sewing + social media + so much more

Friday, May 18, 2018

Missing Market not in Portland 2018 Giveaway SWAG!

Missing Market Giveaway Swag!





International Quilt Market is such an exciting time for everyone!  All of the quilting industry under one roof with new fabrics, threads, sewing machines and collections of every kind!

Heather Valentine from The Sewing Loft and I ( gogokim) are hosting a #missingmarket event on Instagram and invite you to join!

If you are not on Instagram, we did not want you to miss out on the opportunity to grab some Quilt Market goodness!  We teamed up with the most incredible sponsored giveaway by leaders of the sewing and quilting industry that want to enjoy their FABULOUS Quilt Market swag!


One very fortunate WINNER will receive this fabulous prize package including:


The Quilter's Planner $25 gift card to Fabric Store of Winner's Choice:





Fat Quarter Shop $25 gift card for fatquartershop.com 








Moda Fabrics  15 Moda Charm Packs + A Sample Spree Tote Bag:




Ofla Creates 45mm Aqua Splash Rotary Cutter 45mm Endurance Blade 28mm Quick Blade Change Rotary Cutter:




Inspiring Stitches Two Heartland Heritage Calendars:




Patty Young from Mod Kid Boutique $25 Gift Card to Mod Kid Boutique:






Scott Hansen from Blue Nickel Studios  $25 Gift Certificate to Blue Nickel Studios Shop:



Gudrun from GEQuiltdesigns $25 gift certificate to gequiltdesigns.com:




Sandy Fitzpatrick Winners choice of 4 patterns from www.HissyfitzDesigns.com:




Becky from Patchwork Posse 2018 Patchwork Calendar + pocket edition:




A Large Spool Collection from Aurifil




Curated Quilts Copy of  Log Cabin and Minimalistic Issues:



Michael Miller Fabrics Fat 1/4 bundle of Glam Girls by American Dream House:



Quilt-Pro  (1) Copy of Quilt-Pro for Mac or Windows:





Sunflower Quilts $25 GC to Sunflower-Quilts.com:







Martingale Publishing 1 free book: http://www.shopmartingale.com/more-free-motion-machine-quilting-1-2-3.html:





International Association of Quilters 1 year membership to International Association of Quilters:





Patchwork Threads $25 gift certificate to patchworkthreads.com



SOAK Celebration Soakbox Trio https://us.soakwash.com/collections/sets/products/celebration-soakbox-trio





Quiltpro Studio Chicks $25 GC to Fabric Store of Winner's Choice






This giveaway will be run through Rafflecopter.  You are not required to do all of the options offered. Your chances of winning will increase with the more options you choose.  The giveaway is open to all of our international friends!  There will be only one winner.  The giveaway closes at 20 May 2018 at 4pm PT ( the same time as the close of Quilt Market) and a random winner will be chosen from Rafflecopter and contacted by on or by 23 May 2018.

Many thanks to our sponsors for this incredible opportunity!


Have fun and GOOD LUCK !

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Monday, May 7, 2018

How Blogging Can Increase Your Profit!

Blogs are SO 2009!

How would a blog help your creative business?

A blog is a wonderful way to expand on your business story. Posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and many others outlets are just a tease of what your shop or creative business has to offer. Why limit your self and what you have to offer to your customers?

Many shops have a website for their business that does absolutely nothing to help sales. If you were sold the idea of a website to build your business ( especially if you are not selling online), someone was misguiding you. That website is probably sitting collecting all kinds of internet dust and looks like it does belong in 2009!

Time to reconsider a working blog with an updated look to bring your business looking its best! 



A blog is a place where you can create the ongoing story of your shop, what is happening, tutorials and other great content for your customers to get to know you better! There is no other way for customers online to really get to know you, your staff and the products and services you offer.  No other social media or newsletter can offer the same storytelling capabilities of a blog.


There are many free ways to start a blog and very low cost ways to customize the site to suit your needs.

I can recommend two that are easy to learn and easy to use:

Blogger


Go-Go Kim is a Blogger Blog that looks and acts a regular website. I have a custom .com a personalized logo icon and my social media is connected to take you to everywhere I am on the internet. I also have a kim@gogokim.com email address. These are all easy to do, are inexpensive and make your business look professional.

WordPress

Wordpress ia another free alternative for a blog. Wordpress would be a great alternative for a shop that will be selling product. 




You can also create your own look or purchase templates ( they are inexpensive) to give a professional look to your blog. I recently used pipdig to update my blog look and found the product and experience flawless. The templates they offer vary in price from $49- $59 and are available for either Blogger or WordPress. They also provide an installation service included in the cost ( HELLO something I can cross off my to do list).



Blogs are a great place to easily run giveaways and contests. Not everyone is on all of the social media outlets but if they are online, they will have access to your blog.

