Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Making A Magic Softshell Jacket


Can a jacket be magical?  After this project I can honestly say, absolutely!  For my daughter's birthday I decided to make her a new jacket to wear as the weather cools down. I wanted something she could wear in fall, spring & summer and maybe even on a few warmer winter days.  Something lightweight, but protective from the elements.  So I made this little number:


By using softshell fabric it's both wind and water repellant to keep her warm and dry.  If you're not familiar with softshell, it's a polyester that is a smooth woven on the outside (to keep the elements out) and napped on the inside for lightweight heat insulation.  It's also very breathable and has just a hint of stretch.  Perfect for outerwear.  Nice & practical, right?


But it has a hidden secret that gets revealed when the jacket gets wet:


These galloping ponies appear!


It adds a layer of awesomeness to an otherwise basic jacket:


Getting caught in the rain has never been more fun:



The great thing about using softshell fabric is no lining is required.  Just be sure to use clips when stitching, not pins, since pinholes will be visible (much like with PUL or laminate).  It has a cozy brushed fleece wrong side, which makes for both any easy sew and a comfy, bulk-free feel for the littler wearer.



I bought this awesome fabric as an imported pre-order from Frollein S, a custom fabric group that also has a retail site.  I shared a bit about How To Shop Custom Fabric Groups a few weeks back here.  They have some regular print soft shells and a couple of the magic reveal prints left on their retail site here right now.  



The pattern I used is an old one from the 80s my mom gave me from her stash, McCalls 2967.  I did make a few adjustments though.  First was making it about 4 inches shorter - the original design was mid-thigh length which looked odd.  I also used FOE to gather the sleeve cuffs instead of leaving them wide.  I liked how the grey trim coordinated with my grey zipper and the snugger fit would keep wind and rain out of her sleeves.


I also had to size down the patch pockets to fit the shorter front and did a little FOE trim at the tops to make everything match-y like a store bought jacket would be.


Except I haven't seen any jackets in stores that make sweet ponies appear in the rain, like ours does:


This was my first experience working with softshell and I'm looking forward to making more things with the other magic reveal prints I bought.  I just need to find the ideal jacket pattern for my 11yr old and one for myself.  And figure out what to do with the cool scrap bits I have left over - they're too awesome to just toss in the bin!  

What would you make with softshell fabric?



Sunday, September 17, 2017

Here Comes Fall at the Craftastic Monday Link Party


It's going to be fall later this week!  Are you feeling it? I've got a double helping of features to celebrate the incoming season.  I am ALL about the fall food!!  Link up your new ideas below to make this week festive too:)

Last week I shared my experience trying out the new CHI® Electronic Retractable Clothing Iron


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Now let's see the new Craftastic Picks!!

The Scrap Shoppe Blog created these cute framed book page pumpkins:


Delightful E Made made this pretty and tasty looking apple cider cake with caramel cream cheese frosting: 


Simply Darrling shared this quick & easy pumpkin front door sign:


Honey and Birch had this easy green onion dip recipe:


Marilyn's Treats offered up some homemade hot spiced cider in apple mugs:


Muchmore Creative showed how to make a fun Shopkins style piƱata:


You Brew My Tea had a heathy pumpkin cupcake recipe for us:


If you're one of this week's features, be sure to grab my Featured On button over on my Buttons Page to share the good news. 

 
Want a Chance to 
Be Featured Next Week?  

Link back to the party somewhere on your blog.
I can't feature your post if you don't share the party.  
  
I also feature these projects on Sew Can Do's Craftastic Picks Pinterest board 
AND share each of them on Twitter too for even MORE exposure for YOUR blog!

Follow me there to see more great projects (and see if yours is one of them)!   

On Twitter: 
On Pinterest: Sew Can Do

Ready to link up your crafty creations?
 
