Monday, December 9, 2013

Get 'Em While They're Hot Pads

My colorful pot holders have been a hot seller at my craft fairs this season and I was almost completely out, so I was glad for the chance to whip up a new batch this weekend. This should get me through the holidays quite nicely!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Selling Loakal

Just Sew Jana, in stores now! My roster is slowly expanding and I'm so excited to be welcomed into the Loakal Art Gallery & Boutique family. The Jack London Square store is selling some of my upcycled upholstery coin purses and clutches and I couldn't be prouder to be part of this artists' space.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Prints Charming

I did a crazy amount of sewing this weekend. Among the spoils: Some super cute little zipper bags made with some of my stash that I'd been neglecting, some truly charming prints with adorable giraffes and narwhals that I ran across when tidying up last week.

The bulk of the table at my upcoming craft fairs will still be devoted to my upcycled upholstery sample bags but I wanted to make sure I had some really colorful stuff to throw into the mix.

Take a Bow

My BWF Kate (that's Best Work Friend, for those of you not in the know) is crazy about bows. I made her a linen bow clutch a while back using this tutorial from Elm Street Life and she loved it. It's a great little bag but I haven't made any for sale because I'm a stickler for not copying others' work, especially for profit. Not that I am successful enough to really exploit anyone, but still.

Another thing Kate's crazy about is this guy Aaron, which is why they're getting married next week. She asked me if I would please make some fancy-schmancy bow clutches for her and her bridesmaids and of course I said yes! 

She got this really pretty silver silk dupioni and while I was nervous about working with silk, I was game to try. It turned out to be easy (the cut edges just fray A LOT  but I'm used to working with messy fabric) and the bags turned out really pretty. 

The inside is a lovely cotton with gray polka dots and Kate is also crazy about polka dots. Come to think of it, she's pretty crazy so that pretty much explains what she's doing hanging out with the likes of me. 

In any case, happy wedding Kate!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Is it Christmas Yet?

With almost four decades as a big sister under my belt, I've pretty much got annoying my younger sibling down to an art form. One of the best ways to torture my sister is by talking about Christmas early and bragging about how I've already finished my Christmas shopping. (I used to do this by Thanksgiving every year, although I've lagged the past few.) Anyway, just to get an early start on this (torturing not shopping), I texted these stockings to her last weekend.

Crazy thing is, in the craft fair world Christmas is fast approaching and applications for the holiday shows are being solicited already. So I figured I'd better start getting ready. These stockings are modern and cool, and just Christmassy enough without being traditionally boring. I think my favorite is the mid-century modern chairs but truly I'm in love with every one of them! Check them out in my Etsy shop here.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

My New Favorite


I'll be honest, just about every time I make something it becomes my new favorite. The capricious nature of my favor cannot be denied. Every day is the best day ever and every bag I make is my favorite. So the title of this post is just a little tongue in cheek. But seriously: These are my new favorite. No really.

Little eco zip wallets are super fun to make. I get to use some of the gorgeous small uphostery fabric samples in modern prints that I'd been collecting for a while into super smart looking coin purses, IMHO. They'd also be great to keep your earbuds, business cards, medicine (herbal or otherwise), etc. Get two for everyone!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Can't Hardly Wait: Rockridge Out & About

Going into my second month of no craft fairs, the withdrawal symptoms are getting more intense: Night tremors, the sweats, you know the drill.

Luckily I've got a very busy October planned and lots of sewing to do! First up is the Rockridge Out & About on Oct. 6. I'll get to take my pop-up tent out for another spin and debut some of my new upcycled clutches and coin purses in the awesome three-tiered wire basket display I recently acquired.

I can't wait!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Leather or Not

Lately I've been finding the most gorgeous upholstery samples in smaller sizes, really cool little pieces that are generally about 6 inches square. I've done some patchworking with them, of course, but then one day it hit me: Zipper bags!

These are a few I just finished with a leather bottom. I have to be honest, working with leather isn't my favorite. It's generally temperamental and hard on needles, and it just doesn't glide through the sewing machine the way fabric does. But I can't deny that they really elevate a zipper pouch. I think these would be just the thing to carry your phone and lipstick on a night out.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

New Look, Same Great Taste

Astute readers will notice that I've got a new banner on my blog. The old logo, cute as it was, was just something I found on Vistaprint and not terribly original. So I've been on the hunt for something better and when I saw a painting my husband did, I asked him to transform it into a digital file. And thus, the new and improved logo. I just got the business cards in the mail and have updated my Etsy shop, as you can see above.

