News From My Studio and Beyond...

April 25, 2015

Things are still rather quiet here on the blog, which means that things are far from quiet in the studio! Here is some news from me and some goodies I've found out there on the web!

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New Pattern Coming!!!

Yes! There is a new pattern coming to the shop this spring! I am busy wrapping up all the details in an effort to release the pattern before I skip town for my annual spring holiday. I can tell you that she is called Sylvie and that she is a dress meant for woven fabrics. But that's all you're getting out of me at this point. I love her and I hope you will too!

More PDFs Patterns

I mentioned this previously, but I can say that it's really happening next week- Derby Dress and Chelsea Dress are coming as PDF patterns! And... there might be a sale to go with them, so if I were you, I'd check back here next week! Remember you can also find out about sales and new releases by signing up on my mailing list! (Find the sign up form at the bottom of my home page!) I really only email about once a month, so I promise no excessive spam.

Spring Vacation Book and Pattern Shipping Schedule

If you have been following my shop for a few years, you know that each spring when we go away for vacation, the shipping schedule changes a bit. But I'm happy to say that this year, nothing will change with the schedule at all! Thanks to my lovely friend Haley, patterns will ship as usual, within three business days from when you placed your order. Remember that weekends and US postal holidays are not business days, so plan accordingly! So if you buy a pattern at 6pm on a Thursday, Friday is the first business day, which means it might not go out until Monday or Tuesday, which are the second and third business day. We like to have evenings and weekends off too!

Since I sign all my books to order, and I will be away, this means that I cannot sign them from afar. So all book orders will be on hold from early June until late July. I will announce firm dates as they grow closer, but know that there will be a nearly two month window where books will not be shipping from me. You can always find them on Amazon and beyond, but if you want a signed copy from me, best order sooner rather than later! Find all four of my books here!

Upcoming Classes and Out-of-Town Workshops

In May I am teaching only a few beginner classes locally at Sew L.A., but when I return I will be back in full force for all kinds of fun classes, so stay tuned for news on that! Just as a reminder to those of you out of the Los Angeles area, I am also teaching at the upcoming Camp Stitchalot in May (which I think is sold out), and Camp Workroom Social (which has plenty of spots left in my class). So I hope to see you in a class!

Quilt Market Book Signing

If you will are attending Quilt Market in Minneapolis this May, you will see me there too! C&T, the publisher of my newest book, How to Speak Fluent Sewing, has arranged a book signing in their booth on Saturday afternoon, as well as a Schoolhouse presentation on Thursday. I'm a tad nervous so I hope people come and enjoy themselves! I will announce the official dates and times for both of these events as I know the information.

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Jackalope Art Fair

This weekend in Pasadena is the Jackalope Art Fair, which I helped curate! I hope you pop by if you are local, as the offerings are pretty amazing. My fellow curators and I had hundreds to go through and I was so impressed at how great most of them were. If you are looking to pick up a little something for yourself or for a gift, (hello, mother's day!) this is the place to do it. Support handmade artists and skip the mall!!!

Make Boss

I've enjoyed getting to know Heather from Closet Case Files, both on her blog and via personal emails, and I look forward to finally meeting face-to-face when we're both teachers at Camp Workroom Social this fall. She just started a series called Make Boss on her blog where she talks about starting your own business. Her first post just went up and it's all about things to consider when quitting your day job. It's so spot on, it's like I wrote it myself. I have almost nothing to add to this well thought out post, it's really perfect. So if you are considering quitting your day job to pursue your passion (craft or otherwise) I highly suggest reading this post!

Treat Yo Self

I recently picked up some handmade mugs for my morning tea, and wow are they gorgeous. First, I got four mugs from Dahl Haus, all big and beautifully handmade in Vancouver by artist Heather Braun-Dahl. You won't be disappointed! I also have a mug from my BFF Jenifer Lake, which I like to call my Mowl (mug/bowl) because it is large and wonderful. She has other goodies on her site, like the adorable hand-formed face bowls pictured above. You know you need those. And buying these directly supports real living artists! This is a win-win.

