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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Anna's Fall Wardrobe

I still want to make a skirt and shirt and two other dresses. So, stay tuned!

Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if only you would hear his voice  Psalm 95:6-7 NIV


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Commercial vs Homemade

While I've been making all these kids clothes, I've been thinking too. What makes something look commercial compared to homemade? People often ask me if I made something the girls are wearing. You know, that's really uncomfortable. I don't know if they ask because they know I sew, it looks "homemade", or it looks prettier than commerical. Let's just say, I like things to look handmade or boutique but not homemade. The difference? Quality.

The top ten ways to look commercial:
1. Match stripes. Or don't use them at all. Although I have seen commerical things with unmatched stripes.
2. Make sure your fabric all goes in the right direction. We've all been there. You don't have quite enough to finish cutting out unless you turn the pattern piece another way. But don't! It's better to use a different fabric than to have prints going two or more directions.
3. On the same lines, and I'm definitely guilty, using too many fabrics. Most commercial items use one or two fabrics but rarely more than three. Break this rule if you want, you may just look boutique!
4. Quality construction. Make sure there are no puckers or obvious mistakes. Of course, mistakes do happen but try to minimize them.
5. It's what's on the inside . . . finish those seams! Nothing says homemade more than strings hanging down below a hemline.
6. While we're on the subject of hems, a blind hem is definitely the most commercial. Although it's a rare day for me to actually do one of those.
7. Topstitch. Especially on knits.
8. Too much trim is just too much. Especially several different trims. But again, it can look very boutique.
9. Match thread color to garment color.
and 10. Tailor it to fit your child (or you!) perfectly. A perfect fit goes a long way towards looking commercial.

Thanks for letting me share with you. Since these were running around in my mind, I thought you might find them useful as well.

But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream! Amos 5:24 (NIV)


Monday, August 29, 2011

On Newsstands Now: McCalls Quick Quilts

My How Does Your Garden Grow pattern is now available in McCalls Quick Quilts (although it's been renamed Melissa's Maze.)

 You can view a snippet of the article here. I hope you enjoy this fast quilt, first tested by A Dozen Quilters.
I love this picture because you can see Lisa's beautiful quilting. Get your copy today!


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Back to School in Style Winners!

And the winners are: Girl's World Mama Lusco
'Olivia Shirt Dress' by Mama Lusco

Subscription to the Fat Quarterly: Principiesa
Sundress for D

$20 gift certificate to Sky Reve fabrics: smgates5
Woodland Jumper

Ladies, please contact me for your prizes! Congratulations and thanks to our sponsors. This was really fun!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Back to School in Style Last Day

If you're planning to enter Back to School in Style, you only have until midnight CST to add your pictures to flickr!

Isn't this adorable?

This pattern is Simplicity 2429. It's pretty simple and I think just darling.
The hardest parts: bias tape and the zipper. The zipper took about two minutes! So in other words, not too hard.
The fabric is the Rapunzel from Heather Ross's Far Far Away (II I think.) It's a very subtle light pink. Anna loves the print but I'm a bit hesitant on the fabric. It's sort of linen-y and thick. Although I prewashed, I'm not sure how it will wash in the future. the trim is a batik. I added lots and lots of brown ricrac.
The fit on this pattern was really nice. A size six works perfectly for Anna. Off to school!

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. Romans 12:4-5 NIV

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Make Mine Modern Swap and Back to School

I recently was in the Make Mine Modern swap on flickr. It's the first time for me to be in a sewing swap. How fun!

Now the requirements were few, but my partner Karen sent me all sorts of things. Games and toys for the kids, candy (sorry it's all gone and I couldn't take a picture), flower pens. She gave me LouLouthi fat quarters in the paint pail and some yardage of Flower Sugar. She also made coasters, dish towels, some extra hexagons, and a little wallet. And included the pattern. Wow!

She made me this folder for correspondence with little pockets for stamps, stationery, pens and anything else I could use.

To top it all off, she made me a runner that can be used either on the dining room table or at the foot of my bed. I chose the bed because of the little ones. I am overwhelmed by Karen's generosity.

My partner was Gina and here is what I sent her:
 She liked sea colors, which was a challenge for me. Also she's very earthy, into linen and bicycles and stuff. So I had a little bag from when our store was open that I thought she would like. Then I made up a pincushion using Heather Bailey's tutorial and a sewing kit with instructions from the fall 2010 issue of Stitch. I also sent her my grocery sack pattern since she's just starting to make bags. And a bicycle print of mine.

Here's the inside of the sewing kit. I also sent four sea-ish colored fat quarters and about a yard of natural linen.

