You Had Me at Honey: Halloween at Sprout

Today’s blogger is Nicole, Sprout’s Product Development Manager. Halloween is one of her favorite holidays, as you can see in the photo below. 😉

As far as I am concerned, Halloween is the best holiday of the year. It’s the one day where there are no restrictions to what you can be, dreamers rule and the sky’s the limit. Plus, you get to watch scary movies while stuffing your face with candy. OBVIOUSLY, the BEST holiday. And here at Sprout, Halloween opens up a world of endless costume possibilities!


Most people flock to their local party shop in search of the latest in sexy costumes during the month of October. Not me, I would much rather create something original and more importantly, that is work appropriate. For someone who has several DIY costumes under her belt, making a Halloween costume through Sprout this year was an obvious choice. Though nothing will ever compare to the rainbow glitter unicorn costume that I wore last year…..


Since I already had clocked SERIOUS hours of mocking up projects, I couldn’t resist making a bee costume using our fun Vanessa wing pattern from Mainsail Studio and the Inari Tee Dress from Named Clothing. These wings are really perfect for playing year round and now I basically want a pair for every kid I know.


I wasn’t really feeling the Madame Butterfly look at the moment, which is when I had a stroke of brilliance and thought…BEES. Bees have wings! Plus our amazing city of Durham, NC was officially certified as a Bee City USA this year. Basically we are obsessed with bees. Save the bees, y’all!


The Inari Tee Dress’s cocoon shape is perfect for showcasing the honey bee’s stripes. I paired the dress with the Vanessa Wings in a size Medium – a great size for a kid and a great size for some little bumble bee wings. I found awesome repeat designs of dragonfly wings on the Spoonflower marketplace, which I used on shiny satin.


The dress was very straight forward to put together (shout out to Named Clothing for having incredible patterns and instructions!). A tip for Silky Faille and stripe matching: if you are attempting to match stripes, I highly recommend basting or using wonder tape along those side seams before sewing the garment up. Silky Faille can be slippery and will slide your matching skills right into the garbage.


Because the Vanessa wings are made to attach to your wrist for a massive incredible amazing wing flappin time, I had to rethink how I was going to create them for this costume, as there is no way that any adult arms were going to attach to those little babies. I ended up utilizing some aluminum, very bendable, jewelry wire and hand stitched it along side the outer edge of the wing pieces using the fleece interfacing as a backing.


This is by no means the best method of adding more structure to the wings, but it was the best idea that I had at the time so I just winged it ;). This method proved to work decently well, although turning the wings right side out was the biggest pain. After sewing the center piece to the wings, I decided to add an additional piece of black elastic to connect the wings together and add stability. It worked perfectly.





As news spread about the fantastic bee making going down in the Sprout room, the requests started pouring in from fellow employees dying to rock the bee look. Honey, please. No really, please bring honey – Julie did, so she won the modeling gig.


We drove over to Perkins Orchard, the largest and oldest fruit stand in Durham, to stock up on sweet natural goodies, grab pumpkins for our desks, and to let the bee out in her natural environment. Side note: if you’re local and haven’t been to this place yet, go! It’s full of fresh, local produce and other affordable goodies.




Julie really embraced the Queen Bee life and upped her supply of honey at the same time. I like to call that a costume success.


Trying to recreate this look on your own? Don’t have time to sew? Order with our White Glove Service and we will sew it up for you. YAS QUEEN BEE! (Wire not included.) Which brings me to my next costume…add a crown to this look and channel the queen bee of lemonade. If you think Julie is as cute as we do and wanna see more pix of her, head over to our Flickr album. ;o)

Need more costume inspiration? Don’t worry, I GOT YOU.


Use the Kielo Dress and this makeup tutorial to become the most beautiful giraffe in the Savannah. Or be a deer with this makeup and antlers tutorial and pair it with a deer hide Moneta.


Start the babe’s fandom early with a baseball romper and a matching lil baseball cap to match. Take it up a notch and have your little one SIT IN A BASEBALL MIT! The cuteness…it’s just too much…can’t handle it.


If you have a young honey lover in the family who isn’t into bees, you can make a furry hoodie and even create ears with your extra fabric to attach to the hood! Add a faux fur trim and a trick or treat bag made out of honey fabric and voila! Hello baby bear!


The ideas don’t stop there y’all. I’m like a treasure trove of Halloween Sprout inspiration, don’t worry. How cute would my baby niece look as a lil watermelon?!

pop.jpgLike punny costumes? Why not pair this popcorn shirt with a cute movie theater bucket skirt? Popcornception. What time is the movie? When will these previews ever end??  HAHAHAHA!


