Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Recap

Where has this month gone?!  Did it go as quickly for you as it did for me?  Even this past week flew by. I suppose that's a good thing since time flies when we're having fun, right?  Well, we have accomplished a lot this week while having fun, and here's just a little of what we've been up to at CKC: 

New Releases



On Monday we released Primrose's for dogs! Look at how cute- just when you think Primrose's can't get any cuter. Layers of ruffles, a corset, Velcro closure, and instructions to add an optional D-ring for a leash. Love, love, love! This pattern is perfect for small- to medium-breed dogs.


Jeanette's Ruffle Back Knit Dress is an all knit dress loaded with ruffles! It has two sleeve length options and features a back full of ruffles that are simply adorable. It's perfect for fall!  


On Wednesday we released SEVEN new baby patterns! We now have Baby Caroline's- a peasant with an open front detail and bodice ruffles. We also have Clarissa's Pants/Capris (featuring a unique bottom ruffle, braided belt), Sabrina's Ruffled Top/Dress (cute bodice ruffle and shirred waist), and Dahlia's Double Flutter sleeve dress. For staples of your sewing repertoire, we now offer Jenna's Lace Ruffle Pants and Marissa's Perfect Peasant in baby sizes. Finally, we have Tabitha's Knit T-shirt dress/top. You can choose tank or sleeves, ruffle skirt, trim band or plain. All baby patterns come in sizes NB - 24 months. 


We had two awesome new releases yesterday! First we have Dawn's Darling Top. This top is so versatile! Wear it over jeans or over your most OTT skirt. It will be a much loved pattern in your collection. We also now have Stacy's Sassy Skirt, which happens to pair perfectly with Dawn's! This skirt is ruffle-icious for sure! Get them both while they are 30% off! Sale ends Friday at 7 pm edt.



 Our final new patterns for this week haven't quite been released yet! They will be released later today but for now you get to see this sneak peek of our Back-to-School collection!  We have five fun patterns that are perfect for school uniforms or just for everyday wear. Stay tuned later today when all five of these patterns will be released and on sale for 30% off for the first 24 hours. We have been so excited about this release! 

On the Blog


On Monday's blog we shared some tips on how to do well in your County and State Fairs. Even if you don't have one near you, be sure to read our tips anyway because they will come in handy in a contest that will be announced further down this recap in just a bit!


We have a new free pattern for you this week! Becky's Back-to-School Simple Reversible Skirt is fun for her, quick and easy for you, and it is the perfect way to use that trendy new fabric you just bought!


It's time for you to fall in love with knits! And what better way than to go shopping? On Wednesday's blog post, Kaci takes us right into the store with her and shows us what to look for when shopping for knits. Then after her video we also share links to some of our favorite places to shop for knits online. 



And here's the contest we mentioned earlier!  It's time for you to earn ribbons at the fair! That is, at The 1st Annual CKC Virtual World Fair! That's right! Here's your chance to sew up some CKC cuteness and enter it for judging! There are twelve categories for entries and REAL ribbons will be handed out to the winners! All of the donations go to a great cause -- you can read about on the blog

Announcements

Did you know that the Create Kids Couture team did the ALS #icebucketchallenge?! We didn't really want to, but we couldn't say no to such a good cause! You gotta watch this video compilation because there are some surprises! We called out other pattern designers, businesses we work/collaborate with, testers, some FANS, and friends. We had fun making the video and laughing at each other's responses. Please watch and enjoy! Send all donations to ALSA.org

The Create Kids Couture Team

http://youtu.be/k4wpG9-SVF4



We recently reached 50,000 fans on our Facebook Page and 10,000 fans in our Patterns Group! We are celebrating with a giveaway like no other! Facebook has been changing the rules about giveaways, so we changed how we are doing it. It's going to be SO MUCH FUN!!!! It's going to run from Sept 8-22. To make sure you don't miss out on the info, we are compiling email addresses and will send you an email when the giveaway becomes live! Just fill out this form ... and then wait patiently until you hear from us! 


It's back to school time and we want to see your cuties rocking their CKC First Day of School outfits!  Post a picture to our Facebook wall, label it "First Day of School," and tag us.  On September 3 we will draw five random people to win free patterns! We already have a lot of great entries like the one above - come see them in our special Back to School 2014 Album here and get inspired! 



Don't forget to get your copy of the latest I Love PDF Patterns 
Magazine!! It contains multiple patterns from many pattern companies, designer interviews, sewing tips, upcoming fabrics, recipes, crafts, printables - and much more! (And did I mention that my daughter is in there as a paper doll with CKC outfits?! Love it!) 