I've been keeping busy with a couple of side sewing jobs, and restocking a few stores nearby, but I've got some shows coming up in October and November (and hopefully December). So I'll be making lots of new things and showing them off here. Don't change that dial!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

What is Upcycling?

Hands-down, this is the No. 1 question I get asked at craft fairs, followed closely by “where do you get your fabrics?”

The answer to both of these questions can be traced back to my first fair in Martinez almost two years ago, when I met a woman named R.C., who is also known as the Dumpster Diversion Diva.

At the time, I was still mastering the art of the tote. My fabric stash had not yet reached epic proportions and I was trying to get as much of my supplies as possible from thrift stores. I was beginning to be drawn in by the dazzling array of prints and patterns available in quilting cottons. Unfortunately, as the raw material for a tote bag, quilting cottons are not ideal. They just aren’t made for the heavy duty daily use a bag gets.

Enter the Diva, who introduced me to upholstery samples destined for the trash heap but rescued in the hope that someone would do something useful with them. So I accepted the challenge and embarked upon this project, combining two of my very favorite things: making bags and recycling.

Upholstery material is meant to be used on a sofa or chair that’s sat on every day, spilled on occassionally, and attacked by kids/pets/rambunctious friends fairly often. This makes it a great starting place for a bag. It’s thick and strong and generally has some stain-resistant properties.

And because most of these samples are smaller than your average handbag, it affords me the opportunity to join together prints and textures and colors in a creative and unique way. Every bag is one of a kind and, if I do say so myself, a work of art.

I know I'm not the only one who's doing this, not by a long shot. I didn't invent it but I'm proud to be one of many people finding joy in repurposing materials to make beautiful, durable and useful items. That's what upcycling is. One person's trash becoming another's treasure.

So to recap: These

... get turned into these.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Sneak Peek

Craft Fairing it Up in My Hometown

I celebrated the Fourth of July with a booth at the El Cerrito festival, which featured food, music, tons of kids rides and games, and some craft booths. A great time was had by all.

I've noticed that at dedicated craft fairs people are much more in a buying mood but I did pretty well anyway, and when I wasn't selling it was fun to people watch. I seriously never knew that so many people had patriotic outfits just waiting to be worn on July 4.

It was the debut of my appliqued cloth napkins and they performed well on their first outing. I'm glad I have a bunch left for the Temescal Street Fair on Sunday. Even though I grew up in El Cerrito and live in the Grand Lake neighborhood, Temescal is where I seem to find myself hanging out a lot of the time.

That's right, I'm doing TWO fairs in one week. It's a crazy time around here at Just Sew Jana headquarters, by which I mean that Jana is crazy and sewing even more than usual. But that's all part of the fun!

If you're in the neighborhood, stop by my booth near 49th and Telegraph in Oakland. I've got some more upcycled totes I was holding back for this event so it'll be a different mix of mixed bags.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Best Day Ever

It happened! The spring Patchwork Modern Handmade Festival was on Sunday and I know that I am prone to hyperbole but it was the BEST DAY EVER. Seriously, I had a terrific time and I did sell more stuff than I ever have before.

It was truly the upcycled upholstery totes seen on the rack below that were the star of the show. I priced them at $39, worried that was going to be too expensive, but ended up selling eight of them! Everyone looked at the neon deer print bags but no one bought one. I sold both of those black and white ones, which didn't surprise me because I have one just like it and people compliment it all the time! Plus I sold some zipper bags and some hot pads, and two of the new leather clutches I made just last week.

Anyway, it's not just sales that make a show: The atmosphere and the organizers were top-notch just like last time and I enjoyed talking with my crafty colleagues, also as you can see from the last two photos my family even stopped by. They (as well as my husband, not pictured because he's camera shy, and my mom, who always comes to my craft fairs and tries to bring along some friends) have been a great support to me.

I was especially glad this show went well because last week I found out that I didn't get into the Renegade Craft Fair. It's a notoriously hard one to land but it made me pretty sad nonetheless and doubt myself just a little bit. But I'm OK now, thanks for asking.

See you in the fall, Patchwork!