Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tie Dye Diva Potato Chip Skirt - you can't sew just one

Introducing the Potato Chip Skirt from Tie Dye Diva, all part of the Bundle Up pattern bundle on sale January 23rd thru February 2, 2015. This darling skirt has several options (lined, unlined one side, and reversible) and I was able to test a few of them.  

First up, I made a size 7 skirt for my 7 year old using Robert Kaufman fine wale Cool Cords.  This lightweight cord was perfect for this project. As you can see, I used ric rac on the pockets. The skirt fits perfectly and was very easy to make. It is a slightly A-line skirt with an elastic back waist. 

Next up, I made a reversible option for my 11 year old daughter using

the Peacock Garden collection fabric from Camelot. 

I've never made a reversible skirt and this turned out great, I think.  
Here is a modelled shot. More about that doll dress another day.

Here's the other skirt, being modelled by Miss Cutiepie. 

After I made these three, I then proceeded to test the dolly version, which includes a top.  Here is Caroline in her Potato Chip skirt and top. Whee! Such a fun pattern!


 It's so fun, I took the peasant top and make it longer and it became a dress! 
I added a sash. This is some lovely peacock print fabric I got at Joanns a while back.

You must get this pattern!  Be sure to check out the Bundle Up!


Monday, January 19, 2015

Why I left blogging and came back

That's right. After five months away from blogging, I am back. But not at full speed. In fact, I am going to stay at one quarter speed permanently.  To recap, I was at one quarter speed for several years, amped up to full speed spring 2014, and then stopped blogging all together August 8, 2014. Are you wondering why? Well, here is my story.

Last spring, 2014, I thought I might like to try to earn some money with my blog. I had read many books and blogs about blogging and had experience as a guest blogger on other's blogs and I had been blogging for years.  None of that adequately prepared me for how much behind the scenes work is necessary to have a successful blog.  As with any business, and blogging for money means you have a business, most of the work is dull and not even slightly creative. And it got to where it wore me down. I hated looking at my google analytics (the statistical analysis of how my blog was reaching people). I hated looking at how much money I was making and trying to find ways to earn more. I was making money only through pattern affiliations and it was not enough for even a week of coffee beans. It was literally a pittance.  I hated having to think of new and exciting things to blog about that likely had already been blogged about before because, let's face it, nothing is new in the craft world.  And I hated seeing ads on my blog and the blogs of others. I hated the ads.  I don't want to be a brand. I don't want to sell myself.  I really just want to create and share!

I was part of a lovely Facebook blogging group and everyone was experiencing the same thing.   Unless you also have a product, like a pattern or book, there is not much money in blogging. Ad revenues are hard to come by with the market so saturated with blogs. The bigger blogs might earn a lot from ads but they have hundreds of thousands of visitors.  If you only have a few hundred a day, it is impossible to make money. So, you have to somehow get those hundreds of thousands a day to visit your blog and that means becoming a brand, making a product, and selling it and yourself. Which is my worst nightmare.

Do you remember the movie Say Anything? Well, I am like Lloyd Dobbler. " I don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don't want to do that." The film came out in 1989 but I loved Lloyd most when he said that. I have always felt this way. I have never wanted any part of business, ever, even as a young child.

So, last August, I decided to just stop. Blogging was taking too much time away from family and friends. It was not earning me more than a few dollars a month and I know other bloggers who work even harder and still don't earn much. The blogging market is as saturated as the pdf pattern market. That is not to say that you, lovely reader, should think that you are being put down by me.  There are some of you who are vastly talented and are justifiably earning money for your work. Awesomesauce! I am proud of you! But it is not the career path for me. It sucked me dry. So, I stopped!

And now I am back. I missed sharing my work with others. I missed the connections I had made with others. I have some friends via blogging that I still want to connect with. So, I am going back to the original blogging plan, from back when this blog was called Too Many Hannas and I am just going to share my crafting and craft thoughts as I feel I have something to say.  There will be no ads. There will be selling of products. There will be no affiliations.  I will have time to volunteer in my children's school and do my vaccine advocacy work.  I will have time to make the crafts I want to make. I will have time to pattern test for my friends. I will have time to play Pet Rescue Saga, which I so dearly enjoy.   I will have time to read a book that is not related to crafting and I will have time to try new things.

