Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Meet the Designer: Christine Haynes!

We are pleased to welcome Christine Haynes to Fancy Tiger Crafts! Christine Haynes designs vintage inspired patterns for modern women from her hometown of Los Angeles, where she also manages Sew LA. She will be in town next weekend to teach her ever popular Emery Dress. Her class filled up quick, but don't worry, we do have the pattern in stock if you'd like to make one on your own. Let's meet Christine!


1) How did you get started in the crafting industry? What is your background?
I've been artsy-crafty my whole life, taking painting and ballet classes at a very young age, so I knew the arts were in my future. After high school I earned my BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the department of Film, Video, & New Media, but I was always sewing and eventually that took over all of my time. Things really changed when I participated in the second Renegade Craft Fair in Chicago which launched my ready to wear line of clothing. I produced finished garments for boutiques around the world for many years, but that all changed with the collapse of the economy which was perfectly timed with my first book, Chic & Simple Sewing. At that time I closed up my garment district studio and focused on teaching and writing, which has now led to my own line of patterns! It's been a crazy ride and I'm so happy with where it's going!


2) Do you have a  favorite type of project to design? Or, what are you most excited about making right now?
I'm pretty much completely sewing-centric, but of course that can include other elements like fabric design, block printing, dying, embroidery, beading, and loads more embellishments. My favorite type of project to design are dresses, and they are my favorite thing to wear. They are so easy to toss on and go. No fuss at all! Right now I'm really excited about my next pattern which will be coming out in July! And spoiler alert: it's a dress! I'm also really excited about an upcoming long vacation to Paris and have already decided to bring a large embroidery project to keep my hands busy while I'm there. I take that time off of sewing completely, but it's nice to work on a related project.

3) What influences you creatively? What is your creative process for coming up with new ideas? What inspires you?
I am most inspired by real women and how they dress themselves everyday. I have no interest at all to design or make things that are only wearable for special occasions and not for everyday life. For instance, I have no desire to make red carpet gowns or wedding dresses or anything like that, but I love making women feel good on a random Thursday when perhaps they aren't having a good day. Hopefully they can put on the dress they made and make that average day a little bit better.


My creative process really starts with what I feel is missing in my life and in the market. I can't be overly influenced by the others that do the same thing that I do, and yet I also don't want to be redundant. So I'm not going to design something that exists in the same way by another indie designer. I think about what I am longing to wear and how that relates to the big picture. I have 100's of vintage patterns from the 20's-80's and try to pull in vintage elements into my designs to blend the retro with the new. I don't like wearing anything that looks like a costume, but I do love vintage detailing that is missing from most modern patterns. From there, it's a lot of sketching, muslin making, testing, and finally settling on the finished idea.


4) What is your favorite mythological animal?
I've always related to my zodiac animal. I am a Capricorn and most people think it's the goat, all bull headed and practical thinking in nature. But that's not true! The Capricorn is actually the sea goat; goat on the top and fish on the bottom. It's a pretty bad ass and wildly misunderstood animal, which I think works perfectly for Capricorns themselves. We are a misunderstood bunch! The sea goat constellation sits among the water bearers in the night sky and the Greeks associate the animal to be an embodiment of Pan, the god of nature, who was only half submerged in the Nile while helping Zeus fight. The lower half acclimated with the sea and the top half stayed intact. We are strong and resilient but not at all as cold as people think!

5) If you could have any super power, what would it be?
Oh, without question it would be teleportation! I'd love to just be beamed up from place to place at a moment's notice! I love traveling, but I hate flying and this would fix everything. Get on that someone!

Thanks Christine, see you soon!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Local Fiber Alert! MJ Yarns is Here


We love finding locally made yarns to carry here at Fancy Tiger! The most recent to join our shop is MJ Yarns, local fiber by dyer Jonathan Berner. Jonathan's passion for yarn naturally led him down this path. He has been unstoppable since learning how to dye fiber in our very own yarn dyeing class here at Fancy Tiger.

Jonathan and his hand dyed goods!

We now carry three of Jonathan's hand-dyed goodies in eight debut colorways.

Jonathan's hand-dyed MJ Roving is a dreamy blend of Merino and tussah silk.


MJ Yarns Rustic Fingering Weight is a 100% Blue Face Leicester wool. It is gently spun and so very lofty, giving handknits made from this yarn a rustic texture that is soft and easy to wear against the skin. Jonathan knit the Grouchy Geisha shawl in his colorway, Purple Dragon, using just one skein of Rustic Fingering.


MJ Sock is a hearty Corriedale wool with the added strength of a bit of nylon, for resilient handknitted socks that you won't be afraid to wear.


We hope you love Jonathan's yarn as much as we do. We can't wait to see what he dyes up next!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Jaime's Polly Top

We recently started carrying the beautiful By Hand London sewing patterns. In addition to their line of women's patterns we carry here in print, they also have a free downloadable pattern - the Polly Top! It only takes a couple of 70 degree days and I'm thinking summer. I want to knit linen shirts and sew tank tops. The Polly top is the perfect tank to kick off my summer sewing.


Pattern: Polly Top by By Hand London
Fabric: Liberty of London Betsy Ann print: 28", Robert Kaufman Union Chambray: 5/8 yd
Size Made: 6/10
Alterations: I took in 2" on the shoulder seams to raise the neckline. I also did an invisible bias by pulling it to the inside of the garment.

