How This Dino Made Me Smile

Zipper-Mouthed Dinosaur Softie, sewn by

I am blessed beyond measure to have turned this sewing-blogging hobby of mine into a little business. I never would have dreamed that it would be possible when I committed to learning 7 years ago. However, Wednesday I was struck with a fear that maybe I just didn’t enjoy sewing anymore. Every attempt was interrupted , and the pants sewing has been frustrating, and I felt dragged down by expectations of what I “should” do as a blogger. (get sponsors! make patterns! post regularly! join blog tours! blah de blah de blah de blah!)  Sewing was becoming all stress and no fun, and that is a scary place to be when you have invested so many hours into learning a craft.

Zipper-Mouthed Dinosaur Softie, sewn by

Yesterday, stuck at home, car-less, with three kids at school, and an extra long day ahead of me, I decided to toss out all responsibilities and to-do lists and just have fun.

Zipper-Mouthed Dinosaur Softie, sewn by

And fun was had. Oh, glorious fun. Vinny and Gladys pulled my sewing room to pieces and rubbed crushed crackers into the carpeting, and I sewed on. Cereal boxes and bowls still covered the kitchen table at 5pm, and I sewed on. We had peanut butter and jelly for dinner, and I sewed on. By the end of the day, I was dancing around the kitchen, joking with my kids, and grinning ear-to-ear.

Zipper-Mouthed Dinosaur Softie, sewn by

This is why I sew – for the pleasure of the vision coming to life in my hands, for the butterflies of excitement, and for the feeling of completion when my efforts result in something, a tangible something.

Zipper-Mouthed Dinosaur Softie, sewn by

I am still going to Tackle The Pants, but now I can do it with a renewed sense of excitement. I am still blogging, but I can do it with a renewed sense of Who I Am.

Zipper-Mouthed Dinosaur Softie, sewn by

Thank you, Toby The Dinosaurus, as you have been already named, for helping me find my way back again.

Does sewing ever get stressful for you? What kind of projects bring you joy?

Zipper-Mouthed Dinosaur Softie, sewn by
The pattern for this dinosaur is from Abby Glassenberg’s book “Stuffed Animals: From Concept to Construction”. As one of her pattern testers, I received a complimentary copy. For more information on her amazing book, check out the original book review post.

Recommended Reading: “Joyful Sewing: 12 Tips for Enjoying a Stress-free Hobby” at Sew, Mama, Sew

Tiny Sewists

G is proud of herself

I’m guest posting at A Jennuine Life today, sharing one of my kid’s sewing tips for her Tiny Sewists Series.

Tiny Sewists Series

Gianna used this tip to sew herself a pair of fleece pajama pants, with a little help of course.

fleece pajama pants

If you are new here, you might enjoy some of these past kid-made sewing projects.
(Also, make sure you enter the leather giveaway! It runs through Monday.)

Scribble ‘n’ Tote Lap Desk Tutorial (featuring Modern Yardage Fabrics)

Disclaimer: This post is part of a cross-promotion between myself and Modern Yardage. The fabric for this project was provided by Modern Yardage, but all content, tutorials, and opinions included in this post are my own.

The Scribble n Tote Lap Desk by - built in pencil case

This is this summer’s cure for long car rides and summer thunder storms.

The Scribble n Tote Lap Desk by -clipboard

Clipboards turned into lap desks with the addition of a squishy foam pillow back.

The Scribble n Tote Lap Desk by - squishy cushion

Everything has its place with a pocket for notepads and coloring books and a built-in pouch for pencils and crayons…

The Scribble n Tote Lap Desk by -  back pocket

and a handle for little hands to tote them around.

The Scribble n Tote Lap Desk by

These a really quick to sew up and I have included a detailed tutorial later in this post, but first let me talk about this crazy cute fabric I made these Scribble ‘n’ Totes with.

The Scribble n Tote Lap Desk by - stack of lap desks

This fabric is Wild Notion‘s Watercolor Geometrics Collection manufactured by Modern Yardage.  Modern Yardage is a new and very different fabric design and manufacturing company.

What’s so different about Modern Yardage?

They are a digital textile printing company. No, they are not yet another Spoonflower, printing their customer designs. Rather, they sell fabrics from collections made by a curated group of talented designers. Modern Yardage prints each piece of fabric as the customer orders it. Instead of gambling on what will sell and how much, they get to print just the right amount, and it gives the designers more flexibility in creating their collections and a quicker turnaround time from design to production. (More info here.)

modern yardage fabric

The second thing that sets Modern Yardage apart is their “margin” extras. Modern Yardage prints off their 44” wide quilting fabrics onto 60” wide pre-washed cottons. Holy Gigantic Selvage, Batman!? I know. I know. It seems crazy at first, but they are filling that additional space with “extras” – a note from the designer, fabric care instructions, swatches, etc. The way I see it, it is like buying a magazine with ads in it. It could be considered a waste of paper but it keeps the cost of the magazine down and the products advertised are often quite relevant to the readers. In the case of Modern Yardage, this “extra” fabric is still usable and in the following project I will show you how I used mine.

modern yardage fabric margin close up

Modern Yardage has me totally intrigued as a fabric production business model. I’m looking forward to seeing how their company grows and how this changes the industry.

Intriguing, no? Now, on to the project! [Read more...]

An Elephant from “Stuffed Animals”

Elephant from "Stuffed Animals" by Abby Glassenberg, sewn by

It feels like a lifetime ago that Abby Glassenberg put out a request for pattern testers for her book “Stuffed Animals: From Concept to Construction*.” Soon after, I was stitching up this cutie-patoot elephant. I was thrilled to death with how he turned out, but I had to keep him a secret until the book release (which was this week)! Two-ish years of keeping quiet about a project? Do you realize how hard it was? It nearly killed me! [Read more...]

Attack of the Pajama Eaters 2012!

Funky Monster -

I want to thank you all for your sweet comments and encouragement on my last, rather depressing, post. I like to keep it real as much as I am able on this blog and sharing my “failures”, while a little scary, was incredibly cathartic. Now that I’ve processed through the disappointments, I am able to get back to the heart of this holy time.

That being said…
I did manage to finish up a few more gifts – including these four Pajama Eaters.

Four Pajama Eaters - [Read more...]