Monday, September 30, 2013

All about Camp Stitchalot!

 A Sewing Retreat Hosted by Pink Castle 


Camp Stitchalot is approaching!

Over the next few weeks we will be rolling out posts about all the upcoming camps we have scheduled.

In a way, Camp Stitchalot is always coming up. Four times a year, Pink Castle Fabrics hosts a sewing retreat in beautiful Pleasant Lake, Michigan called Camp Stitchalot.  It starts Friday afternoon and runs to Sunday afternoon, with an option to come in on Thursday and get even more sewing in.

Photo courtesy of Rossie Hutchinson
This is the Barn, where all of the sewing, and most of the bedrooms are. Some bedrooms are located in the main house, to the left of this photo.  It is a barn, that has been converted to living space, with a kitchen, a large living room, and many, many bathrooms, which the whole lower floor left open for sewing space.

Photo courtesy of Rae of Made by Rae
Meals are served buffet style from Friday's dinner to Sunday's breakfast, in this beautiful dining room in the Inn's main house.  With meals provided, there is nothing to distract from the important business of sewing for the whole weekend.

Photo courtesy of Rae of Made by Rae
There are three large, connected class rooms for sewing, cutting boards, ironing boards, and irons are provided. Campers should bring their own fabric, tools, notions, and sewing machines; although Pink Castle  has a few machines for rent for those who are traveling from afar.

Winter 2013December 6-8Handmade Gifts    Jeni Baker, Anna Graham, Debbie Grifka
Spring 2014March 28-30Handmade BagsSara Lawson, Kirstin Link
Summer 2014  June 6-8Modern QuiltsTula Pink, Katy Jones, John Adams, Deborah Moebes
Fall 2014September 19-21Bari J., Vanessa Christenson
Winter 2014November 14-16Carolyn Friedlander, Sherri Lynn Wood

And at each camp, you will have additional councilors, Rossie Hutchinson and Brenda Ratliff.

Although classes are taught throughout the weekend, you don't need to attend them. There is plenty of space to work, even room to lay out and baste quilts, and plenty of room to just hang out and talk.

Here are blog posts written by attendees of  previous camps:

Rae of Made by Rae (councilor)

Katy Jones (once and future councilor)

Rossie of Fresh Modern Quilts (councilor)

April Rhodes (camper)

Karen of Laughter in Quilts (camper)

It really is an amazing time! There is more information about Camp Stitchalot here.

Friday, September 27, 2013

From Pattern to Personal: Seeing Squares and Steam Punk Quilts

For Feature Friday this week, I'm trying something a little different. I have started with two quilt patterns, and went looking for quilts made from them.  Here is what I found.

Seeing Squares by Empty Bobbin is such a fun design:

Let's see what you have done with it:

Lindsey made the king size! What a cheerful color scheme!
Photo Courtesy of Happier Than a Bird Quilts
She wrote a 9 part series on her blog about her epic experiences!

Bink made a more *cough* reasonable size - the twin. I love the look of that in the ditch quilting! It really makes those blocks pop!

Photo courtesy of Bink Makes
My second quilt to look for is Jen Kingwell's striking Steam Punk. There's been a lot of talk about this one!

This is the picture that comes with the pattern.
Amazing, right? Let's see what we find:

Cindy Lammon made this bright and pretty version. You really must go and look at all the details and other photos on her blog.

Photo courtesy of Cindy Lammon
Drury Girl  has one in progress using lots of low volume prints for the backgrounds, and these wonderful somewhat muted prints (do I spy some Chicopee in there?)

Photo courtesy of Drury Girl
It's really interesting to me how the choices we make about fabric end up communicating a different feel to the project, whether those choices are fabrics, or colors, or prints verses solids, or choices made in quilting.  I think each of us could make a quilt using the same pattern, maybe even the same colors, and they would still look totally different, and that's what is amazing about quilts to me. They're so much about us, the makers, and so much about themselves, what we make them into, that they can't help but be unique!

Feature Friday will be taking a break next week, but we'll be back soon! With more quilts!

In the meantime, tell me what patterns you'd love to work on next! And don't forget to add your projects to the Made with Pink Castle Fabrics Flickr group.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Modern Fabric and Notions on Sale this Weekend at Pink Castle Fabrics

Everything in stock at Pink Castle Fabrics is 30% off!

30% off inventory items with coupon code "fall30"

This weekend Pink Castle is running our last big coupon of the season!  

The next few months are bringing us a LOT of new fabric lines and we need to prepare and make room!  Take 30% off all fabric, precuts, patterns and notions in stock. Here are a few examples of the deals you will find on the website and in the store:

Charm packs normally $10 become $7 with coupon code

Velveteen and Voile Figure Eight Scarf Kits are less than $17 with coupon code

Koi and Tsuru by Rashida Coleman-Hale for Cloud9 is $8.75/yard with coupon code

Sale goes on through Sunday!  

