Thursday, July 28, 2011

Banner Mania

I have two new obsessions:

Banners and
Paper Punches.

Seriously, who knew that cutting paper shapes out would be so entertaining? And therapeutic? And enjoyable? And fun? And relaxing? And exciting?

That Martha Stewart may be onto something.

Incase you haven’t figured it out; I have been spending a vast majority of my free time cutting out paper shapes and stringing them onto cord to make banners like this one.

Ok, this is the only banner I have made so far, but I have LOTS of ideas for more banners and how to use them for seasonal decorations, or to proclaim exciting announcements like “IT’S A BOY!” or “JUST MARRIED!” or “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!”. Except that none of these exciting life events are happening to me or anyone I know soon.

 Except for Rosie.
She’s having a baby in January.

Oh, wait!
I meant to say she’s having a birthday in August.

Sorry for the confusion.

But in the meantime, as I patiently wait for Danny and Rosie or Scot and Lauren to start having babies, I’ll start small with this simple banner.

I had a coupon so I went and purchased a heart shaped paper punch. Cause my name is Melisa Hart and I have a weakness for all things heart shaped.
It’s a curse.
Do yourself a favor and never give yourself a name with an image attached to it.
Or do, cause it makes making up a logo and name for your fashion design business super easy.

I was feeling marvelously creative and obsessed by the punching gods, so I also punched out little flower shapes and glued them to some of my hearts.

 I loved them so much that I punched out some flower shapes in the middle of a few of my hearts.

I may have gone a little overboard, but quite frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.

Earmuffs Cordelia!
I just said a bad word and I don’t want you picking up foul language.
Although I don’t know why I even try when Weston is doing a superb job of teaching you all the naughty words you’ll ever need.


Well there you have it…the first of several banners to enter my life.

Happy Hole Punching
~Melisa, Cordelia & Weston

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Story of a Dressform Named Weston Part 2

The Hart Designs team has a new member, Weston, who came to us all the way from the Australian Outback.

I’m excited because I have a new employee that I don’t have to pay a salary, give benefits to or offer paid vacations. Wow, I’m a super amazing, kind and generous boss.

Cordelia’s excited cause she didn’t even know they made male dressforms and I think sister’s a bit smitten with her new Australian stud.
She doesn't seam to care he's a short guy.

Yesterday he was telling us about how he grew up as a Cowboy, but decided he needed to come to New Mexico to search for a Jackalope. Last we heard he was headed to LA on a boat that was capsized in a heavy storm. So let’s see how he survived this misadventure.

“What! You were on a sunken ship! How’d you survive that?”

“Well I managed to grab onto a broken crate and I drifted at sea for 2 days until I washed up on a shore of Anacapa Island which is just off the coast of California. I don’t remember a whole lot of this period, but I was found, beaten, unconscious and malnourished by a pair of elderly sisters. One was a retired nurse and her sister an old librarian and both were widowed. The widows happened to be two of the island’s 3 permanent residents, and it was winter so no boats were traveling between the island and the mainland. The sisters nursed me back to health but it didn’t take long before I grew eager to find my Jackalope so one night I borrowed the widow’s canoe and paddled to LA.”

“Really? You paddled to LA? In a canoe?”

“Yep, and I stumbled onto dry land right in the middle of a film shoot. I was accosted by some director guy who offered me a roll in a movie about a dinosaur. Someone hadn’t shown up for work that day and he needed someone to flap around and pretend to be attacked by a T-Rex so I took the job cause I was broke. I made just enough to buy me a train ticket to the middle of nowhere Montana. That was the furthest East I could afford to go.”

“So what did you do when you made it to Montana?”

“Silly girl. I got a job working on a cattle ranch cause that’s about the only thing I’m any good at. I worked on the ranch for a couple of months, and even though I fell in love with the land, myJjackalope kept calling to me. As soon as I had saved up enough cash I bought me a horse and rode him to Grants New Mexico.”

“What happened in Grants? Did you find your Jackalope?”

