuesday) and voila! 

Friday, September 10, 2010

Self Sew September - scarf and my perfect pant pattern

Yay!!  I finally found a pant pattern that fits perfectly!  I have been searching for YEARS - literally, for a pant pattern that I don't have to alter!  Thank you Trudy at  Not only that, but I cut the size based on the measurement chart and lo and behold they actually FIT!!!  I know all you sewers know the frustration of the measurement chart not corresponding with the actual size of the garment!  

Another first, I never make a pair in muslin, but since I was making a pair of pants I thought I'd save my 'good' fabric for something that's actually going to fit.  Other than not remembering how to do a fly with a placket, they went together fairly easy.  I'm not quite done, but now I'm excited to sew a pair using the 'real' fabric.  Trust me when I say; I don't think I've ever been excited to sew a pair of pants.

My Self Sew September item is: a scarf I made using voile and pom-poms.  I made this up thinking I'd wear it during the summer, but it seems to be just perfect for fall instead!

Now off to finish my pants!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Self Sew September - Wool skirt

Today I am wearing a fuchsia wool skirt that I made last winter. It sat on a mannequin all winter and by the time I took it off the weather had turned warm and there was no need to wear it. Well, today it’s a little chilly here in the Twin Cities so I decided a wool skirt will be just the ticket! I was partially right…. I really should have made this skirt a little longer. My upper legs are just fine, it’s my lower legs that are a little cold!! At any rate, I am wearing my one item. On the agenda today: make a pair of pants.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Is that a challenge? You don't have to tell me twice!

At the end of August I decided to try and challenge myself to wear only the things I make myself (see below). At the time the weather was hot and after sewing a ton of skirts for the summer I was thinking I could slowly add to my wardrobe as the weather got cooler and cooler and be good to go by winter. But then the weather literally changed overnight and I thought “Oh yea – I live in Minnesota!” So instead of starting the challenge September 1st I thought I would make a few things and maybe try the challenge as a New Years Resolution.

Then today one of my customers (Patty with the cute Flippy Skirt) informed me of “Self-Stitched-September” from So-Zo’s blog. By the way, did I also mention that I believe that when things present themselves more than once it is a sign that you should sit up and pay attention because someone bigger than yourself is speaking to you? Well I do. Self-Stitched-September was just too close to MY challenge that I can’t just ignore it.  So, given that September IS National Sewing Month, I am going to go ahead and do this challenge. 

I, Nikol Gianopoulos, sign up as a participant of Self-Stitched-September. I endeavour to wear at least one handmade or refashioned items of clothing every day for the duration of September 2010.

I hope a few of you will join me in this challenge. I will post pictures of my creations though out September and who knows -once I'm on a roll I may just decided to go a full year! 


My original post/challenge:

I’m not a very competitive person, but I do like to challenge myself … mainly because when I challenge myself it makes me live with intention. Being a single mom and business owner I often feel like I’m living by default - just reacting to all that is going on around me

I was listening to the radio this past weekend and they interviewed three women who decided not to buy any new clothes for one year. They mainly did it because of the economy and the whole realization that they might have too many clothes in their closets. But I also believe they did it because they wanted to see if they could, which sounded right up my alley.

I started to wonder if I could go a year without buying any new clothes. Probably, since I’m not a big clothes shopper to begin with. But then I though…. I wonder if I could go a year wearing only the things I make. Hmmmm??? Maybe…. I did make a lot of skirts this past summer. But I would need some time to ‘build-up’ my wardrobe. You see, I don’t sew as much as I should or ALL that I could. For example; I’ve never sewn a bra (though I know it can be done) and I haven’t sewn many pants (mainly because they are too hard to fit). I’ve never sewn a coat (but it’s on my list), or a pair of gloves (though I recently bought a pattern). And when I do sew it is mainly store samples or things for other people. I know that if I sewed more I would get better at it. Plus, it would force to become more creative which has always been a running goal of mine.

So, starting September 1 the challenge is:

1. Not to buy any new clothes for one year. Exception: I can buy from the thrift store as long as I repurpose the clothing before wearing.

