It's Giveaway Day!

Sew mama Sew giveaway day
Sew Mama Sew giveaway day
sew mama sew giveaway day

Rooooaaar!  I'm so excited!  It's Sew Mama Sew's annual Giveaway day!  I love Giveaway day and This time I have 2 prizes up for grabs.  Winners can take their pick from any of my PDF felt mask sewing patterns.  They are perfect stocking fillers and make a wonderfully quick and easy last minute handmade birthday prezzie (I should know - pretty much all of the kids in my daughter's class got these for their birthdays this year...!)

Enter using the Rafflecopter below.  Entries close at midnight Sunday American Eastern time. Winners will be notified via email.  

Follow @willow_and_stitch on Instagram HERE:

Great! Good luck!  

If you don't win, want to peruse all my sewing patterns or simply can't wait then you can head over to my Etsy shop to take a look.

Now head back to Sew Mama Sew to enter more wonderful competitions!

Reindeer Mask Tutorial - Bonus Pattern Piece

Reindeer Mask Tutorial

Can you believe we’re halfway through November, moreover, that it’s only 5 weeks until the Silly Season starts?!  I can’t, but that’s mostly because I live in topsy turvy land these days.  I’ve been in Australia for 12 years now but I still can’t get used to Christmas and Spring occurring at the same time.  I really need those environmental clues of the Northern Hemisphere, the autumn leaves falling, the nights drawing in, the chill in the air, to get me into the christmas spirit.  I pine for snow and log fires, sledding and hot chocolate, mittens and hot water bottles.

That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy a hot christmas.  It’s a lovely holiday here, full of light and the joys of early summer.  Little girls in white dresses, cherries and stone fruit, seafood and cocktails, bright sunshine and cool breezes.  We throw open all the doors and lounge around in the garden, enjoying balmy evenings under twinkling fairy lights.

Nonetheless, I do find that it requires more of a conscious effort on my part to make December feel festive, and because I am determined that my children should find it as magical as I remember the holidays from my childhood being I tend to overcompensate by going all out with the decorations, music, christmas craft activities, and, of course, handmade gifts.

One of my favourite Christmassy things to make are these little Reindeer masks. I’m heading to Swagger Child Design Market this Sunday so I have been busy stocking up on them, and today I’m offering you a free pattern piece so that you can make them too.  The cute little fawn in my Woodland Creatures Sewing Pattern can be transformed into a festive Reindeer with the addition of these antlers.  Download the pattern extension piece here and scroll down for the tutorial.  If you don’t have a copy of the Woodland Creatures PDF and would like one then you can purchase it here.

Tutorial:

1. Download the bonus pattern pieces and print out.  Make sure that you set your print settings to 100% or select ‘no scaling’.  Measure the 1” square on the page to check that it has printed correctly.

2. Cut out the pattern pieces and pin them to a double layer of felt.  Cut around each piece and then sew the two layers together, sewing 5mm (¼”) from the edge.

Reindeer Mask

TIP:  For a neater finish and an easier time sewing, draw around your pattern pieces while they are pinned to the felt.  You will need a white marker or chalk pen to do this on the dark brown felt.  DO NOT cut the felt out.

Instead sew 5mm (1/4”) inside your drawn line and then cut along the white line once you have sewn the two layers together.

Doing it this way stops the felt from shifting as you sew which can be a particular problem when sewing around curves.

Reindeer Mask Tutorial

3. Sew your fawn mask following instructions on the PDF pattern.  When you come to sew the 2 layers of the face together, sandwich each antler between the 2 face layers, positioning each approximately 1cm (½”) from the ear, and letting the base of the antler extend at least 1.5cm / ¾” into the mask.  Pin in place before sewing around the face.

Reindeer Mask

As you can see I use the same technique for sewing all of my masks i.e. I sew before cutting wherever possible - It's quicker and gives a much nicer finish!

Well, that's it.  You're done!

Happy Holidays.

Reindeer Mask

Lessons learned from mass production and selling wholesale!

Owls Masks for Seed by Willow and Stitch

Yet again I find myself wanting to start a blog post by saying ‘It’s been rather quiet around here recently’ and while that might be true of my little blog - it most certainly isn’t true of my life in general; It has been BONKERS around here recently!

