Category Archives: Sewing

Exclusives aka Why You Can’t Have That Design


The phone case is from the Dejah Vue Designs, but the bag, that is an exclusive.


You go into a cute shop on Etsy, or on the net someplace, and you see an item, that you instantly realize, has been done on an embroidery machine. That means there is a design for it, and now you want it.

So now you “copy” their picture, post it in the groups with “NMP where can I find this design” only to learn, it was an exclusive to that creator and isn’t for sale.

Cue tantrums and tears.


Well, you can’t have it. It is that simple. That is an “exclusive” to the shop, or that designer, and the person carrying that item is the one who worked tirelessly with a designer, giving ideas, drawing pictures, testing the design and finally, listing it.

It is a process that can take days, weeks, or even months.  And yes, you might have thought of it, but in the end, it was this creator and digitizer that worked together and got in there first. Harsh? Yes. But that is how in some areas of selling, you lock up a market, or at least make sure you are in there first for a while.

Of course, this doesn’t mean much, if you’re that determined, you can of course go and have it copied, losing the respect of your fellow crafters, and gaining the amusement of the person who was smart enough to have it designed for them.  You are even risking having designers refuse to work with you on legit projects you have ideas for. And trust me, you really don’t want any of that. Machine embroidery is a small world, word will get out.

So how can you go about getting your own “exclusives” for your shops? Approach your designer of choice. Many of them actually enjoy this kind of work. The designer of my TARDIS bag up there isn’t even a pro digitizer, but she is an incredibly talented one. Whenever I want a bag exclusive, I head to her. (talks are in place for genetalia bags)

Just ask the designer you enjoy most, if they’d work on this with you. You will have to pay for the project, but it usually isn’t too high a cost, and worth it in the end for a fantastic product that only you will be offering. You’re also removing any potential competition from others who bought the same design, because now suddenly, they can’t do that.

Be sure when you talk with your digitizer of choice that you make sure they understand you do not want the design out there for others. But again, keep in mind, the unscrupulous will often “copy” your exclusive, sometimes less than a week after you show off your new work. (this comes under my famous “don’t be a dick” statement, but is often ignored by the dicks)

Along with that, if a certain digitizer is good with certain items, like my girl who rocks with purse designs, go to that designer. Don’t go to someone who does mostly words and phrases for ITH toys. Go to the designer best suited for your design. You won’t regret it.

I personally love exclusives. In my own shop, and in the shops of others. It shows me that free reign on creativity is taking place. And yes, every so often, I’ve been a little bummed I couldn’t also have that design, but I respect both designer and store owner for wanting such a cool item and I’m often willing to buy it from them, showing my support of a seriously cool item.



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Filed under Business, Embroidery Machine, Musings

Don’t Be a Dick Part 2


I at one point had a goal for my blog, that it was going to be about me, my life in crafting, my business, and occasionally, these posts that discussed how to be a better crafter.

But I’m slowly learning that what people enjoy most from me is these rather tart reminders to not be a dick. And while that’s funny, in a way it really isn’t. It saddens me that I have to discuss basic things that take place between human beings that are in business themselves, or are dealing with small businesses.

And today, I got handed a topic that horrified and angered me. And  I was trying to avoid this type of post so soon after You Want How Much?? and Don’t Be a Dick (part one obviously). Seriously, I was going to do a nice pretty post on some Russian caps I’m working on for a SCA member. But nope. Some people had to ruin it.

So the topic? Sharing. And no, I don’t mean sharing a cookie, or a meal, I’m once again, back into the world of machine embroidery, and the designs many of  us buy to use with our machines. (seriously, the designs on our machines are boring)

Sharing is when someone who has paid for a design, either gives it to someone else, or sells a machine with the designs they have paid for, and keeps additional copies for themselves.  I’m not speaking about the folks who entirely get out of machine embroidery, and sell everything and gives the designs and never buys or touches designs again. I’m talking about the people who throw in thousands of paid designs to “sweeten the deal”.