Party rules are simple: 
  • As long as it's crafty, and made by you, it's Craftastic (no links to shops, link parties or other people's work).  Add the link to your specific post. Product reviews, plagiarized or sponsored posts for random items will be immediately deleted.  
  • Grab my party button & put it on your post, party page or blog somewhere.  If you want the chance to be featured, this is key.  The button code can be found HERE.
  • Check out some of the other fabulous links and share some crafty comment love.  We all love getting comments!!



   

    An InLinkz Link-up
   

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Product Review: CHI® Electronic Retractable Clothing Iron. Is It A Winner?


Good supplies and gear are a crafter's best friend.  Finding the right ones can be tricky though.  I'm sharing the low down on a brand new iron on the market and my experience determining if it really stands apart from the rest.

I bought CHI G2 flat iron years ago and have loved it.  I've never been good at styling my hair, but their flat iron has made it so easy to do, even for someone clueless like me.  And after many years of use, it's still like new.  When the lovely people at CHI reached out and offered me the chance to try out their new CHI® Electronic Retractable Clothing IronI thought it would be worth seeing if this new clothing iron could work the same magic on my fabric projects as the flat iron has on my hair.  



The CHI clothing iron has the same signature feature that make CHI's hair irons so popular, their non-stick golden titanium-infused ceramic soleplate, but has the addition of 400 steam holes for a much more even steaming option than most irons:



It also has a very handy retractable cord.  This is one of my must-have iron features, since my craft room is small and I need to quickly move my iron out of the way often, even when it's still hot.  My previous iron had one but it tended to stop retracting about 4 inches from the iron, so there was a frequent tug of war trying to get it all back into the iron.  Not with this one.  One quick press of the button and it all disappears inside every time. 



A plus for already strained sewing eyes is the large fabric selection display.  My old iron has a teeny digital display which wasn't the easiest to read, even though I don't usually have problems with reading or fine print.  I can't imagine how someone needing reading classes could see them.  The CHI iron is nice & clear and the selected setting lights up bright red (even brighter than I could capture in the photo):



The fabric settings are selected using a nice big dial below the handle and there's a level for choosing from many settings for how much steam and a useful self-clean button too.  As someone who uses a lot of stabilizers and things like spray adhesive in projects, keeping my iron nice & clean is key.



Another cool feature is this hidden slide open area to add water.  My previous iron had a big flip up lid (hence the tiny setting display).  The CHI also has a red leak guard that automatically swivels closed to prevent water drips or leaks.  It holds twice as much water as my old iron, so less refilling is nice, although it does make the iron a little heavier.



So how does it iron?  The CHI heats up really fast and beeps and lights up when ready.  It's also got the much needed automatic beeping turn off that I've come to rely on (with 3 kids, I frequently have to walk away in the middle of a project).  I've found the temperature to be nice and even.  No more hot in the center, but cool around the edges like my old irons that made fusing things a bit of a chore because I'd have to make more passes to make sure things were really fused together.  This knit shirt became smooth in no time:  



This evenness has been great when I've been doing small details like hemming where it's easier to use the pointed tip of the iron and it's just as hot as the rest of the plate: 


My verdict? The CHI Electronic Retractable Clothing Iron is a great quality iron.  It's also got the Good Housekeeping Best in Test rating, so I'm not the only one that thinks it's tops. Thanks to CHI for this wonderful iron and the opportunity to share this find at BedBathandBeyond!


I was not financially compensated for this post.  I received this iron from CHI and Bed, Bath & Beyond, to review & use as I desired.  The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.   For my complete disclosure policy, click here.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Craftastic Monday Link Party Time!


It's nearly mid-September and we're in full swing of back-to-school and the coming fall season.  Where is the time going?!?  There were so many great things linked up last week, there's a slew of fun features to share.  I can't wait to see what's new this week, so link it all up below!


Last week I revealed all my best tips for How to Shop Custom Fabric Groups and find the unique fabrics of your dreams.  If you've ever wanted to know where to find amazing fabrics and limited designs, you'll want to read this! 


And it's time to announce the winner of the Supernova Fabrics Giveaway


~~ Makaela ~~

Congratulations Makaela and a big thank you to Dear Stella for providing this fabric prize!
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Now let's see the new Craftastic Picks!!

