The Evolution of the Potty Girls
(and a free dress template download)

I had to hurry up and get this post up because word on the street is that Playdate is already hitting stores and I promised lots of people that I would post a free dress template for my dolls on my blog. But first, I want to take you guys on a little journey into the evolution of my so-called Potty Girls...

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It may appear to some like the Rag Doll Panel was a design I created specifically for this fabric collection, but those of you who have been following my company from its inception (and those who have pattern tested for me) know that these girls have been around for a looooong while... just biding their time and waiting for the right moment to come out and play!

Way back in October of 2008 we decided to create a sewing pattern company at the request of about a bazillion people that saw us at the Fall Quilt Market in Houston that year. Since my background is in marketing and branding, of course I couldn't even begin drafting pattern designs without a full set of brand standards for our company. The logo was a no-brainer — I just used the same one I had been using all along for my custom boutique business (nothing better than brand equity). A set of standard fonts and colors for my marketing materials followed as well as style sheets.

Next, I wanted to create a certain "look" for my mechanical drawings... something that was mod with a little touch of whimsy. My first attempt was a lot more "mod" than "whimsical" and I was feeling a tad frustrated. In February of 2009 I decided to go public and ask my dear blog readers for assistance and opinions and I'm so glad I did. My first attempt was coined "potty girls" by a sweet reader after I mentioned that Jon said they looked too much like public restroom signs. LOL! Another reader suggested adding pigtails to make them more girlie and another suggested a set of hairbows (a little nod to my old boutique days).
I went back to the drawing board with their suggestions in mind and my next attempt, which I posted here 2 days later, was a lot more in line with what I really wanted to convey... simple, mod, clean and a tad whimsical...

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But my dear Potty Girls (which had now become sort of like the MODKID Mascot) still needed a face and as they started taking on a personality of their own I started dreaming of giving them life... a tangible, 3-D Potty Girl. I made several muslin prototypes last year until I was happy with the shape and size. But, before I even showed it to Michael Miller Fabrics, I needed to make sure they "worked" so I printed a test panel at Spoonflower. The girls looked great flat but it turned out when those broad, straight shoulders that give them the "mod" look are stuffed and curved, the girls looked more like quarterbacks than sweet little girls. Eeeek! (so glad I tested it!).

A few trips back to the drawing board and a few more prototypes followed until I got the perfect Potty Girl.

I hinted at my new venture with this Holiday card I sent out last year... a little test to see if anyone caught on to me. I giggled every time I'd get an email saying "you should print a dolly panel with these." YESSSSSS! :)

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The original doll panel design I sent to MMF actually included 4 dolls, front & back on a 1-yard length, but after talking to Kathy, she explained that I needed to make the panel 24" (not 36") because that was the maximum repeat the mill could handle. I could only fit 3 dolls, front & back, on that 24" panel so we ended up sacrificing the redheaded one... and believe me when I tell you how strongly I struggled with that decision, since she was modeled after my dear Sophie.

But alas, I needed to get over it and move on. After all, the whole thing was so exciting... I mean, look! (plus, Sophie got to keep a few Spoonflower prototypes of the redheaded, freckled-face doll... a one-of-a-kind Potty Girl!)

Now, I promised I would post a downloadable template for the simple A-Line dresses my Potty Girls donned at Quilt Market, so here it is.

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This template will fit on a standard letter-sized paper and it includes a 1/4" seam allowance. Click HERE to download the high-res PDF version. NOTE: Use only stretch fabrics or you won't be able to get the dress on your dolly.



Here's how I make mine (assembly diagrams are on the template):
  1. Trace the template twice onto a piece of knit fabric (max stretch going side-to-side) and cut.
  2. Stitch a narrow hem along the arm holes and neck opening on both pieces. Use your fingers to carefully stretch the fabric as you bend it along the curved edges. You can do this with a stretch stitch or a tiny, narrow zig-zag on your sewing machine.
  3. Hem both dress pieces separately, again using a stretch stitch or a tiny, narrow zig-zag on your sewing machine.
  4. Place both dress pieces right sides together and stitch or serge across the top of the shoulders and down both sides of the dress.
  5. Turn dress right side out and embellish with tiny buttons. TIP: To dress your dolly, pull the dress on from the bottom... it's much easier!)
Hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane. Please share your Playdate creations in my Flickr group.

