Friday, April 30, 2010

The Black Skirt Challenge

Not too long ago, we had our latest Fashion Lab Meetup.

Our group got together in Hoboken at the Clinton Social, so we could get some food and drinks while we admire each others projects. 

The challenge was this: We all met about a month ago for part one of our meetup. This was the sew-along portion of the meeting where we all brought black fabric to sew a black a-line skirt together! Pretty simple, but super fun sewing with a group, as always! 
At the end of the meetup, everyone exchanged one yard of fabric of your choice. People brough their one yard of cotton trade fabric wrapped up so you couldn't tell what the print was. We all ended up with someone elses fabric to take home and embellish our black skirt with.

I have to say I was more than impressed with the results! 

Here are some photos from the event:

Laura rocked her skirt out with some adorable little ruffly flowers on the bottom right hand side. She was complaining about her awful fabric that she had to work with (okay, yes, it did have musical notes on it) but I think she used it in a way that was perfect to make her 
black skirt even more special

Andrea did this cool trim on the end of her skirt. You can quite see all the detail here, but the end was kind of folded and the edge of the fabric was left unfinished. Very cool!

This photo is horrible, but lauren did a similar thing with her fabric, as she added a cool border to the bottom edge of the skirt.

I was impressed with Kathy's design as she not only made all these really cool flowers for the skirt, she treated them all with a special potion of elmers glue and water to make them super stiff! Really added an awesome 3-D effect!

And the piece de resistence was from Roslyn! She turned her simple black skirt into a complete ensemble! She used the red fabric (from the trade to create a top that had this amazing corset back. Extra point go to her because she wore exactly this outfit to work that day! Be sure to check out her photos below to really see the workmanship that went into this project!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

HAD to repost! Thank you Sew To Speak!

Vintage Dress Lab - Vote on Which Dresses you want to see as part of the class

We are trying to nail down our summer class schedule and we need YOUR help on deciding which projects to make part of the class.

We're very excited to hold our first "Vintage Dress Lab" sewing class this July! The problem is there are too many great vintage dress designs we'd love to be a part of the class. 

Can you help us and vote on your favorite dress designs out of the following 10 choices! We're looking to find out your top 4 choices. 

Please Use the comment section to voice your opinion. Tell us the names of your 4 favorite vintage dress designs.

Okay here goes. 

And the nominees are:

1. "Twiggy" - Sixties Inspired, Multi-Paneled Dress

Could be made with long, short or no sleeves. Cute little collar is an option as well.
2. "Dynasty" - Late 1960's/ Early 1970's Maxi

Could be made with funky collar or not.
3. "Flower Child" - Late 1960's/ Early 1970's inspired faux wrap with Empire Waist

Long or short, long sleeve, short sleeve or no sleeve always an option.
4. "Diamonds are a girls best friend" - 50's/60's shift with funky diamond detail.

Long or short, long sleeve, short sleeve or no sleeves.
5. "Go-go Scort"

Fabulous neck detail, the longer version is straight-up dress, the short version, you can add some shorts into the pattern.

6. "Radio Hour" - 40's/50's Dress

Cinched waist with divine neck collar detail.
7. "Ladies who Lunch" - Full skirted with the fabulous neck & chest tie detail

8. "C'est La Vie" - Simple 60's Shift with Peter Pan Collar.

9. "Mrs. Cleaver" - V-neck, Belted Waist

10. "Waist not, Want Not" - Strapless & Belted hi-waist dress

Option for sleeveless or tie straps

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Wear your Sewing Projects to the Art & Music Fest on Sunday

Come out for the Hoboken Art & Music Festival on Sunday May 2nd dressed in your favorite duds YOU MADE YOURSELF!

Come visit our booth (in front of Cold Stone Creamery on Washington Street) wearing something you made at an M Avery Designs Sewing Class and get coupons for sewing class discounts.

For each article of clothing and/or accessory you wear (up to 3) to our booth on Sunday you will receive a coupon that can be used towards any of the classes we teach at the studio

These coupons will be able to be used in one of three ways:

-Take $5 off ANY 2 Hour Workshop (Priced $25-$45)

-Take $20 off ANY Four Week Class (Priced at $149)

-Take $45 off ANY Fashion Lab Beginner Sewing Boot Camp (Priced at $299)

(Please note, more than one coupon cannot be used together on any class!)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Adorable Credit Card Guard Project from

I saw this project  by Erin Lewis on the website last week and immediately thought, Wow - What a useful little thing to make. It's adorable and would come in so handy if you consider yourself a super spender. This would come in super handy everytime I am on ebay browsing vintage sewing machines...

Anyway - here is how you make it:

    1. Decorate fabric or Tyvek with whatever message will keep you from spending. (Embroidery optional.)
    2. Press fabric with an iron.
    3. Place the credit card on top of your design, leave ⅛-inch seam allowance, and mark an outline with chalk.
    4. Trim fabric (should be approximately 56 inches), with your design in the top half.
    5. Fold the fabric in half around your credit card. With fabric held taut, pin all three sides.
    6. Carefully sew around the card through both layers of fabric, using your traced outline as a guide. Reinforce stitching at each end, adding a second line of hand stitching if the first isn’t snug enough.
    7. Pull threads to the inside of seams. Trim with pinking shears to prevent fraying.
    8. Insert the guarded card into your wallet. Remove all scissors and Swiss army knives from your handbag to prevent spontaneous spending.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Big Yarn Necklace Tutorial - It's kinda sewing...

I happen to think this necklace is awesome! Lucky for us, I just found the tutorial on the Burda Style Magazine website! Wooohooo! Who's gonna make one with me?