 Today was the first day of school. Anna's teacher made up t-shirts for them to wear, so she didn't get to wear a dress. Luckily, she was able to rock the t-shirt with a fluffy skirt, headband and necklace.
 She's already met a new friend.
As you can see, Nathan, who's in the back on the left, jumped right back in and was happy to see his buddies. Emilie and I found ourselves strangely alone. But we made cookies, so that helped.

Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble. Psalm 119:165 NIV

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Back to School in Style is Almost Over

How time flies! I can't believe school starts tomorrow and I'll have a little kindergartener and a second grader. It's killing me! Of course, they can't wait to get back to their friends.

Here's a little dress I made up. No pattern, just some easy styling. Knits are so fun to work with!

Don't forget to add your photos to the flickr group for your chances to win!

I love the LORD, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live. Psalm 116:1-2 NIV


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Rockin Robin Quiltalong Winners!

I hope you enjoyed the Rockin Robin Quiltalong as much as I did. Even if you didn't quilt along with us, the tutorials are all still here -- you can click my sidebar tutorials link to find them.

The winners are:
And the winners chosen from the flickr group at random are (check out their quilts!!):

Caribousmom-Fat Quarter Shop

ylmommyx4- Fat Quarter Shop
Rockin Robin quilt along

Bevandkev- Fabric Shoppe
Rockin Robin quilt top

We recently went to the Stramel Family Reunion. It was nice to see so many people from that side of the family.
 Todd's cousin Amy had the neatest craft  to make magnets.

It was so simple. You just need glass stones, craft glue and decorative paper. Oh and of course a magnet for the back.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Back to School in Style and ABE 2.0 Winners!

Oh my goodness you guys! This Friday is the end of Back to School in Style. So many, many great prizes are there to be won. I mean, a copy of Girl's World by Jennifer Paganelli, a subscription to the Fat Quarterly, or a fabric gift certificate to Sky Reve Fabrics! But you have to make something back to school and enter the picture in the Back to School in Style flickr group.
 I made the new Pink Fig pattern, Vintage Jane. What a pretty dress!
The pattern is well written. I was pleasantly surprised by Chelsea's new format. If you've made Pink Fig patterns before, you'll be surprised too. It's now a little booklet that stays together, similar to Patty Young's ModKid patterns. Also the pattern is printed onto tissue which I also prefer. This pattern gives lots of options for customization and also includes instructions to make it as a top.
The not so good? Well, there's not too much, but it is written for a serger. I probably wouldn't have purchased it if I knew that since I don't have a serger. But my machine has an overlock stitch so I was able to get around that. Also, a cutting diagram would have been helpful, just to know which pattern pieces went with the top and which with the dress. This was mostly my problem as I had a good-sized headache when I was cutting out. Finally, when the dress was finished, I felt it was a little short, so I added another ruffle. Now this was personal preference and you know I'm pretty conservative. And this girl grows incredibly fast!

Anna loves it which is the most important!

So, to sum up, cute pattern, few problems. Plan on a little bit of time for all the gathering of ruffles.

Don't forget to enter your outfit for a chance to win great prizes!
And the winners of ABE 2.0:
Prints: Jessica Van Wechel
Patterns: alisha kostiuk
By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life. Psalm 42:8 NIV


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

ABE 2.0 is here! Prints and Patterns

Hello and welcome to Lilac Lane! I am Melissa Stramel, a fabric designer for Andover fabrics and a pattern designer published through I am so excited to be part of ABE 2.0! Entering this drawing is SUPER easy -- you just enter your answers on the form below. Leaving me a comment is great, but it won't earn you an entry this time. Make sure you visit some of the other blogs too -- there are fantastic prizes!

Today I have two drawings. My theme is Prints and Patterns and therefore, one is mostly for prints and one is mostly for patterns. I've already introduced all of the items I'm giving away, but here they are again, all neat and tidy. You may sign up for both prizes, but please only do so if you really would like both of them. Oh and here is the fine print:

This giveaway is open to anyone worldwide, ages 18 and over. You must use the form below to enter either drawing. The drawing opens at midnight EST on August 17 and ends at 11:59 pm EST on August 21. No late entries will be accepted. One winner will be drawn for each giveaway. The winner will be randomly chosen through

Giveaway One: Prints
One of each of my own three prints. This is a $25 value.

Two sets of cards from Gardenblooms. This is a $13 value.

An 8"x 10" print from Easy Canvas Prints. This is a $33.53 value.

A School Pack from Lovable labels. This is a $44.95 value.

The total value of this package is $116.48!

Giveaway Two: Patterns
Okay my sewing friends, this one's for you.

To start us off, a Keep Calm and Carry on necklace from Funky Vintage Lovely. This is a $22 value.

And then MY PATTERNS valued at $10 each.

Two patterns from designer Lori Holt valued at $14 each.
And three patterns from Indygo Junction.

The total value of this prize is $105.97!

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