DIY handmade Christmas ornament: Christmas Tree!

For last week's Modern Quilt Guild meeting, we had a handmade Christmas ornament exchange.  I put mine together at the last minute in about 20 minutes the night before with scraps from my sewing stash.  It's a double sided scrappy Christmas tree! It was a super easy project, and I'm happy with the way it turned out... here are some basic steps (sorry, no photos - I was in a rush to get it finished!):

1. Cut out triangles for the tree.  I cut out 3 green triangles for the front, and 3 orange triangles for the back.  I just eyeballed the green set, and then made the orange set match in size.  I also cut out two little brown scraps for the tree trunk.

 2. Arrange the triangles and tree trunk of each side and fuse it all at the same time to fusible fleece.

3.  With the wrong sides together, zig zag around each triangle and the tree trunk.  I also inserted the ends of a bit of ribbon I had lying around into the top point of the tree.


show & tell: bags from sewing classes!

I've had a few sewing classes over at Stitchology this fall, and a blog post is due!  I love seeing what the students in the class create and what fabrics they choose.  It's amazing how different the same bag can look with different fabrics!

Here a few photos from a Zippy Bag class and a Sunburst Sling class:


Easy Kimono Dress from Pattern Runway

I just finished sewing up a new dress!  I chose the Easy Kimono Dress from Pattern Runway after searching around on Etsy, and I love that I'm supporting another independent pattern designer. 

Overall, I love this dress! I found a fun, silky print to sew it with, and I'm super happy with how it turned out.   It will pretty much match everything, and I can dress it up or down. I chose to sew it in a size medium, and apparently I underestimated the girth of my hips... cause it's a bit more snug down there than I would have liked.  It definitely won't influence how much I think I'll be wearing this dress since I just love it! I already have some fabric lined up to sew another dress, and I'll probably make the skirt portion just a wee bit larger.  

This dress took me 3 evenings to create, and the hardest part by far was cutting out the pieces because the fabric kept wanting to shift around! I haven't sewn with silky fabric like this before, but I used a new microtex sharp needle (size 70/10), pinned liberally, and it went just swimmingly.  It was hard to press, since the fabric didn't really want to crease.  I suppose that's good news, so I won't have to deal with wrinkles when I wear it!


tutorial: DIY fabric marker board / white board

Today I have an easy-peasy marker board tutorial to share!  This idea came about after I decided that I wanted a marker board in my office.  Well, a quick trip to Staples showed me that this was pretty much my only option (especially in my price range, which was like $3). I went ahead and took the liberty of adding my own flourishes to this photo.

This option just wasn't going to fly, and considering the previously mentioned budget, I decided upon an alternative.  Surprise!  This literally did cost me $3, and looks so SO much nicer than other commercially available marker boards.  In fact, I could just use it as artwork if for some reason I don't have anything to do.  Which is never.  So I'll keep it as a marker board.

I decided to use a piece of fabric that I designed and had printed at Spoonflower, so it's nice to display it in my creative space!

- thrift store or purchased frame (mine is a 12"x16" frame)
- fabric scrap
- spray mount adhesive (I've used Scotch and 3M brands with equal success)
- rotary cutter, ruler, and cutting mat (or scissors)

1. First, I pressed the fabric.  Then I removed the backing of the frame and used the paper insert as a guide so I knew what size fabric piece I should cut.  My rotary cutter and mat were nice tools to have, but obviously this could be done with regular fabric scissors.

 2. Spray the adhesive onto the particle board backer that comes with the frame.  Double sided tape could also work nicely if you don't have spray mount on hand.

3.  Pop the backer into the frame and hang on your wall!  I used those velcro 3M strips on my frame so that the frame doesn't wobble around while I'm trying to write on it.  Voila!  Done!

pleated tote photos

I thought I'd share some pictures of bags that I stumbled upon on Aimee's blog! The pattern featured is my Pleated Tote pattern.

She did such a great job mixing and matching fabrics, and I'm so impressed that she's already sewn 10 of this bag!  I think my favorite is the green one :)


a little policy announcement!

First, the announcement!

I am now allowing finished products made from my patterns to be sold!  

Now, the backstory...

I've had a ton of requests from fellow Etsy sellers who wanted to purchase my sewing patterns to create finished pieces to sell in their shops.  For a while, I decided against this -- mostly because I used to sell my own finished products, and didn't want to rule out that possibility again in the future.  Basically, if I decided to go back to making bags to sell in an online venue, I didn't want to have all that competition!

The truth of it is that I had a lot of success with my handmade bags.  I sold them at craft fairs, farmers' markets, on Etsy, to friends, in consignment shops, etc.  It was a great experience, and it kept me busy!  But, over time, I realized that I'm just not cut out for production sewing work.  It made me neglect my own personal sewing projects, and interfered with designing new patterns.  It just made me appreciate sewing less and less the longer I did it.  Well, I wanted to enjoy sewing again, so that in a nutshell is why I decided to forgo selling finished goods and concentrate on the patterns. 

.... and the details!

I would honored to be a part of your handmade small business!  Whether you choose one pattern to sew and sell, or five, it would be a privilege to be a part of your sewing venture.  There are only two things that I request:  

1. Please credit the pattern design to me. A link to www.jengiddens.com is always appreciated.  You may use wording such as: "This item was made using a Jen Giddens Pattern (www.jengiddens.com)."