Suzer Space created this incredible hot air balloon garland:



Howling At The Moon made these fun confetti hair bows:



Sparkle Living shared this tasty beet and spinach salad with red onion vinaigrette:


Kleinworth & Co. offered up this delicious banana apple muffin recipe:



Refresh Living turned a vintage dust pan into a fun fall door decoration:



Sum of Their Stories showed how to make a handy felt gift card envelope:


If you're one of this week's features, be sure to grab my Featured On button over on my Buttons Page to share the good news. 

 
Want a Chance to 
Be Featured Next Week?  

Link back to the party somewhere on your blog.
I can't feature your post if you don't share the party.  
  
I also feature these projects on Sew Can Do's Craftastic Picks Pinterest board 
AND share each of them on Twitter too for even MORE exposure for YOUR blog!

Follow me there to see more great projects (and see if yours is one of them)!   

On Twitter: 
On Pinterest: Sew Can Do

Ready to link up your crafty creations?
 
Party rules are simple: 
  • As long as it's crafty, and made by you, it's Craftastic (no links to shops, link parties or other people's work).  Add the link to your specific post. Product reviews, plagiarized or sponsored posts for random items will be immediately deleted.  
  • Grab my party button & put it on your post, party page or blog somewhere.  If you want the chance to be featured, this is key.  The button code can be found HERE.
  • Check out some of the other fabulous links and share some crafty comment love.  We all love getting comments!!



   

    An InLinkz Link-up
   

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Figuring Out Custom Fabric Groups & How To Shop Them


As a bit of a wrap up to my summer series Sewing with Knits, I thought I'd share a bit about a fabric source that is somewhat mysterious and not all that well know. In fact, it's a fabric buying option many aren't even aware of: Custom Fabric Groups.



What are Custom Fabric Groups?  For those that aren't familiar, these are similar to co-ops.  It's essentially pre-ordering fabric that is run in small custom batches. The fabric is usually only available from that particular group and not something you'll be able to search for in other shops.  The Poo Happens pajamas I made last year with this panel and matching yardage were a custom group buy:



These groups can be a great source for beautiful high quality fabrics, but figuring them out takes a bit more than just adding something you like to your cart and buying it, so like this custom run hypercolor knit, I'm revealing more details here:   


Color Change Jersey Knit from Sash Fabrics 

How do they work? Most use a private group on Facebook to operate. You join the group and read through their terms (often pinned at the top of the page) and agree to abide by their rules.  Others are available through a retail shop in a special pre-order section.   



Advantages of Custom Fabric Groups:

- Unique prints and fabrics.  If you love knit fabric, these groups offer designs and colors you won't see in normal shops.

- Hard to find imports.  Some groups special in Euro or Japanese fabric brands that are nearly impossible to find in the US/Canada or are too expensive to ship overseas as an individual.

- Specialty fabrics like double gauze, PUL, soft-shell, milky and rib knit are offered in many too.

- Consistent quality.  Most use the same printer or manufacturer for their orders so the quality and weight of the fabric, as well as the printing, tends to be very reliable. 

- Customer input.  Some take suggestions of designs, themes and color ways or are willing to re-run previous prints that have proven popular.    

- Getting ahead of the season.  Pre-ordering means prints for specific times of year or holidays are open months in advance so you can plan what you're going to make sooner.

- Strikeoff imagery.  Personally I find this a major factor when buying fabric.  Actual photos of the strikeoffs.  Instead of just a digital image, many owners show these samples from the printer (run to make sure color, scale & clarity are good before printing an entire roll of a fabric).  They'll also show the fabrics sewn up by their staff or fellow customers who've volunteered so you can see what it'll look like as a finished item.  


High quality soft-shell fabrics from Frollein S. 

Disadvantages of Custom Fabric Groups:  Some of this is purely my own opinion, but they are factors to keep in mind.

- Higher price point.  Custom costs more.  Supply & demand and all that.  I've seen some groups charge over $30/yd for knits, with most over $20/yd.     

