Tuesday, July 26, 2011

July Featured Member: Sofie Bell Couture!

Introducing this month's featured member: Timi of Fogal of Sofie Bell Couture!  I really enjoyed learning a bit more about this fun and creative SB member.   I hope that you enjoy her interview as much as I do!! 

1.  What is your name?
Timi Lisa Fogal

2. Do you have a nickname?
I don’t really, but almost everyone I meet asks me, “how’d you get your name?” or “did your parents want boys?”  Usually I make a little joke saying “well I was born in the 60’s… what can I say.”  But the real story goes like this – So here I am, newborn in the hospital for 3 days and my little info card on the bassinet in the nursery still reads “baby Brown.” I’m 3 days old and I still have no first name (insert boo-boo lip). My Grandmother (my dad’s mom) flies in for a visit and is flabbergasted to see my parents haven’t named me yet. “Why haven’t you named the baby yet?” She asks. And my parents start explaining that my mom wants to name me Lisa but my dad doesn’t like that name at all, and my dad wants to name me Heather, but my mom doesn’t want that name – blah, blah, blah, blah, blah! So my grandmother patiently listens and then looks at my father and says, “Timothy, why don’t you name the baby ‘Timi Lisa.’ This way she is named after you and you’re happy and Joyce (my mom) is happy because she gets her favorite name.” For some unfathomable reason, they both smiled back and said “perfect!” So….. yeah. “I’m sure you can imagine the teasing I put up with in grade school. I almost changed my name in high school, but then I grew to like it. Now I’m grateful for my unique name. At the very least, it’s a conversation starter, lol.

3.  What is your boutique name?
Sofie Bell Couture

4.  What design groups do you belong to?
Well, I was nominated leader of Fairycakes last September. That’s it for exclusive groups. Then I belong to most of the open groups on Ebay – Serendipity, BCMM, Royally Spoiled etc… 

5.  What types of products do you offer?
Mainly girls OOAK and custom outfits. But I have also sold boys customs and handbags.

6.  Where can we find your products?
      Ebay Me Page 

7.  Do you take custom orders from clients?
      Absolutely. Anyone interested in a custom order can email me anytime at

8.  When did you first decide you wanted to enter the custom boutique field?
Well I decided I wanted to learn how to sew about an hour after the Ultrasound Tech told us we were having a girl! It actually took us 8 years and many doctors to have our one and only baby so I was looking for any way I could “spoil” her I guess, lol. But I didn’t even know what boutique was until Sofia was about 18 months or so. Then by accident I discovered boutique searching for cheap onesies on eBay MOOO HAH HAH HAAAHhhh!!

9.  What made you decide to give the custom boutique field a try?
Well I started taking sewing lessons when I was about 6 months preggo, so I was already making Sofie outfits with conventional patterns. But after I stumbled onto eBay boutique I thought “I bet I could do that!” (…or continue to give my husband chest pains by maxing out the Visa bill on customs…) So since I wanted to keep my hubby around a little longer ;o) I started making customs myself.  At first I was only making them for Sofie and not trying to sell them. After a while, people started stopping us at the store or when we were out to ask where I bought Sofie’s outfits. That’s when I though I might have a shot at selling some.

10.  Do you remember the first item you designed that sold?
Yup, I sure do! I was so excited – I think I even called my mom to tell her, lol. Called hubby at work. It was a little 1950’s vintage pattern meant for the first day of school. I put a “Tic Tac Toe” theme on it and made a tic tac toe board out of fabric and jumbo buttons ofr the X’s and O’s that fit in the apron pocket.  I thought it was the cutest darn thing, lol.

11. Where does your inspiration for design come from?
Oooo lots of places.  From something my daughter does or says. From my garden. I love gardening as much as designing clothes.  From vintage commercial patterns  from the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s.  I have a nice collection of them. I find vintage patterns MUCH harder to sew with than modern patterns, but soooooooo worth the finished product – even if I’m ready to set the pattern and my sewing machine on fire sometimes trying to construct the clothes! Women’s couture clothes. I watch runway shows online, and buy lots of magazines to look at the beautiful clothes and see how maybe I could adapt some of the style into little girl’s boutique.

