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Dec 2, 2008

Book in the works!

Decorating for the holidays is so much fun! I took myself off to the bookstore today and piled up all the magazines filled with trees and sparkles and fantastic ideas... One of my favorite companies for holiday decoration is Cody Foster & Co. They are perfect with their scope of categories and an amazingly lovely eye for getting it right in an eclectic way! Anyway I thought I'd share!

Other news, I escaped the sewing studio today because I have been a mad woman for a while now designing and creating tiny and sweet items for the book in the works. Some of the items include little squeaker booties and hats for babes, of course the fabulous crib bumpers and they came out fantastic using new fabrics due out in the near year! I created a super-easy scalloped crib skirt I know some of you will love love love, a changing pad cover and several unpredictable projects you will not want to miss for infants' room. OK, then there's the toddler years and the duds I designed for both boys and girls I think you will find irresistible! I had both at the same time, boy and a girl and dressed them uniquely... boys are just as important as girls and these sweet little outfits say it so! I am working on the 4s and 5s who are crazy flexible and require flexible couture no? Finally for the oldest kids, 6/7.... I am working on fantastic projects you will love! I have two this age and they personally approved the project list!

When I get a few pics I'll share, so stay tuned for tiny peeks into the book... still working on that title... 'sewing with Tina' is not cutting it right now! Any ideas? Eclectic, fun, creative, unpredictable, colorful! All for kids... so come on help me out!

If you live in the USA, hope your Thanksgiving Holiday was a treat! I ate much pumpkin pie and whipped cream...

Picture: © Cody Foster & Co.

Nov 24, 2008

Vera Neumann

Oh my goodness! I have discovered VERA NEUMANN... Me Oh My! What a clever lady... and I love the story... she was an artist and turned textile designer using post WWII silk parachute to screenprint her designs... Apparently she started this just past the age of 40... I am in love with her free spirited hand... and that color is to die for. Vera designed everything for a 36" square scarf... and adopted the ladybug as her trademark for good luck, long life and happiness. Later in 1950s and a grown staff and facility, her company was releasing as many as 500-600 designs a year... that's a lot! In the 60s a clothing line was added and the fabric was designed with the garment in mind... Finally selling the company but working on as designer, she worked 6 days a week, Tuesday was reserved for her hair appointment and the board meeting in Manhatten (by the way, the board accommodated her schedule). Apparently working until her death in 1993... the old gal was 86 when she went....
I love this story and will find out more about Vera... I must begin a new collection of vintage Vera Napkins.... what do you think?
Best, T

Nov 16, 2008

Bakelite Buttons

Antique Bakelite Buttons PDF Print E-mail

Bakelite Buttons are so gorgeous! I have decided they are my favorite of all the buttons in the world! I am working on my book and as you may or may not know, I love embellishing my stuff with everything from charms and beads to sticks and crystal droplets and of course, buttons and ribbons. And when doing the Quilt Shows I found amazing buttons... and they are not inexpensive, but well worth the find. If I had more time I think I'd make this a serious collection activity... but then again, as I write this I hear my two little ones making their normal busy 'ruccus' upstairs! And I am reminded my time is limited for self-absorbed activities like browsing flea markets and vintage stores... But wow... I do find them on my fabric travels, and this amazing thing called the internet! Whewee.... thank goodness. So here's a few of my favorite sites. and a short blurb about the history of Bakelite!

A history of Bakelite Buttons :

Sites to shop for buttons:

Nov 9, 2008

Fairy Wings

fairy wings
Originally uploaded by tinagivens
She's such a little fairy... this is my angel and fairy all rolled into one! Wearing a dress called Angel Smock (sewing pattern available). And a sweet little topper! The wings will be discussed and instructed in my new book in the works due out next year!
I am also now officially a 'flickr' participant.... so see more images there!
My best and happy Saturday to you and you and you!

