I run, I craft, I write, and I make your favorite clothes.

I have written books about sewing for children and adults and I'm the indie designer’s patternmaking secret weapon. I've taught video and in-person classes to anyone who would listen since 2008. I believe that sewing clothes is a radical act of self-love that increases your sense of self-worth. I'm basically your sewing fairy godmother.

Time flies & dreams come true.

Pin It!

Hi there, friends. It looks like it’s been about 4 years since I’ve posted here, but I just received an update that hundreds of you are still stopping by every month. So much has changed, my whole life, really, and I’d love to give you a little update and let you know where we can connect these days.

A little over three years ago we moved to Seattle, fulfilling a lifelong dream. My family’s lives are filled with mountains and the ocean and each other. In another dream-come-true, I rented a studio in order to teach classes and hold mindful making retreat– just before the pandemic hit. Like I’m sure you are, I’m still working my way through figuring out how to be together, while not being together. The space has been a welcome respite with both of us working at home in a house less than half the size of our midwestern home. It’s given me and the kids a quiet space to practice yoga, to make clothes, to listen to podcasts, and get a fresh perspective.

I’m still making patterns, though the majority of time I’m helping other brands expand their size ranges to be more inclusive. I’ve experimented with private lessons online, and with all this time alone I’ve been really diving deep into what role making something with our hands plays in our lives – and how the simple act of making something helps us feel more grounded, more connected to ourselves, each other, and our ancestors, while providing a way to disconnect from the virtual world and back to the real one.

I’ll be spending the rest of the year focused on designing some courses and contributing to a couple books that mean a lot to me. Over the past couple years, I’ve studied CAD patternmaking and grading. I’ve become a reiki master, and completed trauma-informed yin yoga teacher training. I’ve been meditating and volunteering and noticing that no matter how disconnected all of these things seem at first glance, they are really all connected.

As for the future, I’m writing at my new website. The Goodship Dress and Infinity Sweater will both move to my new pattern shop once they are updated with new branding and/or expanded to more sizes, and the tutorials that currently live here will move to my Handmade Wardrobe site.

As ever, if you have any class or workshop requests, or just want to catch up, I’m happy to hear from you. Please feel free to reach out. I’m going to send this note to my mailing list here, so please forgive the duplication if you’ve received this message to your inbox.

Thank you for your connection and support and friendship throughout the years. I hope you’ll consider signing up for my new email list if the idea of experiments in making meaning sparks your interest. If not, that’s perfectly okay, and I’ll say goodbye with love.


Here we are again with another gorgeous and thoughtful collection from Windham Fabrics designed by my dear friend Carrie Bloomston.

I have been so honored to be asked again to make some garments for Carrie’s new line. Fortunately, I have a couple books available now with my friend Alison Glass that have been wonderful resources to show off Carrie’s new fabric.  I made her Maxi Skirt with the Glamour Skirt pattern from Alison Glass Woven Essentials, and the tank is made with organic cotton/hemp blend and is available in the Alison Glass Knit Essentials book.


Please take some time to browse through her beautiful lookbook and ask your local quilt shop to carry these fabrics when they are available in Spring of 2017.

My girl Ella loved this collection so much she spent some time alone in my studio making a video of the gift she made for Carrie’s daughter.  If you’re interested in seeing the video Ella was inspired to make (entirely by herself!) you can watch below:

Dreamer DIY from Karen LePage on Vimeo.

I love her colors, I love her work, and I love her heart. Here’s Carrie’s description of her new line and a nudge toward some simple activism on behalf of Bees to help us make a difference in the world.

The collection is a love song to the earth and to our ancestors around the globe who were makers and who lived in harmony with nature. Additionally, there is a very special print of hand-painted bees in DREAMER. Bees are threatened and we can’t exist without them. The bees need us and we need them. Join me and Windham Fabrics to spread the buzz and BEE THE CHANGE! (Windham Fabrics and I are proud supporters of the Xerces Society for Pollinator Conservation. Read more here to find out what you and your family can do to save the bees and protect the pollinators.)

Thank you for stopping by, and please go visit Carrie’s site to enter for your chance to win some fabric!

Carrie is giving away THREE bundles on her blog…so head there now to enter!!