Fashion Revolution

Yesterday was Fashion Revolution Day, in honor of the two year anniversary of the tragic Rana Plaza factory building collapse, which killed 1,129 and injured over 2,500 people. I posted about this on my Instagram feed and it is an incredibly important reminder that we all need to put a face to the things we buy. These items don't just appear at the local mall, someone somewhere made that. I once had a conversation with a grown man who honestly thought that clothes were made by robots. Seriously. Nope, someone made that thing on your back with their own two hands. Yes, all clothing is "hand made" and it's key to remember that. The Fashion Revolution group is doing a good job of planning events and keeping attention on this year round, and the upcoming film The True Cost is hopefully going to further the awareness to what is happening in the factories where the people make our goods. Yes, there are some companies where the workers are paid a living wage, but there is a long way to go. Educate yourself and those around you. 

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Well, I think that's about enough news for today! I hope you all have a lovely weekend and we'll see you here next week for some PDF pattern goodness!

My Favorite Non-Sewing Studio Tools

April 15, 2015

Sometimes the best tool for the job isn't actually a sewing tool, rather a completely random item that just performs the task at hand better than anything else. Here are my eight favorite non-sewing tools that help me out everyday in my studio!

Tool 1: Computer Brush
Above is a newer addition to my collection, and was a gift from an awesome student and friend. This tool is meant to be used to dust off your computer and other electronics, but it is ideal for brushing off the dust and fluff from your sewing machines too. It is so awesome and come on, it's hot pink! This was purchased locally at Daiso, but if you check office supply stores near you, you might find something similar.   

Tool 2: Jelly Jars
I love jam, so it's natural that I have a small army of jelly jars in the house. Truth be told, I only keep these cute Bonne Maman jars because of the adorable gingham lids, but of course, any similar jar would be helpful. I do like these though because of the wide mouth openings and jars with narrower openings wouldn't be as useful. I use these for my spare machine feet, pins, needles, hooks & eyes, and more. And because of their wide lids they stack nicely too!

Tool 3: Metal Knitting Needle
I love a good point turner and use them all the time for poking out corners and angles, but sometimes the shape of a point turner is far too wide to get into the item. Think about a narrow strap, belt loop, or anything narrower than the width of a point turner. This is when the knitting needle comes to help! I prefer the narrow and long metal needles since they are sturdy I can just pop them into my tool drawers along with all my other tools without fear of them getting damaged.

Tool 4: Small Containers
I like having all my tools, pens, and scissors nearby to grab when I need them, but I really don't care for the cold feeling of most organizational systems. When I wanted to organize my tools for my desk I just turned to my kitchen and found a small vintage creamer, metal tea tins, and other similar ceramic and metal containers. They are much more personal, they vary in size for my needs, and of course they are way cuter than anything I could get at the office supply store. 

Tool 5: Pliers and Screwdriver
Every time I need to take my sewing machine needle out of my conventional machine, I need to grab my screwdriver, so it's something I'm using nearly every day. I like this little short and squat screwdriver as it allows me to get close to the screw without the typical long shape of most screwdrivers. And pliers are perfect for removing teeth from metal zippers and grabbing items just out of reach, like when threading my serger. Even if you don't have a whole tool box of stuff, these are good ones to have on hand.

Tool 6: Tape Dispenser
If you put together PDF patterns, I don't have to tell you that tape is something you use in excess. But taking it to the next level and getting a weighted tape dispenser is so insanely helpful as it stays in place each time you grab for a piece of tape! 

Tool 7: Washi Tape
Okay, so we all know that washi tape is cute and great for decorating things, sealing up envelopes, and sticking on everything. But in addition to being decorative, washi tape is also really helpful for marking seam allowances on your machine, labeling tools, and loads more. Think beyond just decorative uses for your pretty collection of tape!

