Friday, July 30, 2010

Martha Pullen Fashion Show

And here they are.....the Fashion Show pictures! One of the highlights of the week is the Martha Pullen School Fashion Show on Friday night. This was the first year that I was able, with Anna's help, to come up with a little boy to model my garments and what a sweetie he was.

I described in a previous blog how to make this outfit from a man's dress shirt.

Ryland was great on the runway, not about Mommy holding him afterwards.

This outfit will be featured on a blog soon, where I will tell how the smocked inset was constructed.

By the end of the evening Ryland was ready to be carried and needed his pacifier. But, I never saw him whimper. He just looked resigned to the fact that this bunch of ladies wanted him to do some strange things.

The last outfit is by one of my patterns, but the adorable frog applique' is by Olivia Anne Designs. By the last outfit, he finished with us all and ready to go home. Thank you, Emily and Ryland, for giving us a chance to see outfits for little boy's!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Martha Pullen School July 2010

Once again a fun time was had by all at the Martha Pullen School of Art and Fashion in Huntsville, AL. The first picture is of the Beginning Embroidery Class. Notice how neat and clean their work areas are at this point and how intently they are looking at their books? By the end of the week it is one big messing sewing party!

Same class ..... different view. Looking back at this picture makes me realize how well we got to know each other over the next few days. For many in this class it was their first time to attend the school. Now they are old friends!

A picture is worth a thousand words, and so is having plenty of samples to look at.

Day #4 and they are still smiling!

I'm all set up and ready to go for Teacher Selling Night where all my patterns were available to purchase.

My helpers for Teacher Selling Night. They took turns letting me spend the night at their houses. Yes, that is my husband and Anna. Rex and I live about 45 minutes away, so the drive can be a little much after teaching all day and then doing the evening events. Anna worked as my helper the first day then with the "Kid's School" and since she is only 15 minutes away I spent two nights with her and her husband. I REALLY enjoyed spending the night with Anna and Jason and am working on getting my invitation extended for more nights in Feb. I am so tired and cranky by the time I got home that I don't think that Rex will miss me if I stay a few extra nights!

Don't forget about the new "Free Giveaway!"

Monday, July 26, 2010

Another Free Giveaway!

Anna was inspired to make a sign for Teacher Selling Night at Martha Pullen School. She used a blank canvas, craft paints, black rick rack, and buttons. She says that this is her favorite picture because it reminds us that "Creativity IS messy."

She brought the sign back the following week and finished gluing the buttons in place.

Didn't it turn out great? Working on the sign reminded us of all the other crafty things we enjoy besides sewing. So..........for this FREE Giveaway, we would like to know what other crafty/creative things do YOU enjoy?

To enter the drawing for a free copy of a "Creations By Michie'" pattern of your choice, leave a comment on this blog telling us "What other crafty/creative things do you enjoy doing besides sewing?"

The drawing will end at midnight on August 1st and the winner will be announced on August 2nd.

Good luck, and I am looking forward to reading your comments!


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Week Off?

I thought that I would let you know that I will be taking the rest of the week off from creating, sewing, and blogging. It sounds like vacation time, but it is actually one of the most tiring, fun, and inspiring weeks that I have all year. What is it? Martha Pullen School of course! I can't believe it is here once again. I'm looking forward to meeting up with old friends, making new ones, and talking sewing all week long! I will be back next week with plenty of pictures and new ideas to share. The camera is packed and Anna said that I can even spend the night at her house one night. I've hinted at additional nights, but she isn't committing.....

I had to share some pictures that have nothing to do with sewing. We do not usually see sunflowers growing in Alabama, so they are quite a treat. I was getting ready for Bible Study the other morning and my friend called and said, "Good, you haven't left, bring your camera!" I sat through all of Bible Study wondering why I had brought my camera. I thought that maybe she had grown a tomato in the shape of a duck or something else cool like that. Instead, we drove down the road about half a mile from her house and a cotton field that I have driven past for 20 years was full of sunflowers! The beautiful view ALMOST makes up for it hitting 100 degrees this week.

* Several of you have recently requested me to "Be your friend" on Facebook. Let me say that I am extremely flattered, but you must be patient until Anna has time to show me how to do that! :)


Monday, July 19, 2010

A Gift for Baby Girl

Although I do not have grandchildren yet, my kid's friends are have babies all over the place! I am calling this "Grandma practice." Last week Anna took me to see her friend's brand new baby girl and they actually let me hold the baby! This new baby lives next door to where Tim is building a house, so I am looking forward to my path crossing Ella Grace's quite often.

This little dress is the gift that I picked out to send to the new baby. It is made using pattern #130, sweet and simple with tiny tucks and a pink bias band attached to the collar with bridging. Tiny pink buttons and a touch of pink embroidery added the finishing touches to the dress.

I didn't tell the mommy that Ella Grace was one of the smallest babies that I have ever held and tried to look confident in my baby holding skills. The best part was that "new baby" smell lingered on my hands all afternoon!


