Testing, testing 1-2-3

Seems to be the million-dollar-word right now: testing. We're already feeling the impact of the CPSIA... companies all over the nation are beginning to test their products for lead and other harmful substances. Retailers already refuse to accept products from their vendors without testing certification. February 10th is just around the corner...

I was pleased to find out today that Michael Miller Fabrics just sent an email to all their customers stating that their 100% Cotton Sheeting and Flannel that Michael Miller Fabrics manufactures meets the hazardous material requirements of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. (Click here to see test results.) Well, that's good to know! Now we just need to put all our strengths together to make sure they amend the law to accept "component testing."

In addition to this, I was browsing on Twitter this afternoon, when Anna from Sweet Dreams Designs twittered that she recently had Andalucia tested via XRF gun by The Smart Mama and it passed with flying colors! PHEW! Well, of course it did, but it's always reassuring to get that sort of info confirmed by 2 separate sources!

I've been doing a bit of "testing" of my own, but not on fabrics. I've been working day and night on my new line of boutique sewing patterns and I'm just giddy with excitement about it. Let's just say that I've had to become BFFs with Adobe Illustrator CS4... from drafting the pattern itself to making the small mechanical drawings that accompany the instructions, this is a job best suited for a vector program and Illustrator is IT for me.

The first pattern, Lil' Chef, was finished this past weekend and it is off to the "testers" this week with specific instructions to "not be shy about telling me if it stinks!" I want to make sure these are perfect in every way and if I need to re-draft it from scratch, I will. Here's a sneak peek of the front cover of the pattern instruction booklet (check out my little ham!):


I've also been hard at work on my second boutique pattern. This is a dress/tunic top that is loosely inspired by a Mexican housedress, but updated with some girlie details. I call it Frida. The pattern has been drafted and graded. The instructions have been written, but before I send this one off to my testers, I need to do my own testing (plus it helps me get rid of some of this old fabric stash that's been hanging 'round my studio for months... er... years!)

The little one, with the lemon fabric, was actually my 2nd test. The 1st one was so bad that I took it apart immediately and reused the fabric. eeek! This 2nd test was much better but the fit was not perfect yet. I'm lucky to have a live-in 3T/4T model and a 6/7 model to "test" these on. ;) I went on to make the one on the left with the gorgeous Madame Butterfly fabrics and I'm pleased to announce the fit was perfect and the target audience (a.k.a. Sophie) was thrilled with the result!


Frida also comes in dress length with two adorable patch pockets. I made this version in Sydney's size (3T/4T) to see how it fit and it was perfect again! Third time's a charm, right?! ;)


Check out the pocket detail... it has elastic at the top.


Both, the tunic top and the dress versions of Frida, have ties on the side. Frida is loose fitting so it can be worn over a tee during the Winter (as Sophie did today) or by itself during the warm months. I think it would also be cute made up in muslin cloth and used as an art smock over regular clothes.


I'm thinking of adding an accessory to this pattern... maybe a headscarf. Any ideas?

Now that I know Frida works, I just have to print out some copies, send it to my testers and make some prototypes out of Andalucia....hmmmm... or maybe even out of Mezzanine. What? What's Mezzanine, you say? Well, that's the name of my next fabric collection, due out at Spring Quilt Market (May 2009.) Shhhhh... that's all I can say about that! (don't even try to get any more out of me... you know I'm weak!)

OK, so speaking of testing, I think life was really trying to test my patience (or sanity) tonight! First, I lost my favorite serving plate as it slid off the counter -- with the dinner on top of it -- and broke into a million pieces on the kitchen floor. Then, as I was kissing the girls goodnight, I heard a super loud POW! coming from the first floor. I tip-toed down the stairs, afraid of what I might find. Well, what I discovered was that an almost full bottle of liquid detergent had fallen off the top of my washing machine and busted completely! There was a 1/2" deep film of blueness on the laundry room floor and splatter marks that went 5 feet up the wall and covered the washer, dryer and hamper. Yes, lovely!


  1. Your little ham is beautiful in her kitchen attire, and the Frida shirt/dresses are darling too! I think either a headband with long tails, or a kerchief would be very cute!

    I think life likes to test us all from time to time - we had our carbon monoxide alarm go off and have found out that we need to replace both of our water heaters (and they are only 4 years old) :( But life goes on, and we must continue creating to perserve our sanity! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I love the Frida dress - great job!

  3. Oh, so sorry you had such an "eventful" evening! However, your little ham and the patterns are simply adorable! I can't wait to get the Frida pattern...I hope the wait won't be too long!

