Sunday, May 30, 2010

Why I Do What I Do!

For the love of fabric?

For the love of buttons?

For the love of pretty things?

No! I design and create, so that I can receive those wonderful e-mails that say, "I used your pattern and made this myself!" One of life's rewards is knowing that you have helped someone else find their own creative spirit! Are you teaching someone to sew?

*All pictures were taken at "The Stitchin' Post" in Little Rock, AR.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Bridging or Faggoting Tips

Here is an up close and personal look at Bridging (Faggoting) along with a few tips. I first fell in love with this technique 32 years ago when I recieved a Feltman Brothers outfit as a baby gift for my oldest. (32 years ago......that actually hurt to write!) Anyway, it wasn't until I started working at our local Heirloom Sewing store that I found good instructions and could give it a try! It is a very old technique used to attach lace or a tiny bias band to fabric.

I discovered that the biggest secret is basting the fabric and lace to piece of light weight interfacing. This keeps the two pieces the correct distance apart. Try not to stitch into the interfacing. My thread of choice at the moment is a polyester/cotton blend sewing machine thread. I find that the thread tangles less if I use Bee's Wax on the thread.

This is not a complicated stitch. It just takes a little practice getting the spacing or the stitches correct and remembering to keep the thread under the needles for each stitch. The instructions for the Bridging (Faggoting) are included in many of my patterns and the "Heirloom Embroidery" book.

I would love to hear if you are giving this technique a try!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Quest for the Right Fabric

We are always on a quest for the right fabric for the right project. I decided to try Martha Pullen's Classic Cotton for this bubble made from pattern #129. The fabric is a soft 100% cotton and is a nice weight. Some of us who have packed away garments made of polyester/cotton blends have discovered that they are starting to discolor. Because of that, I always recommend using 100% cotton for your treasured creations.

Because I was not sure if this was the right fabric, I started out one step at a time. I experimented with the tiny tucks to see if they would stitch and press in neatly. Next I tried making the bias tube for the the Bridging (Faggoting) around the collar. Once I decided that the results were what I wanted I continued on with the outfit.

I was thrilled with fabric and finished outfit! After the outfit was completed I decided to add the little belt to give it a more tailored look. This outfit reminds me of one that all three of my boys wore years ago, so you know it is one of my favorites.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Needle Storage

Have you noticed how the reclosable packs that hand sewing needles come in do not stay closed? I have tried taping them closed and putting them in small zip lock bags. The results were that the tape only worked for a short time and I soon had small bags of loose needles. I needed something that would really contain them, could be labeled, and would travel well.

I now store my needles in empty medicine bottles. The bottles can be labeled, the tops stay on, and my needles have a home of their own!

If you have a cool idea for keeping up with your needles I would love to hear it!


Monday, May 17, 2010

A Pair of Helping Hands

She showed up and said, "Do you need some help?" That sounds like a dream....but it REALLY happened! I thought quickly and replied, "Would you like to come one day a week and do bookkeeping, computer layouts, and other non creative stuff?" "Sure" she said. "What are you working on now?" I showed her the project that I was trying to layout on the computer and went back to my sewing. Half an hour later she said, "Look at this and see if it is what you have in mind." My heart began to race, I think I heard angels sing, she had just accomplished what would have taken me an entire day and much muttering at the computer.

And best of all, it is our daughter Anna, who I don't get to see near as much as I would like! I CAN HARDLY WAIT until this coming Thursday for our next "Girl Workday."


Friday, May 14, 2010

Sewing for Summer

Do you ever wonder which pattern the winner of the Free Giveaway picks out? Chel, picked out pattern #123! With summer creeping closer day by day, what a great time to start making a playsuit.

Made from blue fabric with brightly colored sand pails. This playsuit was featured in Sew Beautiful Magazine several years ago. This was the first picture smocking that I had ever tried to design myself! The designing was the easy part.....writing the directions was a whole different story.

This is the link that Sew Beautiful has provided for the FREE smocking plate!

For a girl version, I decided on three cute summery satin stitch ice cream cones. The embroidery design is included in the pattern and is easily stitched using DMC floss. I think they look good enough to eat!

If you prefer a smocking pattern Little Memories "Mice Cream Cones" would be an adorable insert in this playsuit.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

#112 Pattern of the Week

The pattern of the week is pattern #112! I designed this pattern several years ago after struggling to find a boyish Christening Gown. The pleats in the front and back gives the gown a tailored look. The pattern has a choice of three different style collars and may be made with a boy's, girl's, or a long sleeve.