First? You’re an asshole. And I refuse to sugar coat that. How effing dare you? Do you enjoy stealing? Because that’s what you are doing. You’re not “sharing”, you’re being an accomplice in thievery.  You aren’t being nice, you aren’t generous, you’re a thief.

And just know, some designers actually feel you shouldn’t transfer designs at all. Period. End of story. And they have it in their terms (you should read them sometime, just sayin’) so think carefully, read the TOS on a designer, because many, really don’t want you sharing, or selling (why should you make a profit twice anyhow?) and in many ways, I agree with them 100%, you’re not only stealing once by using and making items you sell with the designs, but then you’re stealing twice by giving someone else the ability to make more money off these designs.

And if you’ve done this and not thought of it as stealing, rethink. If you go up to a website, such as Urban Threads, buy a bunch of designs, then turn around and send the files to a friend with an embroidery machine, you’ve now stolen money from Urban Threads. Who yes, they are bigger than some designers out there, but they are still people. They are a team of creative designers, who all work their asses off so that people can have awesome designs.

Now let’s say you head up to A Creative Medley. You buy a bunch of designs, and share them to the same girlfriend.  You know what? You’ve just stolen from a mom with kids, who is running her business single handed,  who not only spends time creating creative designs for your machine, but raises her kids, takes care of her man, cleans her house, AND also runs her own small embroidery business with her machine. You’ve just taken money from her that could pay for ballet lessons, groceries, not to mention, the software she has to pay for to even design these designs you enjoy so much.

Don’t share free either. Share the links. The reasons designers offer freebies is to get traffic and possible customers to their sites. When you bypass this, you’ve lost that designer a customer. Way to go. 

I woke up this morning, to a note in a group, that a rather large designer, well known in the embroidery world had killed her bandwidth on Dropbox. This confused me until I learned this.

Some assholes, and misguided jerks, with the morals of an alley cat, no, wait, I take that back, at least the alley cat cleans it’s own fur, so, my apology to alley cats, shared the Dropbox link of designs that others had PURCHASED, and PAID FOR, legitimately.

This designer had run a sale yesterday. A cumlative sale. People bought designs for about 4 hours, and at the end of the sale, anyone who purchased, received all the designs that had been purchased that day. An amazing deal, and incredibly generous of this designer.

And why did she do this? She has a bad furnace, she has unexpected medical and legal bills. She is a generous and kind person on her worst day, yet she threw open this sale out of need. And some selfish jerks shared her link, making it that much less money she would get for her furnace, her legal bills, and worse, her medical bills.

And now the understanding is this low life posted this link in a GROUP.

May all your needles shatter.

Develop a conscience. Do not be slimey.  Do not share designs you’ve paid for. Do not share FREE designs. Do not share download links!!


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Vintage Lutterloh Spring 1954

I’ve been having people ask me to do up a 50’s dress, and others wanted to see some Lutterloh in action, so I figured I’d do both at once.

So I had a fast trip to Walmart tonight, and at mine, I’m very lucky. We have aisles of fabric, and I mean, aisles. And often some great bargains. Tonight I ran into this sheer black striped fabric that instantly screamed 50’s vintage to me.


Hello 1954


The black stripe is sheer, and was $1.50 a yard and there was a bit over 6 yards. Perfect! I instantly thought of a 50’s cocktail dress and in the Spring 1954 Lutterloh, found this gem.

Spring 1954


Now, on the model, the matching cotton skirt is lined with contrast, probably glove satin to match the gloves. I’m going to skip the liner and make the over skirt in the sheer fabric. The dress itself will be in the black cotton. I also picked up some black tulle, so there’s a chance there could be a layer of tulle under the sheer over skirt. Not sure on embroidery just yet, my bigger machine is in the shop, and I’m not sure I want to attack an entire dress with a 4×4 machine, but, we’ll see.




Lutterloh is done at 1/4 scale, and using a special tape measure, and bust and hip measures, you draft your scaled pattern larger, in your size.