2. All items for sale must be handmade by your.  This means that the bags can not be mass produced.

Of course, please contact me if you have any questions about this policy change!  I look forward to being a part of your handmade business :)


my lovely pattern testers

Several weeks ago, I put a call out on the interweb for some pattern testers for my brand new sewing pattern - the Zippy Bag.  I was amazed by the enthusiastic responses!  They graced me with lovely photos and inspired me with their creativity.  Isn't it funny how different the same bag can look when everyone chooses their own unique fabrics?  Love it! Here's a few photos for your enjoyment, along with the names of the testers who sewed them....

Ashley's lovely black, white, and yellow purse

Juanita's "Fine Whiner" purse - ha!

Juanita was ambitious and made two purses!

Maria from miacreates.blogspot.com made this beautiful bag with a leather strap!

Nancy's bag makes me think of pink lemonade... mmm...

Shannon's bag reminds me that fall is just around the corner!

Judith's colorful purse - this would go with just about any outfit!

Judy made this gorgeous Asian inspired bag.

Kim's bag - love the fabric combination!

Brand New Pattern... the Zippy Bag!

I'm so excited to introduce my latest pattern -- the Zippy Bag!

This little lady is larger than she appears.  She's been known to carry my bike lock and water bottle around town in the main compartment, and my keys, wallet, phone, and chapstick in the two handy-dandy zipper pockets on the exterior.  She's smaller than many of my other bags, but when you don't need to bring the whole house with you, she's the one for the job.

I loved sewing this one with David Butler's Parson Gray line.  The palette is neutral enough to coordinate with a lot, but the patterns are interesting enough to give it a little excitement. 

She's off to the printer pretty soon, and in no time she'll be ready for you to snaggle up in my Etsy shop, or at  your local quilt shop. (What, they don't carry my patterns? Silly. Ask them nicely for me, would you?)


a lovely little display at Stitchology

Everywhere I've lived since really getting into sewing, I've been blessed with wonderful sewing and fabric shops.  When I lived in Logan, Utah I drove up to the tiny town of Preston, Idaho just for Suppose.  In Denver, Colorado I loved visiting the ladies of Fancy Tiger.  When my husband and I moved back to Albuquerque after spending five years away, I was pleased to discover that several new quilt shops had popped up, among those is Stitchology.

 I've mentioned the sewing shop Stitchology a couple of times, both here on the blog on on my Facebook page.  I guess when you find something good, you just want to shout it out for all the world to hear!  Well, I know a lot of you who read this blog aren't from Albuquerque, and you may not have plans to visit here anytime soon (although you should... it can be magical). BUT, I still want to say that Stitchology is a great spot to go for a variety of fabrics -- I love that she sells all kinds of fabrics for garment sewing, including knits, lace, tweeds, etc.  Of course, this is along with all of the wonderful quilting weight fabrics as well.  Melisa, the owner of Stitchology, is SUPER knowledgeable about everything that she sells, and she is quick to share her know-how with anyone who needs some sewing advice.

Anyway, Melisa was kind enough to allow me to display several of my finished products in her front window over the last month or so!  It was really hard to get good pictures -- tricky lighting + iPhone camera + amateur photographer didn't quite get me the results I wanted.  Oh well, the display itself turned out lovely even if my photos aren't!


Sunburst Sling bag

NEW!! This is my still unnamed bag, still in the works. Help?!

Button Flap Purse

Pleated Tote

Pocket Tote

Pocket Tote

Pleated Tote

I forgot to get a shot of the super cute bunting that we strung across the front windows.  It's made with my leftover advertising fliers from Quilt Market.  So cute -- I'll have to get a photo of it next time I stop in.  Which will undoubtedly be, like, tomorrow ;)

a Sunburst Sling sewing class!

Melisa from Stitchology was gracious enough to ask me to teach a class at her shop on my Sunburst Sling sewing pattern.  We had a lovely, small class -- which was perfect, because the bag requires lots of itty bitty steps.  Check out these gorgeous bags! 

Dee made a lovely black, white, and red little number  It's a great example of how the pattern can be dressed up a bit based on the fabrics you choose:

 Lucinda created this fun bag with a summery, light hearted color scheme. I like her decision to not make everything super symmetrical:

 This was the sample bag on display at Stitchology to entice people to sign up for the class!  I love the fabric combo here...

And just for fun, here's another photo of the Sunburst Sling pattern made by my friend Lindsey. I love the Joel Dewberry fabrics on this one!


sewing pattern testers wanted!

I am overwhelmed with responses from my call for pattern testers! Thank you for all of your eager emails, it brightened my morning to know that so many of you are interested.  I have enough testers for this pattern, but please feel free to email me with your contact info anyway and I may need your help with a different pattern in several months :)


It's that time again.... I'm in need of pattern testers!  I'm wrapping up my latest bag design.  No big reveals today, but here's a sneak peak:  

Zippers, anyone?

Anyway, if you are interested in being a pattern tester, please email me as soon as possible at: jengiddenspatterns@gmail.com


color inspiration: Pink & Tangerine

In case you don't follow me on Pinterest, I've been loving me some pink and tangerine color combos lately.... here are a couple of images that have inspired me!

tibi dress...gorgeous!
Tibi Dress, image here

 Muriel Brandolini’s Victorian weekend house in Southampton, New York; image here

Pinned Image
pink & tangerine quilt, image here

love the color combo
tangerine nails & pink lips, image here

interior design, image here

Melissa Rufty Interior Design Decoration Project sample
MMR Interiors, image here