Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Aurifil Threads...Scandalous?

I wasn't planning on writing this post today.  But I've been reading a few posts in blog world that have popped up the last couple of days that call into question the advertisement practices of Aurifil Threads and the main face of the company, Alex Veronelli.  One of the posts is by Abby of While She Naps and the other is by Florence of Flossie Teacakes.  I found both blog posts to be well considered and thoughtfully written by the authors and they raise a point about the "scandalous" behavior or perhaps sexist behavior that they have observed through social media of Alex as the face of Aurifil Threads.

Their main concerns are the tweets and/or facebook jokes that Alex posts are that undeniably racy, the #aurigirl photos that were taken at quilt market this sprint, and a previous "hey girl" caption competition that apparently was held last year.  I won't belabor their points here.  I think that they raise some concerns that the company can look at and decide how they want to handle what seems to be a common reaction of dismay and/or disgust at these things.  I read their posts and every single comment on each earlier today...there were over 100 comments on each I believe with LOTS of opinions thrown in there.  I'm seeing chatter on IG and I felt I had something to say in response.  I'm honestly not trying to fan the flame or deny that people could well be offended by the things they have seen.  Not everything is to my taste either.

What I WILL say is that I have long been a fan of this company for their unfailing generosity to the blogging community.  So if you have read the blogs or go read them now and think that is the whole story, please consider otherwise.  Integrity is a big thing to me.  HUGE.  And I wouldn't post this if I didn't honestly feel as though in spite of what some feel are tasteless practices, that this company is doing things that others are not.
This company has been sponsoring blog hops and sew alongs and competitions for years now.  Constantly.  Continually.  With Generous prizes to multiple winners.  And not all of these have been for big blogs or big names.  They simply have supported the blogging community since they entered the scene with unfailing generosity.  I would challenge many of you to reflect and think back over how many giveaways you have entered where Aurifil threads were a prize.

You may consider that all marketing and oh of course they would do that.  But let me tell you...NOT all companies do that.  In fact, I'd venture to say that most do not.  I see a lot of individual shops who support bloggers well, but getting the big companies themselves to support a blog hop is far more rare.

They also support all bloggers who use their thread by sharing literally hundreds of quilts and projects via social media as well from those who have used #aurifil on their photos.  I have had exposure daily to new people and their work because I follow Aurifil on Facebook and see all of these shared photos.  These are not Sewlebrities who have been given the thread or who will advance the face of the company.  These are photos of what all of us are doing, on every type of quilt imaginable.

Here is a photo of my personal thread collection....


I took a quick photo today of what it looks like.  As you can see, there are Aurifil threads and there are Coats and Clark and Gutterman and goodness knows what else.  I like thread. ;) I like different types of thread.  So I own different types of thread.  In full disclosure, I HAVE been given thread from the company, but the main purpose of that was for my book.  And the reason they gave it to me was out of generosity AFTER I asked them for it.  And they responded quickly and professionally.  It was a gift that allowed me to create the 16 quilts I needed to make without going into crazy debt.  And I am grateful for that.  But my personal story aside, I chose to request thread from Aurifil BECAUSE I had seen how supportive the company is of bloggers.  I made that decision after years of being impressed by their generosity throughout the blogging community.  As I said before...not all companies do this.  I'm not going to defame anyone else, but you should know that this generosity of goods is simply not true of all companies and certainly not true for the little blogger.

So please, make up your own mind about the practices of the company and their products.  You may love both, you may hate both.  But I encourage to reach out and communicate to the company (any company for that matter) if you are displeased with their marketing.  And of course to see if you are seeing a portion of the truth or all of the truth.  Perhaps you only need to see a portion to make your decision, and I respect that.  But I couldn't read what I had and the responses without knowing in my heart that there is so much more to this company and this man.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Flower Pond Dress

Flower Pond Dress

I had the chance to work with some of Alison Glass' latest fabrics from her line Field Day by Andover Fabrics.  I met Alison in person at Quilt Market this past spring and just adored her.  She is down to earth and fun and oh so talented.  I felt very comfortable with her, which can be a difficult thing to achieve with a person you have just met.

She sent me a bit of her fabric to play with and I was stumped for a while I'll admit.  I had some various fat quarters from the line and I felt a bit like I was torturing the fabric.  I don't know if you know what that is like but I was overworking it and trying to make it into something rather than letting it become something.  I finally had a bit of inspiration with one of her large floral prints and realized that I kept seeing it as clothing.  So I begged a bit more fabric from Alison and paired it with one of her Bike Path prints that I had already bought from a previous line.  And ta da!!  The Flower Pond Dress was born.