These don’t take much to do, and the bodice front was done upside down, so this should be interesting. You have to have at least intermediate sewing knowledge to work with Lutterloh, there are no instructions, so it helps if you’ve worked with patterns. There’s often not even numbers on the pieces saying that you need 2 pieces of something. You have to assume a lot.

This is the bodice front, it took me a minute to realize that the bodice front has a semi crossed front, next I’ll do the back and skirt pieces, I’ll more than likely do the main body of the dress first and I’m debating making the over skirt detachable.


But, that’s it for now, more posts as I progress, life has been a bit insane here as usual, but drafting these goes pretty fast, some hopefully I can have this together next week so I can start on some other dresses I’d like to get done.


Filed under Costuming, Lutterloh, Sewing

Blue Dress Update

So my “TARDIS” did what many costumes tend to do, and it changed personality once I was working on it. So, there is currently no longer a serious focus to a Doctor Who. Steampunk, Moulin Rouge thing, but now, it is what it is, and we’ll see what that is, when it is done. Meanwhile, I do have the back of the bodice done and lined. I have the front, and front sides left, and there is another embroidery design I want first. Actually, I lie, there are four.


The first is this clockwork rose from Urban Threads (may as well admit now, all 4 designs are UT). I want the rose to go on the bodice side front, pretty much like the birdcages, but roses this time.

For the sleeves, I want these cogs, that will be done in more glow in the dark, black, and silver. But I want the entire sleeve covered as if with an all over print. This idea is tentative right now.  But for sure, this design will be on the upper arm, either directly on there, or as a patch, because this dress is leaning more towards steampunk airship uniform. It’s not my fault, I swear. But this design will be going over the breast.

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Bright Blue Dresses


So, obviously, I got some of the dress done I’m planning. This is the center back, and back sides. I’ve still got the front sides, and center front to get done. But it will be the same kind of theme, clocks, and time.

I’ve got an idea for the skirt, but it’ll require collaboration from someone I know, since it will be using a fabric I’m not very good with, but I can say, it probably isn’t what people are expecting me to do.

So, hopefully today will at least be cutting the last two bodice sections, and the sleeves, and then I want to flat-line the entire thing with some muslin.


Filed under Costuming, Embroidery Machine, Sewing

I had an Idea…

Apparently to the people I hold near and dear, this 4 words can inspire terror.

I had an idea.

You’d think they’d at least admit, my ideas are in the main, very good. I have no idea what they are worried about.

So for my holiday gift this year, my friend Jennifer got me a dressmaker’s dummy. Or rather, she is helping me to get a dummy, something I’ve needed for a while now, and am incredibly grateful to have coming. In theory, it is supposed to be here tomorrow. But given my long standing feud with UPS, we’ll see.

Anyhow. So, my idea was pretty basic. I *wanted* to do a Doctor Who themed bustle dress. But after going over the pattern, and glancing over the fabric I have on hand, I’ve changed my mind. Doesn’t mean it will never happen, just means it won’t happen with the fabric I have here.

So, my idea is, you’ve got it, a Doctor Who/Moulin Rouge inspired dress.

Why? Who knows, there are some great Steampunk inspired Whovian dresses out there, and I think there can never be enough, because each designer will have a different take on such a concept.

But I want to do something else entirely. So using this fabric, my embroidery machine, and this pattern, I hope I can pull it off.

I haven’t done anything yet with embroidering clothing before I make it. I’ve done t-shirts, and I’ve done jeans, which, in the grand scheme are actually fairly easy. And I got this machine with the intention of using it for exactly this kind of thing.

But, I took a year off from sewing in order to get used to the machine, and a needed hiatus from costuming sewing in general. But, now I’m ready to get back to it. The addition of the dressmaker’s dummy (I’m thinking I might call her Zipporah) is going to make things easier since it’ll mean not only not having to fit on my own body, but to be able to take much better photographs of my work.  Selfies and sewing on your own body is very hard.

I’ve got a few designs in mind, and some ideas for the bustle and under skirt, we’ll see where it goes, I’m only going to worry about the main bodice for now. Then we’ll worry about the bottom.