2. Everyday wear at least one item that I have made or repurposed.

3. Make at least one new item of clothing a week. (My real goal here is to sew a little bit everyday)

I also challenge myself to blog about it once a week since I could really use the writing practice for another challenge I have brewing in the back of my mind, but more on that challenge a little later.

Wish me luck – I’ll keep you posted.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Catching up with Tammy

This past weekend I had the privilege of serving as a sewing judge for the 4-H Fashion Review at the Hennepin County Fair. Last week also happened to be the first week of the Kids Sewing Camps at Sewtropolis. Both of these events involved young sewers, had a larger number of new sewistas than anticipated and all the sewistas had sewn items that impressed the heck out of me!
So this week I intended to write about how impressed I am with all the young sewistas out there, but then something else happened last week that made me stop and think about the people who influenced me and shaped me into the creative sewer I am today.
Last week, after 30 years of searching, I found my best friend from Jr. High on Facebook. I’ve moved around a LOT (so much that I’ve literally lost count of all the times) and I’ve had a lot of people come and go from my life over the years. Thanks to Facebook I’ve been able to reconnect with some of them, but it was finding my best friend Tammy from Jr. High that literally brought tears to my eyes.
My family lived in Las Vegas when it was nothing but a small, dusty desert town. Tammy lived down the block from us and when Tammy and I met the thing I liked most about her was that she was so creative! She could draw, paint, cook and she could always come up with the CRAZIEST things to do! (and Tammy if you are reading this you know exactly what I’m talking about ;-)) She took all the cool art classes in Jr. High and she created some amazing things. Wanting to be as creative as she was I signed up for every “Art” class offered and ended up being placed in Industrial Arts and Language Arts etc. Eventually though, I learned about dimension, color and balance, skills that I rely on every time I sit down to sew. These skills help me create things that are UNIQUE!
Tammy and her family moved to Kentucky about a year before my family moved to Montana…. And someplace over the years, and many, many moves, we lost contact. Last week I learned that Tammy is now in the U.K. and runs a small business dedicated to inspiring young people to find their creativity. She hasn’t always had it easy, but I will venture to guess it was her art that helped her survive. I know it was my love of sewing that helped me survive.  Without Tammy’s influence I have to wonder if I would have made the jump from "hobby" to "passion"?  From "passion" to trying to make a living from it?  I honestly don't know...
So what’s this got to do with the Sewing Camps and 4-H? These young sewistas have had some type of influence in their lives that made them want to pursue sewing. If it was you pat yourself on the back because sewing is a lifelong skill, one that has helped this sewista survive some pretty tight times.  Continue to encourage them, you never know where their life might lead them or when those skills will come in the most handy! Thirty plus years from now they might just track you down to thank you for it. 
Now please excuse me while I catch up with Tammy!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

CRAVE Minneapolis

One of the challenges of owning my own business has been getting the word out that Sewtropolis exist.  It's an ongoing process.... lucky me I found CRAVE.  I can go into the great things that CRAVE does for women business owners, but I'll probably loose you someplace in the second paragraph - because in the back of your mind you'll be thinking "Why is she telling me this?"  So I'll just cut to the chase; CRAVE has published a "Manifesto" which is the go-to resource for urban-minded women when it comes to all things business and pleasure.   

CRAVE Minneapolis is a unique and stylish guidebook for Minneapolis living. It is a celebration of women entreprenesses that showcases some of the most creative, interesting, and gutsy proprietors throughout our city.  I was lucky enough to meet a few of them this past Tuesday during the 'book launching party'.  There were so many creative women there offering great services and products that you won't find anywhere else - especially in a big box store.

I encourage you all to:

 1.  purchase the CRAVE guide -you can do that from any of the businesses featured in the book -

2.  Support the women owned businesses featured in the book (don't forget to use the coupon in the back of the book) and

3.  Continue to support your local economy by shopping local.

Being a part of the CRAVEguide has been a wonderful experience... my hope is that it will be so successful that it will inspire more women to follow their dream of owning their own business and that CRAVE will publish another guide next year filled with these new businesses!  It CAN happen.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

My First Quilt Market Experience - Wow!