 Coupon excludes Camp Stitchalot tickets, classes and presale fabrics.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

7 Great Big Bags to make with Modern Fabrics

I don't know about you, but fall for me means packing stuff. Packing lunches for school, packing kids into the car, trying to fit two lunchboxes into my handbag. And a book for the kid, and one for me. And three water bottles. All the sudden there is all this stuff which is only needed part of the time... Sweaters we need in the morning that just end up in bags by noon. Umbrellas we need for showers that clear up suddenly, and now we need our sunglasses out, and the sunblock for another week or two. At least in Michigan, the weather can never make up its mind.

So, I'm cruising the large bag patterns to find one that works for my family of four, or just for me when I'm in the midst of a long book, with an umbrella, water bottle, notebook, sketchbook, lunchbox, and spare sweater in tow.

1. The classic large bag may be a bit large for everyday use, but is, I'm sure, on every sewist's bucket list: Amy Bulter's Weekender Travel Bag. I always see one or two of these at sew ins being pressed into service as quilt carriers. While I'm sure we all have seen ones we drool over, but my favorite is this one by Elizabeth, that she made with a Blogger Bundle from Pink Castle Fabrics created by Katy Jones.

Image of the Weekender Bag
Photo courtesy of Elizabeth of elizthany

2. Another travel bag is the StudioCherie duffel. I have not seen one in the wild, but rumor has it that it's huge! It certainly is cute in these penguins!

Image of the StudioCherie duffel bag
Photo courtesy of Elizabeth of Don't Call Me Betsy

3. Noodlehead's Super Tote is an excellent around-town bag. Here is a pretty one in this fun Echino print. I love the lining, too, just the right touch of lemongrass. I just bought this pattern myself!

Image of the Super Tote
Photo courtesy of Samantha of Making Life Prettier

4. A fairly recent pattern that looks nice and roomy (and ready for travel) is Bari J's Holiday in London Duffle Bag. Fabric designer Jeni Baker of In Color Order made one in a quilt as you go fashion, blogged here.

Image of the Holiday in London duffel bag
These are my colors, Jeni!

5.  Sidekick Mini Suitcase. I know this is one for the kidlets, but I seriously want one of these for myself! It reminds me of those glamorous train cases. I can just see hauling my fat quarters around in one of these! Here is a particularly adorable one made by Barb from the Crafty PhD.

Image of the Sidekick Mini Suitcase
those hippos!

6. A newer addition to the traveling bag pantheon is Sew Sweetness's Aeroplane Bag. It's large enough to fit a (small) sewing machine! There are many adorable examples but since I had to pick just one it would of course be one with pink and purple patchwork!

Image of the Aeroplane bag
Photo courtesy of Elizabeth of Don't Call Me Betsy

7. Another versatile bag is Anna Marie Horner's Art Student Tote. The contrast straps make this a bold statement bag, while the many pockets make it so your small items don't get lost. The pattern includes instructions for three sizes. I have chosen a bag from Sarah of Sew What, Sherlock? to feature, because I love her use of a text print to highlight the straps. It's a daring choice that really pays off.

Image of the Art Student Tote
Doesn't the pink text print just make the bag!
It's so hard to chose a favorite pattern! Obviously, I just need many, many bags! But which one first? What's your favorite large bag pattern? Which ones did I miss?

Be sure to share your new (or old) bags in our Made with Pink Castle Fabrics Flickr group! You can see my new bag there, too.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Your First Quilt, a Pink Castle Fabrics class

Your First Quilt

 Learn the basics of quilting while you make an beautiful baby or lap quilt with our program coordinator, Rossie.  There are no prerequisites for this class. All you need is a positive attitude and an eagerness to learn.

This class will cover fabric selection, cutting, piecing, pressing, making a quilt sandwich, basting, machine quilting, and double fold binding.  For the first class you will need your sewing machine, the sewing machine's manual, and thread. Later classes will require additional materials, this will be discussed in class.

The Flyers Quilt
The Flyers quilt is the project.  Although the pattern is for a lap or baby sized quilt, the design is customizable... you can start a big quilt or just make a mini quilt! You will be learning how to choose fabrics for a quilt, as well as two ways to cut and piece half square triangles. You will also learn how to use the Accuquilt Go to cut pieces, as well as using a rotary cutter.

