Join Us on the City Quilts Blog Tour

107222 Join Us on the City Quilts Blog TourWe are thrilled to be hosting a stop on our friend Cherri House‘ blog tour for her beautiful book, City Quilts, published by C & T under their new “Stash” imprint.

Each blog host will also feature a Q&A with City Quilts author, Cherri House. Here are the participating blogs and dates–there’s a great mix in here.

10722 CityQuilts ImageGrid Join Us on the City Quilts Blog Tour

Images from City Quilts (Image Courtesy C & T Publishing)

Cherri’s book is a wonderful for non-quilters (or seldom-quilters such as ourselves), because she pays so much attention to concepts such as color values and the way fabrics interact with each other. Furthermore, city-lovers will adore how Cherri translates the urban environment into cloth and stitches. We’ll be talking with Cherri about her book, men who quilt and stitch and the joys of running a business built around your passions.

We also have a sweet giveaway on this–and every–stop on the tour.  C & T is giving away a copy of the book on each stop and Robert Kaufman will be awarding the lucky winner a gorgeous stack of fat quarter solids (yum!). We’ll be adding something to this giveaway as well.

We’re looking forward to seeing you on the 20th–and make sure to visit all of the stops on the tour while you’re at it.

~S & J

Ooooh! Bolt’s having a sale!

bolt Ooooh! Bolts having a sale!

Even if you don't live in the Portland area, you should be reading Bolt's blog--it's full of awesome stuff and pretty pictures of fabric.

So, we’ve been very naughty bloggers lately. Basically all summer long. We haven’t really had a post of any substance in over a month–isn’t that terrible. We have lots of good reasons, basically that this summer has been very hectic and extremely stressful. We’re hoping that things will calm down over the next couple of months, and that we’ll resume our regularly-scheduled programming here at Sewer-Sewist. We so enjoy writing this blog and connecting with all of you.

Anyway, we wanted to let you locals know about an awesome sale that our favorite fabric store, Bolt on NE Alberta Street, is having this weekend. All fabric is 20% off all weekend long! And Gina, Bolt’s fabulous owners, only carries top-notch, beautiful fabrics, so you’re bound to find something that’s just what you “need.” We love that Bolt doesn’t just carry quilting cottons, but also has a huge variety of stuff that’s great for garments, decorating, etc. Plus, the quilting cottons that are at Bolt are all ones that work for a whole lot of other things, which is great for us, since we make mostly clothes and accessories. We don’t really need to go on and on about the awesomeness or local fabric shop, but we sure do love it! So, if you’re local, and looking to treat yourself to some wonderful fabric, head on down there this weekend. Oh, and if you’re not local, you’re not totally out of luck, because they recently launched a very cool blog about the shop and neighborhood.

~S & J

Celebrating Our Anniversary, Sewer-Sewist Style

3637799930 98c7e60a70 Celebrating Our Anniversary, Sewer Sewist Style

Today’s our 4th wedding anniversary. Last year, we celebrated by screenprinting weird T-shirts, Josh creating a bizarre–yet appropriate–fake commemorative poster for the Moon Family Band and by making new outdoor lights for our patio.

This year, we’re taking a four-day letterpress and mail art class together, this Thursday through Sunday. It should be loads of fun–and what a treat to get to spend four full days just making stuff and learning together! Undoubtedly, Josh will make something crazy and Sarah will shoot for something entirely overly ambitious. Should be a great time.

Cheer, everyone!

3473830109 c97622d6f2 Celebrating Our Anniversary, Sewer Sewist Style

Shameless Self-Promotion – We’re in Stitch Magazine!

3546448935 262c17d922 o Shameless Self Promotion   Were in Stitch Magazine!

Have you seen Interweave‘s awesome special magazine, Stitch? We loved it when the first issue was released–it’s defintiely a magazine for folks who love to sew and create. Well, the second issue of Stitch features a lovely article by the marvelous Susan Beal, and she interviewed Sarah for her article “Print Me,” which is about how to customize your sewing with DIY screen-printed fabrics. And, also flattering, little ol’ Sewer-Sewist was listed as resource for those aspiring to screen print at home.

Stitch is on newsstands now–it’s a great magazine and Susan’s article is wonderful, featuring loads of interesting and inspiring folks who are screen printing at home.