As you know over the weekend I had the pleasure of attending Spring Market 2010 here in our own city and if I had to describe it in one word it would be: WOW. I was super excited leading up to the Market, I had talked to people who had attended in the past and one piece of advice they all had was: Bring a big bag. They weren’t kidding. In fact, I brought the biggest bag I had and it still wasn’t enough to hold all the samples, pamphlets and other gadgets I managed to collect by the end of the day.

Day one the objective was to just look – but as soon as Jennifer, Emily and I walked in it was apparent that Quilt Market was so large that if we saved all the ordering for the second day we would never have enough time. So we mapped out the vendors we knew we wanted to see and set off. First stop the Kokka booth. I have been listening to my customers and I think they will be pleased with the selection of beautiful fabrics I purchased. (for a sneak preview check out Sewtropolis’ Facebook photos)  We then visited the Michael Miller, Westminster fabrics/FreeSpirit, Cloud 9 Fabrics and finally Riley Blake booths. We placed our last order of the day with about an hour to closing. I think that maybe that's a good thing; there are so many beautiful fabrics out there I could have easily kept going! But instead I grabbed brochures and will try to bring some of the other vendors in at a later time.

Day two my main objective was to place orders for notions, patterns, books etc. Having walked the floor the day before I was able to take notes of those vendors I wanted to revisit. When it came time to order buttons I stopped in at the vendor who had the largest selection (they had over 3000) thinking how hard can it be to order a few buttons? I was quickly reminded of why I prefer the independent businesses. As soon as I walked in I was handed a clipboard and told I could choose so many 'cards' to fill the largest rack they had or a few less to fill the next rack down, etc. etc. With over 3000 to choose from how was I to know where to start? I then asked the sales person if they sold to JoAnn Fabric’s. she indicated they did, but that JoAnn's only carried 3/4 of their selection and that I could order something different for my store – but she didn’t say which ones JoAnn's didn't carry!  I handed the clipboard back to her and said I needed to think about it. I then found my way to a smaller vendor who was incredibly helpful, had a great selection of buttons, and told me I could order a ‘pre-loaded’ rack with a sampling of all the buttons they carried.  I even got to ‘modify’ my order with buttons I thought my customers would want. After placing my order I walked away thinking “This is why I shop Independent” By the way, the buttons are hand dyed and incredibly cute – and you won’t find them at JoAnn’s.

Over the course of the two days I thought it might be kind of fun to get my picture taken with as many designers as I could. It was such a pleasure to be able to meet Alex Anderson, Ricky Tims (who I have been a big fan of for years), Valori Wells, Kay Whitt, Sandi Henderson etc. The highlight of the show for me though were the 10 minutes I spent with Anna Maria Horner. I stopped by her booth at a time when she was at lunch, but was told she would be signing books in about 20 minutes at a distributors booth. I had more to see so I slowly made my way over to the booth she was at and then kept walking after seeing the long line of people waiting to get their books signed. After placing a few more orders and looking around a bit, I was ready to go…. But first I wanted to see if I could catch Anna Maria.  So I made my way back over to her booth and as I walked up she must have read my name tag because she greeted me with “Pos Eisai” which is Greek for “How are you?” I was so stunned it took me a few seconds to answer “Boli kala, k eses?” which means “Very good and you?” We then spent the next 10 minutes talking about our Greek Heritage, where in Greece our ancestors lived, how much Greek we knew (which for both of us was not very much). It was definitely the cherry on top of the my first Quilt Market dessert! 