Masks for Seed photoshoot by Willow and Stitch
Tails for Seed photoshoot by Willow and Stitch

September seems to have passed in a blur of felty activity.  It all started innocently enough - with an enquiry from stylist Tamara Maynes asking whether I could design and make a few masks, tails and ears for a photo shoot she was doing for Seed Kids in a few days time.  I love a challenge, particularly when it involves creating some new designs so I was happy to do it.  I was expecting that the campaign might help my business by advertising my masks on a large scale and being associated with a big brand - what I wasn’t expecting was to get a call from Seed a week later, asking whether I could make 500 masks for them to stock in stores to complement the campaign!  

 So. Many. Birds.

So. Many. Birds.

I make these dress up masks in my ‘spare’ (ha!) time so I wasn’t sure whether it would be possible to make so many in such a short time frame (I had 3-4 weeks) or even whether I wanted to commit to such a large project, but my husband persuaded me that I ought to do it; ‘I’ll help’ he said (and don’t you worry, I most certainly held him to it!)  I was expecting him to regret his offer (he generally dislikes doing anything that might be classified as ‘arts and crafts’ - weird really as he’s actually very artistic) but he seemed to rather enjoy it, and he certainly has a better appreciation for the work I do now!

 All the pandas

All the pandas

Panda Masks for Seed by Willow and Stitch

This really was a huge amount of work and while I have to say that I don’t really enjoy this type mass production there were definitely some interesting lessons that I learned while doing it:

Firstly, I need to accept offers of help more.  I don't know why but I usually turn down offers of help;  I suppose that I don’t want to impose on anyone or take advantage of their kindness so I try to do it all myself (and there may also be a tiny bit of stubbornness in there too!).  This time I was fully aware that I simply may not be able to do it all myself so I began to accept the offers. 

It made me feel enormously grateful to be surrounded by so many supportive and generous people. An activity that might, alone, have been tedious and stressful was turned into a pleasant way to spend an afternoon, particularly when you added in a cup of tea, a little cake and some happy chatting. (honestly - anything is bearable if you have tea and cake - don't you think?!)  There was also something surprisingly rewarding and soul nourishing about accepting the help; being able to admit that I needed it and finding that there were friends and family there ready and eager to offer it.  I suppose it's all related to our very human need for community and connection, but whatever the reason I was very touched so thank you so much to everyone who helped!

I also discovered lots of ways in which I can fine tune my making processes to find the most efficient way of doing things, for example I realised that sewing around the outline of the mask BEFORE I cut them out makes the whole process much quicker because I don’t have to deal with the double layers of felt shifting as I sew or cut.

I found here are a lot of hoops to jump through when you are selling to a large company, different people to talk to about different things, forms to fill in, barcodes to order and attach, accounts to set up, even using a courier service for the first time was a challenge!

Lastly, but probably most significantly, I realised that I have massively underpriced my products.  This is a bit of an uncomfortable thing to talk about, mostly because I feel a little like I'm standing here yelling 'I'm worth more than this!' but I did find it very interesting.  When I was contacted by the store they asked me what my wholesale price would be for a large quantity.  I had no idea!  I have obviously done some calculations to work out the cost of materials and my time for each mask and then added a bit of profit on top of that, although if I’m honest when I was setting the price originally I based it mostly on what I thought people would be willing to pay. As it turns out when I looked into it in more depth I realised I have been effectively selling masks at the wholesale price for the last year - oops!  

Exactly what, if anything, I'm going to do about this is going to require a little more thought but I'll come back and talk more about the whole thing once I've got it all straight in my head!

In the meantime here's a picture of a cute little monkey...

Goodnight!

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Wild Things - A New Safari Mask Sewing Pattern

Wild Things - Safari Felt Animal Mask PDF Sewing Pattern from Willow & Stitch

Are you ready for the kids to go totally wild?  Want to take a safari without ever leaving home?  Watch your backyard become the African savannah or turn the living room into a water hole with these lovely dress up masks.

This Wild Things Mask Sewing Pattern features patterns for Lion, Tiger, Giraffe, Zebra and Leopard masks.  You can even make the Leopard into a Snow Leopard for a mountain adventure. 