And finally, we can’t leave out your little furry friends. Don’t they deserve to dress up for Halloween too? I am dreaming about making the littlest Aaron wings for my cat so that I can be the MOTHER OF DRAGONS, but until then I did create the perfect pizza princess costume for the pup in our house. The happiest pup, decked out in her favorite food for everyone’s favorite time of year.

Now let all of this beauty and inspiration settle into your minds and…get SPROUTIN’! The only question is, WHAT WILL YOU BE??

nic.jpgNicole has a background in fashion development and design and a passion for businesses that do good, which has taken her to places like Uganda, Pakistan, and now Durham, NC. She is thrilled to be working to empower indie pattern makers through Sprout! In her spare time, you can either find Nicole in her home studio creating with her kitten by her side or exploring new places around town and abroad. She loves live music, Asian cuisine, and laughing.



Mother’s Day Outfit Inspiration

No matter how you’re celebrating Mother’s Day this Sunday, we have some outfit inspiration for you! Each outfit centers around a different pattern from Sprout, showing you that home sewing is definitely the way to go.


Love pink? So do we! Laurel Blouse from Colette Patterns.


Sweet options to stay cozy this chilly Spring. Anna Dress from By Hand London.


Bling it out in style. Archer Button Up from Grainline Studio.

Happy Mother’s Day to ALL the moms out there!

True Love’s Stitch: Learning to Sew

Today’s guest Blogger, Katie Allen, is part of the Sprout Patterns team.


Are you tired of flowers and chocolate, overpriced gifts, and store-bought cards on Valentine’s Day?  Today we bring you a heartwarming story about how meaningful a handmade gift can be.  Even if you have never sewn before, making an extra effort to create something for a loved one is easy with a Sprout Patterns project.


Todd and Leah – the early days!

Last summer, Todd joined our Sprout team as a front-end engineer.  A man of many talents, sewing was one thing he hadn’t tried.  Until now!  As we started printing out Sprout projects, Todd decided that he would like to sew one for his wife, Leah.  Cue the “Awwww”s.

He wasn’t about to start with something easy like our Lined Zipper Pouch, either.  Leah’s birthday was coming up, and he knew she would love the Myrtle dress by Colette Patterns.  The Myrtle is a great beginner’s project because it has a simple construction, and it looks flattering in various materials and on different body shapes.

The first challenge Todd took on was picking a design from the Spoonflower Marketplace, which is no small feat…there are so many options to decide between!  After looking at pages of designs, he finally chose Lela Ikat in Plum from Willow Lane Textiles because Leah enjoys wearing purple.  Next was choosing the perfect fabric from Spoonflower’s offerings; after consulting with the Sprout team, he decided on Silky Faille to add an elegance and drape to the cowl neck of the Myrtle. Plus, Silky Faille has amazing colorfastness and washability, ensuring many wearings of the dress in the future.


When the fabric had been printed, it stayed in a little box with matching thread under his desk for weeks!  No matter how much we encouraged him, he was a little apprehensive about actually starting to sew.  The Engineering Department sometimes has sewing nights where we all bring snacks, sewing machines, and our current projects.  At Todd’s first one, we showed him how to thread a sewing machine and sew straight stitch lines on scrap fabric.


The serger was even more intimidating than the sewing machine. Nicole, the product developer at Sprout, helped him navigate the ins and outs of finishing edges with a serger.  Once Todd learned the basics of sewing and serging, he began staying late into the evenings to secretly sew the dress. His story to Leah was that there was a “bug” in the code on the website that he needed to fix 😉


After following the sewing instructions, with a bit of guidance from Nicole and I, the week of Leah’s birthday arrived and Todd finished a beautiful Myrtle. For a final finishing touch, he created a belt from the leftover fabric in his Sprout project to tie around the waistband.  The only question that remained was–would it fit?


The weekend of Leah’s birthday, he threw a surprise party for her with family and friends, and then whisked her off to a bed and breakfast in the mountains the next day.


When it was time to go to dinner, Todd sneakily asked Leah what dress she was going to wear. She replied, “The one I packed!” and went to get it out of her suitcase. When she walked into the room, there was the handmade Myrtle hanging in the closet.

Leah was so surprised and amazed that Todd had sewn it by himself just for her. Plus, the dress fit and looked great on her. Success!


The happy couple today

So, if you’re thinking of making something for someone, a Sprout pattern is a great way to start.  Allow yourself a little extra time for practicing your stitching, and don’t rush your sewing!  You can use your scrap fabric to practice, or for a #sprouthack like Todd’s coordinating belt where you add your own custom detail to the pattern. If you love the dress Todd made and would like a copy to sew yourself, you can find the project on the Sprout website.