Oh, and since this pattern includes one for the tights, count on some embroidered tights to match.

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Filed under Costuming, Embroidery Machine, Musings, Sewing

Braga aka The Bra Saga

Well, the last few days have been allergy hell. My bi-annual sinus infection showed up. I was actually very productive all week so far, but the bra wasn’t something I worked on.

Last I’d said, I’d done a mock up of the Danglez DB7E which at first had confused me on everything from instructions to constructions. I finally figured it out (after some d’oh moments) and put together two sizes using some old pajama material.

$22 later, and I had most of the materials for a new bra in the bigger size (I decided to go with a 110E) and I cut it, and pinned it, and then promptly got sick.

Sidebar, I want to thank my friend Sarah at my local JoAnn’s. Not only is she a “real life” friend, but she’s also just one of the best employees a JoAnn’s can have. She’s helpful and always cheerful and uncomplaining when I drag her from one side of a store to the other searching for fabric for one of the oddest things an Oswegonian can sew, bras. Her enthusiasm for my projects never fails. She also can lay out the best Power Point on kink that I’ve ever seen this side of a dungeon party. That was one hell of a class Sarah.

But, good news, I now have antibiotics and am hoping that tomorrow I can sew the bra together. No straps, and no wires yet, so this’ll still be a temporary fit. I also ordered another pattern, this one for a t-shirt bra that’ll require foam cups that I am SUPER excited to attempt, I love t-shirt bras.

Anyhow, on to the new pinning.


First is always fabric. I picked out a 2 way stretch knit that happened to be two sided. The pattern calls for being lined, but I decided that the knit was fairly sturdy, so I’d skip that step. I might be wrong, we’ll see when the wires are in if I was way off. Some pretty little velvet flowers with pearl centers, some pink piping, pink double fold elastic, and some pretty wide pink ribbon “just in case”.


Pinning went fast now that I get how it goes together, I used the polka dots as the band and center front, stripes for the cups. This was the look I was going for, and I found some hot pink plush for holding the wires.

Now, the piping. It goes all around the band and I need to pick up more, and yes, I realize it might be a mistake, but I added piping to the cups. I do know this’ll show under thin shirts and don’t especially care. Ain’t no shame in my girls.


And last, I set the flower just to show how cute’ll it’ll look, along with using the pink ribbon as temporary straps.

So, so far so good, tomorrow, I sew!

I figured I’d also share some other sewing I’ve been working on, I have an embroidery machine and want to design my own patches eventually, meanwhile, I use those that are out there. So, yesterday, I made these two “Hit Like a Girl” roller derby patches. I love RD, have many friends in the sport and am always happy to cater to them. Check these out, I’m seriously fucking proud.


How awesome are these? The next one planned is in lime green and black. That’s the colors of Medusa Place a proud New Hampshire Roller Derby babe.


This was a “for the heck of it” project. No reason other than I could.

Last thing to share, felties. These honestly, are not my things. I do not cater to kids, and my sales to people with kids are off Etsy. I do not feel people want to come to “Dirty Girl Designs” for kid’s toys, and I’m totally fine with that.

Anyhow, felties (which, yes, I totally have adult ones) are cute little felt embellishments that are mostly done by people like me on their embroidery machine by designers out there who specialize in this sort of thing. I had two requests, one was zebras, which I found at DejahVu Designs, and another which isn’t ready to be shared yet. Here are the zebras, and also that stupid grouchy cat Tard, who I’m seriously just not into.


People tell me these  make them think “Yipes! Stripes!”

I know these just look pastel……


But they actually glow in the dark.


Then you have Grumpy Cats from Bobbin for Appliques. Yes, I made his satanic eyes red.

And lastly, these are also done on my embroidery machine, I’m using up felt scraps to do up some pillow covers. I don’t have the wherewithal to do an entire quilt from 4×4 squares, but my nerves can handle 40 squares. (20 per pillow)

IMG_0950 IMG_0951 IMG_0952

Pretty cool eh?