Wild Things - Leopard Felt Animal Mask PDF Sewing Pattern from Willow & Stitch

I'm so pleased with this pattern.  I think the designs are my favourites so far and I've put a lot of extra effort into the pattern and tutorials.  I've come up with a better (and easier) way of sewing the eye holes, and added whole sections explaining each technique used to make the masks.  There's information on how to resize them to fit dolls (or newborns), printing guides and notes on materials to use.

Wild Things - Snow Leopard Felt Animal Mask PDF Sewing Pattern from Willow & Stitch
Wild Things - Tiger Felt Animal Mask PDF Sewing Pattern from Willow & Stitch

The patterns are just as easy to follow as ever and are perfect for beginners.  They're quick to sew and make a perfect gift or stocking filler.  I think that practically all of the children Ella's class have gotten a couple of these masks for their birthday this year!  I had a particularly amusing / gratifying experience this last weekend when I took Ella to a 'Superheroes' party for one of her school friends (you can see pictures of her freezer paper stencilled Wonder Woman costume here) - I looked around the room and realised that about half of the kids were wearing masks that I had sewn and Ella had chosen to give to them for their birthday's.  It made me giggle and warmed my heart!

Wild Things - Lion and Zebra Felt Animal Mask PDF Sewing Pattern from Willow & Stitch

Anyway, back to these little wild things; we had so much fun shooting these pictures.  I can tell that these masks are going to get a lot of play time.  The leopard and snow leopard were particular favourites with my little testers. Anything that ROARs was a big hit too of course!  (Any excuse to make a lot of noise really!)

 Roooooaaaar!

Roooooaaaar!

Wild Things - Giraffe Felt Animal Mask PDF Sewing Pattern from Willow & Stitch

As with all of my other PDF Mask Sewing Patterns this one contains bonus printables of all of the masks.  You can print these at home onto card then let the kids colour, paint or decorate them however they like.  Whey they're finished you simply cut them out and thread them with elastic.  It's one of our favourite rainy day activities and is also great as a birthday party craft activity.

 Colour...

Colour...

 Cut...

Cut...

 Play!

Play!

To celebrate the pattern release, I'm offering free copies of not only this pattern but the ENTIRE collection of Willow & Stitch mask patterns to two lucky readers.  One here and one over on Instagram.  You are welcome to enter both giveaways as many times as you like.  Good luck!

Doll Costumes | How to scale dress up masks to fit any size doll

Doll Costume | Batman Mask by Willow & Stitch
Doll Costume | Spiderman Mask by Willow & Stitch

Aren't these just the cutest?  One of my customers gave me the idea for scaling my mask patterns to fit dolls and I think it is just brilliant!

I'm making these doll costumes as part of the children's Christmas presents, I know they're going to love involving their little buddies in their current favourite games of 'superheroes' and 'rescuing'! 

Doll Costume | Wonderwoman Headband by Willow & Stitch

To scale the masks to fit your doll is very easy.  The trickiest part is working out the factor you need to scale by.  All you need to do is measure the doll's face to the width that you want the mask to fit.  Max and Molly's faces were approximately 10cm wide.  Next measure the width of one of the mask patterns that you want to scale.  The batman mask was about 18cm wide.  

Scaling masks to create doll costumes

To find the factor that you need to scale by, simply divide the width of the doll's face by the width of the mask and multiply the answer by 100:

10 / 18 = 0.55 

0.55 x 100 = 55%

You only need to do this once for each doll that you are sewing for.  The scale will remain the same for all masks for that doll.  

Re-print your mask pattern, but when you get to the print settings screen, select 'Custom Scale' and enter the scale that you calculated above.  I am scaling to 55%:

Once your pattern pieces are printed you can sew the mask as usual according to the directions.  You will, of course, need to adjust the length of the elastic to suit the doll's head.

If you want to try this then you can use the free batman mask pattern HERE or you can purchase any of my mask pattern sets on Etsy.  There are currently Woodland Animals, Fairytale and Superhero Mask pattern sets available.  Spiderman and Wonderwoman are going to be part of the next pattern sets which I will release early next year.

I'm also going to be giving away patterns to 2 lucky readers as part of Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway Day so if you'd like to try your luck you can enter via the rafflecopter below.  Comment here and / or follow Willow & Stitch on Instagram or Facebook for extra chances to win!

