Thursday, April 24, 2014

Contest Winner and Arbor Day Links

We have a double-topic blog post for you today and they'll both be quick and to the point! 

Blog Mini Contest

First up, we want to announce the winner of this month's mini contest on the blog. We challenged you to make any CKC outfit and then make a matching knit turban using our free tutorial, then send us a picture. It was fun to see the cute ones you came up with! And the winner is...

Jen Roberts! What a darling little girl (and lucky too!).  It's hard to go wrong with My Little Pony and two tones of purple. I absolutely love this set. Congratulations to Jen! You win a free CKC pattern of your choice.


 Arbor Day 

We also want to make mention of Arbor Day. In the U.S. it is celebrated on the last Friday in April. That's tomorrow!  Most other countries have their own version of Arbor Day as well, celebrated on dates different than ours. But isn't it great to know that we're all working together to take care of this planet that we share? 

I, personally, am a big fan of oxygen.

So I encourage us all to go out and plant a tree! Or two. Or ten. If you'd like to learn more about how to "plant, nurture, and celebrate trees," here is a link to the Arbor Day Foundation's website. It is a nonprofit organization with a TON of information.

I also want to put in a plug for CKC and the ways that we help you conserve paper.  It's important to us!  If you have printed out pieces from other PDF companies you know that it's not unusual to have 30-40 pages of  pattern pieces to print! But not ours! We often only print 1, 2, 4, or sometimes 10 pages at the most. Why? Because we have found ways to cut back on the number of pages we use:

  • The biggest way to save pages is by "nesting" our different sizes into all one page. We can print just a few pages to get all nine sizes! That certainly isn't to make it easier on the designers. It's to save paper and ink on your end! 

  • We use a cutting chart whenever possible. We feel that making a square/rectangle pattern piece for everyone to print is a waste of paper when we can all just look at the chart and cut it using the measurements. This is what attracted me to CKC in the first place. We can make an entire peasant dress using one teeny little arm cutout!  

  • Anytime we see a way to combine pieces, we do so. For example, many of our non-peasant tops use all one pattern piece for shirt front and shirt back, and at the neck we have a front cut line and a back cut line.  Again, this saves on paper without reducing the quality of the pattern! We do test all of our patterns in each size to make sure our pieces are fabulous. 

  • Just the fact that our patterns are PDF is already conserving paper. Keep in mind that when you buy a new pattern you do NOT need to print the whole pattern out!  Most of us keep a computer or tablet or phone nearby so we can read the instructions on the screen. All we have to print are the actual pattern pieces themselves.  When my laptop or phone isn't available (my son likes to steal it), I read the pattern on the computer and jot down notes that will help me as I'm sewing. 

If some of these points are new to you, here are some recent blog posts we've done that explain them more in detail: 

With these resources, we can certainly cut back on the paper we use for sewing.  So let's all say thanks to our trees and take good care of them, not just tomorrow but all year 'round!  Happy Arbor Day! 

Let's Create! ~ Kristen

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Adjusting the Back Rise on Shorts and Pants

We have so many cute new shorts patterns available for this spring and summer! (And even more on the way.)  We recently had some questions about the "rise" of our shorts patterns so today we're going to talk about what that means, why we do what we do, and how you can make adjustments if you want to.

First of all, the "rise" is the distance from the bottom curve of the shorts to the top of the shorts, as shown in red in the picture below. Shorts sometimes have a higher rise in back than in front, to give more room for the bootie. We do have CKC patterns like this such as Kelsey's, Libby's, Quinn's, Patrick's, and most of the Tweens' patterns. But there are also times when we decide that it is better to make the front and the back of the shorts share the same pattern piece with equal rise so you don't have to print as many pages. It also makes the cutting process quicker. On patterns such as bubble shorts and loose-fitting pants it is completely fine to have the rise the same in the front and back. We test all of our patterns in every size and if we feel the need to change the rise then we do. We make sure the pieces are perfect before we release them! So we are confident that you will be happy with your CKC shorts patterns as they are written. 

If you do want to make adjustments for your child, we are happy to help you achieve that too. We have done a blog post here on how to adjust the rise if it is too high for your child.  And now I'm going to show you how to adjust the rise if you want the front rise to be shorter than the back.   