“Nope. I spent 2 years searching for a Jackalope but had no luck. I finally got so frustrated I decided to track down this fellow who had written the article about the Jackalope. The article said hew was from Albuquerque, so that’s where I headed.”

“What happened next? Did you find the author? What did he have to say?”

“Yep, I found the man and all he could do is laugh at me. Turns out the article was written for a paper called The Onion and that it was completely fictional, and intended to be a joke. He explained that even if the Jackalope did exist, it would be much too small to ride. I was astonished. I stood there and watched my life’s dream crumble before my eyes. I was defeated and with no purpose in life I wondered into the nearest bar. Before I knew it I had returned to girls and booze and was living in a back ally again. Then one day it was so extremely hot I just needed some shelter. I stumbled into the first open store I could find.”

“It was Ann Silva’s right!?”

“That’s right! The ladies gave me some water and then you came in to teach a class and offered me a job, and the rest is history.”

And there you have it, the bizarre story of how a male dressform from Australia joined the Hart Designs team. Perhaps we now need to expand into men’s wear……..

Happy Sewing
~Melisa & Cordelia

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Story of a Dressform Named Weston Part 1

Meet Weston
“Hello Weston!:

“G’Day mate!” says Weston cause he’s super friendly and chatty.

“Te-hehe, giggle giggle, er um giggle giggle” says Cordelia cause she’s never seen a male dressform before and has suddenly become very very shy.
 And pink too.
 Are you blushing Cordelia?

Weston’s the newest member of the Hart Design team and he’s got an extremely interesting past.
 Come gather around as he recounts his adventures.

“So where do you come from Weston?”

"I grew up on my family’s cattle ranch which is nestled in the Australian Outback. As a kid I worked for my dad, and, while I loved the mustering and branding, bull-ridin was my true passion, so the day I turned 18 I ran away and joined the rodeo.”

“Wow, the rodeo! What was that like?”

“At first the rodeo was great.  I guess I have a natural talent cause ‘fore long I had beat out all the old timers and had found myself the top rated cowboy. It got to a point where I just didn’t have any more compotation and the thrill of the rodio was gone for me. That was a dark time. I turned to girls and booze and was living in a back ally.”

“How did you get from an Australian Rodeo slump to Albuquerque, New Mexico?!”

“Well it’s a bit of a long story, but I’ll tell ya if you want to hear it. It all started one day when I was snoozing in a back ally. A burst of wind hit and blew a magazine page into my face. Right on top of my left eye was a picture of a ginermous rabbit with antlers and a cowboy was riding it! I snatched up the article and read all about an amazing critter with a jack rabbit's body and an antelope's antlers that could turn downright vicious when threatened yet sing a gentle tenor along with the best of the campfire cowboys. The article said that to ride a Jackalope is life’s greatest thrill so I knew I had to find me one. The article said the Jackalopet breading grounds was in Grants New Mexico and so it became my obsession to get to Grants so I could snatch up a young Jackalope and train it.”

“Really? A fictional character, the Jackalope, brought you to NM?”

“Well I didn’t know he wasn’t real. I just knew I needed to find something new and exciting to ride.”

“OK, so you’re broke, living in an ally with a strong desire to see a jackalope. How did you make it to the states?”

“Well first I asked my daddy if he would help me out, but Daddy was sore that I wouldn’t come home to take over managin’ the station, or ranch as you Americans call it, so he refused to lend me the cash. Turns out I had a buddy down in Sidney who got a job on a freight boat headed to Los Angeles so I bummed a ride with him. Only a big storm hit and capsized the boat before it ever made it to LA.”

"Oh NO! The ship sunk?"
"How did you survive?"
"How did you make it to NM?"

Check back tomorrow to hear the exciting conclusin to Weston's adventure.

Happy Sewing
~Melisa & Cordelia

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


I have been having Sew Much Fun this summer teaching middle school students to sew at Summer Prep, the summer camp sponsored by my old high school.

One of the projects I had the kids make was these cute little turtles.

