Dates: January 12-17, 2015
Where: Myrtyle Beach, SC
I hope to see you there!
Dates: January 12-17, 2015
Where: Myrtyle Beach, SC
I hope to see you there!
Posted at 11:24 AM | Permalink
The Refuge of Sewing
I am grateful for the refuge of my sewing room. I gives me great peace to be surrounded by things I love. It gives me things to do when my mind is absent. The repetition of folding fabrics comforted me as I coped with the passing of my sister. The past few days I have been sewing the dresses for Haiti. They are simple, creative and this week, mindless repetition. My brother, Richard passed away last Wednesday in the midst of a snow blizzard. He had been sick for a couple of years and in terrible, terrible pain the past few months. The blessing is he is no longer in pain.
Out of such sadness, here is joy:
The Haiti t-shirt dress tutorial.
There are many (many!) tutorials on how to sew a t-shirt dress. As is my tendency, I read a lot of them, even tried one that was not particularly successful, and came up with my own way of doing things.
I started out with
There are 5 in a package for under $8.00. So roughly $1.60 per dress.
I used fabric from the orphanage here in Stashville. No new cost to me!
Thread, again stashed at a half price sale at JoAnns. I did go through 2 spools of extra fine machine embroidery thread in the 10 dresses.
Obviously, the tanks are too long for the dresses. I placed my 24" Omnigrid ruler at the bottom of the arms and slashed off the lower portion of the tanks with my rotary cutter. The clever person might use the cut off portion for coordinating headbands. I did not. I left 3" below the armholes, some as much as 6". I used both small and medium tank tops, the variety of length on the shirts, and 2 different widths of fabric to get a wide variety of sizes. Honestly, I did not worry about the finished size/length because there will be a variety of sizes & shapes of girls on the receiving end.
To prepare the skirts: cut the fabric across the entire width, sew side seams, hem, gather top edge.
Cut a length of fabric 18" - 26" using the full width. Most of my fabrics were around 45" wide but one was 55" wide. IT DIDN'T MATTER!
I sewed the side seam, leaving the selvedge on. It is a nice finish and quick & easy.
I hemmed each skirt. Some I turned up 2", folded half down and topstitched for a 1" folded hem. Some I went with 3". Are you seeing a pattern here? LACK of uniformity!
This one has a tucked hem.
Stitch 3 passes of gathering threads at the top edge. I used a L5 for ease in gathering. Again, these are NOT fine work.
Using blue heads, I pinned the two sides of the tank and the center front & back to mark quarter points.
I did the same for the flat skirts, sides and middle points.
Pin the shirt to the skirt, right sides together matching the blue pins/quarters.
Pull the gathering threads up to fit the skirt to the bottom of the tank top by quarter sections. I added the white pins to hold the gathers in place.
I use the colored and white pins so I have a quick visual of my quarters. I know I can adjust the gathers pins in the white pin sections.
Again, not terribly precise but very functional. IMPORTANT: do NOT stretch the raw tank top bottom as you are pinning! NOTE: the knit tank is on the bottom to be controlled by the feed dogs. The gathers are on top to be controlled by hand.
Trust me on this one! The feed dogs will take care of the stretchy knit. Again, be very careful to NOT stretch the knit as you sew!
This is a Janome. I could have mirror imaged the stitch to make the peaks go up instead of down.
Now the skirt is sewn to the cut off tank top. However it isn't very sturdy. I want sturdy so the skirt stays on the tank top!
Sew a zig zag stitch in a roll & whip fashion over the raw edge, onto the fabrics. I used a W5.0 & L1.5. Again, try to avoid stretching the top as you sew! Once you have gone around the entire raw edge, sew a second pass for safe measure.
Note that I used the same thread every step of the way, no matter the color. I like that Coats extra fine thread has a tendency to blend into the background color.
These dresses are going to Haiti on a mission trip with a dear, long time friend. He is a family practitioner taking a medical team down. While I understand these 10 little dresses will not make a dent in the need of the girls of an impoverished country, I send them knowing they will make a dent in 10 little lives.
Rather than wring my hands saying I can't do enough, I decided to do a little. And that means a lot.
Blessings to all!
Posted at 05:58 PM | Permalink
Taylor is a quick, easy pattern for a baby bubble in woven fabrics. Taylor, designed for Children's Corner patterns, is fully lined, has a snap crotch, and buttons at each shoulder. I like to make the lining a little fun just in case it needs to be turned inside out for the last hour of the day.
This pattern is fun for boys and girls!
The first one is a size 3 months. I used Alexander Henry baseball fabric and red whip stitch piping. The star fabric lining was just something from the stash.