Flower Pond Dress 3

I used a McCalls pattern (6065) which is actually the same pattern I used to make Caitlyn's Easter dress earlier this spring. I like the pattern because there are no closures to worry about but it comes off a bit oversized on Caitlyn.  She's fairly petite and should I make it a third time I would definitely make the front bodice smaller.  The back is great, but the front is too wide for her petite frame.  I raised the neckline a bit from the first time, and I prefer that, but a few more alterations would be needed still.  Regardless, I made this darling dress.


I forgot to check the colors against Caitlyn's skin.  The mustard color was a last minute design change because the fabric looked better than the pink bike path I had been planning on using.  And I neglected to confirm whether my daughter actually looked good in that color.

Turns out...she doesn't.  lol  

Alison Glass Dress

I know...the pictures are cute.  I hope so!  I took a lot of them to get these shots. ;) But trust me when I say that I visibly flinched the first time I put the dress on her.  I just did NOT get the color right for her.  It's a darling dress and a darling girl, but sometimes the two just don't go together.  (Just long enough for a photo shoot with a great prop)  I'm happy to say that someone has already claimed the dress and it is going off to a happy home to another darling four year old.  And the two of them will make each other look better. ;) 

Flower Pond Dress Details

We're not concerned over here.  I make Caitlyn plenty of dresses and certainly could make this in another color.  She loved playing my model and in typical four year old fashion has promptly forgotten about the dress and moved on to greener pastures (hmmm...I wonder how GREEN would look on her? )  I do adore the little dress and the way Alison's two fabrics pair together so beautifully.  The large floral print is a perfect scale for garments and looks so bohemian and sweet at the same time.

Alison Glass Dress

Ahhh....blue...there's a color for her.

Oh and Alison is showing off all kinds of beautiful projects that people are making with her Field Day line.  And you know what that means...a giveaway!  So hop over to Alison's site to see more projects and enter to win a FQ Bundle of the Field Day line or a set of her Aurifil threads.  

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

New Sponsor :Discover Fabrics (And Giveaway!)

*the giveaway is closed*

Well goodness!  We are just all about giveaways over here on the blog lately!   It's funny how things end up that way sometimes.  I had a few things prepared and then some pop up, but it has all meant great fun for you all while I recover from nose surgery I had last week.  No sewing for me this past week...and while it has been a bit of a nice break it's also KILLING me not to get some work done! lol  So while I'm resting up and getting antsy to move on to my next projects (because you know there are always more!), I hope you enjoy another giveaway.  (The previous two giveaways are still open so just click back to the last couple of posts for a chance to win a spot in the Sewing Party day or a chance to win a copy of the Downton Abbey inspired magazine)

Today we welcome a new sponsor to the blog, Discover Fabrics.

We had a bit of confusion at the beginning because it turns out that we are both named Angela, but Angela and I have it figured out now. ;)  And she has some fun fabrics to offer over at her shop.  Here are a few selections that she picked out to show you!

Of course then this Angela had to go searching and find some favorites to share too ;)  I found these!

Wishing Flowers Fabric

Hobbs Batting!

and Patterns!

Discover Fabric is an online fabric shop dedicated to supplying the needs of quilters, crafters, and sewing enthusiasts. Our goal is to delight customers with a large selection of colorful modern fabrics that inspire creative sewing projects. We offer designer quality fabrics, sewing patterns, sewing threads, gifts and much more.  All our fabrics are high quality quilting cottons perfect for quilts, apparel, and crafts.

Our fabrics are by companies/designers you know and love such as Camelot Fabrics, Riley Blake Designs, Clothworks, Michael Miller, Henry Glass, Anthology Fabrics, Robert Kaufman, Marcus Brothers, and more.

So go check them out and see if they have something you are looking for!!


Angela is giving away a three yard bundle of fabrics to one lucky winner!


To enter to win the giveaway:

1. You can go "Like" Discover Fabrics on Facebook

2. You can sign up for their newsletter

3.  You can leave a note here telling us what fabrics you are looking for in an online shop!

So that is THREE chances for you to enter!  Good luck everyone!

*congratulations to lucky winner #6

Happy Haunting is so cute! Love your turquoise / grey / black choices too! I look for a site with a good selection of fabrics that is easy to navigate. Sometimes I like to search for something specific by name or color, but sometimes I like to just browse fat quarter / half yard bundles as well. And reasonable prices / shipping cost of course. :-)

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Unofficial Downton Abbey Sews Magazine (and giveaway!)

I was recently offered a copy of the Unofficial Downton Abbey Sews Magazine for review and to share with you all and I couldn't resist.  The cover drew me in and the subject matter is so intriguing.  I suppose there are people out there who haven't heard of Downton Abbey...but I'm not quite sure how you could escape it. lol  I'll fully admit that I watched the first season but have only watched one episode from the second season.  I definitely need to catch up.   I think they are up to season four already!