~Josh & Sarah

Support Independent Fabric Shops – Check Out Project 95

3509647836 135f489080 m Support Independent Fabric Shops   Check Out Project 95 I’ve been very fortunate to begin working with The Fabric Shop Network, Inc, the trade association for independent fabric shops. It’s been well documented here that Josh and I are passionate about supporting independent businesses, from Bolt to Powells, so this has been an exciting opportunity for me. Sure, just like everyone else, we can’t avoid or Costco and Fred Meyer trips, but we try to do our best.

One of the most exciting things that I’ve had the chance to work on with FabShop is Project 95. Project 95 is aimed at growing support for independent fabric shops. Why? Because–and this figure shocked me–95 percent of fabric shoppers shop chain stores, and only 5 percent shop independents. I guess because this is so different from my personal reality in which I haven’t been in a chain fabric shop in probably a decade, I had no clue that so few people shopped the independents. I don’t know why this is–probably physical proximity is an issue, folks may not know about independent shops or even some people may be a bit intimidated by niche stores.

But, we’ve got a chance to change that.

So, I’m asking you all to take a minute, read the Project 95 web site (more content is coming–including a map and searchable database) and help spread the word about shopping independent fabric shops. You can also grab a blog button, become a fan on Facebook and follow Project 95 on Twitter, if that’s your thing.

Thanks for your support, everyone!


Summer of Making Registration + Denyse Schmidt Awesomeness!

3433808390 ea76b37768 Summer of Making Registration + Denyse Schmidt Awesomeness!

Hi folks! Registration is now open for the incredible Summer of Making program that the Pacific Northwest College of Art’s awesome Continuing Education department is coordinating this summer.

These are unique courses, offered in more comprehensive formats than you usually get the opportunity with in craft and DIY courses. The classes run for longer–so you really will get to know the subject matter in a thorough way. I can speak from experience–I came away from my letterpress class (which I’m going to write about soon, but I got a bit derailed by my overly-ambitious project) really feeling confident in that particular medium. Also, the other–rather intangible, but extremely important–thing that was really different about the class I took through PNCA’s Continuing Education department was the eagerness of the other students; everyone was extremely engaged and it was a real community within our class. I expect the same out of the Summer of Making–especially because of the awesome line-up of instructors. (Check out all the instructors’  bios here.)

Headlining the program is the phenomenal Denyse Schmidt. She is one of my favorite fabric designers, and everything I see from her is just beautiful and inspiring. We are so lucky to have her coming to Portland to teach her workshop–I have only heard wonderful things about her classes, which focus on improvisation and intuitive design. If you’re interested in anything from quilting to jewelry design to macrame to fiber arts, there’s a class for you at the Summer of Making. Also–and I think this is incredibly cool, and not just because I’m one of the teachers–they’ve made the bold move of incorporating the DIY digital communications arts into the program as well, so you can learn how to effectively communicate about your craft or art. (My mom is taking one of these classes, actually because the idea of learning new technical skills in a creative environment appeals to her.)

Also–while not formally part of the Summer of Making, my awesome letterpress instructor is offering a Beginning Letterpress and Mail Art class that spans four full days. It’ll be awesome. If you’ve ever been interested in letterpress, and are in Portland or want to take a long learning weekend vacation in the City of Roses, I’d highly recommend taking Abra’s class. While the tuition may seem pricy, compared to how expensive the letterpress two or three hour seminars are around town, it’s a great deal–and the presses at PNCA are really great to work on, since they’re large cylinder proof presses that are well maintained. (Also, after having taken letterpress, I really don’t think you could learn letterpress at the level that you’d need to take on an independent project in a short workshop. It’s just too involved and sophisticated. )

So, check out the offerings from PNCA-CE for the Summer of Making–I bet you’ll find something that’s just what you’ve been wanting to learn!

Summer of Making Links

Help spread the word–the cutie-pie program coordinator for the Summer of Making would certainly appreciate your telling your pals about this awesome learning opportunity right here in Portland.


Come Learn with Me!

3272131517 0d9bf6a132 Come Learn with Me!

I’m incredibly excited to do a bit of shameless self-promotion today. This summer, the Pacific Northwest College of Art’s Continuing Education Department will be hosting an exciting new program specifically geared toward crafters of all varieties–the Summer of Making. The Summer of Making will feature special classes, or unique formats, not normally offered by the school. There are some classes that I am very excited about being taught by some incredibly creative and knowledgeable locals–such as Alicia Paulson, Susan Beal and Diane Gilleland. There will also be a “headliner” from out of town, but I can’t tell you who it is yet. (Trust me, it’s someone awesome! And I’ll let you know as soon as I’ve gotten the okay to reveal it.) I don’t know about you, but I think it’s incredibly impressive that a respected art college wants to embrace independent making, creating and DIY with a multi-week, specialized program like this.

