Sunday, December 7, 2014

holiday shop

Just popping in to let you know that I've updated my online shop & if you're in VT and want to shop local I'll be at Touch of Vermont and BCA shows the next two weekends!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

baby wears .002

a tiny cardigan for a tiny human!
outfit details: self drafted pattern, polka dot interlock//doodles collection, organic cotton baby rib knit

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

baby wears .001

Baby girl is here! 12 days into life with a newborn we are settling into a routine-- Mumsy(my mother) has gone back home & daddy has gone back to work, which means its just us girls at home for the day! I am starting my making for upcoming holiday shows amidst the eating, sleeping, snuggling, & diaper changing schedule of a tiny babe. Now that she is here,  I can't wait to share about all her little outfits and handmade accoutrements! So here it is the first volume of what baby wears....

outfit details:
top: self drafted pattern, floral fabric// heather ross , coral fabric // robert kaufman
pants: tiny pants, yarn// cascade 220

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

shop update!

Sorry to have left this space neglected for so long! This summer it has seemed that there has been so many things to do and not enough time in the day to get them all done! I am happy to have FINALLY updated my website with current products--I'm not sure how many more weeks I'll be able to do the Artist Market before little baby makes her appearance, so I wanted to be sure to have my online shop ready to go. Plus having a new camera to take product photos makes the job a little more exciting too!

Here's a little peek at what is for sale at the moment...

xo CBB

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

handmade for baby: another kids clothes week

I'm at it again--participating in kids clothes week! This morning's project was a little baby tank top based on this pattern-- which I scaled down and added a bottom band to. Yesterday I sewed up some more cloth diapers but I'll save that for another post!

 xo CBB

p.s. I've been doing lots of crafting for the artist market--at some point I'll pop in with an update on that too!

Thursday, June 12, 2014


This year is shaping up to be quite an eventful one--in addition to the excitement of having our little one on the the way-- we are also planning our wedding! Luckily it is not until June of next year, so I have time to be figuring out all the details. We have chosen our date and booked our venue (a BIG first step) so I went ahead and made save-the-dates!

I knew that I wanted them to fun and festive (like our summery wedding will be!) so I started out by picking out a fun palette of colors. I got this book and knew that I would be using some of my calligraphy skills. I wrote out save the date in calligraphy and then cleaned it up on the computer using Illustrator and printed them out to fit into little glassine envelopes along with some confetti. I made the confetti with a hole punch and it was somehow a little less fun than I remember it being as a child (let's just say my hand was not too happy about this step). I then made little seals to close the envelopes with using a much friendlier paper punch and little strips of decorative paper that I cut. Then I put the whole fun little package into bigger envelopes made from decorative paper. I got an envelope punch board for this task and I must say that it might be my new favorite tool! Then I printed out addresses (without names) onto vellum and got out my calligraphy pen once more to add names. I sent these handmade address labels through my Xyron sticker maker and stuck them on the envelopes with a stamp and sent them on their merry way. Although there were a number of steps to complete them--it was a really fun project--plus I spread it out over three days so that it stayed fun (and not drudgery!). It definitely helps that we are having a small wedding and I only had to craft 35 of them!

There will be many more fun wedding projects that I look forward to sharing on this blog! I'm gearing up to make paper flowers and of course there will be sewing my dress and a number of other fun things that I can't wait to get making!
xo CBB

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Pattern Update

Small victory = finishing up designing the front of my pattern envelopes. Also, updating Craftsy and my shop with them. So exciting to create.

"The compelling thing about making art - or making anything, I suppose - is the moment when the vaporous, insubstantial idea becomes a solid there, a thing, a substance in a world of substances.”
-Audrey Niffenegger

xoxo CBB

Monday, May 19, 2014

Open Call....

