Make it Sew much fun: Grownup Summer Camp!

During our first summer camp session, Mackenzie Brooks (pictured here, looking all tasseled up) will teach you how to make tassels and embellish a scarf.

When summer arrives, do you get nostalgic for childhood days making lanyards, popsicle-stick God’s eyes, and birdhouses at camp? Do you feel a little envious as you drop off your kids for hours of crafting when you’re heading into another ho-hum day at the office? Well, take heart and prepare to have fun because Make It Sew is offering Grownup Summer Camp on select Wednesday evenings this summer! Each session will let you get crafty and feel the satisfaction of making something sassy to take home and show off.

Binge on fringe and make some tassels!

Summer Camp Session 1 will convene on June 26, 5:30-7:30pm, when Mackenzie Brooks will teach you how to make tassels and add them to a scarf. For $25, campers receive instruction and basic tassel-making materials, although you may want to purchase additional components if you get inspired. Each camper will bring a lightweight scarf to embellish. Make It Sew has numerous fabrics that will work and can provide guidance on how to hem them, so you will be ready to tassel away!

Learn to make fun felt coasters to go under your glass of ice tea, bottle of cerveza fria, or highball of gin & tonic.

Summer Camp Session 2 will take place on July 10, 5:30-7:30pm, when camp counselor Mackenzie Brooks returns to guide you through cutting, designing, and hand-stitching felt coasters. Once again, the $25 enrollment fee gets campers Mackenzie’s expert instruction and basic materials for crafting the coasters.

Sashay into camp and make a Sashiko sachet.

Summer Camp Session 3 will occur on August 7, 5:30-7:30, when head counselor Accacia Mullen will provide an introduction to the tools, materials, and techniques of Sashiko, a Japanese embroidery style created to repair worn fabrics but often used today to simply make things more beautiful. The enrollment fee of $25 covers Accacia’s instruction and basic materials. Prepared sashiko coaster kits (also good for coasters) are an additional fee.

Counselor Mackenzie Brooks is a librarian, crafter, gardener, and relaxing lady. She’s a Make It Sew regular who is learning to embrace the wabi-sabi nature of her sewing projects.

Counselor Accacia Mullen loves sewing on vintage machines and thinks sashiko is one of the most enjoyable forms of hand stitching.

All campers receive a 10% discount on any camp materials bought at Make It Sew. Come get your summer crafting craving satisfied during Grownup Summer Camp! In addition to having fun stitching, you never know who you will meet. “Make new friends, but keep the old . . .”

June Fabric of the Month: Ginghams

Accacia couldn’t resist the charms of this green batik gingham and made herself a summery dress! Cay-ute!

Nothing sings “summer” like gingham! But the fresh-checked fabrics at Make It Sew go beyond your grandma’s red-and-white picnic cloth to include lovely batiks and other eye-popping options. Through June 30, our ginghams are a breezy 10% off. Come check out our checks because all this month it’s hip to be square!

Check out all of our gorgeous ginghams, and think outside the box about what you might sew!

May Fabric of the Month: Florals

Sew so many lovely florals!

Ack, ack, ack! Here it is the tail end of May, so it’s now or never to get your floral project going at 10% off! Get up off the bloomin’ couch and get some blooming fabric while the sale is still in flower! (Apologies–we promise to post the June fabric with plenty o’ time for you to take advantage of the discount.)

Totes Adorbs: Make it Sew Bags!

Accacia demonstrates how form meets function in the Make It Sew tote bag .

Just in time for the downtown Lexington Sidewalk Sale this weekend, Make It Sew is premiering its new line of bags! And are they ever fantastic! Made to last a lifetime, these bags feature an exterior of wonderful waxed canvas and a roomy interior lined in natural herringbone denim twill (the light color means you will never lose a tiny item like a seam ripper in the black hole of your bag). Best of all, these unisex bags originate at Make It Sew—designed, cut, and sewn right here in Lex Vegas!

The Make It Sew bag line currently includes three styles. The haul-it-all tote measures a spacious 15″H x 23″W x 7″D. The reinforced bottom means you could throw a few bowling balls in there without a care in the world. If you can lift it, it will hold! Also, Grigg Mullen designed this tote so the seams are functional without being bulky. The tote retails for $120 and is sure to become your BBF—Best Bag Forever!

The Make It Sew tote will go the distance and look good doing it!

Make it Sew is also offering a 2.5″ x 4″ card wallet that is the ideal size for carrying cash, credit cards, and IDs. Just slide it in your pocket, and you’re good to go. The third style is a limited-edition sleeve/pouch that measures 3.5″ x 5″—perfect for stashing your phone or large bills. These two smaller bags each retail for $15.

The card wallet (left) and limited-edition sleeve/pouch (right) are all fun and no fuss! Don’t they look nice with Etta’s flower brooch? (She can teach you how to make a flower brooch to match your new bags on May 1 at 5:30.)

Make It Sew plans to add more styles to its bag lineup in the near future. So stay tuned for more beautiful ways to carry your kit and kaboodle!

