Friday, October 20, 2017

Courses at the Swedish Quilters Associations annual meeting!

I had the great honour of being invited as a teacher during Rikstäcket's annual meeting this year. It was a lovely event held in Kalmar, Sweden. I held two classes, one 6 hour class for the Denver Double Zip Bag spread over Friday and Saturday, and one 6 hour class for my Bring the Basics Bag on the Sunday. We had so much fun! We laughed so much and so many stunning bags where born!

This photo really sums up the whole weekend, we had such a WONDERFUL time!

Me explaining how to make the zipper pocket for the Bring the Basics Bag, making sure we're following along in the pattern so it's easier to remember when one gets home:

Part of the classroom with a number of my lovely students hard at work!

A pretty Denver to be during construction.

More hard working students.
 
A few of the pretty Denver Double Zip Bags that where made:




Therese and Tiina with their lovely Denver Double Zip Bags, two of my amazing students who's been to one of my classes before, that's the best one can hope for right, that one's students return? =)

This is how happy one can be after making a brand new handbag for oneself! Beaming Charlotte with her beautifully matching Denver!

Here's a few of the gorgeous Sunday's Bring the Basics Bag's that where made, this pattern will be re-released in a few days with the bag in 2 sizes and a brand new description and pattern!





Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Article about me in Rikstäcket!!

I was so very honoured and happy when the lovely people at Rikstäcket (the Swedish quilters association) asked if I wanted to do an interview for their magazine this summer, I naturally said YES! The lovely magazine with the article just landed in my mothers letterbox, she naturally immediately took pictures and sent to me so I could read it, it's beautiful! I'll translate it below for those of you who don't speak swedish. ;)

"Maria loves fabric shopping. Here she is in Sampeng Market in Bangkok, Thailand where she shopped a ton of bag hardware and fabric - Just wonderful! I always shop most of my fabric and accessories when I travel. There's sadly very little on offer in Malta. "


Maria Wallin, self-employed & pattern designer
Maria Wallin is one of the teachers at our annual meeting and retreat in Kalmar. She makes patterns, primarily for bags, under the name Pink Pony Design. Here she tells us how she got started with this business and how she works. 

Who is Maria Wallin?
- I'm a 32 year old "kulla" (word for woman or girl in the part of Sweden I'm from) from Borlänge. Eleven years ago I packed up my company and two cats and moved to sunny Malta to try something new in a warmer climate. There I've since remained and I live there today with my beloved boyfriend Erik Svensson, sadly my two cats, Edward and Diana has passed away. We also have a summer house in Sweden, in the middle of the woods outside Kristinehamn, where I love to spend a few months each summer to fish, go berry and mushroom picking and fiddle in the garden, which is a few of my favourite things. On top of that I love to travel, good food and good wine and reading, especially fantasy books.

How did you get started with quilting and bag pattern making?
- My mother, who's always been a very talented clothes seamstress thought we needed to find something fun to do together when I moved so far away. So when she'd been to a quilting fair the spring after I'd moved and heard about a quilting retreat that a woman held up in Våmhus (small village in the middle of Sweden)  each summer, she thought we should try quilting together. I was at that point in my life not very interested in, or more importantly good at sewing, and quilting didn't sound super exciting to be completely honest. But I'd love to spend a week with my mother so off we went, I got to borrow one of her sewing machines and from the first day up in the big house with her and 28 other lovely, quilting women I was hooked! We learned the basics of quilting together, everything from the fact that you actually rotary cut fabrics (instead of cutting with scissors as I thought) to sewing a correct 1/4" seam. Already after a few days I decided that I'd had enough of small projects,


I wanted to sew a full size quilt! Together with our teacher I sketched a bargello pattern, exactly like I wanted it and with her help I designed my very first quilt design and pattern. It was a fantastic experience! And absolutely amazing to be able to cuddle down under my very own quilt after several days hard work.
And that's how it all started, I continued to sew and quilt a bit more regularly after that and each summer I spent at least a week along with my mother at the quilting retreat. I tried to learn as much as I possibly could from the internet, and got through the web into bag making also. I started a blog (this blog that back then had a different address) to be able to keep a diary over my sewing. I quite quickly got quite a few hundred readers each day despite the fact that back then, all I did was share what I had made, and my mistakes and lessons making it.  I made a few bags after patterns I'd bought or found online for free, but got very frustrated by the difficult patterns with in my opinion too little information and images for them to be fun or easy to follow and make. So I quickly abandoned following others patterns also when it came to bags and started making my own designs here too.