For pattern testers that is! Do you love sewing? Want to try out something new? I'm currently looking for people to give my patterns a try (and get some feedback in return!). How it works? You get in touch & I send you a pattern free of charge. You give it a try (promptly, within 2 weeks) and then let me know how it went, what needs improvement, if you find errata, etc. Oh and send a pic of your finished product. Sound like fun? comment below or send me an email at caitlinbetsybell AT gmail DOT com.

xo CBB

p.s. I'm especially looking for testers for my clothing patterns since it is my first attempt at grading patterns, so if you have a little babe to sew for (0-18 months) drop me a line.....

Friday, May 16, 2014

endless hours staring at the computer screen...

I'm doing it--I'm making my patterns available in print (and not just digitally!). Why, you might ask? Because I decided to sign up for the summer artist market. Initially, I thought there was no way that it would ever be a possibility (the first sign up was during my first trimester when I had zero energy and felt like I could hardly get anything done). But it was just my luck that not enough people applied and the application deadline became a rolling one and now I've decided to give it a try.

Which leads me to why I'm making an attempt to have my patterns available in physical form since I would really like to have them for sale at the artist market. Which means I've been spending A LOT of time on the computer designing packaging, and writing, and editing, and the list goes on and on. At least I know that once done, I can just continually print more without having to repeat all of this initial work. This is definitely an advantage over being a little sweatshop and focusing on just sewing enough goods to sell every week. It will be exciting too to see what sort of feedback I get from my shift in focus with my business since the last time I took part in the market.

Here are some of the pattern envelopes that I've got in the works-- I'll be excited to get these printed and assembled. Although the first market is tomorrow, I'm shooting to start in two weeks and do it every other week (or as much as the weather allows!). I've got lots more to do but at least this is giving me a deadline to get it accomplished by!

xo CBB 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

handmade for baby: toys & perhaps another dress

I've been doing so much sewing I've pretty much run out of knit fabric to keep making baby clothing with (and since it's not in my budget right now to buy more...) I've shifted gears a little and done some toy making. Initially I was concerned that I'd end up with so many toys and just a little clothing for baby, but that was before I discovered my love of sewing with knits! After all, I've been running a toy-making business for 10 years. I had a few new things that I really wanted to try... and I've almost completed all of them (with the exception of one more stacking block which has been put on hold for an exciting reason--I'll get to that in a minute)
 I started out by making the stacking ring toy, which had been driving me crazy trying to envision how in the world you can sew a circular shape with a hole in the middle AND a gusset. I knew it could be done after seeing this pattern. I was also stuck on trying to figure it out myself instead of paying for a pattern. Turns out--- not that difficult. I'm happy with the result and I'm so glad that at the last minute I switched to using different textures of wool fabric instead of patterned quilting cottons that I had picked out.

Then I made the little happy cloud. He was such a fun and quick little evening project--and he has a rattle insert inside! My love of arranging things in rainbow order was definitely satisfied by this little guy.

My latest toy endeaver has been making stacking & nesting blocks from this tutorial over at Sew Mama Sew. Definitely a lot more time consuming than I first expected but that's mainly because you have to make 5 quilt blocks essentially for EACH stacking block. I've got the smallest two sizes done and I think I will get one more done but I've taken a little break because of a lovely little early mother's day gift that arrived in my studio today-- a serger!!!

This has seriously opened up the apparel sewing possibilities for me and of course I got right to work on one of these little dresses from See Kate Sew. I'm in love with how quickly and nicely the serger finished edges. I have a few more little clothes patterns picked out and I'm thrilled that I can make such nicely finished garments now, that are handmade but not homemade feeling if you know what I mean.

I might have to make myself some dresses with the many fabrics I have purchased to make clothing but never actually done anything with. Especially with the ever expanding baby belly that is starting to limit some of my current clothing options.

xo CBB

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

handmade for baby: miniature wardrobe for...

little baby GIRL! I've been busy at my sewing machine ever since I found out that I'm having a baby girl. Which has, of course, inspired me to start sewing dresses!

