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One of my favorite things about my job is being able to follow a little spark of creativity to produce something, that then can cause a little spark of creativity in someone else. I especially feel that way about our patterns. When I design a fabric collection, I often have some end product in mind: a skirt, a quilt, a bag – whatever! Usually, I just get to do a single sample for our show, or for my own use, but sometimes those ideas make their way to become our sewing patterns, which will hopefully inspire you to make something great. Here are our new ones:

 

The Ella Dress: a sweet, Euro-styled dress with patch pockets and a square neckline, this dress looks great with a smaller scale accent print. The bell sleeves work well for all seasons, and Anabelle pairs hers beautifully with leggings and her pink cowboy boots.

the Ella Dress sewing pattern by Monaluna

 

The Skater Shirtthis roomy, straight-hem shirt is great on it’s own for summer, but even cooler layered over a long sleeved T for fall. The pattern works perfectly with some of our more boyish organic prints.

The Skater Shirt sewing pattern by Monaluna

 

The Solstice Dress & Tank/short Set: Developed for our knits, the Solstice is a simple and versatile pattern for both boys and girls. The dress and tank can be worn over long sleeves for cooler months.

Solstice Dress and Short/tank Set pattern by Monaluna

 

Ella Dress and Skater Shirt patterns by Monaluna

 

Ella Dress

 

the Skater Shirt by Monaluna

A few weeks ago I was telling you about the inspiration for our upcoming fall collection, and how I had been inspired by a little owl on a bottle of beer. Once I have a starting point for my inspiration, I start making a mood board, pulling together images and sketches, color palettes, even words or phrases that help me to clarify where I’m going with a collection. Sometimes it has a clear and obvious effect, where you can plainly see the inspiration in the final collection. Other times (like this one), it’s a winding road from point A to point B, and there might just be a glimmer of the starting point.

 

The little beer owl had such a beautiful, rustic quality that it made me think of  Russian and Scandinavian wood-block prints in books that my dad had when I was a kid. He studied Folklore and Russian, and we always had these great books of folk tales and Russian literature with magical-looking scenes carved into block prints. Anyway, the owl had that going on, and so I started thinking about folktales and fairy stories, and sketching up images of geese with golden eggs, sly foxes and unicorns. It started to look something like this:

 

 

 

It was a far cry from the darling beer owl, but you can kind of see where I was going with it, right? The problem is, once I get going I just have to follow that lead. The rest of the designs diverted even farther from my inspiration board after this point, and it didn’t feel like a cohesive group anymore. It was time to rethink. I’ll show you the outcome in Part Three soon!

 

 

Tatami Mat Quilt Pattern and Under the Sea organic fabric

 

Have you seen the gorgeous Tatami Mat quilt by Lunden Designs that we’ve been showing made with our Under the Sea collection? We’ve had such a great response that we thought we’d offer it as a giveaway bundle: one quilt pattern (contributed by the talented Melissa Lunden of Lunden Designs,) and all the printed organic fabric you need to make the quilt (solid fabric and batting not included). To enter, leave a comment here, and for extra entries, “like” us on Facebook and share our post, or share on twitter. Entries will be taken for one week, and the giveaway will end on Wednesday August 20. Good luck!

 

 

Tatami Mat Quilt Pattern

 

Happy Friday, everyone! In honor of today’s 100-degree forecast, here’s Karen LePage from One Girl Circus with part 2 of the Little Bee tutorial: how to turn the yoga pants into shorts. Enjoy!

Monaluna Little Bee Summer Tutorial - Sewing with Knits - Little Bee for Summer

Here’s part 2 to our tutorial to complete your Little Bee summer outfit. Today we’ll alter the Yoga Pants into little shorts to show off those baby legs. Photos in the tutorial use Monaluna’s upcoming Meadow Knits.

 

Tutorial: transform the pants into shorts.

Determine the desired length of your shorts by measuring the inseam of a pair you already have.

Monaluna Little Bee Summer Tutorial - Sewing with Knits - Meadow Knits - Little Bee for Summer

Use a dark marking to highlight the leg seams on your traced pattern.
Monaluna Little Bee Summer Tutorial - Sewing with Knits - Trace dark lines to highlight leg seams
Mark the shorts length on your sewing pattern.

 Monaluna Little Bee Summer Tutorial - Sewing with Knits - mark new hem length

Fold along this line. Here you can see how the darkened tracing will help you with the following steps.

Monaluna Little Bee Summer Tutorial - Sewing with Knits - fold along new hem

For the hem allowance, measure 3/4″ from the folded edge and draw a line to mark.

 Monaluna Little Bee Summer Tutorial - Sewing with Knits - Mark the Hem Allowance

Because the Little Bee Yoga Pants are flared and not straight, you will need to trace along the leg lines that you see through the folded page to mark the hem shape.

