Thursday, July 30, 2009

Bonnet Stands

Several ladies have asked me about the bonnet stand you got a glimpse of in the last post. So here they are.

On my Bonnet Stands and dress stands, I wander around the Home Improvement stores and Craft stores looking to see what I can put together to make a display stand. Sort of like Tinker Toys for Smockers! :-)

Here are the stands without any decoration or bonnets. They're Naked!

These stands are made up of
  • Wooden candle stick holder
  • small wooden plaque (base)
  • Wooden Spool of Thread
  • A small dowel (you can't see)
  • Styrofoam ball (your choice of size)
  • strips of white or cream cotton
  • Tulle
  • ribbon
  • Craft glue

I start out by gluing the candle stick holder to the wooden base. I like to use Tacky Glue.

The Base is so the Bonnet stand won't fall over.

Before you glue the candle stick holder, turn it over and see if it it looks more interesting upside down

I then glued the wooden spool to the top of the candle stick.

Changing the subject....... I have enough old wooden spools. I think my next Bonnet Stand I am going to just stack thread spools at top of each other! That would look Cool. What do you think?

You can't see it but I glued a 3" piece of Dowel Rod to the Wooden Spool. I made sure the Dowel rod would fit into the hole of the Spool. Squirted glue into the Wooden Spool and stuck the dowel into the spool.

The dowel rod will help keep the Styrofoam ball on.

If you are going to paint the Bonnet Stand this would be a good time. Painting mine is on my "To Do" List .........going on 6 years! ....... maybe next week.

I have two different size Styrofoam balls for the head of the Bonnet Stands. Well, actually they start out as the same size but I made them different sizes.

FYI ....A new born's baby's head from ear to ear is about 7-8 1/2 inches. One of these measures 12 inches in circumference (about 7 inches ear to ear) and the other measure 13 1/4 (about 8 1/2" ear to ear).

I bought a Styrofoam ball that was close to that size. To make it larger I wrapped them with strips of light colored cotton cloth. I believe this is cream colored Kona Cotton.

I secured the end of the last strip with a dab of glue.

With a chop stick or other small pointy object, I made a small whole on one end of the Styrofoam ball. You don't want the hole to be too big or the Styrofoam ball will flop around on the stand.

I applied some glue to the Dowel rod that is sticking up from the Wooden spool then impaled the Styrofoam ball .

After everything dries I cover the bonnet stand with Tulle, and secured the tulle with a pretty ribbon

Add the bonnets and I am done!

Well, I better show you another Bonnet Stand in my Sewing room. This one displays something that is dear to my Daughter's heart......... Her Ears!

Isn't she cute! If they would only stay little....sigh.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Wedding Hankie Bonnet

I want to show you a Wedding Hankie I made about 4 years ago. It was given to someone who married a member of my family.

The marriage did not work out. I won't go into all that on a public forum it would take to long.

Well, this Wedding Hankie still in the box, still in tissue paper, unused was returned to me. I know it was opened because I was at the Bridal shower.

It was meant as an insult. But I took it as "Great! Now I have a Wedding Hanky to make into a bonnet for a shop sample!" :-)

The fabric is Lawn. The finished measurement is 9" squared with a 3/4 " lace. The shadow embroidery is from Martha Pullen's Grandmother's Hope Chest.

So you want to see how I made Lemonade out of the lemons I was given?

I soaked the WH in a Biz bucket and Dreft to wash away the bad vibes and make it pretty again. After it was dry and pressed I laid it over my newborn bonnet stand.

After I made sure the bonnet was even on both sides, I placed a straight pin at the top just so it wouldn't slide off.

In the back I turned up the back about 3 inches. Again, I placed a straight pin to hold it in place and to mark the center back of the bonnet.

The fold line is now the bottom edge of the bonnet.

Now taking the left hand corner, I brought it over just past the center line, The fabric at the top folds in on itself. The bottom edge of the lace is even with the fabric folded bottom edge.

