Anna Dress Sprout Hack

Today’s guest blogger is Kelly, Director of Engineering over at Spoonflower. She also writes a blog where she focuses on sewing, weaving and reading. It’s called Dress Insouciantly – check it out!


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We’ve all had this moment before: It’s late at night and you got carried away working on a project when you realize you’re missing an essential element. But of course, the craft store is closed. Why oh why can’t craft stores be open at reasonable times? Say, 24-hours a day, 7-days a week? Sadly, I found myself in this position just last week.

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I’ve been eyeing By Hand London’s Anna dress ever since Sprout Patterns listed it. It looks elegant without being fussy, and can serve as both casual day dress or evening wear depending on what fabric you choose. With a birthday coming up, I decided now was the time, and designed the dress with a beautiful floral design called Winter Garden Antique from Ceciliamok. I chose the poly crepe de chine fabric because I love the light feeling it has and I really wanted that draped effect the slash-necked bodice has.

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As life so often goes, time caught up with me, and it was the night before my birthday party before I really got down to business and started sewing. I wasn’t worried though, this pattern is beautiful in its simplicity. The use of pleats in the bodice, instead of darts, makes it very easy to fit. And the long straight sides of the skirt are a breeze! And then, of course, I get to the very last step: the zipper. But wait, where is my zipper? I know I put it around here somewhere…

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Long story short, I had no 22inch zipper; what I did have was a 7-9 inch zipper. It was nearly midnight, there were no craft stores open anywhere. And yet, I was determined to wear this dress tomorrow, what could I do?

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Eventually, I realized that the zipper is really only needed for the narrowest part of the waist. Because the dress uses kimono sleeves instead of inset ones, and the bodice pleats encourage a relaxed fit and gathered look, the back of the dress isn’t actually supporting any structure. As long as the back of the neck is connected, the zipper really only needs to go as high as the bodice pleats. I decided that it would be completely possible to still finish the dress and create an open back feature.

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I set my 9inch zipper in the back seam so that the bottom of the zipper met the marks in the pattern and the top of it reached just past the bodice darts. Then I drew a gentle curve on the remaining section of each piece of the back bodice and cut away a little bit more than an inch of fabric. I hemmed these pieces with a double fold, making sure to catch the back facing in for a clean finish. I attached a button to the top of one back piece, and a loop of elastic thread to the other. Voila! I now have a key-hole back on my Anna dress!

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I am very pleased with how this dress turned out. I’m even happy I forgot to get a zipper of the right length; because of that mistake I ended up with a unique dress with an interesting feature. I feel like there are plenty of open back styles that would still work with the Anna dress pattern. You could add cross pieces, or cut the key-hole in a different shape, or don’t cut it out at all and let the pieces overlap each other for a more subtle look. With a little bit of extra scrap fabric you could create a draped cowl. Or you could add a large sculptural button for a statement piece… With so many ideas I’m going to have to save up to buy another Sprout dress again!

Sprout x Berlin Fashion Show Recap

Sprout Patterns Creative Director Caroline gives us the low down about the fashion show in Berlin that happened on September 7th at the Spoonflower European headquarters.


Ok, TRUTH? I now have a new appreciation for all runway shows. Let me tell you a secret – it’s A LOT of WORK! Is it fun? YES YES YES! But the coordination, the hair, makeup, models – it’s just a huge puzzle that you seem to be putting together on the fly, even if you’ve organized and rehearsed!

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Yes, that’s me, doing hair for the show, THANK GOODNESS for hairspray!

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Essentials – makeup, hairspray and chocolate – not pictured.

Since this is a “behind the scenes” look at the show, I wanted to also share how beautiful our models were without any special hair or makeup – naturally gorgeous!

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Jasmine and Martha – natural beauties!

We had a lot of help from the Spoonflower office dog, Ben. He made sure everyone got their daily dose of snuggles, petting, and canine slobber.

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Ben says all that snuggling is hard work!

I also got to meet with some of the designers before the show, like Mele de la Yglesia. I can honestly say that I’ve never seen anyone so excited about seeing their art on fabric. I loved Mele’s enthusiasm and it was AMAZING to share in her pure joy!

