Monthly Archives: July 2015

Home from the SAGA Retreat!

I just returned from another great SAGA (Smocking Arts Guild of America) Retreat in Chicago.  As always, it was several days packed with activities.  The ladies that worked hard to put this event together did a great job and I think that everyone enjoyed the weekend.  There were quite a few new, first time attendees!  That was really exciting!

The food at the hotel was good, but the desserts – yummy!!!

As always, there were lots of table favors from shops and guilds.  It’s such fun to see the creative element with these favors!  If you’ve never attended a SAGA retreat or convention, there’s still time to sign up for the retreat in PA in Sept.  I’d encourage you to consider it.

Not only was I able to enjoy getting reacquainted with women that I’ve met previously, but I had the privilege to meet one of my internet friends, Jenny Jo.  🙂  We’ve known each other for several years online, but this was the first time we met in person.  She’s the smart one that remembered the camera (I only had my cell phone for pictures!), so I just “stole” her picture!  This is us at “market” after a busy day.

We enjoy getting to know each other a bit more over dinner one night and again at breakfast our last morning.  We discovered that we share very similar upbringing – both attending a reformed church, learning the Heidelberg catechism (both of us attended Sat. morning catechism classes as kids), etc.  I can tell you – that never happens!  She was as delightful and thoughtful in person as she is online.  She gifted me with a beautiful smocked pincushion!  I will treasure this.  Not only that, but she also made a book with lovely smocking designs and ideas that go beyond children’s clothing.

I also received a nice gift basket from the SAGA board.  Sadly I forgot to take a picture of the basket – it was pretty, and full of goodies.  Another student gave me some delicious caramel popcorn!  I devoured one of the bags while in Chicago.

I had a wonderful group of students for both classes that I taught.  However, I stayed busy enough that I only remembered to take a quick couple pictures right at break time, so many students are missing from the pictures.

The students all worked hard and I believe that all of them will be able to finish up their projects soon.  🙂   I hope that many of them took away some new tips and techniques that they will be able to use on other projects.

Upon returning home, I am busy watching 2 of the granddaughters while their folks are away (in England!).  They will be with us until Monday, so I am staying on my toes keeping up with them!!!  Yesterday we did some creative “art” work outside.  LOL!  You have to love the way that little minds work – how about that coloring position – down the steps.  Hahaha!!!

I have one thing going for me – I’m getting some great sleep at night!

I hope everyone is enjoying a wonderful summer!!!  Keep on stitching…..

Staying One Step Ahead – maybe…

“Grandchildren are like a crown to the elderly” – Prov. 17:6a.  There is such truth in this proverb!  We have delighted in our grandchildren these last several years – each one is unique and their personalities as well as antics keep us laughing!

This is Eva – our little whirling dervish granddaughter!  She’s 2-1/2.  That little pixie face and big blue eyes make her look like a little angel, but don’t be fooled!  What goes on her head – well, I cannot even begin to imagine!!!  She’s our modern-day version of Dennis the Menace.  LOL!



Eva is never still.  She’s always into something, and the average adult cannot imagine what she could come up with or what she could get into.  That’s just how it is.  She attacks life with gusto and is fearless.  Case in point……

Eva swing


So, what does this all have to do with sewing?  Funny you should ask.  LOL!  Eva’s independent spirit means that she likes to be in charge of herself and her environment – including, what she’s wearing – or NOT wearing, as the case might be.

As early as she could manage to figure out how to “un-do” things, she has been one to undress herself when you would least expect it.  Frequently it is in bed, right before she falls asleep at nap time or bed time.  Recently that has become more of a challenge since it is happening more frequently.  She’s still in pull-ups.  You can see where this is going!  LOL!

One of the more recent episodes of undressing in bed was due to necessity.  She was uncomfortable.  Her pull-up was “soiled”.  So being the independent little thing that she is, she “handled” it.  Later that evening, her mommy discovered the soiled pull-up, many, many, many wipes and the little angel  sound asleep in bed wearing a clean pull-up.  These are the discoveries that nobody wants to find!  Hahaha!!!  I’m grandma, so I can laugh about it.  However, mommy had to do the clean up.  On the plus side – Eva is so busy all day long, that once she is asleep, she out for the night.  The clean up was done, including steam cleaning the carpet, without her even waking!!!

Upon pondering the situation, I decided that perhaps – and that’s a big perhaps – the situation can be avoided by creating the appropriate sort of “union” suit for her to sleep in.  So, that was my mission this past week.  This isn’t heirloom sewing, couture sewing or anything of the sort – it is fast and dirty sewing.  So, I went out and found a bigger girls polo type dress and re-fashioned it into PJ’s that zip up the back.  The hope is that she won’t be able to get out of these.  LOL!