But watching one season, heck watching one episode, was enough to grab my attention when it came to reading about costume design inspiration.  So I was ready to dive into this magazine.  And it did not disappoint.  I interviewed Editor, Amber Eden about a few of my favorite pieces from the magazine and I hope you all enjoy it!

1.       Amber, I so enjoyed this magazine and all of the lovely creations it in.  I'll be honest and say that one of my particular favorites is the cover image.  It is effortlessly elegant! And the genius that it can be created in lace for an "Upstairs" look or cotton for a "downstairs" look makes the pattern so versatile.  Given that it is an overlay, what type of pattern would you recommend for the dress underneath? And do you have any recommendations for where I might find a lace fabric or chiffon to use for the pattern?  I live in small town America and it is difficult to locate delicate fabrics here.

For the dressier version, I would recommend a slip dress or short/cap sleeve sheath dress. For the cotton version, try it over jeans and a short sleeve T shirt or a solid color knit dress. I bought the cover fabric at Metro Textiles in New York City. Kashi is the owner and he is delightful and affordable and will send swatches. 

2.       Another stunning favorite of mine is the "Maid's Day off Coat".  The luxurious velvet looks beautiful.  I'm a bit intimidated to tackle a 3/4 length coat like this.  What would you say is the level of this pattern, beginner, intermediate, advanced? And do you have any tips on putting this piece together?

For me, a coat is not any more difficult than a lined jacket--it's just longer with heavier fabric. This coat is intermediate level, but I took on making a tweed trench coat when I was just returning to sewing, and it's still one of my favorite pieces that I own. I always encourage beginners to reach beyond their comfort zone. For tips, I recommend interlining for warmth (that's a lining that goes in between the fashion fabric and lining and is sewn to the fashion fabric to create on piece.) I also recommend fusing to give stability to the coat fabrics, and fusing the yardage rather than the individual pattern pieces. The end result will be nicer. And take time to learn how to steam and mold wool. With this technique, you can sculpt a lovely collar roll, for instance. 

3.       The details in this magazine are so beautiful.  What was the most important kind of detail that you wanted to be sure was included in the shots of these pieces?  The location? The jewelry? Hair and makeup? Or something else?

Location, hair and makeup and styling all compete for importance. But we have lots of experience with the latter two, and this was our first location shoot. So finding a place that was both affordable and gorgeous was our biggest challenge. I would say that we got very lucky. The location is a Long Island Gold Coast estate from the Gatsby whose grounds have become a great dog park where I regularly take my dogs. I just happened to ask if the parks department leased out the interior, and they did! For a song! 

4.       The luxury of the "upstairs" pieces is of course alluring, but there is no denying the sweet simplicity of the "downstairs" ones.  I love the Maid's nightdress in particular. I'm already thinking of scouting out some vintage lace for it from an antique store. What do you think makes this look so timelessly appealing?

The inspiration for this was based on historical sketches of the era, but it's amazing how timeless the classic nightgown can be. With a bit of vintage lace, it captures another time and with a newer fabric, it looks completely modern. The nightgown's basic shape has certainly remained popular through the decades and continues to be both alluring and practical. 

5.       As a quilter, I am particularly drawn to the table runner and Legacy Cot Quilt.  These items are both inspired by decor of the time, but do we know the actual quilt patterns that would have been popular at the time of Downton Abbey? I imagine they would have been found in the Downstairs rooms, but would we have seen quilts in the Upstairs rooms?

These quilts are all modern interpretations and while there are certainly loads of historical quilt patterns from that time, the artists can have very loose interpretations. I know that with these two projects, they did a certain amount of research for inspiration. The Legacy Cot Quilt is created from the very popular Andover Downton Abbey fabric line. I visited Andover in New York City and learned how much research and work was put into researching the fabrics, so they are definitely historically accurate. Quilts were certainly valued for their warmth and beauty both upstairs and downstairs in a drafty manor.


Thank you Amber for that lovely interview!!

And now for the giveaway!  I have ONE copy of the magazine to offer to a lucky winner.  The magazine has PLENTY more adorable and luxurious patterns and inspiration.  Lots of Eye candy!

To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment below.  Looking for comment inspiration? Tell us your favorite Downton Abbey moment.  Although readers beware: there may be spoilers. ;)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Sewing Party! - and giveaway!

I'm so excited to tell you ABOUT an upcoming online event: “THE SEWING PARTY”:

“The Sewing Party” is the first ever online-all-day DIY event in history!

On November 8, 2014, thousands of DIY-ers will gather for a fun-filled day of sewing and crafting classes taught online by leading bloggers and educational experts. It’s all about Connecting. Crafting. And Creating.

Attendees will have access to more than 30 online classes available on the day of the event and for an additional 90 days. There is truly something for everyone! Classes include home d├ęcor, fashion sewing, quilting and upcycling, crafting, costume design, techniques for turning your craft into an entrepreneurial venture, and more!
Space is limited and likely to fill up fast! For just $40, “The Sewing Party” participants can attend classes; chat with participants from across the country; interact with top bloggers and educational experts who are teaching; and explore the latest crafting and sewing tips, techniques and products in our marketplace.