To start out we will cut and sew our pieces as instructed in our chosen pattern and get to this point shown above, having sewn along the red lines. We are now ready to adjust the front rise. 

With the shorts pieces laying flat, find the center along the top and mark it with a pin as shown above. 

Now on one of the sides (whichever we choose to be our front) we will measure down 1.5" along the side edge and make a mark. My mark is blue in the center of the circle above.  

Note: I am making a size 7/8. For sizes smaller than 4T you may want to do 1" or less. If you want to know the exact difference for your child, you can measure on them from center front to waistline and center back to waistline, and then subtract for the difference. This number is how far you want to measure down for the side mark.

Now we will use a ruler to draw a straight line from the edge where our center pin is to the side edge where our mark is, as shown above.

Now we will cut that line. 

Turn the shorts so the seams run down the center front and center back. We can see that our front rise is lower than our back rise, just like we wanted! Now we can continue on with the rest of the pattern as it is written.  It really is that simple! Your rise is now adjusted. 

As you can see, we still fold the casing exactly the same way. I was a little nervous the first time I did this but it turns out the same, just slightly curved when you get to the front. 

And there we have it. Totally cute!  As I mentioned earlier, tweens tend to like having a lower rise in front. Your child may too.  But for the most part you can count on the designers at CKC to decide whether a pattern is just as fantastic with both pieces the same, so we can all cut down on the pieces we need to print. (We can take all the money we save on paper/ink and buy more fabric!) 

Let's Create! ~ Kristen 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

How To Tuesday: Bodice on The Bias

How To Tuesday with Morgan

So what happens when you find a super cute stripe and you are wishing it was chevron? Well you make it chevron of course! Now this trick is nothing new in the quilting world but was something totally foreign to me. So I headed to up to my favorite local quilt shop Quilter's Square and got some help from my good friend Kela on how to cut on a 45 degree angle.

After toying around with some different options we agreed that the easiest way to teach this trick was to use an 8.5" square ruler.

To start you will want 1/3 yard of a stripe fabric. With the fabric laying on a flat surface we lined the 45 degree line of the rule on the left edge of one of the stripes.

You can see this step more clearly in the below photo. Note that our 45 degree line is lined up with edge of the gold stripe. 

We then cut around all 4 sides of the ruler creating a perfect 8.5" square.

We then repeat the same process further down the fabric, making sure to use the same color line for the center 45 degree line. In our case, it is the golds stripe.

We then pressed and starched the squares and flipped them until the lines line up to create a the chevron.

Then with our fabrics right sides together, we pin and sew down the edge using a 1/4" seam allowance.

After sewn together you have a rectangle that is 8.5" x 16", which is the perfect size and can accommodate any of the CKC bodices in sizes 6/12mo-8y.

Now using the seam you just sewed you will cut your bodice down to size. In this case we were making a size 2 bodice that calls for the bodice to be 12" wide. We lined the center seam on 6" line and then trimmed down to size.

That's it! Now I don't know about you all, but I know I have missed out on making some super cute dresses because I was totally overthinking this trick.

While hanging out with Kela today she agreed to give our readers 20% off any order from their site. Just use the coupon code "ckcfans" when checking out. And make sure to head over to their facebook fan page and give them some CKC love!

I know I'm excited to use to coupon to place my pre order of the Arizona line by Art Gallery Fabrics! I mean, really! Look at how amazing these fabrics are! And Quilter's Square has knit one their site as well! Double yay!

Happy sewing y'all,

Monday, April 21, 2014

April's Fan of the Month

Every month we choose a CKC fan that stands out to us and today it was extra hard to choose with all those adorable Easter outfits you're all sharing!  I couldn't pass up these little cuties though: 

Congratulations to Ashley Belew, our CKC Fan of the Month! Ashley loves sewing clothes for her kids and I love that her son gets just as much lovin' as her daughter in that department!  In the photo above her daughter is wearing Paris' Party Dress (a favorite for Easter this year) and her adorable son is wearing his Emmett's bow tie and William's suspenders. What adorable little matchers! 