I knew I wanted to have them make a stuffed toy of some sort, but I racked my brain, searched through my collection of books but just couldn't find anything that A. I liked or 2. was appropriate for new young sewers.
But then one day I was reading one of my favorite sewing blogs and I found the most amazing pattern for the cutest little turtle so I snacked it up.

Here's the link:

I made a few changes, aka I made the turtle a little bigger so it would be easier to sew and then took it to the kids.

They all ended up with adorable little turtles and this project was a major hit.

I bet you didn't know turtles like to climb trees.

Well they do!

Stick with us and Cordelia will teach you all kinds of cool stuff.

Happy Turtle Making
~Melisa & Cordelia

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Where Has the Summer Gone?!

Hello beautiful blog readers. 
I feel I have been neglecting you, Cordelia and my blog all summer long which makes me feel more than a little guilty.
But, in my defense I have been working on a hundred different things in a hundred different directions which means that soon I should have some exciting things, like a new wedding dress, the share.

But in the mean time I will give you a sneak peak into my life as a Summer Prep Sewing Teacher.

For the last 5 weeks I have been teaching middle school students how to sew and it has been a blast. I absolutely love all my students and everyday I am amazed by their creativity, eagerness to learn and spunky energy.

They have also introduced me to a few swing firsts.
 Take this for example:

In my 20 odd years of sewing and 5 years of teaching sewing I have never once seen anyone sew their fabric to their presser foot.

I still don't quite know how this happened, but this lovely student managed to do the same thing twice.
Good thing she has a serious sense of humor and didn't mind that I may have chuckled at her a bit.
OK I confess.
I laughed.
A lot.
I couldn't help it.
And to be clear, I was laughing with her, not at her.
I'm not one of those terrible mean teachers who make my students feel bad when they make mistakes.
At least I think I'm not.
I'm one of those sensitive and nurturing teachers who welcomes mistakes because that's how you learn.
At least I think I am.

Check back tomorrow for exciting action packed photos of a few of the projects the kids have made!

Happy Sewing
~Melisa & Cordelia

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Wrap is Where It's at!

Somewhere in my list of things I love you will find wrap dresses—and to be more exact, you will find this one.

I used the Colette Crepe pattern (if you have not checked out these patterns you must! The designs are cute, the instructions well written the packaging is simply marvelous) and some cotton eyelet fabric I picked up last summer in Atlanta when I was there for the American Sewing Guild Conference.

After a little bit of cutting, some sewing, and a two month break, I finally finished my dress and I sure am glad I did cause this thing makes me happier than a kid with an ice-cream cone in one hand and cotton candy in the other.

It’s 100% comfy to wear and with the inseam pockets it’s practical too!

I used the wrong side (or perhaps it was meant to be the right side) of the fabric for the ties to add a little bit of a sweet contrast.

I love the scoop front neckline, but even more I adore how the back crosses over itself.

And there you have it—my new all time favorite dress—at least until I make a second one!

Happy Sewing
~Melisa & Cordelia

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Me Made June Day 30

This is a little bit late, but here are the results of my final day of the Me Made June challenge. That’s right folks, I survived the challenge and went one whole month wearing something I made everyday!

I finished the month with one of my famous wrap skirts. You can find step by step directions on how to draft the pattern for and make your very own here:

I have about a million of these guys so I don’t know why it took me so long to pull one out of the closet, but I finally did.

This is why you should not take pictures of people eating apricots. 
Cause they look goofy when eating.
 You hear that mister picture taker?
No more eating pictures.  Never.

My reactions to the challenge?
It was a blast!
Lately because I work mostly from home I have fallen into a bit of a wardrobe rut because it’s hard to get inspired to look cute when all I am going to do is sit in front of my sewing machine all day, but this challenge gave me a reason to cutsie up and I really enjoyed the excuse to put a little more thought into my appearance. I am a fashion designer after all and it should be all about the clothes!
So here's a great big HURRAH for sewing challenges. 
Cordelia and I can't wait for the next one!

Happy Sewing
~Melisa & Cordelia