May 30, 2014

Girl Charlee Fabrics :: NEW Sewing Patterns from Imagine Gnats

Girl Charlee is pleased to announce the arrival of several new sewing patterns from Imagine Gnats. From tops to skirts to dresses to cardigans, Imagine Gnats has it all. These patterns are unique and yet so simple to follow that all sewists, beginner or expert, will enjoy sewing them. One of my personal favorites is the Tumble Tee. This color blocked tee is the perfect opportunity to mix fabric colors and patterns in such a fun way. Here is a little more information about Imagine Gnats.

Imagine Gnats
Imagine Gnats patterns feature classic silhouettes with a modern twist that incorporate clever details and practical techniques making them a pleasure to sew and easy to wear. Designer Rachael Gander first learned to sew alongside her mom, but lost in the craft until her early twenties when she got her own sewing machine. Over those last fifteen years, she has made up for lost time experimenting with modern quilting, accessories and garment sewing, pattern design, hand-printed fabric, and textile design.

Imagine Gnats Bess Top Sewing Pattern :: 
The Bess Top has an easy fit that is designed to flatter a variety of body types. Both shirt and tunic lengths have a subtle hi-lo hem, and the dress is designed to hit at the knee. All options feature pleated yoke formed by a wrap-around sleeve, and tunic and dress lengths include optional in-seam pockets. The neckline, sleeves, and hem (for shirt and tunic lengths) are all finished with jersey knit, a technique that gives a clean, easy finish, allowing for a well-stitched curve while providing stability. Pattern has US women's sizes 2 through 20. Try one of these fabrics:

Imagine Gnats Adler Skirt for Women Sewing Pattern :: 
The Alder Skirt for women is a retro inspired a-line skirt with generous pockets and an easy-going style. The pleated front and back darts make for a flattering silhouette, while the elastic back means no finicky closures and a comfortable fit. For a less pronounced a-line shape, flat front and pocket options are also included. The Alder Skirt is perfect for everyday wear, and includes options that are simple enough for a beginner sewist. Pattern has US women's sizes 2 through 22. Try one of these fabrics:

Imagine Gnats Tumble Tee & Dress Sewing Pattern :: 
The Tumble Tee is a color-blocked knit dress with built-in cap sleeves and an easy fit. With both dress and shirt lengths, as well as multiple seam finishing options, it is easily customized. Whether you wear your Tumble Tee with jeans, shorts, leggings, or as comfy pj’s or a nightgown, this pattern is sure to be a wardrobe staple for years to come. Pattern has sizes 6 months through 10 years. Try one of these fabrics:

The Meridian for kids is an easy-fitting cardigan or jacket any kid will love. The cardi is reversible, can be made short or long-sleeved, and includes an updated peter pan collar. Whether you make a comfy cardi with a soft knit or a jacket with sweatshirt fleece, the overlapping front panels offer multiple styling options. Ready for any season, the Meridian has your kid’s needs covered and is sure to be a well-loved wardrobe essential. Pattern has sizes 5 through 14 years. Try one of these fabrics:
View and purchase these patterns and more on!  If you sew up any of these patterns with our fabrics please send us images as we would love to see it and you could be featured on our monthly Knit Picks.  Email your pictures to

Happy sewing!
~ Heather & The Girl Charlee Team

May 29, 2014

May Customer Spotlight :: Meg Sievek of Sakatah Colors

This month our Customer Spotlight is dedicated to Meg Sievek of Sakatah Colors.  What once was just crafting personal scarves has grown into a company that produces and sells scarves, maxi skirts, leggings, dresses, headbands, and more.  Meg donates a percentage of every Sakatah Colors sales to funds chemotherapy hats for those battling cancer in nearby communities.  Thank you for sharing your story with us Meg!
About Meg
At the time of starting this little business, I needed a name that meant something to me and that would resonate with my community. Well, why not combine the two forms of therapy that have had deep impact on my life: Exercise and a creative outlet!?!  Where I live in Southern Minnesota, an amazing all-season recreational trail, named the “Sakatah Trail,” runs close to my house. Being a runner, walker and biker the varied and contrasting fall colors along the trail were reminiscent of the yarns I had begun to work with in the Fall of 2012. Which is where this creative little dream began. Sakatah Colors was birthed out of a very difficult time in my life. I experienced postpartum anxiety and chronic migraines after having my first child. Those difficulties continued after my second, and, as a manner of distraction from the difficulty and pain, I dug out my sewing machine and tapped into skills untouched since a very young age.  I found that they came back very quickly but with depth and precision. At that time, starting and finishing a project brought me great satisfaction and joy; not to mention the honor of experiencing someone wanting to purchase my creations.  
And let's face it, here in Minnesota, we are always cold. Ok, I speak for myself. I am half Australian and my husband would tell you that makes me extra sensitive to frigid temperatures. Warm scarves is where I started; and lots of them. Discovering Girl Charlee propelled me into a vision for all season scarves with beautiful bright prints and sweater scarves. Now Sakatah Colors is in a mode of product expansion. We are specializing not only in scarves but also girls’ and women’s Maxi Skirts, babies & girls’ leggings, babies & girls’ dresses, fitness headbands, nursing scarves and more. What a dream! The new summer line will be released soon!  I cannot help but make the little girls’ dresses, the moment my daughter puts them on, she looks at me with eyes that sparkle, twirls and says “ Mom, I am so pretty!” Yes, yes you are honey. Goodness, how could I not make more?!
While Sakatah Colors gained momentum and knowing that I wanted to leave a worthwhile legacy for my wonderful children, I knew the anchor of the business’ existence had to be "giving back.”. I sew for a purpose. We live for a purpose. Toward this end, I have started a project called Hats of Hope. A percentage of every Sakatah Colors purchase funds Chemotherapy Hats for those battling Cancer in the Mankato, MN and surrounding communities.  Girl Charlee offers the softest knit fabrics that are perfectly unabrasive for Chemo Patients’ tender scalps. I organize groups of volunteers from the community who give their time on weekend afternoons to cut, sew and pin Chemo Turbans. These provide warmth and comfort for those in such need. This vision is why Sakatah Colors exists, a passing on of something that would enrich a life.
We hope you have enjoyed reading about Meg.  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