Monaluna Little Bee Summer Tutorial - Sewing with Knits - mark new hem

Open out the fold and cut along the hem edge you just marked.

Monaluna Little Bee Summer Tutorial - Sewing with Knits - new hem

Tip: you can use the grainline marking to align the print as you’re cutting out your new shorts.

Monaluna Little Bee Summer Tutorial - Sewing with Knits - align your print

Now you can proceed with the directions in your pattern to complete a new adorable pair of shorts.

There’s a special treat on the blog this week: the fabulous Karen LePage of One Girl Circus is guest-blogging! Welcome, Karen!

 

Little Bee Summer Tutorial

We had a lot of interest in the sleeveless Little Bee Babysuit at Spring Quilt Market, so we thought it might be time to put together a tutorial to show you how simple it is to “summerfy” it yourself! Plus, we’ll show you how to apply the trim in a different way for super-fast construction using a serger.

Monaluna Little Bee Summer Tutorial - Sewing with Knits - Marrakech Knits - Little Bee for Summer

In a beautiful coincidence, Cherie wrote a tutorial to make a similar adjustment to a woven pattern earlier this year.  She did such a great job, we’ll just build on it here for our knit babysuit.

Make a sleeveless Babysuit.

For the Sleeveless Little Bee Babysuit, you’ll only need to trace 2 pieces: Front and Back. To adjust the arm openings for summer baby arms and not sleeves, let’s remove some of the shoulder width. I pulled in the shoulder on my sample by 1/2″ by measuring 1/2″ in from the armhole edge and marking, then re-drawing the curve for the top half of the armhole.

Monaluna Little Bee Summer Tutorial - Sewing with Knits - Use a Seam Gauge to measure easily

Monaluna Little Bee Summer Tutorial - Sewing with Knits - Mark before you cut to adjust your pattern

Repeat the process for the back – or copy like I do, by lining up the pattern pieces and cutting both at the same time.

Monaluna Little Bee Summer Tutorial - Sewing with Knits - cut together for a perfect match

Now you can cut out the pieces.  For the “binding” we are going to use a t-shirt style finish.  To simplify cutting, I usually cut a couple of strips across the entire width of the contrast fabric 1 3/4″ wide.  Press the binding fabric in half lengthwise right away so it’s ready to apply.  That way, you can avoid measuring and save time while still achieving a nice finish.

Construct the Babysuit.

Begin as in the pattern instructions, stitching the shoulder seams right sides together.  Press the seams open (if sewing on a regular machine) or toward the back (if using a serger to construct).

Next, measure the binding against the entire front of the baby suit neckline/wrap opening.  Cut the binding 1/2″ -1″ shorter than this total measurement. Repeat for the arm openings. (I already finished the arm openings in this photo).

Monaluna Little Bee Summer Tutorial - Sewing with Knits - measure twice, cut once

Find the center of the binding and clip or pin to the center back of the babysuit neckline, aligning all raw edges.  Stitch the binding in place, gently pulling the binding in place to match the neckline as you go. (Use a 3/8″ seam allowance, as in the original instructions. I like to use a 5-thread safety stitch for my serger construction stitch.)

Repeat for the arm openings, matching the center band to the shoulder seams.

Monaluna Little Bee Summer Tutorial - Sewing with Knits - stitch on a serger if you like

Press the seam allowance under, exposing the folded edge.  You can topstitch in place, using a 3-step zigzag (as in the camel print top photo at the arm openings) or leave it as is.

Monaluna Little Bee Summer Tutorial - Sewing with Knits - press with steam

Repeat to finish the armholes.  Continue construction at step 4.

Using this method is really fast, but there’s a bit of a downside (isn’t there always?) and that is a pretty bulky underarm seam.

Monaluna Little Bee Summer Tutorial - Sewing with Knits - Reduce Bulky Seams

 

I like to flatten that pileup of fabric with some strategic topstitching.  Press the side seam allowances toward the back, then, using your sewing machine, stitch a box to control hold those 6 layers flat.

Monaluna Little Bee Summer Tutorial - Sewing with Knits - press bulky seams toward back

There, that’s better.

Monaluna Little Bee Summer Tutorial - Sewing with Knits - Stitch seams in place

 

Measure the bottom edge in the same way as for the neck/wrap and arm openings, but this time, you will sew the band into a circle. Find the opposite edge from this band seam and match to the center back of the bottom edge. Match the seam itself to the center front. (This will cover the seam when snapped, and distribute the binding evenly while attaching.

You’ll end up with a seam all around the bottom like this:

Monaluna Little Bee Summer Tutorial - Sewing with Knits - Bottom seams

Which you will press like the top bindings to resemble this:

Monaluna Little Bee Summer Tutorial - Sewing with Knits - Finished bottom

Now, attach the snaps and you’re done! Next time, we’ll help you transform the Little Bee Yoga Pants into summery shorts.

