How to Plan Your Creative Projects for the Entire Year

It’s time to plan out my creative projects for the next year. This time, I decided to share how I plan my projects for an entire year. You will be amazed how much you can accomplish with a bit of organization early in the year! Quilters Planner and Magazine Creativity Requires Planning Blogging as a creative person requires planning to accomplish projects. I tend to start things and not finish, buy too many supplies that I never use, or have a great idea that gets forgotten in the chaos. That’s how creativity works, we are not an organized lot. However, I have learned that if I spend a bit of time planning I can accomplish so much more! By using a special creative calendar everything comes together in one spot! After searching the internet extensively for a suitable planner, I came across the Quilter’s Planner. It has exactly what I was looking for: Inspirational photos and projects, areas for sketching, keeping swatches, spiral bound and compact in size. I am so excited to start using it! The pages of the planner are bound with a spiral binding. This makes it easy to flip to the current month. On each monthly tab is an inspirational quote and beautiful project. I spend a couple of hours reading through all the projects in the free magazine. Love them all! I chose a few from the magazine to put on my calendar to work on. Creative Project Resources Towards the back of the planner are the resource pages. There are spots for each project…
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DIY Holiday Doll Clothes Banner

This cute little doll clothes project is quick to make with scraps from your fabric stash. If you have a young one who wants to learn to sew, this would be a great project for them!  Doll Clothes Garland There is something so charming about a doll clothes banner/garland, especially one that mimics everyday life. This doll clothes project is quick to machine sew, or even stitch by hand. The winter shirts and trousers look like they came from vintage Grandpa’s closet. We don’t actually have any dolls at our house, because our family is all boys. However, I am sure these tiny garments would fit any Barbie  or Ken doll quite well. Thanks to Hoffman Fabrics of California for supplying the adorable Christmas Tree print and black and white stripe fabrics. You can see more of their holiday fabric collection here. These scraps of fabric came from a couple of my recent projects but you could also cut up old clothes for this project.  If you want to see more of how the original projects turned out, take a look at the Ragged Baby Quilt and Men’s Hoodie Pajamas.  They turned out pretty nice! For this project you will need: Doll Clothes Garland Supplies 1/4 yard of red and black check fabric 1/4 yard of Christmas tree fabric 1/4 yard of black pin stripe fabric. 1 yard or more of twine Miniature clothes pins McCalls pattern #6051 This project was a bit of a mash up with the different fabrics. I started with the basic top and bottom pieces…
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Sew Fabulous Mens Holiday Pajamas

Some families have a tradition of wearing matching pajamas for Christmas Eve. This pattern is great for making easy memorable pajamas!  Men’s Hoodie Pattern I loved this pattern the moment I saw it. Our adult children are way past the age of wearing matching pajamas, but this pattern seemed like it would work for all of them. It’s technically not for pajamas, but the casual style and trendy hoodie is something that they all love. The pattern calls for knit and woven fabric which is rather unusual. The front of the shirt, the placket, pockets and front pieces are all woven material. The sleeves, back and hood are a cotton knit. Soft woven cottons and jersey knits make great sleeping attire and I love them together in this pajama set. I haven’t made the pants yet, more on that soon! Hoffman Holiday Fabric Collection This Near and Deer holiday fabric collection from Hoffman Fabrics is perfect for guys. It’s not too cutesy, or outrageously colored. It even has manly deer and stripes. Our son was thrilled with my fabric choices for this project. You can’t go wrong with classic black and white! Sewing Pattern Adjustments The cotton fabric is 44″ wide, but since the only woven pieces are in the front cutting the narrow width wasn’t hard. I added 2″ to the length at the waist for this McCalls M747 pattern. My system is to cut the pattern apart and measure the gap for the amount needed. The pattern seemed to fit well overall and was very straight forward to sew…
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Sew Along Masterclass Poll, Help Find the Dream!