I have to admit – I feel a bit like the 30-something young women that refashion outfits and then put up a free “tutorial”, including pattern, on their blogs.  LOL!  This isn’t the case – I’m just showing you my pitiful attempt.  I do know how to make a real pattern and have it fit – just don’t want to spend the time doing that for these PJ’s.  I suspect that they won’t be needed for long enough to warrant that kind of dedication to creating a pattern.  🙂

Clearly there’s no pattern for zip up the back PJ’s, so I was wingin’ it on these.  I laid out the dress, and then put a size 3t sleeper over it to come up with the pattern.  I decided this would work with little effort.  I should have realized that this would render HUGE armholes, but I wasn’t thinking about that.  LOL!


I was fearless with the scissors and attacked the sewing in the same manner as Eva attacks life.  I quickly had something to work with.  After about an hour, I had the zipper in, armholes and neckline finished (quick and dirty – just a zig zag) and was ready for a “fitting”.  It was obvious that the armholes and probably the neckline would need adjusting.


The orange zipper is a fashion statement – the whole concept is a little wild, so why not have a wild colored zip in the outfit.


Definitely NOT couture methods.  Hahaha!!!  This is not my usual type of sewing – but it worked for this.


I think the armholes would fit me at this point!  Side seams of the dress were left in tact and leg openings are a rounded out portion at the bottom.  I’ve seen this in little boy rompers, so I was going with it, though NO snaps – she knows how to undo those as well.




Because I had to stop over at our other daughter’s house, I tried the outfit on Livvy, who is only 3 months older and just a bit taller than Eva.  Krissy assured me that our little Houdini could escape through the large armholes!  So, I went home and dusted the neck and arms and this is the finished product.  Tinkerbelle was added in hopes to make this more appealing to Eva.


I reused the buttons from the dress to decorate the box pleat in the front.  It’s functional, not proper technique.  🙂


I addressed the armhole situation by putting in a large inverted box pleat and then stitching it down, twice – inside and outside.  I can only hope that this is enough.


The back is pretty plain, but that’s ok.



Now, the true test of this creation is if it will accomplish the purpose that it was designed for – to keep the girl (including pull-ups) on.  I’m not entirely convinced it will work, only because her little mind can come up with things that I cannot even imagine.  In my rational adult mind, there’s no way out.  However, she could still surprise me!  She’s pretty determined and very creative in her endeavours!  If that’s the case, I’ll have to come up with something else.  LOL!

Love this little sweetheart!  I only hope that I can keep up with her when we keep both girls next week!!!  I’m sure that mommy is ready for a vacation!

Eva swing2

Now, on to some sewing that is more my style…….

Retreat soon!!!

I’ve been busy sewing the last couple weeks, with a wonderful workshop with Gail Doane squeezed in the mix.  That was a nice break from the less exciting sewing.  I did manage to get my dress sewn together as well as did a bit of embroidery on the jacket, but that was set aside to finish up other things.

I wish I had something to show for all the time in the sewing room, but alas, most of it is pretty boring stuff – samples of techniques that have been stitched for class.  In the end, what I have is several different garments, at totally different stages of construction!   Nobody wants to see those, except for students in the classes.  LOL!

I have done quite a bit of embroidery lately and discovered a stitching dilemma when I’m out on our porch stitching, or in the leather recliner stitching.  In my other (upholstered) armchairs, I stick the pins and needles into the arms of the chair.  However, that doesn’t work with leather or wicker – at least, not well!  So a sewing caddy  seemed to be the solution to that.  I had made one of those in my first quilting class in the early 80’s.  Of course, I no longer have it.  So I decided that if I did some of my fun embroidery on one, it would make a wonderful SAGA stitching class.

I tend to enjoy the fun and funky styles as opposed to the more traditional, so I stitched up some fun flowers and used some interesting stitches.  It looks so pretty on my chair!  Though, hubby managed to sit in “my” chair and stick himself this morning.  Whoops!


I’m really pleased with the results.  It was a challenge to figure out how to photograph this appropriately since I cannot carry an arm chair up a flight of stairs for photo purposes.  So, pardon the chair-less photo of an arm chair caddy.  I did manage to rig up a sort of display.


The inside front pocket of the caddy has other pockets inside of it to hold my embroidery scissors, ruler, marking pen and also has some loops for holding the embroidery threads.  So far, it is working just as I had hoped.  This one is my class sample.  The first attempt a couple weeks ago is equally as pretty, but my fabric selection didn’t work out quite as I had expected, so it was back to the heavier pique which handles surface embroidery so well.  Sometimes you have to try different things to affirm that you just need to stick with what works!

This was such an enjoyable project to work on and it’s great to have something that is useful as well.  It’s a win!  Now I need to figure out how else I can stitch some fun flowers on……..   I’m open for ideas.  LOL!

So, that’s about it for “show and tell”.  My bags are packed and I’m ready to go ……  the SAGA retreat in Chicago is next week and I’m looking forward to it!