Having a big sale or a great event with a well known designer? Your blog is the way to share all of the details prior to the event, the photos from the event and get people looking forward to your next event. The same goes for classes. The customers love to see photos of what is happening. To your prospective customer, it is the perfect way to show them exactly what you offer, what to expect when they are in your shop and can ease fears of the unknown.

After you set up your blog, start a schedule of posting 2-3 times a week. You can have " New Product Tuesday" or " What's In my Stash Friday" to give a constant that your viewers will look forward to each week. I have Motivation Monday to help keep me on track for blogging! I play with WIP Wednesday to share all of my ongoing projects to help me keep up with what I can doing and to inspire myself to keep going!

With a blog you can set up your own Block of the Month program with how-to posts including step by step photos or short videos. With Blogger you can add a linky party for people to share their blocks throughout the month!

Your content is your own so the sky is the limit!

With all of your socials connected to your blog, it is a home base for everything you do on the world wide web. People will learn to look forward to hearing more about what your shop or business is doing and how they can become involved.

There is no reason that your business cannot take a leap into the blogging world with a little time and very little investment!

I will be talking more about how to create a low cost alternative to expensive websites during International Quilt Market in Portland, May 2018, please sign up for my business seminar ' How to Build Your Shop Social Media on a Shoestring Budget'. 


** I am not an affiliate for any of the brands mentioned**


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Thursday, May 3, 2018

Lone Star Quilt { free quilt pattern link}

The Lone Star Quilt has been a long time dream of mine to make. I tried once about two years ago and, for whatever reason, it just didn't click.  Wrapping my head around the seam placement was not working out for me.

Fast forward to last week...

Shari Butler asked me a few weeks ago if I would make something with her new fabric line In the Meadow. I adore Shari, so, of course, I said YES!

One of my son's teachers is having a new baby and these fabrics are PERFECT for a baby quilt! I decided it was time to have a go at a Lone Star quilt again.


The pattern is FREE on Moda Bake Shop. It is Jellied Lone Star by Terri Ann Swallow.  It took a few tries and some time unsewing but I finally figured out a way that made complete sense to me for how to make the seams line up properly!

I am a complete visual learner and had to figure out for myself how to conquer my visual block. And I DID IT!


Once I could get the seams right, it was super fast to get the pieces together! I will be making a video today for how to do this technique!




For the piecing I used Aurifil 2405 which is a white but with a hint of pink.  The quilting was Aurifil 2887. It is more of an olive green but melted perfectly in the Robert Kaufman green background!



The in house 11 year old helped me out with photos! We took these at Rose Mount Farm. It is a lovely equestrian center just around the corner from us and their drive is a place of beauty!



The quilting was simple. The quilt is for a baby so I wanted to keep it huggable not dense.





Check out what these other FABULOUS designers are making:

Tuesday      Jedi Craft Girl | www.jedicraftgirl.com
Thursday    Jina Barney Designs | http://jinabarneydesignz.blogspot.com 
Tuesday     Gigi's Thimble | www.gigisthimble.com
Thursday    Debby Brown Quilts | higheredhands.blogspot.com
Tuesday      Piper's Girls | www.pipersgirls.com
Thursday    Go Go Kim | http://www.gogokim.com
Tuesday      Kea Bee | http://keabee.com
Thursday    Doohikey Designs | www.doohikeydesigns.com/blogs/gethescoop/
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Monday, April 30, 2018

Monday Motivation {How to Sew Garments for the Beginner}

Sewing garments is a wonderful way to build your sewing skills! Many quilters stared out sewing garments and moved on to making wonderful quilts.  My adventure started with quilts and has found its way into the garment world. 

Welcome back to Monday Motivation!

How to sew



Making garments was once a skill that was taught while you were growing up by your mother or grandmother.  My grandmother was an excellent seamstress.  I do not recall her even looking at a pattern but everything she would stitch together appeared to be perfect.  She also did not make a mess when she was sewing .  I am not as tidy or perfect and I am somewhat convinced that elves were actually the ones creating all of the garments she would make based on the lack of mess.


Sadly, I learned nothing from my grandmother's incredible skills. Finding my own way in the vast world of apparel sewing has been a great adventure. Thank goodness for library books, blogs and YouTube! All of these resources have been very helpful in learning how to sew nice looking clothing that is practical and beautiful.

Inspired by all of the fabulous seamstresses on social media, I wanted to finally take the plunge into sewing my own clothing.  Before I started sewing, I decided not to set myself up for frustration and failure by making a few rules.


The guidelines I set for myself were:

1.  I wanted to make things as inexpensively as possible. The items would have to be sewn either        from my stash or something I found on deep clearance.
2.  To make at least one of each basic type of garment that would be worn daily.
3.  The patterns be a mix of commercially produced and independent designers.
4.  To find help by any means possible ( Instagram friends were my Lifeline).
5.  That mistakes were perfectly acceptable.

