Friday, August 16, 2013

Welcome to Fresh Off the Bolt- My Strictly Sewing Blog!

Hello and welcome to my strictly-sewing blog! If you don't already know, I also blog over at Handicraftiness and I originally started it as a way to document my DIY party ideas and projects and I will continue to do that there still! 

I picked up sewing as a way to keep my hands busy and creative mind churning and became highly addicted. That eventually spilled over into my posts and now, I eventually plan to start expanding my sewing 'business' and all my personal designs will be known as Fresh Off the Bolt, a much better reference to sewing, don't you agree?

It's also a pun on the phrase "fresh off the boat", a slightly demeaning reference to newly-arrived refugees in the U.S., which my parents were back in 1981. I plan to turn that around and give it an entirely different meaning: "fresh off the boat" refugees are also filled with hope for the future because they have arrived in a country of opportunities. They are eager to learn and assimilate yet maintain the beauty of their culture and traditions. Fresh Off the Bolt is my way of creating my destiny, keeping in mind what my parents and these newer immigrants must have felt when they arrived here: awe and appreciation of the limitless opportunities and resources that abound and the freedom to live, love, and create the way they want.

And so, in celebration of this, I created a fun new dress to share with you all! Meet the Bella dress!

Isn't it just adorable? I hope if the dress generates enough interest, that I'll be able to offer it as a free pattern in a size 4T. And I am also working on a tutorial for how to draft your own pattern for this dress  if the 4T isn't what you need. It's actually a very simple pattern- I put the second dress (seen below) together in just under three hours- and that was with countless interruptions from three very early-rising and rambunctious kids!

I made two versions with slightly different trims, one with piping and the other with vintage lace.

The one above is my favorite even though the piping was a pain to work with! Ok- it wasn't that bad but I don't know if there's a top secret way to install piping without doing it blindly?! Those who are piping professionals, please let me know if there's a way to sew it between two pieces of fabric and still be able to see where the 'pipe' is? I did it by feel and when I flipped it right side out, I saw where I had stitched too far from the piping so I just turned it back and sewed it closer in those spots. 

It actually came out really great despite the amount of time it took for me to make it look 'perfect.' I love how that little bit of detail just makes the dress sooo...mmm, professional I guess is the word?

And if you're wondering, the fabric I used for the red floral dress above is a home dec fabric that's slightly stiffer and thicker than apparel fabric. It's been sitting in my fabric stash for years!!! I used it for some toss pillows and then kept the remnant because I just couldn't bear to part with such beauty. ;-) I'm so glad I kept it now!

I love the contrasting ruched bodice piece- say that ten times faster- ha! It gives a bold spot of color and texture that's lovely to look at and touch. =) In fact, K and I have already run our hands over it several times! It's so scrunchy, she says.

K prefers the pink and blue version, no surprise there. =) The floral fabric is a home decorator sampler fabric that I found at the Goodwill. There were two slightly-bigger-than-fat quarter-sized pieces and I snatched them both up. It was some sort of vintage French cabbage rose design...I tossed the tags when I washed them, darn! But isn't it beautiful? 

So whaddya think? Would you want the pattern for this? I will definitely learn to use Google Docs if you do (for a 4T only) and any tips are welcome on learning how to use it. New stuff kind of scares me so it takes me a while to warm up to them- but if there's enough interest, I will definitely do it for you! 

 I'm working on a tutorial right now for making your own Bella dress pattern and will hopefully have that up before the weekend is over! Thanks so much for stopping by my little sewing blog and have yourself a lovely weekend!

xoxo ~ Julia


  1. Very original! I sew for my granddaughter (2t right now) and I like how this doesn't look like a dress off the rack. The florals are very pretty, as is your lovely daughter; what a great model! I will definitely be watching for your pattern - I might size it down to a 3t for next spring. Piping is always a nice touch, but it does require a few extra pins.

    1. Thank you so much! I just finished the pattern and it's available right now!

  2. These dresses are so gorgeous! If you get a chance, please link up to my linky party going on now:

  3. I just realized this is the birth of a new blog. Congrats and good luck. I look forward to your new ideas and more free patterns. Thanks for this pattern. I'll enJOY making a dress for my nieces.

  4. What an adorable model you have! I can't sew to save my life...LOL Thank you so much for joining us and sharing at Best of the Weekend! Pinning to our party board. Have a great week and please join us next Friday.

  5. Very cute! You're blog is so new and it's already so awesome ^_^

    1. Aw thank you, that's so sweet of you! I do enjoy my craft and writing about it is the cherry on the top! Thanks again- you really made my day! =)
      -Julia @Fresh Off the Bolt

  6. Your daughter is so pretty and the dress as well. I would love to follow your blog. Thanks for the inspiration. My daughter is only 1,5 yrs old, so she won`t fit into your patterns yet, but sooner or later will.
    Best regards from Berlin/ Germany,

    1. Hi Elke,
      I would be happy to create a smaller pattern for your daughter! You can use the email address in the right hand column. I just need her measurements to make a custom fitted pattern: waist size, length from shoulder to waist and width from shoulder to shoulder. Also include how long of a skirt you would like for her.
      Thanks so much for following and commenting!

  7. Love this dress but can't find the download pattern

    1. Hi Tracey, the pattern will be available this coming Sunday! I've added more sizes but have only tested a couple. Thanks so much for your patience!