Monthly Archives: September 2014

Some Machine embroidery

Since I’ve returned from convention I haven’t started any big projects.  Rather, I’ve been decorating some purchased garments for the grandkids while we all await the arrival of the newest little one – due any day/minute now.  I thought I’d share the results.

I should have photographed this first outfit on a light colored background. Oops!  This is a cute Janie and Jack jon-jon that was given for the new, soon to be here, little guy.  It needed a monogram.  Sadly, I cannot identify where this monogram came from as I didn’t include that information in my embroidery files.  Hopefully I’ll be doing better at that in the future.

This cute bubble was purchased – maybe Zulilly? – for next summer.  The plain bodice begged for something, so I embroidered it with the Sugar Spice font from Embroitique, which happens to be on sale right now!

The next embroidery victim is this dress from Old Navy.  It’s a cute dotted Swiss fabric, but rather plain.  The tights were what drove this purchase, so I wanted the embroidery to be something cowboy-ish.  I chose the Cowboy Appliqué Alpha from Planet Appliqué and added Olivia’s name with the Jackson Font from Embroitique.  I just happened to have an already stitched out star as well as a star button in my “stash” that seemed destined for this dress as well.  I know that Olivia has boots in several colors that will be adorable with this!

The next are sister outfits and I monogrammed them with the Iggy font from Apex Embroidery.  I loved how padded this stitch was.  This was a free font offered on Facebook.  I don’t believe that it is on their website.  If you’re not a FB fan of theirs, you’ll want to be for future free designs.

This last dress embroidery just didn’t want to happen.  When I hooped the dress, it apparently was getting caught somewhere and the result was that the different stitchings didn’t align properly.  I ended up un-sewing this, thankfully before all the satin stitching started.  After picking out all the (3x) placement, tack down, etc. stitches, I started over and removed my flat table on the big embroidery machine.  That was the solution to the problem.  It stitches out flawlessly.  The cute design is Reindeer with Bow from Digistitch.  It is such a cute design and perfect for winter or Christmas.  I chose a pink bow so that it didn’t look too Christmas-y and could be worn all winter.

So, the little ones each have something new and embroidered just for them.  Now to decide on what to stitch next.  Hmmm……..


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SAGA Convention Recap and Interesting Finds….

I have returned from the SAGA convention and had the most wonderful time! I was thrilled to be able to meet so many of the amazing SAGA teachers and see their beautiful handiwork in person – pictures just do not do justice to the beauty and detail of the projects.  Of course, I wasn’t able to meet every teacher, but hope to in the future.

The convention started out with a lecture by Kenneth King.  He is unbelievably talented, extremely knowledgable and very entertaining.  He walked us through the design process of creating a unique, couture garment and I think we were all in awe.  What an amazing couture designer!  If you ever get a chance to take a class from him, I know you wouldn’t be disappointed!

All the participants at the convention were so enthusiastic and I do believe that everyone had a wonderful time.  There were almost 600 Wee Care items donated, which was pretty fantastic!  I know that Wanda was thrilled.  She has done a great job organizing the Wee Care collections for many years.

I had the opportunity to meet so many people at the teacher showcase evening.  It was very well attended.  That evening I met Emily and Ashley of FrancesSuzanne blog.  What a delight they were!  They were attending the Leisl Gibson classes.  I hope that we will continue to see younger women excited not only about sewing, but also about smocking and heirloom sewing.  We need these young women to continue to carry on the love of sewing, smocking and all forms of handwork that we all love and appreciate.  I was able to visit with them a bit more at the banquet as they got the last seats available and were seated at our teachers table.  I thoroughly enjoyed visiting with them.

Market night was so much fun.  With no local stores that have heirloom supplies, it was a wonderful opportunity to not only support the teachers, but also to purchase supplies.  My favorite “find” of the evening was a new piping ruler!  Excuse the camera flash shadow – clearly I am not a photographer!

I have pictured the new ruler with my older ruler.  I know that we heirloom enthusiasts were so excited when the Darr Piping Ruler became available. It featured grooves to guide piping evenly while rotary cutting the seam allowance and included 4 different seam allowances.  Sadly, I was not as thrilled with this ruler as I’d hoped and did not use it much.  The grooves were larger than the tiny piping that we use for heirloom sewing and because of that, the covered cording would shift a bit during use resulting in an inaccurate seam allowance.  The shorter length was somewhat of a nuisance as well.