Anyway, since I have a close, personal relationship with the coordinator of the Summer of Making, PNCA asked me to teach a class on my area of specialty, which isn’t a specific craft, but rather, the art and craft of communicating. Electronic media has, as you all know, revolutionized the way we communicate and publish our work. Blogging can be an important piece of that for both independent business people and artists/crafters, as well as those of us who simply want to share with–and therefore learn from–other creative folks. I’m going to be helping to facilitate my students in creating their own self-hosted blog (none of that or stuff). Here’s the description from the unpublished course catalog:

Use blogging, complimented by social media tools, to share your art or craft with a broader audience. This course will walk you through developing a self-hosted WordPress blog that is customized for your specific needs. We will collaborate to develop a purpose statement for your blog and create compelling content and imagery to compliment your unique art, craft and individual style. We will explore complimentary social media which can be integrated into your blog, explore successful art, craft and design blogs and have the opportunity to learn from guest speakers. Additionally, we will examine the ethics and etiquette of blogging and freedom and responsibilities of acting as publisher, editor and writer.

Since my professional experience is in marketing, public relations and publications, I plan on bringing that perspective to class–students will get to pick my brain about all sorts of communication issues–from design to branding to the benefits and drawbacks of the various social media platforms. I’m a big proponent of creating a brand or image that is truthful, meaningful and reflective of not only who you would like to be, but who you are–so we will work through those issues together when developing purpose statements and talking about “voice.”

As an added bonus, I will commit to bringing some of my famous chocolate chip cookies to (at least) one of the classes. ‘Cause I’m cool that way.


P.S. My class will be on Wednesday evenings, from July 15 to Aug. 5. When I have more details about the other classes, and registration information, I’ll make sure to post right away, since I know the other, cooler classes will fill up rapidly. (Especially the one from the secret guest instructor.)

PDX Event: Handmade Nation at Powells

hnbook sm  lgjpeg PDX Event: Handmade Nation at Powells

In case you haven’t heard, Faythe Levine, co-author of the new book Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft and Design will be having a book signing at Powell’s on Burnside here in Portland this coming Sunday, January 11, at 7:30 p.m. in the Pearl Room. The lovely folks at Princeton Architectural Press sent us a copy that we aren’t quite ready to review yet, so we’re eager to hear the author’s perspective on the book, in advance of writing our review.

If you’re in town, check it out and make sure to say “hi” to us if you see us there!

Get details about the event over here and info about the other west coast Handmade Nation signings right here.

~Sarah & Josh

That was awesome!

2700740640 4c1b188e91 o That was awesome!

We had a real treat today—Rachel (aka Average Jane Crafter) and her wonderful hubby were here in Portland and Diane facilitated a fun get together this evening at Thatch, the super-cool tiki bar on northeast Broadway. Not only was the company fabulous, it’s pretty awesome to feast on pupu platters and drinks with umbrella garnishes.

We feel so lucky to be a part of such a fabulous creative community and even more fortunate that those connections can translate into “real life.” Thanks, Diane, for bringing everyone together—this was definitely a major highlight in our year!

Although we do think that Rachel needs to be a little more encouraging of her husband’s desire to sew himself a pair of Gene Kelly trousers. We’re just sayin’…

~Sarah & Josh


2586015640 c66584a8a0 Anniversary

No, not our “Blogiversary” (that’s next month), but our real-life, actual anniversary was yesterday, June 17. It was our third, although we’ve actually been a couple since 1996.

Being the crafty type Josh made us customized, hand screen printed matching T-shirts (sort of matching, actually, one in magenta, one in baby blue) as a surprise. We’re not the sort of couple that normally wears matching T-shirts, but these are pretty awesome. Check out the screens ready to go.

2586016306 dd48200e1e Anniversary

And they’re in German, an homage to wacky eighties band and concerts shirts. Josh’s creation is a tribute to the Moon Family Band—catchphrase: “A Girl, A Guy, A Dog – A Drum, A Flute, A Howl.”

Trust us, it’s a very funny/clever inside joke.

And a tribute to how the Moon Family Band (that’s us), together, can do just about anything.

2589426772 47afff741b Anniversary

~Josh & Sarah

Sewing Emergency

2313032065 5b744bd043 Sewing Emergency

Have your sewing troubles ever gotten this bad?

From the The New Zealand Herald:

A woman in a rush to get to a garden party called 111 to ask for help with her sewing.

