Friday, April 4, 2014

Finally... Something new!

After a long absence of complete non stop busy I finally have something new to post.  This project will be for classes later in the year.  I am having a bit of an obsession with small scale prints paired with feather weight corduroy and this set keeps it going.  The paisley cotton lawn print is from a Robert Kaufman collection called 'London Calling' and  is a lovely 'Liberty' like knock off.  I have paired the print with the feather weight corduroy to look like a jumper and blouse but it is really all sewn together as a dress.  

The collar is piped with the lavender corduroy and trimmed with a bias cut ruffle.  Not the easiest collar to assemble and get to kiss together right at the center front and center back.  The skirt has three large box pleats across the front and two inverted pleats in the back for a controlled amount of fullness.  The dress is meant to be paired with a jacket and I wanted to keep an A line shape to the skirt.  

The jacket is completely interlined with 'baby' interfacing for better weight and wrinkle resistance to the feather weight corduroy.  It is fully lined with lime 1/32" micro check and has an adjustable fold up sleeve length. The embroidery on the pockets are simple beginner hand stitches - chain, French knot, and backstitch.  The little bird is just one of the paisley shapes from the print inverted and embellished.

The 'London Calling' paisley comes in three great color ways which I plan to pair with the lavender, red, and hot pink corduroy.

One of my granddaughters showed up unexpectedly this morning - I really think it was to claim the cookies that were just coming out of the oven but I took the opportunity to have her do a little try on.  Jane will be five in July and is wearing a size 4 dress and jacket.


Monday, September 23, 2013

When I Grow Up I Want To Be........

When I grow up I want to be just like Miss Dot.  I had the immense pleasure of spending a few days with Miss Dot in Richmond Virginia this past month.  Miss Dot is a well know figure in the heirloom sewing world and at just shy of 90 years young is still sewing up a storm.  I could not have been more impressed with anyone.  She is blessed with a quick wit, a gentle spirit, and a major gift with a needle in her hand.

It was my privilege to spend time stitching (please excuse the casual attire!) side by side with this gracious lady.   She can convey more with one arched eyebrow than 1000 words could speak. Clearly I have lots to learn!

Miss Dot was up for the challenge of participating in a three day class to make this corduroy scalloped jacket and matching dress.  May we all be as engaged and willing to try something new when we reach her years.  She was a model student who probably REALLY should have been the teacher.

I also managed to get to Colorado to see some of my grand kids this past month.  They don't think I'm that much fun but can hardly wait for my two teenagers to show up.  This is Hailey modelling a version of  'April in Paris' from AS&E issue #80 with her Aunt Doireann (my youngest daughter) who has spent many years putting up with modelling dresses for me.

Not to forget the boys... My youngest son could not sit down without a niece or nephew landing in his lap and it usually turned into an entire chair full.

My sewing days are long over for these big boys but they are clearly the life of any party.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Red White and Blue

Happy Canada Day (July 1st) and Happy July 4th

It just sort of worked out that my current project is red, white, and blue.  Two little sailor rompers in a size 1.  

The girl and boy versions have a white linen top and a  1/32" cotton  micro check bottom. The bodice front has a pulled thread grid which was machine stitched with an entredeux stitch and then the red or blue floss was woven through the holes created by the machine.  The sailor collar and sleeve cuff feature a line of hand stitched double feather stitch.  The girl sleeve has some 'puff' at the cap in contrast to the fitted sleeve on the little boy romper.

The sewn in shaped belts are piped at top and bottom.  The girl romper has a tie sash in the back and the boy version is more tailored with a lapped button back belt.  These rompers are a bit more complicated to put together than they might appear.  I like everything to line up at the center back and this project presented a few challenges in that department.  

These rompers in sizes 1-3 will be a new class for me in 2014. I think they are a good mix of a 'do-able' project paired with lots of interesting design and construction details. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Girls Just WanNa Have Fun

Sew, laugh, eat, sew, laugh, eat, sew, laugh, eat - repeat from beginning for a week!. I have just come home from a sewing retreat with the most fabulous group of friends in the most charming location.  Welcome to Petticoat Junction in Normandy Tennessee.

The Junction is a retreat house which sleeps 15 in 'dormitory' style rooms with a large open sewing space on the upper floor.

This gives you just a little look at the bedrooms.  There was a beautiful dining room where home cooked catered meals appeared as if by magic.  Is there anything better than dinner showing up after a full day of stitching?

A comfortable sitting room was available for watching movies and hanging out at night but I have to admit I don't think any of us stepped a foot in there - too much sew, laugh, eat.........

The entire house was a delight with vintage photos, good books on every shelf, and a screened back porch (complete with daybed) with a swing that was a perfect spot for early morning coffee and stitching.  There was even a little shaded table out in the side yard.

The big open room upstairs had lots of natural light and a terrific 'feel'.  Notice the color coordinated work stations - these girls are serious!

Most afternoons we took a break and walked around the little town.  There was a bit of 'strut' going on with some reliving their high school days.  Others (who shall remain anonymous) felt it necessary to take their sangria for a walk.  If you look closely you may notice someone is still in pajamas - clearly the dress code was a few steps below casual.

The week would not have been complete without a late night trip to a neighboring town for a Walmart run.  There was also a little bit of 'strut' going on there.  It's amazing how much stuff looks appealing when you are with eight sleep deprived women late at night in a Walmart.

As luck would have it Petticoat Junction is right next door to a  lovely local dining spot which served a 'knock your socks off' Sunday buffet (which I learned is really a boo-fay!)  You know you are in the south when the sweet tea is served in Mason Jars.   Clearly no one went hungry.  We were also treated to some live music.

I think it is safe to say a good time was had by all - even the one that slept through being toilet papered to her bed or the 'young one' that kept a good attitude with us 'worrisome' and 'troubled' older women and provided unending tech support.

I would like to send a big shout out THANK YOU to eight really terrific, funny, smart, compassionate, gorgeous women who were the best company I could have ever asked for.  I even got a little bit of my own stitching done - another version of my new dress and jacket.


You know the old saying "a picture is worth a thousand words" - this last photo sums up a perfect week.  

Teaching Schedule for 2014

13-18 - Sewing At the Beach
Myrtle Beach, SC

5-9 - Martha Pullen School of Art fashion
Huntsville, Alabama
26 - March 1 - Martha Washington SAGA
Washington, DC
contact: Linda (

13-15 - private class
Farmhouse Fabrics
Beech Island, SC
28-29 - American Sewing Guild
Provo, UT
contact: Marilyn (

24-26 - Lone Star SAGA
Dallas, TX
contact: Wendy (

3-9 - It's Sew Heavenly
Youngsville, LA
contact: Brenda (
17-19 - private class
Longboat Key, FL

19-21 - Sew Many Things SAGA
Franklin, TN
contact: Karen (

23-27 - Martha Pullen School of Art Fashion

7-9 - Farmhouse Fabrics
Beech Island, SC
contact: Sally (

17-21 - SAGA Convention
Orlando, FL
27 - Oct 3 - Beating Around the Bush
Adelaide, South Australia

For teaching information, a current class list, and available dates, contact