I wish my mystery project was a pieced quilt (I wish I knew how to do a pieced quilt like that!) but it was just a big batch of crayon folios and mini folios.

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I have decided to do a couple more shows this fall.  I feel conflicted about this since I much prefer creating patterns and sewing new things but a good craft show experience is pretty helpful also.

First of all- it is a nice bit of cash before the holidays!  Also, it is wonderful to meet people and see their reaction to my sewing.  I get a really good feel for what people like and through talking to them I get some great new ideas.  My sewing skills get an excellent work out and I find all sorts of ways to improve my patterns and how to simplify instructions.  Those things are more valuable than any $$ I might make!

Plus, my sister(yeah!  she is going to help ma again) and I get to hang out for a whole day together without our children 🙂

All that said, I am not really set up for heavy duty sewing over here.  But I have learned to get pretty well prepared with what I do have and I thought I might share a little about my process.  To start, here is my sewing machine…

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My mom bought it for me when I was 15.  My friend Jennifer and I decided we wanted to sew a dress for ourselves and my mother took me to the local Hancocks fabric Store and we bought this together.  It was not the most expensive but it was pretty nice.  I can remember feeling excited and happy that she would get me such a nice gift on just an ordinary day.  Jennifer and I never completed our dresses and I felt like I had let my mom down by not using the machine enough.  I didn't use it again until I was 28 and we bought our first home.  I'm sure she is happy with the investment now though!

Back to the sewing machine…

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It only has a few stitches and I really only use the straight stitch (mostly 6 unless I am doing a ruffle and then I do a 7), and the zig zag.  I have made enough in pattern sales to justify purchasing a new, fancy sewing machine.  But I like this old gal – she is simple and reliable.  I feel like I can explain sewing in a simple way on my machine and that is important to me- If I can sew and create on this machine with just my few stitches than anyone can do it!

Before I begin sewing for a show I always take my machine to get it cleaned and oiled and the tension perfected.  Mr Strobel takes care of it out his basement shop.  He rocks.  He hates new sewing machines and we bond over my devotion to my old machine.  This is KEY to being able to sew a bunch of items well since your machine runs like butter after being fixed up and it gives you the extra confidence to create nice items.

The crayon folios are not my favorite to make since I have made like a THOUSAND of them.  They are big sellers though and really bring people in to look around at your items.  They are also simple and satisfying to make.  This time around I decided to forget the special rick rack and trim, forget the effort of coordinating special prints, even forget the sticker pocket!   I just grabbed my stack of kid friendly fabrics and started cutting.  This helped because I made my fabric selections quickly and cut out about 20 folios and 12 mini folios in just a few evenings.  I ran out of interfacing though so I only have 11 folios and 7 mini folios made in the first picture!  

I then fused interfacing to all these pieces.  I set aside the large outside and inside pieces and then I chain stitch all the pockets and the handles at one time.

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That part is pretty fun (especially when you let your kids play with it in the yard!).

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Then back to the sewing room and putting it all together, sewing on the velcro, sewing down the crayon dividers, and finally sewing it all together and turning them all inside out.  You feel like you are doing all parts of an assembly line!  And your sewing machine just purrs away since you just had it cleaned and oiled.

It's nice to have this stack of crayon folio on the shelf.  Now I can make something fun and finish up that Lola Pattern!  Last week, before I committed to doing this show,  I did sew another Lola bag which turned out pretty darn cute… 

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Maybe I should make some of those for the shows?  Do you have a special trick to sew a lot fast?  Part of deciding to do this show was a commitment to myself that I was going to be organized and prepared.  Fall is full of fun family stuff with the kids and I don't want to miss out by spending all my time slaving away at my sewing machine!  Help me blog friends!!!  I know some of you have some good experience out there!

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