Filed under Bra Making, Embroidery Machine, Sewing

Bras Bras Bras

Back before my breast reduction, I had to learn to make bras, custom ones run in the hundreds of dollars (and rightly so) and I was a poor single mom at the time, custom bras weren’t going to happen.

But, I had to draft from a old Kwik-Sew pattern.  A 38J didn’t happen, even in a pattern.  So, a lot of experimenting and I could finally at least keep all that boobage in one place. After the surgery however, I stopped making them except as an odd foray into sewing. 

Then I decided I wanted to make some again, patterns have come a long way from the old ones you’d find from the 60’s, and the Kwik-Sew that only fit you if you were under a D cup and a 38 band. Now you can find patterns all the way up to my old J cup! It’s fantastic.

Now I’m a healthy 44D according to the bras from Walmart. Our RTW bra size has zero to do with custom sizing, so after I had one cut out, I had to do a second. 

I of course didn’t save my pictures the first time, but if you’re on my Facebook, I do post pictures of projects all the time, so feel free to look there for more pictures. (someday I have to organize my albums)

But, this is the second try. I cut a new pattern, this time adding my seam allowances, something I forgot last time. The larger size is much larger, but honestly, fits much better too. I don’t think my store bra is “wrong” really, I just think that once again we’ve run into a case of patterns versus ready to wear sizes. The fashion industry wants to make us feel better, so stuff is smaller in RTW. No biggie, I know I’ve got giant tits.

So this is a pattern from Danglez DB7E, which, may I say, it seems none of the big bra bloggers have attempted.  Probably part of that being that this is a bra for big girls.  I also picked up DB4E, although with this size issue, I might not be able to use that one for myself, which is a bit disappointing. But I’m not 100% sure yet about that, as you’ll see if you keep reading.

Part of the issue is being able to measure, these are Dutch patterns, so obviously they use the metric system. Here in the states, we’re discouraged from fitting in with the rest of the world, and are taught metric only from about 5th grade on, by which time it confuses us so badly we can’t quickly convert a thing.

As I said, in RTW, I wear a 44D, easily done, so I go to the chart and this tells me that in European bra sizes, I am a 100E in Japan and Europe. Which, I knew I was an E cup, I’ve had my fair share of imported bras.

So the 100E made me happy because yes, it is a big size, but it meant for many of the patterns I was finding, there were a few that’d be worth getting, Kwik Sew bras are a bit of a joke for sizing and it seems American women aren’t deemed worthy of decent bra patterns, even though several of us out here hunt down vintage patterns and modern bra patterns constantly. We’re obviously in the minority. /eyeroll

But, obviously, I was wrong. A measure taken finally last night told me my under bust was 116, and my full bust 130. That throws everything into confusion and tells me that I’m a 110E

And of course me being me, I misread from the start and cut my first as a 95E. So, the one today was cut as a 110E, and it doesn’t seem *too* large, but I’ve got to get some fabric and cut another at 100E, and cut another at 110E just to see which fits better.

Confused yet?

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Vintage 1952-3 Lutterloh

So anyone who knows me knows, I’m a sucker for vintage patterns. And unique vintage  patterns? Yeah, I’ll totally do vile things to get my hands on really good ones. There’s a reason DGD has a nice rep as a carrier of great vintage patterns. Because I know what people want, because it’s what I want in a vintage pattern.

Having said that, Lutterloh has been around since the 30’s so they have some great patterns. I recently spent a disgusting amount of money on #47 from 1952-3. For such a thin booklet, it’s a pricey little beast.

So me being me, I picked of course the most unusual pattern in the book, panties. I measure my hips (if you look up Lutterloh to see how it works, you will discover that it uses only the hip and bust to make the pattern) and stuck some newspaper together. I didn’t want to waste pattern trace. It’s not cheap and newspaper is.

