Wednesday, December 7, 2011

First Christmas

Once again I am apologizing for not posting on my blog. I will try and make it up to you by posting a free smocking plate.

I am getting ready to ship this in the morning. I hope it fits. I hope she wears it.

The bishop is a size 12 months Cherry Williams made from red corduroy. It is smocked with 4 strands of DMC #3866 and #321.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Happy Labor Day!

Between school starting, softball and minor knee surgery I have become a bad blogger. Hopefully I can correct the situation as everything starts moving in the right direction (this includes my knee!)

Before all our Labor day celebrations begin this weekend I wanted to share with you an outfit I made for my granddaughter.

The pattern from Wendy Schoen. It is made entirely from my stash. The front fabric is about 14 years old.

The pattern is VERY short in the stride. I had to lengthen the back pattern by 2 inches to fit my 6 month old.

Here is a close up of the inside. I used snaps from Snap Source for the diaper area and used buttons from Hillcreek on the side and the shoulders.

Hope everyone has a safe and wonderful Labor Day!

Monday, July 25, 2011

School of Art Fashion

Just got back from 5 days in Huntsville, Alabama. I had a wonderful time and was amazed at the organization and the logistics of the Martha Pullen Staff.

I took Wendy Schoen's Baby School. We only had 10 ladies in the class so it was almost like having a private lesson. Now to finish my projects before they become UFO's(Un-Finished Objects)

Every day at lunch they had a drawing for a free sewing machine. I am sorry to say I was not one of the lucky ones, but I did take home a boatload of free gifts.

We received 2 machine embroidery CDs, a small first aide kit, several patterns, a flip out seam ripper (thank goodness we got the first aide kit) a pocket tissue holder, a small notebook with 3 types of post it notes, several pen and pencils, a small zippered bag, a copy of 5 different magazines from Hoffman Media and a tote bag. I am sure I have left out several thing. The best of all was everyone received a framed picture of themselves with Martha Pullen.

If you have never been to one of her schools , the Martha Pullen store is set up at the Von Braun center so while you are sewing and you see a neat gadget that someone has you only have to walk a few feet over to the store and buy it. I had to make sure I still had plenty of money for the teacher's selling night, where I bought even more goodies.

What I really like was the support for all ladies attending. One lady had the light bulb burn out on her sewing machine. Not a problem. The staff notified the appropriate sewing machine dealer and they came in the class room and fixed it.

Another sweet thing about the school was the kids schools. There were so many girls there with their mothers and grandmother.

A really funny thing (besides Martha Pullen's story about buying Spanx) is the red carpet. Most of the ladies were staying at the Embassy Suite which is attached to the Von Braun center by a walkway with red carpet. So at least twice a day everyone walked through the walk way. I saw the hotel staff vacuuming up bits and pieces of dropped threads every day but I think they gave up after the 2nd day. By the end of the 5 days the carpet looked like my sewing room floor! :-)

Oh I almost forgot.....I had a guy in one of the elevators ask me if I was taking a knitting class.... I guess my hand free Wendy Schoen embroidery hoop that I was carrying gave me away (eye roll).

If you ever get a chance I highly recommend the Martha Pullen School of Art Fashion

Friday, June 24, 2011

Adding Bling!

This post is for Debra who is currently smocking her daughter's wedding dress. She just emailed me and asked for me to show her how to add pearls with smocking again.

We met several years ago in an old SAGA chapter. We have had several planning, pleating and encouragement meetings in the last couple of weeks about this masterpiece. We have met at a mexican restaurant, her house and even in a softball dugout!

Lets start with the ingredients.....

  • Of course you need your pleated fabric. I usually add the beads after I have completely smocked and blocked a garment. If beads are going to be near a seam line I add those after the garment is constructed

  • Next is your needle. The needle needs to have a narrow enough eye to go through the beads. I usually use a sharp needle or a milliner's needle. Sometime you just have to try out different needles.