The Sewing Party” brings together some of the best in the industry for this FIRST EVER event. Their stellar lineup of sponsors includes:

Let’s Party!  Register today at www.thesewingparty.com– space is limited!
 $40 Registration Fee*.




Anyone who registers for “The Sewing Party” from your blog between July 15 and July 31 will receive a free “The Sewing Party” t-shirt! The t-shirts are SUPER cute and valued at $20.

Simply enter LETSPARTY in the Promo Code box when you register. Later you will be contacted directly about ordering t-shirts in your size.  (US only please)

 And now for a Giveaway!!


I have 5 FREE tickets to share with you all! Each ticket is valued at $40.

- To enter the giveaway for a free ticket please follow or like The Sewing Party on one of the social media platforms listed below.

You can find the Sewing party at all of these SOCIAL LINKS 

- For a second entry, list a kind of class you would be interested in taking on a crafting day like this.

I hope you all decide to join in the fun!  It sounds like a great day of fun and crafting of all kinds!!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Sewing with Curves video on Sew Mama Sew

Sorry I've been a bit quiet lately.  We are off on vacation right now and I've been *attempting* to keep my sewing commitments to a minimum while we are here.  But I did want to let you know that somehow I managed to pull together a video on my method for sewing curves.  And today it is featured over at Sew Mama Sew.

"Hi All! I’m Angela Pingel from Cut to Pieces and I’m excited to share with you a new video (my first one in fact!) on sewing curved blocks. My book, A Quilter’s Mixology just came out and it’s all about sewing with curved blocks. These are a basic staple in any quilter’s arsenal of blocks but a lot of people are afraid of them. I walk you step by step through sewing the blocks using my one pin method, pressing the blocks, trimming the blocks and finally a special type of seam ....." 

click HERE for more and my complete video on sewing curves!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Birthday Clubs

There is a new little trend that I've noticed going on via social media...a fun kind of swap for birthdays! I started seeing pictures on IG with hashtags like #handmadebirthdayclub or #birthdayclub and wondered how I could get in on the action and how it works.  I'm a girl who likes to celebrate my birthday and to celebrated with crafty friends?!   The best!

So I put out a call for info on IG and found out lots of people are already doing these unknown to me, but that plenty of people wanted in on the action.  Here's the general idea: you have a group of 12 people, one birthday per month.  Each month the birthday girl gets to sit back and relax and wait for the the packages to come in.  While the other 11 months, you are sending gifts out to the members of your group.  So each person will send 11 different birthday presents but will also receive 11 different birthday packages for her own birthday.

Ideas for each group seem to vary as to what is appropriate to send and what kind of budget they have.  It's up to the group to decide that.  But what I've noticed is that the appeal of this type of club is that it is NOT entirely handmade items.  A lot of us have been in swaps or are in swaps and bees that are entirely hand made driven.  But now there is this idea to get gifts from like minded friends who understand that you have a favorite designer who might make things other than fabric!  Maybe you are dying for her art print or a great clutch.  Perhaps you love jewelry and salted caramels and pretty packaging.

Eep!  I'm already getting excited thinking about buying things or making things for crafty friends who will love that Dr Who light switch that I pinned.  If someone doesn't get something for me, I'm already thinking about getting it for her. ;)

So I started up my own little group of 12...much like you would start a bee.  We are doing a year long commitment of gifts.  Like a bee of course there is always the possibility that you could lose someone along the way or someone will flake out.  So I would try to put together a group where at least one person is vouching for a person in the group.  Frankly this swap should be a bit easier for all of us because we could just go shopping and send a store bought curated package rather than making something.  It's okay if you run out of time because online shopping is easy too in a pinch.  So hopefully that will curb any lateness or excuses that have popped up in previous bees.  Plus, come on!  It's for BIRTHDAYS!!

Of course I had the awkward part of asking my club if they wanted to start right away for July (and sweetly they agreed).  Awkward why?  Because July is MY birthday month.

Actually tomorrow is my birthday and I'll be turning the grand age of 35!  I'm not one who is usually shy about my age or fussy about getting older.  But 35 has always been THAT number for me. For some it is 30, 40, or 50...but nope.  It's 35 for me.  I think I associate it with officially being a grown up and making adult decisions.  At 35 I should know what I want to be and do and be on my way to doing that.  I should have accomplished something and be aware that I am NOT 20 and don't need to compete with those who are.  Let's just say that there are a whole lot of emotions and thoughts attached to 35 for me. But I tackle these things head on and age is just a number (says the math major number obsessed person).

Oh and could someone make me this cake?  Because THAT is awesome!


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