Also, please be sure to check out all the rest of the amazing designers on this tour…

October 20th Kerry Goulder, Brooke Sellmann – ME!!, Jill McNamara

October 21st Giuseppe Ribaudo, Jules Goldin, Stephanie Kendron, John Q. Adams

October 22nd Verena Ehrhardt, Karen LePage, Rachel Gander, Sally Keller

October 23rd Jenny Haynes, Amie Petronis Plumley, Bonnie Bobman

October 24th Ramona Burke, Sam Hunter, Tia Curtis

Happy Sewing!



We have a Paper Obsessed winner!

Pin It!

Thank you all for entering the giveaway and for sharing what you’d make with Heather’s fabric. I wish I could see all your projects!

Our winner for the giveaway is Kathy.


Please check your email to claim your pattern booklet and fabric bundle!

Thank you again, to everyone for entering. If you’d like to get your hands on the pattern for this dress, visit Alisonglass.com or your local quilt shop.

For Heather’s new fabrics, you can visit Crimson Tate on Mass Ave in Indianapolis and online at crimsontate.com, or ask for Paper Obsessed at your local quilt shop.



When Heather Givans showed me her new line, Paper Obsessed, I knew I had to make a dress from it.  I mean, what else would I do? Heather Givans is one of the most beautiful people I know.  She has the biggest heart, she’s such a generous teacher and friend, and is one of few people who would opt for a green juice with me after yoga class early in the morning.  I would do anything for Heather, but making this dress was completely my pleasure.   I love, love, love how Windham’s quilting cottons feel once they are washed, and they always seem to behave beautifully for my garments.  I couldn’t decide which print to choose – could you?

Photo by Eric Lubrick

Photo by Eric Lubrick

Any one of the Paper Obsessed prints would make a perfect dress!  So, I asked Heather to choose whatever she wanted, and I’d make it.

She chose this one:

41684-6 Paper

How adorable are those paper airplanes?  From NOTEBOOK PAPER! I love the print she chose (and it just so happened I had a beautiful matching organic solid on hand to coordinate for the lining) so, even though I was still tweaking the design for my Woven Essentials pattern collaboration with our mutual friend Alison Glass, I went ahead and made everyone’s favorite dress – the Bracelet Sleeeved Gathered Dress (we call it the Kelly Dress).

One quick try-on in the late-night dark studio,


and a custom tag from the adorable selvedge…


Then, overnight it flew for the Windham Lookbook Photo Shoot!


Eric Lubrick of Eric Lubrick Photography :: http://oartooar.com/

Photo by Eric Lubrick of Eric Lubrick Photography :: http://oartooar.com/

Paper Obsessed Dress

Photo by Eric Lubrick of Eric Lubrick Photography :: http://oartooar.com/

So, the big question is: Would you like to WIN SOME FABRIC? WIndham is generously giving away a selection of Fat Quarters everywhere along this tour. If you want to enter, please leave a comment below and answer one of the following questions along with your email so I can contact you … I’ll choose a winner when I return from vacation next week (before July 27th, 2016)

  • What do you think you’d make from Paper Obsessed?
  • Have you already made something from Heather’s fabrics (Paper Obsessed or Succulents)?
  • Do you make clothing?

I’ll make the prize even sweeter by sending the lucky winner from the comments here a copy of the pattern book containing this dress!

Please be sure to visit these other lovely people who are sharing amazing projects made from Paper Obsessed for more inspiration and more chances to win fabric.

July 12 Windham Fabrics :: http://windhamfabrics.wordpress.com

July 13 Heather Givans of Crimson Tate :: https://blog.crimsontate.com/

July 14 Sarah Sharp of {no} hats quilts :: http://www.nohatsinthehouse.com/

July 15 Janine Vangool of UPPERCASE Magazine :: http://uppercasemagazine.com/blog/

July 16 Karen LePage of Gentle Clothing :: http://onegirlcircus.com/

July 17 Jenny Leisure / David Barnhouse of Crimson Tate :: https://blog.crimsontate.com/

July 18 Heather Jones of Heather Jones Studio :: http://www.heatherjonesstudio.com/blog

