Heirloom Sewing – Christening Gown

Hi everyone! I’ve not posted much because I haven’t been sewing much. But I’m starting to get the bug again. I still have the purse I started at Christmas time where I was going to make a series of videos, so I think I need to wrap that up. So that is coming up soon, and alongside that I really want to make this christening gown.

My grand baby is due on June 3rd. We’re past the shower and my daughter is all ready for her little bundle to arrive (little does she know what it will really be like, she *thinks* she’s ready).

Anyway, I’m considering making the christening gown and I just love the one pictured to the left. I found it on Ginger Snaps Designs website. It’s going to be quite a challenge and I think I’m up for it.

Some of the skills I’ll have to learn include:

  • tucks or pintucks
  • working with lace
  • working with fine fabric

I’ll keep you updated, at this point I need to get the pattern, fabric, lace and ribbon ordered and purchased. Once I get everything I’ll post pics, I’m even considering a video.

Oh, one more thing, check out some of these finished christening gowns on the Ginger Snaps website, they are absolutely beautiful.  Ginger Snaps Christening Gown Trunk Show

Until next time,



Merry Christmas!

Christmas is finally here, well, almost…today is Christmas Eve but in our house we start Christmas in the evening of Christmas Eve.

Today will be a busy day. Our tradition is to have some kind of soup and appetizers for a late dinner. My poor hubby works for a large liquor store chain and they don’t close their doors until 9:00 p.m. He left this morning at 8:00 a.m. and will be serving customers until they close their doors tonight, so we’ll see him about 9:30. One of my daughters lives with us and she will be helping me today. The other, along with her hubby, will come over later, like 6 or 7 this evening.

Before we go anywhere to do some last minute shopping I want to make the soup. We chose Emeril’s Tortilla Soup. It’s a great recipe and will be delicious tonight. Brittany and I went to Whole Foods last night and picked up a ton of cheese and crackers. We also bought a wonderful baked brie that has cinnamon and walnut praline inside and is wrapped with pastry. We’ll bake it tonight and serve it hot, it’s sooooo good.

Tomorrow we’re having Martha Stewart’s Perfect Roast Chickens, another fabulous recipe. We’re going to keep it simple with mashed potatoes for the gravy and fresh green beans. We have cheesecake for desert. And there’s a ton of cookies, we have sugar, oatmeal, and we’re baking some peanut butter today.

We’re hoping to do a Skype video call with my hubby’s family tonight if everything works out. Isn’t it wonderful that families can share time face-to-face even when there’s many miles between them. It’s so cool.

Merry Christmas to all. And if you don’t celebrate Christmas, I hope you have a Super Happy Holiday Season.

Somehow, not only for Christmas,
But all the long year through,
The joy that you give to others,
Is the joy that comes back to you.
And the more you spend in blessing,
The poor and lonely and sad,
The more of your heart’s possessing,
Returns to you glad. 

- John Greenleaf Whittier

Until next time ~


Featured On Petite Hermine and Pinterest

To my surprise today, my Uptown Molly Sew-Along was featured at Petite Hermine! Jen at Petite Hermine has a nice site where she runs a linky party and features other artists. It was really nice to see Molly front and center ~ thank you Jen!

Follow Me on PinterestI also joined Pinterest today and OMG! A person can really get addicted. I couldn’t believe it when I connected my Twitter account and all of a sudden I was following over 600 people! I don’t quite have that many following me back yet but all day the emails flooded my inbox with people following back. Wow, I’m really going to find some cool stuff on there and will definitely write about it here. If you want to follow my pins, just click the logo over there on the right.

So anyway, I still don’t have my computer back from the repair guy. He should bring it back tomorrow but then I’ll have a ton of work reloading my programs and restoring my data. I’ll get back on the and post as soon as I have everything done.

Until later ~


Do You Have Just One True Calling – Or Many?

Interesting article posted at Illuminated Mind today. It discusses how some people have many “true callings,” not just one. Here’s a link to the article, “Why Some of Us Don’t Have One True Calling (and Why We’re Better Off that Way)“.

The article is interesting to me because it’s true, we don’t have just one true calling, in fact, I seriously doubt that many people at all have just one calling in life. For example, a person may be called to work with animals and become a vet, but they are also a friend, sister, mother, wife. They may love to sew and craft but also be really good at and love hosting fundraisers and volunteering at the children’s hospital. How can you say that person’s one true calling is to be a doctor for animals when it’s only one aspect of that person’s life?