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Mele trying on a Kielo dress with her design

One of the BEST things about this show was that we hired a professional photographer, Benni Janzen. He is AMAZING, and sweet and super easy to work with. Seriously, if you’re in Europe and need a photographer, HIRE HIM! But of course, since I’m stubborn, I had to take my own iPhone photos, like these:

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Juliana models for Benni and Sophie tries on her Inari dress.

I think the models had a good time and made some new friends. They were all a lot of fun and made me wish I could stay in Berlin longer to hang out with them!

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Martha has some serious attitude – LOVE IT!

We held the show at the Spoonflower office in Berlin – which is in a really cool industrial section of Neukölln. The room we used has great light, but we rigged up some LED’s since the event was at night. Here’s the space BEFORE the magic happened. ;o)

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The other thing about having a photographer is that they sometimes catch you at certain “moments” like me absolutely FAWNING over designer Cristóbal Schmal. Not too obvious at all, RIGHT? HAHAHA!!!

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I hope his GF doesn’t see this photo! ;o)

Then the magic started happening. Pablo forgot that he was shy and rocked the runway.

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Laura from Named Clothing remembered that she got up at 4am to fly to Berlin and see the show. THANK YOU for coming all that way, Saara and Laura!!!

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I got to meet some very cool German bloggers and patternmakers and talked to them about Spoonflower and Sprout.

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The show was so much fun and I LOVED meeting everyone! I wore a Named Kielo Dress I’d sewn by designer Alexandra Bordallo of Spain. Little did I know that everyone was going to wear their favorite Kielo! Model Juliana won the battle (I’m totally serious, there was almost a fight!) over the show sample from Pete Corrie, then Laura and Saara wore the Kielos they’d ordered from Sprout. This is definitely one of my favorite photos from the show, and no we’re not terribly short, Juliana was just rocking monster heels.

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And the Kielo prize goes to…..

In conclusion: Berlin was awesome. The fashion show KICKED ASS. All I want to know is when the next one will be. Someone want to volunteer their city? LET ME KNOW! ;o) Tschuss!

p.s. If you saw a dress / shirt / top you liked, it’s probably here on Sprout.

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You Had Me at Photo Sharing…

Sometimes Mondays are a bit hard to deal with, so we try our best to give you little surprises to make your day better! For a while we’ve had reviews on Sprout. You’ve been able to TELL us about your experience, but not share images of your project. Well friends, that day HAS ARRIVED! Introducing: reviews with project photos.

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Now you can upload up to three images per project.

Kel.jpgDesign: Floating Across the Tops of Cities by Leighr

Did you add sleeves to your Grainline Alder Shirtdress, like Kelly? Share it with the world!

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Figure out a hack to add tiny pockets? Scream it from the rooftops!

We hope you’ll like this new feature and share your projects with the rest of the Sprout Community. You know you’re awesome, don’t keep it from the rest of us! ;o)

Sprout Sewing Resources

Sometimes you need a helping hand to start or get through a sewing project—we’ve all been there! So we’ve put together a resources page with sewalongs, tips and tricks and even videos to help you make your next Sprout project great!

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We have sewalongs from our Patternmakers

Grainline.jpgHaving a visual guide when sewing (otherwise known as a sewalong) can be invaluable and boost your confidence!

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Tips and Tricks to help your project be the best ever

Sewing should be FUN, not frustrating! We hope that the resources we’ve compiled will help you feel the same way, sharpen up your stitching game and eventually allow you to create a handmade wardrobe for yourself and your family!

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If you know of any resources that we’ve missed, or have suggestions for topics that we could include, please don’t hesitate to drop us a line and share!

Designing Your Own Clothing with Sprout

Today we are featuring Taiwanese Spoonflower designer and Sprout customer, Canigrin Chen. She shares her experience on Sprout as well as making the Laurel Dress by Colette Patterns.

Hello! My name is Canigrin Chen and I’m an illustrator living in Taiwan. I love creating repeat patterns, and always wanted to make my own fabric. So when I found Spoonflower, I totally fell in love with the idea that you can print your own fabric even just a very small order.

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I love that you can even choose the material from cotton, knit to silk. The variety of fabric allow you to make home decor stuff and even sports wear, which gives endless possibility for making my own product.

