Sewing Tutorials I Must Try

As soon as I get a few spare minutes, I’m dying to try these sewing tutorials!ruffledcamerastrap

Ruffled Camera Strap from Crap I Made


Jazzy Ironing Board Cover from Sew4Home


Collapsible Storage Baskets


This is by far, the easiest tutorial I’ve seen for making Pettiskirts.

Happy Sewing!


The Making of a Christening Dress


I should have smacked myself upside the head.  I’d had a month to get the Christening gown for Sophia completed, but ended up finishing it just a few hours before her Baptism.

Beyond my usual procrastination, I have a habit of “designing as I go.”  I usually have an idea of what I want it to look like.  However, I continually change design elements and always end up with something totally different from my original design.  Am I the only one who does this?


Working with silk shantung is challenging to say the least.  And trying to set the tiniest gathered sleeves is beyond nerve-wracking!


Then I sewed lace and tatting to tulle.  At least I was smart enough to do it flat (before sewing up the side seams of the skirts).


But the worst was trying to gather 6 skirt layers (1 cotton batiste, 3 tulle, 1 netted lace and 1 silk shantung overskirt) and attach them to the tiny silk shantung bodice.


Whew! DONE!  To give you an idea of size…this dress bodice is a size 3 months…LOL!  It just looks bigger in photos.  Ok, so the dress is huge…I think it measures about 48 inches.  And oh my…it was HEAVY!


At the last minute, I decided to do these silk dupioni spider web roses.  I’ll post a quick tutorial this week (once I get another manicure), so everyone can make some, too.


To make dressing the baby easy, I used large sewn-in snaps and covered them with no-functioning rhinestone buttons.


Here’s a close-up of all the skirt layers.  I’ve made several special occasion dresses, but never a Christening dress.  This was a first.  I’ve been collecting vintage laces and tatting for ages and loved using them for such a precious little girl!


Meet Sophia, daughter of my dear friend, Diana (aka Diana of Not Just Bagels)!  The Christening gown fit Sophia perfectly!    It was such a feeling of accomplishment to see Sophia in the Christening dress.


Sophia enjoyed sucking on the big silk roses.  Isn’t she beautiful?


Diana loved the dress and is going to put it in a huge shadow box to display in Sophia’s room.

Wishing everyone a Happy 4th of July!


Designing a Christening Gown, Finding a Treasure and Happy Birthday to ME!



I was so terrified honored when my dear friend, Diana (you know, the one who made all the delicious caramels apples for the big BBQ), asked me to create the perfect Christening gown for her new daughter, Sophia.

She decided on a simple an over-the-top ivory silk shantung gown with an underlay of vintage lace. 


Diana is even going to let me add a big vintage pink silk sash which will be tied into a big bow on the back of the dress and embellished with Swarovski crystals.  Luckily, I have one of those cool hot fix crystal tools from Hot Fix Suzy™!


As much as we both loved the alençon lace, it was too glitzy for the Christening gown we’ve envisioned.


We decided on the perfect lace which has a soft hand.


The abundant tulle underskirt layers will be trimmed with various vintage laces…some ivory and some pink!


But before I can start on the Christening Gown, I’ll need to tidy up my sewing room…ugh!  Prior to sewing any special occasion dress (especially whites), I always give my sewing room the Mr. Clean treatment.  DONE!

Seems I started 14 pair of lounge pants for my daughter, 7 onesies for above new baby and various other sewing projects.  Off they all go to the UFO (Un Finished Objects) pile…LOL!

Sophia’s Christening is June 28th…so I had better get moving!



Kathleen of Fashion-Incubator recently posted about a defunct company, East-West Musical Instruments Co., which created the most unique leather jackets.  These jackets are a work of art.


And wouldn’t you know, I’ve had this beautiful one they created back in the 70s.  It was given to me by my childhood housekeeper who received it from Edgar Winter.


I certainly made a fashion statement as a teenager as everyone went nuts when they saw this silver leather jacket.  I didn’t realize it was valuable.  Check this one out.  Elvis’ jacket went for over $30,000!  It is marked jacket #432, I believe!


I can’t imagine the hours of pattern making and sewing that went into creating this masterpiece.




Last week, I celebrated my 46th birthday (May 22nd) with a delicious Mocha Butter Cream cake (thanks to my sister, Linda).  I had cake for breakfast, lunch and dinner for two days..haha!


And no…that’s not my front lawn above…although it is not below me to get one of those!  I did, however, display the obnoxious amount of fresh flowers Mr. Diva surprised me with in the front window.  It pisses off all the other housewives in the neighborhood.

Now to get to work…hope everyone is having a great week!