July 19 Eric Lubrick of Eric Lubrick Photography :: http://oartooar.com/

July 20 Annie Unrein of By Annie’s :: http://byanniecom.blogspot.com/

July 21 Amanda Castor of Material Girl Quilts :: https://materialgirlquilts.com/

July 22 Sara Lawson of Sew Sweetness :: http://sewsweetness.com/blog

July 23 Giuseppe Ribaudo of Giucy Giuce :: http://www.instagram.com/giucy_giuce

July 24 Karen McTavish of Karen McTavish Quilting Studio :: https://blog.crimsontate.com/

July 25 Kristen Wright of Two Blondes and a Sewing Machine :: https://twoblondesandasewingmachine.wordpress.com

July 26 Heather Givans of Crimson Tate :: https://blog.crimsontate.com/


Story Collection – What’s your Story?

Pin It!

Carrie Bloomston has designed another new line of fabric with Windham Fabrics.  It’s gorgeous, like she is, inside and out. Before she even asked, I started dreaming of what to make for her.  It’s such an honor and privilege to sew something special for someone I love so dearly.  You can go enter a giveaway on her blog and read a little about the inspiration for her new line.  If you don’t have her book yet, I suggest you get over there right now and enter, then come on back to see what I made.

Since reading about Carrie’s inspiration for this collection, I have been thinking about My Story.  What is my story?  It’s one of making, of mending, of wanting to make a difference, and of friendship. Fortunately for me, my best friend from high school recently moved back into the Detroit area.  We used to stay up all night sewing and listening to music and talking throughout 1990.  I probably spent the night at her house 4 nights a week back then. She’s always been encouraging and generous, and organized and kind.  Growing up, becoming a mom, and living all over the world has made her even more of all these, and creative and confident, too.  She’s a wonderful mentor to me, and I know we have a lot to give each other.

I have a dream to start a different kind of clothing company.  Inspired by Christina of Bamboletta, Natalie Chanin of Alabama Chanin, and naturally, by Carrie  and her generous, gentle spirit, I make clothes that are worth mending.  Handmade garments are our favorite things to wear.  I want people to feel the love that went into the clothes, and to feel most like themselves while wearing the things we make.  I call this Gentle Clothing.

The idea is to be gentle to the earth and the people who live here (organic and low-impact where possible, textiles made where people are paid a living wage, as little waste as possible, and durable over many years and seasons of wear and care, handmade by local people paid well – whether that’s me or other garment makers who share my standards and are willing to learn my way of working), gentle to the body (again, natural fabrics, kind and flattering fit, practical foundation pieces that inspire confidence and comfort), and gentle to me as a person (taking time for my family, not rushing development of products and people, giving of my best self).

This last bit, gentle to me, is only really possible now, with the help of my original sewing partner, Kelly Cattanach.  Can you imagine what it’s like to work with your best friend?  It’s magical, it’s alchemy.  We excel in complementary areas, and work together so well because we truly know each other.  We teach each other. We love each other’s children and families. We have wanted to keep everything we’ve made together for ourselves, which makes each garment more beautiful to send away. One of our first projects together has been this Story Collection party with Carrie.  I hope you love what we made for her.

Carrie has a strong and beautiful back. It’s a joy to make dresses that show off her favorite feature.  When I saw this fabric, I just knew it needed to be fun and easy to wear. I had a design in mind immediately.  Kelly and I worked on it together with Louise, my vintage dress form, long into the night. The design changed, the dress came together in a truly organic way. Listening to the The, the Cure, XTC, Roxy Music…..it was as if we were transported backward and forward in time simultaneously.  Carrie wears it beautifully, don’t you think?

Story-Collection-dress-1 story collection dress

In her typical teaching and generous fashion, Carrie sent loads of extra fabric for Ella to make things, too.  Her Story includes the beginnings of a quilt top, making the most of her innate color sense:


Ella loves to read and to make. Both of these she loves most when she’s independent. She made this “Portable Tree Stump” book bag and cushion all by herself from the book Sewing School 2

kid sewing project

The very first thing she did, though, was to immediately hoop a fat quarter and begin stitching….