Monaluna Little Bee Summer Tutorial - Sewing with Knits - Summer Little Bee in Meadow Knits

Euclid Avenue in Haven Organic Fabric

 

I’ve been loving the Euclid Avenue quilt that Kristy and Shayla from Sassafras Lane Designs made for our Quilt Market booth in May, so I thought I’d give it it’s own post today. It was a huge hit at the show, and I think it really works well with the subtle, fresh palette of Haven. These two are such sweet and talented designers, and I love the style and spirit of their company. You can buy the quilt pattern here, and the fabric is available here.

Euclid Avenue in haven

 

I love the irregular linear quilting they used – it’s subtle, but gives the quilt a really nice texture and structure.

Euclid Avenue in Haven closeup

 

Here’s the quilt, paired with some pillows that also made an appearance at Quilt Market, sewn by Jeanne Verrinder, a local sewist.:

Euclid Avenue and Pillows in Haven

 

And on display in our Quilt Market booth in May. Thanks, Shayla and Kristy, for your beautiful work!

Haven at Quilt Market

I’ve been asked a few times recently where I get inspiration for my designs and collections. I usually say “everywhere” or “nature”, both of which are true, but this time I found inspiration in a bottle of beer. I thought I’d share a specific example and tell you the story behind the development of our upcoming collection for fall, Westwood. As you will see, the design process is long and winding, and it rarely ends up where I think it will, but I guess that’s all part of the fun.

 

Inspiration struck last summer when Dave and I were visiting family in Minneapolis. We were picking up some white wine for dinner, when what should my eyes behold but the most beautiful bottle of beer I had ever seen. Yes, a bottle of beer. It was from Odell Brewing Company, and it was adorned with a gorgeous wood-cut style owl. Plus, it came in a cute little mini-pack of four. Cute little packages get me every time.

 

 

Of course I had to buy it. Even though Dave hates Pilsner. Most of the beer was consumed during our trip, but I made it home with one bottle intact. When we got home and were unpacking, Anabelle managed to get ahold of the bottle and lovingly shred off the label, but luckily I had saved the little carrier. It went into my inspiration file, but the image stayed in my head and took root. I don’t know who the artist is (I did look on the website for some credit, but didn’t see any), but I love the intricate but imperfect, rustic quality of the design. Love it. And I love the subtle palette, and, well, it’s a really cool owl.

 

When I started pulling together my inspiration for fall, I remembered this little guy, and pulled him out of the file. Up on the inspiration board he went, and was soon surrounded by examples of wood-cut and block printing, and sketches of unicorns and foxes and folkloric animals. I was trying to capture the hand-carved feel of the artwork, and the folkloric, mythic feel of the character. I wasn’t successful. But, as often happens, failing at that left me with a bunch of interesting stuff, which then became step two of the process. I’ll tell you more about that next week!

organic garden

Ours is not a tidy garden this year. Usually, we have neat little rows and lots of space, but we got a little zealous (quite possibly over-zealous) this year and planted just about everything we could think of. We have 11 tomato plants, 2 potatoes, onions, zucchini, summer squash, butternut squash, basil, lettuce, eggplant, 4 peppers, 2 cucumbers, watermelon, pumpkins, rhubarb, purple beans and a crop of cranberry beans. Whew! Oh yeah – and that tree-like thing growing in the middle of the closest bed is a volunteer dill plant that I decided should flourish. And flourish it has! The garden is a little out of control, but in an exuberant and productive way that I have found so delightful. And so-far, everything seems to be healthy and happy. We’ve been amending the soil with our organic compost, and I’ve been trying to water as little as possible, since we’re in a drought. The chickens get out of their coop regularly and wreak havoc, but they also help to aerate the soil and, well, fertilize.

organic melon & jalepeņo

Our watermelon and jalapeņos are growing cheek-by-jowel, and we have pumpkins winding up through the tomato plants. Since our lettuce is just about done, I’m thinking of putting carrots or beets into their spot. Any other ideas?

dahlias

Are you growing a garden this year? What are your favorite plants to grow? In the next month I’ll start posting some recipes of things we’re making with all this produce, and I’d love any ideas you’d like to share!

 

Our new Under the Sea collection has arrived and is now shipping!

Under the Sea organic fabric

 

This is our first ocean-inspired collection, and we’re having so much fun with all these friendly fish, pretty mermaids and happy octopi. The palette of blues and greens is punctuated with bright coral and orange, and works well for a wide variety of sewing projects. As usual, the collection is 100% GOTS-certified organic cotton fabric.

 

under the sea organic fabric

under the sea organic fabric

monaluna under the sea organic fabric

woodland organic cotton knit fabric

Three of our popular Woodland organic cotton knits are now back in stock! Swedish Forest, Foxy Knit and Polka are here and going fast. Get ‘em while they’re hot!

woodland organic cotton knit fabric