Nov 5, 2008


Besides handbags, shoes are another fav of mine! I have always been a shoe-lover (who isn't?) So at market I wore these fabulous shoes which actually deserved their own photograph. These literally stole the show... and worked well with the booth! Slingbacks and I am sorry you can't see the adorable little red buckle closure!
Anyway, short and sweet. I got 'em from SoHo Shoes here in Raleigh and I believe they have some in stock so go for it....

I believe the manufacturer is LaLove or something like that - It's a difficult label to read.


Nov 3, 2008

Baglady Sewing Pattern - tutorial

One of my recent patterns is this fabulous bag pattern I called BAGLADY! I am very definitely a 'baglady'... love bags, some of my favorite all time bags are from Orla Kiely, Kate Spade and fabulous tote and canvas casuals from Hable Construction.... Anyhoo.... apparently bag patterns are a hot these days.... and I am so very pleased I have this one. I am designing more for you other bag fanatics out there.
The crazy thing is I have been designing and making my own bags (and hats) for a very long time. My very favorite I called a 'YaYa bag' I created out of a deep wine velvet... it truly was a little vintage inspired Granny bag... thus the 'YaYa' label (Greek for Grandmother). I was also into ribbon embroidery at the time so I embellished the opening with loads of narrow silk ribbon 'french-knots'... Oh I am so off on another story here... oh well.

The Baglady Tutorial
To be used along with the hard copy of the sewing pattern BAGLADY by Tina Givens # TG-A5029.

So the 'Baglady' Tutorial.... I love this bag because it's large, casual and fabulous. You need this bag for everyday fun. I mean I am off to the studio with my portable harddrive, camera, various cables, a few files I keep on me including work, but personal files too, kids stuff, etc. The phone of course, the wallet, little makeup pouch for touch ups, a few tissues, business cards, daily mail, oh let's not forget the watercolor tubes, paint brushes, tiny sketchpad, journal and pencils. A pen, check book, miscellaneous items like a few toys, gum, oh my gawsh.... ok you get the picture...
Baglady measures a wopping 18.5 " wide x 13" in height plus another 9" for handles, x 5" deep.
For the tutorial I selected one of the new fabrics from Treetop Fancy collections, actually called TREETOP (TG48) in Pink Papaya.... lined in Gossip Tree TG51 (pink papaya). Now if you don't have the infamous Baglady sewing pattern... purchase it at one of these fine locations: FIND IT HERE! This blog post may make no sense without.

Ok, so let's start. Once all of your pattern pieces are cut out, fuse the pieces as the pattern instructs, then we begin with the handles. They're easy enough. When designing the pattern I made the handles long enough so shoulder carrying can be an option.

Next is top-stitching the side panels for the bag, which I love because not only does it add flavor and secures the fleece (which I can never get to completely adhere - does anyone else have issues with this?), but it also adds a professional touch. We can't look too hand-made right?
Once this is done, we add the handles to the side panels. I do this in two steps. Once pinned in place as the pattern indicates, I sew the handle tops in place at the 2" mark (note pattern); then I pin the handles back upward, pin and again stitch. This all makes for a strong handle. Remember, we carry all but the kitchen sink in there right? So now our handles are in place.

Easy! And on to the zipper panels. The pattern makes it all easy. Just follow those instructions, you will use the technique again and again.
Now the bottom panel. Simply a long rectangular piece, pinned along the bottom edge of one side panel, and upward on each side.
Stitched in place. The image here shows that bottom panel pinned in place. We add the top zipper panel, here. And then topstitch the bottom panel to the top panels on each side, you can see the 3 rows of stitching here.

Then onto the other side of the bag, which is easily sewn onto the combination 'half-a'bag' you just put together. Now, inside out it should look something like this!