This one is for my Grandmother's Hope Chest.
A note about using whip stitch piping. Sew at least one pass of short straight stitching close to the whipping.
I knew I would be trimming my seams down to 1/8" after construction so I wanted to make certain the braid of the whip stitch piping wouldn't ravel after being trimmed.
The second one is in Kaufman's Storybook fabric. It is a size 12 month and will fit the newest baby in the family. She is in California so he will be wearing this soon.
Again, whip stitch piping was used for the trim.
I have a new toy: The Snapsetter, size 16. It is a bit fiddly to work but the colors of the snaps are worth the effort.
I think I am going to try snaps instead of buttons on one of the Taylors in the future.
And finally, a size 24month, another for my Grandmother's Hope Chest.
I used Riley Blake's HAPPI collection by Dena.
I made self covered buttons for this one to match just right.
I used the main print for the top of the Taylor. I cut the pattern and added seam allowances to each side to 1. add a skirt and 2. change the bottom half to a different fabric.
I used the stripe from the collection for the piping and the chevron for the skirt.
I had to take a deep breath and use the pattern of the chevron rather than the straight of grain for the skirt. The bottom has a 1/4" hem, folded along the design of the chevron.
I did not pipe the bottom of the bubble. I had to construct this version more like CC Jeffery for the legs since I didn't have a side opening with the skirt adaptation.
Needless to say, the construction revision was worth the effort. I am smitten with this one!
I do hope you will attempt a Taylor or two for the summer. The world is your oyster with all the fun fabrics around.
Posted at 05:58 PM | Permalink
Things were getting out of hand. Frustrating. A deterrent to design. I HAD to do something.
I won't scare bore you with details, but I will give you a little glimpse into the mess.
You know how it gets, you have ribbon in 6 different places. Needles in multiple boxes. Trims no where you can put your hands on the right one... Not to mention fabric.
I am in need of a serious destash. Yes, I am aware of this.
I am sharing these pictures to let you know that you are not alone, Sewing Sisters.
We all love fabrics. Buttons, Trims. Book.s Patterns. We love it all! We have to buy it because these things go out of print.
What is a sewist to do?
Add more storage! Of Course!
First I gutted the sewing room. I put things in every room up stairs. My bathtub. The kids' bathtub. Sonny's room (which he still refuses to call his room since I moved his things in there to claim his bigger room for sewing years ago...) MissEm's room. Yes, I had things every where!
Removing things took me 3 days. I took my time to not over work my muscles and back.
Honestly, I did very little organizing as I moved things out. I did reorganize the patterns, and that was it.
Once the room was empty of sewing things...
We removed the former kitchen counter/desk/sewing surface and repositioned the Expedit units.
I hated to take the counter to the dump but there was not a place to store/use it here. It did live a second life in the sewing room, so I should be satisfied with that.
By now you have heard that IKEA is discontinuing the Expedit line. HOW DARE THEY?! When I heard that I knew I couldn't put off the room redo any longer. Off to the land of Swedish meatballs and boxy furniture we went. The Man never tells me no.
A 5 X 5 unit and two desks came home with us.
Note, they were already sold out of the white desks. grrr
Now my desk is perpendicular to the TV and door in the sewing room instead of my back to the door.
From here, I can look out to see weather and the birds.
I do like this position much better!
I have slowly brought things back into the sewing room Organizing things as I go along. Ribbon. WHY do I have so much ribbon??? I don't even use 1.5" wide gross grain ribbon. I have enough rick rack and piping to reach DC from here, I think. Piping and rick rack are staying. Ribbon will be destashed.
See how much neater things are?
I still have some things to unbox, but only as I get to them and only if I have a place to put them.
The two side units are getting more organized. The desk side has work/design stuff. The sewing side has patterns and pleaters.
My Parson's sewing table ffits nicely at the end of the desks. There is an embroidery machine in that. I might just get it humming while I sew.
Well, at least it is in a safe place for now...
Once of the things I really wanted was ruler storage. I would kick them over every time I went past them. They are now on Command Hooks on the sides of the Expedits.
Note, I even put my scissors on the Command hooks. I am using the ones intended for kitchen utensils. They only hold up to 1/2 pound, but that works for my needs.
For those trying to figure out what pleaters are lurking...
yes, I have have more than one pleater.
Now I have a clean sewing/desk space, I am itching to sew.
Thanks for peeking into the new digs. I hope you are inspired to tidy up your sewing space.
Posted at 05:47 PM | Permalink
Just a few recent sewing project. Sometimes it is fun to sew just to sew, not design. Of course, there is always a little bit of designing in everything we do.
It really is more of a purple background than shows here.