With friendship,





Just wanted to make a quick post to let you know about tomorrow’s CPSIA Rally in Washington, DC (April 1st @ 10am).  I’m getting on an airplane from NYC at 6am so I can be there to fight this poorly-written law.  Children’s apparel companies, toy companies, thrift stores, motorcycle companies and children’s book publishers will converge on DC to bring attention to our elected officials.  We’ll be meeting with Senators, Congressmen and State Representatives in hopes of being heard.

I have thought of canceling my flight, because I feel like I’m fighting a losing battle. But then I think of what other CPSIA affected people have done to make our voices heard and I realize it is my obligation to be there.

I’m saddened not more children’s apparel manufacturers will be attending the Rally tomorrow. We are all pinching pennies, have children and other obligations. However, if we don’t fight this, we will all be out of business next year.

I’m not going to sit here and be reactive. Instead, I chose to be proactive.

There will be lots of press including Glenn Beck and CNN!  Should be an exciting day!

More CPSIA blog posts around the web:

Fashion-Incubator’s CPSIA in 3 Acts

Learning Resources:  If We Can Meet Standards, Why Do I Still Hate this Law?

Learning Resources:  CPSIA – Contesting Higher Ground

Organic Baby Farm:  CPSIA and the Black Market

Overlawyered’s CPSIA Chronicles

 Deputy Headmistress:  How CPSIA Hurts the Neediest Children


CPSIA–Just When You Thought it was Safe to Get Back to the Sewing Room…


Guidance on the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) for Small Businesses, Resellers, Crafters, and Charities

Nothing like waiting until last minute?  Unbelievable!


Not sure how the rest of you feel, but this whole CPSIA stuff continues to mentally and physically DRAIN me!  I spend a tremendous amount of time reading, bewildered, rereading, twittering, disseminating information, testing, retesting, and banging my head against the wall.

It has all knocked the life out of me.  Some think it’s no big deal.  But the reality of it is another story.


Read the latest 7 items from the CPSC from this past Thursday and Friday.  Now before you get all excited and think you are off the hook, perhaps you should read some of the thoughts around the web:

Fashion-Incubator:  3 Days Until National Bankruptcy Day

Senator DeMint:  Congress Turns Toy Story into Nightmare for Small Business

Rick Woldenberg:  The Emperor Has No Clothes

Rick Woldenberg:  CPSC Commissioners Speak Out

Rick Woldenberg:  CPSIA More Serious Message

Overlawyered:  CPSIA Roulette

Overlawyered:  What Will Be Enforced?

Overlawyered:  CPSIA Fifty Stars and an Asterisk

Overlawyered:  CPSIA Chronicles February 10th

The Common Room:  There’s a Difference Between a Policy and a Law

The Common Room:  CPSIA and State Attorney General

The Common Room:  Open Letter to NRDC

Shopfloor:  Ambiguous Enforcement-Certain Disruption

CPSIA by Numbers (Part 1):  How Much Safer Will CPSIA Make Us?

CPSIA by Numbers (Part 2):Stochastic Approach

CPSIA by Numbers (Part 3):  Scary Sounding Chemicals


(Note:  Yes, I did eat the tires off my first carriage….LOL!)

Honestly, I don’t have a game plan yet.  I rented an XRF gun to lead test my boys’ clothing line and everything else in my sewing studio (over $400/day).  All fabrics, elastics and trims passed.  Problems occurred with some snaps and zipper heads (thankfully I have lead-free substitutes).  Not sure if the reflection of the silver on these items gave me false-positive results.  So what I’ll need to do now is have these items in question re-tested by a professional (more $$$).

But the good news is I can continue to sell for the next year.  Yet, unless the CPSC decides to allow component testing next year, my business won’t be able to survive the high cost of third-party lab testing.  Kathleen of Fashion-Incubator sums up how I feel.

With friendship,






I am mentally EXHAUSTED from all the CPSIA, but I keep chugging along.  Here’s some more links on the subject.

CPSC Apparel Meeting Video January 23, 2009

Support Component Level Testing for CPSIA

3 Cheers for Component Level Testing

Child Safety May Kill NYC Jobs

Wondering with February 10th fast approaching, what will happen.  My guess is nothing.  Still, I’m holding out for something to change.  Maybe they’ll allow component testing.  Crossing fingers.

In the meantime, stay up to date on the latest CPSIA information over at Fashion-Incubator.  Make sure you pop in the free Fashion-Incubator CPSIA FORUM!

With friendship,


P.S. – My daughter, Marielle, will celebrate ONE MONTH post-kidney transplant tomorrow!  She’s doing TERRIFIC!  She’ll be going back to school in about 2 weeks (she hasn’t been there since last May)!  Yippee!  Thanks for all your prayers and support!


