Monthly Archives: March 2016

A New Group of Stitchers

I just returned from Minnesota.  It was my first visit to that state.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, but after spending a few days there, I have decided that the people of Minnesota are warm and inviting.  I had a wonderful time during my visit.

I had the privilege of teaching the Lakes and Prairie SAGA Guild in MN.  What a great bunch of ladies there!  They were an enthusiastic group and they extended such a warm welcome to me. The weather was cool, which was definitely not unusual.  But we had beautiful sunshine every day, which made our meeting room nice and bright.

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We had a wonderful meeting space at an assisted living center.  During the course of the class, a couple of the ladies stopped in to see what we were up to.  🙂

After working hard on day 1 with their sewing and pleating, we spent day 2 doing embroidery.  Notice our open windows – LOL!  We stayed rather warm as the assisted living facility keeps the room temperature quite high.  We resolved that by shedding layers and opening the windows.  Hahaha!!!

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This was a talented group of ladies and they did so well both days.  They were a delight to teach!

I stayed with a lovely couple and had a room with the most beautiful hand-made quilts.  These were family heirlooms.  Of course, I had to examine them.  The quilt hanging on the wall was completely hand stitched together in a most unique (to me) way as well as hand quilted!  What a treasure!!!  They were displayed beautifully.


While I travel, airport waiting time = stitching time.  I normally work on Wee Care gowns, but this time I took along a jacket I was already working on and managed to get it close to completion.  Upon my return home, I finished up the stitching and I’m pleased with the results.  I hope that my MN ladies will see this and be inspired to stitch up some jackets of their own!

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I’m back home, unpacked and have put away the suitcase for a couple of weeks.  Today I may choose some summer fabric and start on a few summer things for the little ones.

Of course, this is Easter week and I’m looking forward to our worship service on Sunday.  I love seeing everyone in their Easer finery.  However, all the finery pales in comparison to the celebration of our Savior, His resurrection and all that this means for us as Christians.  I hope everyone will enjoy a blessed Easter weekend reflecting and celebrating our Savior’s sacrificial love for us!


Finishing up Another UFO…

I am not a fan of having a bunch of UFO’s (Un-Finished Objects), but it’s inevitable to have some of them – at least, that’s the case for me.  So, this outfit was next on my list of things to finish.  Sadly, I think I’ve missed the window of opportunity to have this sweet jacket be worn.  It’s perfect for our southern spring church mornings.  However, I finished the set on Saturday and the temperatures were in the 80’s this past weekend.  Unless we have some unseasonable cool temperatures, this will go into the “Closet Creations” closet until there’s another little girl to wear this.


While I was in Michigan a couple of weeks ago, I finished up all the embroidery on this jacket.  It is quite time-consuming, but well worth the effort and very enjoyable!  The ensemble was started at a Gail Doane seminar that our SAGA Dogwood guild hosted last year.  Gail is a very talented designer and an excellent teacher.  If you enjoy heirloom sewing & smocking and haven’t taken a class from Gail, you definitely need to put that on your bucket list!!!  You’ll be glad that you did.

This past week I’ve been on the “rest and recuperate” mode after a busy time watching our grandchildren.  Who wouldn’t love spending time with these sweeties!!!  We had such fun with them, but we certainly felt our age trying to keep up with all that energy!  LOL!


The R&R involved some no-pressure  sewing and I was able to finish up both the jacket and the dress.


Although Gail offers a lovely smocking design with her pattern, I decided to do something slightly different on my dress and was happy with the results.  I opted for a bullion bow rather than the beautiful silk ribbon bow.  I thought that it would hold up nicely to all the washing that I expect this dress will get.  Isn’t the fabric a beautiful print!!!  I love paisley.


These embroidered jackets are some of my favorites.  You’ll remember the one that I finished late last year – it was different, but equally beautiful.


The time embroidering this new jacket was relaxing and enjoyable.

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I certainly got plenty of practice with bullion stitches on this jacket!  I’m sure that you’ll agree that the finished jacket is one of the cutest ever!!!  So sad that I missed the boat on this one being worn.  🙁

Thankfully, the dress will be worn, but not until next year.  I tried both the jacket and the dress on our granddaughter and the jacket was a perfect fit, but the dress was quite large.  So, I will reserve hemming the dress until next spring and I’ll be ahead of the game next year!  I know she will look adorable in this!

Next week is a new week!  With this warm weather, I’m thinking about doing some spring/summer sewing.  How about you?  Ready for some spring sewing?