When did you start your company?
- I made a few free quilt patterns for United Notions in the US - they're still available on their blog, modabakeshop.com - and that lit the fire and got me started on making my own patterns and tutorials. But back then I worked more than full time with my company that the sewing was put on the backburner a lot. But I stayed with it and made a few tutorials, tried to keep the blog alive and learned to free motion quilt. That is something I really love, it's so amazing to sit there with a blank canvas of fabric in front of you and just create and paint with thread.
When I sold my company about 1.5 years ago I then suddenly had a lot of time for sewing! I wanted to find something new to work with and after much positive pressure and cheers from Erik, Pink Pony Design was born, my very own company for making and selling patterns. It took a lot of convincing and coaching from Erik before I added my first bag pattern to craftsy.com and I was insanely nervous


before the first purchase was made. Thankfully I got incredibly positive response on my first pattern, the Bring the Basics Bag (which I'll be holding a class on at the annual meeting/retreat and that soon will be available in a new version and in two sizes) and I was so excited to continue! Today most of my sales are from my own homepage.

How do you work when you make your patterns?
My basic idea behind my patterns is that they should be


more like tutorials, where each step is followed by a color photo and a thorough description of exactly what you're supposed to do. I presume nearly no knowledge (other than basic sewing skills) from my customers but try to explain every step from the very beginning. You shouldn't have to worry about whether or not you understood or did something wrong.
My design process is pretty simple, most patterns are born from a personal need for a specific bag or bag feature. Then it's very simple to just make what I need and want, but I try to make it with a fun design or clever idea. Other times I start with a basic idea, like with for example with my Batala Backpack, where I had the idea to make a full circle backpack as I'd never seen one. It however proved to be a bit more difficult than I'd initially thought, as I didn't want to to turn out as just a sack, but I wanted it to have a proper backpack with some stability and interior pockets. So I had to divide my circle a little, give it a proper, interfaced middle section and let the two half circles be the sides. So I got my full circle backpack in the end, even if it consisted of two half circles.
Thankfully I have Erik to discuss ideas and thoughts with, and often when we're out and about we discuss handbags we see, designs, patterns, colors, upcoming trends and other things that can be incorporated into future designs.
I usually sketch out all ideas I get, so I remember them later. I have a sketchbook filled with more or less doable ideas and designs. Sometimes I even dream about designs, my so far one and only table runner pattern is from an especially vivid dream where this pattern was so clearly imprinted in my mind I just had to rise from my bed in the middle of the night and go sketch it so I'd be sure I'd remember it.
Once I've decided on a design I dissect it to see what's actually sewable, what might be too difficult or tricky to do for the average sewist and then I redraw it over again. You'd laugh so much if you saw my sketchbook, luckily I'm much better at sewing than I am at drawing. But the most important thing is that my stick figure like bag doodles are good enough for me to remember my thoughts regarding the idea and design when it's time to use it.
Then I sew a trial version, but I always sew using my favourite fabrics, even my very first tests, this as I want to be able to use the bag myself even if it turns out it's not 100% right and needs to be altered a lot for the final version. Many of my finished bags ends up as display exes in stores, some with my parents whom since 1.5 years have the quilt and sewing machine store Borlänge Sycentrum.
Based on how it went when I made the trial version I then make changes, change the order of the sewing process to make it easier and more convenient to sew, change angles or anything at all really that bothered me in the trial version. the I sew the final bag, then I take photos of every step in the construction process, make drawings of the pieces for templates and then from those pictures I write the pattern.

Your patterns are available in both English and Swedish, do you write both versions at the same time? 
- I write all my patterns in English first, this since I've worked in English all my adult life so it is quicker for me to write in than Swedish. And most of my pattern testers, the amazing women who try my patterns before they're available for sale to check I haven't made any mistakes  are English speakers so that way I can get the pattern to them as soon as I've finished the first version. While they're testing it over a number of weeks, I can then translate it to Swedish without stress.