I started by making an itty bitty baby dress (pattern from Made by Rae) I decided to make it out of some organic cotton jersey and I added a little placket to the front, complete with rick rack and tiny red buttons. I also made the skirt like a bubble skirt because my fabric was quite lightweight.

Next, I moved onto another Made by Rae pattern--the Geranium Dress! I also drafted a peter pan collar to add onto this soft corduroy number. Oh, and I couldn't resist adding little contrasting orange snaps to the back.

While on a roll with dressmaking, I drafted a pattern for a yellow knit dress with long sleeves. To add a little detail, I made a striped button placket in the front, also making it easier to get on/off.

All of this dressmaking made in sizes newborn-3 months, got me thinking about what to pair these outfits with. The result: Just Hatched Leggings with heart knee patches made out of a dreamy wool interlock. Then I remembered I had another pair of Monkey Leggings (from One-Yard Wonders) cut out, but not yet sewn together. I got right to stitching up them up! I stenciled the grey fabric with little white clouds, and decided on green for the bum gusset.

If all of this sewing wasn't quite enough, I moved onto two more little newborn sized projects: a sleeper with little strawberries and a polka dot dress! I found this free pattern for the sleeper and which then inspired me to draft the dress pattern. The strawberry knit fabric on the sleeper sleeves is my favorite (a Heather Ross design).

xo CBB
p.s. see more little works in progress on my instagram

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

more fun with paper

While I've had my paper crafting supplies out, I couldn't resist a few projects just for fun...

Tutorial for the bunnies here.

If only the weather would get on board with my springy crafting---it snowed here again last night. I'm so ready for it to be green!

xo CBB

Monday, April 14, 2014

Pattern Peek

I'll take a little break from sharing baby clothes to share with you my other recent creative endeavor--designing pattern envelopes for my patterns. I hope at some point to offer print and not just digital patterns. For right now I want to be sure to have some cohesive branding/packaging even if they're purely digital. As I was trying to fall asleep the other night it occurred to me that I could illustrate using paper cutouts--and that is exactly what I've been working on!

I'm so thrilled to have devised a way to spend less time staring at my computer screen. I enjoy the creative design process a lot more if it's tactile rather than purely digital. Don't get me wrong there are functions on the computer which are invaluable (the ability to undo/redo is pretty swell). I just feel like it's easier for me to design with traditional media. I'd chose a pair of scissors and paper any day over hours of using the pen tool in Illustrator, but I'm thankful to know how to do both. I'll be adding my logo and the title of the pattern in Photoshop once I scan these designs in, but for now here is a little look into my process...

xo CBB

Saturday, April 12, 2014

handmade for baby: colorblock cardi

Kids Clothes Week is keeping me super inspired! So last night/this morning I designed and stitched up this little cardigan. I loved the idea of making layers that are easy to put on/take off and so I came up with this pattern for a colorblocked snap up cardigan using a onesie to gauge the measurements.

For the most part it was an easy project---the rib knit gave me a bit of trouble but once I switched to a larger needle it was a breeze. I'm in love with the little details on this one. Plastic snaps are SO easy to put in and are so cute. I also am so glad that I used some turquoise Mettler silk finish thread (my favorite kind!) for the topstitching (even though switching back and forth between threads as I was sewing was a little bit of a pain).

I am having an ultrasound on Friday and I plan to find out if the little one is a boy or a girl. Then I'll know if I can stitch up some little dresses too! 

xo CBB

Friday, April 11, 2014

handmade for baby: scratch mitts or holy moly how tiny!