Tool 8: Water Sprayer
The water in my apartment here in Los Angeles is the hardest water I've ever had to endure. It is so full of minerals and just jams up my iron like crazy. And yet I just cannot justify buying purified water for my iron because I use it so much that it'd cost me a small fortune. (And I've tried using a filter, but that doesn't help either by the way!) So instead of filling my iron with water, I instead bought a simple water sprayer at the grocery store to use when I'm ironing. The water isn't ever heated, but if I need to press something with steam, I just dampen it with the sprayer (a light mist or a soaking, depending on what I need) and then press with my dry iron. Saves the day every time!

Introducing My New Book - How to Speak Fluent Sewing!

April 7, 2015

I know, it feels like I just introduced a book, but another one is already out! I'd like you to meet my new book, How to Speak Fluent Sewing! Signed copies are available in my shop, and digital eBook versions are for purchase at my publisher's site.

I suspect you're not supposed to have favorites with things like books, and that I should love them all equally, but truth be told, this is quite possibly my favorite book I've written yet. Well, maybe it's tied with The Complete Photo Guide to Clothing Construction, but either way, it's a close race. I am a total junky for reference books, so having the chance to write two, one essentially like an encyclopedia, and this one which is like a dictionary, has been a highlight of my career.

How to Speak Fluent Sewing is a small-ish handy reference book, and is published by the fine folks at C&T/Stash Books. It just feels so so good, and is chocked full of over 300 terms for your reference.

In the book you will find the following chapters, each with loads of sub-sections:

  • Tools
  • Needle Terms
  • Machine Terms
  • Stitch Terms
  • Fabric Terms
  • Pattern & Garment Terms
  • Techniques & Processes

Under each chapter and sub-section, you will find the item with a cute, yet clear, illustration, and the explanation of What it is, What it does, and Why use it. That way you can not only know what the tool or technique does, but the real "why" as well so you can apply it to your own sewing. 

As a teacher, the "why" is hugely important to me, as I know that when I learn I understand the bigger picture better when I know what it's going to be used for and when I might want to use it. All the information gets pooled together and utilized for your craft. 

I am completely in love with how the illustrations turned out–you can only imagine the amount of back and forth that has to take place between me, the editors, and the illustrators, for over 300 terms. Thank heavens for private Pinterest boards! In the end every drawing turned out exactly as had hoped and I am so grateful to the illustrators and my team at RotoVision for making it all turn out perfectly.

I wrote most of this book when I was in Paris last spring, and it truly holds a dear spot in my heart. I adore it so much and hope you all love it too! If you'd like to read a little Q&A my publishers did with me in honor of the book launch, read that on their blog here.

Pick up your signed copy of How to Speak Fluent Sewing in my shop today! 

Weekend News and Links!

April 3, 2015

Hi everyone! It's been a little quiet here on the blog the last month since wrapping up the Marianne Dress Sew-Along, a little in part due to a bit of burnout from doing the sew-along, and partly due to a ton of projects that can't yet be shown on the blog, or don't belong on the blog. So sorry for the lack of fun and interesting posts of late!

So to catch everyone up with what's been going on, and what's been inspiring me lately, here's a round up of some news and links!


Sew L.A. Changes

If you receive the Sew L.A. newsletter or read their blog, you would have seen that there are some big changes coming to the shop soon. In short, the retail part of the store is closing at the end of April, but the classes will carry on as usual. The space will be split just as is now, but instead of Sew L.A. taking the front part of the space, another retailer will be in that area, and the workshop space will remain just as it is now and classes will be just as good as ever!

I absolutely love teaching and adore all my students, so please know that despite these changes, I am not going anywhere! I will still be teaching as usual so don't be a stranger! Just a reminder, you can sign up for my Sailor Top class starting next Tuesday, or my Marianne Dress workshop starting next Friday. Hope to see you all soon!

Craftcation Conference Recap

Last weekend was a total whirlwind of fun and excitement as I returned a fourth time to the annual Craftcation Conference! Man, those students have so much energy and just wipe me out! They are so much fun and so ready to learn, it's just a matter of holding on and keeping up! I was happy to see many lovely returning faces to my classes, as well as some new ones too. And I was able to connect with a bunch of instagram friends to finally meet in real life. Fun!