  • For the thread I use 1 strand of matching floss. For this tutorial I am using black floss for pictorial purposes.

  • And the most important of all your beads. I have use pearls, crystals, seed beads and sterling silver beads in the past. The main thing is they have to be something other than plastic beads. Plastic will melt under the steam of your iron and will not hold up.
I find my beads/pearls at heirloom fabric stores and at craft stores like Hobby Lobby or Michael's. Just as a precaution and to test "the truth in advertising" I test all my beads and pearls by sewing a few to a scrap of fabric then hitting them with a shot of steam and throwing the scrap of fabric in the washer and dryer.

I once discovered "Imitation Cultured Pearls". Unfortunately the word "Imitation" was in very, very small print under the price tag.

After I have threaded and knotted my needle I bring my needle through the back of a pleat. If I bring it straight up the bottom of a pleat, the single strand knot will usually pull through the fabric. I don't want my beads falling off.

Besides the black floss, I will be larger glass beads for this tutorial. I will be stitching a 4 step flowerette with beads added.

I have brought my needle up the same way I do when I smock. I bring it up through the bottom of the pleat then to the side of the pleat to my left.

I add one bead to my needle and stitch an UP Cable. I want my beads to be on top of the pleats not buried into the valleys.

I then add another bead and stitch a Down Cable

Then after adding one more bead I stitch another Up Cable.

Now the tricky part........... After I have stitched my third cable I am going to bring my needle through the sides of all of the pleats till I am to the left of my first bead. I am now back to my original starting position.

I then stitch a Down Cable through my first bead.

I add my last bead and stitch an UP Cable.

I then bring my needle to the back. Next, I start adjusting my beads by giving them slight pushes and pulls and twist. To help the beads stay bunched together I go back through the two side beads and tie off on the back.

This is what it looks like with pearls and matching thread.

And if you want more bling, you can add a glass seed bead to the center. Bring your needle and thread straight up the center then add your glass seed bead and bring the needle back down again and tie off on the back.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The picture that inspired a pattern

I am so excited the new Natalie pattern is now available from Sew Beautiful! :-)

I want to share with you the story behind this pattern. This is the picture that inspired the pattern. (note: I think my brother cut my bangs.)

This all got started over some jacquard ribbon. Several years ago Kathy B and I were working on the SB Dainty Design samples and she showed me some new jacquard ribbon that Martha Pullen was carrying .

That got me started on the story of my favorite dress when I was little. We were living in Bermuda and my Texas born and raised mother did not really understand the exchange rate. She bought some really pretty jacquard ribbon for a gingham dress that she was making for me. Later on she realized the ribbon cost more then the entire dress! I loved that dress!

The Natalie pattern is a "semi princess" style dress and is available in girl sizes 2-6 and 8-14. There are three different necklines available and three different sleeve options with this pattern.

As a bonus, a christening gown pattern based on the Natalie pattern is available in the pull out section of Sew Beautiful #135

I can't wait to see what everyone creates from this pattern!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Cutie Pie!

Hope you will indulge this new grandmother by allowing me to show off some baby pictures. :-)

We just spend a week with our new granddaughter (and her parents) and I am going through baby withdraw symptoms. This is the outfit she was wearing when we arrived. :-)

I sat down with her and told her I was her Fairy Godmother and anytime she needs a fancy dress for the ball she just needs to give me a call!....... Okay, she was asleep when I told her this but her mother heard me. "Have needle and thread, Will travel".

Here are some pictures of her modeling outfits. She is about 9 pounds so you can get an idea on the fit. The size 0-3month onsies were perfect.

I love the "mend" feature on my Adobe Elements software. Every outfit is magically clean.... at least they are in the photos. We all did a lot of laundry but it gave me an excuse to put her in another outfit. :-)

Here is the Cup Cake onsie with the diaper cover from MP Round Yoke Baby book. Diaper cover was a little big but all I needed to do was tighten the elastic.