Babies require tiny things. I think nothing I've made so far has struck me quite like these for their tininess. I used this tutorial from Speckled Owl Studio and found the only change I had to make was to cut the mitt part about 1/4" smaller because my ribbing cuff just wasn't as stretchy. They were really quick to whip up and so very fun, too! I made two pairs to start but I might have to make more just for the thrill of making something so tiny (and thinking of the tiny hands I'll be slipping them on! oh my!)
xo CBB

Thursday, April 10, 2014

handmade for baby: all sorts of baby clothes

As I discover with each new clothing project---sewing with knits is not so bad (I'm starting to love them actually) I've been definitely shopping around for cotton knit fabrics to add to my previously non-existent stash. So far I've cranked out a few (okay, maybe more than a few) little shirts since they are so tiny and quick. I started by making one that had a pattern instead of having to draft my own. I discovered this treasure trove of a website that has lots of nice (free) patterns on it. I made an envelope neck long sleeve shirt in the 6 month size. It came together quite nicely and I moved onto making this size 9 month shroomy shirt that has 3/4 length sleeves (because I wanted to make the most of the 1/2 yd of cute cute fabric). I'm making clothes in a variety of sizes so that everything isn't immediately outgrown. This pattern and tutorial were well written. (I highly recommend it!)

Then I moved on to the world of drafting patterns using an existing shirt (now that I had one!) I found this adorable tutorial which produced my most favorite garment to offset raglan tee with snaps! Again, this one was incredibly thorough and I liked doing the binding around the placket. I chose jersey knit for the body and sleeves and a baby rib for the binding which worked like a dream. I chose to set in snaps even though putting in buttonholes with my Husqvarna is so easy, I don't like the idea that a button could fall off and get eaten. My downstairs neighbors did not appreciate the hammering involved with setting snaps. Oops.

With all this new confidence in my sewing with knits ability, I've started to play around with patterns a little more. I saw this pattern for a kimono shirt and knew that I wanted to make newborn sized shirts like it. So with a baby size chart with measurements in hand, I drafted pattern pieces to make tiny tees! They go very nicely with the tiny pants my mom has knit for the baby.

I've even become confident enough to start making my own original patterns! The first is a baby romper with two different neck styles and sleeve styles. I started by making the envelope neck, long sleeve version and was so pleased I started dreaming up other possibilities. Then, this raglan sleeved romper with a snap placket was created which has upstaged the offset shirt as my fave. It was my first time making a placket and certainly not my last--I have already been scheming other uses for my newly learned skill. I'm hoping to get my act together and offer the pattern in my shop (soon!!).

Oh and then one last project to share for today-- A sleeper sack made from some seriously adorable fabric that says "les amis de la foret" with lots of little woodland creatures. I found this tutorial to be quite well written and I've already cut out another one that my mom is going to sew up.

I've also shared all of these recent projects over at Kids Clothes Week--are you sewing along this week too? It's my first time participating and I love how inspiring it is to see everyone's projects!
xo CBB

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

handmade for baby: baby pants or how I overcame my fear of knits

Seriously though. I had this fear/hatred/horror at the thought of sewing with knit fabric. I think some of it stems from how frustrating it was to try and sew with knits as a beginner and just felt like no matter how hard I tried, everything came out wonky.

That was at least ten years ago, and my sewing skills/craftsmanship have come a long ways since then--but I still avoided sewing knits like the plague. I revisited the idea of giving them another chance as I thought about what kinds of clothes I wanted for a newborn and of course having some soft, snuggly, stretchy pants were in order. I selected the Monkey Leggings pattern from  Fabric-by-Fabric One-Yard Wonders, since the contrasting bum gusset was too cute to pass up. Also it's simplicity and mere 3 pieces plus cuffs made it an attractively easy project for someone so wary of jersey knit.

Both of my fabrics I picked up at my local Joann fabrics--the turquoise one is 100% cotton and the gray has a bit of added Lycra to hold it's shape. I cut them out carefully with my nice, sharp Ginghers, I put in a proper ball point needle intended for knit fabric, and set my machine to do an overlock stitch and eased up the pressure of the presser foot, used an ample number of pins, and-- it WORKED. I made baby pants. Out of knit fabric. They look nice and professional. I didn't need a serger (always thought that might be the key to my knit fabric woes) and I already have another grey pair cut out, stenciled with little clouds, and ready to be assembled. (This is in addition to a version I whipped up out of wool interlock (so cozy!) and a fun pair made by my mom in a print.)