Finally, We made up a Wander Skirt in my favorite print from this collection: Constellation. The “white” bits are newspaper clippings, and the blue is deep and delicious. So are the red and the mustard versions of this print, of course. I paired Constellation with hot pink dots (also newspaper cuttings). We cut the skirt with a large blue border, but really wanted to extend the constellation into the blue field with hand stitching. In another bit of synchronicity, the Weeks Dye Works Alison Glass Perle Cotton fireld day collection coordinated perfectly. Carrie and Alison in the same project make for a pretty dreamy combination:

skirt closeup

constellation wander skirt

The Wander Skirt will be the first pattern released by Gentle Clothing, and Kelly and I will be making up a small batch of skirts that will be available for purchase as a finished garment – just in case you aren’t the maker-type yourself. Please follow us over on Instagram for sneak peeks, or sign up for our emails to be the first to know when we have them ready.

What’s your Story? I’d love to see what you make from Carrie’s new collection. Please have a look through all the makers who stitched up some love for Carrie, and enter on her blog for a chance to win a fat quarter bundle of Story and a copy of her book

All the photos of Carrie are copyright Jill McNamara

April 13th Tia Curtis, Brooke Sellman, Jill McNamara
April 14th Shea Henderson, Giuseppe Ribaudo, Jenny Kelly, John Q. Adams
April 15th Verena Ehrhardt, Karen LePage, Rachel Gander, Sally Keller, Cristy Fincher
April 16th Jules Goldin, Amie Petronis Plumley, Bonnie Bobman,
April 17th Daniar Listyasari, Kerry Green, Ramona Burke, Kerry Goulder

Ask your local quilt shop to carry Story. It ships to stores in September. In fact, email them Carrie’s post so they can order it from their Windham rep today. Share the love! Tweet it, Pin it, Instagram it and Facebook it! Share pictures of Story! Tag Carrie (@suchdesigns on Instagram) and always use the hashtags #sewyourstory, #storycollection and #carriebloomston.


It’s Sew Fab(ulous) Again!

Pin It!

This post contains affiliate links. When you purchase the Sew Fab Bundle through those links I earn a percentage of the sale. Thank you so much for supporting the Sew Fab Sale! We all appreciate your business!

Sew Fab Winter 2014 Pattern Sale at www.thesoutherninstitute.com

I can’t believe it’s time again for another Sew Fab Pattern Sale, can you? It feels like the time in between sales just gets shorter and shorter! I know that many of you have been keeping up with sale updates through the Sew Fab newsletter, and have been eagerly awaiting this bundle… I think you’re going to be really excited!

This time around things are a bit different. In the past the Sew Fab bundles have covered a wide range of patterns, from beautiful girls’ dresses to unisex children’s pants. We’ve seen women’s patterns, stuffed animals, and messenger bags. Each bundle has been amazing, but what we found is that some of you already had several of the patterns in the bundle. A lot of you said that you would only use a few of the patterns, because the range of patterns was so broad, which didn’t make buying it worth it for you. The Sew Fab Team had to think long and hard about how to give you all a bundle that you could really use, so they decided to go back to the drawing board and create brand new designs for this sale! Did you hear that???

This bundle is completely made up of unreleased patterns!

The Sew Fab Winter Bundle includes ten brand new women’s patterns from indie pattern designers that you already know and love! They have been working tirelessly, comparing ideas and notes and creating an amazing bundle of patterns that will help you create an entire wardrobe for yourself! This bundle is so versatile. It will enable you to create endless combinations.

Now for the exciting part…the new patterns! Ten never-before-seen, gorgeous patterns. Here they are!

Sew Fab Winter 2014 Bundle
From Top Left, clockwise: The Parisian Palazzo Pants by E-Beth Designs, The Omega Angel Jacket by Golden Rippy, The Margot Dress by Violette Field Threads, The Extraordinary Girl by Filles a Maman, The Vintage Inspired Train Case by Gingercake, The Norah Nightgown and Panties by Greenstyle Creations, The Off the Shoulder Dress and Peplum Top by EYMM, The Capitol Hill by Straight Stitch Designs, The Jersey Glam Dress by Kelly Crawford (Sewing in No Man’s Land), The Wander Skirt by One Girl Circus.

