Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Sewing Must Haves

A lot of people who wants to start learning how to sew asked "There are so many stuff out there, what do I need to get?"

Yes, it's true, there are so many stuff out there, it could really be both intimidating and overwhelming a lot of times for starters. They have sewing kits for beginners and tons of sewing items that cost from a few cents to hundreds of dollars.

I can't really recommend any specific item, but I'd just like to share this article based on my experience. As a start, I would get a basic sewing machine first. If you could afford it, go to dealerships that specialize in selling sewing machines. They will show you so many sewing machines and what they can do. It could be overwhelming, but try not to, just take it as you go. And I do not recommend buying one right on the spot. Try to do a research over the internet, read the reviews over specific machine that you are interested in. I know a lot of sewing experts do not recommend getting those machines that you see in sears or walmart. But if you were like me and couldn't afford the one in the dealerships, don't be afraid and get one in sears or walmart. Just plain basic sewing machine that has straight, zig zag, and button hole stitches. These machines are ample enough for a starter, and then you can always upgrade when you feel more confident in your sewing. I found that Kenmore is more reliable than Singer. I know a lot of people relate good sewing machines and Singer, I did too, but after buying 2 of them, I must conclude that their quality is not as good as they used to. No matter what you decide to get, the hundreds of dollars model or the cheaper one, I can't say this enough, research, research, research!

Now, what about those walls and walls of little sewing stuff you see in your craft store? I would get a decent scissors (invest in a $20 or above kind of scissors, trust me they're worth it), yard stick, a quilter's ruler, quilter's pins (I have no patience whatsoever with small pins, so quilter's pins, the one with the yellow head, is the way to go for me), bobbins, hand needles, sewing machine needles, oh and freezer paper from your grocery store (I will tell you why you need this in my next article). If I missed anything, feel free to add them in the comment section.

Go to the patterns section, choose the one you like, read the back of the envelope, and it will tell you what you need to make that specific item, and get them, this will help you build your sewing supplies little by little.

Your supplies really depends on what you want to sew. I sew a lot of bridal dresses, so I have to maintain sharp needles to work with the delicate bridal fabrics, and because of that I can never have enough needles, all kind of needles, from hand needles, sewing machine's, and quilter's pins. I also can't get enough muslin, bobbins, invisible zippers, boning, white thread, silk organza for interfacing, tulle, and netting. Some who sew for children would probably need a lot of elastic, cute buttons, etc. Those who sew craft items, they might need to keep a lot of felts, ribbons, embroidery floss, laces, and so on.

You will find the sewing supplies you can't live with when you start sewing. So don't worry, your stash will grow as the time goes. But no matter what your sewing must haves are, one thing I know what we all seamstresses have in common, we can NEVER have enough fabrics.

Monday, February 7, 2011

What Makes You Buy Custom Boutique Items?

Most of us custom designers have always been curious on what makes people buy custom boutique items. One of boutique buyers, Ramona, said that fabric combos, patterns, and how unique it is is the 1st thing she'd consider when buying a boutique items, and then price and where her kid can wear them comes next. So what makes you buy boutique items? Price? Designs? Style? Feel free to post a comment.

Surprise Auction

I have been very busy designing and sewing bridal dresses lately that I feel the need to relax and have fun. So I'm listing a surprise auction. The design is going to be a surprise. The opening bid is only $0.99 and NO RESERVE. Lots of watchers so far. Join the fun here:

One of my past designs:

HC Designer Feature

This time we are featuring Bonnie Colleen, the designer behind BonEful designs. This talented designer creates so many designs that are very cute and loaded with beautiful vibrant colors. Check out more of about her and her designs here:*llc*boutique

Designers, would you like to be featured? Just add "HC Boutique" to your Ebay or Etsy listing's titles.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Kona Cotton Fabrics

First let me inform you that I am not whatsoever affiliated with the manufacturer of Kona cotton. I'm writing this article because of I was in the quest of looking for the perfect solid cotton fabric. I was looking for a cotton fabric that has a weight to it and is not so thin, I was also looking the one that have lots of colors I can choose. After some research and asking several people, I finally found my answer, it is Kona cotton.

Several custom designers recommended Kona to me. Christina, Pam, Kim, and Francoise are some of them. They told me that they have used Kona and are pleased with the quality. A little tip from them is to hang it dry after you wash it, it helps keeping the wrinkles to a minimum.

Robert Kaufman Fabrics is the manufacturer of Kona cotton. This line of fabric offers an array of color choices, 221 to be exact. This high thread count cotton is also a broadcloth, so it doesn't wrinkle as much as regular cotton fabric, which makes it great to use both for fashion items and quilting. Another plus of Kona cotton is that it has been successfully tested for harmful substances, so it is safe for skin. The price of Kona cotton in online stores starts at $4.19/yard. So the next time you are in need of good solid cotton fabrics, give Kona a try.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Custom Boutique VS Ready to Wear

When I was still sewing and designing both wedding dresses and girls' dresses, I couldn't count how many times people asked me to lower my price because the "ready to wear" version is this and that price, which is of course lower than mine. I am sure this is not an isolated case, I am sure I am not the only one who experience this. Most of custom designers probably come across with something like this.

I am not trying to talk trash about ready to wear, I love and wear them too. But I wish people would understand that custom and ready to wear is not even in the same playing field. It's totally two different thing, hence the two different price.

I saw on TV once how they produce jeans in factories. It took them only about 6 minutes total to make a pair of jeans. Meanwhile with custom, the patterns alone sometimes take days to make, it is CUSTOM made to client's measurements.

Most designers take pride on their craftsmanship and refuse to use any low quality materials. From fabrics to threads to trimmings, everything is hand picked thoughtfully. Then designers spend days and days cutting and sewing the fabrics, pouring all their thoughts and love and make sure everything is done correctly. Even buttons are hand sewn, which is not done in ready to wear, buttons are placed with machine. And in my area, which is wedding gowns, not only button are hand sewn, I use a lot of couture techniques which involves A LOT of hand sewing.

So I hope people start to appreciate custom garment more. Ready to wear clothing is fine for every day wear. But when you need that something special, there are plenty of good custom designers out there, try one. And once you have a custom made item, you'll be able to tell the difference in quality between custom and ready to wear. Because with all the work that goes into it, custom made items are truly work of arts.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

HC Designer Feature

This time we feature another talented designer. Pietrina is the designer's name behind Bumble Bee Designs. This Australian based designer creates super chic heirloom quality baby and children items. Take a look at her beautiful creations below. To check out more, just go to her ebay store:

Designers of custom children clothing, would you like to be featured? Just add HC Boutique in your ebay or etsy listings.