Preparing For Classes


I recently received my SAGA News with the announcement of the upcoming fall convention, which got me thinking dreaming about upcoming classes and what I could attend.  (If you’re not a current member of SAGA, you are missing out – SAGA has a lot to offer members, both in local guilds as well as with retreats and conventions.)  I’ve been both a student as well as a teacher, so have a pretty good idea about preparing to take a class and thought I’d share what I’ve learned over the years.  I hope to be a student at some of the sewing events this year.

SAGA includes a list of “basic sewing supplies” for students to take to classes, as does Sewing At The Beach and as did the Martha Pullen School of Art Fashion when they had their schools in Huntsville.  I combined the lists, since the things on the list would be helpful necessary to have at any/all sewing schools.  Of course, understand that these things are for schools that cater to heirloom sewing, which is what I love to do.  A quilting school would have a different set of required supplies.  🙂

Basic Sewing Supplies to Take to Classes:

Scissors (fabric, paper and embroidery), glass head or fine silk pins, fine line and ultra-fine line water soluble-blue marking pens, #2 pencil and sharpener, tape measure, rulers, white sewing thread, assorted hand sewing needles, seam ripper, pen/paper for taking notes, task lighting and magnification with extension cord and power strip.  If a machine is required, bring machine, power cord, foot petal, manual, extra bobbins and assorted pressure feet as well as a variety of machine needles/sizes.

Heirloom class supplies should also include a lace shaping board and corresponding scissors.  For air travel, I prefer this smaller board, but if I’m driving to a class, I definitely would include the larger lace shaping board.


Hand sewing/embroidery class supplies should include 4″, 6″ & 8″ embroidery hoops.  I have a handy carrying case with zip pockets that hold just about anything I’d need for a hand sewing class.  It keeps everything in one place and has been a great organizer for these things.

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Suggested machine needles should include #60, 65, 70, 75 & 80, twin needles 1.6/70, 2.0/80, #100 Jeans needle and wing needle.


Suggested threads are white in 60 wt. Mettler, 50 wt. Coats and Clark, 50 wt. DMC, 80 wt. Madeira Tanne cotona, 70 or 100 wt. YLI Heirloom thread.


Suggested pressure feet are 5 groove pintuck foot, open toed foot, edge stitching foot, lace joining foot, piping foot & 1/4″ foot.

Refer to specific classes for additional supplies needed.

This list is the combined list from all these schools.  I realize that it is a long list, but if for the student that is a smocker and does heirloom sewing many of these supplies will already be in the “stash”.  If the student is new to heirloom sewing and hopes to advance their skills, these will be things that will be needed for future projects, so definitely things that should be in the “stash”.

As a student, I always have all of these things (in multiples) with my traveling supplies to the school as well as everything that the teacher has on the list for the specific classes being taken.  I want to get the most out of class and so I prepare well ahead of time in order to acquire all the needed supplies.  With no heirloom shops in the area, most things have to be ordered online.  Like most students, I want my project to look as much like the teacher’s sample as possible, so using the same supplies that she used makes sense to me.

As a teacher, it is my hope that all the students will have the required supplies for the classes.  Students that come unprepared bring unnecessary challenges to the classroom/teacher.  When compiling the list of supplies required for a class, every supply listed IS required and used.  Sometimes there are supplies that are listed as “optional”.  I can assure that I would ALWAYS opt to have these supplies, however, there are “work arounds” if you opt not to bring that supply.

Once you’ve secured all the necessary supplies, it’s nice to have a plan for organizing these supplies so that they are readily visible and on hand when you need them.  I have a great little holder for my supplies.  What I particularly love about this organizer is that it swivels around for easy access to the tools.

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There’s still a few more things on my “wish” list for class supplies.  One of those things is a rolling tote for my sewing machine.  It sure would make toting a machine to class easier!

I hope that this post is helpful to anyone that plans to take classes at upcoming sewing venues, local SAGA guilds or shops where heirloom classes are being taught.  I also hope that many of the blog readers will have the opportunity to take classes this year.  While it is possible to learn many things online or from books, nothing is quite the same as being able to take a class in person.  In person, you will get little tips/technique demonstrations that aren’t necessarily in the books as well as have the opportunity to have the teacher make suggestions to fine tune your skills/techniques.  Consider one of the many sewing venues available for heirloom sewists this year – you’ll be glad that you did!

Have I missed a necessary supply???  I do bring other supplies that aren’t listed here, but I thought that might be a bit overwhelming to add more things to the list!  LOL!


Edited to add – Don’t forget the bandaides!!!  Am I the only one that needs those?  LOL!