From here, we move to the lining, which is done identical to the exterior pieces but for the zipper, the handles and an inside pocket. The pocket is very important for those tiny things and that very vital phone... it should look something like this! My birds I used for the pocket are indeed side-ways but I am really only the one who gets to see it (instead of wasting fabric).
And that's all there is to it. Cutting out the pieces takes about half-an-hour to an hour, depending how many children are talking to you while you are doing it. And the actual sewing to completion takes about 3 hours... that is it. Not bad I'd say. So let me know if this was helpful to you... Get the pattern if you don't have it already, and let me know what you found difficult or easy!

Note: The above tutorial is to be used along with the actual hard copy of the BagLady Sewing Pattern by Tina Givens #TG-A5029 as shown above.

Nov 1, 2008

Sewing Patterns is a big fan of mine.... They have fabulous online service and carry almost everything, including most recently, my line of patterns, Series 1. See them all here!

Shown is Little Goddess Dress which I adore and have had many requests for an adult version. Stay tuned for that one!

Regarding S I Z I N G ... all sewing patterns for children include 3 sizes, small, medium and a large. Because my designs are loose and fun they can be less restrictive in size. Small is for a toddler 2T/3T, medium is 4T/5T and large is for 6/7. Kimono Suit is for infants, again small, medium and large. 0-3months, 6-9 months and 9 to 12 months.... And adult kaftan and lounge suit are again in 3 sizes. Loosey goosey is the trick there.. made for comfort with lounging style.

Fabric shown here is from the Chloe's Imagination collection, TG46 in Oberon Red. And yes, instructions for that little heart embellishment, so easy to do, are included.
Again, thanks for being with me. And let me know if I can answer any questions on the patterns or any requests you may have. Series 2 is on it's way!

Oct 31, 2008

Anna Maria Horner

One of the best parts about designing fabrics and being a part of fabulous Westminster Fibers is being associated with people like Anna Maria Horner. She's a sweet, funny, crazy talented, divine person... I am not exaggerating, she's lovely. She's superwoman too with more children than most of us and a happy husband. Whewee girly girl how does she do it? Besides designing fabric within the same company, Anna Maria and I share other things in common. She's designing a super cool stationery, she's a mom of course, she's also Greek! I dunno if you know this about me, but even though I was born in Africa, my mother is English and my daddy was born in South Africa into a crazy Greek family. From Cyprus the family immigrated to Central Africa in the 20s. And pops was born in 1940! Long lovely story, one day I will bore you with it. Anyway, I am of course off on a tangent once again. Back to Anna Maria Horner.
Anna has a unique flavor she injects into her design, she is a gypsy at heart I think, very talented and has this bohemian quality she maintains in her color palettes and design. With her new book out, patterns on the way and a very busy schedule, she manages stints with the queen mother - Martha Stewart. My guess is she'll be appearing with her signature giggle on Oprah. We shall see! In the meantime, catch up with Anna on her site and blog.
Oh see her booth here, she won 1st place for booth design..... again!
Rock on Anna!

Oct 30, 2008

Embroidery is coming!

Just two of the 12 perfect little images soon to be available in 'embroidery'.... Yes... I am so thrilled about this. Coats and Clark are producing a super package of 12 embroideries on disk for your machine embroidery projects. Motifs include the fabulous Fairy (shown here), plus 2 more Fairies; the perfect ladybug and acqua bee I love so much and featured in Chloe's Imagination fabric collection; Spats Bunny shown above as well as several more children's embroidery projects. I can't wait to get my copy so I can play too. We're still working out the details of color and thread.... and when available I will be sure to inform you!

(Tina's fairies are featured in her new fabric collection 'Fairy Tip-Toes' shown in the Preview Gallery at FreeSpirit - user name and password 'designer').