The woman, who has not been identified, called police in Rotorua yesterday pleading for help to thread her needle.

Now our friend Bryan, who recently deserted us for the greener pastures of Auckland, New Zealand, tells us that dialing 1-1-1 is like dialing 9-1-1 here in the States.

But the best part is the police response to her panicked call:

No one was sent as the local police lacked the necessary skill, the spokesman said.

So are we to assume that if someone had known how to sew they would have responded? Perhaps the Sewing Police? What if they needed to call for backup? Like for a bound buttonhole or something? One can only imagine!

Well, aside from when Josh “Incredible Hulked” a shirt, we can’t say it’s ever gotten quite that bad here at Sewer-Sewist, but we’ve been close.

How ’bout you? Ever had a doozy of a sewing emergency?

~Sarah & Josh

If they’d only learned to sew…

Here you go, folks—another in our intermittent series of sewing-related tidbits in the news.

We knew it! Sewing is an essential survival skill. EarthSky blog is reporting that it turns out that Australian researchers have discovered that Neanderthals would probably not died out if they’d picked up a thread and needle and stitched themselves some warmer clothes.

…when the last ice age hit, modern humans were well-equipped to produce clothes warm enough to fend off the cold. Because Neanderthals… [had not developed] advanced sewing technology. When the temperature dropped, they were stuck with clothes that didn’t keep them warm enough and didn’t know how to improve on the clothes they already wore.

In the spirit of today’s game in which the Green Bay Packers take on the Seattle Seahawks, UniWatch Blog has a great interview with Marge Switzer, the Packers’ team seamstress. There’s some real gems in this interview, and Marge has a pretty tough job. Who knew that the players wear the same jersey all season, and Marge just keeps stitching them up? The rips and tears and battle scars of sorts. Turns out, she’s just as neurotic as the rest of us stitchers:

…there have been times when I’m watching the game and I’ll go, “Uhhhhh [deep gasp of shock], we missed a thread there!” So I do see that sometimes, and the average person, I’m sure, wouldn’t have a clue.

We’re so happy that our missed threads don’t face the scrutiny of tens of thousands of cheese-hat wearing Packers fans!

And finally, CNET is reporting that we sewers and sewists have finally hit the big time at the Consumer Electronics Show. (Note: Sewing machine reference and photo are at the very end of the post on CNET.) Turns out, Brother is showing their fancy new ultra computerized sewing machines for the first time at the annual geek fest of gadgets in Las Vegas this week. Gotta love how CNET (which is a great and very useful site, so no offense here) marvels at this fact.

And just in case you missed it, yes, they have sewing machines at CES. From Brother.

The Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail is also amazed at this display at the CES.

Are we the only folks out there who are utterly baffled by these writers’ wonderment over the fact that sewing has evolved technology-wise right along with everything else in our lives?

Cool Blue

2160708065 771fe81394 o Cool Blue

So it seems that the powers that be at Pantone (the folks who track color trends) have declared that the color for 2008 is “Blue Iris.” You know that bluey-purple color of, well, a Japanese Iris (I’ll probably embarrass the Sewer here, but I have a soft spot for that particular flower because when we were in college he used to surprise me with Japanese Irises).

You can check out the color here in Pantone’s news release. While it’s a lovely color, I think that this may be a slight overstatement:

…Blue Iris satisfies the need for reassurance in a complex world, while adding a hint of mystery and excitement.

2161524958 66bb8f6c7d m Cool Blue

Anyway, I’m glad that the New York Times is reporting that blue has apparently eclipsed the popular green of the last year or two—you’ll remember green is not exactly my favorite color, although I will make exceptions for very dear friends. Blue is one of my favorites—especially for clothes for me, and it certainly justifies the fantasies I have been having about making Hot Patterns’ lovely Denim Diva Camden Coat in a rich blue corduroy. (I haven’t purchased pattern nor fabric for this, so it’s really a pie in the sky thought.)

Although, come to think of it, I still haven’t made my Chili Pepper Red trench coat in last year’s Pantone Color of Year. I believe that one was supposed to add “excitement” to my wardrobe as well.

What do you think? Will you be getting your excitement from Blue Iris or sticking with the Chili Pepper Red?

Movin’ On

2153039551 dca1bddfe7 Movin OnWe’re now posting over on our own domain at Please redirect your bookmarks and RSS feeds. All of the posts and comments here are over at the archives on the new site.

Thanks for a great run here at our blogger site—we hope you enjoy the new one too! Trust us, the new one’s way nicer!