This is a smocked version of the MP square yoke Baby daygown.

And last but not least a size 3 month Cherry Williams Baby bishop.

On the way home I got to stop at "The Stitching Post" in Little Rock, Arkansas. I had a great time buying fabric for my new muse. Okay, I always have a great time buying fabric but the combination of a great store and a new granddaughter made it extra special. :-)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Monkey Business

I am busy working on stuff for Miss Amelia but want to wait and show off her wearing them. In the mean time I want to show you some Baby Onesies that I have embellished.

This little monkey suit is embroidered with a bullion monkey from Kari Mecca. The neckline and the cuffs of this onesie are a ribbed knit. I used the ribs as pleats and stitched a one step trellis with one strand of floss.

Here is a close up. I am so happy with my little monkey. The first time I stitched him was during a SAGA convention several years ago. It took me most of the day and he only looked like a monkey if you squinted.

I have practiced a lot so that my bullions are not as scary looking any more.

Here is another one. The cupcake is my design. The neck and cuffs are stitched with a Herringbone stitch with one strand of pink floss.

Here is a close up of how I stitched the neckline. I am stitching a 2 step trellis on a pink onesie. You can also use this technique on the cuff of baby socks.

I paired the onesies with pull on diaper covers from Martha Pullen's Precious Baby Day Gown Round Yoke Collection. I love this pattern. I added the ruffle for something different.

The End! :-)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Life is Good

I want to thank everyone for their kind words. Our new grand daughter is doing great! Her parents are doing great also.

Here is a picture of the dress she was wearing in the photo.

It is a Cherry Williams bishop in a size 3 month. The neck size was okay but the rest was way too big. The fabric is Martha Pullen's Victorian Batiste.

I wanted to show you the buttons/beads I used as an embellishment for the dress. I had bought them years before at Michael's. They are really tiny.

My thought were when I first saw them was to use them on Wee care gowns instead of embroidering bullion roses. They can be added to almost any smocking plate.

They worked perfect on my new born Valentine baby dress.

They come in a package and I transferred them to the container show here. It is a almost like a Tic Tac mint container.

I will close with a photo that just brings tears to my eyes and peace to my heart. It is a great feeling when you know that you have raised your sons right. :'-)

Hope you have a great day!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Best Valentine Ever!

I'm a Grandmother!

I am ecstatic to introduce you to Amelia Grace!

She arrived 4 weeks early on Saturday, February 12.

She weights 5 pounds 15 oz. and is 19 7/8" long. Mom and Baby are doing great.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Year of the Rabbit

This dress was one of the first dresses that I picture smocked on. The fabric was Imperial Broadcloth. Pattern for the dress is Cherry William Yoke dress. I think the size was 12months. Smocking plate is by Ellen McCarn. Ears were provided by my SIL. :-)

Monday, January 31, 2011

Another " Baby Charlotte"

Here is another bishop smocked with the Baby Charlotte smocking design. This one is for my granddaughter.

My camera and my computer monitor do not do the color of this dress justice.

The fabric is a tiny old fashion cotton print in a dusty purple color. It is smocked with DMC # 3042.

I added 3 pearl beads at the points of the smocking design.

I always love looking at a smocking design when it is blocked in a circle! The cable row just under the bias band was smocked after the bishop was completed.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Baby Charlotte smocking design

Let me start off with Happy New Year!

I have been busy bonding with a new computer. I came down stairs about a month ago and found out that my youngest son had replaced my old worn out PC with an imac with a 27" screen and a drawing pad. Thanks Chase!

So I have been working on learning to graph my smocking plates on Adobe Illustrator instead of Smock Soft ......I know life is tough! :-P

So here is the smocking graph for "Baby Charlotte" that I had been promising. It should be clickable.

This smocking design is for a baby bishop. If you want to use the design on a larger bishop I recommend pleating 8 rows adding a Baby Wave (1 step trellis ) or a cable row above the design.