Even though the article is well written, interesting, and makes you think, I don’t agree with one point brought up by the author. She insinuates that a simple remark like, “what do you want  to be when you grow up?”  makes people think that they are not normal because they don’t want to be or do just one thing. She says it’s the beginning of a pattern that can cause a lot of pain and anxiety. I guess I don’t understand her position because I think the desire to do many things, and different things at the various stages of our lives, is perfectly normal. In fact, there are way fewer people who only pursue one interest over their lifetime than those who pursue many.

God would not have created us to be such wonderful multifaceted brilliant creatures if he wanted us to be one-dimensional. The fact that we are able to have many interests at the same time, move from one project to another, or have several careers in our lifetimes, is amazing and people do it all the time. I feel so blessed to live in a country that allows, even encourages me, to pursue many interests and have never felt that I was abnormal or invisible because I’m interested in so much.

Later in the article there’s some good and useful information about how to bring your multiple interests together in your business pursuit. And she closes with some great words about how having multiple interests makes you original and wonderful. But don’t let that make you think that because you have multiple interests you are some how different, you’re not, we all have multiple interests. What makes you original and wonderful are your multiple interests, everyone’s are different, and THAT’S what makes you an original.

What makes YOU an original wonderful person? What are your multiple passions? 

I’ll write about mine in a future post, I’d love to hear about yours in the comments below.

Until later ~


Finding Handbag Hardware

I’m having the hardest time finding the right hardware for my newest handbag pattern. I’m at the point in my design process where I’m ready to make a prototype out of real fabric. I’ve already made the pattern in muslin but didn’t include the handle or add the hardware, as I didn’t want to spend the time or money on the muslin piece. So, with that part of the design still in my head, my next step was to head down to JoAnn’s to buy fabric and pick up the hardware, as JoAnns has a pretty good stock of handbag hardware.

After spending almost two hours picking my fabric (love it, love it, love it), I headed over to the handbag hardware aisle. I was confident I would find what I needed and really disappointed when it didn’t pan out. What I thought would be an easy purchase became very difficult, very quickly. They had one piece I needed in the color I wanted, but then the clasp that would attach to it was way too small. So I looked for a larger one, they had the larger one but not in the color metal I wanted. And even if I changed the color, they didn’t have the first piece in other color. I started thinking to myself, “are you serious?”. So I put everything back on the shelf and decided that I’d make the hardware purchase on the internet.

The next day I started looking on the internet even though I wasn’t completely sure that was the road I wanted to take. I was trying to consider the person who will buy my pattern, do I really want to sell a pattern that requires my customer to search the internet for the needed hardware? Not really, but I decided to take a look anyway.

You know what? There’s not much to be found on the internet either. I found some suppliers on Etsy and Ebay but none of them had exactly what I wanted. I even stopped by Michael’s to see if they had anything – nope. You think maybe I should check out Lowe’s or Home Depot? I’m starting to think that maybe I’ll go into the purse hardware business, or at least offer for sale the hardware that I use on my purses. That’s definitely a consideration for the future. So anyway, I was back to the drawing board AGAIN. I needed to find a new way to attach the handle to my bag.

Last night I took the purse I made from muslin, stuffed it with towels, and stared at it for a while. I was trying to envision a new way to design the handle. Actually, I think I was greiving the loss of the original design and I had no idea how to change it without starting completely over. This morning I decided to look at pictures of purses to see if I could find some inspiration and I think I found it. I came up with a new way to attach the handle. It still requires hardware but I think it’s hardware that I can easily find at Joann’s (we’ll see)…and it maintains my original vision with just a little more work than before.

Wow, who knew handbag hardware was so hard to find? Have you had trouble finding just the right piece of hardware to finish a handbag you were making? Do you know of any great places to buy purse hardware? Do you think it would be a good business decision for me to consider selling handbag hardware in the future? Post a comment, I’d love to hear what you think.

I’m going to be working on my prototype this weekend. Hopefully I’ll have something to show you soon.

