Wednesday, November 2, 2011

presenting (the new location)...

i'm moving my virtual, crafty home. leaving behind tigerlily tinkering for a home at

no bags are packed and no van is waiting outside but I have the distinct feeling of looking around at a space that's reflecting back an echo. it's a little bit of a mixed emotion.  truth is, since the beginning of 2011 i've been hacking through the sometimes tangled world of teaching classes, sewing things for sale and nestling into a new virtual home. 

it's exciting to move! i'm excited! but, you know, i loved it here, too.  i love the friends i've made here and i've learned so much in this space.  but, (deep breath and big leap) is where it is at now.

i hope you move with me. my latest adventures in sewing, teaching and growing will all be happening over there.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Evolution of a Bib

I have made a gazillion baby bibs (I counted, it is actually a gazillion) and nearly all of them were made using the pattern in Bend the Rules Sewing by Amy Karol. And, I love that pattern but I was browsing Etsy as one does when they are handmade-obsessed and up at night. And, I noticed a lot of bibs that had more a square shape at the bottom, which I really liked. I also have always struggled with sewing an accurate topstitch around the curves at the back of the bib. So, I altered the pattern for the new shape and to make an easier sewing portion near the snap.
The change is probably imperceptible except to me BUT I do, indeed, know the difference and I love it. And, these, my friends are the crazy things that obsess sewing freaks like me.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

When a Heart Needs a Hug

Recently, friends had a beautiful baby boy who was unexpectedly born with health and developmental challenges. They could barely hold him and waited at the hospital for those rare time the nurses would tell them they could touch their baby. All of this while caring for their first born and recovering from the birth itself....and trying to remember to eat and drink. Such an unexpected event shook me. I hear about pregnancy and I celebrate and look forward eagerly to the birth story. I assume nothing will go wrong. I'm accustomed to a world wherein if difficult things happen I can work really hard and make it better. This wasn't like that. I can't even imagine what it must have felt like for my friends. And, I'm really far away from them so I can't even be of help to them.

One of the health issues is that he has holes in his heart. They are hoping that some of them will seal up on their own but if they don't he will need surgery on his around the age of 4 months. Oy. It's too much.

To feel closer to them and combat my own feelings of impotence I quickly stitched some fancy japanese bias tape around the edge of a newborn kimono top and sent it off to them. A friend who lived in France once informed me they apparently call wrap sweaters 'heart huggers' because of how they wrap around and hug the heart. I'm thinking of this in the same manner...a heart hugger for a heart that desperately needs a hug.

Monday, July 25, 2011

10 Things I Didn't Know

Phew...I didn't really plan to be away from this space for so long. And, I missed it and I even kept composing posts in my head and then never finding the time to get. it. all. down! But, it's been a busy sewing whirl of activity in my parts.

When I left my job at the start of the year I knew that I wanted to integrate sewing instruction and just plain old sewing into my weekly, if not daily, life. I knew I didn't want the kids pulled out of their preschools completely and this would mean I have some time to myself. I knew a few people interested in learning to sew and excited to take a class with me. I knew all those things, but here are ten things I didn't know:

1. I didn't know it would be easy to convince my church to let me use the basement, on a regular basis to hold classes.

2. I didn't know I had it in my ever-cautious and deliberate nature to spontaneously say "Yes, I will buy those 4 sewing machines you are offering me at a steal."

3. I didn't know that same cautious nature would find the courage to dream out loud.
{got to love the work shoes tossed aside next to the machine pedal!}

4. I didn't know that every time I dreamt out loud someone in the room would say "I can help you do that? A web site? Sure, I know a guy....A facebook page? I can start it for you. Buzz and word of mouth? My speciality. A sewing machine? You can have this one that I never use."

5. I didn't know that every step I took away from the base of the tree and further out onto the branches and limbs would leave me feeling vulnerable and raw for a day...and then I would get over it. And, I would feel even more courageous afterwards.

6. I didn't know there would be days. DAYS! when I got nothing concrete accomplished and that it would drive me nuts and I would be wracked with guilt for not at least accomplishing something to help family life run smoothly. Then, suddenly I would work like a fiend and it would all come together.

7. I didn't know that people were serious, very serious about wanting to learn to sew and they would show up for class and want to talk sewing at every daycare drop off and we would develop inside jokes about bias tape and my husband would catch them chatting about fabric around town.

8. I didn't know that it would all begin to grow into something more like community...that it would mean a lot to take time out of the house, away from the kids or responsibilities, to sew something and to talk to each other. I didn't realize quite how much that feeling of making something that I love would also be loved in the same way by other people. Maybe even more because we are doing it together and each class would end with everyone looking at me saying "What is next?"