Place a straight pin to hold in place.

Now I took the right hand corner and did the same thing to the right side. After making sure the bottom edges were all lined up, I removed the straight pin on the left hand side and repositioned it. Now the straight pin is going through all the layers holding every thing in place.

With a needle and thread, I tacked the center meeting point of the back bonnet and the lower left and right hand corners. The stitches are meant to be able to be removed so the bonnet can revert back to a Wedding Hanky if needed.

Another option would be to place a small heirloom button at the center back.

I added silk satin ribbons to the sides and I am finished!
Here is another view.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Smocking Shoppe and Louisville

I just spent the weekend with my family in Louisville, Kentucky.

Of course any trip we plan I have to check out any Heirloom or Smocking shops. While I was in Louisville I spent some time at The Smocking Shoppe.

After getting rid of some money there we went to the Louisville Slugger Factory and Museum. I highly recommend going there! Looking around I do not know who was more excited all the men that were there or the children! :-)

Here is a picture of the giant bat from the parking garage

Here is the ceiling of the Slugger Museum

Here is a picture of Babe Ruth's baseball bat. It was interesting seeing all the notches he added to the bat for each home runs he made. I made the picture clickable so you can get a close up.

I could not take pictures inside the factory where they were making the bats. I am the most uncoordinated, untalented sports person in the world and I found the tour fascinating!

We each received a miniature bat at the end of the tour.

After picking up a personalized Louisville Slugger baseball bat for my daughter, we headed over to the local Minor League Baseball Field. The Louisville Bats. They are a Triple A team .

The Bats were playing the Durham Bulls. I can't help thinking of my two favorite baseball movies... Bull Durham and The Rookie. But I also like A League of their Own and Field of Dreams ( been there also, but that is another story)

Okay, I am a uncoordinated, untalented sports person who loves baseball movies.......... and golf movies. I love Bagger Vance.

This lady was interesting. She was selling very large homemade cookies.

The game went into the 16th inning and it was about 45 degrees. Thank goodness we brought jackets. The Bulls won.

This Matthew McConaugh look-a-like is my hero of the day. This is #21 Jason Childers.

We are sitting about 3 rows up from 1st base and a foul ball came rolling up the 1st base line. He picked up the ball and threw it to my daughter who had been sitting on the edge of her seat the whole game with her baseball glove on. She caught it without the help of her dad.

You notice the baseball is now immortalized in its own case. She doesn't want the red dirt to rub off. :-)

She had the biggest grin on her face the rest of the evening. Well actually the grin is still there!

The whole weekend was great but when ever I watch a baseball game I am very thankful I am not in charge of the laundry or the mending! :-)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Children's Corner on youtube

The next best thing to standing behind Lezette Thomason from Children's Corner and looking over her shoulder has been created!

Lezette has so graciously posted videos of her construction help. These videos are a must see!

Bullion Cherries

This one is for Karen who wanted to see bullion Cherries and anyone else who is curious.:-)

Karen, you did say how big you needed the finished bullion to be so I took a guess.

For those who don't know how to make a bullion over pleats, you first start with a Milliner's needle or a Sharp needle. The reason why is the needle is a straight shaft. The eye of the needle does not bulb out on the end the way an Embroidery needle does. As a result your bullion wraps will slide off the end of the needle.

For the Bullion Cherries I am going to work over 4 pleats. I am working with 2 strands of Red (#321) DMC floss. My fabric is white Kona cotton because that is what I had already pleated.

I recommend you practice on a scrap pleated piece before working on your finished garment.

  • Bring your threaded needle up in the valley between pleats 3 and 4 (counting left to right).

  • Bring the needle through pleat 4 so your thread is to your right. This is point B.

  • Count back 4 pleats and bring your needle through all four pleats. The entry point of your needle is point A. Make sure the needle is the same depth through all four pleats. Your floss is now making a half circle from where it came out of the fabric at pleat 4 to the end of the needle.