Now, Lutterloh are done at 1/4″ scale, and the idea is, you use a special ruler and you connect the dots you make on your paper. I did all this, got confused 4X and developed a migraine. Finally, using my lucky orange Sharpie, I got the pattern to work. I think. It looks really big, although I admit, I’m a really big girl. I may draft another pattern in a smaller size just to see the result. But I refuse to use pattern trace until I’ve got this down. Anyhow, on to what I did.


OK, so first things first. I don’t own a printer, so I traced this with vellum. I’ve always traced my patterns so this was no biggie. So I know the pattern is accurate. I’m using the one marked “16” and if you look, the cross is outside of the pattern.


Not bragging or nothing, well, yes, I am, but boy, I trace good don’t I??


My taped up newspaper and my supplies, when I finally made the pattern, I moved my board and pattern more in the center of the newspaper.


The finished pattern. Which, I say is HUGE, but I honestly think it’s my ass that’s huge and not the fault of the pattern. It also isn’t EXACTLY like the pattern, so I need to do this again and again until I get it right. I think part of the issue was, with the other patterns, you pretty much are all in one spot, this panty pattern was all over the place, I had the tape at a couple times stretched out to the side nearly level with the pattern!! (and feel free to be amused that the banana ad is right in the crotch, I was)

Now as for putting the undies together, well, not yet, I don’t have any fabric. I’m 100% sure you cut two fabric and then join it together, and I’m also 100% sure that the lines indicate boning channels. I’m also fairly sure that these are done with a non stretch fabric, since this was 1952-53 and they didn’t have all the Lycra we have today. I think that the “squiggly” lines indicate you should use a rubberized fabric or puckered cotton so that it has some stretch. I may try this in power knit however.

I might have figured one issue out. If I’m understanding this correctly, with the Lutterloh tape, my arrows point to the left. I assume this means my dots should go on the left of the tape, which, mine didn’t, I did them all on the right. Also, can someone explain the 0-7 holes on the left side to me?


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Tohoku Tote

I made a purse, that's nearly done, from a pattern from I Am Momma Hear Me Roar's "Tohoku Tote" which I figured was a pretty cute bag, and I've been on a kick with making purses. So far so good, I need to head back to the fabric store and pick up more of the green, I thought I had plenty, but when I did the straps, they are far too short at 20" long, they really need to be the 24" she suggests.


First thing is she suggests pleating before cutting, I have no idea how the heck she does that so I cut first, then pleated.


After you sew all the way around of the outside of the bag, you then go in 2 inches and create a "box", this is one of those little, easy to do things that IMO creates a far more professional looking bag. I also did this bag with heavier than normal interfacing which I have to admit, I'm not keen on. I did another purse recently with Peltex and even compared to that stuff, this stuff is rigid. I'm hoping with washing it'll loosen up.


I did a bow in the same teal as the upper border, I hate working with satin just for the record. I still have to do this bow, it looks awful.


This is the outside of the bag with the liner inserted. The liner for some reason is larger than the outside, I guess that's normal, when I think about it, the liner on a factory purse is slightly larger if you pull the bag inside out. I also lined this and I regret that. When I do this bag again, I think I might try lining just the outer bag, this bag is really stiff. (giggity)


I got all fancy and used purse snaps. These are magnetic and you just put them in the fabric (these were sharp enough to just poke through) put the back on and open the brads to hold them in place. Again, it's this little detail that I think makes the bag look a lot more finished.


Without straps and with. See what I mean by the straps are too short? Most women I know want the straps to go over their shoulder so that the bag hangs slightly below the shoulder area. And yes, this is a BIG bag. It's about 15" high and 15" wide (it's not really square however) half the time people are impressed if I carry a wallet so obviously there's a good chance I won't be keeping this bag.

I do still have to actually sew the liner to the bag but I want to wait until I have some better straps. I still have to figure out this bow's issues as well.

So, long run? It's a fun and fairly easy pattern to work with. You do have to do some top stitching on that upper border, and I used (and will be using more) "invisible" thread, or the nylon stuff so that it blended in. I have two colors of thread, white and purple, plus, I feel using the nylon stuff makes the bag look more "store bought".

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