Imagine how thrilled I was to learn that Lyn Weeks came up with a new ruler that addresses these problems.  Not only is the ruler longer, which is a big plus, but the grooves underneath are the exact size for the tiny piping that is used on heirloom/smocked garments.  There are 2 grooves – one at 1/4″ and the other at 3/8″.  Actually, Lyn is so precise that the grooves are one millimeter less than the desired (1/4″ or 3/8″) seam allowance so that when you rotary cut at the edge of the ruler, it is exactly the correct measurement!!!  This is going to be a well used tool in my sewing room!!!  I was so excited about this new tool that I had to stand at Lyn’s booth and promote it to every passerby that I knew.  LOL!  Of course, that allowed me a bit of time to get to know Lyn as well – another enjoyable teacher that I hope to connect with again!

As long as we’re talking tools, I’ll share another one that Lyn was selling.  I already have this tool, but have not seen it readily available in heirloom shops.  This handy tool is a stainless steel awl (really, a book binders awl).

I have pictured the Clover plastic Hera marker with the stainless awl – I have used the pointed end of the Hera marker as an awl, as well as used a chop stick.  Both of these will work, but notice the difference in the pointed end of the stainless steel awl.  I first saw this stainless awl at a Debbie Glenn class and had to have one.  That pointed end is so sharp and can get right between the feet of the sewing machine and right up the the needle.  It is a wonderful tool to have if you do a lot of heirloom sewing by machine.  (would serve as a good self defense tool as well!  LOL!)

Another of my purchases was Lyn’s newest book – Tantalizing Tucks.  It joins my other “go to” books.  If I could only have 4 books in my sewing library, these 4 would be the books of choice.  I highly recommend all of them.  The techniques and information in each one of them is invaluable to any seamstress, but particularly to anyone that loves heirloom sewing.

My recap of the SAGA convention is that it was wonderful and I’m only sorry that I haven’t attended one sooner.  I certainly will be attending more of these in the coming years – it was an experience that has left me excited about sewing, smocking and pursuing even more excellence in the process.  The talent of teachers and students alike was very inspirational.

Now, off to get the rest of my housework finished so that I can get on to some more sewing…..


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A Little Princess Top

I haven’t had much time for sewing this last week.  I’ve been busy with last minute preparations for the SAGA convention.  However, I did have the opportunity to stitch out an adorable Snow Princess on one of my Annalise tops.  I am thrilled with it and the little princess that will wear it immediately recognized it.

I had mentioned to Janet Gilbert that I was in the process of sewing my top up in the short sleeved version and would smock it after it was finished.  She indicated that her princess design would fit perfectly in the smocking area.  This sweet princess design is a new smocking design from Janet Gilbert  and should be available on her website later this week.  Of course, I was thrilled to be able to stitch the design in advance of publication.  Janet has several new designs scheduled to release this week.  I’m sure that each one is equally cute!  Thank you Janet!

Fortunately I had some sparkly rick rack in my stash in both pink as well as white.  I couldn’t decide on which one to use, so I used them both!  Because the points were the same distance apart and only the height of the peaks were different, I was able to use them together and the end result was not only interesting, but I think that it goes well with the snow theme.

This went along so well with the snowflakes in the smocking – which I added one strand of silver metallic thread for sparkle effect.

The Annalise top is one of my newest SAGA approved classes.  The top for the class is done in vibrant colors and has a cap sleeve.

Of course, the original pattern was called Temily and was in Australian Smocking and Embroidery magazine #80 several years ago.  The original pattern had a 3/4 length sleeve which is perfect for our mild winters in the south.  If you plan to be at the SAGA convention, I will have the samples with all 3 sleeve variations with me.

I have smocked this top with the different sleeve options so many times and in so many sizes now that I have lost count.  Each one seems to be my new favorite!  It is quick to smock, easy to wear and a little more trendy.  Both kids and moms seem to love it.  I am thrilled to be able to offer the wider range of sizes in the pattern teaching kits.

I’ll share some of the cute versions that I’ve created over the past several years.  I cannot chose a favorite – they are all favorites!

OK – I have to stop!  As you can see, this is really one of my favorite tops and with the sleeve variations can be worn all year long.  Different trims, smocking designs and themes allow this top to have unlimited creativity but still be a quick project.  I hope that this will encourage some young moms to learn this fine art of smocking!

On another note – I realized this week that I had made a significant mistake in my post with the beautiful vintage garments.  I had stated that one of the gowns was machine made.  Upon further investigation this week (under magnification) I realized that the perfect stitches in the gown were hand made.  Unbelievable that such precision could be achieved by hand.  I have corrected the post and am now even more amazed at the beautiful stitching of our sewing sisters of the past.