So, dear reader, please look for more of Handmade Dress  Haven in the future, including a report tomorrow on a lovely set of Tie Dye Diva patterns I recently tested.  In the meantime, have a great day.


Friday, August 8, 2014

The most useful pattern ever

 What is your most useful pattern? The one you use time and again, in endless variations?  For me, it is Jocole's Shoreline tank pattern.  I literally love this pattern!

This is what a classic Shoreline tank looks like.  It is a tank top, made from knit fabric, with ruffles across the front. It can be made for newborns on up to size 14 girls and also comes in women's sizes. And you can make it for your doll.


This pattern is useful because you can make the top with or without the ruffle. You can make the straps from the same fabric or fold over elastic. And you can extend the pattern yourself to make it into a dress of any length. 

And I have made it full length, as well, but apparently I didn't save pictures of that until now.  Today, I made two Shoreline tank night gowns, both full length. Both are for my tween, who loves comfortable and not fussy things. So, for her, this is the perfect summer nightgown.

jocole shoreline tank

This green floral fabric is by Fresh Produce and I got it at Banberry Place Fabrics, my fave store for knits.  It has a bit of stretch, just enough for this pattern.

This red dot is by Riley Blake and I got it from a friend. It is super duper soft and very stretchy, so I made the straps a smidge shorter to account for the stretch. 

These are both size 14.

I have also heard of mamas taking Shoreline tank and cutting it shorter and attaching a skirt, to make a dress. I plan to do this really soon and will definitely share with you all. For now, I have some shoreline tank dress nightgowns to make for my other daughter!

And tell me, please, what is your most useful pattern ever? The one you sew the most?

Note: I love Jodi Jean to bits and we are friends on Facebook but she has never paid me to write one word about her. Everything in this post is 100% my opinion and clicking on any links will not earn me a cent. But, go buy some Jocole patterns anyway!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Making blogging changes, checking priorities

This week, I am making blogging changes because my priorities are changing. And this is exciting!

First of all, you can now easily get around the Handmade Dress Haven blogosphere by clicking on my avatar, newly annointed with social media icons.  This only took me two hours to create and size correctly, so please use it!

Secondly, you will notice the addition of Betsy Button to my sidebar.  I have decided that I really like to sew and I really like to share my sewing and chat about sewing but I do not enjoy the work that it takes to create a blog that will be followed by thousands.  For the last six months, I have read books, joined groups, participated in blog hops and sewalongs, and done everything I could think of (short of buying a new camera) to get my blog seen by others and earn some money from it, but it was just irritating me beyond belief and so I am calling it a day.  It is just too much work to get a blog in the market today, at least if you want to push it and not let your following develop organically. It involves taking great pictures, sharing your links here, there and everywhere, networking, and getting your tutorials seen by as many people as possible.  And, if you don't have a product to sell, it is also very difficult to get noticed, especially if your photographs are not professional-grade. And, even if you do spend 40 hours a week writing stellar tutorials and sharing professional-looking photographs, you still might not make any money at all. Frustrating!  And I just don't have it in my heart to be a business person. I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why anyone would think I am more special than the next person.  I think that is kind of funny, but it is true.  It is hard for me to do self promotion.

But, Betsy Button is here to help me promote my sewing! And cutting back on blogging hours gives me more time for Betsy and for my own children.  And just who is Betsy Button? Well I wrote about her a while back, in this post.  She is basically the mascot for a Facebook boutique some friends of mine run. I am one of the team and happy to be there. We run big, themed auctions every other week with accessories and clothing for children and sometimes for mom. But, almost every week day, we also run auctions for items we've made and these daily auctions start at $1!  Some of them go quite high, some stay low. You can get some beautiful stuff so please check them out!

And our next Big Auction is August 6th.  The theme is Storybook.


Finally, you will notice that the ads in the sidebar have all been deleted.  Why bother!  I hate ads.  I felt guilty having ads in my own blog when I block ads everywhere else. I use Firefox as my browser because I can use Adblocker to keep the annoying ads at bay. But, I felt guilty about blocking every other blogger's ads when I was asking them to click on mine so I unblocked them. And then I got annoyed by all the ads!  You have to laugh at me. I am such a dork! 

