Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Nice Surprise!

Even though the weather is still cold, the new issue of Sew Beautiful magazine, gave me hope that spring is just around the corner! As always, it is full of wonderful ideas and sewing tips.

What a nice surprise it was for me, to open the magazine and see Linda Richards original smocking design on my #114 Smocked Romper! I love the pale blue and green smocking that she did on the white romper, and the smocking design is included in the magazine. The #114 Smocked Romper includes sizes 2 - 5, and #134 is the same romper in sizes 3 month - 24 month.

This romper, is the same style that I liked to dress my boys in over 25 years ago, and one that I look forward to using for my future grandchildren.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Other Stuff

Just so you won't think that all I do is sew, part of this afternoon was spent trying to open an e-mail from our middle son who is in Iraq. The e-mail was titled "Flight home." Since his scheduled flight home has changed 3 times in 2 weeks, I was anxious to see when the trip to Camp Shelby will be! For some unknown reason the e-mail would not load, and would not load, and would not load. After trying off and on for an hour, I finally e-mailed him and asked him to resend his message, in hopes that he would still be near a computer and not out on a mission. Later this afternoon, I received the message and it read, "Hey, Mom, I'm thinking about house hunting when I get home......" That was it. Nothing about a flight home. So, for all we know we are still on standby to make the trip to Camp Shelby to get our kid and his stuff sometime in March!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Lace Edging to Fabric

Sewing lace edging to fabric is easy and very pretty!

Lace edging has one scalloped edge and one straight edge.

A contrasting color thread was used for the photos. Use a fine machine thread that matches the lace.

Lightly starch and press the fabric and lace. With right sides together, pin the lace edging to the fabric about 1/8" to 1/4" from the fabric raw edge. Stitch the lace to the fabric using a straight stitch of 2.0.

Whip and roll the lace to the fabric by setting the machine on a zigzag stitch width of 3.0 and length of 1.0. Using an open toed or a rolled hem foot, "zig" into the straight edge of the lace and "zag" off the edge of the fabric. The fabric edge should roll over onto the lace. (Because each machine is different, try different machine feet and experiment with the stitch until you get the desired results.)

Hold the thread tails as you begin to stitch. You will need to take a few stitches before the fabric starts to "roll."
Press the lace away from the fabric, pressing the rolled edge toward the fabric.

This technique takes a little practice to find what stitch adjustment and foot works best for your machine, but once you master it, you will never hesitate to "Whip and Roll!"

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Smocking and Pleating Silk

While teaching smocking recently, I had several questions about pleating and smocking on Silk Dupinioni. Silk pleats and smocks beautifully, but there are several tips that I have learned through trial and error. First, I like to use a #7 Darner Needle for the smocking. DMC floss works fine, but I like the look of Madeira Silk Floss best. Silk has a tendency to ravel as you work with it, so after cutting the garment out, zigzag or serge the edges of all the pieces. When pleating, I always pleat the half rows to prevent the fabric from "bubbling" as it pleats. It is also helpful to have someone else around who can turn the pleater, so that you will have both hands free to guide the fabric through smoothly.

White Silk Dupioni and blue smocking, gives this classic bubble a very elegant look. The tucks on the front yoke and the bow tie were both added.

The smocking is made of basic Cables and Baby Waves and is done in pale blue floss.

When pleating a bishop, I have found that French Seams are normally too dense to go through the pleater smoothly, so I trim and zigzag the seams instead. This gold silk bishop, was featured in Sew Beautiful magazine issue #78.

The smocking design was my original design, and is in the pullout section of the magazine. It was a great way for me to practice small bullion roses!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

#105 Pattern of the Week

Need an idea for a timeless little boy bubble? Pattern #105, can be dressy or casual, depending on your fabric choice. The bubble buttons down the front, and has soft pleats down each side to add a little fullness. Featured in an add for Dancing Needles fabric shop, this bubble, made from Swiss Batiste is perfect for a portrait.

Made from a soft blue twill and a white embroidered collar, this version has a more casual look.

A white bubble with a blue collar, edged with hand Bridging, give this bubble a totally different look. Little blue bullion anchors are hand stitched at the bottom of each pleat.

Not to leave out the girls, this bubble features a pink collar and bullion flowers at the bottom of the pleats.

Just is time Easter, pale green linen and rickrack, in the place of Bridging, is an elegant but practical outfit.

Tiny bullion carrots are stitched at the bottom of each pleat. The bullion carrots are super easy, and can be found in the "Heirloom Embroidery Book."

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Road Trip!

Once again, I am teaching at Beth's Heirloom Sewing this Friday. I visited this wonderful shop back in the fall, and will never be in the Montgomery, Alabama area again, without stopping in!

The shop is located in Wetumpka, Al about 15 miles north of Montgomery. My husband likes to drive me down for the classes, drop me off, and spends the day at the "guy stores" in the area. Last time we went, he ate lunch at a popular BBQ restaurant and kept describing the really cool grill he had found at the sporting goods store. He refers to these day trips as "our vacation." I keep reminding him that I am teaching, so it is a work day for me, but he isn't buying it. He knows that in reality it is "Sewing with the girls day!"