Oct 29, 2008

International Quilt Market: New Fabric Launches

I just returned from a very busy trade show, the International Quilt Market in Houston! Wow, what an energetic week we had. Again we displayed the new fabrics and again I am so overwhelmed with the kind words and super fabric orders we received from all over the world. The UK and Australia, France and Germany, Canada and of course home, USA. We were also excited about the tremendous enthusiasm within the fabric, sewing and quilting industry. What hiccup in the economy? We didn't see any evidence of a slow down in fabric sales which means textiles and sewing are the place to be. And an enormous increase in young and new sewers.... interested in fun and colorful, new and current design and projects for children, the house and clothing! So loads of great news for the industry!
For me personally, I am thrilled to be a part of the Westminster Fibers team... my booth was directly across from my friend and the queen of design, Amy Butler. We shared giggles and smiles the entire show! More on Amy, Anna-Maria Horner, Jane Sassaman, Kaffe Fassett and fabulous Brandon Mabley in a future post!
Anyhow, enjoy a few pics to whet your taste buds and stay tuned for much more on new fabrics, patterns and projects, my book in the works and more....

Jul 7, 2008

Doll - Ms. Mona

Meet Ms. Mona....
I am tickled pink about this little lady! First, over the long weekend I was finishing my project list for my upcoming book, sewing for children - an instruction book by LARK BOOKS. Anyway, I've been working on a doll idea for sometime, well working it in my mind. This is never any good because when I actually get to do it, it's always different as I work out the kinks! So I finally decided, I want to make a doll... So I began... I started on her body, with something lean in mind for little fingers to hang onto; then her face. Oh, she needed a little character in her face right? And I was missing something! After several tries I decided to review what the fabulous and effervescent Elinor Peace Bailey would do. I couldn't do what she does because, well she's a genius people! But, how does she get to create such perfect and clever faces? So examining her work I decided it has to be in pieces, the crown, the chin and a profile of sorts... and upon cutting and cutting and recutting and sewing and pulling and tugging and Kevin peering over my shoulder with a "Hmmm..." And finally, ahhhh. That's it! Oh, ok! And now I want to make more faces, with other expressions and tiny little lips in lipstick shades! Ms. Mona has a fun expression doesn't she. That's "Pink Madrah" lipstick-shade, thank you very much! Or pale-pink cotton embroidery thread I found in Mellie's sewing box!

So, now I sewed the head onto the body, and then, the best part of all. Dressing her! Oh my did I have fun! All night till the wee hours I gathered, and cut and my little machine whirred away. I stitched and listened to some old movie because I was too busy, way to busy to look up. "Are you done yet?" I hear... "Almost!" Well, almost in my world is hours from any minute in time! And, finally... I held her up and Kevin gasped, "From the back she looks like you!"

Anyway, thanks for reading my spew on Ms. Mona. But, I am delighted with her and thought you'd get a kick out of her too! Ms. Mona's wardrobe is in Chloe's Imagination, naturally! As chic as she is!

Oh, and if you don't know who ELINOR PEACE BAILEY IS!
I have always loved handmade dolls, my favorite doll maker in the whole wide world is none other than ELINOR PEACE BAILEY. Please visit with her online and see her work - she is truly a scruptious lady. She even looks like her special and unique dolls - I mean this woman dresses and lives in society as a flamboyant frilly doll maker, and that's that! Taker her or leave her! And with a soul as kind and sweet as an angel, Elinor is loved dearly by anyone who meets her. Anyhoo, this fabulous doll lady is available to visit with online at!

Say hi from me!

Jun 25, 2008

Treetop Fancy

I thought I'd share a little on the new fabric collections debuting in October, and to ship to stores November/December 08. Here's a few pics. Some of which will change with revisions because I am not completely happy with them, but that's normal at this stage. Enjoy and let me know what you think!

Jun 11, 2008

Oh Sweet Bird PATTERN

Well, I promised to give you the pattern for the sweet little birds I had in my booth, so here it is! It's so Easy Breezy... let me tell you. Little bird little bird, reminds me of a poem from one of my heroins, Emily Dickinson,

Have you got a brook in your little heart,
Where bashful flowers blow,
And blushing birds go down to drink,
And shadows tremble so?

So, above is an image of the bird we're going to make.

