February 2008 Archives

It's Raining Gum Drop Pillows!

February 28, 2008

Amy Butler’s Gum Drop pillows that is! Every once in a while we come across a pattern that sparks creative fires here at Fabric.com. This pattern is a fine example of that phenomenon.  I decided to make this pattern as a unique way to display fabrics at a tradeshow. When I brought it into the office it garnered quite a share of attention. It seemed everyone had unique ideas and creative thoughts regarding this little gem of a pillow pattern. What is a Gum Drop pillow you ask?  Well to start with it is not a typical square pillow, it is an ottoman.  The pattern has two sizes, an 18” wide x 9” high and 24” wide x 12” high. The body consists of eight equal panels and one top panel. It is a pillow you interact with-Sit on it, rest your back on it, prop your feet on it or just admire it!  Amy’s new home décor line Nigella is perfect for this pattern.  Nigella is medium weight twill with a very soft hand.  The designs are an exotic blend of Neo Victorian florals and motifs that are sure to refresh any interior.  Easy to make yet dramatic in style, this pattern begs you to coordinate and customize!

 While Nigella is an excellent fabric selection this pattern adapts to many different fabrics and personalities.  Take a few cues from our staff and create your special pillow for family and friends. Laurie paired novelty cotton prints with denim and heavyweight twill to create darling youth gum drop pillows for her two toddler sons. No fighting over these pillows as each has their name embroidered on the top panel. Laurie reports that this is their special seating for nighttime stories. 

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Gum-Drop-Sam-n-Erick.jpg Moniqa used denim and Moda Funky Monkey to create gum drop pillows as a house-warming gift for her niece and nephew.  Clever and creative, she added side pockets for convenience and storage!

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I used poly cotton twill and an Alexander Henry print to create extra seating around the table in my family room. Surely I can't be the only person who eats at the coffee table!


I also paired dupioni silk and Amy Butler wood fern to create a large elegant ottoman perfect for the boudoir. 


Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Nancy-Gum-drop-pillow2.jpg I could not resist the retro and mod home decor fabrics for my best friend’s two “tweener” girls.  They love their special “cozy up” and watch “High School Musical” pillows!

nancy 082.JPGI have been very busy making the gum drop pillow but I haven’t had the time to make the one version I am most excited about….Alfresco.  I can just see what a hit these pillows will be on my deck in the spring and summer. Fabric.com always gets a beautiful shipment of outdoor fabrics and I can't wait to create extra outdoor seating for my “Do-Drop-In” friends.

As always happy sewing and please share your Gum Drop ideas with us.

Ciao for now!


nancy 086.JPG



P.S.  If you make a gum drop pillow , you too might get a sweet thank you note like this:

Gum Drop letter.jpg

Fabric Maverick Says... Get Ready, Set, Sew!

February 26, 2008

Spring is on its way!  Smell that!  It is daffodils blooming. If you could put the scent of daffodils and a few drops of sunshine in a bottle, you could make a fortune selling spring to our friends in the North. Spring is a time of renewal.  It is time to begin spring-cleaning.  A sewer will interpret this to mean:

  • It's time to have your sewing machine maintenanced
  • It's time to finish winter projects or put them away for next year
  • It's time to organize the sewing room
  • It's time to plan your spring projects

For the apparel sewer, it is time to check out the new spring pattern books.  Look for new ideas in the fashion magazines.  This will be a good way to see what fabrics and colors are hot for the new season.

For the quilter, it is fun to curl up with the spring quilting magazines for new project ideas and techniques. What new fabric collections are being released?

For the Home Decorator, this is a great time to refresh your home.  Pick a room that you have been thinking about redoing.  If you only have a little money and little time, start small.  Changing the colors of your sofa pillows and accessorizing can make a world of difference.

March will be a month of Celebrations.  Easter, National Quilting Day, St. Patrick's Day are a few of the fun sewing days coming up. It is time for the young ladies to start picking fabrics for their Prom dresses. I know that Victoria has a grandson due in March. I know what she is already working on.

April is Fabric.com's anniversary month.  Get ready for some great sales.  Now would be the time to get fabric for your Home Decor projects.

Now is the time to Get Ready, Set, Sew.

Getting Ready For The Little Guy

February 21, 2008

There are certain events that get a crafter giddy from the creative possibility – weddings, birthdays, holidays, changes in season, etc.  One event that has always seemed to inspire my family of seamstresses most is the birth of a child.  Just think about it; all of those cute blankets, pillows, decorations and itty-bitty clothes just begging to be handmade.  Sure, you can go to the store and buy any of that, but there’s something so special about a handmade baby item or gift.  Whether the item in question is of better quality than a store counterpart, made to custom specifications (I’ll get to this later), or simply brimming with love and care that just can’t be replaced, there are so many reasons to spend the time and effort to welcome baby into the world with a one-of-a-kind, handmade gift.

