SMP Craft
30 Oct

Kwik Sew Harley Quinn Halloween Costume by Angela Craft

Today’s SMP Craft piece is written by special guest blogger Digital Marketing Manager Angela Craft AKA Batman villain Harley Quinn!

It’s been an exciting fall for comic book fans! Between new superhero shows like The Flash and Constantine and the huge Marvel Phase 3 announcements, there’s never been a better time to love comics and media. To celebrate the superhero spirit, as well as Halloween, this year I’m dressing up as Batman villain Harley Quinn, and making the costume from scratch.

Harley Quinn has many incarnations, so for this costume I drew my inspiration from the animated DC film Assault on Arkham, creating a Harley costume that wouldn’t leave me freezing in New York City in late October. The base costume is from two Kwik Sew patterns, meaning that from start to finish assembling the costume can be done in just a few hours. The top is Kwik Sew KP-3497 (view C), and the leggings are Kwik Sew KP-3636 (view A – stirrup pants may be passé but I want to keep the pants effortlessly tucked into my boots all night!). I used stretch jersey knit in burgundy and black, about a yard total of each.

Harley-Quin-ArkhamACHarleyQuinnHarley Quinn suppliesThe trickiest part of the costume is putting together the patchwork effect of the top. The trick is to sew your two colors of fabric together before making the first cut. Fold your fabric along the seam, and place the edge of the pattern on that fold just like you would normally. The leggings were easier, as each leg is one piece of fabric, so I could cut one of each color.

The final details are the collar and arm warmers. The collar is cut from a square of fabric as wide as my shoulders, with a triangle pattern cut into it. I’ve bulked it up a little bit with peel-and-stick felt. And while patterns for arm warmers exist, I simply sewed two tubes of fabric and cut holes for my thumbs.

Accessorize with a blonde pigtail wig (not pictured) and a maniacal smile!

Happy Geeky Halloween!

Check out our October and November titles!

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Tagged with: batman, comics, DC Comics, halloween, harley quinn, Kwik Sew, superhero
29 Oct

SMP Crafternoon: Learn it. Make it. Donate it.

Good times for a good cause happening at SMP Craft!

Two weeks ago, we sent an email to our fellow Macmillan employees with a November challenge: Crochet/knit a hat or scarf by December 1st to donate to two local women’s shelters: Women in Need, Inc. and The Salvation Army’s Women’s Residence. The response to our first Crafternoon call to action was off the charts! Group

Lyon Brand Yarn donated a load of supplies — skeins of yarn, knitting needles, and crochet hooks.


Adriana3Felecia3St. Martin’s Press Production Manager, Adriana Coada, and seasoned knitter and teacher, Felecia O’Connell, lead us through basic crochet and knit techniques using patterns from Erika Knight’s two absolutely essential books if you’re a knitter or crocheter, Simple Knitting and Simple Crocheting.



Erin and Kara




LadiesontheLeft_sittingAnd LOOK! We already have our first finished knit hat from one of the participants! She’s considering taking it back and accessorizing it with a flower. So fancy!!!


Click on the descriptions for instructions and FREE PATTERN DOWNLOADS. As ever, comment here or email us with any questions you may have.



  • Scarf Pattern (the dishcloth pattern makes a scarf by simply adding extra rows)

Stay tuned. We’ll be doing regular updates on our progress!

Check out our October and November titles!

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Tagged with: donation, how to crochet, how to knit, shelter, women in need
28 Oct

Happy Pub Day!

Do you like bags? Crafts? Delightful wordplay? If so, you’re in a world of luck, my friend, because today is the official on-sale day for Tote-ally Amazing Bags: 30 Quick and Easy Bags to Make for All Occasions by Helen Angharad Henley! This one comes with a CD of full-size patterns, too. How can you beat that?

tote 4 tote 3

tote 2

Can you believe how cute these bags are? (They’re quick and easy to make, too!)

The tote bag in its humblest form is a simple rectangular bag with two handles, but the possibilities offered by the style are limitless. This colorful book guides the reader through all the possible incarnations of the tote bag, from children’s bags and simple grocery totes to stylish shoulder bags in contemporary fabrics, with patterns ranging from the fun to the functional. Techniques cover all the basics of machine sewing and finishing, from straight seams to topstitching, as well as detailed instructions on the specifics of bag construction, handle making, patch and zipped pockets, and interlining. And the styles in this book range from appliqué to stenciled designs using fabric paint, giving you the freedom to design the tote-ally amazing bag of your dreams!

