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Perfect Gift for your Favorite Teacher and FREE PRINTABLES!

Posted by on May 24, 2018 in gift, patterns, printable, school, sewing, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Perfect Gift for your Favorite Teacher and FREE PRINTABLES!

Last week Marion finished preschool!  Kindergarten here she comes!  So, I rushed around and made her 3 teachers quilted fabric frames.  You know that is my favorite gift to give, right?  I love how you can give it with a cute saying or special picture and then the recipient can then hang it as is, OR put their own saying or picture in there.  Thus, the perfect gift for your favorite teacher! Alas, in my rushing, NO PICTURES!  but I did make new printables for the frame over on Canva.  Now, I warn you, I am not a graphics expert and I have seen much cuter fonts and configurations than these, but they are still pretty good!  And, Marion colored in the apple, flowers and hearts, so they turned out really cute.  AGAIN, SORRY NO REAL PICTURES :(.  But I still wanted you to see the quotes in action, so I did a little photo shop trickery!  Basically, I superimposed the new quotes on old frame photos.  So, let’s pretend this is what my frames looked like…  (and to get the FREE printables, scroll below!)   Cute, right?  Thoughtful AND EASY!  That is my favorite part because this time of year I am totally swamped with end of the year activities.  As a result,  putting together a nice teacher gift can be challenging.  So, the quilted fabric frame pattern to the rescue- AGAIN! So, here are the PDF printables!  Just click on the blue letters below.  I would recommend printing them on white cardstock and then trimming down.  I usually take the piece of glass/ plexiglass and put it centered over the printed quote.  Then lightly trace with a pencil and cut it out.  Then it will fit perfectly every time!  The printables are for a 5” x 7” frame (which is the standard size of the quilted fabric frame sewing pattern!). Big-heart-to-teach influence of a good teacher teachers plant the seeds Here are the quotes up close so you can see them!  But to print out, you need to download the PDFs above in blue 🙂 I hope you get some use out of these fun quotes!  I know my MOM is going to call me soon and say “Well, Ginny, your quotes were cute but down here in the SOUTH, kids are already out of school!”  Sorry I am late for you on the teacher gifts, southern friends!  But you can PIN these to pinterest and use them next year!  Yay!  And, follow ME on pinterest while you are at it 🙂...

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Boho Beach Bag Tutorial

Posted by on May 15, 2018 in patterns, sewing, Travel, tutorial, vacation | 0 comments

Boho Beach Bag Tutorial

I love summer and going to the pool, beach and lake with the kids.  They splash around and I relax (sorta) and it is really nice.  But, I admit that sometimes I feel  a bit like a pack mule lugging all the towels and chairs and snacks etc.  Yes, the older ones carry their own towels and chairs.  Yes, my husband helps me when he comes along!  But, I am often the one doing the majority of the carrying.  THUS, a new beach BAG! This one was made using very lightweight fabrics and wide handles so I can just fold it up and put away without having it take up too much space.  Bonus!  I like making video tutorials nowadays :).  So watch below to see the movie magic and make yourself a new boho beach bag too…   You will need a yard for the exterior and almost a yard for the lining too.  I didn’t use any interfacing but you are welcome to add for a sturdier version.  Here are a few more...

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Fabric Gift Box Video Tutorial for Mother’s Day

Posted by on May 2, 2018 in gift, tutorial | 0 comments

Fabric Gift Box Video Tutorial for Mother’s Day

FRIENDS!  I made this last mother’s day but never shared on my blog.  DUH!  This space is like an old friend though- i am going to just jump back in and pretend like I haven’t neglected her so much.  The blog will still love me, right? Here is the super cute and easy video to make these fun fabric baskets.  I made them last year with Mother’s day in mind so that I could add some new dish towels, lotions, etc into a pretty fabric caddy.  It turned out cute and FAST!  you will love...

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The BEST 1/2 yard tote EVER :)

Posted by on April 26, 2018 in fabric, sewing, sewing for boys, tutorial | 5 comments

The BEST 1/2 yard tote EVER :)