Quick CPSIA Update


(pictured:  Downtown Detention boys set by Downtown Joey)

Been busy keeping up on all the CPSIA information.  Here’s some more pertinent links around the web: Opinions

Senators Waxman, Rockefeller, Rush & Prior’s Letter to Nancy Nord CPSC

CPSIA – Lessons of Nero

CPSC’s Listing of Clothing Found to have LEAD

Special Interest Groups Behind the CPSIA

Why You Need to Contact Waxman Rather Than Nord

Call Senator Waxman’s office at (202) 225-4434 and leave a message to Amend the CPSIA.

However, be sure to head over to Fashion-Incubator for the latest information on how the CPSIA affects sewn product manufacturers.

With friendship,



Design Your Own Ultimate Sewing Room Contest

C O N T E S T       H A S        E N D E D ! ! !


Can’t believe I forgot to mention this!  Have you entered the / Craft Stylish Ultimate Sewing Room Contest yet?  There’s over $7,000  in prizes!  Prizes include:

FabricComGiftCard Shopping Card Value – $1,500

Baby Lock

Baby Lock Ellure Sewing Machine Value – $2,499

Reliable Corporation IronMaven

Reliable Corporation IronMaven™ J490A Value – $399

Reliable Corporation C81 - Vacuum & Up-Air Pressing Table

Reliable Corporation C81 – Vacuum & Up-Air Pressing Table Value – $499

Fabulous Fit Dress Forms Pro Series® Misses Regular Form

Fabulous Fit Dress Forms Pro Series® Misses Regular Form Value – $687

Sylvia Sewing Cabinets Model 810 work table

Sylvia Sewing Cabinets Model 810 work table Value – $1,099.95

American & Efird

American & Efird Mettler Thread 28 Spool Gift PackValue – $82.10

Threads magazine

1-Year subscription to Threads magazine Value – $32.95

Threads Fitting DVD Series

Threads Fitting DVD Series Value – $99.95

Threads Industry Insider Techniques

Threads Industry Insider Techniques Volume 1 & 2 Value – $59.90

The Best of Threads DVD-ROM

The Best of Threads DVD-ROM Volume 1 & 2 Value – $99.90

Here’s the Official Rules.  Hurry–the contest end December 31, 2008!

Here are the two sewing room designs I entered:



Design Your Own Ultimate Sewing Room NOW!  Check out the sewing room gallery to see what others have created.  Creating a sewing room online is so simply—really.  Go do it now!  You never know if you’ll be one of the winners, KWIM?


CPSIA – What Children’s Clothing Designers and Manufacturers Need to Know





If you manufacture (design, sew, make, produce, create, paint, embellish, silkscreen, assemble, etc.) children’s products, this affects YOU!

As of February 10, 2009, you are required to produce a General Conformity Certificate (GCC) stating your products contain no more than 600 ppm lead.

As of August 14, 2009, you are required to have your products tested by a CPSC accredited lab stating your products contain no more than 300 ppm lead.  In addition, all products must have permanent tracking labels.

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act itself:  CPSIA

Here’s a great explanation of the new requirements:

Even though the CPSIA affects everyone who makes products intended for children 12 and under, I’m going to focus primarily on children’s clothing manufacturing (because that’s what I do).


If children’s clothing manufacturers, big and small, go out of business, it will affect everyone.  If a children’s clothing manufacturer closes their doors, they will no longer need:

  • pattern makers
  • sewing contractors
  • embroidery companies
  • fabric cutters
  • retail children’s clothing boutiques
  • retail customers (consumers)
  • fabric suppliers
  • children’s clothing sales representatives
  • sewing machine manufacturers
  • children’s clothing trade magazines
  • children’s clothing trade shows
  • web site designers
  • graphic artists
  • printers (posters, stationery, signs, etc.)
  • in-house staff (secretary, bookkeeper, seamstress)
  • sample makers
  • advertising companies
  • public relations firms
  • hangtag suppliers
  • garment care tag suppliers
  • elastic manufacturers
  • button manufacturer
  • metal snap manufacturers
  • thread manufacturers
  • zipper manufacturers
  • silk screen companies
  • bias tape manufacturers
  • paper packaging companies
  • trade show display companies
  • freight companies
  • import/export agencies
  • federal and state tax agencies
  • federal and state licensing agencies
  • and hundreds of others


Join the Fashion-Incubator CPSIA Forum (it’s FREE).  Here’s where I get almost all my pertinent information about the new CPSIA regulations.

Sites focusing on this legislation and its ramifications:


National Bankruptcy Day

CPSIA Central Forum

Boutique Cafe

Apparel Search

The Smart Mama


In addition to lead testing, the CPSIA has new tracking label requirements.  It is explained clearly over here at Fashion-Incubator.  This new requirement would create a bookkeeping nightmare for many companies.  It would add layers of paperwork to document and track each and every item produced–not to mention the cost involved with implementing and maintaining these records.