 
It’s a thrill to me as a creator and a maker that I can easily make my own products. I use Spoonflower to print my own fabric and sew it into apron, mittens, and even throw pillows. But after a few craft projects, I soon hoped that I can even sew my own dress with my design!

 

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I bought some books about making simple dresses, but the biggest challenge is tracing the patterns, I guess it’s the hardest part to cross. I did use a big frozen paper to trace and copy the pattern onto my fabric, as all of you may have tried. But it just frustrating when the dress doesn’t fit after all the hard work, just because of paper slips sometimes. The time I spent on tracing was way more than what I spent on the making of the dress.

 

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Then Spoonflower announced a new service called Sproutpatterns, which allow you to make your own dress with pattern printed on fabric of your choice. Boom!  What a brilliant idea! Why didn’t I thought of it? It made making my own clothing as simple as playing with a paper doll. Simply cutting the fabric pieces and put them together, and you’re done!

 

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Creating Sprout Patterns project is just a few clicks. The 3D model made it a lot easier to imagine your dream dress! The best thing is it’s almost the same price as you order plain fabric (without seeing pattern printed on it) on Spoonflower, plus a copy of free PDF pattern than you can make more dresses and different sizes. But the experience of Sprout is so good that I was too spoiled to trace that pattern again.

 

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I chose the Laurel dress this time (first time I made the Moneta dress), as it’ll be a great gift for my mom. She’s a banker and I hope she’ll wear my handmade dress to work so I chose poly crepe fabric with the cuff variation. One thing about Sprout Patterns is that it seems like they have just a few patterns, but there are many variations hiding in each dress.

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A dress with cuffs or long sleeves makes it totally different, plus the fabrics you choose. The possibilities are endless! I think my choice of poly crepe fabric suits well for my navy camo surface design. The colors are vibrant and the touch is soft. I love how it’s lightweight, so suitable for summer time and I have the ability to layer so you can wear it every season.

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You can choose any design on Spoonflower to create your unique dress. Sprout even allows you to use different designs on different parts of the dress. For the Laurel dress I was making, the cuff is where I made changes. Some patterns give more flexibility and freedom to be your own fashion designer. Mix and match until you like it.

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The Laurel dress took me about 3 days to make. The invisible zipper was the biggest challenge, and I modified the design by making my own bias tape.  Both took more time than I expected to make, but I am satisfied with the outcome.

 

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Even though I’m in Asia, I used this service because it’s unique. Here we have some merchandisers who offer customized fabric printing service, but the minimum order has to be 20 yards of a single design. It’s not affordable nor does any of this service provide fabrics like cotton or other fabrics that are suitable for wearing. I just love creating surface design so thanks Sprout Patterns for making it easier for me to have my own dress!

 


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Canigrin is a dreamer, a maker and a creator living in Taipei, Taiwan. She shares her bright and colorful working process on Instagram and Facebook.

Something Handmade: Personalized Bridesmaids gifts with Sprout Patterns

DIY weddings are the cutest, and so is Jennifer Spanos – Spoonflower Operations team member and bride-to-be! Jennifer is a novice sewist, but decided to take on the Sprout Patterns Lined Zipper Pouch as the perfect handmade gift for her bridesmaids.


I work at Spoonflower and am constantly surrounded by fabric – so I knew I should finally learn how to sew. Spoonflower offers employees basic sewing classes and I jumped at the opportunity! I recently sewed up my first napkins and have plans to hem some tablecloths and signage for my wedding soon.

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One of our engagement photos

I’m getting married next month in Asheville North Carolina. Although my fiance and I are both from Ohio (Go Cavs!) we wanted to bring our families down to explore the mountains (and amazing food) of North Carolina. Christopher and I met at summer camp so we thought an outdoor wedding would be perfect.

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Some of my pouches, washed and dried – so happy with how bright the colors stayed!

I’ve never sewn a zipper before, but my coworkers convinced me I could do it. I decided to make each of my bridesmaids a Zipper Pouch from Sprout Patterns to include in their gifts for the wedding day.