Does anyone else out there always click on the Pinterest recipes that say (for example)”BEST MEATLOAF EVER”?  I do!  I can’t help it.  I think, if they claim it is the best, it must the BEST!  Well, I think this 1/2 yard tote is pretty great, so I am going to go ahead and call it THE BEST.  Haha!  I will let you be the judge but I may as well shoot for the moon 🙂 I am teaching a little sewing class to a few local kids.  They are so fun and I am really enjoying sharing my love of sewing with them.  Our first project was pin cushions and now we are making our second project, this tote bag!  I think it is perfect to teach them how to follow a simple pattern, learn If you are coming from my Youtube channel, WELCOME!  If you are already a blog follower, head over to my channel and watch this new video and learn how to make this adorable tote bag. You can download the cutting guide to by clicking on these BLUE words below.  Print out this page for easy reference when making these bags (because I KNOW you are going to make more than one!). QuickEasy1:2YardTote-byGingercake Here is the stabilizer I use.  It is my favorite now and I love only using that expensive fusible interfacing when I have too.  I love saving the $$$, the time, and I love how sturdy this stuff make my bags!  Here is for sale on amazon.   Here are a few more photos of the bag!  I used chambray fabric from Andover for the lining and the exterior fabric is from Blend fabrics.  I love this combo, don’t you?  What would you use this bag for?  Library tote?  Piano bag?  Crafts on the go?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments!...

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Cheery Fabric Chicken Tutorial

Posted by on February 26, 2018 in patterns, sewing, tutorial, Uncategorized | 5 comments

Cheery Fabric Chicken Tutorial

This is one cute chicken!  I don’t know about you, but tons of my neighbors and friends have chickens now.  It may be that I live in a rural area that is still pretty close to Pittsburgh and lots of people around here love the whole hobby farm thing, but I know that chickens are super popular all over the country, right? So, just in time for those hens to start laying again (and for my sweet neighbors to give me some fresh eggs!), I created this new video on my Youtube channel to celebrate our favorite domestic feathered friend. Head over to my Channel (and subscribe for more fun sewing videos!) to watch the video!  Click below (on the highlighted letters!) to get the pattern pieces.  They are just 2 pages and make sure you set your printer to 100%...

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The Mountains are Calling Embroidery!

Posted by on February 15, 2018 in embroidery, Travel, tutorial, Uncategorized | 0 comments

The Mountains are Calling Embroidery!

I am far from an embroidery expert but this time of year I feel the calling to make something slow.  It is so pleasant to create something stitch by stitch.  To me, that is the fun of embroidery!  It’s not a race but a commitment to crafting and I love that concept. We have made the journey out to Breckenridge, Colorado again!  This time just for one month.  In fact, we have been here almost 4 weeks already and now only have a few days left.  I will share some details of how we made this trip with 4 kids (and not being millionaires!) in a different post.  The mountains are absolutely beautiful, needless to say!   Before we came, I created this embroidery design and I thought I would share with you.  It is very easy!  Simply download the template, and either trace it onto your fabric or use a wash away stabilizer.  I recommend the stabilizer since you can print directly onto the paper and then fuse it to your fabric!  It is so easy and simple.  Here is a video to watch that explains this process very clearly. You can download the template by clicking here ~ mountains are calling I used chain stitch, satin stitch and back stitch.  I like this video that explains all 3 stitches if you need a refresher or to learn them for the first time! I ripped 1” strips of fabric and wrapped them around the outside hoop to give this a more finished look.  I simply ran a line of glue around the exterior hoop edge and wrapped away! I also embroidery this FREE mountain template I found on instructables.  It is so pretty!  I would recommend doing it when your skills are little more confident in your skills… I used the same 3 embroidery stitches as in my own design (can you tell those are my favorites??)!   Do you have some embroidery tips or template you like in particular?  Where is your favorite place to get patterns?  What are your thoughts for embroidery beginners??  I would love to know more from you crafty friends out there 🙂...

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How I get myself Sew Organized

Posted by on January 8, 2018 in home improvement, organizing, Uncategorized | 1 comment