Beth's has everything for your heirloom sewing needs and classes that teach a variety of sewing techniques. I will be teaching a beginning heirloom sewing class on Friday. The class filled up right away, so there are plans for me to go back the following Friday to do the class again!

You can see from the pictures that they have a wonderful selection of patterns, fabrics, laces, and notions for children's' clothing. The shop is open Wed. - Fri. 10:00 - 6:00, and Sat. 9:00 - 1:00.

I had planned to go with a list of things I need to add to my fabric stash, but after looking these pictures I have changed my mind. I'm just going to arrive early and stay late, so that I will have plenty of time to shop!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Blue Gingham Bishop

I gave you a peak of this blue gingham bishop in a previous blog, with the promise of sharing the smocking design. I had not forgotten. The problem is that it takes me almost as long to graph the design as it does to smock the dress!

I am often asked, how long it takes me to smock an outfit. I am a pretty fast smocker, so this pretty little dress was about, "two movies", or this week that would translate to several Olympic events. Between the Olympic games, and the winter weather that most of us are having, maybe we can all get some smocking in!

This is a simple design, and because there are only 6 rows of smocking, it works well on the smaller size dresses. I hope you enjoy it.
Row 1: Cable

Rows 2, 2 1/2, and 3: Baby Waves

Rows 4 1/2 and 5: 3 step Trellis, Cable 5, 3 step Trellis

Row 4 1/2: Flowerettes

The Sleeves were smocked with 3 rows of Baby Waves.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Folded Placket

Patterns #102, #111, #112, #126, along with several others, all have a Folded Placket. This is an easy placket, but because of different weight fabrics and marking the fold lines, it can feel tricky the first time you try it.

With the back right sides together, sew the center back seam from the bottom to the dot, back stitching at the dot. Clip to the dot. Trim the seam to 1/4" and zigzag the raw edge.

With the wrong side up, turn under each placket twice along the fold lines and press. Press the center back seam to the right.

Turn the garment to the right side and place the left back placket over the right. If they do not line up on top of each other, adjust the plackets along the fold lines and repress. I have found that for some garments the fold lines will need a depth of 6/8", but for most 5/8" works best. This is such a small amount that it will not throw off the fit of the garment.
Tuck under the bottom raw edge of the left placket at an angle, and baste it in place.

After the garment is completed, work the button holes, sew on the buttons, and with a hand sewing needle and thread, slip stitch the bottom edge of the placket along the fold line.

In a perfect world, sewing would have exact measurements, but then where would the adventure be?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Slashed Placket

I thought I would give you a visual of the placket that I use on pattern #101. It is simple slashed placket, that basically requires folding and pressing.

Right side up, mark all of the cutting and fold lines with a blue wash-away marker. Next, cut along the solid lines, and fold under 1/8" of the left placket raw edge and stitch.

On the wrong side of the fabric, press the fabric open along the fold lines.

Right side up, lap the right placket over the left placket.

This leaves a pleat all the way down the back of the gown. I like to complete the gown and button holes before I top stitch along the dots at the bottom of the placket

This should answer the question, "Should I have a pleat at the bottom of the placket?" Now, you may bravely go on and make this sweet gown!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

#104 Pattern of the Week

Pattern #104 includes the pattern for a dress or bubble! Create your own overlay with your choice of embroidery, tucks, and lace. The pink dress and white matching bubble were both featured in the July-Aug., 2003, edition of "Creative Needle" magazine.

The boy's bubble, is made from white pima cotton and is trimmed with ecru lace and entredeux.

The overlay uses just enough lace and tucks, to make it dressy, without being over done.

This elegant version is made from Swiss Nelona and a purchased trim edging.

This is a great way to stretch your dollar, when using the more expensive fabrics and laces.

Featured in "Creative Needle" magazine April, 2006, the designer of this dress used cotton prints, simple smocking, and embroidery to give the dress a totally different look.

The ducks are embroidered on white pique', and can be found in the "Heirloom Embroidery Book."

It may be cold and miserable outside now, but it is time to start our Spring sewing!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Martha Pullen School Feb 2010

I am finally back after spending a week teaching at Martha Pullen School of Art and Fashion in Huntsville, Alabama. It is always exhausting, but totally worth it! The Smocking and Construction classes that I taught were filled to capacity with enthusiastic students ready to learn a new skill or brush up on an old one.

Here are a few pictures from the fashion show on Friday night. It is always fun to not only see my garments modeled, but also the lovely creations by the other teachers and students.

The red polka dot dress was made using pattern #131, by my friend Suzanne, owner of "Olivia Ann Designs." The collar is her original design.

The blue and orange floral dress was also made from #131. The sweet little girl modeling both dresses did such a good job. Isn't she cute!

This sleeveless version, features a white pique' bodice, orange gingham piping around the armholes, collars, and the bottom of the bodice.

The flowers are made from Bullion Loops, with French Knot center. The flower stems are a Running Stitch, with Bullion Stitches for the leaves, and Straight Stitches for the grass. All of the embroidery stitches can be found in the "Heirloom Embroidery Book."


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