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I had so much fun looking through our marketplace to choose designs for my zipper pouches! I tend to “heart” everything I like and my favorites list gets longer everyday! I spent some time going over my favorites as well as searched some words that reminded me of my bridesmaids. All of the pouches have the same design on the outside (Ferns by Landpenguin) but the inside is personalized. I don’t know if my twin sister’s lining, Buried Bones by Alyssa Scott, or my cousin’s lining, Love all dogs by wideeyedtree, is my favorite lining! So cute!

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My favorite part about Sprouting would have to be cutting out the pattern! It was immediate gratification to look down and have all of my pieces straight and ready to sew! The instructions were very clear and the pictures were super helpful!

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Gifts.jpgSome of the other gifts for my bridesmaids – the zipper pouch fits in perfectly!

I am so happy to have finally used Sprout with a sewing project. I am really excited to give something to my girls that is personal and handmade! I hope to increase my sewing skills a bit because a dress project is calling my name.


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Jennifer is on the Operations Team at Spoonflower and the co-chair of their Sustainability Committee. Her hobbies include snuggling with her three year old Plott hound Wenonah, watching scary movies and wedding planning (is that a hobby?). She would rather go out for breakfast than dinner and loves learning to cook any Greek recipe!

Five Reasons I Love my Sloan Leggings (and Yoga)

Being part of the Spoonflower print team is the best. But, working nights isn’t always easy – it’s difficult to develop a routine when your schedule is the opposite of the majority of the adult world. Meals are hard. When do you do laundry? And, when do you find the time to exercise when you’re totally not a morning person?

I found a way to get some exercise and a way to avoid doing laundry a little bit longer. The magical solution? Practice yoga, and do it in a new pair of Sloan Leggings from Sprout Patterns.

5 Awesome Things Yoga and my Sloan Leggings Have in Common:

  1. The most important thing: Comfort.

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Does doing yoga mean an excuse to wear leggings and comfy shirts? Yes, please! The Sloan Leggings (also available in a customizable paneled version) are ridiculously comfortable. My pair is made with Cotton Spandex Jersey, a lightweight knit that stretches with me.

  1. I can do yoga/wear my leggings anywhere!

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At my house? On a beach? In the print room? Do yoga. At my house? On the beach? In the print room? Wear leggings. Done. The Sloan Leggings even have a pocket so I can take my music with me, too!

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Bonus: I can also cut out Sprout’s pattern pieces anywhere, since there’s no need to lay the pieces flat. My favorite place is on my couch.

  1. I can do yoga/make leggings anytime!

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6am? My dinner break? A rainy afternoon? The hottest day on record since 1910? Sounds like the perfect time to roll out my yoga mat and my cutting mat! My preference for both activities is usually midnight, which is why I picked Midnight in a Perfect World (black) by Mirjamauno (who just happens to work in Spoonflower’s Berlin office!!!)  for my main design. It’s paired with Black and White Geometric by Crystal Walen for some fun contrast.

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  1. Both yoga and leggings make my life easier.

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Yoga helps you to be strong and flexible. These things are essential for surviving the print room, especially when you’re a tiny person moving cores that are bigger than you are and working with machines that are a constant physical challenge.

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You know what else is great for moving freely and staying comfy during any kind of day? Leggings. And, they’re cute! Dress them up or down for a fun pop of color.

  1. There’s something for everyone (furry friends included).

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Yoga is awesome for everyone, because you can create a flow that fits your lifestyle. Same with the Sloan Leggings – order a pair like mine (Creatures of the Night) or design your own!

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I was even able to make a matching headband from the extra printed fabric to keep my crazy hair at bay in the July beach air. Check out this list of four easy tutorials to make your own, too!

If you make your own pair, hopefully I’ll be the lucky print operator that gets to print them out. And, I’m probably going to be wearing my own leggings while I do it.

Happy stretching!
Gina


gina1.jpgGina is a printer operator at Spoonflower (or as she likes to call her position, “Slayer of Ink Beasts”) and a summer intern with Sprout. When she’s not having audible conversations with machinery, she can be found sharing facts about pigeons or Wonder Woman or old buildings with anyone who will listen. Her hobbies include fabric hoarding, wrestling her sewing projects away from her polydactyl cat Oz, and aimlessly wandering with coffee in one hand and her polaroid in the other.