April Fabric of the Month: Manchester Shirting

Beautiful weaves + lovely colors = Manchester Shirting

During April, Make It Sew is offering 10% off all Manchester Shirting fabrics! Made of all or nearly all cotton—some weaves feature a touch of lurex/polyster thread for subtle dazzle—Manchester Shirting is the ideal weight for spring and summer dresses, tops, tunics, pants, skirts, pajamas, napkins, tablecloths, etc. Not only is this fabric versatile, its lovely weaves whisper sophistication. Their textures and colors are so pretty they don’t need to shout.

Manchester Shirting comes from Robert Kaufman, which is named for its founder, a Russian immigrant who started his first company, Meadowpark Clothes, in New York during the 1920s. Unfortunately, the stock market crash of 1929 put this first endeavor out of business, but Kaufman persevered and opened the current company in 1942. When doctors diagnosed one of his sons with asthma, Kaufman moved his family and the business to Los Angeles, where it continues to thrive today.

Robert Kaufman designs many of its fabrics with quilters in mind, but the exquisite weaves also work well for garment sewing and other projects. Pick up a yard or two of Manchester Shirting at a special price through April 30, and add some subtle zing to your spring.

At 10% off, this gorgeous pink Manchester Shirting will have you in the pink!

Learn to Sew a Capsule Wardrobe (a.k.a. a whole lotta Lotta)

Make It Sew’s front window is not only springy, but it also showcases the pieces students will make in the upcoming Capsule Wardrobe series!

There are so many reasons to get excited about Make It Sew’s upcoming “Capsule Wardrobe” series that it’s hard to know where to begin! Here are a few nudges for why you might want to sign up for one or more of these two-part sewing lessons: 1) You want to learn or practice basic sewing skills; 2) You want to make truly wearable clothes while you learn; 3) You want a small class size so you can benefit from individual attention; 4) You hate picking out what to wear and simply want to grab things off a couple hangers, knowing you will look great!

With all those reasons in mind, Accacia has created a five-garment instructional series, drawing on the patterns and inspiration provided by the book Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style. She says, “They’re nice, simple designs. With the five different garments, beginning students can make a garment that I think they will want to wear and enjoy wearing. But they’ll also learn some skills that are part of making more complicated garments and sewing in general.” Starting in April and continuing through September (with a break in July), on the second and third Tuesday evening of each month, 5:30-8:30 pm, Make It Sew will guide students through making a new garment, building sewing savvy as students build their wardrobes. What’s particularly nice about the Tuesday class schedule is students who find they need extra time will be able to drop by Make It Sew’s “open sewing” on Thursday evening (5:30-8 pm) and/or Friday midday (11 am-2 pm) to catch up and prepare for the next class.

April’s project: Lotta Jansdotter’s terrific Kiomi dress, which students have the option to make as a top.

During April’s sessions, students will sew either a sleeveless top or dress (their choice) while learning how to attach bias tape and gather, a skill that helps create shape.

May’s project: Lotta Jansdotter’s perfect A-line Tedra skirt, which students can create at whatever length they desire.

In May, each student will make a skirt and learn to put in a zipper, which Accacia says “is not nearly as scary as some people think.”

June’s project: Lotta Jansdotter’s easy-to-wear Owyn pants, which students can choose to make as shorts.

In June, students will not only address the shapes and geometry involved in making pants, but they will also learn how to create a channel and insert elastic.

July’s project: Lotta Jansdotter’s versatile Esme top, tunic, or kaftan.

August’s sessions will focus on making a top, tunic, or kaftan (again, up to each student) that will entail learning how to create darts to enhance fit.

August’s project: Lotta Jansdotter’s stylish Pilvi jacket or coat, which students will learn to add in-seam pockets to, if they wish.

Finally, in September students will make either a coat or jacket, learning how to sew in-seam pockets, which Accacia points out, “everybody loves.”

Each class will also include optional “extra credit” skills for students who feel competent and ambitious. For instance, students will have the chance to add patch pockets to their skirts in May and belt loops to their pants in June. Plus Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style includes all kinds of accessories students can make to enhance their wardrobes.

Just a few of the fun accessories Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style includes to help you add pizzazz to your capsule wardrobe.

Are students required to take all five classes? Nope (although we’re pretty sure you’ll want to). Each two-session class costs $60, but if you sign up for three or four, you can save $20 on the overall cost. Sign up for all five and get $45 off! Students will need to buy Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style (trust us, it’s a great investment at $29.95), as well as fabrics and notions, but Make It Sew will offer those enrolled 10% off all goods purchased.

Nota bene: These classes are not for those who have never touched a sewing machine. But don’t worry if that’s you—simply sign up for a private sewing lesson with Accacia prior to the course, and she will get you up to speed!

Versatility galore with the patterns in Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style!

Come make a capsule! There’s a whole lot to love about a whole lotta Lotta!