With these simple rules set I was ready to play!


If you have never before tried to sew your own clothes, I highly recommend making a simple skirt or a simple blouse first.  The first on my list was a skirt with pockets.  I had made skirts in the past but never with pockets.  When I buy pants or skirts off the rack, I look for pockets.  The goal of mastering pockets was mandatory.

To learn this skill I used Simplicity pattern 1369 .  This pattern had been previously recommended to me by a friend.  It was the perfect choice with simple and clear instructions, few pattern pieces and best of all...pockets!


How to sew skirt



The pattern is written to have a gathered skirt.  I prefer pleats, so I spent a little time and made one pleat in the front and one on either side of the zipper in the back.  I made sure to write the measurements on the pattern so I would remember for the next time I make this skirt.




One of the most brilliant tricks I learned was from a You Tube video by Zede's Sewing Studio,  a quick and easy way to mark your fabrics. The tip was originally for marking bust darts but it also works perfectly for zipper and  pocket marking!

To do this, you place the pin through where you need to mark and run your marking tool where the pin hits.  Perfect marking spots! I found out later is it a tip that has been used for years.  So happy I had found it!




I started with Colette Patterns for the independent patterns.  Their website offers some free patterns for you to downland.  They also have an array of tutorials to help you create the most beautiful finished clothing with their help.

I made one blouse (the free Sorbetto), two skirts using The Ginger Pattern, and a pair of pants using The Clover pattern.

I made The Ginger Skirt in two ways.  This pattern includes three styles of a simple and flattering A line skirt.


How to sew Garments


The second Ginger I added pockets. Pockets are addictive. If I can add pockets, I will!  After you make this skirt once, it becomes faster and easier each time.  The waist is not too low and fits nicely. The hip area is fitted but not to tight. 


The Colette Pattern pieces are  a thicker tissue paper than the industry patterns making them easy to handle ( this is a bonus for me) and are also easy to read (another bonus).  The patterns are written with simple step by step instructions in a way that makes it easy to finish this skirt in a few hours.

I really liked the way Colette Patterns finishes the waistband.  It is brilliant! The final look is very clean.  There is no hand sewing an eye and hook to the top.  Once the waistband is on, you are done!




With skirts under my belt, making dresses was my next focus.  The sewing skill difficulty level was much higher with these than I expected.   Both were industry patterns.


McCalls Pattern M7117 is a wonderful pattern.  This pattern has the great feature of bust cup sizes to make fitting so much easier.  It took me a few days to finish this dress since I hugely underestimated the length of time to cut out the skirt panels.  The pattern is well written with good steps and accompanying photos.




I also made New Look pattern 6447.  This pattern did not have pockets but being a thrill sewer, I added them into the dress.  This dress did not have the bust adjustment as with the previous pattern.  Be sure to make a muslin for the bodice area before cutting into your fabric to determine if you need to make adjustments. As you become more confident with your skills, you will happily be able to take what you have learned from other patterns to make everything just as you prefer.  It is pretty cool.





My last efforts were tops.  I made a few different styles from both commercial and independent companies.

My favorite is the Shoreline Boatneck by Blank Slate Patterns.  I highly recommend this pattern to everyone!  Beginners will love how easy it is to read and make.  Experts will love how fast it is to put together a lovely top.  This may be my most favorite pattern ever!  When the pattern is delivered to your email, it it accompanied by free online tutorials for some of the techniques that you will use to make the top. I was very impressed that everything I needed was provided and I did not have to do any research at all.

How to sew garments


I also made another blouse using a reprinted retro Jiffy pattern 1364 .  This blouse was another great easy to make top using bias tape around the arms.  It features for options for sleeves or sleeveless.  It was my first time using bias tape in garments.  Bias tape is a breeze to use once you lean how.  The finished look is well worth the small effort!





This past year I also dove into knits! The Patterns for Pirates Wiggle Dress is made for everyone! It takes about 3 hours from start to finish and the directions could not be easier!



If you have ever mastered curved piecing, you will have no difficulty with setting in sleeves! I discovered it is the same thing!

It is pretty exciting to have the quilting and garment sewing worlds come together! It is like magic for me!

A post shared by Kim Niedzwiecki (@gogokim) on


Here are some tips for beginning garment sewing from my experiences:

1. Have the right tools on on hand.  Marking tools, scissors, the correct needles for fabric and good sharp pins will help you be more successful and much less frustrated.




2. Make sure to read not only the fabric requirements but the notions that you will need to complete the garment.  Interfacing, thread ( I use Aurifil 40wt for my garment construction), zippers and bias tape are all items that you could possibly need to finish your garment.  If you will be using your serger, I can highly recommend Aurifil 40/3. It can withstand high speeds and gives a flawless finish!