  • With the floss on the right hand side, wrap your needle 10 times. It does not matter if you go clockwise or counter clockwise.

  • Place your thumb (I use my left) over the wraps( apply a slight pressure) and slide the needle through. If your needle does not slide through easily your wraps maybe too tight. If you slightly twist your needle this will loosen the wraps a little.

  • With your thumb still on the wraps slightly pull the floss tightening the bullion.

  • Finish the bullion by bringing the needle to the back at point A.

You should have a finished bullion.

To make the base of the Cherry you need to stack three 10 wrap bullions on top of each other.

Now to make the circle around the stacked bullions. First decide where you want the stem of the fruit to be. This will be the starting point of the bullion circle. In the picture above the starting and stopping point is at 10 O'Clock positions as a matter of taste.

  • Bring your needle up in the valley between two pleat.
  • Bring the needle through one pleat to your left. This is point B.
  • Take your threaded needle around as you have done before but this time we are only going through 1 pleat.
  • Wrap your needle 40 times. I prefer to bring my needle almost all the way though the pleat so that most of the needle is to my right.
  • Place your thumb over the wraps and gently slide the needle through your wraps.
  • With your thumb still on the wraps gently tighten the wraps a little.
  • Remove your thumb from the wraps. You should have a bullion loop.
  • Place the bullion loop around the 3 stacked bullions.
  • Place your thumb back over the bullions and gently pull the bullion up around the stacked bullion.
  • With 1 strand of matching thread, couch down the bullion ring.

Note: needle is only parked above for photography reasons. Finish your bullion circle by bring the needle to the back at point A and tie off.

Create the stem of the cherries by add bullion stems or by stacking cable rows. Add lazy daisy leaves and your done.

If you wanted to turn these bullion cherries into apples. Follow the same directions. When you couch down the bullion circle pull the bottom (6 o'clock position) up slightly.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Stop Lights Smocking Plate

Here is another Free smocking Plate. This one is "Stop Lights".

I did this design about 3 years ago. The funny thing is, where I live, we do not have any Stop Lights! We have one flashing red light at a 4 way stop but that is it. We do not have any stop lights in the entire county.

The next county over doesn't have any stop light either.

So when they teach drivers education in the High School here they have to drive about 45 minutes to find a stop light.

The usual rules apply to this free smocking plate. ............... It is for personal use. Do not mass produce. Do Not change anything on the design then call it your own.

This outfit is Children's Corner Jeffery. I added 2 inches to the side for diaper room. Then I added elastic to take up the ease.

The fabric is blue micro check.

This design should be clickable to enlarge. Let me know if it is not.

Enjoy! ~Janet

Friday, July 10, 2009

What do you want to see?

I have been doing most of the talking here for the past 6 weeks. What do you want to see as a tutorial?

- Picture Smocking?
- wedding hanky?
- heirloom sewing?
- Favorite gadgets from my sewing room?
- Pleating?

Please leave me a comment and I will work something up for next week. ~janet

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Are you on the Map?

I wanted to share this 24 hour snap shot map of visitors to my blog.

Can you find yourself on the map? You should be able to enlarge the map by clicking on it.

I just wanted to add, this map makes me very humble and blessed. Thank you!~janet

Monday, July 6, 2009

How I Got Started

Julia had asked how I got started with Sew Beautiful Magazine so I figured I would share the story with everyone.

The timeline of events doesn't necessary mirror the timeline of the photo in the issues.

My first contact with SB was with the "What's in your Closet-Back to School" pictorial back in 2002. I saw the announcement with a short deadline and sent it this photo.

This is a shortened C/C Bessie with pull on pants. My daughter is 2.

About 5 weeks later I get a letter saying the outfit was selected for Issue #89. The letter says I can send them the garment or if convenient my daughter could model it.

You guessed it!

We drive to Huntsville, AL for the photo shoot!