How I get myself Sew Organized

Frankly, I am not all that organized but I do have some tips for you people who struggle with this aspect of sewing.  Being even moderately organized makes sewing more enjoyable and that is what Gingercake is all about!  Making sewing more fun for everyone (including myself!) So, listed in no particular order of importance, I will tell you my TIPS! 1.  SCRAPS!  Yes, they are so great and fun to have around,  YES, they will take over your sewing room and drive you nuts the longer you sew because they just keep piling up!  My solution is nothing fancy but it gets the job done and makes my scraps available for future projects.  I have several mesh wire bins from the dollar store (nothing fancy and not worthy of a picture!) in which i place my scraps as I sew.  Then, about once a month (truthfully more like once every six months) I divide all my scraps into color groups- yellows, blues, greens, pinks, etc.  place them in zip lock bags and store them away in big plastic bins for big fun scrappy projects like these… This photo below is a pretty way to organize your scraps by color like I recommend.  I don’t use such pretty containers but this is the method that I like and recommend!  Click on the photo to take you to the FLICKR page 🙂 The last comment I want to make about scraps is be selective about what you save- only keep the pieces that are easily used.  GO ahead and throw away the tiny and oddly shaped pieces.  AND, think about making scrap projects- you don’t want to do patchwork with a bunch of different weights of fabrics so be selective- i only save large scraps of duck cloth or knit because they aren’t going to mix well in a scrappy patchwork project like a bunch of quilting weight pieces will. 2.  TOOLS.  Some of us love a variety of sewing tools and others get by on the very basics.  I am somewhere in the middle and often lose favorite things if my sewing room gets particularly disorganized.  Where do they go I ask you??  Well I usually find them when I put some work into cleaning  my sewing room but in a flurry of creativity, they are bound to go missing again!  Here is how I keep my tools handy on one of these peg board things above my work table. I decide to go ahead and buy 3 more pairs of scissors while they were on sale and that was a purchase I will never regret!   They are not very fancy but get the job done for sure.   So, your tools should be handy and easy to find.  My favorite tools?  Scissors, rotary cutter, seam ripper (go ahead and have 3 or 4 of those too if you sew more than once or twice a year!), water/ air soluble marker, bodkin (although I lost mine of course), plexiglass ruler, self healing mat, pencils, tube turner, chopsticks!    I also love me some fray check and steam a seam lite.  Yummy!  If you don’t have a ton of space, this is a good option (and very cute too!) 3.  A big problem I have organizing are printed out PDF sewing patterns.  UGH.  They are such a pain!  You don’t want to have to print them again but they are a hard to keep organized to have hanging around.  For my own patterns, I have is curtain rod idea that is actually really nice and easy.  Simply hang a cheap curtain rod, get those rings with hooks, and use gallon size storage bags.  I used a sharpie to write the names of the patterns on the bags.  Easy!The problem for me is the big garment ones- especially for my little one because her size changes and I want to keep the original and the ones I traced for the original, etc.  I have a large storage bin- the under the bed type that is about 24” x 36”.  I store the large printed out patterns in there.  Not a great solution!  But since I only use them every once in a while (or never again in spite of my best intentions!), it works OK for me.  If you are a big garment sewer, this blog post by Grainline studio seems like an excellent solution and much more organized than my jumble in the plastic bin 🙂 4.  Next you need a spot for your folded up fabrics and you trims, zippers, etc.  In the photo below you see all my folded up fabrics on the green book shelf and below are a bunch containers holding trims, zippers, webbing, felt, buttons, and others odds and ends.  I have started being more selective about trims and gotten rid of a bunch of old hand me down things that I was keeping for nostalgia (i’m talking vintage 70s stuff that I just couldn’t make work).  So, if those containers start over flowing again, I know it’s time to purge! Honestly, the fabrics have never been a big problem for me.  Keeping them nicely folded, yes, but this shelf is plenty big enough for me.  I am not someone who hoards and buys tons of fabric.  If that is one of your issues (and you are not alone because TONS of sewers love having yards and yards of fabric, you might have to get extreme on your organizing like this or this!  Or, if you have a small space, this would work great. 5.  I’m not sure if this is considered being organized but it is a super helpful feature of your sewing room set up that i feel like adds to organization.  You know how your kitchen is supposed be set up in a triangle?  The stove, fridge and sink?  Most kitchens are set up this way basically.  It helps with your cooking work flow!  Well, I think the same is true with your sewing room except with your machine, ironing board and cutting table. This keeps things tidy and work more efficient since you move around in the triangle to do your sewing work.  Try it!  It will help for sure! I have never advised about organizing before since I am only a moderately organized person!  But, I have been sewing a long time and my sewing supplies stay in pretty good shape!  I think my goal is to able to find things that I need, see the materials i want to use, and have plenty of space to create.  So, I hope this tips may have helped you a bit at least! What sewing organization tips do you have?  Give your best advice!    ...

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Seraphina Swan Sewing Pattern all dressed up!

Posted by on November 14, 2017 in decorating, Holiday, patterns, tutorial | 0 comments

Seraphina Swan Sewing Pattern all dressed up!