Which brings me to my dilemma…  As mentioned previously, I comebaby.JPG from a crafty family where baby-time meant“sewing time.”  Well, it’s my turn now, and June 8th seems to be coming at me both excruciatingly slow and frighteningly fast.  I want nothing more than to hold my little kick-boxer-in-training, but there’s still so much to do in preparation for his arrival.   My sewing list for my little guy is so long, but there is only so much time (and energy!) that I can devote to it before showtime.  What’s an expectant mom to do?

Before I start paring down my list to a more realistic size, I thought I would share it with you, our craft-minded readers.  Whether you’re searching for ideas or can offer a few tips to help me narrow this down, I would love to hear your thoughts.

A Minky Blanket -  I’ve seen these popping up in stores all over the place, and on my “Can IMake It?” scale theyList_Minky Jumbo Dot.jpg fall somewhere between “Heck yes I can make that” and “Why wouldanyone pay that much for something so simple?!”  When it comes to luxury and softness, minky is probably tops in my books.  The only drawbacks I can see to making one would be the mess and possibly the price (I would certainly save money by making my own, but we’re tightening the purse strings at the moment and minky is on the costly side).  On the other hand, I could make more of a throw with slightly larger dimensions and both of us could cuddle under it.

Oversized receiving blankets – I’ll admit it; I’m spoiled.  My mom had my brother when I was 11 and my sister when I was 16, so I was exposed to the wonders of the oversized receiving blankets my aunt made for her and could truly appreciate them.  Whether she laid them on the floor for tummy time or used them for a little extra privacy while breast feeding, the extra coverage made a great difference in their usefulness.  It wouldn’t be hard for me to make this myself, but then again I could always put them on my wish list and hope my aunt loves me as much as she loves my mom.

SB Layette.jpgClothes – He’s not even here yet and he’s already got more clothes than I do, but it’s hard to resist the urge to make him a couple outfits when I work around temptations like the Sew Baby patterns.  This will probably be the first thing to get cut from my list, but I’m still very tempted to make a replica of the adorable seersucker outfit I saw in a rather pricey catalog the other day.

mei tai.jpg
Baby Sling – We recently started carrying a pattern for the Mei Tai baby carrier, and I can’t help but picture walking around with one in a cool Amy Butler fabric.  My only concern is with entrusting my child’s safety to my sometimes shaky sewing skills.  I might go sneak a peak at the pattern so see if it’s something I could handle or if I should just leave this one to the pros.

SB Snappy Wrap.jpgSew Baby Snappy Wrap – Despite the teasing my Canadian friend throws my way, it does in fact get cold in Georgia.  This cute little wrap just screams “useful” to me, and I am all about the functional along with the cute.  Fleece is such a breeze to work with, this might become a standard baby gift if it’s as easy to make as it seems.

Baby’s First Quilt – Our lovely graphic artist, Moniqa, had a wonderful idea the other day.  She suggested taking little hand and foot prints of our little guy, printing them onto fabric, and making a quilt out of the blocks.  I always talk myself out of making a quilt because there are so many quilters in my family who are so much more talented than myself, but this idea might actually be one I could justify doing myself.  I’m getting misty eyed just thinking about it.

That’s all I want to think about for now.  I still need to get my sewing room cleaned and situated so that it can double as a nursery (I waited WAY too long for a sewing room to just give it up.  He can share for now).  All I can say is that part of me is glad I am not having a little girl – my sewing list went down by half once all the little dresses and baby doll clothes left the picture.  If you can think of anything I should add to my list, please feel free to let me know.  I’d love to hear your suggestions!

The Fabric Maverick Says: Fight your Fear of Color- Hue, Saturation, Value! OH,MY!

February 19, 2008

Victoria wandered into my office last week with an interesting question.  She constantly hears questions from customers concerning color.  It does not matter if it is a quilt, selecting fabric for a dress or redecorating a room. Fabric Maverick, Please where do I start?

I looked at her for a moment.  I pushed my stack of reference books out of the way and reached for another book referencing color.

"Victoria, Here is a book on color theory. It will define the components of color such as saturation, value and hue. It will give you basic ideas.  It is like going to school and taking a class.  The information you learn in that class does not come together until you put it into practice. A color wheel is an excellent tool!