Since Frozen is the big hit for girls, I started hunting for the fabric. My friend Wanda & I scored some a couple weeks ago. And then I found this variation elsewhere. Of course, I had to buy it!
I asked Momma what she wanted me to make. She asked for bags to carry their leos.
I used Riley Blake's chevron twill for the straps.
The pattern was started with this blog post:
I made the Littles (3 year old twins) much smaller and the Bigs (6 & 7) a bit smaller. The twins bags are about 9" X 12" finished.
And then Riley Blake's CHEVRON! for the linings. Each one has a different color so they won't get mixed up even though the outside fabric is the same.
I told Mom, she is going to have to decide which color goes to which little Lady.
But back to the original fabric. I ordered some off brand minky type fabric with heart dimples! SEW cute! And I made each of the girls a dolly blanket. Of course the Littles might cover their dinosaurs instead of dollys, but that is OK.
And finally: Momma calls the Girls her CHICKLETS. Four of them. How wonderful!
So here is their little treat bag for this box:
The fabrics are from Aneela Hoey by Moda. I adore her drawings! The sides are spools of thread!
The white sections are ball head pins. SEW cute!
Now with Snowmagedon bearing down on us, I will prepare a bishop to smock. It is for a new class that I will submit to SAGA this year. You are going to LOVE the color choices!
Posted at 06:55 PM | Permalink
It is that time of year when people are scurrying about getting stitched pretties ready for the Annual Needlwork Exhibition at Woodlawn, Alexandria, VA.
The Exhibition will run March 1 - 31, 2014 except Tuesdays. The House needs one day a week to handle maintenance!
This year, the White House Christmas Tree Ornaments will be a special display. That in itself would be worth the trip to Woodlawn!
I am scheduling demonstrators again this year. If you want to sit & stitch and share your talent with the public, let me know! We are always looking for fresh ideas. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and put WOODLAWN in the title.
The brochure is linked from this page. If you are shipping or mailing your entry to the House, pay close attention to the dates and mailing adresses. And remember to buy your return label and put it in the box so you can get your lovely back quickly once the Show closes.
I hope to see smocking and heirloom sewing rock the Show this year!
Posted at 10:59 AM | Permalink
Inspired by one of the most amazing women in my life,
I have decided to start 2014 with One Little Word:
"When the Lord closes a door, somewhere He opens a window."
The Sound of Music
I closed out 2013 realizing there were doors that had been closed to me,
some by others, some by choice.
I remind myself that there are always glimmers of hope
peeking through cracks in the wall in front of me.
Some of them have been right in front of me all along.
THIS is my year to act on opportunities.
This year I choose to walk right through those PORTALS.
I'm not certain there will be something waiting for me on the other side,
but at least I will try.
Happy 2014, friends and family. Please feel free to show my what I fail to see.
Posted at 12:12 PM | Permalink
You can download a brochure regarding classes in English smocking March 13, 14 and 15, 2014.
As part of the historic display, members of SAGA were asked to stitch samplers representing various types of smocking. I was asked to create a PLAID SMOCKING sampler.
I smocked a variation of my SAGA approved Preppy Plaid class. This piece was smocked using perle cotton, #5.
I love the layering of color in this design!
I hope you get a chance to visit the Lacis Museum next spring and take in the beauty of smocking.
Of course, if you can't make it to California, I am willing to come to you to teach you how to smock! I have a variety of lessons from basic smocking to garment contruction.
I am teaching at Sewing at the Beach in January in Myrtle Beach if you care to join in on the fun!
Merry Christmas Friends!
Posted at 08:30 PM | Permalink
Look at the pretties I get to play with on a regular basis!
I like to offer a choice when able because not every likes the same colors.
It is fun to see the projects develop in class and people ooohhh and aahhh over other color schemes.
And then a sneak peek at a project that is ready to be submitted for Artisan Approval for SAGA. Yes, I have already created the project and have 25 of these little ladies in hand.
I will only offer this class until my JENN dolls are gone. Who will be the lucky group to get to learn French Hand Sewing on a JENN googley eye doll?
Aren't they precious?!
What is not to love when you get to teach others how to make pretties?
Posted at 04:46 PM | Permalink
Kate C said:Just beginning to investigate the possibility of learning to start smocking. Goal an adorable dress for my new grand daughter, just born. I have some beg/intermediate sewing and embroidery skills. Have a fair machine, nothing terribly special with possibilities I haven't really tested. I'm thinking hand smocking might be a good start, but maybe something involving my machine may work also. Where do you suggest I begin. Would like a white summer dress by summer, Thanx, Kate
Posted at 04:25 PM | Permalink