(OH and thanks a million for all the sweet comments regarding the fabric collection and our booth design! xoxo)
Highlights of Quilt Market

Oh, where, oh where do I begin?!? This past week has been a whirlwind for us... so many exciting things! We spent a week up in Minneapolis at the International Quilt Market showcasing my new line of quilting cottons, Playdate, my new line of knit fabrics, and a whole slew of new sewing patterns. Our booth design was rewarded with a Second Place Award, so that was a definite highlight of the show!

Here I am with the Quilts, Inc. folks receiving my ribbon (Jon should totally be part of this picture since he built this thing with blood, sweat & tears!)

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Then Michael Miller Fabrics (which was right across from us) won FIRST PLACE in the Best Multiple Booth category! What an honor it is to work with these ├╝ber creative folks!!!

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Here are the ribbons side-by-side (I'm so stinking proud, can you tell?) :)

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And speaking of booths, it was such an honor to be sandwiched between the lovely Sandi Henderson...

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And the bubbly duo of Pillow & Maxfield. We had a blast hanging out and chatting between visitors...

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I didn't get a chance to walk around much, but luckily I received a constant stream of exciting visitors at my booth, starting with these Michael Miller Macho Men... sexy, eh?

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And the lovely Kathy Miller...

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We were delighted when the oh, so famous Melissa Averinos and her unicorn (of course) paid us a visit...

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And totally thrilled to spend so much quality time with one of my favorite designers, Laura Gunn...

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We had a few laughs with Moda sweeties, Joanna Figueroa and Kate Spain (yes, I really am that short!)

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Then Jon and I actually snuck out for a few minutes to join Lizzy House and many, many others at Lizzy's annual cake party... YUM!!! (that princess cake with marzipan fondant icing was to die for!)

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So glad I came, cause I got to spend some QT with the lovely Lizzy House, Jana Nielsen and Betz White.

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And believe it or not, this is the only picture I got of Jon the entire time (slapping my own hand as I type), so if any of you out there have any others, please let me know! Jon is here chatting it up with organic fabric gals, Betz White and Michelle Engel Bencsko.

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Yes, we sat on the floor and relaxed for a while... (in this photo, Bari J, me, Melissa Averinos and Jana Nielsen)

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So now that I'm done name-dropping, LOL, how 'bout some pictures of our booth?!? :)

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PHEW, that's all folks! Now back to work on next season's goodies... :)
And this little sick piggy went to Market...

Just wanted to pop in here real quick and tell you the Quilt Market info.

BOOTH #3539 and 3541

SCHOOLHOUSE
Sewing With Knits -- Educate your customers!
You are cordially invited to a multimedia presentation
hosted by designer Patty Young
during the International Quilt Market Schoolhouse Sessions.
Thursday, May 20th, 2010, 3:40 - 4:10 p.m. Room 210B

I have a sinus infection and a shattered iPhone screen, but at least it's not as bad as what happened last Spring (drama is at the bottom of that post if you're curious) ...

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So even though my head will be in the clouds, I will at least look the part...

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Doesn't Lola look stunning in my schoolhouse ensemble? I like Lola because she is not bustier than I am (believe me, that's hard to find) although she does have a daintier waist than I do. But she didn't give birth to two kids and work in a sedentary job for the past 15 years (that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!)

So, I hope to see you there and if you won't be there, I'll make sure to share tons of pictures and stories from the show.

Back to sniffling as I work...

Later!!!
Wanna Play?

If you're seeing this on your reader, you might want to pop on over to get the full effect... my blog header and background have been updated in honor of my latest quilting cotton collection, PLAYDATE, for Michael Miller Fabrics. I know I say this every time, but I am so stinking excited about this one!

Inspiration can come from anywhere. Andalucia was inspired by our Honeymoon in the South of Spain. Mezzanine was inspired by an extended work trip to Northern Europe. Flora & Fauna was inspired by nature. Well, for Playdate I decided to stay close to home and draw inspiration from none other than my own kids... and boy am I glad I did! I sat them down and asked them to tell me their favorite things (a la Sound of Music). They started out rattling off the obvious: dolls, teddy bears, flowers, chocolate, lollipops... then the list started taking an interesting turn: Chinese lanterns, goldfish, princess tiaras...