Because they are new, these patterns are not listed anywhere on the internet right now, so for your reference, we have listed all of the pattern descriptions and size charts for you on this page. Hop on over and take a look. You’ll see that there are so many options for every woman!

Buy It Now

As you can see, this is a really amazing bundle! Each pattern was designed for this sale (FOR YOU!) and the bundle is available only through the Sew Fab Winter Sale. You will not find these patterns sold together anywhere else, and certainly not for this price! At $29.95, this is the perfect budget friendly gift for a BFF, family member, or yourself, because 10 brand new patterns at less than $3 each cannot be beat! (Bundles cannot be shared. Please purchase additional bundles if gifting them.)

If you have purchased a Sew Fab Pattern Bundle in the past you know how it works, but just in case you are new to Sew Fab here’s what you need to know…

The Sew Fab Pattern Bundle is a bundle of PDF patterns. If you’ve never sewn with a PDF pattern before, let me explain briefly how they work. Upon purchasing the bundle you will be sent links to the individual pattern files. After downloading each pattern, you will print out the pattern itself, creating pattern tiles. Simply tape the tiles together to create the full pattern! At that point you can cut out the size that you need and pin the paper pattern that you have pieced together directly to your fabric, or you can trace the pattern size that you need onto sewing paper or tracing paper and cut it out, saving the paper pattern for later when you need to sew another size. PDF patterns are so convenient because you can print them out as many times as you need and they’re stored on your laptop!

This Sew Fab Pattern Bundle is only available for a very limited time and will never be available again! You can purchase the bundle from December 5th at 8 a.m. EST through December 15th at 11:59 p.m. EST. There will be no late sales offered. Due to the nature of the sale there are no refunds. The pattern bundle expires six months from the end of the sale, so please download and save your patterns upon receiving them.

You don’t want to miss this unique opportunity to purchase a ready-made collection of 10 brand new PDF sewing patterns for only $29.95!

Buy It Now

The Sew Fab Giveaway!

As always we have a great Sew Fab Giveaway for you to enter! One lucky winner is going to win a whole bunch of gift certificate goodness, plus an extra little gift from Funnybone Toys and Jenny (the creator of the Sew Fab Sale)! Here’s what the winner will receive…

Winter Sew Fab Giveaway graphic

Four gift certificates totaling $225 from Finch Sewing Studio, Imagine gnats, Online Fabric Store, and Fat Quarter Shop!!! And the winner will also get a Needles, Threads, and Buttons Rolli stamp from Funnybone Toys and one yard of twill tape to make custom fabric tags! To enter, use the Rafflecopter widget below, and be sure to leave the required information when asked. Facebook will not allow us to require you to “like” a page in exchange for an entry, but if you visit the page and feel led to “like” it I know the designers and giveaway sponsors would greatly appreciate it. The giveaway is open to all!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sign up for the Sew Fab Newsletter to get the latest Sew Fab News! Winners will be announced in the newsletter as well as upcoming sales and other news pertaining to the Sew Fab Sale and the world of PDF patterns.

**For answers concerning sale terms and customer service questions, please see the FAQ page.


The Little Spark I needed

Pin It!

My friend Carrie wrote a book.  I knew she was writing it.  In fact, I pre-ordered it, standing in her booth at Quilt Market in Pittsburgh, the second it became available.  I have already purchased 4 copies, because I love it so much I want to give it to everyone I care about.

Carrie opens up her heart in this book.  You will see. once you begin reading the introduction, that she lives her creativity, and she truly wants you to open up to yours!  The words are so beautiful I keep closing the cover while I shut my eyes to absorb and digest the words I just read. (…and to keep the tears from falling all over the pages, because I feel like she knows my heart).  

I want to put her words on posters around the house, just to remind me to stay true to myself.

I read and say “Yes” then read more and say “Oh, yes” then I close the book and try to wait, to absorb it all but I can’t wait to devour the next Spark!  For me, the best way to use this book was to read it through, soaking in the truth, then read it again and do the prompts

Do yourself a favor, buy it for yourself, then buy 3 more copies for the people you love most in the world. 

Carrie is hosting a giveaway over on her blog, (enter it to replace the one you buy for yourself and then give to your best friend).