- Prepaying.  To pre-order, you usually have to pay in advance or at least a deposit.  Some, however, do offer layaway options if you order a certain amount.

- Wait time.  It ain't Amazon Prime fast.  Expect it to take many weeks before a pre-order closes, gets printed, ships to the seller and then is shipping out to you.  Most groups tell what the approximate lead time is, but it varies.  I've seen some be just 4 weeks, others as much as 12.  Pre-orders are not good when your sewing is extra time sensitive because delays can happen.  

- Frenzy mentality.  Kind of like the Lularoe method of doing business, which to me is a horrible & annoying way to shop.  Some groups are really haphazard on when they open up preorder rounds.  It can be easy to miss a short window to sign up or keep up when they have many different rounds overlapping.  Some also have a limited amount of yardage allotted so unless you're stalking the page and signing up asap, you can miss the chance to order.  A few were too much effort for me to constantly keep tabs on, so I left them.  Buying fabric should be fun, not work!

Let's Eat Doughnuts & Poo Happens from now closed Bebe Flow Fabrics Group

Beware of Scams - unfortunately there are some custom fabric groups that are shady.  Sometimes it's because the person running it lacks any business sense or because they don't have enough money to actually pay for the fabrics they're having printed and in over their heads.  Or they let their personal dramas impact their commitments to customers.  Sometimes it's just someone trying to swindle.    

One group I'd bought fabric from one time changed owners.  The new owner wasn't responding when fabrics didn't arrive when promised and then had excuse after excuse of why things were (held up at customs, printer problems, orders stolen off her porch, etc.). People demanded refunds and it was messy.  I was grateful I hadn't ordered anything new and left the group.  

Some shady types have even closed up, only to open under a new name.  On the plus side, there are some Facebook groups, like Fabric Scams & Information Group where people review these groups.  If you're not sure what the track record or reputation is (or you've had a problem and want others to know to avoid it), a quick look there could give you a solid answer.


Pixie Garden from MK Designs Group

A Word on Licensed Designs: This is an area that appears very grey in Custom Fabric Groups.  A lot of groups run their own prints using licensed characters from popular tv shows & movies.  Disney stuff shows up A LOT.  Many believe since they are redrawing it themselves or tweaking it somewhat that it falls under "inspired by" and is not copyright infringement.  Sometimes that's true.  Others copy characters exactly.  Some even blatantly copy exclusive designs created by other custom fabric groups!  

I try avoid buying those - a few years back I assumed designs like that were licensed or authorized, but it's clear they are not.  Many buyers just don't care because they want prints with their favorite characters.  You have to decide where your comfort level is with buying those.  And making anything with them that you sell can transfer the risk to you.  Personally, I feel like there are enough other prints available that are beautiful and haven't stolen designs from somewhere else.  

Best of Both Worlds Option: Online retail shops that offer pre-order options.  These fabrics are from one of these, Sahara Fabrics:


Narwhal Magic and Blue Squishies from Sahara Fabrics Group

- Usually these shops have a retail FB page and a private FB group where all the pre-order news goes first.

- Fabrics are offered at a special pre-order price, but whatever is left then goes in the retail shop.  So if you're eyeing a print, but can't get it right now, there's still a possible chance to buy some down the road.

- Reputable.  You're ordering through a business storefront, not just signing up via a Google doc some random lady has on Facebook.  

Last Thoughts:

- Each group is a little different so it's important to read through the terms before you order anything and not be afraid to ask questions.

- Using PayPal to make payments is key since it offers buyer protection to get money back in the event something doesn't work out.

- Custom fabric can be awesome, but also very addicting.  It's hard enough for many of us not to buy pretty fabric as soon as we see it, but groups add a level of urgency and impulse buying, so stick to a budget and be ok with walking away from an amazing print if it's not a good time personally.  There will ALWAYS be more pretties!

- And if a group is offering too-good-to-be-true prices, use common sense and run for the hills.

If you've got any tips or suggestions about Custom Fabric Groups, share 'em below!



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