What are your plans for the future?
I want to expand so I spend as much time as I can on my little business. Most of my business is online, about 90-95% of sales are PDF and I like it that way. Many of my customers are in the US, UK and Germany, and Australia is also starting to join the ranks which of course is great fun.

You also have a lot of customers in Sweden, do you have anything you'd like to say to them? 
- I absolutely love seeing what you make from my patterns, it's one of my favorite things in the world, so please tag me on Instagram and Facebook, and please mark your posts with the hashtags for the pattern as it's so amazingly fun to see your beautiful creations!


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Win all my patterns and other great prizes! PDF Love of Bags Event!

I'm so very excited to share with you all that this year I'm a part of the Facebook PDF Love of Bags group big event! I'm proud to have been paired up with the talented Namrata Shroff of Bagstock for my 48 hour block!

To enter for a chance to win a copy of all my patterns and to have a chance for the grand prize, join the Facebook group now. Then on the 16th of June (Australian timezone, so please wait for the official post to go up with our block in the group before posting your entries) post photos of bags and wallets you've made from my patterns. Each bag/wallet counts as one entry, so post away everything you have made with my patterns for a better chance at winning!


There are also a TON of other talented pattern designers taking part in this event, so for even more amazing chances at winning, hop on over there now and see who's currently having their 48 hours! I can't wait to see what you all share! <3

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Ruby - A little business card holder

I'm so bad with the blogging lately, if you want to know what I'm up too, please follow me on Instagram, if you just want the business/pattern side of things, Facebook is the way to go =)

However, today I did a little sewing and it's such a cute and clever pattern by Serial Bagmakers that I just had to share the outcome with you all <3

It's a super cheap, great stash busting pattern in a tutorial like design, you can find it on Craftsy here.


The construction is super clever, so clever that even I stayed with the pattern and didn't make any of my usual "optimizations" and tweaks! <3


The only thing I'll change for my next one is to use a lighter button *lol*

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Reno Rounded Makeup Bag - Pattern Release!

The Reno is an absolutely adorable little makeup pouch, with it's rounded bottom and edges it's bound to bring a smile to your face. It's the perfect gift, fun to make, quick to whip up and so cute! Just look at their little "tails"!

Pattern is available in English and Swedish in my store here.



The Reno is fully lined with a smooth interior.


This pattern is so much fun to make, as can be seen by the lovely versions of the bags my fantastic pattern testers made! A million thanks to you all!

Aafke Jongsma - who blogs over here aafkejongsma.blogspot.nl made this stunning red faux leather version with rivets instead of side seams! Such a fun idea it was included as a suggestion in the pattern.


Ursula Ekblad - Made a very exclusive looking version with gold accented fabric and a beautiful golden zipper pull to top it off!



Margareth Tai - Bags by Mags can be found here on Instagram, made this fresh, springtime lovely version. And she cleverly made hers as a little purse, such a cool idea, just add D-rings to your Reno to get an equally lovely little handbag! 




Jennifer MacWilliams of thisgirlissewdestructive on Instagram and Facebook, made a super cute Tula Pink Tabby Road version (which made me order wayyy to many yards of this line!).



Marita Tjulander - of Valsanhäxan Syr/Quiltar  made a bunch of pretty Renos, but this lovely gold and turquoise version was her first, so classy! 


Ann-Kristin Kristoffersen of Kinnas Lappteknik made an adorable FLAMINGO one!! Scored ton's of extra points with Erik whom LOVES flamingos.




Sunday, March 19, 2017

Reno Rounded Makeup Bag - Pattern in the works!

As I wasn't the only one who crushed on my silly little makeup bag from this post, I decided to turn it into a pattern! =D So with the pattern, this all cotton version was born. It is made with Tula Pinks Chipper fabric combined with Kona Cotton in Pomegranate color and an unknown lining fabric from my stash.  And I love it! I love them both! <3


I played with a slightly lower holder section for the zipper but I'm not sure I'm a fan,  I think I prefer the higher one one the green version? What do you think?

I love being able to make my own tassels! =D I need to buy more tassel materials!


Friday, March 17, 2017

Cali Card Holder - Recall of pattern

Today, to my great sadness as I am very fond of it, I was informed that the Cali Card Holder pattern is very similar to a tutorial from 2014.