It felt so good to have success this time around (good thing, I have many more knit projects on my list!) Now I have this need to buy so many knit fabrics to add to my stash dominated by fat quarters for quilting. Seriously, I've spent hours online looking at all the knit fabrics money can buy. It's a little sad that previously my stash only had ONE jersey knit in it left over from making an infinity scarf a few years back. Clearly lacking.

So, do you have any secrets to sewing knit fabric with success? I'd love to hear them!

xo CBB

Sunday, April 6, 2014

handmade for baby: the master list

As soon as I found out I was expecting I spent many hours trying to learn as much as I could about taking care of babies. One of the big things was figuring out just what did I really need for a baby. There are many baby things out there that would be nice to have I'm sure, and some things that just seem frivolous (wipe warmers, anyone?). I'm definitely going the cost effective route and trying to make as many things myself, that I possibly can.

So after lots of research and making decisions about sleeping, diapering, baby wearing, etc. I've come up with my "master list" which is really just one big checklist of all the things I want to make. I'm a list person--it helps me feel organized and it keeps me motivated knowing the satisfaction of checking each item off!

This is really a starting point for me, I'm trying to stay prioritized so that this child doesn't end up with 20 different toys and hardly a wardrobe to speak of. Ideally, I'd like to make even more, but we will see just how much I can complete before September rolls around!

Here's my list of Things to Make for Baby:

I've already made quite a bit of progress and as of today my list looks like this:

 I'm looking forward to this week coming up because it is my first Kids Clothes Week that I am participating in! Which should help me to keep making more tiny clothes for the tiny babe!
xo CBB

Saturday, April 5, 2014

the best best best news

So I've had a bit of exciting news (okay more than exciting--SO thrilled!) that I've been keeping a bit secret for the past few weeks. Now I'm ready to share with everybody that come September, me and my guy are going to be a family of 3!!!! I'm over the moon that we are going to have a little baby.

Of course I've already started making lots of baby things(how could I resist--everything is so sweet when made for a baby, the tininess of it all, oh goodness!) Many more posts on this subject, I most certainly promise.

But for now, I just want to enjoy every minute of being pregnant (as much as possible, it's not exactly comfortable, as I'm finding out) and keep looking forward to this precious little one joining our family.

xo CBB

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

I'm back

The last month seems to have just slipped by, hasn't it? In this unintended bit of a break from blogging I made a rather exciting ski trip to Europe and back. It seems that preparing for, traveling, and then getting back into the swing of things(and adjusted to the timezone) has left this space rather blank for a bit. I'm here to change that as I have some big news to share (soon, I promise). For now, I leave you with this...some snapshots from my trip and a peek at my newest quilting endeavor:

Oh! The snowy French countryside! and now my newest work in progress:

xo CBB

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

At my sewing machine today.

Today I considered sitting down to write another pattern. Instead, I thought a little research was in order. I'm not terribly new to writing patterns (I've had patterns published since 2008) but I haven't ever put so much of my energy into writing them before, and I want to make sure that I'm doing it well. When it comes to sewing, I myself don't use patterns much--I dream something up and make it. Sometimes I want to make things for myself or gifts for others and I might use someone else's pattern, but even if I do, I use the pattern pieces, but don't tend to look at the directions much. I prefer to figure it out intuitively. So today I pulled out a couple of craft books from my personal library and looked through to find a pattern from each one that I'd like to try out over the next few weeks. I hope that by doing this I'll learn how other people make things, and then how they communicate it in their directions--and ultimately improve my own pattern writing skills. So today instead of being at my computer I sat down at my sewing machine to give someone else's pattern a try.

xo CBB

Saturday, January 18, 2014

A day for embroidery.