  4. very nice, I have a 8 yo tester and a 12 yo tester if you need my services. you could email me, luv2knit@roadrunner.com

  5. I just love that little apron !! I can't wait for the pattern to come out. Sorry to hear you had a 'bad luck' night. I think we all have/had those days and we feel your frustration!

    How can you be so inspiring on such a bad luck night! I hope today is better. :)

  6. At least it was a cleaning product! Well, that's what I told myself when Mr 3 and Miss 1 emptied an entire 500ml bottle of shampoo onto our new sofa and rubbed it in (gleefully until caught!) with ther hands!

    Hmm, Mezzanine, I'm thinking turquoises??? I can't wait to see it! I use my Andalucia bag (made by your mum) all the time just so I can admire it!

  7. I love both and am new to your blog. I will definitely be getting both. Also, I think a fabric headband would be great with the Frida dress. The kind that has the elastic underneath it.

  8. Your DD is so cute in the dress and both patterns look adorable! Can't wait to see Mezzanine...Andalucia is just gorgeous!

    I had a similar laundry detergent incident not to long ago. Apparently the valve broke on the almost-full bottle. When I came back to put the cloths in the dryer, there was 1/2" detergent pool on the top of the drier and also leaked all over the floor. Grrr!

  9. Those patterns are absolutely fabulous! The Frida dress is so appropriately named and the style is so reminiscent of what you designed it after! I love it and I can't wait to get a pattern eventually! How soon will you have the patterns available for retail?

    So, do you know if all handmade sellers will have to shut down on Feb. 10? I wonder what will happen to Etsy? Will they have to enforce selling regulations due to the CPSIA law?

  10. i love the grida pattern! so cute and clean looking!


  11. "frida"

    sorry!! can't seem to spell today!!

  12. Annie8:45 AM

    Glad to hear MMF is setting the standard... good for them and thanks for informing the rest of us!

    I'm sorry to hear about your crazy night. I bet that took hours to clean up. (((HUGS)))

    But on the bright side, look at all the great stuff you have coming up. WOW! The patterns look amazing. Very mod and cool! These will be a hit for sure.

    Take care!


  13. I can't wait for you patterns to come out. I'm loving the Frida dress...perfect for summer!

  14. These are SERIOUSLY Lovely! my DD and all of my nieces will want a Frieda of her own.

    Big sizes please! Even 10 year olds (or girls who are just sized like 10 year olds) want lovely Frieda dresses.

    Thanks for sharing--cannot wait until they come out for purchase!

  15. i love those dresses. im new to your blog, love your creations!! where can i find out more information about those dresses??

  16. Thank you all for your comments! Yes, last night was a big mess. It took me hours to clean and actually I'm still finding crevices in between stuff that are covered in sticky mess.

    For those who are interested in the patterns, these are still in the developments stages, so please be patient with me. I would love to have them available in the next few weeks, but at the latest they'll be ready for purchase at Quilt Market (May '09) and after.

    Thanks for the suggestions regarding the "extra accessory" for Frida. I was toying around with the idea of a headband, a hair kerchief or a small bag/pouch. Lots of you here and on Twitter seem to think the kerchief is best suited for this pattern, so KERCHIEF it is! WOOHOO!

    I still welcome suggestions, please, if anyone has any.

    Back to the drawing board...


  17. I've been eagerly awaiting the release of your Lil Chef pattern! The dress is so cute too!

    So sorry about your detergent disaster. Unfortunately I also learned the hard way not to leave it on top of the washer -- such a mess!

  18. Oh gorgeous - I love Frida!! Glad to hera it's only a matter of months til I will be able to get one.
    I think a headscarf would look great but there are a few patterns already for this so personally I'd rather see a simple little bag of some sort - my two 'not-quite-three-year-olds' are mad for a handbag at the moment.
    I have some of your fabric on my birthday list - here's hoping I get some, cos it was on my Christmas list but Santa didn't bring it!

  19. The Frida dresses are adorable! I'm looking forward to the pattern. I feel you on being tested. Just reading about your evening sent tension up my spine. I hope things calmed down after the spill.

  20. I love the patterns, Patty! My little one would love the Frida top and dress. :)

  21. Patty, I love the patterns! Oh what I wouldn't give to be one of your :testers!", lol!

    I can't wait to see your new fabric line! When Andalucia came out I had to have it!!

    Oh, and about the laundry detergent, the same thing happened to me about a month ago. I was so upset and what a mess!!