Pattern patter: Cashmerette

Any grown woman, no matter what size or shape, knows the frustration of trying to find flattering clothes that hang just right and feel comfortable. One of the best things about sewing is being able to adjust patterns to really fit our bodies rather than having to make do with what comes off the rack. Even so, ladies with a little more here and a lot more there have often had to work overtime to make patterns work. Enter Cashmerette! Designed specifically for women sized 12-28 with busts ranging from C-H, Cashmerette aspires to let every woman look chic and feel at home in her clothes.

Cashmerette founder Jenny Rushmore, a self-described “curvy sewist,” began stitching at age 30 and discovered her new skills opened up endless possibilities for creating a wardrobe to match both her mind and body. Based in Boston, she first founded the Curvy Sewing Collective to share tips and information with other like-bodied women online, and that endeavor eventually led her to create Cashmerette patterns. Offering women with bodies ignored by the fashion industry an avenue to style and comfort, Cashmerette believes “in changing clothes and mindsets, rather than being told we should change our bodies.”

Make It Sew offers a range of Cashmerette patterns. Quite a few of them, like the Appleton Dress (pictured on the right above), work particularly well with our March Fabric of the Month, Andover jersey knits!

Know Sew: Fat Quarter

The basket of fat quarters at Make It Sew

If you have spent any time in a fabric shop, you may have noticed an area with smallish pieces of material called “fat quarters.” Although the term sounds Mardi Gras-related—the French Quarter on Fat Tuesday?—it actually has its foundation in math. Imagine a standard bolt of cloth that’s 44″ wide. If you were to buy a quarter yard of fabric cut the usual way, you would end up with a long strip of fabric measuring 9″ x 44″, right?

But that’s not the only way to do it! Instead, imagine cutting a half yard, i.e. 18″, of the fabric, and then cutting that piece in half horizontally at its midpoint. What you end up with is a squarish piece of fabric measuring 18″ by 22″, which is, in fact, still a quarter yard, just differently proportioned. Rather than a long thin strip, you wind up with a “fat quarter.” Get it?

Now, not all fat quarters are exactly the same. For instance, if the original fabric were 60″ wide, the resulting fat quarter would be 18″ x 30″. If the fabric were 35″ wide, the fat quarter would be 18″ x 17.5″, and so on.

What are fat quarters good for? Well, quilters love them because they are easy to cut into a variety of sizes and shapes for piecing together designs. They also work well for creating appliqués. But sometimes a fat quarter is all the fabric you need for a standard sewing project, such as making a passport pouch, oven mitt, or glasses case! Google “fat quarter projects,” and you will wind up with more ideas than there are Mardi Gras beads in New Orleans. When it comes to quarters, fat is where it’s at!

Check out this lined pencil case that Accacia made from a couple fat quarters!

Kai Makes the Cut

Make It Sew carries several models of Kai scissors, and sewists may also use the much-loved store scissors.

Whether you are cooking, gardening, building a birdhouse, or sewing, having good tools makes all the difference. When Accacia was deciding what scissors to sell at Make It Sew, Kai was the clear winner. These black-handled Japanese scissors are crafted from high-carbon stainless steel combined with vanadium. I hear you thinking, “What was that last thing? Isn’t that what the swords are made of on Game of Thrones?” Well, vanadium may not have quite that pedigree, but the silver-gray metal is particularly valuable because it resists corrosion, and we aaaallllll hate rusty scissors!

Kai combines these top-tier materials with comfortable handles that make cutting a pleasure. Make It Sew carries both Kai’s 5000 series, which are great for everyone at every level, and the 7000 series, which is Kai’s professional line. The available models in each series range from 6-inch thread snips to 10-inch dressmaker shears.

Accacia puts the Kai store scissors to good use.

Also, southpaws take note: Kai offers true left-handed scissors, which Make It Sew stocks. Accacia explains the innovative design “is kind of life-changing for some left-handed people because it’s not just that the handle is shaped differently; the scissors are actually made opposite.” In other words, the blades cross in a way that mirrors right-handed scissors. Accacia says, “Someone who bought some of these from me said that she loved them because she could see much better what she was cutting than with ordinary left-handed scissors or righty scissors.” Perfect!

The icing on Kai’s cutting-edge cake? You can have the scissor blades re-sharpened when they get dull. So treat yourself to the joy of good tools by picking up a pair (or two) of Kai scissors.

March Fabric of the Month: Andover Jersey Knits

Andover Jersey Knits are delicious in both texture and color.

Through March 31st, all Andover Jersey Knits are 10% off at Make It Sew. These colorful knits have a wonderful drape and offer scads of possibilities. Believe it or not, the designer of these 100% cotton fabrics, Alison Glass, lives in Virginia with her husband and two children. She is particularly interested in color and shape and strives to make fabrics that yield beautiful clothes.

To give you an idea of how you might use Andover Jersey Knits to add zing to your spring, Accacia whipped up this fun sweatshirt. (She is on a sweatshirt kick!) So save a little, and make a lot!

Andover Jersey Knits + an eye-popping geometric pattern + a pocketed sweatshirt = yes, please!