~Sarah & Josh

New Year, New Blog

2153039551 dca1bddfe7 New Year, New Blog

We’ve been blogging about our sewing adventures for awhile now, and Josh is almost at the one year mark in his learning to sew, so it’s time to move over to a site that will better serve our needs.

Welcome to our new blog, at our own domain powered by WordPress. We’re thrilled to have built a site here that really looks like us. The look and feel is a bit different than most blogs, but we like to think that’s a good thing—’cause we’re a bit different than most sewing bloggers out there (we like to think!). With this new site we’re able to tell you a lot more about us, and provide a lot more content. We hope you enjoy.

We’ve imported all of our old posts and comments, but are still relinking the internal links in our blog, so if you’re looking through the archives, you may find yourself back at our old blogspot site. If you don’t mind, if you’ve got us in your Bloglines, or other RSS reader, please redirect to this site. The links to the RSS feeds for content and comments are at the bottom of the page. If you’ve got suggestions or feedback for us, let us know, either by leaving a comment or sending us an email at sewersewist [at] gmail [dot] com.

For the new year, we have a few sewing goals:

  1. Josh will finish his 1908 St. Louis Americans Jacket-–even if it makes him completely crazy.
  2. Sarah will finish Josh’s birthday present before the weather warms up.
  3. We’ll get our sewing organized—right now there’s stuff everywhere, and it’s getting to be a pain in the butt.
  4. Josh hopes be able to have more confidence in his sewing, so he doesn’t have to ask so many questions.
  5. Josh would like to sew some really nice hats.
  6. Sarah will make a red trench coat, which was the whole reason that she joined the Trench Coat Sew Along on Pattern Review this year.
  7. Josh wants to make a semi-authentic “throwback” baseball jersey.

These all seem doable, right?

On The Newsstand…

The first in an occasional series of posts on stuff we find interesting.

What can we say, we still love a good magazine or newspaper. In a “paperless” world, there is still nothing like getting a magazine through the mail slot. A bath isn’t complete without bubbles and some light (or not so light) reading. Here are few things that we came across this month.

Having trouble finding jeans that fit? Virginia Postrel has an article in December’s Atlantic about changing ready-to-wear sizes, technology and $900 jeans for sale in England. There is an interesting data about how different in shape we all really are and how “in a tough apparel market ‘better fit’ has become the latest competitive weapon.” Truncated version available here. Guess we sewers/sewists have an edge here in the whole effort behind “better fit.”

Surprise, surprise Amy Butler lives in an incredibly cool looking house. You can see it in the November / December issue of Martha Stewart’s Blueprint. We found that this magazine is kind of uninspiring but worth looking through in the check-out line or browsing at the store (if only we could organizer our life ala the “tipometer”). The Sewer’s favorite part is the “winter themed” pics that were obviously taken in the summer heat. Big props to Amy Butler and husband for featuring their Arbor Snowboard, we are big fans of Arbor’s long boards and nice to see them in an unexpected spot.

From USA Today, always double stitch the crotch of your pants!

I surf, so you don’t have to…

from sarah the sewist

I’ve been meaning to post some links for awhile, basically random sewing-related items that I’ve bookmarked and found interesting for whatever reason. I hope you do to.

Pantone’s recent color report. The definitive analysis of color for fashion fashion. I sure like the Chili Pepper Red and the the beautiful, elegant Dusk. The Lemon Curry should be illegal. Warning: You’ll need to view it in Preview or Acrobat.

The difference between High Fashion and ready to wear from a recent Wall Street Journal “Style” report.

Wardrobe planning
—not that I actually practice this, but I do like to think about it.

Color trends through 2009. This has been really helpful for me in thinking about choosing colors that will be current for awhile.

Fashion trends (Including menswear!) for the next couple of seasons. Three trends really interest me: Rockabilly for men (this probably is due to my love of the Bakersfield Sound and the like), British textures (gotta love tweeds!) and women’s sporty chic becoming even more popular, with significant influences from the world of surfing/skateboarding (so you can embrace your inner poser—I sure do).

For that matter, check out theentire Fashion Trendsetter site, I keep going back to it, absolutely engrossed.

I’d never heard of this technique for creating gathers, but it’s sheer genius.

Sew,Mama,Sew! Handmade Holidays: 30 Days of Gifts to Sew. If you’re more ambitious than I, you can make a holiday gift each day of November.

In that same vain, the Handmade Holiday Pledge.

pixel I surf, so you dont have to...