Lina and Vi: March 2016

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

My Top 4 Sewing Blogs

And we're back! Another week is in full swing around here, and it's a big one! We're officially 1 sale away from hitting 100 sales in our Etsy shop and we are 3 days away from hitting our 2 year anniversary of opening our Etsy shop! I can't believe it has been 2 years. What an adventure it has been, but that is a different story for another day.

I'm a committed blog reader, and every day after work is over and dinner is done, I sit down and catch up on a handful of blogs for the day. I've been doing this for almost 6 years, and I've collected a number of blogs that I return to on a daily basis, each with their own theme and style. One genre of blogs that I follow pertain to sewing - basic sewing skills, advanced sewing, pattern drafting how-tos, general tips and tricks, lingerie sewing, children's name it, it is out there. I love seeing what other people sew, and I have learned so much about sewing from these courageous bloggers.

Today, I'm sharing my top 4 sewing blogs. Each of them is slightly different, and I like them each for their unique styles. If you are also a sewing fan, go ahead and grab a cup of coffee and add these new blogs to your reading list.

This one is a no-brainer in the sewing world. The Colette Blog is the blog of the indie clothing pattern company, Colette. There is a team of people behind this blog, which features beautiful photos, in-depth interviews, excellent educational materials related to sewing and fabric selection, and so much more. I love the monthly magazine, and I recently started listening to their podcast, Seamwork Radio. Amazing!

Heather is the blogger behind Closet Case Files, and it's easy to see her knowledge shine through with each of her posts. She designs, drafts, and sells her own patterns (check out her Pattern Shop), and she provides sew-a-long posts for many of her own patterns for readers to follow. I love that her posts are authentic and thoughtful, including little tidbits about her personal life such as adjusting to a new puppy, which is something I definitely can relate to. But, above all, I love her weekly wrap up, This Week in Sewing Blogs, and I have found this to be a great resource in connecting to others in the online sewing world.

I'm not quite sure how I first stumbled upon Caroline's blog, but she has a style and a focus that is completely hers which I love. Caroline sews both apparel and accessories, and she often uses fabric that she has designed herself (so cool!). She shares a lot of DIY tutorials on her blog, as well as features her own sewing patterns which can be purchased through her site. Her blog is colorful, bright, and happy, just like her fabric designs, and with her recent family addition, she offers a bunch of new ideas for sewing baby clothes and baby quilts.

I've been reading Maggie's blog for a couple of years, and I have kept reading along as her small business and lifestyle have evolved. She offers many small business resources to anyone interested in learning about how to start and grow their own handmade business. In more recent years, Maggie's blog has focused on personal growth, including book and product reviews along with her family life, and I find that her posts are often sources of inspiration, and confidence. If you are looking specifically for sewing related posts, jump to 2011/2012 in her archives. If you just need a pep-talk for the day, her posts can be your biggest cheerleader!

Finally, I want to list another resource that is not a blog but is more of a feed - Sewcialists. This is a blog feed of online sewing bloggers from around the world, and it's always fun to stop by and scroll through them to see new projects and trends flowing through the sewing world. You may even find a Lina and Vi post in there as well ;-).

That's a wrap! I hope you do stop by these blogs and check out their content if you are interested in sewing or just in finding a new, interesting read. #makingthingshappen


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Cooperative Coffee Burlap Market Tote

If you follow Lina and Vi on Facebook, you may know that we introduced a brand new burlap bag this week! Please welcome the Cooperative Coffee burlap market tote - a light-weight shoulder bag with burlap straps and a colorful cotton lining.

Although this bag looks similar to our other totes, this one is slightly different under the covers giving it a more casual, slouchy look for the easy-going spring and summer months. I chose to leave out the heavy-weight stabilizer on the burlap this design so that it's not as stiff and is more relaxed. That being said, the bottom of the exterior is sewn from a heavy-duty, thick upholstery canvas with a soft, suede-like touch so this market tote is not a weak one. It's durable and strong enough for those heavy loads that you accumulate on a walk to the local farmer's market or the local street fair during the upcoming sunny months, without the added bulk of the chunky seams and stabilizer.

I chose to use a coral cotton fabric for the interior of the bag. It's very simple on the inside with no pockets and just room for all those organic vegetables that you will be toting home on your trip to the market.  I love the pop of color on this bag, and how it balances the warm tones of the Cooperative logo original to the coffee bean burlap sack. Our friends over at RoosRoast in Ann Arbor graciously provided us the original coffee bean burlap sack for this one.  (Did you hear that they are moving to a new location in downtown Ann Arbor? This is exciting, especially if you are local to the area!)

My two favorite elements of this design are the large exterior slide pocket on the back of the bag, sewn from the same tan upholstery fabric, and the handmade burlap straps.

No zippers or tricky buttons, just a simple design for the simple months ahead. You can find it available for sale now in our Etsy shop.