3. Know your sizes.  Patterns are not according to your off the rack size, they are based on your measurements.  Measure yourself and remember that size is only a number, not a judgement. You are size BEAUTIFUL!

4. Read all the instructions before cutting into your fabric.  If there is something you do not understand, you can ask friends or look it up on google to guide you to find the right answer.

5. For more fitted patterns and especially when you are making a more advanced pattern, create a muslin.  There are many good classes, books  and tutorials on proper fitting.  People are all different sizes and shapes.  For my garments, I needed to make small bust adjustments and adjustments for a long waist.  Once you have figured out how to do these adjustments, your items will be custom to your shape and look fabulous!

6. PDF patterns have to be printed up and put together.  Washi tape or painters tape is your best friend. You can use it to tape the pattern pieces together and if you mess up, you can easily remove the tape and retape. An added bonus is that both are useful other places in your sewing room! Washi tape for the WIN!

I have recently learned that, of all things, glue sticks are even better than washi tape for connecting your paper pieces!

A post shared by Kim Niedzwiecki (@gogokim) on


I did find that independent designer patterns were worded in a way that most people can read them easily or figure out with the images provided what the steps were.  Industry patterns seem to be written for people that already know how to sew garments.  If you are beginning to sew or need a refresher in garment sewing, I recommend independent patterns first.

Learning more about garment sewing helped me to appreciate how much work goes into everything I wear.  Even my nine year old had remarked on how much time and effort goes into each piece of clothing.  If nothing else, that was one thing that struck me the most.  That most children never see what goes into making the clothing they wear.  It is a great life lesson for both of us.

It has helped me in my other sewing.  The exposure to a different type of sewing seems to given me a new perspective on my other sewing projects.  I feel more confident to try new things!  It is kind of exciting!  If I can do this, you can too!  Just make that first stitch!



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Friday, April 27, 2018

How to Save Money and Time with Paperless Post

This is a crazy time of year!

Spring starts and so do the Spring events! Mother's Day, Graduation, weddings, end of the school year....so many things to plan and only so much time to plan

Most people have a better contact list in their email than can be found in their paper address book.

I am taking this opportunity to try Paperless Post. They asked me if I would like to try out their event announcements and since I have one graduating high school in just a few weeks and I am always behind,  it seemed the perfect time to give it a go! They provided some coins for me to put these announcements to the test.

The results are pretty incredible!




The variety Paperless Post has to offer is amazing! It does not matter if you are looking for baby announcements, parties, high school or college graduations, they have them all!

They even have a few free options ( you all know that FREE is my FAVORITE four letter F -word!)!

For last minute parties ( like Cinco de Mayo), you cannot get faster than this adorable invite and instantly send it out to your full contact list to join you for some salsa, guacamole and maybe a margarita!





I let my mind wander...

Back to graduation.

Paperless post has the perfect variety to make even the pickiest teen or college graduate happy!

If Rifle Paper Co. is your style ( you know who you are 😉) there are even Rifle Paper Co. designs available!



And all the better when you can customize it with a photo!

If you know anything about my family, you know that they are unconventional, wacky and kind of a walking sitcom ( the kids words...not mine)!

The in house teen refused outright to have a typical senior photo taken. Seriously, she cannot stand that sort of thing. So when I was thinking about the best choice for her cards, I was trying to convince her of taking a new photo but then remembered that I already have an image that captures her best and one that she would not hate for all time.

Here is the original photo that was taken at a pumpkin patch here in VA one fall. It may be my most favorite photo of these two kids! The shot was accidental but captured the scene perfectly.  It looks like it was completely staged for a album cover!



I cropped the image of her to suit my needs and added it into the card! I sent a copy to Katy and shew loves it! It is precisely what she had envisioned!



This is perfect for my unconventional girl! The ability to customize the Paperless Post to suit your style is a big bonus!

Cards are not complete without an envelope.  Every card has an envelope that is lovely on the inside. 


After you design your note, invitation or announcement,  it is a breeze to add your guest list and hit the GO button! They even have a place to help you keep track of all of your events!

They have thought of everything, which is good since some of us ( ME!) can be absent minded!


I even found a flyer section! Want to invite a slew of sewing friends over for a fun day?  No worrying about trying to get everyone on the phone and organized!

Make it fast, pretty and practical!


 Then add your guests and make it go WOOSH!


I am sure I will be using this site for so many more events now that I know

1. How easy it is
2. That I can customize it to my liking
3. That it is a great last minute way to organize events ( this may need to go up to number 1!) 
4. All of the organizing after the emails are sent out is all in one place

You know you have tons of events coming up too! I hope you will give Paperless Post a try to create, customize and share your event!





*This is a promotional post with Paperless Post providing coins for me to try their product. The opinions are my own.

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