12. Do you sketch your designs out, use patterns, or just go with it for new designs?
I don’t sketch because I totally suck a it! I make a good picture in my minds eye of what I want the finished garment to look like. Then I pick fabrics and just go for it. If I have a pattern that matches the picture in my head I use it. Farbenmix patterns are so convenient for skirts ad knit tops. But I also like to make stuff I can’t find a pattern for.  Like this year I’m really into knit genie pants and knicker shorts for summer, so I just drafted a quick pattern for those.  If I use one of my vintage patterns I always adapt it a little to “modern it up.”

13. What materials are your favorites to work with?
Fleeces, high quality cottons and knits.  I really love embellishments too. I don’t think I’m capable of not putting some ric rac on an outfit.  I’ve got a thing for ric rac, lol.

14.  Do you have a favorite theme (I.e. certain holiday, character, etc)?
      My favorite holidays to design for are Halloween and Christmas, because it’s such a fun time of year for everyone and designers can kind of got “way over the top” with holiday themes and it’s totally okay!

15. What has been your favorite design to date and why?  
Hmmmm that’s a tough one. This is going to seem silly but I kind of fall in love with almost all my designs. There have been some horrible flops here and there for sure. But I pour a lot of inspiration, excitement to see my daughter happily wearing my designs, and hours of “fiddling” with fabrics, notions and appliqué trying to create something that will make people smile. Sounds really corny, I know. But it’s the truth. If I had to pick one, I’d go with my “Ferdinand” outfit. I designed the patterns for the knit top, vest, and scoodie which I felt turned out pretty good. Sofie l-o-v-e-s wearing it which makes me happy, and “Ferdinand The Bull” is our most favorite bedtime story.

16. What has been your most original and creative design?
I’d probably have to say my dancing flower outfit.  Sofie was 3 (so this was almost 4 years ago) and we’d just put her in ballet for tots. She and I were outside in the garden watering. There was a nice breeze and she said “look mama, the flowers are dancing!” Then she twirled around and stopped to dump her full watering can all over the dog. Then she twirled away laughing. Imp. So that’s where the dancing flower appliqué came from. It was my first attempt at any kind of hand guided appliqué.

17. Who would be your dream client and why (can be a celebrity)?
      I’ve been really lucky in that all my clients have been awesome! Maybe a celebrity client I’d like to have is Katie Holmes for her daughter Suri. I think that’s be kinda fun.

18.  Where would you like to see your brand go?
I would actually like to get my brand know locally were I live in California. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and I would love to be a featured designer in some of the really “she she” boutiques in San Francisco.

19.  Tell us something exciting about your brand that we may not know.
I’m afraid I don’t have anything too exciting to report, lol… This is not too exciting, but all my appliqué is hand drawn and hand guided sewing.  The wonderful lady I learned to sew from had just returned to the states after spending 10 years in France sewing in the couture houses there. She taught me all the “trade secrets” she’d learned there.

20.  Do you have another job or is this your primary job?
My hubs and I own and operate a martial arts studio in Santa Rosa, CA. Here’s a link to our website if you wanna check it out -

21.  Tell us about your family.
      Well, my Husband Juan and I will be married for 18 years this month on the 19th. We were both born and raised in California – but don’t hold that against us, lol. We have never hugged a tree. I do not have blonde hair, fake boobs or a permanent sun tan ;o) We have one daughter Sofia Lynn who turns 7 in September.  We are crazy about martial arts, movies, and art. We go to the beach a lot,  we do lots of activities with our friends and students at the dojo and take Sofie to lots of lessons, lol. Horseback riding, dance, swimming and of course, karate.

22.  Share something with us about you that we may not know.
Even though I have 3 different black belts and was a world champion in women’s taekwondo, I’m still too chicken to get a tattoo.

23.  What do you do for fun?
Believe it or not, it’s not sewing! I love designing, the fabrics and the finished outfit, but construction is not my favorite. Even though I’m neurotic about my seams and topstitching being perfect. What I really have fun doing is going to the movies with Juan and Sofie, having friends over for good food and conversation,  fiddly fusting around in my garden or getting a new plant (squeal!), and going to San Francisco to buy fabric!!