I hope you all enjoy the selections I chose. I have a few patterns already in the store, some fat quarters from Riely Blake and ½ yard cuts from Kokka. The rest should start arriving any day – I’ll post on Facebook first so be sure to ‘like’ Sewtropolis! You will also find the fabrics for sale on

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I love Sundays

What a beautiful day we are having here in Minneapolis.  It is so warm out that I opened up the front door and have had non-stop foot traffic ever since.  Some were sewers, some just browsing and seeing what the store is all about! 
I hope you all were able to get out and enjoy this day!  If your in the neighborhood stop in and say Hello!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Handbag Happy

I'm a bag lady - no seriously, I love making bags.  I also love buying a good bag, but if there's a chance I can duplicate a 'ready to wear' bag by making it - I will.  (and now that I'm sewing on leather I guess you can say I'll never have to buy a ready-to-wear againg - but to be honest - I probably will).  Anyway, I stumbled on a blog today that, to me, was better then finding that perfect bag  (well almost).
U Handbag has all kind of tutorials on how to make all kinds of handbags - I love it!  You can even download a PDF of the tutorial!  If your ever inclined to make a bunch of bags and sell them at one of the many craft shows this summer she even gives hints on how best to set up shop, price your goods etc. 

I just received this fabric from Amy Butler

and have been itching to make something with it.  Now I'm going to be struggling to decide which handbag to make with this fabric!  Did I mention I love making handbags?  Hmmmm - we have a sewing group, a quilt group ... maybe we need a "bag lady" group at the store!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Pink Messenger Bag

I created another upscaled bag using two leather jackets found at my local thrift store.  One of the jackets is a pink suede style with cute little front pockets that I wanted to try and utilize.  The other jacket was a rust red duster style which was super soft!  No fancy pockets, but I did end up using what was there on the inside of the bag.  (see below) 

I had a hard time deciding what type of bag to make and ended up on the messenger style.  I figured leather was really strong and I'd be able to carry a lot of stuff in this bag - and I wanted to save my shoulders & back by carrying the bag across my body.

 Here is the final project. 

I found sewing this bag a lot easier then the first tote bag I made, there are many reasons why that might be:
1.  I learned a lesson and removed all the bulk before I started to sew.

2.  This is a softer suade leather - the rust jacket was actually pretty thin in places.

3.  I used a different sewing machine.  The black bag was sewn using my Janome Quilting machine and this bag was sewn using a Viking Dream 2 machine.  I love, love, love my Viking and part of the reason may be it is just 'stronger' then my Janome.  Not to say the Janome isn't a nice machine, it's great for quilting, just not so much for sewing through multiple layers of leather.

I can't get enough of these projects, but I'll think I'll hold off till I catch up on the rest of my sewing.  Yea, right!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Custom Made Purse Ensemble

I have a friend whose birthday is coming up quickly (4 days). She was admiring a purse of mine that I had made for myself about a year ago. Having an abundance of fabric and creativity I set out to make her a purse similar to mine, but with longer straps and more pockets (two things she noted she would change).

Here is the outside of the purse - before I added the pockets.

Here are the outside pockets.

This is the inside of the bag with the 'extra' pockets I needed to add.

Here are the layered pieces - with the extra long straps.

After I taught my Wristlet class I absolutely had to make my friend a matching wristlet - just in case she needed to run to the store and didn't want to lug the purse.  (you all know what I'm talking about!)  

Purse with matching wristlet - personalized with her name embroidered to both the front and the back (the other front). I could have stopped here - but I was having way too much fun.

I received a shipment in and fell in love with this little Koin Keeper pattern from This & That patterns. I thought – why not – my friend might like this to keep her coffee cards in for when she's at work and takes a quick run to the coffee shop! 

Finally, I have a class called Zip, Button, Snap – I’ve been playing around with different items to make in which we could practice the skills. I considered this cell phone pouch as the ‘button’ item. When I was done I decided it was probably a little too complicated for the class – but I’m sure my friend would really enjoy it as NOBODY likes loosing their cell phone in their purse - especially one with a lot of pockets.  ;-)

So there you go, I started out wanting to make a custom made purse for my friend and ended up creating a whole ensemble. I love sewing!

P.S. Love you my dear, dear friend!

P.S.S. No worries about my friend discovering her gift before her birthday, I've been on her butt for the past year to get connected!  She'll eventually see this post - but hopefully it will be after I give it to her.