9. I didn't know what would be involved in being my own manager, website designer, bookkeeper, accountant, scheduler, fabric buyer, and social media player. That it would mean I barely sew for myself at all. That I might feel compelled, on a day like today, to make a single bean bag just to combat that feeling.

10. I didn't know this post would make me a little weepy....

I didn't know a lot. And, I still don't know a lot. But, I'm learning and I'm so excited to share more as it all develops (like a new name!) and this whole new chapter develops.

What exactly am I doing? I don't know, it's evolving and maybe I am to. Or maybe I'm just going nuts and my family will look back on this as that weird 'sewing phase' but either way it is making for good stories in my old age.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Hootenanny Ready...

My son's frustration level reached boiling point last week at how difficult it is to hold and play a guitar at the same time. And for good reason. When you can't walk around while playing and holding the guitar you can't be the rock and roll star you really long to be...and when the rock and roll star you really long to be is actually the guy that teaches *preschool of rock* at your school and all you want to do is come home and pretend to be him all day long you absolutely must have a GUITAR STRAP, MAMA!

So, I hauled the sewing machine up out of the dingy basement (otherwise known as my studio) and got to work with some scraps and a little bit of bias tape. We made a small loop with the bias tape at one of the strap and attached some extra to tie around the guitar neck on the other end. Then a simple little screw with a loop into the bottom of the guitar and just like that Mama sewed up some magic. (He literally paced behind me while I was about pressure.)

And, about 15 minutes later is was absolutely essential that he go outside, sit on the steps and strum that guitar. All he needed was a few friends, somebody playing a banjo and we would have had a hootenanny I swear...he was so content out there strumming in the sun. My little music man.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Summer Breeze Dress

A while back I made the dress in this post, and as I suspected it didn't fit...was way too tight. In the process of thinking through how to alter the pattern so that it would fit better I got to thinking that an all-around bodice just isn't realistic for an everyday girl's dress. I don't have girls but I do know that ALL CHILDREN need clothing that goes on and off easily....even better if it is super cute.
So, I ditched the whole back bodice and put in elastic casing, then I lengthened the straps in the back, added a criss-cross and while I was at it I shortened the length, widened the bodice in front and even lengthened it a bit because I liked the proportion a whole lot better. In the end, I came up with a whole new dress. I like it and so do a few other people, too. So, I've taken a request to make one out of this wonderful echino fabric.

I even snuck my making into the KCSC over at elsie marley. This whole adventure has strengthened my belief that there are no mistakes in sewing...only 'learning opportunities'. Every mishap leads down a new road that takes a turn that ends up better than where we started. This little summer breeze dress is that destination.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Kids Clothes Sewing Challenge: For the Boys

Elsie Marley's fantastic kid's clothing sewing week is such a good kick in the pants for me. I did manage to sew at least an hour everyday (except Saturday...just didn't happen) and I got a few things done for the boys. Up above, Jude got a pair of reversible being reversible they get a cute little accent cuff at the bottom, which will also make them easy to grow with over time. The pattern I made using a pair of his current pants. And, the top is the 'Kai shirt' from Heather Ross' Weekend Sewing book (I love this cute, so easy.). The fabric is from Hawthorne Threads and I thought it would lend itself to a bit of a more sophisticated look than the average car/truck fabric and it does to some extent but not as much as I had hoped.

I also used Weekend Sewing for these pajama pair for both boys. The secret plan (sshhh) is to make Papa a pair and then break them out for Father's Day. Got to get to American Apparel for the matching tees. I will be perfectly honest about's for me. I'm just dying to see my guys in matching pajamas. I don't know that they are going to care in the least. But, I promise to keep you posted. Perhaps I will be surprised! It could happen.
This is a detail of the fabric...again from's called tiny town (I think) and along side a variety of fun cars and trucks are cute little shops including one for fabric and yarn. He. He. I told you this is for me!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Kids Clothes Week Challenge!

I'm very excited to be participating, for the second time, in Elsie Marley's Kids Clothes Week Challenge. The question is can I really sew kid's clothes for at least one hour a day for seven days? I sure hope so. Spring is mad at our house...three out of four birthdays happen for the immediate family, and then my mom's birthday and both my siblings...throw in Mother's Day and it's a little much. But, we are slogging through with determination. My plans for kids clothes week include a little outfit for my smallest man, some pajama pants for warm weather, and a few dresses for other people's kids. I never get to make dresses and I'm learning they are awfully fun so I'm indulging a bit.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Spring is in full bloom! I'm so in love with it that I can already feel it slipping is so fragrant and beautiful out, everyone's pent up energy is finally released OUTSIDE. It is lovely, lovely, lovely. We are doing our best to get out and enjoy it.
{from our local arboretum}