So, ads are gone except affiliations. But, in the case of affiliations, I am not asking you to do anything but merely providing you an easy way to buy something I love and give me a small commission. I know that when I shop for patterns now, I always find a friend who is an affiiliate so I can give her the commission.

At any rate, that's the scoop!! 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Cozy Nest Patterns Convertible/Reversible Bag pattern tour

Now it is my turn for this fab tour!!  Okay, this bag is a work of genius. Please read this whole post because once you see this bag, you are going to want to buy it. It is genius!!  It is four bags in one, it reverses, it converts!  It is a work if genius!


And, it is on sale for 25% off! The code is bagtour and you can buy the pattern here.
(Notes: I am not an affialiate but you still should buy this pattern. I was given this pattern for free as part of this blog tour but my opinions are completely my own and I swear I would not lie to you.)

very useful purse pattern

So, first of all, I made this bag twice. The first time I made this bag was with fabric I got as part of a fabric swap. You can read about it here.  I got the cutest fabric, absolutely perfect fabric for me. And I saved it for this pattern.  But, I made a mistake. I hate making mistakes. Don't you HATE making sewing mistakes. I used midweight fusible interfacing that was really too weighty for this pattern and it ruined the bag. I broke three needles AND my (beloved) clear plastic sewing foot and used my seam ripper at least a dozen times making this bag. Which was all my fault because the interfacing was too weighty. So, I ended up ripping it all apart and made just the bottom half of the bag for my 7 year old. She's happy as a clam with it. The rest of the fabric had to be tossed. I was heartbroken. 

reversible bag sewing pattern

And I thought I would have to let Sarah, of Cozy Nest, down by not blogging about it because I was not able to meet my deadline. And that was so stressful! I am a type A personality. I MEET DEADLINES!  I TURN IN HOMEWORK ON TIME. I DO NOT LET PEOPLE DOWN!  I had to capitalize that to emphasize how stressed out I was about not getting this tour sewing done. 

But, the kind and generous Sarah gave me a second chance!  She rescheduled my tour date and here I am. I made the bag again, this time with better interfacing. 
(Why are there so many choices anyway??)  
And here is my finished bag. 

Did I mention that it is FOUR bags in one!!

cozy nest reversible bag

I love this bag! It is fun and not hard to sew.  The directions are very well done and, when you have the pdf file open on your computer, there are links throughout the pattern for you to click on to go to her website to get even more visual help with putting things together. Brilliant!!  I think this is a perfect bag pattern for a woman on the go, a tween, doing on a date, whatever!  It is just so fun and clever. And a great way to use smaller pieces of fabric.  As you can see, my bag has four different fabrics, three Jennifer Paganelli Sisboom fabrics, all from my "too small to make a dress" bin. 

Now, check out the giveaway!!

Check out the rest of the tour and don't forget to look at older posts, too!!

Monday, July 28th
Maria of Mia's Creations 
Niki Stringer of Roonie Ranching 
Alyssa Carrion at Keep Calm & Carrion

Tuesday, July 29th 
Lynn Potts of PottsCrafty 
Marilyn Brandt at Shades of Bold

Wednesday, July 30th 
Vicky Myers of Vicky Myers Creations
Liz Schaffner at MOMENTS

Thursday, July 31st
Amy Macdonald with Friends Stitched Together 
Judith Clauss of Judith Stitches and More

Friday, August 1st 
Jonie Brooks with Knot Sew Normal 
Lorena Rey of my way of... 
Bethany Rapp with Sweet Bee Buzzings

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Betsy Button Back to School sale

It's almost back to school time for kids in North America and I've been doing some sewing for sale.  I love this Moda PB&J fabric and I made three dresses that will be up for sale starting tonite on Betsy Button Facebook page. Betsy Button is a Boutique run by some friends and I and we have themed auctions several times a month. Bidding starts exactly at 9PM set on July 23rd and ends at 10:15pm EST on July 24th for clothing and at 10:30pm EST for accessories! That way you can focus on your outfit first AND THEN accessorize. BetsyButton is made up of a team of individual boutiques and designers! 

Here is my set of dresses. Left to right, they are sizes 6X, 5, and 3. 


And here are some of the other offerings. Please click on any picture to check out our page.  

Happy Bidding!