Today I started working on this...another sample of my embroidery pattern, Sly as a Fox, Wise as an Owl.

 It's been rather fun picking out floss colors from my rather large (and also rather tangled) stash. Perhaps sometime I'll organize it onto cute cards like these:

I also got around to putting this free pattern up on Craftsy- you might recognize it if you read my former blog.

And that sums up my embroidery day.
xo CBB

Friday, January 17, 2014

A Book

Hmm, this pattern felt a little like writing a book--perhaps it's the 22 pattern pieces, or maybe all those diagrams for each step--either way, I'm keeping up with releasing a new pattern each day!

This time I made a pattern for my quiet book--a definite Nifty Kidstuff customer favorite and perhaps one of the more time intensive things I've chosen to produce. Also one of the most fun! Especially if you like applique and figuring out just the right bit of fabric for this and that (I do). Now you too can make this book using my new pattern!

xo CBB

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A New Pattern in Store

The pattern of the day today is....

Goldilocks & the Three Bears finger puppets! I can't tell you how many finger puppets I have stitched in the past couple years but my guess is over 1000. They are a fun and quick sewing project (perfect if you like a little instant gratification from your sewing). Again, you can find it in my craftsy store or in my own shop.

Happy crafting!
xo CBB

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

How-to: Improvisational Patchwork

In the fall I moved into a new (bigger apartment) which meant I got to have a bigger bed which then meant I needed to make a quilt. I started this project back in November and come back to it every so often. Right now I have just over half of the 56 squares pieced together. Today I'm going to share my method for making this quilt. If you feel intimidated by precise measurements and exact cutting---then this technique is for you! It's really quite fun to make it up as you go along AND there isn't much math involved.


 To start cut out a bunch of strips from the fabrics of your choice. I chose some neutrals, some accent colors, some solids, some prints, and cut them in varying widths from 1"-3" wide. I used my rotary cutter to do this but you can certainly use scissors (it just might take a little longer). Then I cut squares and rectangles anywhere from 3" to 6" in size that make up the centers of my blocks. Nothing has to be exact or perfectly square, which makes it a lot less tedious than most quilts.

 Now it's time to start sewing! I set up my machine to stitch 1/4" away from the edge of my presser foot and thread it with a neutral colored thread. Then I take my center block (right side facing up) and place one of my strips (right side of fabric down) and align the two strips at the corner. Then I stitch down the edge of my center square.

After stitching, I use my scissors to trim the strip to be the same length as the center.

 Then I press the seams open using my iron.

 You end up with a little something like this!

 Now it's time to repeat the process on the opposite side of the square. Again, lining up the center and the strip and stitching 1/4" away from the edge.

Trim and press and you've now got something that looks like this!

 Now you're on to the third side of your center piece. Again, stitching the strip down the edge(be mindful that your pressed open seams get stitched that way as you go). Then trim and press once more!

Just one more side to go! Repeat the same process of stitching, trimming, and pressing.

For the fourth side I used a slightly wider strip of the same fabric. You can mix up the widths of your fabric on each side or keep them all the same.

Ta-da! You now have a square with a border around it! Continue these steps to add more borders until you have a block that is your desired size. For my quilt I am making all of my blocks 12.5". I find it helpful to make them a little bigger and then trim down to the size I want. As you are making it is helpful to have a ruler handy so you know when it's getting close to your finished size. In total for my queen size quilt I will make 56 blocks (so that I will have 8 rows of 7 blocks). You can make your blocks any size you might want, however, and adjust this technique for any size quilt.

 It is also fun to mix up the fabrics a bit as I go to create more interest. Sometimes I use prints and solids of the same color in the same border. then sometimes I use four different fabrics in a border. It is fun to experiment as you go along--never quite knowing when you start a square how it will look in the end!

Happy improvisational stitching!

xo CBB

p.s. you can also find this tutorial over in my Craftsy shop as a free PDF printable download here