Do you need help sewing?  See if there are any sewing meetup events in your area, or ask a sewist friend for advice!  If you are near Durham, NC, Spoonflower throws a “Pins and Needles” craft night every month in our Greenhouse, and there are plenty of experts around to offer tips and tricks.

Happy Sewing!  – Katie

12509779_951623122887_894740084662195081_nKatie is an artist, an engineer for Sprout Patterns, and a developer at Spoonflower. Her latest adventure has been learning Ruby on Rails. With a background in sculpture and costuming (including having worked for visual artist Nick Cave!), if she isn’t sewing, she’s building dovetail boxes in the wood shop. She also loves hiking, contra dancing, Iyengar yoga, and mindfulness meditation.

“Cool” Christmas Shirt

Today we are featuring a guest blogger—Curtis from Pudleston Patchwork. He is an extremely talented crafter who lives in a little village called Pudleston (hence his blog title Pudleston Patchwork) in Herefordshire, England. He says it’s a perfect place to relax and unwind with a needle and thread. Curtis used Sprout to create a lovely Negroni shirt by Colette Patterns, using Nicole Porter’s design Smarty Pants Deer, Navy.


This was my first time using a pattern from Sprout and it did not disappoint! The men’s sewing pattern that they have on their website is a Negroni shirt, with the choice of either long or short sleeves.

The most exciting process of doing this project is picking which design to go with the look. With thousands of designs to use through Spoonflower you can really personalise the item you make. For this shirt I decided to go for a Christmassy theme as the festive season approaches.  The reindeer with glasses on was the pattern of choice and probably way too cool for me!


When the pattern arrives it comes printed in the shapes that need cutting out, which saves a lot of time compared to using a paper pattern. All the shapes are clearly labeled. In addition to the instructions, I also received the original PDF pattern with all sizes. Just in case you need a bit of assistance, there are also plenty of online tutorials available.


Starting point for me was inserting the front pockets pattern matching, and sewing the ‘lids’ for the pockets. Once the fronts are assembled I inserted the facing for the fronts (which I haven’t done on a shirt pattern before but really works to anchor the fronts in place).



Working on the back I inserted the yoke to the top part, including top stitching to reduce bulk. Then attaching the fronts to the back at the top shoulder seams, again top stitching.


The hardest part of the sew for me was the placket part on the lower sleeve. It took some playing and some googling but I managed to pop them in. Ironed interfacing into the cuffs and then attached to the sleeve.


Overall I am really impressed with the fit and finish. And I LOVE the fact that it is all prepared which makes it easier to put together. In total it only took about three hours to create the shirt. (The power of Sprout!)


We think Curtis did an AMAZING job with his shirt and wanted to thank him for being not only a wonderful sewist, but a gorgeous model as well!

If you’d like to try your hand at a Sprout Negroni, you can create one today in one of six fabrics, or copy the reindeer shirt that Curtis created. Also check out the suggested designs from Colette Patterns.

Holiday Stocking with Unexpected Illustrations

Several years ago I wrote a blog post on Spoonflower about how I took the patent illustrations and turned them into a design that I used on gift wrap.




My grandfather, Edward Okun, had several patents for improvements on the design of the folding umbrella in the 1930s as well as some others for a garment hanger and a corkscrew.

Screen Shot 2013-05-31 at 10.59.01 AM

Now that I work at Sprout Patterns, I decided to take that same design and turn it into a holiday stocking!


To create the stocking, I just went to Sprout Patterns and chose the Holiday Stocking in Faux Suede. I didn’t have a design for the cuff that I liked, so I created one on the fly in Spoonflower.


Katie sewed this up with a special sequin embellishment that nicely offsets the mechanical style of the drawings! What I love about this gift for my dad is that he will save it and use it for years to come.

Does your family have cherished drawings or other memorabilia you could use to put on a stocking? Tell us about it!

Turn a Photo into a Holiday Stocking


I love my dog Alba completely and with an almost inordinate amount of enthusiasm. So it follows that I want to put her face on just about everything! A few years ago I took this photo of her and created gift wrap on Spoonflower with it. This year I decided she needed her own holiday stocking and used Sprout Patterns to create it.


I added a bit of Ooomph to the photo in Photoshop, then uploaded to Spoonflower.


Then I switched the repeat style to mirror to make my design.

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 12.02.35 PM.png

After choosing the Holiday Stocking pattern from the Sprout site, I searched in my designs to locate Albatross Redux. Then I chose another of my designs for the cuff and strap.

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 12.03.54 PM.png

The 2D and 3D version looked perfect, so I picked Linen-Cotton as my fabric and sent the order through.


The stocking printed perfectly and looked exactly like the photo. From cutting down to a finished stocking took about 20 minutes. BOOM!


Which design will you create / pick for your holiday stocking? Let us know below!