Planning this Sew Along Masterclass for next year. Now is your chance to give me your opinion on what you want to learn and  help me find the dream! 2018 Sew Along Masterclass I have been working behind the scenes for several months planning my blog content for the next year. It’s been a whirlwind battle, one that I have finally won and mastered. It hasn’t been an easy journey. At first I wasn’t even sure I would be blogging next year. Growth on the blog has been slow and I am frustrated with the way things have been going the last couple of years. The millions of followers that I expected to have when I began blogging 8 years ago just aren’t there despite the considerable time and effort that I put into this business. I even started looking for full time apparel design jobs, which I haven’t done since 1994. There were even full time job interviews. Several of them. However, in the long run I decided that I just can’t go back to working for a large corporation just yet. Finishing the Blogging Dream It’s hard to give up on a dream. This blogging dream isn’t finished yet. When I started this blog so long ago I always had the thought that I would go back to my fashion design roots at some point and become a fashion blogger. At the time I began writing in 2009, it seemed like growing my following through home decor would be the hard part, and becoming a fashion blogger at some…
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How to Make a Fleece Lounging Gown

Make a Fleece Lounging Gown to slip into after a long day at work or relax after a hectic day with the family. This gown is a great project for beginner seamstresses!  This fleece fabric caught my eye at the fabric store recently. Loved the soft color pallet!   Fleece Lounging is King Making anything with fleece is always a good idea. Fleece is inexpensive, easy to sew and comes in tons of great patterns and colors. Fleece is also stretchy and very forgiving for new sewers who aren’t exactly sure of them selves. This project is easy to whip up in a single afternoon without a lot of fuss. It’s been a while since I have sewn much for myself. However, I have stocked up on fabric and patterns for a major sewing project in the future! More to come on that soon! This pattern is Mc Calls 7061.(affiliate link) I am sure I will be making several more of these lounging gowns, perhaps even a couple of them for holiday gifts. Speaking of gifts, check out my pattern shop for more handmade gift ideas here. The robe features a hood and a “kangaroo” style pocket which I love for keeping my cell phone close by. You could also make some booties or leggings to keep your feet and legs warm (they are included in this pattern). The modesty of this piece was one of the things that attracted me to it. Love the coverage in this garment! It feels cozy enough that I could run to the grocery store…
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Warm and Fluffy Ragged Baby Quilt

Warm and fluffy quilts are loved by little ones, this ragged baby quilt is fairly simple to make and won’t break the bank! Ragged Baby Quilt Warm and fluffy blankets are always on my bed and furniture during the cold months. A soft flannel quilt is frequently fought over by all of our family members to cuddle with while watching tv. I made this darling baby quilt for our neighbors who just had a baby boy. It’s so cute, I was tempted to keep it. Not that it would cover even part of my generous sized body, but I just liked it. So soft and fuzzy! Ragged baby quilts are fun to make even if you are without a lot of quilting experience. You don’t need any fancy quilting machines or other supplies which is great. The pattern for this quilt is available for immediate download in my new pattern shop! Whoo, hoo! The shop has been a long time in coming, and I am very excited to have it put together! The Chambray Blues Sewing Patterns site is up and running! I am adding more patterns (crafts, quilting, apparel and home decor) as well as notions and fabrics each week so be sure to stop back if you don’t find what you are looking for. SHOP CHAMBRAY BLUES NOW If you need a pattern for something specific, I also make custom pdf sewing patterns. Send me your requests at Jessica@designerssweetspot.com and I will try to accommodate your needs. You can read about my compensation rates on the Hire Me…
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How to Make Budget Curtains for Any Room

Budget curtains can be hard to find if you pay retail price. Here are my best tips for making them yourself in just a few simple steps.  Here we are back again for week 3 of the One Room Challenge! This week our dining room renovation includes Window Treatments! Here’s what we have covered so far: Week 1: Design Plan Week 2: Paint Week 3: Ceiling Medallion Click on the links above to see the progress!  Curtains That Only Look Expensive New curtains have been on my to do list for this room for a while. I dread a large project like this because it’s expensive and time consuming. However, this one turned out to be less expensive than I anticipated. Here’s my story: Since I had my fabric picked out since week one, it was going to be easy to go and buy it at the store. Problem was they were sold out when I got there. Not good! The Fabric Deal After browsing the clearance rack of decor fabrics, I came up with two options. One was a lovely teal priced at $4.00 a yard. What a great deal! Option two was a lovely Waverly fabric floral print priced at $13.00 per yard. Not so cheap, but I really liked it. I took both bolts to the counter and asked the clerk why one was so much more than the other. Turns out the Waverly floral was incorrectly priced. It should have been marked 80% OFF!!! Calmly, I explained that I wanted to buy the entire bolt, before…
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Adorable Kids Halloween Trick or Treat Bag

