2016 Year in Review: BSD by the Numbers


So last year I shared a few facts about how much BSD has grown over the past year. I love to set goals in order to dream big and challenge myself. And what better way to share in the joy in reaching those goals than to share them with others.

2016 wrapped up what will soon to be our second year in business.  It’s hard for me to believe that BSD has been around for that long. I still feel like we are somewhat of a new business even though we have grown a ton this year.

Here’s a few amazing things that happened to us this year…

Our little company grew from a business of 1 to a business of 3! That’s right! My right hand woman, big time encourager and official COO, Mgeni Jumbe joined BSD back in March this year just when I was starting to get so overwhelmed that I had thoughts of quitting (ok, maybe not quitting, but at least taking some time off. Then in November, we hired testing coordinator (and the only person I have found that may actually be more picky than me about pattern details) Danielle Oliver. It’s so much fun having a team of talented ladies to keep me motivated. Our group is super positive, and because of that I think we get a lot more done and are super successful. Plus all that positivity just makes you feel good!

We had more than 530,000 page views in 2016 at the time of this writing.  Holy smokes, guys! That’s more than half a MILLION! Numbers like that seem incredible for any site, let alone mine! A lot of that traffic came from our post 15 Bad Sewing Habits You Need to Quit Doing that went viral back in January and February.

We had over 3100 orders in 2016!  This is over a 200% increase from last year! I think us simply getting our name out more made a huge difference in the the amount of new customers we got.

We have over 4500 members in our Facebook Group! This is almost a 240% increase over last year!  Even more exciting, we now have over 3,300 followers on Instagram! This is over a 1300% increase over last year! Yes, that’s not a typo.

We released 14 patterns in 2016 including 3 ladies patterns! That brings our total pattern library up to 25. And being that we currently have 5 patterns in various stages of production, its looking like 2017 is going to be another busy year!

Goals for 2017

I am a huge goal maker. It’s the main reason why I think we accomplish so much. So here is what I am hoping to accomplish in 2017.

Release more patterns: Now that BSD is now a team instead of just one person, I am hoping to release 2 patterns a month for a total of 24 patterns for the year.  That will basically double our current pattern library. We are currently on track to meet that goal for January and February already.

Blog More: This was also a goal for 2016, and while it started out great, I lost momentum halfway through the year. That being said, we still blogged more in 2016 than we did in 2015.  I’d like to continue that trend into next year.

Give Back: I want to release two free patterns next year. This is something we are already working on and I cannot wait for when we can share the official details with everyone.

Take Care of Myself: This is both a personal and a business goal. I did a crappy job of this in 2016. I was working too much and too hard and ended up with mono which took me over half the year to get over. 2017, I want to take care of myself and rest when I know I need it. I know my kids will appreciate that too.

What are some of your 2016 accomplishments and 2017 goals?  Let me know in the comments!

Melissa Prendergast
Bella Sunshine Designs

5 Sewing Articles Every Seamstress Should Read in 2017

I am one of those people that likes to soak up knowledge like a sponge. And in this day and age, you can find out the answer to almost anything on the internet.  That’s especially exciting when it comes to fun things like sewing. We wrote several articles this year that you are going to want to put on your reading list for 2017. I thought the best way to showcase our most popular sewing related posts was to put them all in one spot so you could easily pin them and refer back to it later.

5 Sewing Articles Every Seamstress Should Read in 2017 - Must Pin for Later!

5 Sewing Articles Every Seamstress Should Read in 2017

Let’s do a countdown to our top 5 articles on the BSD blog:

5 Sewing Articles Every Seamstress Should Read in 2017 - Must Pin for Later!

5. Is That REALLY My Size?

With the release of our first woven pattern for women, the Paradise Island Shift Dress, I wrote a detailed article discussing size as it relates to your bust. I see so many women sewing the wrong size when what they really should be doing is making a bust adjustment (or do yourself a favor and just buy a BSD Ladies Pattern where the bust adjustments are included.)