 I asked Ashley to tell us a little about herself and her sewing. Here she is: 

"I have two kids. Emma who is four and Grayson who just turned one on Friday.  I started sewing about 2 1/2 years ago because I love boutique clothes and wanted to start creating them for my daughter. Never would I have guessed that I would love sewing so much! Something that started off as a small hobby has taken over my life. LOL."

"I squeeze in sewing time whenever I can. My first CKC pattern was Mia's that I used for my daughter's 2nd birthday and I was hooked!  My all-time favorite thing that I have made is my daughter's Easter Primrose from last year.  I don't know that I can pick a favorite CKC pattern but I really love Nicolette's, and Bethany's has quickly become my go-to pattern."

Thank you, Ashley, and congrats! We love having fans like you who truly enjoy sewing for their kids.  

Such adorable children and clothing!  If you want to see more of our fans' Easter outfits like Ashley's, be sure to join our CKC patterns group where we all share our ideas and photos. It's a fun place to talk sewing and show off what we've made. 

Let's Create! ~ Kristen 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday Recap

If you like big sales, exciting announcements, and really great new patterns then this week's recap is going to be a good one for you! Let's take a look: 

New Releases

Michael's Muscle Tee is a must-have for spring and summer! Your boy will love the comfy fit and it comes with an optional chest stripe to mix and match with his favorite shorts. Michael's is a super quick and easy sew and you'll soon find that your boy wants one for every day of the week! 

This magical pattern is Pixie's Petal Dress and it comes with a bonus flower tutorial for the perfect icing. We don't need to say much more about this dress - we can all see how amazing it is! 

We released two new Tween patterns this week.  First is Daphne's Bubble Skirt, which has a flat front waistband, an attached sash, and options for either a shirred or elastic waistband.  The second tween pattern is Isla's Knit Ruffle Shorts and your daughter is going to want several pairs of these comfy shorts! 

Tabitha's Knit Top and Dress was released just yesterday! Tabitha's has a sleeveless and short sleeve optiona and a new scoop neck style. There are also three skirt options included: simple straight skirt, ruffled, or trim band. There are also optional bodice ruffles. This pattern will still be 30% off for a few more hours today, so grab it before it's too late! 

On the Blog

This week on the blog, Deborah Koch joined us for our Monthly Mash-up in which she combined Lorelai's and Yvette's dresses to make this gorgeous new dress. 

For How-To Tuesday we showed you this great tutorial for making a knit turban for yourself or your little one. They are fun to make and even more fun to wear! 

Software updates are causing a lot of us to have issues printing our PDF pattern pieces.  But there is a solution (hooray!) and on Wednesday's blog we explained how to print accurately even with new changes to Windows 8

Remember the turban tutorial we did on Tuesday? Well, we''re having a mini contest on the blog where you can win a free pattern by sewing a turban for your little cutie!  The rules are in the contest blog post here. 


Our "I Love PDF Patterns" magazine is now live and ready to purchase! We can get the digital copy on Etsy here or the printed copy on the magcloud website here.  When you order the printed copy you will also receive the digital version for free!  The first issue includes five patterns plus tutorials, recipes, printables, crafts to do with the kids, interviews, business articles, and so much more! 


The ad above says it all! We're having a huge Easter Sale right now until Sunday night. Select patterns are 30% off and yes they combine for tiered pricing today with the other sales we have going on! Happy Easter!

Today's Half-Off Friday pattern is Kara's Triple Ruffle Pants and Capris! These darling pants are versatile and so fun to match with our different frilly tops. You can get this pattern for 50% off all day Friday. Here are a few more pictures of Kara's, just for fun: 

Thank you to our fans for another great week here at CKC! We hope you all have a happy Easter weekend. 

Let's Create! ~ Kristen 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Mini Contest: Matching Turban

It's contest time on the blog! Ooh, I love these contests! And this one will be super quick and rewarding.  Two days ago we showed you how to make a knit turban and now we're challenging you to make one! We have a lot of great knit patterns at CKC and this is an easy way to use your scraps AND make an adorable matching accessory while you're at it.

Here are the rules:

1) Make an outfit using any CKC pattern or tutorial (it doesn't have to be knit).