The Polly top features a cut out front. The pieces are eased together to create bust shaping so no darts are used. This feature means the tank can be made with endless variations: all one fabric, two different fabrics, a hidden bias binding on the neck and armholes or a contrast bias binding. I choose to use a Liberty of London floral with a Union Chambray voile for my contrast fabric. Yes, I did say Chambray voile. These new fabrics from Robert Kaufman come in 4 different chambray-denim hues and are oh-so light and soft. They pair perfectly with the Liberty of London lawn fabric. I made my bias binding out of the chambray voile as well so as not to waste any precious Liberty on a hidden bias.


In general this was a simple pattern to whip up - especially if you are familiar with a bias binding finish on arms and neck. The most difficult part of sewing this top was step one - easing the cut-out into the main part of the top. It takes a lot of easing and I had to go very slow to get it right. Some tips for this part would be to carefully clip into your fabric pieces 1/2" before sewing the seam and pin your seam at 5/8" where you will be sewing. 


When I finished this top, it was too tall in the shoulders so I had to take my shirt in at the shoulder seam a good 2" on each side to make it fit properly. This was an easy alteration to make and now the top fits great. Summer 2014 wardrobe staple: done!


If you need help with your Polly top, you'll be pleased to know we are offering it as a class and there are still spots in the upcoming session on May 4th. Download the Polly top here and get started sewing - summer is right around the corner!

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Amber's Muddy Works Tee

--amber

I've been coveting Jaime's cute Nani Iro Nuance Tee for a while. When we recently received Tomotake's Muddy Works fabrics I couldn't resist this soft double-gauze, hand drawn polka dot in a pale warm grey.
Pattern: Nani Iro Woman T-shirt
Fabric: Muddy Works Double Gauze 1 1/2 yd
Size Made: One Size
Alterations: None


Double gauze is perfect for this pattern, a loose, easy fitting tee, and it makes a garment that is oh-so-soft and comfortable.


I won't lie, wearing my new tee is kinda like wearing the comfiest pajamas in the world, but with a little bit of sophistication.


The Nani Iro Tee pattern is actually more of a diagram on drafting your pieces (in Japanese!) I lucked out--since Jaime already drafted the pattern, this top just took me an hour or so to make. The simplicity of the pattern, though, should make drafting it easy enough for intermediate or ambitious beginner sewists to tackle. Just remember to use centimeters, not inches, or your shirt will be very big!


Find the free Nani Iro Womens T-Shirt pattern here. There are lots more Nani Iro free patterns there as well!

Monday, April 07, 2014

New Patterns: By Hand London


By Hand London is an independent sewing pattern label out of London run by three fabulous women, Charlotte, Elisalex and Victoria. They launched just over a year ago and are producing beautiful sewing patterns.



Being surrounded by stylish women offers these ladies a constant inspiration for new designs. Creating patterns influenced by, and named after the women they admire, they create charming patterns to cater to individual style. We are so happy to stock these patterns with a modern twist on classic designs.




By Hand London celebrates our desire to dress up and stand out!

Friday, April 04, 2014

Scout Tees for Spring!

I'll admit it, I'm kind of addicted to the Scout Tee pattern from Grainline Studio. The Scout Tee is a loose-fitting tee designed to be made in woven fabrics. Luckily we have no shortage of these here at Fancy Tiger Crafts. The Scout Tee has become my new go-to pattern for cute wovens. It's just so quick to sew up and so comfortable to wear. I can't resist!
Pattern: Scout Tee by Grainline Studio
Fabric: various, 1 7/8 yd
Size Made: 4
Alterations: None - its awesome!
First up is this one, out of my favorite print from the Lizzy House Catnap collection, Cattitude in Raspberry. I love this print and wanted to make something that I knew I would wear a lot - the Scout tee it is! The Scout tee is quick to sew with only three pattern pieces. The set in sleeves go quickly and the neck is finished with bias tape.


Another favorite of mine is Nani Iro's beautiful double gauze fabrics. This particular one was a remnant that I couldn't bear to see go, so I made a Scout tee. I arranged the pattern pieces on this border print fabric on the cross-grain to get the details on the bottom and sleeves. I love it!


We have recently received a lot of yarn-dyed woven fabrics, great staples for any wardrobe. I used a yarn dyed plaid in a soft purple and charcoal for this Scout Tee. I love wearing this simple top with a knit shawl for even more handmade action!


The Scout Tee pattern is currently available directly from Grainline in her webshop. If you decide to sew one up, we have countless fabrics that would make beautiful new tees. I'm sure there will be a lot more of these Scout Tees in my future...

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Hand Dyed Sock Yarn by Hedgehog Fibres!

The beautiful hand dyed sock yarn by Hedgehog Fibres has arrived! Hedgehog Fibres is an independent artisan fibre dyeing studio located in Cork, Ireland. This smooth blend of 90% merino and 10% nylon creates a charming lustrous finish to your piece, whether it be as simple as stockinette or something more complex like lace.


These wonderful skeins are all unique to themselves since they are randomly dyed to prevent striping or pooling, leaving you with this perfectly variegated yarn! 



The careful attention to color for each skein brings a truly unique look to each color-way and every skein. If you are hooked like we are, head over to their blog for inspiration and free patterns to try with your new skein! 


Happy knitting!