I am so in love with her book, I will be giving one away at the Detroit Urban Craft Fair this weekend at my booth for Gentle Clothing.  I hope I’ll see you there!


click on the image to enter the giveaway on Carrie’s Blog

1 comment

Teaching again!

Pin It!

Oh how glad I am to be back to teaching again. I’ve been filming some video classes (more on that, later) but I’m really looking forward to co-creating with real live students. Tomorrow’s class if FREE, too!

I’ll be teaching at the Okemos branch of the Capital Area District Library.  We’ll put together kid-sized t-shirts (12 mos-6/7) from parent-sized t-shirts.

There will be supplies available, including some thrifted shirts in case you want to practice on one that isn’t your favorite 80’s Metallica concert tee.  Just bring a sewing machine and your usual sewing supplies. (A ballpoint needle would help!)

If you want a copy of Sewing for Boys, I’ll have copies available for you to purchase.


ALL14_upcycle tshirts_flyer


Guest Posting on Monaluna’s Blog

Pin It!

Hey everyone!  As you know, I’ve been working with Jennifer of Monaluna to create her sewing patterns.  I have a couple guest posts (part 1 and part 2) over on her blog today to turn her Little Bee Babysuit and Yoga Pants pattern into a summery sleeveless version.


If you have any questions on this or any other Monaluna Sewing Pattern, you can feel free to email me.  I hope you give it a try!


Little Bee Tutorial


The Breeze Top Pattern Review and Giveaway

Pin It!

Breeze Top is lovely for plus-sized little girls

It was an honor to teach at Whipstitch in Atlanta a couple years ago with my friend Rae. It was there that I had the pleasure of meeting Shannon of LittleKidsGrow.com when she was just getting started.  Her first pattern for Tweens arrived recently, and I knew I had to make one up for my Ella.  It’s not easy to find patterns that work without significant alteration for Plus-sized girls (other than my own, of course!) so I pre-ordered this one because I just loved the style at first sight.

I have a feeling Ella will wear this for a very long time, and we’ve already made plans for a second one.


We chose to sew up the knit version, because Ella prefers knit to wovens every day of the week and twice on Sunday.  We chose some gorgeous organic cotton knit from NearSeaNaturals (which has since changed ownership – but I’m hoping the high quality remains, because this is my favorite solid knit…) and some lovely Cloud9 Organic Voile designed by Rashida Coleman-Hale.  If you haven’t tried this voile, you must get your hands on it.   Pictured here is The Way of Flowers.

My favorite details of the Breeze Top are the cleverly constructed elastic-back yoke which lends a lot of flexibility in sizing, and a nice roomy arm opening for a full range of movement.  The gently gathered skirt portion of the top is comfortable and roomy enough for any toddler-belly a girl could still have. Shannon’s instructions are clear, and nicely illustrated.  I was able to put this top together in around 30 minutes, not including cutting.  That’s because Ella helped, and she did all the cutting (beautifully, and safely, I might add) about a week ago.

Note here, that I made the size 14, but Ella is 4’7″, so she’s really a size 8 or 10 in height.  We wanted to use the longer length of the 14 so she’d have more seasons of wear.  Of course, it’s also a style that lends itself well to adding a band for length once your darling grows too tall for her tunics.  We may end up adding a band anyway at the rate my girl is sprouting up; you can see how tall she is at 7 1/2 compared to her dad, who is not a tiny fella!



There have already been some great posts this week with some lovely versions of the Breeze Top on all shapes and sizes of girl (yay!) and more to come, so please be sure to check out the other reviews.

Breeze Blog Tour Pic
There’s a giveaway, too, so click on the image to go to Shannon’s blog to enter to win one of  (3) Breeze Top patterns and (3) $25 Gift Certificates to The Ribbon Retreat.

If you’d like to buy one of these sweet patterns for yourself, you can use the code BREEZETOUR for 25% off in Shannon’s Etsy Shop while the tour is still on.


Do you sew for a plus-sized child?  What do you wish we patternmakers would include to make fit simpler and more successful for you?  What are your favorite patterns to sew for your kid? I’d love to know, so please share your answers in the comments.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


← Previous Entries