Until I return next week, happy stitching!!!


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Sewing for Boys…..

If it weren’t for my favorite “boy” (aka: husband), you wouldn’t be seeing this post at all.  He has patiently and faithfully “fixed” all of my computer blunders over the years – and the blogging blunders have added yet another computer challenge for him to participate in.  I have a black thumb when it comes to growing things, and it is apparent that I have whatever the equivalent to a black thumb is in the computer/technology department as well.  I’m so thankful for his willingness to keep on “fixing” for me!

Very soon, we will be welcoming a new little boy in our lives.  Our second daughter and her husband are expecting the arrival of their second child early next month – a boy!!!  This will be our first grandson and we are very excited about adding a boy to the mix.  I’m sure that the 3 little girls (a sister and 2 cousins of his) will be big fans of his as well.  So, in anticipation of his arrival, I’ve made a few things for him that I hope will fit – even if for just a few weeks.  Unlike dresses, the boy outfits are less forgiving on fit – they have to fit through the crotch.

I have spent time the last several months looking for cute boy sweaters.  You know that I have a thing about sweaters and matching outfits.  I found a sweet sweater with a blue bear appliqué on it, so that was the inspiration for my first outfit for him.

I am hopeful that this will fit for more than a minute, though it is a NB size.  The blue pique was a perfect match and adding the smocked blue bears (Bears and Bows by Terry Collins) pulled it all together.

Upon finishing that outfit and realizing just how short the through the crotch measurement was, the next outfit that I made was the romper pattern by Chery Williams.  I made the 3 month size for Christmas and used red microcheck.   This smocking plate is called Pony Tales by Little Memories. This may also not fit for long.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it will fit at Christmas time.  At least it will fit for early Christmas pictures – maybe!

After completing 2 outfits and having concerns about the crotch/stride measurement fitting for long, I decided the next outfit would be a long pants jon-jon so that the buttons could be moved down for additional length when needed.  I redrafted a pattern of mine to give additional width to the pattern as well as made the pants long.  For this one I cheated and used an insert that I had purchased years ago from Belles et Beaux.  The fabric is fine wale corduroy.

We’re hoping for a little red head, so this would be perfect!  LOL!  And, the last bit of sewing that I’ve done for him is to make a pillow for the rocking chair in his room.

Of course, I have many more ideas for him as well as for the girls, but they will have to wait.  The SAGA (Smocking Arts Guild of America) convention is next week and I can’t wait to enjoy that event!  Hope to see some of you there.


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Is it Fall Yet?

Well, it’s not really fall yet as our temperatures are hovering at around 90º.  But, I know it’s coming and wanted to have a few things ready for granddaughter #2 when the cooler weather hit.  So, the last week has been some fun sewing for her.

Of course, my go to pattern for some quick dresses is always the Children’s Corner “Lucy” pattern.  I had found several cute sweaters and wanted to make some jumpers that would match the sweaters.

The first outfit is a pretty pink and brown print corduroy.  It does have some lycra in it, which I don’t care for, but I do like the print and it was a perfect match to the sweater, so I carried on.  Isn’t the hoodie sweater so cute!  Because of the busyness of the print, I opted for a simple patch appliqué design from Lynnie Pinnie.  I think it works!

The next jumper is done in the feather wale corduroy and sports a cute cupcake appliqué from Bunnycup, which looked great with the cupcake sweater!

The last sweater was a bit more of a challenge to me because it wasn’t really a pink, but more of a coral.  Because I planned to shop only in my “stash”, all the fabrics that matched were a bit on the wild side.  A classic a-line didn’t seem appropriate for the wild fabrics, so I went with a European pattern company (Farbenmix) and used the Vida pattern – it is one of my favorites for a fun dress.  I have sized it down a little since the smallest size  would be a little too big yet.  This is a great dress to get creative with and can be done in some conservative prints with little extras on it, or it can go all out wild with lots of ribbons, trims and ruffles – which is, of course, the route that I took!

Because this dress is cotton, she can start wearing it now in our hot fall weather and then continue wearing it later on with a blouse or t-shirt and the sweater when needed.

Now I have to do some serious cleaning in the sewing room.  These Vida dresses have me pulling out the entire fabric, ribbon & rick rack stash and it looks as if a hurricane has blown through!  I need to get that cleaned up before I head out of town tomorrow.  Thankfully, I have also completed a couple of ready to smock tops that I will be able to smock while I’m gone.  So, hopefully my next post will feature some of the smocking that I love to do!

Until then, keep stitching…..


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