5 Sewing Articles Every Seamstress Should Read in 2017 - Must Pin for Later!

4. 10 Things Only A Seamstress Can Understand

Seamstresses can be a rare breed. We do and say things that others would give us the side eye for. How many of these seamstress only things can you relate to?

5 Sewing Articles Every Seamstress Should Read in 2017 - Must Pin for Later!

3. Tip & Tricks 4 Printing PDF Sewing Patters: Printing Your Pattern

Turns out a lot of people are confused at how you can buy a PDF document and end up with life sized (or person sized) pattern pieces.  This article is part of a series that discusses the ins and outs of PDF Sewing patterns.

5 Sewing Articles Every Seamstress Should Read in 2017 - Must Pin for Later!

2. 10 Mistakes Beginner Sewist Make

You don’t know what you don’t know right? That’s why we wrote an article just for those that are new to the sewing world. Check this article to see if you are doing any of these newbie sewing mistakes.

5 Sewing Articles Every Seamstress Should Read in 2017 - Must Pin for Later!

1. 15 Bad Sewing Habits

Even experienced seamstresses have picked up a bad habit or two over the years.  How many are you guilty of?

What other articles are you looking forward to reading? Anything you wish you knew but haven’t been able to find the info on?  Let me know in the comments and you might just spark our next blog post!

New Release: Maggie Top, Tunic & Dress for Ladies

Hello sunshine! Melissa here.  And have I got a treat for you today! I know here at BSD we mainly focus on children’s designs, but this year we’ve been slowly adding to our women’s patterns. I love to sew for myself but I barely ever get any time to do so. What I really need is a nice basic that I can sew up during my little one’s nap time. Enter the Maggie Top, Tunic & Dress for Ladies.

The Maggie goes together fast, y’all! Which is always a plus when you sew as slowly as I do! The Maggie is super flattery and oh so comfy. It’s perfect for that knit fabric you’ve been hoarding. Take a look at the holiday version I made.

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Cute, right? My husband loved it on me, too.  That always makes me feel good.  In fact, I loved it so much that I actually wore it for our family Christmas cards.  Take a look:


OK, so maybe this photo doesn’t show off the pattern too well, but how cute are my girls? I’d love to say I made their outfits, but I totally cheated and got them at Old Navy. There never seems to be enough time to go around this time of year.

My testers did an amazing job with the Maggie. Check out some of my favorite photos below.  I love how flattering it looks on all shapes and sizes.  It really shows off your curves!

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Nice, right?  I think my favorite part of this pattern is that there is an optional bust adjustment included. I always have to make a bust adjustment for every single thing that I sew, so it’s nice to not have to do that for once!

Hurry up and get a copy of Maggie for Ladies before the sale ends on December 23rd! And if you’d like to match your little girl, you have a bundle where you can get both the Maggie for Girls and the Maggie for Ladies for a discount!  Be sure and check it out.  Also, if you haven’t noticed, we lowered the prices on ALL of our patterns across the board, so if you’ve been secretly wanting a pattern (or two), now is the perfect time to pick up a copy.

Happy Sewing!
Melissa Prendergast



Adaline Holiday Dress Sew Along: Day 8 – Winners Announced!

I had a lot of fun sewing with you this past week! I hope you will join us again during the next sew along. Hang around the facebook group and we should reveal more details next month.

The Adaline Dress and Tunic is still on sale for for $5USD for another 4 hours (until midnight EST) with the code “sewadaline”.

Adaline Read more

Adaline Holiday Dress Sew Along: Day 6 – Final Details, Buttons, and Button Holes

Day 6: Final Details, Buttons, and Button Holes

Welcome to Day 6 of the Adaline Holiday Dress Sew Along! Here is where you can get caught up on Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, and Day 5. The pattern is still on sale for $5USD until midnight EST on Monday, December 12th with the code “sewadaline”.

Today we will be putting the finishing touches on our dresses! Round up those buttons and your thread colours for top stitching. You will also need a hand sewing needle to slip stitch the lining closed. We will be following steps 29-33 in the pattern tutorial today.

