08 October, 2010

The Sew Tina blog tour and giveaway!

Sew Tina

I was really excited when Lark Books asked me to participate in Tina's blog tour because I love her fabric but was completely new to the patterns so it promised to be fun! I had the pdf of the book for a wee while to start with, so I could get going on a couple of projects, but I didn't have much of a sense of it as a whole until it arrived in the mail and it's really lovely. Perhaps I'm a bit old-fashioned but there's something about having an actual book in my hand and pages to turn! Plus it's beautifully laid out, with a nice spiral binding so it stays open, and the patterns are on nice heavy paper. It's built to last!

It's divided into four sections: Introduction, Sewing the Tina Way, For the Little Ones, and For the Bigger Ones. There's also a bunch of sections at the back with resources, templates and a handy-dandy metric conversion chart for us metric people who are a bit challenged with inches! There are patterns for clothes, accessories, decor and even a Moses basket for babies, so there's something for everyone - including the mothers of boys! The sizes run from infant up to about size 7 and are roomy with lots of space to grow.

Dude tunic and shorts
Dude collared shirt

I'm going to kick this off with my interview with Tina, which I really enjoyed very much!  No doubt you will begin to see a theme to it - my never-ending struggle to make clothes that Hazel will wear. I know I'm not alone in this so hopefully there are people out there that find some hope in Tina's answers!

Jacqui: In the wide world of books on kid’s clothes yours really stand out, both in style and in use of fabric.  Where do you get your inspiration for the clothes from?

Tina: Thanks Jacqui that means a lot. I think the basic answer is from kids themselves. I have a few of my own (lol, twins aged 8 girl and a boy) and an 18 year old... and they are so free to speak and play and move... it would be nothing for my daughter to walk into the room on her hands... and of course Jonty slides in a room on his belly... so from when very young I create and make for them. I have always created garments with an unusual free from silhouette and I enjoy movement in my clothing so it just grows from that!

Squeaker cap and bootiesSqueaker booties

J: Many of the patterns use your fabric as a focal point, do you design the clothes with a particular print in mind or fit the prints to the pattern afterwards?

T: It works both ways but mostly I think the clothes can be made in any fabric. Even a solid... Because the fabrics are mine I tend to cast them as a priority but have found that if you love a fabric use it.... it will look good in anything you make.


J: The projects have a real whimsical feel to them, obviously designed to appeal to children. As an adult I find I’m often pretty lousy at judging what kids like to wear and have tendencies to want to make more grown-up items for my 5 year old daughter Hazel (and consequently have a few failures when she won’t wear an item!)  How do you find the delicate balance between clothes that kids like and clothes mums are willing to make?

T: That's a tough question because they are all unique as we are. My daughter doesn't wear anything I make unless it's for a special event, and sometimes I have to make it in someone else's fabric?!?!? But she's her own person and I don't want to push me on her... she once stood in Target at 5 years old with her hand on her hip, after I asked her what she thought of something I'd found for her, and she announced "I am not funky like you mom!" Well, on that note she picks out everything she wears and I on occasion will cringe. As long as it's not showing her belly or something too old for her I will honor her decisions.

I find making for infants and toddlers (2-almost 4) is the most fun because they will wear anything, 4 and 5 year olds get more opinionated but they have definite ideas whether frilly, sporty or none of the above. So buy fabric they like, show them something they agree on and there you go. And, 6 and up good luck! However, choose things like a nice coat or accessory you both like... this way she gets to wear her t-shirt and jeans but can throw on the coat you made her...

Swingtime dress
Swingtime dress

J: Following on from that, it seems as though the way to guarantee Hazel will wear something is to make it pink and frilly, which doesn’t always sit well with me on a number of levels – what’s your experience in terms of the way to a little girl’s heart through clothing?  Any tried and true tips?

T: I am not a pink and frilly designer but maybe there's a way to design clothes for that style that they'd like... Jacqui you may have inspired me... the frilly wardrobe for little girls (and their moms approve?) For now I suggest using pink (maybe a softer less saccharine pink), peaches and a tangy fuchsia... soft fabrics, modern prints and solids, frills but soft frills not the kind that stick up from their neck or arms... with a modern silhouetted flavor. And of course sport it up with leggings... love the leggings and tights....

Luella's Coat

J: I’m going to make up a project from the book in honour of you stopping by on the blog tour – do you have any recommendations for me in my ongoing quest to make clothes for Hazel that we both love?

T: The Zig Zag dress is fun one on the cover [and the one up the top of this post].... mix and match the fabrics and you could even add a frilly along the bottom hem or the neck.... eek.... and thanks for making it... I want to see it....

And here it is Tina! Not being modelled because Hazel's being 5 this week, but it's still gorgeous hanging on the fence. It's made in Nani Iro Fuccra and I plan on having Hazel wearing it at least once a week by the time summer rolls aroud :)  It's deliciously light and floaty, with close-fitting sleeves up to about the elbow. I loved it on her but I if I push her to wear it now it'll be all over red rover so I'm being subtle.

Kid's Clothes Week Day 1 - Zigzag dress

Zigzag dress detail

Ok, so now the moment you've all been waiting for - the fabulous giveaway. One lucky commenter will win the book, four (4!!) yards of fabric, two boxes of stationary and two extra sewing patterns. Wow.  

All you need to do to go into the running is leave a comment below and make sure I have some way of contacting you if you are the lucky lucky (lucky) person whose name the random number generator picks. Did I say lucky? I think I did. I totally want to win this myself to be honest! [ETA: I guess I should put a date down when it closes! I will draw the name on Thursday 14th at 9am NZ time]

Now I'm not actually finished with this book or the projects, but this is a massive post already! Check back tomorrow for more on what I've sewn up so far, a bit more on what the book's like to work from, what I plan to sew (essentially raving about those little mice slippers and how I want a pair), and a little giveaway all of my own!

Follow along with the rest of the book tour here:

9/24 Lark Crafts.com
9/27 A La Mode Fabric
9/29 Quilters Buzz
10/1 Sew Baby
10/4 Sew Chic
10/6 Sew Mama Sew
10/8 Hazelnuts
10/11 Mama’s Pocketbook
10/13 House on Hill Road
10/15 WhipUp
10/18 Quilt Dad
10/20 HodgePodgeFarm
10/22 Pink Chalk Studios
10/25 Fat Quarterly Blog
10/27 The Jolly Jabber


  1. This book looks fabulous and 4 yards of fabric (faint). Heaven.


  2. so very lovely (and I liked your interview too!). thank you!



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