DSCN0062.JPGPeople can select a color they like. The colors next to that key color will blend with it creating a harmonious, flowing feel. For example, if red is your key color.  Then shades of orange and purple will create a harmonious feel. If you want to add a touch of color use a contrast of color such as green.  If you are feeling bold add a triad color such as blue.  This will add a lot of visual excitement. If you are a person who is not comfortable with a lot of color or you are trying to blend several personalities in your home, stay with the neutrals such as shades of black, gray, white or brown.  Add accent colors in colors that you like in pillows, artwork and accessories. These are easy to change when you tire of them.

Manufacturers have made some it easy for people by creating collections of fabric. Quilt fabric designers have color collections for everyone.  If you like bold colors, Free Spirit and Westminster have some lively designs from Amy Butler, Joel Dewberry, Jane Sassman, etc.  Moda have great traditional designs from 3 Sisters, American Jane, April Cornell, etc.  There is something for everyone.

Home Decor manufacturers also have fabric collections. P. Kaufmann and Waverly are still leaders in creating pleasing collections. You will have noted that shades of brown have dominated the home fashion market. Walking through an "Open House" will give you ideas on what colors are currently in style.  What if you do not care for the color of the moment? I suggest clipping pictures of rooms that you like and save them until you are ready to redecorate. Several people I work with are planning to "refresh" at least one room this summer. Victoria has already painted a guest bedroom apple green. She is pulling her fabrics together now.  Normally I would suggest picking your fabric first, then selecting the paint color. Nancy is going to be working on an outdoor redo. Leslie and Robin are working on rooms.  These rooms may not be done in current "fashion" colors but they will reflect the personality of each of the individuals. There will be no major furniture changes.  You will see how fabric can change a room. Just like Donna Babylon, we have more splash than cash. In the coming months, we will be showing what we have done and how we did it.  Stay tuned.


Minky- A Fabric Not Just For Babies!

February 14, 2008

Haley bean bag1.jpgThere is an old movie with Cary Grant and Doris Day called "That Touch of Mink".  If there had been Minky available then, I am sure that animal-loving Doris Day would have starred in "That Touch of Minky". Minky is as soft as mink and made of 100% polyester. It is washable and durable.  It is, of course, perfect for decorating nurseries. If you are making a gift for a baby or creating a nursery, you might want to look at our selections of Sew Baby patterns and Donna Babylon patterns.

Haley bean bag.jpgIf you think outside the box, Minky can also be used for other things.  I was challenged last year to create a slipcover for a Foof.  For those unfamiliar with a Foof, think of something similar to a beanbag chair. The person wanted to use the plush Minky.  I was dubious. I had never worked with Minky. I had never created a pattern or sewn a slipcover.  We calculated the yardage by measuring the length and width of the Foof.  We estimated 5 yards of minky would be needed to complete the slipcover. That is a lot of Minky!  When I cut the fabric into the pattern pieces, imagine my surprise when black Minky went everywhere. It was on me, on the cutting table, on the floor and even the cats. After vacuuming the fuzz up, I carefully pinned everything together.  Since I was making a slipcover, I used upholstery thread and a size 16 needle. I discovered that it would probably be best to increase my stitch length slightly.  The Minky was not hard to sew. I did use a lot of pins. One of the things I liked about the Minky was that if I made a bobble in my straight stitch, the pile of the Minky hid my mistakes. Minky is very forgiving.  I was even able to sew a 48" zipper in it with no problem.  Surprisingly, the slipcover fit like a glove. At least I was surprised.  There is a little stretch to hide some miscalculations.   You may recognize our model above - Stephen's daughter Halle.  It looks very comfortable..Minky also makes great pillows and robes. We have a variety of Minky fabrics from animal prints to a new paisley print.

 For Valentine's Day, we created a Valentine pillow for a special little girl.

poket-pillow.jpgMelanie has offered a list of tips for working with Minky- See our second blog of the day for Melanie's minky tips.

Daniel in our IT department has been waiting for us to publish his "Ode to Minky".  He is our "Prints Charming".

Here it is:

Let me tell you a little story about a fabric named Minky. Minky, oh sweet Minky! You are so pink. Many try to imitate you, but none succeed. There's Dimple Dot, Curly, Zebra, and Swirl. But none can match the elegance of Minky Micro Plush Strawberry Pink.

But Tiger comes close.

Okay, Daniel, you are now a published author.


Quick Tips for Sewing With Minky

February 13, 2008

Minky Dimple Dots.jpgMany people are hesitant to sew with minky because they are afraid it is difficult to work with.  While minky projects can offer a new challenge to sewers, a few simple tips can make take the fear and difficulty out of the experience.