Until later ~


Back To The Drawing Board

I had to go back to the drawing board with the new pattern I’m creating. It looks totally different when you make it with fabric than it did on paper. The measurements I thought would be perfect needed to be tweeked quite a bit. When I made the pattern in Illustrator, I made a curve the way I knew how, turns out, that curve was really hard to sew. I spent all Saturday afternoon making the curve softer and reworking all the measurements. This evening I made it in muslin for the second time – finally, it’s starting to look good. I still need to tweek it a little more but for the most part, I’m rockin’ and rollin’.

Next I’ll have to work on the lining pattern and then the straps. But it’s really starting to take shape! I’m so excited, can’t wait to make it in REAL fabric, it always looks so different with all the interfacing and contrasting colors.

I also need to get busy with another project. Pellon Project emailed me last week and asked me to put a project on their site. I think I’m going to come up with a simple tutorial for a credit card holder. As long as I use their product, the project can on on their site. I think it’s a great opportunity for me to get my name out there.

Lastly, I recently signed up for an advertising package at Indie Biz Chicks’ website. I need to get busy getting the advertising materials ready. I have a deadline of mid-October but I don’t like waiting until the last minute. I’m so excited to see my little business starting to gain some momentum.

Speaking of my business growing, yesterday was quite a day for the R.Kay Design website. About 9:00 a.m. I thought I’d check my AWeber stats (that’s the email service company that handles my mailing list) to make sure the weekly update went out as scheduled and noticed a BUNCH of new subscriptions. I mean, it was 10 times the number I’d been getting on most days. I thought there was some kind of error! So I checked the blog stats and saw that www.sewforum.com had a link that people were clicking. I checked it out and low and behold, the admin the had posted a link to my Molly Handbag Patten and all those new sign-ups were coming from that link. Amazing what a well placed link can do for a business! Thanks Sew Forum! And by the way, Sew Forum seems to be a great forum for discussing and showing off everything sewing, I recommend you check it out for yourself. It’s hosted by www.AllBrands.com, an online sewing machine dealer.

Thanks to everyone who has helped me along and here’s to a long relationship. I love creating! One day it will be my fulltime job! You’ll see, it will happen!

Until later ~


Molly Handbag Dressed in Leather

I have a good friend that loves to sew as much as I do. We work together in our day jobs and whenever we talk during the day it’s always about sewing, decorating our houses, and kittys. But sewing is always top of the list. She was the person who inspired me to start sewing again, so anyone who reads this blog, buys one of my items on Etsy, or downloads one of my patterns, has her to thank.

When I finished the Molly Handbag Pattern, I showed it to her. I didn’t really want to bother her by asking her to critique or test it, but she seemed interested in seeing it, so I gave her a copy. Immediately she gave me ideas that will make it and all my future patterns better. Her first suggestion was to include a cover with a photo of the finished product so that immediately the person using it would know what they were making. I already knew that I was going to design a cover to use for advertising it but didn’t even consider adding it to the pattern PDF file. It was a great suggestion, so now it’s added as part of the PDF.

Her other suggestion was to move the print to the right just a bit so if someone wanted to put it in a binder, they wouldn’t punch holes in the pictures and text. Another great suggestion, but it was too late for Molly, it would just take too long to redo the layout. But I will definitely incorporate a left-side binding margin in my next pattern.

After her initial look at the pattern, she started thinking about making one. She’s a very creative person and has tons of ideas for enhancing the basic pattern. She’s thinking about using leather handles, leather corners, and making the coordinating top band out of leather. What a fabulous make-over for Molly! I think adding a strip of leather piping just under the ruffle would be beautiful as well.

I was already considering making the entire handbag in leather but I think my friend’s ideas would make Molly even prettier than if she were done in all leather. I’ve never sewn with leather and I have a lot to learn. Wrapping the corners in leather has me baffled right now as I haven’t sat down to figure it out. Maybe my good friend will teach me how to do that. I really hope she goes forward with her ideas, and maybe, just maybe, she will let me post a photo when it’s done. We’ll see and I’ll let you know.

Till later ~


Should I Change The Name of This Blog?

I just found are really good resource for bloggers new and old (people who have been blogging for a long time, not old people). It’s called Business2Blogger at www.business2blogger.com. There I read in a couple of different articles that bloggers should use an easy to remember name and it should be a regular name, like, not with blogspot in it.