Sales

  

It's Half-Off Friday time!  For Tween and Women patterns this week, we have chosen Heidi's Hi-Low Peplum Top to be 50% off all day Friday!  With it's many different sleeve options and unique hi-low design, you and your tween are going to love this comfy and stylish knit top! 



Then for our girls' Half-Off Friday pattern today, we have selected Eloise's Ruffled Leggings! Aren't they cute?! These leggings can be made with all the ruffles shown or even simplified a bit if you'd like. They come with both capris and pants lengths, and both cuts are adorable paired with a frilly dress or even a simple top for school.  Eloise's Ruffled Leggings are on sale for 50% off all day Friday.  Here are some more pictures of Eloise's to show you how adorable they are with any style of top!



 Those are some very happy girls! 

That brings us to the end of this week's Friday Recap.  Don't forget to be watching for our releases later today and to grab all these sales together to get the benefits of tiered pricing. We hope you all have a wonderful Labor Day Weekend!

Let's Create! ~ Kristen 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

CKC's First Annual Virtual World Fair!


We are so excited today to announce a CKC contest like no other!  It is our First Annual Virtual World Fair, and everyone is invited to participate!  It will work much like county or state fairs that you might have heard of or participated in, but in our Virtual World Fair there are no borders to worry about.  Finally you can earn ribbons for your gorgeous creations! And what's even better is that your entries will donated to help a wonderful cause.  Because your creations will be judged based on appearance AND your sewing skills, you will mail them to us where they will be judged in person and then they will be donated to Primary Children's Medical Center to brighten the lives of the children there.  Everyone deserves to feel pretty!  Note: Many of the outfits can be donated directly to children receiving care (we will definitely let you know when this happens!) and if any of the more over-the-top entries can't be received (determined by the staff there), those items will be auctioned off by us and the money donated. All proceeds go directly to the children receiving care. I have had close contact with this children's hospital and they are amazing. 



So let's talk details!  Please read all of the guidelines carefully. 

  • All entries must be made using one or more CKC patterns and it is okay to change the patterns if you'd like. 
  • There are 16 clothing categories to choose from.  You may enter only one item per category but you can enter as many categories as you'd like. 
  • Each individual entry must be accompanied by an entry form. **You can print the entry form here ** and then fill it out to mail with your entry. Be sure to fill in all the blanks. (Entries without a return address cannot receive ribbons.) 
  • All entries must be received by September 30, 2014 at the mailing address listed on the entry form. Please plan ahead so you can ship your items on time! Judging will take place on October 1 and any entries received after that deadline will still be appreciated as a donation but will not be judged. 
  • Entries will be judged on overall appearance, construction, sewing skills, etc. For helpful tips and an idea of what we will be looking for, you can read the blog post we did earlier this week on how to do well at state and county fairs. We intend for this competition to be fun and a learning experience for all of us so don't be afraid to enter!  We would love to have as many entries as possible. Plus your entries all go to a great cause! 
  • Winners will be announced on the blog and will receive ribbons for the top three places in each category, as well as some overall awards that will be given (see below). Ribbons and entry forms with judging notes will be mailed to the winners and participants. Please note that your entries will not be mailed back to you! They will be donated to Primary Children's Medical Center as described in the intro above. 
  • Note: We are not responsible for any entries that are lost or damaged during shipping or otherwise. We will, however, take great care of your items and be sure that all donations end up benefiting children at the hospital. 


The categories are as follows. Remember that you may enter only one item per category.

Girls Woven Dress
Girls Knit Dress
Girls Skirt
Girls Top
Girls Bottoms
Girls Top/Bottom Set
Girls Romper
Girls Sleepwear
Girls Outerwear
Girls Accessories

Boys Jumper
Boys Top
Boys Bottoms
Boys Special Occasion
Boys Sleepwear
Boys Activewear


Each category will have a first, second, and third place winner.  There will also be a "Best Exhibitor" award given to the person who earns the most ribbon points overall. Additional awards will be given across all categories, as determined by the judges. 

If you have any questions, please email kristen@createkidscouture.com

Remember, all entries must be RECEIVED by September 30, so you will want to start planning right away.  (It might be a good idea to go up and print off the entry form right now.) We are so excited to see your creations in person! Here's your chance to earn ribbons, show off your skills, and donate to children who could use a little extra sunshine in their day.