24.  What has been your most memorable vacation?
     We taken a lot of long weekend trips since Sofie was born, but not a full – blown 2 week vacay in a looooong time.  We’ve been to Japan a couple time, Mexico, Canada.  But my favorite was our honeymoon to Disneyland. Juan had never ever been. We had a great time acting like kids. I’d attach a pic, but this was looong before the digital age or the internet, lol.

25. Where would you love to visit?
I’d love to go back to Japan. China, Egypt and Spain!

26. What are your pet peeves?
Ignorance. Prejudice. Irresponsibility. Dishonesty.

27.  Any habits you want to share?
Sugar and caffeine. My mortal enemies.

28.  If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
My weight! And I would change my outstanding ability to procrastinate!

29.  What is your best trait?
If I commit to doing something, learning something, I do and do, learn and learn until I’m the absolute best I can be at that given task or endeavor. That is when I finally get around to doing it…(see question 28 ;o)  )

30.  Anything else you want to share?
Fairycakes is cooking up something big for the last half of the year. It’s still a secret though.
Thank you so very much for picking me for the June interview. It was really fun answering the questions.

31. If you have awards won, please list and/or include pics;-)
      I haven’t won too many awards for my boutique biz. I’ve won “Best In Show” the past couple      years at our Sonoma county Fair. There were over 5,000 entries in the “Home Arts” contest, so that’s kinda neat.  

Thursday, June 9, 2011

June Model Shares

Check out these cuties showing off some custom cuteness!

Miss Laci (angieoquinn)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

June Starting Auctions

Check out these great designs offered by Serendipity Boutique ladies for this month:



Tuesday, March 15, 2011

March Featured Member: TKCUDDLERS

What a delight it was to learn more about our March Featured Member!  Sit back and enjoy learning a bit more about Tamara (aka tkcuddlers).

1.   What is your name?

2.   Do you have a nickname?
Most people call me Tami (which is great) but you will always see me sign things "Tamara"

3.  What is your boutique name?

4.  What design groups do you belong to?

5.  What types of products do you offer?
I mostly offer boys & girls appliqued sets of all kinds

6.  Where can we find your products?                       
Ebay link
Etsy Shop
You will note that both the website and facebook are primarily utilized by my dd who does cloth diapering. That is where we started with this venture and then I got hooked on the boutique world at ebay and branched out on that limb. I just need to be more proactive and get my items onto those venues... time & technology... ugh!

7.  Do you take custom orders from clients?
Absolutely yes... I love custom orders and working with clients to see their vision come to life in the form of applique! It's very rewarding to me.  Contact me at either or to inquire.

8.  When did you first decide you wanted to enter the custom
boutique field?
I think it was Fall of 2006, and I was amazed at the boutique items, not even sure how I came acrossit. I thought I could do this sort of thing and started to brave the waters.

9.  What made you decide to give the custom boutique field a try?
I had been sewing for myself and my children since I was very young. I had always done applique on my kiddos pants and dresses... what I saw on ebay intrigued me and I wanted to give it a try.

10.  Do you remember the first item you designed that sold?
I remember that I was doing some Thanksgiving overalls that sold for something like $32 and I was floored! Sounds crazy now, they were so simple and the pictures were horrible...

Just a few months later, this was what I was offering, selling for around $89...

Then I branched into character sets... and it took off from there with more and more details and more elaborate sets...

11.  Where does your inspiration for design come from?
Definately my grandkids, they are always telling me I am the "best sewer of the world" followed by" can you make me something in your workshop?"

12.   Do you sketch your designs out, use patterns, or just go with it for new designs?
 I rarely sketch out an entire design; however, I have been known to do so. In fact here is the sketch I provided the client on the above Nightmare Set...

13.  What materials are your favorites to work with?
 I love working with knits as well as good quality cottons and denim. For the actual applique work, I like to use ultra or alova suede as it has great color fastness and doesn't fray and comes in a wide variety of colors. I also love to find fabrics that "make sense", by that I mean that if I am doing a wood boat or tree, then I will search to find a woodgrain fabric to use for that applique project.