I thought to myself, "OK, I can make this work!" So what do you think???

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The collection has 17 designs divided into two color palettes, Recess (all the ones with light and bright backgrounds) and Slumber Party (all those with darker, deeper-toned backgrounds).

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And yes, it comes with its own MODKID Rag Doll Panel fashioned after my very own Potty Girls!!! You have no idea how long I've been wanting to bring my Potty Girls to life... well, possibly ever since I dreamed them up a couple of years ago. :)

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There are 3 dolls in each panel and they stand 18" tall with fronts and backs and come with full assembly instructions. They'll come to you wearing cute MODKID undies but I've been having a blast making little Mod knit dresses for them. :)

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When the fabric starts hitting stores, I'll upload a template and tutorial for these 5-minute dresses... promise! :)

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OK, so you guys wanna see how we've been using the rest of the prints in the collection?
Ask and you shall receive. Of course Valerie had a Playdate of her own with all her dolly designs.... how adorable are these?

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ACK! She's killing me with cuteness... the selvedge trim, the fussy-cut sequined goldfish, the retro sunglasses...

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Of course, I couldn't resist sewing up two of our most popular girl sewing patterns, Kyoko and Frida, to showcase the collection next week at Quilt Market. Sydney says these are her favorites! (mission accomplished)

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And I even made myself an outfit to wear to Schoolhouse (more info on that to come). This outfit uses my Pretty Flowers Turq print for the A-Line skirt and rolled rose pin combined with my Blossoms Citron knit for the blouse and yoga skirt band. Wait till you see the whole thing... it turned out stunning, if I shall say so myself. :)

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I made a quilt and couple of cute pillows for Sydney's bed...

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We are actually hauling Sydney's entire bedroom set up to Minneapolis next week for the show. Believe it or not, she doesn't mind one bit and is excited about sleeping in her inflatable sleeping bag for a few days "like camping in my own room". Gotta love kids! :)

The Goldfish print looks so cool as a lampshade... those goldfish just seem to pop!

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And last, but certainly not least, may I present to you a new pattern I specifically designed for Playdate. This is the first in our line of mini-patterns, which we are calling MODKID LITE (half the calories, same great taste... haha... no, that's not the tagline, but would be kinda funny, eh?). They are smaller patterns and easier, quicker projects for the beginner sewist.

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This is the SUN & SURF TOTE, perfect for a trip to the beach, swim lessons or a day at the park. It’s big enough to hold a couple of towels and has plenty of inside and outside pockets for all your smaller items.

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And best of all, it is the perfect size to use as a diaper bag...

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...or a market bag, while being stylish and unique! Features a padded strap for comfort and button & loop closure for easy access.


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So there ya have it! New fabric and a new pattern, all in time for Quilt Market. PHEW! I'm exhausted!!! What do you think?

The Sun & Surf Tote pattern is already in stock and will be available for purchase at Quilt Market and up on our website as soon as we return. Playdate is available for pre-order through Michael Miller Fabrics.
HAPPY MAMAS DAY!

Hope every mama out there is enjoying their day. I am spending it quietly at home with my sweet girls and hubby. It's a bit chilly outside (yes, I know it's mid-May) and I have still so much work to do in preparation for Quilt Market.

I received some amazing handmade gifts from my girlies this morning... lots of lovely cards and things made in school. Sophie made one of those "MOM" books where they have to fill in the blanks on questions about mom and draw pictures to go along with their answers. I wanted to share what page 3 looks like because it literally made me spit out my coffee this morning (which my sweetie made me using his Mother's Day gift for me)

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Do you guys remember that?!?! I guess it made quite an impression on her. If you need a refresher, check out my post about the grasshopper and the owl. For the record, I don't remember smiling like that when I felt something...

In the spirit of Mother's Day, I also wanted to share this little miracle of life that we've been witnessing in our backyard... yes, in our grill again... and yes, we do have a grill cover... and yes, we always for get to put it on (apparently, LOL!)

First there was 1 egg, then there were 3, then there were 4...

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And then there were sweet babies... awwww....

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Yes, we had them around this time last year too.

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to all of you!! tweet tweet
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