You should tote-ally buy one today.

Barnes & Noble


Check out our October and November titles!

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Tagged with: books, how to books, Sewing
26 Oct

Goodreads Giveaway: 50 Pincushions to Knit & Crochet by Cat Thomas

Last Friday we offered you a free project download but teased you a touch with images of other projects from 50 Pincushions to Knit & Crochet: Stash Your Sharps in Something Cute and Handmade by Cat Thomas. Now here’s your chance to have a go at all 50 projects and win a finished copy of the entire book!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

50 Pincushions to Knit & Crochet by Cat Thomas

50 Pincushions to Knit & Crochet

by Cat Thomas

Giveaway ends October 30, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Whatever your skill level, and whether the project is intended for yourself or as a gift for a fellow crafter, 50 Pincushions to Knit & Crochet offers something for everyone. Each pattern comes with:

  • A Key that denotes the level of difficulty
  • Beautiful color photographs of the finished pieces to show you what you should be aiming for
  • Clear instructions for assembling
  • Supplemental charts for clarity

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Cat Thomas is a trained textile artist who has taught art and design for most of her career. She now designs, selling under the name of “Baban Cat” on sites such as Etsy and Folksy. Check out more about Cat Thomas on her blog.

Remember to enter the giveaway before you click off and if you simply can’t stand to wait–order the book now at your favorite retailer below!

Barnes & Noble

Check out our October and November titles!

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Tagged with: Crafts, giveaway, goodreads giveaway, how to crochet, how to knit, pincushions, sweepstakes
24 Oct

Freebie Friday: Pear Pincushion


A well-known Italian seamstress once told me that Pincushions are a sewing necessity and that, “è vero, vero” It’s true true that one’s pincushion reflects one’s personality. I don’t think I want to know what it means about my personality that the “pincushion” in my sewing box is an old Whitesnake rock band patch I used to accessorize a Heavy Metal Halloween costume.


Nonetheless, while combing through 50 Pincushions to Knit & Crochet by Cat Thomas, I couldn’t help but recall her comment; despite loving the absolutely adorable sushi, bear, and cactus pincushions pictured above, the moment my eyes landed on the Pear Pincushion, I knew I found my (dare I say it) PEAR-fect pincushion match. So for this week’s Free Pattern Download, I offer you Pear Pincushion, which is knitted in the round, uses worsted weight yarn and no seaming so it knits up quickly.


I’ve decided that this pear pincushion is a Green Anjou, an all-purpose variety valued for its culinary versatility–from slicing fresh into salads to baking into tarts and pies to pureeing for sauces, beverages, and toppings. It’s the most abundant variety in the U.S., is almost always available, and most importantly, has a wonderful flavor profile: refreshing, sweet, juicy, with a hint of citrus!

It’s my friend’s birthday this weekend and I’ve decided to make her a “Pear-themed” present–pear pincushion, a few fresh pears, a pear tart, and pear juice!

If you’re not quite the pear connoisseur but say… have a thing for the circus, or want to make a pincushion for a cat-lover, or maybe love reindeer… and have been learning how to knit or crochet and want a finished handmade something something that you can complete in just a few hours, look no further than  50 Pincushions to Knit & Crochet, which is available at your favorite online retailer.

50 Pincushions cover


Barnes & Noble


Check out our October and November titles!

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Tagged with: Advice, anjou pear, Crafts, crochet, crocheting, d'anjou, how to crochet, knitting, pear, pincushions

Author of the Month

This month we sit down for a Q&A with Molly Goodall, artist, designer, creator of the unique children’s clothing brand, Little Goodall, and author of Wild Things to Sew and Wear. Originally from North Carolina, Molly earned her BFA in fashion design from Parsons School of Design in 1997, where she became focused on children’s wear. She then worked as a toy designer in New York before deciding "it would be more fun to be an artist" and moved to North Texas, where she, her husband, and son currently live.

Molly Goodall, author of Wild Things to Sew and Wear

Project of the Month

Little Monster

Perfect for any rambunctious little dude or dudette, this frighteningly cute hat, mittens, and booties set will have the neighbors forkin’ over the treats in no time. All measurements are given for sizes 6-12 months, 12-24 months, and 2-3 years. From Nuriya Khegay’s fun-packed Monster Knits for Little Monsters: 20 Super-Cute Animal-Themed Hat, Mitten, and Bootie Sets to Knit.

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