I am so excited about my newest sewing pattern, Seraphina Swan!  Swans are a favorite of mine and to bring this idea to life has been a really fun sewing journey.  The original pattern version has wings made from cotton or felt stacked together.  I love that version since you can mix favorite fabrics and give your personal style to your swan. But I was also interested in making a dressed up version.  I came up with this gorgeous gal with her tulle wings and sparkly crown.  Do you want to know how to make your own dressed up version of the Seraphina Swan?  It is easy and fun (of course!) I have to admit, making the wings this way is even faster than the original version.  I used plain white tulle and gold glitter tulle.  These are both very easy to find at your local craft store.  I imagine it would be gorgeous is pale pink or dramatic black too! Making these tulle wings is as easy as folding napkins 🙂 . Below are picture directions…  Now, just like adding the fabric feathers in the pattern, you stack these tulle feathers.  First 4, then three and then three more at the front edge.  I mixed in 1 gold “feather” in each layer.  I love how light and airy they look!  Continue with the binding just like in the pattern instructions. One extra tip for these wings- use a pressing cloth (just a layer of cotton fabric is what i used!) and press these wings flat after you have the wings finished and before you attach to the swan body.  It makes them less pouffy but you still achieve this pretty and floaty look. Now for that cute little crown.  This can be accomplished in many ways!  I used a glitter felt from National NonWovens but the options for making a sparkly crown are endless!   Here is my version… There!  It is so easy to create a beautiful swan!   Don’t forget, now until November 16th, 2017 the brand new Seraphina Swan PDF pattern is only $5!  Don’t you feel like making a swan today?? Let me know in the comments how you would dress up your swan.  I would love to hear your ideas.  If you make a swan, tag me on IG with @gingercakesews and using hashtag #seraphinaswan.  Or, send me an email!  I love to see your creations.    ...

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Priced to Sell a Handmade Crayon Folio

Posted by on November 2, 2017 in Handmade Business, patterns, Sewing To Sell, Uncategorized | 6 comments

Priced to Sell a Handmade Crayon Folio

Thanks for all the interest and comments on my Booth tips last week.  I decided to follow up with some talk about pricing!  A much debated topic but I hope I can help you by sharing my thoughts and ideas. The first thing to understand about pricing handmade items to sell is that your time and effort are THE biggest factor in the process when you are sewing.  YES, material costs are something to think about but they really only add pennies instead of dollars to the bottom line.  Here is my story of sewing crayon art folios to help you understand my pricing process. My biggest seller from over the years is the Crayon Art Folio.  Year after year after YEAR, people keep buying them when I do a holiday show.  When I designed the sewing pattern back in 2010, I made a few (maybe 7) for the holiday show I attended that year.  They sold out quickly and I wished I had made many more.  The following year, I made 20, and priced them at $20, and again, ALL sold!  Wow!  That was $400 dollars.  The following year, I made 20 again and priced them at $25.  Only half sold to my disappointment but not my surprise.  $25 was too much for a crayon holder even if it did have cute designer fabrics, crayola crayons and a nice paper pad.  But honestly when I calculated my time, $25 was a more realistic price for all my efforts!  There are lots of parts to the crayon holder- the fusing of interfacing, the sewing on velcro, the individual tiny crayon pockets, and then, top stitching through thick layers, etc. My customers (in Pittsburgh- a pretty frugal market) are willing to pay about $20 for this product.  I tried $22 and that sold OK, but $20 is the sweet spot.  They feel like they are getting something really nice for their kids and even though it’s a little much for crayons and paper, its something that will last.  For me, I needed to figure out how to make ME feel comfortable with selling for $20, not try to get THEM to change their whole understanding of the worth of handmade.  Other things can sell for more- designer pillows, chic purses, etc.   Nothing is worse than person after person at a show praising your work and then after looking at the price walking away! Ouch. Here is what I did to get ME comfortable with $20.  First- I looked at the design.  How can I make this quicker and easier?  That is the question you need to ask your self over and over again.  Selling handmade is about craftsmanship, but you can very quickly eat up your own compensation with details that don’t affect the over all design and quality of your piece.  I realized that the 2nd pocket was not really needed.  I basically realized this because my own kids never used that pocket!  By omitting the 2nd pocket, I saved time and materials.  I adjusted that 1 pocket to be a little longer. Second- I looked at my materials.  I know that my customers want the fun, unique fabric that I order online or purchase at the quilt shop.  They don’t want something common from the big fabric store.  How can I make sure that I use every bit of that fabric and make all of it count?  MATH.  Yes.  I know you can do math too!  I discovered that for 3 half yards of fabric, I could make 4 complete crayon holders with very little waste.  If one of those 1/2 yards was solid (for the interior backing) I only spent about $12 or $13 on 3 half yards of fancy fabric not even on sale!  4 crayon holders would bring me $80.  So, $80-13 = $67.  Your profit is a little more when you shop a fabric sale but not that much really. Next, the insides.  I discovered that if I used cheap ($1.50 a yard) stabilizer instead of fusible interfacing ($3.50 a yard), I actually liked the results better since the crayon holder was a little more sturdy. AND, no more pressing all that fusible stuff!  Also, after people emailing this suggestion to me for years, I finally used fusible fleece for the exterior piece instead of fusing a layer of interfacing and then using expensive cotton batting in each crayon holder.  For 4 crayon holders, the fleece is about $2.60 and the stabilizer is $1.50.  My equation is $67-2.60= 64.40.  Then, $64.40- 1.50= $62.90 You also need about 2 feet of velcro to make 4 crayon holders.  That is about $.75.  So, 62.90-.75= $62.15 Then, I include 12 crayola crayons and a 5” x 7” pad of paper.  I have looked online for crayon deals, like buying in bulk but no luck so far.  The best I find is purchasing many boxes at back to school time for $.50 a box.  This year I bought 30 boxes!  Each box has 24 crayons so, I use 2 boxes for 4 crayon holders.   I purchased a bunch of the paper pads from a local printer for $.50 a pad.  I bought them at a variety of places before going this route, but I found my local printer was happy to do the job!  yay!  So, $62.15- 1.00 ( 48 crayons) = 61.15, and $61.15- 2.00 (4 paper pads) = $59.15. SO, I have $59.15 to work with on my time to make a worthwhile profit.  Can i work with that to make FOUR crayon holders? Third-  My time is really the deciding factor on keeping my profits to a reasonable amount.   First, I always make this 4 or more at a time, assembly line style.  I sew all 4 exterior pieces together at once and fuse the fleece at one time.  Then fold and top stitch all the pockets at once.  Then make all the handles.  Then sew on all the velcro (tedious!).  Then attach all the crayon pockets.  Then sew all the crayon pocket dividers (even more tedious!!!).  Then sew the exteriors and interiors right sides together.  Then turn them all inside out.  Then press and carefully top stitch the perimeter of all 4.  Finally, I add the crayons and paper pad.  DONE!  I can make 4 in 2 hours if I don’t make too many mistakes.  Phew.  That’s almost $30 an hour.  Not bad! BUT, what about the fees from the show?  What about all the time and effort developing this strategy?  What about the business cards, the website fees?  The time spent promoting through social media?  Those numbers are hard to estimate into an individual crayon holder 🙂 . But, safely, and honestly, it could almost cut my hourly wage in half down to only about $15 an hour. Still, working with adorable fabrics and making something cute and useful for families- on my own time schedule so that I can spend time with MY adorable family, $15 an hour isn’t too bad 🙂 .   PLUS, sewing is fun.  Very fun.  Even if I have to sew those tedious crayon divider pockets 🙂 Can you relate your pricing to this strategy?  I have probably made almost 300 crayon holders over the past 8 years! It’s harder to evaluate other things I sew for sales so easily.  What lessons have you learned?  Are you honest with yourself about pricing?  I have broken down my income/ spending after some craft shows and discovered I only made about $4 an hour.  That was so depressing!  But, eventually...