Final Details

Remove visible basting stitches from gathering the skirt.

Top stitch everything as directed in steps 29 & 30.

ezywatermark1612100939361236 Read more

Adaline Holiday Dress Sew Along: Day 5 – Create Skirt Placket, Form Pockets, Hem, and Attach Skirt

Day 5:  Create Skirt Placket, Form Pockets, Hem, and Attach Skirt

Welcome to Day 5 of the Adaline Holiday Dress Sew Along! Today our work will really become dresses. If you need to go back and catch up, here is where you can find Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, and Day 4.

Today we will be creating the skirt placket, forming the long awaited pockets, hemming the skirt, and attaching the skirt to the bodice. We will be following steps 17-28 in the pattern tutorial.

Create the Skirt Placket

Create the skirt placket following steps 17-23 of the pattern tutorial. If you find this process seems complicated, you can find detailed instructions here in Mgeni’s Sweet Lilly Sew along.

Form Pockets and Create Skirt

First, to find your pocket piece add-on, click on “My Account” in the upper right quadrant of your screen.

pocket-add-on-1 Read more

Adaline Holiday Dress Sew Along: Day 4 – Attach the Lining and Complete the Sleeves

Day 4: Attach the Lining and Complete the Sleeves

How are all the dresses coming along? If you’re just tuning into the sew along now, here is where you can find Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3.

Today we will be attaching the lining to the main bodice and completing the sleeves that we began yesterday. We will be following steps 8-16 in the pattern tutorial.

Attach the Lining

Attach the lining following steps 8-10.

Be sure to clip the neck curve and trim the corners before turning right side out and pressing.

Neckline Read more

Adaline Holiday Dress Sew Along: Day 3 – Create Bodice and Attach Sleeves

Day 3: Create Bodice and Attach Sleeves

Welcome to Day 3 of the Adaline Holiday Dress Sew Along! Are you ready to begin sewing? If you need to go back, here is where you can find Day 1 and Day 2.

Today we will be creating the main bodice of the dress and attaching the sleeves. This is steps 2-7 in the pattern tutorial.

Create Bodice

This is steps 2-5 of the pattern tutorial. Be sure to check your seam allowance before beginning to sew. The seam allowance can be found at the top of the instructions on page 13 of the pattern tutorial.

TIP: If you want to top stitch in a colour that matches your fabric, you can use a different colour in your bobbin for the inside of the dress. This is particularly helpful when you can’t find an empty bobbin or are nearly out of your chosen colour and want to make it last.

Bodice Read more

Adaline Holiday Dress Sew Along: Day 2 – Cut Material and Interface

Day 2 – Cut Material and Interface

Welcome to Day 2 of the Adaline Holiday Dress Sew Along! If you missed yesterday’s post, you can find it here.

Today we will be cutting all of our pattern pieces out of our fabrics and interfacing the bodice.

Make sure that you iron your material prior to cutting out your pieces. Ironing ensures the accuracy of your cuts. More accurate cuts means less room for error when sewing.

Pockets: Cut 4 from either main or lining. 2 each of mirror images. I am cutting mine from the main fabric so that they blend into the skirt.

Cut Pockets Read more

Adaline Holiday Dress Sew Along: Day 1 – Gather Materials, Print, Assemble, and Cut Pattern


Welcome to the Adaline Holiday Dress Sew Along! The winter holidays are fast approaching and we love to dress our girls in handmade for these special events. We took a vote in the Bella Sunshine Designs Facebook group and you wanted to sew the Adaline Dress and Tunic for the holidays this year. Adaline is rated as a Confident Beginner pattern in the shop and includes sizes from 6M to Girls 12. Both long and short sleeves are included in the pattern, so this dress should work for your holidays no matter what climate you’re in.

As a special sew along treat, you have all been given a pocket pattern piece add on! Just check the download section of your account and it should be there. If you would like to join in the fun and sew along with us, here is how to participate:

adaline-sal-graphic Read more