There are only 15 23 CPSC Accredited Testing Labs in the US who test for lab.  Now would someone explain to me how 15 23 labs will be able to happen the amount of testing necessary to test ALL children’s clothing made here in the US by the deadline?  What about all the other types of children’s manufacturers?


Then there is the issue of testing costs for lead.  Let’s DO THE MATH.  For my boys’ clothing line, testing would cost approximately $11,000 per season times 2 seasons (Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter) equals $22,000!  As it stands now, the law requires children’s manufacturers to test finished batches of each SKU.  It doesn’t matter that you use the same fabric, buttons or other component throughout your clothing line.  If you are using the same fabric in 15 different styles, it still needs to be tested each time you manufacture a style, batch and different size.  That is simply cost-prohibitive for most children’s clothing manufacturers.

If you need XRF testing, contact Jennifer Taggert, Attorney and Environmental Engineer at  Please note, XRF testing is only good for General Conformity Certificates (required February 10th).  YOU MUST have certified lab testing done by August 12, 2009.

Because of the thousands of letters from those in the children’s industry, the CPSC has responded and asked for comments.

The most important thing you can do right now is answer the CPSC’s Request for Comments on Mandatory 3rd Party Testing by January 30, 2009!  I encourage you to do this as soon as possible.


In response to the CPSC, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) CPSC Coalition sent the CPSC a Petition.  This petition seems to cover all my concerns with the new legislation.  NAM members include:

American Apparel & Footwear Association
Association of American Publishers
Book Manufacturers Institute, Inc.
Fashion Jewelry Trade Association
Juvenile Product Manufacturers Association
National Association of Manufacturers
National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers
National Retail Federation
Retail Industry Leaders Association
Printing Industries of America
Specialty Graphic Imaging Association
Toy Industry Association

Corky & Company’s Letter to Congress in Support for NAM Petition

Z Recommends post about CPSC’s Request for Comments

The Stitchery post on NAM’s Petition

Other things you can do:

Email Congress (easy form sent directly to your representatives)

Sign the Petition

Vote to make this issue a priority to the President

Listen to Mark Riffey’s Business is Personal CPSIA Broadcast

Let’s hope everyone in the industry finds a way to ensure child safety, yet make mandatory testing and labeling feasible for all children’s manufacturers.

UPDATE:  The CPSC has issued exemptions for several types of material including UNDYED cotton, wool, silk, etc.  Only problem is most children’s clothing manufacturers use dyed, embellished or otherwise processed fabric.  So therefore, it really doesn’t help us.  Stay tuned…I’m hopeful the CPSC will be updating us soon.

With friendship,

Lisa Carroccio


Disclaimer:  All of the above post is opinion and not to be construed as legal advice.  In these matters, please seek the services of a professional.)

Sew Urgent – Help Save My Daughter’s Life


>>>>>>>>CLICK HERE<<<<<<<<<<


Things continue to be difficult.  But where there is life, there is hope. 

I’m forcing myself to blog so I can update all my dear friends and family about what is going on with my sweet Sunshine Girl, Marielle, as her kidneys fail.  It looks like we are on the way to the local emergency room again tonight–she’s in terrible pain and a bit lethargic.

After continued difficultly getting calls returned and kidney donor evaluation packages send to those who have come forward to donate their kidneys, we’ve given up on the Philadelphia hospital of ever finding a living kidney donor.  They’ve recently told us they will only test family members and the closest of friends.  They’ve taken it upon themselves to decide who our friends are.  Philadelphia has only tested 3 donors in 4 months.  To say I am furious is an understatement.


But there is hope.  We are in the process of transferring Marielle’s care to NY Presbyterian-Columbia University Hospital (NYP) in hopes their additional living-donor kidney programs will save her life.  Not only will NYP consider family members as donors, but are willing to evaluate EVERYONE (friends, associates and kind strangers) who wants to donate a kidney.  That’s right…EVERYONE regardless of blood type, antibody mismatch, age, etc.  They offer several kidney donor options for us:

Compatible Living Donor

Incompatible Donor Program

Paired Donor Exchange Program

Deceased Donor Program

Marielle will only match 1 in 50 people in the general population (average person matches 1 in 2). I  am asking EVERYONE who has ever loved a child as deeply as I do my daughter to please consider being a living-kidney donor to her. You might be the one who can save my daughter’s life.

If you would like to receive a donor consent form to see if you could be a potential donor, please print out this form:


Then send it to Joan Kelly either by email at or fax (212) 305-9642.  Be sure to put MARIELLE CARROCCIO as the Potential Recipient’s Name.

Please pass this information along to anyone and everyone.

I continue to be comforted by the tremendous amount of love and support from all of you.  Thank you seems to fall short.


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