14.  Do you have a favorite theme?
I love to do Halloween and Christmas, the only problem is that I have a demanding work load outside of sewing during the fall months, so I rarely get to offer those items. My goal has always been to sew those items in the summer and have them ready to list and ship as OOAK's but that hasn't happened yet!

15.   What has been your favorite design to date and why?
I actually love my Epcot set that I am offering right now on ebay...

I plan to do a girls set in a month or so for a customer and willoffer that on ebay as well. I love all the details of the different countries on this set and all the colors! I also love my TinkerBell Feliz that I did last summer. I utilized some 3D effects on it and love the way it turned out...

16.   What has been your most original and creative design?
I don't know if I can say it is original as it is a character... but I do love the color combinations and the overall design of this set (the pants are a design that I came up with... sort of looks like the boys who wear their pants around their hips with their boxers hanging out... but not really)...

17.  Who would be your dream client and why?
Not really sure on this one... I just love working with clients who want something very specific and unique. I love the process of trying to pull out of their head what they are seeing and then thereward of seeing their excitement  when it all comes together.

18.  Where would you like to see your brand go?
Just on the kids to enjoy!

19.  Tell us something exciting about your brand that we may not
I am a perfectionist in my sewing, I think most designers are... but you will never really find any two sets that are exactly alike, because I always embellish or do something a little different on each set. I think it is partly because I get bored, but I also keep thinking about the final product while I am constructing and something always pops into my head and comes out on the design board.

20.  Do you have another job or is this your primary job?
I officiate volleyball at the HS and Collegiate level in the fall. That keeps me really busy during that season, I am also the treasurer on the College Officiating Board and the Assigner (assigning officials to over 1000 assignments in a 3 /12 month period) making sure that every match is covered and every official is kept busy at their individual level of skill.

21.  Tell us about your family. 
My hubby and I will be celebrating our 29th anniversary in May. We raised 5 children (2 from a previous marriage) who are ages 32- 21, two boys and 3 girls. We now have 7 grandchildren, ages 6 to 4 mo with one set of twins. They are soooo much fun to watch grow and experience life!

22.  Share something with us about you that we may not know.
 My hubby bought a boat a year ago last summer and we have taken up the sport of fishing! It's turning out to be a lot of fun and something that we both enjoy, being able to sit on a boat in the middle of the river and wait... My oldest son says "It's a fine line between fishing and sitting on a boat looking like a fool." We would actually like to do a lot more catching than just fishing...but here is a picture of my biggest catch to date...

23.  What do you do for fun?
Play with my grandkids or games with the family... we get together at least weekly for a round of poker, or Cities & Knights, or Killer Bunnies! All in fun and no money lost!

24.  hat has been your most memorable vacation?
That's a toss up... for different reasons! 3 years ago, we took our youngest 2 (still living at home and in college) to NYC and DC, we had a blast and there was so much to see and do.. but not enough time. Then a couple years ago we took them on a road trip up through Glacier Nat. Park and down through the North Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho to spread my hubby's father's ashes. We met up with my hubby's brother and sister for that trip and it wasa very moving experience for me... not quite what I was expecting and it is hard to put into words what I felt. It was a week long trip that ended with my family's (annual) reunion in Boise as well as our annual White Water Rafting Trip down the Payette River!

This one was actually taken in the parking lot at Glacier.

We met up with the rest of our kiddos for the rafting trip... One of our daughters refuses to go!

25.  Where would you love to visit?
I would love to go back to FL (we lived there for 5 yrs when the= kids were little) and visit DisneyWorld. I would also love to go up through Virginia as well as visit DC again and see the "Old" sites of our country! I was amazed when we visited before how Old our Nation really is... living out west for most of my life, it is really not so apparent how much history our Nation holds.

26.  What are your pet peeves?
Sloppy clothing on children! I like them to look neat (when appropriate of course), when they are at play... everything goes!

27.  Any habits you want to share?
They would only be bad.. so I will keep them to myself, lol!

28.  If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it
Organization! and Procrastination! ... for the better

29.  What is your best trait?
Attention to details

30.  What awards have you won?
I have several awards from our local Fair as well as recognition with several ebay groups, but nothing major.