April 29, 2014

Tutorial Tuesday :: The 3-in-1 Swimsuit Sewing Tutorial by Cotton + Curls

This is the year for making your own swimsuit!!  I say this because I have been working my way up to this point for a long time as I have never found a easy to follow tutorial that is also flattering for my body type.  With the availability of the right fabrics and machines these days sewing your own suit, and even for your family, is now a snap!   In looking for good tutorials I found this excellent 3 in 1 swimsuit tutorial from Liz Bryson of Cotton + Curls.  This great tutorial includes clear and concise verbal and visual instructions from Liz.  Follow along and you will be proudly sporting your own handmade, perfectly fitted swimsuit in no time!
 Added bonus: there's a peek-a-boo back.

The best part about this tutorial? With just some minor adjustments, the same pattern can produce three different suits- a bikini, a tankini, and a maternity tankini. Versatile patterns like this are my favorite! 
I am in love with the new color blocking trend!  Color blocking adds visual interest to any garment and detracts the eye from not so perfect areas while flattering at the same time.  The very talented seamstress and pattern designer Liesl Gibson from Oliver + S posted a great tutorial on color blocking basics. With these tips and tricks, you'll be able to color block most any sewing pattern.  I can't wait to see what this swimsuit looks like with some of the amazing colors from our new swimsuit solids!
Here are some of my favorite uses of color blocking for swimwear that I have seen.  I am going to work on creating one of my very own!

Nylon spandex prints and solids are perfect for swimwear. We just added a huge selection of solids in so many on trend and very unique colors.

Go with a bit of sparkle with the raschel nylon spandex:
Go with smooth matte satin nylon spandex:
Or a silky satin nylon spandex with a bit of shimmer:
Or a silky matte nylon spandex:
And of course lots of lining options:
  I think a summer swimsuit sewing contest is in order soon :)

We hope you enjoy this tutorial and please send 1-2 images of any project you make with Girl Charlee Fabrics to gcblog@girlcharlee.com and you might see your creation featured in our next KnitPicks!

Happy sewing!

~ Heather & The Girl Charlee Team

April 25, 2014

April Customer Spotlight:: Natasha Seno from Dream Elephant

We all know it is not easy to find clothes for your baby that are both stylish and fit properly.  Natasha Seno of Dream Elephant understands this difficulty and that's why she started making her own baby clothes which we just adore.  What began as a way of dressing her baby in clothes that fit, has since become a business that helps support her family. Here is Natasha's story. 

About Natasha 
Our son has always been on the cute “Pudgy” side since the day he was born. His wardrobe consisted of clothing a size or two up with the downside of being too long. We struggled endlessly to find clothes that will fit his structure. One day shopping online, I came across a mother’s blog who made custom clothing for her children. Being a full time mother and with inspiration in mind, I put my spare time to research sewing, materials, fabric, etc. We then purchased our first sewing machine and first yard of fabric (“Thank you Girl Charlee!”). And with absolutely no sewing skills, I gave it my first shot at a pair of leggings. Surprisingly, the legging did not turn out the way I wanted them to…LOL. However I was so proud of my finished product I couldn’t help but to share it on my social media sources. I received many positive responses a mother reached out and offered to buy a handmade legging from me. With my last half-yard of fabric I made the legging and sent it off. The mother was so blown away she continuously to thank me. She wanted to purchase more. It was then when the new talent I have gained could be used to help others as it would help my family. And it could not have happen at a perfect time. The single income from my fiancé would get us by, but debt was building up. We had to come up with a game plan. 

I, then, did more research on where and how to sell online. I finally came across a popular site where nothing but handmade products are sold. My next step was a “catchy” name for my site. Elephants bring good luck in my culture I had to use it. And since this was a dream come true, it “clicked!” “Dream Elephant” could not be any more perfect. Money was tight and we wanted to start off slow. So we took the only $200 we received from our son’s first birthday and purchased a few more yards of fabric at different patterns. The time came, it was either make it or break it. We posted all our legging patterns on the Dream Elephant site. And within a few days the two hundred dollars we initially invested was sold with plenty of fabric to continue on. From there 100% of our earnings went back to Dream Elephant until we have reached the point it has helped us financially.
We could not be more blessed and happy to what faith has brought us. Without our son this would still be a dream. Thank you for our son Nathan and thank you all that has supported Dream Elephant. And a special thanks to Girl Charlee for wonderful fabrics and support! Please visit us for more of our story and products at www.etsy.com/shop/DreamElephant and follow us on Instagram: DreamElephantThank you Natasha for sharing your story with us!!  If you would like to be featured in our next Customer Spotlight post, email gcblog(at)girlcharlee(dot)com and we will get in touch.

~ Heather and The Girl Charlee Team

April 24, 2014

Girl Charlee Knitriffic Blogs :: Made By Rae

Our Knitriffic Blog star this month is Made-by-Rae, the amazing sewing and crafting blog run by the über talented sewist and pattern marker Rae Hoekstra.  Rae started this blog to share her love of sewing with the world and she's been teaching others ever since.  Her patterns and tutorials are so easy to follow that they'll encourage anyone fall in love with sewing. The best part of her blog? That there's an entire page devoted to knit fabrics!  From knit sewing tips and tricks, to personal opinions of knits, this page is great for us knit lovers.
Rae also has a series of blog posts called KNITerviews. Here she interviews several other wonderful bloggers to find out what they love about knit fabrics. They discuss everything from favorite types of knit fabrics, favorite fabric patterns to work with, and personal experiences with sewing with knits. 
When interviewing Vanessa of LBG Studio, Rae asked what the most useful trick in Vanessa's knit-sewing-toolbag was. Vanessa responded, "Hmmm... I'd have to say using a rotary cutter instead of scissors. Knit fabric can be shifty and that can be especially problematic when trying to keep strips, etc straight." What a useful tip! 
If you have a favorite sewing blog, let us know all about it in the comments or email gcblog@girlcharlee.com and we might feature it in our next Knitriffic Blogs post!

Happy sewing!
~ Heather and the Girl Charlee Team

April 22, 2014

Tutorial Tuesday :: Reusable Strawberry Shopping Bag from Ikatbag

In support of Earth Day today we were looking for a re-usable project and came across Lorraine's Strawberry Bag.  I have a ton of reusable shopping bags as where I live has a plastic bag ban in effect, but I despise how they are scattered all over the trunk of my car and it is such an ordeal to get them all collected to go into the store.  Oh and they are U-G-L-Y to boot!  Lorraine from Ikatbag has solved that issue by putting a handle on it AND making it into the shape of an adorable strawberry.  Yes please!
Lorraine's instructions are so easy to follow. She includes several pictures to help readers follow along. Here, for example, are the supplies that you need for the strawberry corner and the bag straps.
Considering how easy it is to make, I may need to make several...this bag is just so adorable!

Most knits would work great for a shopping bag like this one. Don't forget to try it with a fun pattern! A few of my picks from the store to give that strawberry effect some sass:
We hope you enjoy this tutorial and please send 1-2 images of any project you make with Girl Charlee Fabrics to gcblog@girlcharlee.com and you might see your creation featured in our next KnitPicks!

Happy sewing!

~ Heather & The Girl Charlee Team