  • Minky is stable parallel to the selvage and stretches perpendicular to the selvage (along the width).  
  • Before you start a project, make sure to note the nap on the minky and cut pieces accordingly if you want the nap to lay a particular way.
  • Minky, like fleece, will not shrink with washing.  However, make sure to pre-wash all other fabrics you may be using in your project since they may.
  • When cutting minky, be prepared for a cloud of fuzz!  Try cutting pieces with a rotary cutter then taking them outside to shake them off, putting them in the dryer on the air dry cycle (NO heat), or keep a vacuum handy to cut back on some of the mess.  
  • Test, test, and test your stitch length, width and tension on a scrap piece before you start your project.  Did we mention that you should test?
  • Pins are your friends.  Pin every 1” to 1.5” to ensure the minky stays in place.  It may be time consuming, but you’ll thank yourself.
  • Use a walking foot to help with slipping.
  • To further prevent slipping, you can hand baste the layers before machine stitching.
  • If you are working with one layer of minky and one layer of another fabric, stitch with the minky layer down and let the feed dogs guide the fabric.
  • Give a generous seam allowance (about 1/2”) as minky tends to curl.
  • DO NOT iron minky directly.  Instead, place minky face down on a towel and press gently on low heat or steam it.  Ironing and high heat will ruin the nap and any embossing in the fabric.
  • Don’t forget to clean your machine’s throat plate, feed dogs and bobbin case often.  All that fuzz can get messy and clog the works.
  • If you are making a quilt, use only a low-loft polyester or pre-washed cotton batting.  Even better – skip the batting altogether and save yourself the extra work.  The minky is fluffy and offers a great deal of warmth.

Those are just a few tips.  If you are an experienced Minky Master and have anything else to add, please feel free to leave your own tips and tricks in the comments section.  Don’t forget to post pictures of your minky masterpieces on the gallery, too!

The Fabric Mavericks Says... Curiosity did not kill the cat

February 12, 2008

The Fabric Maverick is excited! I have been prowling around the warehouse, hanging out with the Receiving guys to find out what’s new.  I have been peeking in the Merchandising department to see what they are imaging.  Everybody is working overtime to get new products to you.  I am happy to announce the addition of craft books to our ever-growing line up of products.  Karen, or as we call her the Great Fabric Merchant, has added these books to our President’s Day sale. This is Karen’s Valentine present to you. These are great books to add to your library.  Most of us do not make drapes everyday. The Beginner’s Guide to Window Treatments is a great reference book to keep.  It will teach the rudimentary skills to make your treatment look professional.  It even has how to make Roman Shades! Don’t miss Donna Babylon’s “More Splash Than Cash” book.  It is a winner!  For our quilting friends, we have added books with projects using jelly rolls. For the newbie, a jelly roll is a strip of fabric cut 2 ½ “wide by 42” long. It usually includes at least 1 strip of each fabric in the collection. For any quilter who has cut strips, this is a great time saver.  I hate to admit it but I still get the wonky “V” in my strips sometimes.  I have purchased the Silly Safari jelly rolls.  I am going to put this book to the test. I know Victoria’s daughter is having a baby soon.  This will make a perfect baby quilt in record time. I cannot believe the prices on these books.  You have to check it out.


Our Spring fabrics are starting to arrive.  If you are thinking about Easter dresses for the little girls, check out the daisy gingham.  I have seen this fabric made up into a sweet dress (Burda pattern 9885). We also have some great 28 wale corduroy. It is whisper light-perfect for Spring. The colors are Easter egg pastels.9885 We have sretch denim and cotton sateen.  It is a great time to try the Hot patterns.


Here is a sneak preview.  For those friends asking for the Marcus Brothers “Wizard of Oz” collection, I believe I did spy some bolts in the warehouse.  It is almost time for Prom Season.  When I was lurking about in Merchandising, I saw some new fabrics that looked suspiciously like material for prom dresses.  If I were you, I would start planning that special dress.


Warm up your sewing machines, there’s some sewing to be done

Love is in the Air

February 6, 2008

poket-pillow.jpgIt seems like only yesterday that I was receiving Love Letters.  With emails and cell phones, does anyone write love letters anymore?  If you have not written a letter you should.  It is a memento that will be treasured whether it is written to a man or woman. Men like them even though they may not admit it.  It is good to feel special.