The photo shoot didn't go very well. Huntsville was getting hit by a hurricane, so the weather was bad. My daughter who was now 2 1/2 was scared to death and wouldn't let go of my neck.

We tried about everything and nothing seemed to work. I finally had an idea and sent my husband back out to the car for the camera he had just put away.

I gave my daughter the camera which she loves and told her to take my picture.

So while I was moving around the photo studio my daughter took my picture while Jennifer of "Jennifer and Company " took pictures.

So if you look at SB # 89 that is the reason why she is holding a camera. Now when Kathy B talks about having trouble photographing a 2 year old I offer her my camera.

Several years later SB is doing another "What's in your closet". This time it is for Easter. I sent in this photo ( my daughter is 4). It was also selected. The dress is from AS&E.

This photo shoot went much better. SB# 100.

About the same time I had read about SB doing pictorials of Smocking guilds. So we decided to give it a try. We sent in several photo of our work and were selected for the summer issue SB #101.

Several months before I sent in some snap shots of an original smocking design I had done.

This was in SB #109.

While I was coordinating all the photo shoots and articles with Kathy B from SB she asked be if I would take a consignment job of picture smocking a design they had.

And the rest is history.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Angel wearing the Angel Dress

Jada Isabella arrived on Monday morning! Her grandmother calls her Jada-bell. Mother and baby are doing great.

Here is the link to her newborn picture which was posted on the hospital web this afternoon.

Jada's mother's name is Rebecca and she was born on June 29, 2009

The pattern I used was "Mother of Pearl" from AS&E #29. I made the large which is for up to 6 pounds but it fits Jada who is 8 pounds..

The sleeves were done with lace beading joined to lace edging. I ran white ribbons through the beading so the mom could adjust the sleeves.

Back Smocking

While I am playing chauffeur this week, I usually have something to work on. The most common thing I usually have is a Pleated Insert that needs Back Smocked.

I always Back Smock before I Picture Smock something. Back Smocking is the foundation and support for your work. When I am teaching a class on Back Smocking my favorite explanation is.............

"Back Smocking after you have completed your Picture Smocking Is like Cinderella putting on her underwear after she is already dressed for the Ball~Janet Gilbert"

Another reason to back smock before is, this is what the back of a finished (or almost finished) picture smocked insert looks like. It is very hard to back smock through all those threads. And just back smocking up to the design and not through it, leaves gaps between the pleats on the front.

When I Back Smock I now prefer stitching a Stem Stitch instead of a Cable Row for several reasons
  1. It doesn't leave a distortion on the front.
  2. I don't have to think about what I am doing. Which is great if I am doing this in the car.
Also I very seldom use threads that match my fabric. I have found it reduces eye strain if I use a thread color that is a few shades different from my fabric.

If I am smocking on a white insert I use Ecru or off white thread or navy blue if I am smocking on black. Shown here is Ecru Thread on a white Kona Cotton insert.

If you look to the left hand side of the picture you will see something different I do. I do not tie off my Back smocking until my project is done. The pleating threads are tied off but the Back Smocking threads are not.

The reason for this is, I got tired of unpicking knots! It seemed I was forever making adjustment by a pleat or two or three to fit garment. Whether it is my design or someone Else's I like to tweak things.

Here is the back of an insert I am working on. It is Back Smocked with 2 strands of DMC.

To cut the tediousness back smocking, I divide the Back Smocking up into groups. I usually Back Smock the two ends first, then the middle row. Now I only have 2 sets of two rows left to do. It just seems like less work then 4 rows. :-)
Also by looking at the back of this insert you will see two things......
  1. My tie off knots are never lined up on top of each other. If the knots were lined up it would create a gap in the pleats. Most of the time this is not a problem because the knots are not anywhere close. If it looks close I will tie off my threads early and just restart with new threads.
  2. I also place little safety pins to mark the rows I need to Back Smock. I would prefer not to Back Smock any more rows then I have to.

Have a Great and Safe 4th of July!