  22. Wow Patty! People are going crazy with your fabric:) I just got mine and can't wait to make some stuff.

    Your patterns are so cute especially made from your fabrics. You amaze me! I can't wait to see your new line.

    Don't kill me, but I just moved my blog back to blogspot. Sorry to make you change your link again. I just needed something that was free.

    Love ya!


  23. What a streak of bad luck! Sorry to hear about the serving plate and the laundry soap. Not fun at all.

    What is fun are those cute patterns! Glad you're doing a kerchief with the Frida dress. I think it's a good match.

  24. I love the Frida pattern. My 7 year old is getting so picky but I think she'd like this as a tunic to wear with pants. It's so hard to find cute boutique patterns that aren't a bit too young for her. I'll definitely be watching for the release of the pattern.

  25. Everything looks fantastic Patty!!


  26. I absolutely LOVE the new patterns and can't wait to order them for my shop!
    SORRY about the soap... that would have been so difficult to clean. Almost the exact same thing happened to me but with a little less mess. We heard a load bang, went down stairs... looking, looking... my costco size liquid soap had fallen off the shelf, landed on the washer, the lid had broken off and the soap was draining into my boot!! What luck : )

  27. Ugh...getting "tested" like that is no fun. But at least it wasn't anything too monumental...

    I love the patterns. I'm sure you have many willing and able testers out there, but if you need another, just let me know. I promise I could be very critical! :) And I have a 4 year old who would love a frida dress.

  28. Thank you all for your comments! So glad you like Lil Chef & Frida! I'm working on my 3rd as we speak. Will show a sneak soon!

    I'm laughing at how many of you have had a similar thing happen with the detergent! HAHA I know it's not funny at the time but it's the kind of thing that you laugh about much later... plus it makes me feel like I wasn't such a doofus after all. ;)

    For those of you who are interested in being pattern testers for my new line of patterns, there may be need for you. Please leave an email address or a way to contact you. Also, please tell me what age/size your girls are and your level of sewing expertise. I'll be looking for all levels from beginners to experts! Thanks!!


  29. Patty, I have also had to become bff with Illustrator! It's a wonderful program, filled with so many capabilities, I'm only too aware I haven't even scratched the surface of! You many need to share some of your tips on pattern making with me. I was up until 3am last night working on a virtual quilt pattern... ugh! It can get a little overwhelming at times! I always feel better knowing that there are others out there like me burning the midnight oil.
    Here's to legal over the counter stimulants that make the day after a little more doable. :)

  30. Oooh would loooove to be a pattern tester for you - especially for Frida!
    I'm probably best classed as an intermediate sewer, not a beginner but not confident enough to try complex patterns.
    I'm a real instruction follower - I follw exactly what a pattern tells me to do, same with a recipe - I'm not a wing-it kind of girl.
    I have three daughters (twins nearly 3 and a 6mth old baby) - one seems to be a US size 5, the other a 4 (your sizes seem slightly smaller than Aust. ones), the baby is a size zero - not sure if the pattern goes that small though!
    OK - enough rambling, I'll go now.

  31. Love, love and love the Frida pattern. Can't wait to get one for my "models"!

  32. I feel a bit behind... but Ive just discovered you!!! I just had a rep. come in (to my quilt store in Australia) with some new fabric and it is yours! I bought the whole range and wrote down your name, saying she probably has a website.
    Since then I have been reading about you and posting my new order on my website! Im so excited... it arrives in March though.
    Good luck! Im sure we'll see more exciting fabrics from you.
    Cheers Jane
    The Patchwork Apple

  33. EVERYTHING is gorgeous Patty. You are moving along so wonderfully with your patterns and concepts. I am loving every bit of it. I am so jealous of your PhotoShop and Illustrator skills--maybe one day. I've been sewing Andalucia pineapples btw---just finally got my fabrics, which are all so gorgeous. So sorry about the laundry detergent thing and NO LIE, the same thing happened to me 2 weeks ago but it was a gallon of bleach---arrrggghhhhhhhhhh! Thanks goodness there was no laundry on the floor. It was NOT fun to clean up. I need to call you-lots to atlk about. GOOD LUCK with Mezzanine--I have no doubts of its absolute success. Love ya!

  34. That looks like clothing I might actually sew! Gorgeous.

  35. I love the little apron Pattern Patty, you never cease to amaze me!!

  36. I would never have picked those fabrics to go together, but they look fabulous! What an eye. :)

  37. jealous ... i want that fabric, too *cryoutloud*

    Beautiful ... *awaitsherpatterntodothem,too*


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