Step 1 You need: scissors, 2 balls of self-striping yarn, tubular silver lurex band, grosgrain/petersham ribbon, sewing thread, needle, straight pin, silver chain

Step 2 Pull layers of various thickness off each ball of yarn, lay them in loops, and cut them off – repeating until all of the yarn has been used up.

Step 3 Twist each loop until it twists back on itself in a tight bunch. Pin the twists on the back to prevent them from coming undone.

Step 4 Lay the twisted yarn bunches next to one another in the form of your necklace, then sew them together. Weave the silver chain in and out of the yarn bunches.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Teacher First, Small Business Owner Second.

Things have been a little hectic lately around the shop because we are trying to promote our summer camp program that begins on June 21st. It's starting to feel a little more urgent, as our camp was waaaay more full at this time of year last year. This is WAY stressful to someone that doesn't get a weekly pay check...

Obviously there are probably a lot factors are contributing to this. I am sure the economy is a huge part of it and people are feeling a little more strapped then they felt at this time last year. But what I am thinking (and hoping) it may be just that parents haven't yet started thinking about what is going to go on in their kids lives over the summer, as they just returned to school from spring break.

But in this frantic-ness of these last couple of weeks, promoting the heck out of our summer camp and trying to get the word out in every possible way, I was able to step back and reflect on the summer camp itself.

This little card helped me to remember that even though I am a business owner and one of my major goals has to be making money so I can stay in business. The other major and more important goal of my job is being the best teacher and educator I possibly can. I am able to teach kids my passion of sewing. I get paid to inspire and create and for that I am the luckiest girl on the planet.

I am good at what I do and kids LOVE coming and creating with me. This camp is going to fill itself, as it does every year and I am not going to stress about it anymore!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

WIne Bottle Tiki Torch Project

Here is a great project I just found while browsing one of my favorite design blogs Re-Nest.

I'll admit, it doesn't look like the safest form of keeping the bugs away/lighting up your backyard, but I kinda wanna give it a try...

Here's what you do :

What You Need

1/2" x 3/8" copper coupling ($0.97)
Tiki replacement wick ($1.54)
Nylon thread seal tape ($.97)
Recycled wine bottle or beer bottle (Free!)
Citronella torch fuel (price not included)


The construction is pretty simple:
1. Wrap the pipe wrap around the copper reducer many times. The opening on our wine bottle required about 15 times around so that it would stick and we actually inserted the smaller 3/8" side into the bottle as the 1/2" side didn't fit (as compared to the original How-to). In the future, we'd also want to try it in beer bottles for smaller torches to place around the yard.
2. Insert the wick into the reducer.
3. Fill the bottle with Citronella and insert wick. Let the oil be absorbed into the wick before lighting.
4. Light, enjoy & be careful!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Summer Camp 2010

Summer Camp to include Ages 5-7 For Summer 2010

It's hard to believe that summer is just around the corner, but I guess the weather makes it a little easier to start thinking about that stuff.

As many of you already know, we have had our fashion lab summer camp for the last three summers, teaching kids age 8+ basic fashion design and sewing.  Due to the popularity of the Saturday morning crafting classes for ages 5-7, we have decided to include this age group in our summer camp for summer 2010.

We're pretty excited about this and thought you might be as well! Similar to the  Saturday morning classes, kids in the camp will learn *Beading *Hand Sewing *Cutting *Glueing *Needlepoint *Weaving & More AND there won't ever be any repeat projects from the Saturday morning classes. So you can be sure each week it's a new and exciting project.

Here are the details:
Camp begins Monday June 21st, 2010 and runs until Thursday July 29th, 2010.

There will be two different groups to choose from:
(Please note: The only things different between the two groups is the days of the week the classes meet.)

Group 1 Meets Mondays & Wednesdays
First Three Weeks: June 21, 23, 28, 30, July 5, 7
Second Three Weeks: July 12, 14, 19, 21, 26 & 28

Group 2 Meets Tuesdays & Thursdays
First Three Weeks: June 22, 24, 29, 31, July 6, 8 Cost is
Second Three Weeks: July 13, 15, 20, 22, 27 & 29

I am lucky enough to have pre-school teacher extraordinaire Kate Rockland helping out with the kids class this summer!

Kate Rockland's Bio - Kate has taught preschool in Hoboken for four years. She is a Hoboken resident and her favorite thing to sew is baby quilts! When Kate's not teaching or sewing, she's writing. Her novel "Falling is Like This" has just been released & is in book stores everywhere.

Cost is $110 for a three week session and $175 for the full 6 week session.

We are only taking a max of 8 kids per group and when we are full, we are FULL! So sign up early to ensure your childs spot.

More information here:

Black Skirt Challenge - Ideas & Happy Hour

We had another great meet up last night where we created our black a-line skirts together! I didn't take photos (like a doofus) but then again, they all kinda looked like black A-line skirts.

At the end of the meetup, as planned, we exchanged our 1 yard of cotton fabric that will be used to embellish our skirts. I don't think anyone really had terrible fabric to try and embellish with (although I did end up with a pastel colored frog batik print that I am not quite yet sure how I am going to get to match to my black skirt, but dyeing the fabric, I guess is not out of the question...hmmmm....)

We decided for the next meetup, we would all wear our newly embellished skirts to the meetup. We also decided that instead of meeting at the store, we would switch our location to a nearby neighborhood restaurant and grab a drink and some snacks.

So - even if you didn't make it out for the meetup last night and create a skirt with us, we would LOVE for you to join us in two weeks to see what everyone created, as well as just get to know you!
Become a member of our sewing meetup group for all the details:

For those of you who did make the skirt and are looking for some crafty ideas to wow all of us in two weeks, here are some cool embellishment ideas I found.

Check 'em out: