Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Shopping For Fabric

If I don't have a particular pattern in mind while shopping for fabric, I make sure that I can envision using it in several different ways.  Blue corduroy and a companion print caught my eye right away.  Each being 60" wide, 1-1/2 yards should be enough for any of the projects I have in mind.  Making a final decision is the hard part!


Monday, July 28, 2014

The Purpose Of Rick Rack

Rick rack is inexpensive and wonderful when used as a trim to add  detail to a garment.  But if you are a woman of a certain age, you might have grown up thinking that it's main purpose was for hiding the crease made by an old hem line.  Fabric is more color fast now and tends not to fade along a hem as it once did, but this particular fabric just didn't want to give up the crease that had been repeatedly ironed in.  Once again, rick rack to the rescue!


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Little Pumpkins For Fall

Inspiration for the "Little Pumpkin" smocking design can be found in the latest issue of Sew Beautiful magazine. I love that pumpkins are suitable all through the Fall, not just one holiday. The lovely orange of the pumpkins also works nicely with many different colors of fabric.

The smocking design can be found in the magazine or on the blog.  The dress is made by pattern #135 and the bubble by #115.


Friday, July 18, 2014

A Little Help From My Friends

With the approaching 15th anniversary of the company in January, you can look forward to a new focus on beginners, new patterns, and a whole new look for Creations by Michie'.  It is sometimes hard to admit that you need help, but of course when we get too busy the first thing to go is the time to be creative, which I have truly missed.  Having struggled with that fact for awhile, when the offer of  help came from two lovely young women who have a passion and understanding of the business, I didn't hesitate.  We had a wonderful time at our first meeting discussing the division of duties, new projects, and our vision for the company.

Of course we had a little too much fun at our meeting.  We are women after all.  :)


Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Pleater Shortage

Pleater- A hand cranked machine for preparing fabric for smocking.

After a bit of investigation we have confirmed the nasty rumour about the lack of pleaters on the market.  Martha Pullen Company, one of the leading manufacturers has stopped production.  My advise would be, if you are interested in purchasing a pleater....do it now.  A Google search for pleaters will direct you to fabric shops that might have a few in stock, or you might try Ebay.  As for brand, I have tried them all over the years with good results. The good news is that a pleater will last for several decades!

*A pleater is not necessary for smocking.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Pleating Without A Pleater

Before pleaters for smocking became popular in the mid 1980's, we pleated the fabric by hand. Since recent changes in the sewing industry have made pleaters harder to find, it is time to look back at this method. Patterns that called for smocking had dots that were transferred to the fabric to form a grid for pleating. You can make your own grid for pleating by using a quilter's ruler and a wash-away marker to mark the fabric. Gingham fabric is great to start with, since it practially has a built in grid.  

First, starch and press the fabric.  The horizontal lines are 3/8" apart and the vertical lines are 1/8" apart.  Using quilting thread and a hand sewing needle, knot the thread at one end and following the horizontal lines, bring the needle and thread up through the vertical lines and back down.

After all the stitching is completed, draw the threads up to about 15 pleats per inch and knot the thread. You now have a piece of fabric ready for smocking. *The fabric is drawn up to about a 3 to 1 ratio, so 9" of fabric draws up to about 3".

If you are new to smocking or need to brush up on an old skill the "Beginning Smocking Book" will take you through step by step and includes several smocking designs.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A Sunsuit For Hot Summer Days

For hot summer days, what could be cooler than a white pique' sunsuit?  The design for the hand embroidered puppy is included in the pattern.



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