I always search the net high and low for similar designs and patterns before I decide to make and release any new design of mine, but clearly, sadly, sometimes it's not possible to find everything. I absolutely agree that the two designs are too close for comfort and I've therefore decided to recall my pattern. If you've purchased the Cali Card Holder and would like a refund, please just send me an email and a refund will promptly be given.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Sewing for ME

So yesterday I did some ME sewing, sewing just for fun, trying out a crazy idea I had without any plans for it and boy did I have fun! Normally these crazy sewing sessions result in what I call a "prototype" which will be hidden away in a drawer, until I finally toss it. But not this time! It resulted in a super sparkly, but maybe not  super practical but so pretty and fun round bottom makeup bag. <3


It's made with glitter vinyl from U-Handbag combined with Tula Pink "Lanterns" and a little Michael Miller "Ta Dot" for the lining.

The lining is so pretty with it's dots and matches the Tula Pink perfectly! <3

The tassel I made by myself with the tassel hardware I bought in Thailand in February this year, it's so much fun to be able to make my own tassels! =D

Sunday, March 12, 2017

The Bia Bag by Maria @ Finished Seams

Pink Pony Design is soon a year and a half old, and when I stumbled upon this STUNNING Bia Bag made by the super talented Maria over at Finished Seams, blogpost here, I started thinking of the fact that this little bag is what started it all. If I hadn't decided to make this pattern to try my hand at pattern making and finding it to be so much fun, maybe Pink Pony Design wouldn't exist today, so thank you little Bia Bag <3 Free Bia Bag pattern is available here.

Just look at this stunner! The fabric choices are just absolutely fantastic (I just have to make my own map fabric bag now)!

Can you believe me when I tell you this is her VERY FIRST home sewn bag?  Me neither, but it is! Fantastic job! 

Look at all the stunning details of this! those handmade leather handles really make the whole thing pop! Thank you Maria for letting me share your stunning work! <3


The Bia Bag pattern is not totally up to par with the quality of my new patterns, and it will receive a much needed makeover in the future, however, it's still a very easy to follow pattern, and clearly one can make a super fancy Bia Bag as ones very first bag! Make sure you pop over to Marias blog to see all the little details on how she made this lovely bag!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Cali Card Holder - Manly Orange Version

Upon seeing the Cali Card Holder, Erik immediately announced that he wanted one for himself. And there's nothing more fun then when my honey wants me to sew for him so I got right to it!

So a "manly" version without frills like zipper end covers (because he wanted the pocket to open fully) and hanger was born. Just a plain card holder with a pocket for his headphones.


He chose the fabrics and zipper himself, I think it came out great! I don't work a lot with orange so it was fun to get out of my normal color comfort zone. It's made with Joel Dewberry's beautiful fabric paired with some Kona Cotton.


Monday, March 6, 2017

Introducing - The Cali Card Holder!

I really wanted a clever little card holder/wallet for those pretty little handbags that unfortunately come without any such interior solutions, but are too small to fit a normal wallet. The Cali Card Holder was born!



It is a very handy 4 3/4" x 3" finished, has three card pockets (which can double as cash pockets) and one zippered compartment (naturally fully lined) for coins or keys or anything else you might want. It has a keyholder/hanger for when I use it in my bigger bags, so it doesn't get lost. The backside is plain.


The pattern is with my testers as we speak so hopefully it should be ready within a week. =)

Friday, February 24, 2017

How to reattach a zipper pull - Video tutorial

I've been contacted by several people who are very uncomfortable removing zipper pulls and reattaching them. Since I do so quite often in my patterns, for example in my free Racoon Case Sunglass Case pattern I thought it was long overdue with a proper video tutorial! It's also available in my youtube channel.


I love replacing my zipper pulls with contrasting ones or just prettier pulls, and while the first few attempts at this might be frustrating (and sometimes being two people can help), once you get the hang of doing this, it's actually really easy! And being able to remove the zipper pull makes working with zippers in so many instances so much easier =)

A few examples of where I've used contrasting zipper pulls, isn't it cute?






I hope you will find this tutorial easy to follow and that it will boost your zipper confidence!