2) Use our DIY Turban Tutorial here to make a coordinating turban for your little cutie. (It doesn't have to be the same fabric.)

3) Take a picture of her wearing the outfit and the turban, and email it to by next Wednesday, April 23 at midnight EST. We would also love to have you share your entries on our fan page!! Bonus points if you give a link back to this page of the blog!

We will announce and post the top three entries on the blog next Thursday morning and the first place winner will get a free pattern of her choice! How does that all sound?! 

We hope you all have a great week finishing up your Easter projects. 

Let's Create! ~ Kristen 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Printing PDF Patterns with Windows 8

 Don't you love it when life is going along smoothly and then suddenly something you have always been doing doesn't work right anymore? Yeah, neither do I.  

Well that's exactly what is happening to many of us lately as we are trying to print out PDF patterns!  They look right on the screen but they don't print out the right size.  WHY?!?!  

I will tell you why. We finally figured it out. It seems that many programs are seeing the value of PDF's so they're coming out with their own reader apps to use within their programs. That sounds like a great idea for them. Except that there's a difference between reading/viewing and printing accurately. The generic reader apps don't always print to scale. The biggest hit (but not the only one) is with Windows 8 that recently came out with their own reader app.  If you have Windows 8 there's a good chance that your sizing is off a teeny bit even if you haven't noticed it yet. It is possible for us to change the default and go around it, but a lot of people don't know it's even a problem.  If your 1" square is printing out at 15/16" then your whole pattern will be too small!

 I will explain a little more and then how to fix the problem in Windows 8. The important thing to remember is that your patterns may have been printing fine a few days ago but that doesn't mean that they will today. In the picture below, you can see the "Reader" that is circled.  This is the new Windows 8 reader.  It is the default when you double click your patterns. It's brilliant for them but a nightmare for us if we want to print accurately.  

The main problem is that the Windows Reader opens the pattern up to be viewed in a window like this one below.

 It looks great and we can certainly read our pattern instructions that way.  But when it comes to printing, notice at the bottom that there are NO options for whether we want to print to scale.  We can print but we don't have much control over how it prints. (This may depend a little on your PC and version.) 

So instead of using this Windows Reader App, or even a mini app version of Adobe, we want to make sure we are opening our patterns in the most recent version of Adobe Reader, as circled below. If you don't yet have it, I will show you how to get it.  If you do have it, you'll still want to keep reading because there's a step you need to do in order to make it your default. 

When we open the pattern with the full version of Adobe and tell it to print the pieces, we are brought to this print screen below, where we can choose "Actual Size" or something similar on our computer. We need to be able to tell the printer to print in actual size and not to shrink to fit! 

 Okay so now we all know we need the full version of Adobe Reader.  If you don't yet have it on your computer, you can get it for free here: 

It may not be a bad idea to make sure you have the newest version, even if you have an older version. Following the steps at the link above, you will see the following screens: 

 Once we follow through with these steps to get it downloaded and installed, the Adobe icon should now show up in a drop-down menu when we RIGHT CLICK on a pattern that we want to open.  See below. 

At this point, after right clicking, we can see several options for opening the pattern, including both readers.  What we want to do is select "Choose Default Program" as circled above, and set the Adobe Reader as our default program. If all goes well, that will make it so when we double click our pattern it will open in the full Adobe version rather than in an app. 

If we're ever not sure if it opened in the right program, just remember that we need to be able to select for it to print actual size. Just because the 1" square looks accurate on the screen does NOT mean that it will print out correctly.

Is this all clear?  I realize there may be differences based on computer models and operating systems. If the helps above don't solve your problem or you have a completely different program you're fighting, it may help to google your problem. There's a good chance that you're not the only one struggling with it.  This just shows how important it is to ALWAYS measure the 1" square on our pattern pieces. Having the square look "close enough" will result in clothing for our kids that "almost fits". 

I want to give a huge thank you to Connie Ridgeway from Cranberry Ridge Designs for helping us out with the step-by-step photos today!  I borrowed her as one of our pattern testers and turned her into a computer tester. (She is very patient.) Connie also has a fun blog here that you will want to check out.

Let's Create! ~ Kristen