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Going "Green" with Fabric

"Going Green" is the new catch phrase that we are hearing these days. Recently, I was flipping through the clearance rack of men's name brand shirts thinking ,"What nice fabric" and suddenly a light bulb went off in my head and I thought, "WHAT NICE FABRIC!"

I split the shirt up the side seams and cut the sleeves off to get the most fabric possible out of the shirt. There was just enough fabric to cut each front of the bubble from the front sections of the shirt and the back from the back of the shirt.

I used scraps of white Imperial Broadcloth for the neck and armhole bindings and a little pocket.

Pattern #129, made with a plain front and sleeveless was quick and easy and the classic striped fabric gives it a masculine look.

The pocket is embroidered with a anchor using a Chain Stitch and an Outline Stitch. The anchor design can be found in the "Heirloom Embroidery Book."
Although I felt hip and cool while doing this project, we must remember that there is really "nothing new under the sun." The first time that I did a project of this type was in 1978 after my mother-in-law told me of doing it herself in 1950!

I am looking forward to seeing this sweet bubble modeled next week in the Martha Pullen Fashion Show. Here is a sneak peak of the little guy who will be wearing it. More about Ryland later. He deserves a blog totally devoted to him!


Monday, July 12, 2010

#114 Pattern of the Week!

The featured pattern for the week is #114! This popular pattern which comes in sizes 2-5, has a way of popping up in the magazines over and over when I least expect it. Each of these photos from the magazines were submitted by someone else and were a total surprise to me when they appeared. I love when that happens!

This photo appeared in Sew Beautiful issue #111, 2007. It just goes to prove that gingham and baby chicks never goes out of style.

I love the designer's choice of pale blue fabric for the inset. White can get sooooo boring! This photo can be found in Sew Beautiful issue #120, 2008.

If you are going to put smocking on the boy's, let's make them happy with "Little Monster Trucks" by Cherished Stitches. This cute little guy was featured in Sew Beautiful issue #102, 2005.

Last but not least, a dressier version which appeared this Spring in Sew Beautiful issue #129. And after many request, the pattern is now available in smaller sizes!

A special thanks to everyone who made these sweet outfits and congratulations on being published in the magazine!


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Preparing Your Floss for Smocking

Today I will share with you some tips on preparing your floss for picture smocking. I have tried several different flosses over the years and still return to good ole DMC floss. It is inexpensive, I can still find it at Hobby Lobby and the quality has not changed over the years.

Cut a piece of floss about 18 inches long and look closely at each end of the floss. One end of the floss will tend to be fluffier than the other. You will not want to try to thread fluff through the eye of the needle, so drop the fluffy end and work with the other. Holding the non fluffy end of the thread in one hand, gently pull out 4 strands of floss ONE AT A TIME. Lay the strands out side by side and smooth them out before threading the needle.

But is the best tip of all! Before threading the needle, lay out the strands side by side on the ironing board, lightly spray starch the floss, and gently pull the floss under the hot iron. This step smooths the floss and will give you the feeling that you are smocking with a tiny ribbon. With each stitch you can now see if your thread is starting to twist and you can pay attention to keeping the thread smooth. This will help your stitches cover the fabric and not leave gaps peeking through!

Yes, I still starch and press my floss. It is worth the little extra time to keep my stitches smooth!


Free Embroidery Design!

This diaper shirt and panties are made from patterns #109 and #123. I used Bearimissa Swiss batiste white and seafoam fabric and trim which were both wonderful to work with! I adapated the front opening of the shirt to accomidate the trim and then add trim to the bottom of the panties. With the right fabric and embroidery, a very simple outfit turned out pretty special.

The hardest part of the project was deciding on an embroidery design. I kept the design light and simple by using a Running Stitch for the basket.

Back Stitch, Lazy Daisy, and Granito Knots were used for the flowers and butterfly.

To view a printable version of the embroidery design, click here.

Monday, July 5, 2010

What is Back Smocking?

For the next few blogs I will cover several smocking tips. One term that you need to be familiar with when picture smocking is "back smocking." This is done on the wrong side of the pleated inset, and is nothing more than a cable stitch using two strands of floss to match the fabric. Most smocking designs will tell which rows to back smock, but when in doubt it will always be the pleated rows that will not be held in place with smocking on the right side of the fabric.

When smocking the "Baby Balloons" rows 2, 3, 4, and 5 were back smocked. I like to do my back smocking first. This gets the boring stuff out of the way and holds the pleats in place while doing the actual smocking later. Many people prefer the opposite and either way has the same results.

On my first picture smocking piece 21 years ago, not really understanding what I was doing, I pulled out the pleater threads without back smocking. My pleats "pooffed" out between my little bunnies! I was able to follow the holes made in the fabric by the pleater needles close enough to go back and cable across the rows, but believe me, that is NOT the preferred method. Now that I think about it, that may be why I always back smock first.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Free Balloon Smocking Design!!

By popular request, here is the Baby Balloon Smocking design! Cute for boy or girl this summery design is simple enough for the beginning smockers.

Here's a close up of Smocked Baby Balloon's that I used on both versions of #132.

This very simple picture smocking design only requires 6 pleated rows!

Click here for the free downloadable smocking design!



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