The Flyer's Quilt, quilted.
This a course.  It meets four Fridays, from 10:15-1:15; each class is three hours long. The course runs from September 27th through October 18th.
book now
The teacher of this class, Rossie Hutchinson, is the founder of the influential Flickr group Fresh Modern Quilts. Her quilts have appeared in magazines, books, and quilt shows around the country. She also creates and sells custom plexiglass shapes for itajime shibori dyeing and other uses.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Learn to Improv with Rossie Hutchinson

Modern quilter Rossie Hutchinson is teaching Improvisational Patchwork (Improv 101) this weekend.  Students need bring only their sewing machines and a rotary cutter and mat or pair of scissors and then just go with the flow.

In this 3-hour workshop, you’ll learn to limit decision-making while continually piecing.  You’ll also learn to make decisions quickly, avoid falling in love with your answers, and accept change when it occurs.  We’re going to make new memories and form new habits that will free you up for future adventures.  You’ll leave class with perfectly imperfect quilt blocks and a the confidence to stitch into the unknown.

Here is an example of blocks created in a previous class.

Rossie Hutchinson is the founder of the influential Flickr group Fresh Modern Quilts. Her quilts have appeared in magazines, books, and quilt shows around the country. She also creates and sells custom plexiglass shapes for itajime shibori dyeing and other uses.

  book now

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Make a Jorna with Jenna Brand! - Learn to Sew with Jersey Knit Fabric

Make a Jorna!  

A Pink Castle Fabrics Class on sewing with stretch knits.

This class will be taught on Saturday, September 28, 2013

Picture of the Jorna Dress
The Jorna dress
 Join pattern designer and modern quilter Jenna Brand as she teaches her pattern Jorna. In this class you will be given the complete pattern for the Jorna dress, the Jorna junior, and the maternity-style Jorna. Throughout the class you'll learn tips and techniques for working with jersey knit, how to do an all-in-one bodice lining, and you'll leave with a finished garment!

Image of the Jorna Junior Dress
Jorna Junior!
The Jorna dress comes in sizes XS-XL for women, 2T-5T for toddler aged girls. The "Knocked-Up Jorna" is for pregnant women sizes XS-XL (pre-pregnancy sizes). The patterns come with length options, and can be made either as a top or a dress, making this a garment you can make again and again, achieving different results that are always flattering.

Image of the Jorna Top
The Jorna top.
This class will benefit beginning seamstresses as well as those looking to polish skills, or tackle knits for the first time. No special equipment required! Bring your sewing machine, prewashed fabric, and other supplies for a fun late morning/ early afternoon of garment making!

book now

Friday, September 13, 2013

Skinny Bolt Sale

Skinny Bolts are 30% off!

It's time to clean up the shop and get ready for Fall!  All the bolts in the shop that have less than 5 yards on them are 30% off this weekend with code SKINNY30!

This Sale will keep changing as the orders come in this weekend so keep checking back!  We made it easy to find ALL the Skinny Bolts by putting them in their own collection on our site!

Sale goes on through Sunday!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Made By Rae - Made to Measure Skirt Class!

We are extremely fortunate to have Rae Hoekstra teaching a skirt making class at Pink Castle Fabrics on Thursday evening the 12th of September. Rae is a blogger and pattern designer at Made By Rae (, a popular spot for DIY and sewing tutorials. She also designs for Cloud 9 fabrics, is a Sew Mama Sew Board member, and co-hosts SEMI Crafty meetups once a month at Pink Castle Fabrics.
She will be teaching us to make this super cute Made to Measure Skirt:

In Tsuru with contrast bandIn Oliver + S without contrast band.

Don't you love how versatile this pattern is? How it is sweet in the floral pattern and so funky in that amazing 1000 Cranes fabric. Gorgeous and organic, 1000 Cranes from Rashida Coleman-Hale's line Tsuru for Cloud9 is now back in stock at Pink Castle Fabrics.

This fun and flirty gathered skirt has a sophisticated flat-fronted waistband, with an elastic casing in the back for ease of fit. Also, no zippers to fight with! It has pockets, and who doesn't love/need pockets? If there is time, Rae will also teach us how to add the contrast band, a skill that will surely lend itself to many future dressmaking projects.

In the class you will be making a pattern using your own measurements on Pellon 830 pattern tracing material a pattern that is not only just your size but yours to keep, so that you may make many adorable skirts on your own afterwards.

Once you are registered, you will need to bring your sewing machine, 1 inch elastic, and 2-2.5 yards of light to medium weight fabric (some types of light weight fabrics we carry are voile and oxford; quilting cotton is a medium weight fabric), and coordinating thread to the class. If you want a contrast band, 1/2-1 yard of fabric will do. The elastic and tracing material will be available for purchase at the store. There are more details on the classes page, just click on the book now button below!

book now