Let's Create! ~ Kristen 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Shopping for Knits


Jeanette's Ruffle Back Knit Dress

I know a lot of our readers are afraid to sew with knits and you may be one of them! While it's true that we need to do a few things differently when we sew with knits rather than wovens, I think you'll soon find that different is not bad!  Knits are fun to work with because they're soft, they don't fray on the edges, and they are even easier than woven to get that perfect fit in the outfit you're making. Basically the changes you make when sewing with knits is to use a lot of pins, lower your tension, and use a longer stitch! You can handle that! And with all the adorable dresses and outfits you could be making using knit, it's definitely time to learn so you don't have to miss out on them any longer.

Brenda's Bubble Sleeve Knit Top
  
Are you convinced? How about if we go shopping?! That's another fun thing about knits! You have more shopping to do! I do a lot of my shopping for knits online but I think if it's your first time using knit, it might be a good idea to go into a store and handle them up close. They're so soft and stretchy! I can't help smiling when I walk into the knit section!  When you go it does help to know what you you're looking for though, so wonderful Kaci put together a video for one of our sew-alongs awhile back, where she takes us right into the store and shows us the different types of knits.  So let's go shopping with Kaci! 





Wasn't that fun!?  


Cosette's Knit and Woven Dress

Now if you live far from fabric stores like I do or if you want more selection than you can find locally, I also love to shop for knits online. There are a lot of stores to choose from, both large retailers and small etsy shops, so don't be afraid to go searching for whatever knit prints and colors you have in mind.  To make it easy on you, we have gathered up links of some of our favorites:




If there is a particular print you have in mind that you can't find at the shops above, don't be afraid to do a search on etsy - there are a lot of small shops that have some really cute knits available! You can also check out Spoonflower.com, where you can actually design your own fabric including performance knit, but it does come out to be pretty pricey. I've had my eye on their Lego knit though and it's only a matter of time before I cave -- for the sake of my boys of course.  

So that's it. Have some fun shopping! And remember, when it comes to sewing with knits, you've got this! We have plenty more helps available on the blog (just type "knit" into the search box at the top) and of course you can always ask questions in the patterns group on facebook. It's time for you to fall in love with knits!  I know it won't take long. 

Let's Create! ~ Kristen 


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Becky's Back-to-School Free Reversible Skirt


School is now in session! 

Or at least if it's not already, it will be very soon!  It's an exciting time-- new teachers, new classes, new routines, and of course... new clothes!  We wanted to help you put together some quick little pieces for your girls so we have a new free pattern for you today!  You're going to love that this one is reversible and adorable without using a ton of fabric!




Isn't it cute?  She doesn't even have to know how quick and easy it was for you to make!  Just think of all the fun prints you can use to make several of these skirts - princesses, dwarves, snowmen (you know which ones I'm talking about), and simply put another cute fabric on the back and she can decide which mood she's in that morning!  It would also be really cute with a pinned on bow or flower. So many cute options from one simple - and did I mention FREE - pattern! 



Here is where you can download Becky's Back-to-School Simple Reversible Skirt.



We would love to see what you make with this pattern, so please share your photos when you're done! And yes, you can even use this for our Back-to-School photo contest! 

Let's Create! ~ Kristen 

Monday, August 25, 2014

How To Do Well at the County or State Fair!


 I am a competitive person. I'm not gonna lie. Don't get me wrong though -- I am peacefully competitive. I won't push the next guy over or get catty if I don't win.  But I do like a good contest and if I'm going to participate I want to give it 100%, nothing less. I mostly like competing because it pushes me to do better than I would have done otherwise. I like to improve. Oh, and it's also really fun to win. 

"Best Exhibitor" Clothing and Handwork, County Fair 

So what this has to do with you is that I'm here to give you some tips on how to do well in sewing competitions, specifically County and State Fairs. Luckily I live in an area where we have a great County Fair and they even have a Clothing Division!  I know not everyone has that opportunity but I think a lot of these tips are going to come in handy for sewing high quality boutique items as well, and also for participating in other clothing contests. (Hint: We have an exciting announcement coming up later this week!) Here are some tips that I came up with from my past experiences:



Tip 1: Go slowly and be precise. Judges look at stitches and seams before they look at the cute fabric. They have seen cute fabric.  They are here to judge your sewing skills. It's okay to sew quickly and get-'er-done when it's for your kids. But for the judges we need to be picky! Cut carefully, pin carefully, sew carefully, breathe carefully. (Just kidding.)  

(I re-made the sash on this Joy's because it was unevenly top stitched the first time.)

Tip 2: Choose a pattern with techniques that you can do well. Maybe you're really good at shirring but not so great at rolled hems.  Practice those rolled hems for next time, but for now stick with what you are great at!  (I personally do best at reversible items where the seams can be hidden and the topstitching has to be precise.) What are your strengths? Show them off!