I taught three classes- a simple zipper pouch for beginner sewers; garment construction basics where we learned how to sew gathers, bust darts, pleats, and more; and a two-part Marianne Dress class. Everyone worked hard, but the award for the hardest working bunch of Craftcation attendees goes to my amazing Marianne Dress ladies. Seriously, you all worked so so hard to make those up in six short hours and I am so proud of you all! Also a huge thanks to Robert Kaufman Fabrics to supplying my students with your lovely Laguna Knit fabric.

Craftcation also gives me an opportunity to see friends that live in other cities, as we are all there to teach and it's a great chance to connect. Some of the awesome friends I was able to see were my BFF Jenifer Lake; local pals Shaerie Mead, Cathy Callahan, Megan Andersen, Kaari Meng, and Molly Meng; and northern California pals Lisa Solomon, Courtney Cerruti, Diana Fayt, and Mati McDonough.

I also was lucky to meet some lovely new folks as well, including the talented Abby Glassenberg, Meighan O'Toole, Ashley Brown Durand, and Kari Chapin. The only sad part is that there are so many awesome people there, and I'm busy teaching and that hardly get to see some of them! But that's okay, I'm there to teach classes, not take them.

Sadly our friend, the lovely Robert Mahar couldn't come at the last minute, as he threw out his back and was laid up per doctor's orders. We missed you Robert! But if you're in the LA area and want to make the adorable Himmeli Mobile he was going to teach at Craftcation, you're in luck as he's hosting a class locally! Check it out on the Meng & Mahar studio site.

And of course, a trip to Ventura wouldn't be complete without a stop at the amazing Superbuzzy, where I picked up a bag full of goodies and visited with the lovely owner Kelly Stevens. Seriously, her inventory is incredible. It takes serious self-control not to leave with all of it!

Craftsy Tutorials

As usual, my Craftsy posts carry on, rain or shine, conference or not! Some recent posts that you might find of interest are below. I hope you enjoy them!



I genuinely look forward to each issue of Colette Pattern's monthly Seamwork magazine. It's beautifully made, gorgeous to look at, interesting to read, and my subscription comes with two free patterns each month. Come on, this is as good as it gets! This month's issue is full of goodies as usual, and I am excited to whip up some versions of the Astoria Sweater, pictured below. 

What I like about these monthly patterns is that they aren't necessarily mind-blowing feats of patternmaking, rather they are fast and satisfying staples for your real life. I think this is a very smart approach that the Colette team is taking, so you can gain quick satisfaction with these projects. The Astoria is a great example of that. Quick and easy, and good for most everyone's tastes and body type. Well done!

Monthly Indie Round-Up

I love Fiona's indie pattern monthly updates on her blog, Diary of a Chainstitcher, and I hope she keeps them up for a long time to come! They are a great one-stop-shop as to what it's going on in the indie pattern world. Her posts are very extensive and include everyone big and small, and I like keeping up on what is going on and what everyone's making. Thanks Fiona for all the research it takes to write these each month!

Rosemary Collar Now Available as PDF Only - and News on Future Printed and PDF Patterns

April 1, 2015

 rosemary collar by christine haynes patterns

My sweet little Rosemary Collar is my lone non-dress pattern, and truth be told, I designed her specifically to teach as a class, and she's by far my lowest seller of the bunch. So now that I am nearly out of the print run I initially printed, I am only going to offer the Rosemary Collar as a PDF print-at-home pattern. It's just not worth the financial expense for me to keep it in stock in print.

It's a great pattern to have for printing at home, as it has only a couple of small pattern pieces–it only takes 7 pages, including the instructions! So we will bid farewell to the printed version of Rosemary and celebrate her as a wonderful PDF pattern.

For my other patterns, I fully intend to print my dress patterns for many years to come, so do not fear that this will soon happen to any of my dress patterns, as the printed versions of those are precious to me and I am far more in love with the physical version over the digital version. So as patterns become available as PDF, they will always still be available as printed patterns too, for a long while at least!

And if you're waiting on the Derby Dress and Chelsea Dress to be PDF patterns, you won't be waiting much longer... ;)