I used to own the nikkiraes.com domain name at one time a while back. I made it up, it’s a combo of my two daughter’s middle names, one Nicole and the other Rae. I had a website there for a while and then later after I took down the website, I was going to keep it for the email and access to my web hosting account. I just liked it because it was mine, I’d had it since 2003, and it was my daughters’ names. But, to my regret, I forgot about it and missed seeing the renewal notice. I accidentally lost it because I didn’t renew. Boo! I was mad at myself for letting that happen, but it happened and there was nothing I could do about it.

Anyway, when I started this blog I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with it. Since NikkiRae’s was available under blogspot, I went ahead and used it, but why? It doesn’t represent anything other than the story above and even after talking to one of my daughters about it, she thought I should dump it.

That day, after the convo with my daughter, I went home and registered RKayDesign.com. That’s my name and I’m the designer, seamstress, person doing all this writing…

So, do you think I should change the name of my blog? The Blogger platform will let me change it and it will even forward everything to that domain name, it says in the Blogger set-up that I shouldn’t lose any followers. What do you think? Should I change it to www.rkaydesign.com?

Please let me know what you think. Your opinions are important to me.


Inspiration – Where Does It Come From

Everyday, everywhere, your day is filled with visual input. As you drive down the street to go to work, walk your dog through the neighborhood, surf the internet, watch TV, or have a vivid dream at night, there are millions of things you see everyday. Some of these items are so routine, you don’t even notice them. Others are so horrific, you don’t want to notice them. Some are so beautiful you can’t forget them. And still others are so unique you want them to part of your life.

Inspiration comes from anywhere you let it. Shapes, colors, patterns, feelings, all give inspiration if you let it in. When creating handmade items, inspiration is not copying another item, inspiration is seeing another item and transferring the lines or feeling of that item to what you’re making. For example, I wrote in a past post about how, in church one Sunday, I noticed all the young girls had ruffles on their clothing. That inspired me to use a ruffle on the purse pattern I was going to make. I didn’t copy a single item, but I incorporated a feature of the items I saw into my project, in my own way.

Likewise a feeling can be inspirational. A visit to a quaint town while on vacation might inspire you to add a touch of whimsy to the next item you make, where before, nothing you made was whimsical. Love and pain often inspires songwriters and it could inspire you as well. What do you think of when you think about being head over heels in love, the image created in your head may have a line, color, or words that could be used in your next project.

At the end of the day, we have so much to inspire us but we must open our eyes and be mindful of our surroundings and feelings.Take notice each and every day and let the beauty of simple things enter your heart.  Your creations will naturally take on the beauty of what inspires you and you’ll never run out of new ideas.

P.S. A dress I saw on TV the other night has become the inspiration for my next purse pattern! I sketched it out this morning, I didn’t want to forget my thoughts. Whenever an inspiration sparks an idea for a future creation, be sure to write it down or sketch it out right away as ideas can be fleeting. Keep a notebook with you at all times, stop make notes, sketches, etc. when it happens as you don’t want to forget what it was that gave you your inspiration.

Are there certain things that inspire your creations? Are there places you go, things you do, items you look for to give you inspirational input? Comment below and let’s discuss!

Until later ~


Blog Mission Statement – Distilled

Yesterday I shared my story and talked a little about what I want to do with this blog. It was a long story and I hope some of you took the time to read it. Now I need to distill the information and formulate a blog mission statement for Nikki Rae’s. This isn’t an easy task, how do you take so much information and restate it in just 2 or 3 sentences?

Well, here’s what I came up with.


Nikki Rae’s new blog mission statement:

Nikki Rae’s is a blog that I write for those who love to sew purses, handbags, and similar items and then sell them on Etsy. Nikki Rae’s readers will enjoy all kinds of information about sewing purses and handbags as well as info that I learn as I build my own Etsy business. The community that forms will enjoy sewing tutorials, sneak peeks of new patterns, give-aways, reviews and discussions of other designer’s patterns, sew-alongs, and general sewing room talk. I’ll give insights into what inspires me, troubles me, challenges me, and fills me with joy while sharing my goals, sewing tips, business tips, people I admire, and stories about doing what it takes to make a fulltime living creating the things I love. I want all my readers to share the joy I feel in knowing that others find pleasure in sewing the designs I create.

Come join me in my journey to creating a business that supports me into my retirement and learn a little, laugh a little, and maybe even cry a little along the way. I’d love to have you along for the ride while I share my experiences.


So? What do you think? How can I improve it? What do you like about? What do you hate about it? Let me know!