Tip 3: Iron your pieces before you begin. Appearance is important and it is much easier to iron an outfit while it is a bunch of flat pieces than when it is fully constructed. (Oops, did I just give away one of my secrets?) Also, be sure to iron after construction as well! 

(To iron my Poppy's I pulled the casing way down the ties and spent forever on it.  I still wasn't happy with the ironing on my layering peasant dress though so I made a completely new one!  My daughter wears them under all her strappy dresses so I know it will get used.) 

Tip 3: Serge all seams as you go. Even if you don't have a serger, you can zigzag the raw edges and that is great too. On knits I don't always serge my seams because my kids like the softness of leaving them open -- but for competitions everything should be serged, even knits. Some older patterns tell you to press seams open. My advice is that you serge them anyway if a judge will be seeing them.



Tip 4: Press all seams the same direction. Ask me how I know this.  Okay, it was written on every single tag I entered this year. I have always pressed horizontal ruffle seams upward to topstitch but I never considered that the direction of my vertical seams would matter.  It does to the judges.  Vertical seams should always point to the back of the garment.  (Picky, picky!) 

(Notice the top seam is sewn in to the right and the bottom seam is sewn in to the left. Oops.) 

Tip 5: Clip any loose threads.  Double check, triple check. I swear the judges have little thread metal detectors or something. As you sew, be sure that you backstitch or overlap stitches where necessary so you don't end up with threads poking out awkwardly. When you're done sewing, turn the garment inside out and check for strays on all the seams. I use my little snippy thread scissors to clip them really close. 

(It can be tempting to ignore all those ruffles when trimming threads. You must check all of them!) 

Tip 6: Remove all markings. If you have to mark buttonholes or strap placements, but sure to remove them completely when you're done! If your iron or your kids made a smudge on the fabric (augh!) be sure to get it fully cleaned before entering it.

(This shirt had to be soaked overnight because of a stain from my son! But it came clean and it was worth it.) 

Tip 7: Make good construction decisions.  This can apply to a lot of things. For example, be sure that your waistband elastic is the right width for the casing (I made that mistake).  Use techniques that are appropriate for the fabric you're using. (They didn't like that I used "bulky" faux shirring on delicate satin, grrr.) Make sure that everything you attach to your outfit is adding to it instead of taking away from it. (One judge thought my dress would have been better without the burlap flower. Who asked them!?!  JK.)  

(It reads, "Elastic in back is too bulky for the nice fabric. Trim corner bulk out on ties." I will continue doing this on my daughter's dresses (I love the look!) but I won't enter it in the fair. Next time I will shirr.)

Tip 8:  Even after everything I said above, be true to yourself.  Don't be so careful that you lose what makes you love sewing! Take some risks and love what you make, even if it doesn't win a prize! Because when it comes down to it in the long run, your opinion matters more than the judge's.  But don't tell them I said that. 

(This was the entry I was most proud of even though it didn't get a blue. Everyone was impressed with my fully lined swimsuit, with pockets and a drawstring. I love boy patterns! They're not ruffly but they're fun!) 

Tip 9: Presentation is everything.  Make sure your items are ironed and clean. (Yes this is the third time I mentioned that.) Find out the guidelines for your fair and follow them precisely.  My fair requires that all outfits be on a hanger and covered with plastic, with the tag attached directly to the item.  I use my very best hangers and made sure every outfit was hung in a way that made it look nice.  For example on my Poppy's I used a double hanger to hold up the back so it wouldn't sag.

(It also took me a long time to figure out how to display this 3-piece set nicely. They loved it.) 

If you need to hand-write on your tags, do so very neatly. My handwriting is horrible so it takes me an hour to fill out my tags nicely, but it's worth it. This year they switched over to electronic tags, woohoo!  

If you are required to cover outfits with plastic, try to find nice plastic such as online shops or at the dry cleaner. My first year I used clear garbage sacks upside down and it worked, but now my entries look so much nicer with real garment bag plastic.

(They don't photograph as well though. I'm jealous of the fairs that let you display dresses on a dress form!) 

Also, be picky about how your bows and straps are tied! We have a tutorial here for tying a great bow. 

(The judges retied my bow on the wrong side after judging, with a crooked bow. It was painful for me to see it like this on display, haha.) 

Tip 10: Submit your entries on the time.  That sounds obvious right?  Well, apparently not because somebody always gets left behind. So sad. Also, some county and state fairs require you to register months in advanced. If you keep missing the deadline, maybe you can find out the date right now and go write it on a calender for next year so you get in on time. 