Kids love a special bag to capture all their loot from the big Halloween event. This simple bag is charming and not a bit scary to make. Halloween Trick or Treat Bag Remember going door to door as a kid? Each year we had a different bag, sometimes it was as simple as a homemade fabric bag. This adorable bag is easy to make with two different fabric scraps and a bit of leftover quilt binding. The bag has plenty of space for treats, plus it is easy to pull closed to keep all that good stuff from spilling out! The top of the bag is full of glow in the dark eyes, how fun for the littles to play with in the darkness! I used less than a 1/4 yard of fabric of each print for this project. These fabrics came from JoAnn’s. You can order them through my affiliate link here: Order the Cats Eye print Order the Fat Cat Print Order the Black Quilt Binding The secret to the bag, is that it has a plastic bottom that allows the bag to retain it’s shape. The plastic is nothing more than the bottom of a gallon milk jug. Bag Directions Cut out main fabric, two pieces, 11 ” wide by 15″ long. Stitch side seams with right sides together. Stitch 45 degree corners at lower edge of side seams. Turn right side out and press. Cut Cat’s Eye fabric to size (4 1/2″ wide x 11″ long), use pinking shears to trim lower raw edge. Sew right…
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Sew Yourself a Stunning Japanese Knot Bag

This Japanese Knot Bag is all the rage right now, make one in less than an hour and wear it out for the evening or take it shopping tomorrow!   Simple Japanese Knot Bag The Japanese have a way with beautiful design. This fabric handbag is no exception! It is simple and sleek in construction. It would be beautiful in any array of colors or fabrics. Wear it to the grocery store, take it to school, bring it to the theater or even the symphony. You will have compliments every where you go, I promise! I have joined a number of sewing groups on Facebook. Since I have been sewing for so long it’s easy for me to put projects together without really thinking a lot about it. Being in a group of people who are learning to sew has been good for me. It’s helped me see things in a different light. Most people like simple projects and want simple patterns and simple directions to go with them. This bag is no exception. Simple and beautiful. The floral fabric in this project is 100 percent cotton. It is none other than the Hoffman Challenge Print of the year. If you aren’t familiar with the Hoffman Challenge, it’s a sewing and design contest put on each year by Hoffman Fabrics of California. I have always dreamed of submitting a design for this challenge in quilting, apparel design or home decor creations. I missed the deadline yet again this year, but I still purchased the fabric as you can see. Maybe…
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How to Make a Braided Fall Wreath, Easy to Sew

This easy to sew fall wreath is a great way to use up your fabric scraps. This would  also make a great beginner sewing project.  The first time I made a wreath like this was in the Girl Scouts in 5th grade. It’s crazy how some things stick with you over the years. At the time, I was new to sewing and this was my very first sewing project. I’ve been hooked on sewing ever since. The wreath is made from 3 “sleeves” of cotton batik quilting fabric in beautiful fall colors. It would be easy to make different colored wreaths for different seasons, but I must say I love these rich warm colors. The sleeves are braided together and attached to a grapevine wreath with some twine for a rustic farmhouse feel. This little door is in our entry way. It leads to no where but a closet. This is a small storage area under our stairs that we use for off season items like Christmas decorations and winter shoes and boots. I love the little quirky parts of an old house like this! Here’s what you will need to make your own wreath: Fall Wreath Supplies Needed: This post contains affiliate links. By making a purchase I will receive a small commission at no extra charge to you. For a complete list of rules, see the disclosures page. • 1/4 yard cuts of three fall colored batik fabrics (yellow, brown, green) •Sewing machine and thread •sewing needle •polyester fiberfill stuffing •plastic 12″ ruler •large safety pins •Scissors or rotary cutter…
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