MATERIALS: 2 unique fabric scraps, about 11x5" ea.
Coordinating thread, I use Coats ® products.
Cotton fiber-fill,
Ribbon/Trim (about 3" for loop), 8" for around bird body (optional)
Buttons, Beads, Charms, Strings and Lace (all optional embellishment)
Embroidery Floss (again optional for embroidering eyes)
You can make this Sweet Bird oh so simple, or oh so embellished....

TOOLS: Sewing machine (one could make this by hand too), hand sewing needle, turning tool.

1. Lay out pattern pieces, cut 2 for the body, and 1 piece (along the fold) for the breast. I usually contrast fabrics but you could use one just as well ~ She still be sweet!
2. Take your 3" trim or ribbon piece and lay inward on your bird body (where marked on pattern) and sandwich inbetween body pieces (right sides together please)
3. Sew from underneath bird chin, around it's pointy beak, (swivel at beak tip), along the bird's back, and finish at the end of it's tail.
4. Unfold breast piece and pin in place, again right sides together, sew along one side all the way; and sew the other side leaving a 3" opening for turning and stuffing.
5. Clip corners, beak tip, and curved edges close, and turn the little bird right side out!
6. Stuff "Oh So Sweetly" with cotton fiber-fill until your critter is puffed up and proud to go.
7. Hand sew the opening closed with a slip stitch, carefully and with tiny stitches.

Optional Embellishing:
1. Wrap a piece of trim or ribbon around your bird body, and stitch in place, meeting at the trim loop.
2. Sew a button or buttons on your bird where ever you prefer. I like it's side!
3. Tie a few ribbons or trim, leather cord, stribng or floss into a simple knot, and sew onto the bottom of your bird so it all dangles on it's under belly. I added a simple crystal charm here too.
4. Instead of under belly ebellishment, one could simple tie a bow on it's back, add a charm or two and whalah, your bird is complete and ready for hanging, sitting, swinging, nesting or whatever you have in mind for it!

See, simple, quick and easy! That's the way I like 'em.

Any questions please email me or comment right here! We'll be sure to address any queries and do send images, we'd love to see them!


PS Print out this page, and adjust bird pattern (enlarge in a copier) to accommodate 9.5" measurement a shown.

May 31, 2008

CR Gibson

I am so ecstatic about working with CR Gibson. They are such a great group of professional people. The spring 2008 collection debuted in New York at the National Stationery Show. It looked marvelous. I have to say, when I design for other companies, as well as my own, I am a stickler for quality in all areas. And what is so lovely, is working with people who allow me to be a control freak. Haha, isn't that a laugh! It sounds so contrived but it's so vital since I am going to have my name on the end product - should I not have the right to be stubborn on it's final presentation? Working with companies who allow me to see the final vision through are the ones I like to work with, and apparently I do a good job because they return. For all of you contemplating me to design your wall paper, rugs, paper products or home decor projects, don't be fooled I am no vigilante, I am as sweet as can be. I meet deadlines and I surprise going over and beyond the scope of what's expected? Don't I sound delicious to work with? So modest too!
See an example of the fabulous CR Gibson social stationery collection, which includes a large number of skus in organizational desk stationery and accessories. To see the entire collection go to their site and look for Tina Givens.
All for now! However, stay 'posted' for more design news!

May 20, 2008

A few images to share!

Front & Center

Patterns will be available on

The show ended a few days ago. we had a great show in that I got to show off Chloe's Imagination and the new color palettes for Annabella. Both sold well. So stores in your neighborhood will be showing them off late May and into June! I am thrilled with the response. And I launched a new series of sewing patterns for kids, adults including accessories. Super creative and very energetic. I think you'll like them. Patterns will be available on soon so stay tuned. Any questions you may have please feel free to email me or place your comments here. I'd be glad to respond. And thanks to all of you who have emailed me within the last few weeks. Your support and kindness is invaluable to me.