Valentine Day is one week away. I would like to remember a couple of special friends on Valentine Day so I have been surfing the net for something special. I stumbled across a website called pajamagram.com. They create a gift that includes pajamas, a scented sachet and a personal note in a nice package. Fabulous idea but because I sew I can cut that price to less than half. You may already have a pajama pattern.  If not, Favorite Things Jammies Pattern (FT-021) is perfect.  It is suitable for both men and women. It includes several pattern options including a camisole top. I have found some great interlock knits in our novelty knits area that are perfect- BC-938, BF-609, BF-630, BF-617 and BB-964. Check them out!  All of these knits are priced from $4.98/yard. If you want something a little fancier- check the satins in the Valentine's shop. This project will take about 90 minutes. With the money I save I can also give a box of chocolates, a personal note and package it in a nice container.  I can also personalize it by picking the fabric I know my friends will like.

Looking for a one-hour project. Look at Donna Babylon's heart-shaped pillow (DBP-005).  I adapted her pattern to create a pillow for a special little girl. I used different shades of minky to make my pillow. I added a pocket to the pillow after embroidering her name on it.  I tucked a valentine card and some conversation hearts in the pocket.  She can use the pocket later to tuck her special treasures.  Let your imagination go wild!

For a special sewing friend, I found a heart-shaped pincushion at Allpeoplequilt.com.  I think I can do that in 30 minutes.

To finish off the day, treat yourselves to a special dinner with all the trimmings. Great ideas at bhg.com. Here is a sweet ending from bhg.com.

Mocha Truffle Tartlets

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Prep: 30 min.
Chill: 30 min.
View Nutrition Facts


  • 2  2.1-ounce packages baked miniature phyllo dough shells
  • 1-1/2  cups dark chocolate pieces or chopped dark chocolate bar (9 ounces)
  • 1/4  cup whipping cream
  • 3  tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1  tablespoon coffee-flavor liqueur or brewed coffee
  • 1/2  teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 1/2  teaspoon vanilla
  • 1  8-ounce container whipped cream cheese
  •   Unsweetened cocoa powder
  •   Chopped chocolate-covered coffee beans or chopped dark chocolate (optional)


1. Open phyllo shells, leaving shells in tray; set aside.

2. In a small saucepan melt the 1-1/2 cups dark chocolate and whipping cream over low heat, stirring occasionally. Divide melted chocolate mixture evenly among the bottoms of the phyllo shells; set aside.

3. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together brown sugar, coffee liqueur, espresso powder, and vanilla; stir until espresso powder dissolves. Add cream cheese and stir until well combined. Spoon a small amount of cream cheese mixture over chocolate mixture in each shell. (Or, place cream cheese mixture in a resealable plastic bag, cut off a small piece of one corner, and pipe cheese mixture onto chocolate filling.) Cover tartlets loosely and chill until set (about 30 minutes). Once set, tartlets can be covered tightly and chilled overnight.

4. Remove tartlets 30 minutes before serving. Sprinkle each lightly with a little cocoa powder. If desired, top each with chopped coffee beans or chopped chocolate.

5. Makes 30 tartlets

Mocha Truffle Tartlets

A sweet treat to end a sweet day.

The Fabric Maverick says... It's time to let go of your UFO's

February 5, 2008

For the uninitiated, a UFO is an unfinished object.  It could be a quilting project or sewing project. The Fabric Maverick cannot cast the first stone.  I have so many unfinished projects that I have lost count. Who has not started a quilt for a newborn child that is still unfinished?

On the cover of a recent issue of Quilt Home, I saw an article titled "When is it time to let a UFO die". I didn't have time to read the article, but it started me thinking. What a revolutionary thought that I could not finish a project! It made me think of my own reasons to let a UFO die a peaceful death.  I am sure some of these reasons will touch a cord with you.

Let your UFO go when:

  1. You have forgotten why you were making it.
  2. The pattern is lost.
  3. The fabric is rotting
  4. Your UFO's are making you feel so guilty that you cannot go forward
  5. Your UFO's outnumber your finished projects.
  6. The baby you were making the quilt for is graduating from college.
  7. The room you were making the quilt for has been decorated twice already and none of the colors will match.
  8. You cannot find enough of the fabric you started with to finish the quilt. You need to make a decision to make it smaller or donate the fabric.
  9. You decide you hate the fabric.  What were you thinking when you bought it?

I have to think some of these reasons were included in that article.  I am sure that you can add more.  Isn't this liberating?  It is like letting go of a ball and chain around your feet!

What are the benefits of letting your UFO die?

  1. There is much more room in your house.
  2. Increased creativity because you no longer need to feel guilty.
  3. You can claim a tax deduction for donated fabric.
  4. You can buy more fabric for your stash. You now have room for it.

There will be a temporary twinge of pain when you let your UFO die, but I promise that the new fabric will take the pain away.


About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from February 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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