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Crafty Little Things to Sew Giveaway!

Posted by on October 24, 2017 in give away, sewing | 37 comments

Crafty Little Things to Sew Giveaway!

Hi all!  I am so pleased and honored to be part of Caroline’s new book, Crafty Little Things to Sew.  YAY!  Caroline is amazing- from her beautifully curated blog, Sew Can She, to her fabulous classes on Craftsy (I have tried both and love them!) to her adorable sewing patterns, she is really making waves in the sewing world! My contribution to the book is this really fun lunch box pattern.  The project is called the Lunch-in-a-Snap Tote on pages 89-93.  It is great for the working girls because you can fit your salad containers and leftovers (my favorite lunch!) as well as a sandwich, pretzels, fruit, etc.  Plus, it is so cute I made another version so I could re visit the project.  Book publishing is a long process and I created this a few years ago.  Yup, I still love it and I think you will too 🙂 . Here is the version I made today… So fun!  The fabrics are from Joann Fabrics- they are the Cloud 9 organics line.  So pretty, right? Be sure to check out some of the other contributors to the book who are blogging about their projects too!   The great news for YOU is that I have a copy of the book to giveaway!  This book has 20 clever, simple and fun projects designed by Caroline herself and 8 other designers (9 including me!).  Here is a sampling below…So, to enter to win, leave a comment below and tell me a crafty sewing project you have made recently.  I am always looking for good ideas.  I can’t wait to hear your comments.  The giveaway will be open until Friday October 27th.  I will randomly choose a winner and send the book your way! THE GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.  #25, Mona was the winner!  Thank you all for participating...

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