May 27, 2014

Tutorial Tuesday :: Weekend Getaway Blouse by Girl Charlee

I cannot tell you how long it has been since I have sewn anything with a woven fabric.  I got on the knits-train many years ago so I just always find knit fabrics so quick and easy that I can whip out a pair of shorts, jammies, dresses, and tops for my two children with minimal time and effort resulting in many smiling faces.  In seeing all of our lovely new specialty woven fabrics and sewing patterns, I decided to take the time to reacquaint myself and I am so excited I did!  I have put together the following visual tutorial of my experience in sewing up the Liesl + Co Weekend Getaway Top and I hope you have as much fun as I did sewing up this lovely pattern!
Triangle Arrows Peachskin Fabric & Liesl + Co Weekend Getaway Top Sewing Pattern

  • 2 yards fabric of choice (mine was Triangle Arrows Peachskin Fabric)
  • Color match thread
  • Sewing Machine
  • Serger Machine (optional of course)
  • Iron and ironing board

When cutting out the pattern to piece together I found this all-in-one pattern layout really helpful as a guide as there were different numbered pieces on the same pieces of paper.  This smart layout method I found saves printer paper so two thumbs up for that!
After putting together the pattern pieces you will note a section in the instructions (page 3) before you get started with cutting and sewing that takes you through the steps needed to adjust the pattern for your bust.  I highly suggest you do this if you are a larger than a B-cup as there is no built in ease as with knits so you definitely need the extra room in that area.   Here is what my pattern pieced looked like after adjustment and it fit perfectly:
After making the bust adjustments follow the pattern and cutting layout guide on page 2 and cut out your pattern pieces, making sure to transfer all markings as directed.  Once your pieces are cut out it is on to sewing!!  First sew the center back pleat and neck facing as directed.
Next step is to sew your darts as indicated on page 5-6 and the pockets if desired.  Due to the print of this fabric I did not want to add the pockets, but it looks pretty straight forward if you do.
Easy to follow illustration for darting method!

The next step is to prepare the front facing pieces.  This is where I did use my serger, only because I have it set up and I like to take short cuts whenever possible, but you can definitely use a regular sewing machine with a zig zag stitch.  Press under edge and finish with top stitch as directed.  Lay prepared facing pieces right sides together with front pieces of blouse as shown (page 7), pin and sew.
Follow step 3 on page 7 to flip the facing to the inside and stitch to ensure no seam show through.  Honestly I skipped this step as I did not see any need with the fabric I was using and just flipped it, pressed it, and moved onto step 5 to assemble the front.  Stitch two front pieces together and PRESS, PRESS, PRESS!  I truly have forgotten, in sewing with knits so much, just how important pressing is when sewing.
This next step of assembling the front and back did take me a few minutes to figure out.  Laying out the pieces on a table, like diagram 1 shows, really helped translate the images for me.
I ended up following steps 1-3 (page 8) by pinning first to make sure I got it correct and then went back and sewed with my serger instead of with my regular sewing machine so the seams were nice and strong.  
Here is where the pattern instructions and I diverged.  I went ahead and finished the side seams also with my serger as well as the arm holes.  Once I get my serger going there is just no stopping!  I skipped the cuff option on the sleeve and just went with a simple turned under finished hem, the same with the bottom at about 1".  Overall I am very, very happy with results and the quick changes I made did not take away from the look at all!
Any lightweight woven fabrics with a good drape like our crepe de chine, rayon challis, and peach skin would work well for this top or dress. A few of my picks from the store:
We hope you enjoy this tutorial and please send 1-2 images of any project you make with Girl Charlee Fabrics to and you might see your creation featured in our next KnitPicks!

Happy sewing!
~ Heather & The Girl Charlee Team