Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Little Red Jacket

This jacket just makes me happy. I made it for my oldest daughters 31st birthday which was on January 1. It's so her. She's a little tiny thing and a bit of a fashionista and always likes things a little left of center so this suits her perfectly. It's made from a superfine 100% wool and Simplicity pattern 2730 - no design changes whatsoever to the pattern. Please excuse my somewhat cluttered photography - I need a lesson on cropping photos!

A series of 13 reverse darts around the neckline make for a really cute fit on this pattern and also an interesting design detail. The fabric flowers were quite heavy when completed but actually sat quite nicely around the neckline once firmly stitched down. I added a few beads to the center of the flowers. I keep gently nagging at her (that's what mom's do, isn't it?) for a photo of her wearing it. Her family just had pictures taken at Christmas time. Hunter is 9 and Jorden (wild thing!) is 7. Her really great husband Bart shall remain ageless.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

An Inside Peek

Some time ago Rosa asked about using fusible interfacing on the front yoke and the skirt front of a smocked dress. My apologies to her for being so slow in responding. I dislike using the words 'always' and 'never' because it 'always' seems to come back to bite you. But... I almost always interface the front yoke of any smocked dress. It just makes sense to me to stabilize the little yoke that has the big job of holding up a somtimes heavily smocked and embroidered skirt. The extra layer on the yoke helps to eliminate puckers and other nasty business that can sometimes happen along that piped seamline. It also helps pad the lower edge of the yoke to help prevent the sometimes quite bulky seam allowance from imprinting on the right side of the yoke front.

I turned this smocked dress inside out, as best as I could, to show the interfaced front yoke and also the interfaced smocked portion of the skirt front. This particular dress is made from a Liberty Tana Lawn which is 54" wide and seems to pleat down to almost nothing. On lightweight fabrics like this I will usually fuse a strip of lightweight interfacing to the area that will be pleated. Once pleated this helps form plumper pleats and keeps the fabric from collapsing down to nothing. It makes the job of blocking out a skirt front much easier.

I also like to add a single layer liner to the back of the smocked section of a yoke dress. This covers up all the yoke seams and the inevitable knots on the back of the smocking. It helps stabilize the smocked area and is comfortable against the skin.

Friday, January 8, 2010

A Blast From the Past

This all started when my daughter in Texas sent this photo of her daughter wearing a velvet dress and heirloom pinafore vintage about 1989. I dug out the photo of her mom and sisters wearing the original pinafores. They were about 4, 9, and 11 at the time and are now 24, 29, and 31.

I love that good Swiss cotton batiste and Swiss cotton laces have the beautiful ability to come back to life with a good wash and a press after many years in a trunk. A couple years after the above photo was taken Lauren (the youngest) modeled a similar pinafore for Creative Needle Magazine. I'm still sad every month when there is not a new Creative Needle in my mailbox - they are greatly missed.

These photos were taken with the Utah Symphony. This pinafore features lots of hand embroidery in the paneled skirt. The Creative Needle issue is Nov/Dec 1991 if you want to take a look. Tina Lewis, a VERY talented designer and stitcher who lives in Park City organized the photo shoot and created many of the garments. A funny little side note - Creative Needle came to Salt Lake several times to do photo shoots and on two occasions I managed to have a baby the VERY NEXT DAY after they left. That might give you some indication about how stressful photo shoots can be with unpredictable children and delicate clothing. As I said earlier - they are greatly missed.

Teaching Schedule for 2017

March 22-25
t of St Louis SAGA
St. Louis,
contact: Diane (

April 5-9
Children's Corner
Nashville, Tennessee
contact: www.children'

April 28 - May 2
Chadwick Heirlooms
Richmond, Virginia

May 22-26
Birmingham, Alabama
Fiming new vidoes for Classic Sewing magazine

June 8-11
Private class
Fernlake, Tennessee

June 22-24
Huntsville SAGA
Huntsville, Alabama
contact: Abbie (

June 26-28
Private class
Huntsville, Alabama

July 6-8
Prairie Bell Smockers (SAGA)
Lincoln, Nebraska
contact: Jenny (

July 18-23
Private class
Becky's Barn
Grinsley, Tennessee

August 7-11
Private class
Wenatchee, Washington

August 21-25
Farmhouse Fabrics
Beech Island, South Carolina

September 7-9
Low Country Smockers (SAGA)
Charleston, South Carolina
contact: Sallie (

September 22-24
Yankee SAGA
Boston, Mass
contact: Kathy (

October 12-15
SAGA Regional
St. Louis Missouri

October 16-19
Private class
St. Louis, Missouri

November 7-11
Private class
Medford, Oregan

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