In other news, I've been spending some of my free time reading a new book that you may find interesting as well called Overdressed. I learned about it via a Book Club blog post on Colette Blog. I am about three quarters through the book, and I'm really enjoying it. To be honest, I found the first few chapters to be quite repetitive, but as the book has progressed, I'm finding it's much better segmented and structured later on. It's really a great view into the mass manufacturing of clothing and the implications it has had on the industry as a whole, from quality standards to price points to labor relations.  If you're interested in those topics, I recommend checking it out as a new read this spring.


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Burlap Pouch Marathon

burlap zipper pouch sets handmade by lina and vi, plymouth MI

Hi friends! I've been busy this past week with one of our largest orders yet for fifteen burlap zipper pouches, and I'm happy to report they have been shipped out as of writing this update! Over this past week, I've been heads down trying to finalize the order with the buyer, sewing up the pouches, and packing up everything to ship out.

This is just a short update today to let you know that although we were temporarily out of pouches for a short period of a few days, I just sewed up a new 3 pouch gift set. You can find this available for sale in our Etsy shop here.  I'm thrilled with the amount of interest we have in our burlap zipper pouches, and I'm excited to play around with more colorful lining fabric to pair with the burlap.  That blue, orange, and white fabric that lines the bottom pouch above is a brand new addition to my fabric stash. These are completely customizable!

burlap zipper pouch sets handmade by lina and vi, plymouth MI

burlap zipper pouch sets handmade by lina and vi, plymouth MI

In other news, our No. 33 Floral burlap messenger style, cross-body bag is on sale! This one is all about the color, and it's a perfect way to add a pop to any outfit this spring and summer. Stop on by the sale and to shop around!

Thanks for stopping by,

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Custom Gray Bridesmaid Burlap Pouches

Burlap bridesmaid pouches - lina and vi

Bridesmaid burlap pouches. Bridesmaid burlap pouches. Bridesmaid burlap pouches. Bet you can't say it three times fast!

I'm back to share a few photos from a custom wedding order I just wrapped up for an Etsy bride. This particular bride requested a few slight variations on the standard small zipper pouches - a gray flower and a wrist strap. This was a first for a flower, but I knew these small pouches could pull a small rosette off in the lower left corner and have it blend well with the black burlap text. Second, I added a wrist strap to the right side of each pouch. I suggested something thin, since these pouches are quite small at 4 by 6 inches. In the end, the strap was made from gray cotton webbing that I folded over and top-stitched so that it would balance well against the size of the zipper pouch.

The bride didn't request any specific lining fabric so we went with a solid cream canvas fabric, which holds the shape of these pouches turned clutches very well. Finally, the burlap used for these pouches was a thicker weave and came from a bag provided by our friends at RoosRoast in Ann Arbor!

Burlap bridesmaid pouches - lina and vi

Handmade burlap bridesmaid clutch with flower

Gray bridesmaid clutch

Gray burlap wristlet

I can feel the wedding season ramping up now that we are in March, and I'm honored to have been selected to create handmade gifts already this early in the year. There is no idea that cannot be considered, and I'm constantly amazed at how many fun designs my customers present to me to make their wedding day personal and special. If you know a bride or are looking for a custom gift, please feel free to email me or send me a message on Etsy to start the process.

In other news, I spent a few hours this past weekend meeting up with a few local bloggers and Etsy shop owners at Atomic Coffee in downtown Royal Oak, and it was a blast! The meetup was organized by Maggie, who is a fellow seamstress and small business owner who recently moved back to the metro Detroit area that I've been following for a few years. It was so awesome to meet new people and be able to talk about crafting, sewing, running an Etsy shop, and everything in between. Head on over to her blog if you are looking for a new read and see a photo from our meetup on Saturday!


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Pair of Custom Burlap State Pillows

Happy Tuesday! Over this past week, I wrapped up a new custom order for a friend looking for a set of burlap state pillows for a bridal shower gift.  In this case, each pillow represents the bride and groom's home states of Michigan and Colorado. You may notice that I put a slight spin on the design for these by adding in the state's abbreviation to the lower right of the silhouette on each pillow. When planning these out, I realized that the Colorado silhouette isn't as easily recongizable as other, more memorable state shapes. The result? Add the state's initials to the silhouette so that it's clear and not just a square on a pillow!

We're just starting up on wedding season as all of the pre-wedding showers, bachelorettes, and engagement parties are coming up quickly with the main wedding season approaching quickly thereafter! I always prefer giving (and receiving for that matter) a gift that is personalized a bit, as it feels more thoughtful and personable. I think this set of burlap pillows is a creative gift that is both sentimental and practical.

Do you have a bride or groom in your life this year? I just made it possible to now order a custom set of silhouetted burlap state pillows in our Etsy shop. I hope you stop by and consider setting up a custom order as part of your party planning this season!

I'm off to prep for another day tomorrow. I hope you are having a great week!