Willow & Stitch Sewing Patterns

Thank you so much for stopping by.  I'd love for you to take a look around my site.  Check out the Patterns and Tutorials page for lots of free sewing patterns.  Don't forget to head back to Sew Mama Sew when you're finished so that you can enter lots more giveaways!

Here's hoping this festive season leaves you with a full belly and a full heart.

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A Robin Hood outfit for Kid's Clothes Week

Robin Hood Costume | Willow & Stitch
Robin Hood Costume | Willow & Stitch
Robin Hood Costume | Willow & Stitch

I first saw this toy bow and arrow on Instagram.  It's made by a little New Zealand company called Needle and Nail.  They make wooden toys and dolls and everything they create is simply gorgeous.  This little girl had been asking for a bow and arrow for her birthday pretty much all year.  She also wanted a 'Shooter Girl' outfit.  Fool that I am, I made her an Indian head dress. Wrong Mummy.  Wrong.  What she actually wanted, she explained later, was the GREEN shooter girl outfit.... sigh.

Ah well, Kid's Clothes Week seemed like a good opportunity to make one for her, and I have to say that, for once, my efforts were well rewarded - she was so thrilled with this outfit!  

The dress is (another!) Geranium Dress with a lengthened bodice to drop the waist.  Apparently I am unable to count properly though because I went and sewed 5 button holes, despite having only bought 4 green buttons.  Idiot.  Never mind,  I'm just going to pretend that the single light green button is an intentional design feature. It works, right?!

Robin Hood Costume | Willow and Stitch

The hat was from a free pattern / tutorial that I found on Crafti Stacy.  I had to re-size it for a child, and I also added a lining so that it would look more finished. I thought it turned out really great - this kid needs to wear hats more often, I think she pulls it off well!

The quiver was my own design, I may get around to sharing a tutorial here one day.. I'll just add it to the never-ending 'To Do' list!  Let me know if you want it and I'll make more of an effort!

I don't know about you, but I can't think of bows and arrows without thinking of William Tell so we decided to have a little fun pretending to try and shoot an apple balanced on the top of her little brother's head:

"Look scared Jacob!"

Robin Hood Costume | Willow and Stitch

Disclaimer:  No children or apples were harmed in the taking of these photos...

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An Awesome Kids Clothes Week / Halloween Giveaway!

In celebration of Kids Clothes Week (where the theme this season is 'Disguise') and with the imminent arrival of Halloween, I thought it was a good time to hold a giveaway.  I'm offering a full set of my PDF Felt Mask Sewing Patterns to one lucky reader!  The winner will get the Woodland Creatures (Owl, Bunny, Fox and Fawn), Fairytale (Unicorn, Princess and Knight) and Superheroes (Iron Man, Captain America and Hulk) Pattern sets.  

Felt Mask PDF Sewing Patterns | Willow & Stitch

These sewing patterns are super quick and easy to sew and all come with bonus free printable masks - great for a rainy day colouring / decorating activity.  To enter simply comment on this post, follow me on instagram or like the Willow & Stitch Facebook page!  Or do all 3 and get bonus entries! The winner will be drawn at random on Monday 26th October.  If you miss out or if you simply can't wait to get your hands on them then you can find them in my Etsy shop here.

In the meantime I'm going to go and get cracking with my Kids Clothes Week sewing!  I'm very excited to be a KCW Contributor this season.  If you missed my guest blog posts you can find my post on 'Disguised Details' here, and two silly posts on making the most of KCW and finding the time to sew here and here!

Are you taking part in Kids Clothes Week? What will you be sewing first?

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Fairytale Felt Mask Patterns now in my Etsy Store!

Willow and Stitch Fairytale Mask Pattern

New things in my Etsy Store today.  Most exciting is this fairytale mask pattern.  I've been meaning to finish it for aaaages, but you know....  

The PDF pattern includes a Princess Tiara, a Knight's Helmet and (best of all) a Unicorn.  You heard - a friggin' UNICORN!! Seriously, if I could walk around all day wearing a unicorn mask I absolutely would.  And now so can you.  

As always the pattern includes bonus printable masks so you can print them onto card stock and let your little ones colour them to their heart's content before they wear them.  I always think this would be a great party activity, or just a nice way to spend a rainy afternoon.  

Find them in my Etsy Store now for just a few dollars.

 Unicorns BABY!!!!

Unicorns BABY!!!!

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