Monday, July 10, 2017

These are My People: Baby Lock Common Threads

 Baby Lock Common Threads 2017

This is my team.

I've never played team sports. It's probably why I got into crafting in the first place! But after 3 days at Baby Lock's headquarters for Common Threads, I'm happy and humbled and proud to say that these are my people. 

I love this group of brave, collaborative, creative individuals. From the staff at Tacony (Baby Lock's parent company) who put on this event each year to the attendees who share their stories and their time and talents to help others in need, I'm so thankful to count these guys as my friends and colleagues, each making a difference in the industry that we all love.

Day One

We arrived Wednesday afternoon in our cocktail attire (a simple black dress for me, and I brought flip-flops as backup shoes) for a meet-and-greet with the other attendees. It was the annual tradition of "speed dating" with other sewists as a way to network and ask questions with industry pros, like magazine editors, pattern designers and seasoned teachers. I just wish there had been more time to talk to everyone on both sides of the table!

Night One: The St. Louis Fashion Fund

We hopped on a bus and departed as a group for Saint Louis Fashion Fund, an incubator for fashion designers. We had dinner and got to tour the modern facility, with workrooms, gallery space and inspiration everywhere. It was so cool to see and touch the garments, and talk with the designers. 

St. Louis Fashion Fund

Here's an overhead view of the party from the balcony. Like, really, how did I end up at this swanky spot on a Wednesday night? I promise, I'm not that cool.

St. Louis Fashion Fund

Here's the workroom, a very open, inviting, collaborative space. Baby Lock machines were everywhere, of course.


Outside was a fashion truck. Like a food truck, without the food!
 Fashion Truck!

Inside the truck.... sewing swag. No one left empty handed!

Day Two: Sewing + Inspiration 


We started the day with a serger sewing class. Each person made a camisole to be donated to a breast cancer patient. Melissa taught the class, and I learned a lot about her personal connection to the charity.


Around lunchtime, we got to hear from a panel including Nancy Zieman, Mimi G Style, and Isabel Pastrana from Baby Lock. So many highlights.
  • I teared up during Nancy's story of her life and breaking into the industry against all odds (women didn't own their own businesses back then... look how far we've come)! 
  • Mimi G is a social media inspiration, and she highlighted the importance of being your true self, and also finding your unique niche. Don't just do what everyone else is doing.
  • Isabel spoke about diversity in the sewing industry, specifically in regards to Baby Lock's campaigns and how they are committed to making sure that everyone feels they have a place at the (sewing) table.
Everyone here was so generous in sharing their talents and insights. I left feeling inspired... but there was still more sewing to do!

We had a half-square triangles workshop with Jenny Doan of Missouri Star Quilt Co. Takeaway? You can make thousands of quilts with just pre-cuts and simple blocks, just switched up a little bit.

Dinner and open sew was that night, and I was able to use a multi-thread embroidery machine for the first time to personalize this teddy bear for my boy.

SAM_1389 Last Day!

The next morning, we had our last class, a pineapple applique tea towel, and wrapped up with "What We Learned" in a round-table session. Everyone shared, and it's a great way to tie a bow on what I'd say is the highlight of my year in sewing.

I left with so many ideas for not only things that I want to sew, but stories that I feel need to be told. Business ideas I want to implement. New projects to plan ahead for.

And there's never enough time. But someday, there will be time. And for the gift of time, to be able to ruminate on creative things with creative people for a few days, I am extremely thankful.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Creating Custom USB Drives for Business Cards

I recently returned from Common Threads, a Baby Lock sewing event in St. Louis, Missouri. It's my favorite event of the year (here are some of my thoughts from last year), and I'm excited to share more about it soon!

But first, how cool are these custom USB drives?

I ordered these from USB Memory Direct, and they have so many styles of flash drives to choose from. This is the Butterfly style, which keeps the USB tucked into a handsome leather loop with a metal keychain.

I selected a few files that I wanted to load onto the USBs to hand out in goodie bags at the Common Threads sewing event, like my digital patterns, a digital copy of my coloring book, and a review copy of my new t-shirt quilting book!

Loading the files couldn't have been easier. I simply e-mailed them to Chelsea at USB Memory Direct, who pre-loaded them onto all of the flash drives for me. Isn't technology amazing?

Photo via Heidi Stock

I think they felt right at home in the goodie bags for all of the attendees! My green USB is pictured in the top center of this awesome photo by Heidi.

Disclaimer: I received these custom USB drives for free in exchange for sharing an honest review. All opinions are my own, and no other compensation was received.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Stenciled Kraft-tex Zipper Pouch + $50 Supplies Giveaway!

Kraft-tex Stenciled Boxy Pouch

Today, I'm sharing a fun sewing project I made with Stencil Girl Stencils and kraft-tex (affiliate link). Stay tuned for the giveaway at the end of the post, so you can make your own stenciled boxy zipper pouch!

Kraft-tex Stenciled Boxy Pouch

When thinking about what project I wanted to make with kraft-tex, I came up with the boxy zipper pouch I've made several times. Instead of making a quilt sandwich, I used a single layer of kraft-tex, which is a substrate that feels like strong paper or flexible leather. It's very strong... much stronger than I expected!


Kraft-tex Stenciled Boxy Pouch

I experimented with a few different types of ink or paint with the stencils, using what I had around my house. Here's my favorite method of stamping!

Kraft-tex Stenciled Boxy Pouch

1) Iron the kraft-tex as flat as possible
2) Spray back side of a Stencil Girl stencil with repositionable adhesive and press to the kraft-tex.
3) Using a makeup sponge, apply some craft paint over the stencil. Repeat across the entire surface.

Kraft-tex Stenciled Boxy Pouch

Here's what my kraft-tex looked like after I stenciled one side completely. I didn't worry too much about being precise, because I knew the fabric would wrap around the pouch in my project, and I wanted that organic, hand-stamped look.

Kraft-tex Stenciled Boxy Pouch

I love my new boxy zippered pouch! If you aren't famliar with Stencil Girl Stencils or the awesome kraft-tex, I'd encrouage you to give them a try.
Follow the blog hop!

   Kraft-tex Stenciled Boxy Pouch


Leave a comment on this post telling me what you'd make with kraft-tex and Stencil Girl Stencils! One lucky winner will receive a $25 Gift Certificate to StencilGirl Products + a $25 Gift Certificate to!

Visit the fabulous designers from both teams and comment for your chance to win! The more blogs you comment on, the more chances you have. One comment per blog, please.

Enter by Saturday, February 18th at 11:59PM CST. One lucky winner will be announced on StencilGirl's Facebook page and C&T Publishing’s Blog on Sunday, February 19, 2017.

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