Tip 11: Keep learning and keep trying!  Getting the tags back from the judges with their critiques scribbled on them can be brutal. Try to take their notes as advice for what you can work on as a stepping stone for next year. Don't give up! I have done better at the fair every year and I have come to appreciate all the little details I have learned along the way from their critiques. (As much as I hate to admit that.) 

(I completely disagree with the critique on this skirt. But *maybe* I will try out their advice someday, haha.) 

Tip 12:  Involve the kids! You may have a 4-H program in your area but even if you don't, there are usually "Open Class" categories for kids. It can be so fun for them to participate and a good motivator for spending quality time working on projects together.

(One blue rosette for my daughter beats ten for me! She was 5y at the time and so proud. That year she used her prize money to go on the bounce house three times. This year she used her prize money to buy bright pink high heels. Sigh.) 

That's all I have for you today. A lot of the guidelines may depend on your area, your criteria, and even your judges.  But hopefully together we can all become better and have fun competing!  Stay tuned for our big fair announcement later this week. 

Let's Create! ~ Kristen 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday Recap

 It has been business as usual this past week at CKC -- which means that we are all having a totally great time sewing and designing and playing with fabric!  And we love to have you join in too! Let's take a look at what's new this week in case you might have missed anything.

New Releases


 Michael's Muscle Tee is now available for Tweens! Sized 7/8 to 15/16, this comfy muscle tee with optional chest stripe is rated Beginner and you can sew one up in no time. Michael's is perfect for wearing outdoors, around the house, to sports' practice, and even to bed! This design is tween boy approved -- my sons are asking for many more! 



 On Tuesday we released Adelaide's Ruffled Neck Top, Dress, and Maxi Dress pattern! This is perfect for school, with great shoulder coverage and it also looks great with an undershirt! Adelaide features a ruffle neck, attached sash, and a ruffle or band at the bottom of the skirt. 






We now offer Tyra's Ruffled Tank as part of our dancewear line! Tyra's features double ruffle sleeves and a bodice ruffle; you can choose to make the full version or the cropped version! There are also instructions for optional bows on the bodice. Tyra's is on sale for 30% off until 7 pm edt Friday! 
  

On the Blog


It's time for another Monthly Mash-up from Deborah Koch of Ma Cherie Kids, and this one is perfect for Back-to-School! It features two of our best selling new patterns so we know you're going to love it.


This week for How-to Tuesday, we showed you how simple it is to make perfectly mitered corners on napkins, tablecloths, little dress aprons, and anything else you can think of!


Have you ever needed to buy interfacing or stabilizer and found that there are SO many to choose from and you don't know which one to get?! On Wednesday's blog we showed how to choose exactly the right kind for your project.



Tosha Smith is our fabulous new dancewear designer at CKC and with the release of her second pattern yesterday, we wanted to help you get to know her better!  (You might even see some sneak peeks of her future designs!) 

Announcements


We recently reached 50,000 fans on our Facebook Page and 10,000 fans in our Patterns Group! We are celebrating with a giveaway like no other! Facebook has been changing the rules about giveaways, so we changed how we are doing it. It's going to be SO MUCH FUN!!!! It's going to run from Sept 8-22. To make sure you don't miss out on the info, we are compiling email addresses and will send you an email when the giveaway becomes live! Just fill out this form ... and then wait patiently until you hear from us! 



It's back to school time and we want to see your cuties rocking their CKC First Day of School outfits!  Post a picture to our Facebook wall, label it "First Day of School," and tag us.  On September 3 we will draw five random people to win free patterns! We already have a lot of great entries like the one above - come see them in our special Back to School 2014 Album here and get inspired! 

Sales

 It's time to announce our Half-Off Friday patterns for today! First up is.... 





Lindsay's Sweet Twirly Skirt in Tweens, Women's, and Women's Plus sizes!  Lindsey's is one of my favorite skirts ever, with its comfy elastic waist, slim upper skirt, long lower ruffle, and then it finishes off with classy bias trim at the bottom. It's simple yet pretty and so fun to wear! Lindsay's is on sale in Tweens, Women's, and Women's plus for 50% off all day Friday!  



Sally's Fitted A-Line Dress is our Half-Off Friday pattern in girl sizes! Sally's is adorable for school or play and features a peter pan collar, contrast bib, and two sleeve lengths. Sally's has a zipper in back and even if you've never sewn one before, this is a great pattern to learn on because we will walk you through it step by step! You and your daughter will both love Sally's, and that's perfect because it is on sale for 50% off all day Friday!  





That's all for this week's releases, announcements, and sales! We hope you all have a wonderful weekend, whatever your plans may be.  

Let's Create! ~ Kristen