This first version is made from white pima cotton and is trimmed with ecru lace. The Shadow Stitched cross design can be found in the pattern and the "Heirloom Embroidery Book."

This gown is made from Handkerchief Linen. Large shank buttons are stitched to the front pleats and only a touch of lace is used around the collar.

The instructions for the heirloom lace techniques can be found in the pattern.

This Christening Gown is one of my favorites, because it goes together quickly, is simple enough for a beginner, and is still elegant without having to spend a lot of money on fabric and laces. I am looking forward to teaching the construction and embroidery of this gown in a two day class at Martha Pullen's School of Art and Fashion in July!


Sunday, May 9, 2010

And the Winner Is.....

And the winner of our free giveaway is .............

chel said...
My father! He showed me by his wonderful example of reading and thorough study of books techniques. He showed me with persistence I could self-teach or learn anything. I have learned to sew, hand embroider, and smocking. Being able to self-learn has showed me there no boundaries or limitations on my learning or creativity!

Although the drawing was random, this was also one of the more unique entries! I have loved reading every single comment that was left. Thank you for sharing and "Happy Mother's Day!"

Chel, please email me at with your name, address, and number of your FREE pattern.


Friday, May 7, 2010

Embroidered Ducks

While reorganizing I ran across this little print dress made by pattern #106. It has been in my collection for several years, so I am sure that the fabric is no longer available. The blue cotton fabric has little yellow ducks and laundry hanging on the clothes line. How sweet is that?

The collar is made from white Imperial Broadcloth. I used orange gingham for the piping and for the covered buttons.

The embroidered ducks were traced from the fabric and were hand stitched using a Satin Stitch. This dress is fun and playful, exactly like what my daughter wore when she was little!

I hope this inspires you to keep sewing!

* Don't forget about the free give away!


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Thread Storage

In the eternal quest for thread storage, here is what I am using now. I found clear stackable storage boxes at Hancock's Fabrics. Each box holds 15 spools of thread and I am able to have one box per "color family." If you do not have a lot of wall space for the hanging spool rack (which I also like) these work nicely.

I have a small cabinet with several drawers that sits next to the sewing machine. I am able to get 4 of the spool boxes in each drawer and can tell at a glance if I need to go and buy more thread.

* Don't forget about the free give away!


Monday, May 3, 2010

Another Free Giveaway!

In honor of Mother's Day, I am having another free giveaway! This time I would like to know, "Who taught you how to sew?" Was it your Mother, Grandmother, Aunt, Home Ec. teacher, or a friend? Let's recognize the wonderful women in our lives who had the desire and patience to pass on the tradition.

So, here are the rules.

* Post a comment, on this post only. No e-mails, please. And, you may only post once.
* Tell us, who taught or is teaching you to sew.
* Your time to enter will end this Saturday night at midnight.

I will randomly draw a name Sunday morning. You can check Sunday's post to see who the lucky winner is. I will then contact the winner, to find out which pattern (or the embroidery book) you would like. This will also give you time to see which pattern you would like to add to your stash!

Good Luck!


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Embroidery Hoops

I'm going to take time today to answer a few embroidery hoop questions. There are many good hoops on the market and ultimately, you need to use what works best for you! The red plastic hoop pictured above is one that I have used for several years and is one of my favorites. It is a 4" hoop and tightens with a screw. When hooping the fabric, you want it to be smooth, not stretched! I also like the same style hoop in the wooden version. I have several sizes, but seem to use this one the most.

This wooden "hands free" hoop from Wendy Schoen Designs is my all time favorite. It is designed for the flat base to tuck under you leg while you stitch, so that both hands are free. It is fantastic for stitches such as bullions and works great when I am demonstrating for a class. If you are ever stitching and wishing you had an extra hand, this is the hoop for you! It is good quality and the hoop unscrews from the base, so it is easy to pack when I travel. I have wrapped the base part of the hoop in muslin to protect my fabric.

*Embroidery Tip: Always unhoop your embroidery when you lay it down to go do something else! We always think we will get right back to stitching, but many times it may be days before you can pick it up again. Leaving your fabric in the hoop for an extended period of time will sometimes stretch the fabric.



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