Thursday, October 27, 2011

Teaching Year Winding Down

I have only one more teaching engagement left until the end of the year which will hopefully give me some time to work on some much needed new projects. I have had some requests for photos of the projects for the 2012 Martha Pullen schools - so here they are.

This is the pre day (three day) project. It is a Swiss voile christening gown with a lace bolero style jacket and matching bonnet. Swiss voile is my new favorite fabric for traditional heirloom work as it is lovely and sheer but does not wrinkle near a much as cotton batiste. The gown is sleeveless and I am pleased with the simplicity of the overall look even though there are a great number of details on the outfit. I do not like the dress to look like it is wearing the child.

Here is a close up of the front of the bodice. The bullion roses are worked with DMC 'satin' floss which is really rayon. I like the bit of sheen it adds to a project although there is a learning curve involved when working with rayon floss.

The lace strips on the jacket are worked over a layer of silk organza which gives the jacket a nice amount of stability. The jacket dips down a bit at the center back.

I like to finish off a christening gown with a bonnet although I must admit my own children did not wear their bonnetts because they had so much hair which I could not bear to cover up.

The four day school will include two different projects. The first one is a silk dress with a bit of a different take on a traditional sailor style collar. I like the look of the ecru laces over the darker toned silks.  As with the bolero jacket in the christening gown (above) the entire collar and front inset on this dress are strips of ecru laces worked over a layer of silk organza. The front of the belt is lace worked over three layers of silk organza for stability. The belt back is a wide silk organza sash tied into a bow. The project will be offered in sizes 4-8.

  The final two day project is a remake of the one the projects in my book. It's called Daisy Mae and this version is a Dakota pique jacket paired with a lime classic cotton gingham bishop. The embroidery on the jacket is quite simple and quick because the buttons (81 of them!) are doing most of the work. The project will be offered in sizes 6 months thru 3 years.

For those of you who have been asking I have finally started adding some new project kits to my ETSY site. The link is  Thanks for visiting my blog and Etsy site.  Happy stitching!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Return of a Classic

When I ask my adult daughters, ages 32, 30, and 25 if they remember a favorite dress from their younger years they will almost always mention some navy blue pique sailor style dresses that are now coming up on twenty years old. I'm partial to classic styles and I think these dresses still have a timeless look that have weathered the test of time quite nicely. These dresses and the little boy suit were constructed from 100% cotton navy and white pique from Bear Threads. I worried about the color bleeding but as luck would have it they washed beautifully and have since been passed on to another generation of little girls.

I have just finished an updated version of this classic sailor style dress to use as a class project in the future. I plan to teach this project at 'Sewing At the Beach' 2012. You can have a look at their website by going to I tried to incorporate several of the design features of the three previous dresses into one cohesive design. I added a hat and a splash of color in the hot pink embroidery and the fabric roses. The dress is constructed from Fabric Finders 100% cotton pique and all the trims are from Capital Imports. I hope this dress will hold up to the classic ideal and find a long and happy life with several of my granddaughters.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Long Absense

Please forgive my long absence. There seem to be many things demanding my attention other than this blog. I thought I would post a little section out of one of my class handouts about the preparation of a Peter Pan collar. I always work my collars in a block method which seems to help eliminate the possibility of stretching the collar out of shape before it is even attached to the dress. The collar was designed to complement the smocked dress shown below. The collar is white cotton pique and the dress is a Fabric Finders 100% cotton floral print.

A. Preparing the Collar

1. Cut a 14” wide by 8” long rectangle of the collar fabric. Using a #2 pencil trace the collar outline (make sure to do a left and a right) onto the right side of the fabric. Be careful to line up the grain line of the collar to the grain line of the fabric. DO NOT cut out the collars. Mark the center front, center back, and the shoulder line. Fuse lightweight interfacing to the wrong side. Mark and work the hand embroidery on the two collars using the embroidery guide provided.

2. Cut a length of piping the approximate length of the collar perimeter. Clip into the seam allowance at 1/2” intervals. Working with the grooved foot used to make the piping stitch the piping (2.0L) to the collar, stitching just inside the stitching line on the piping. Be careful to keep the raw edges of the piping aligned to the drawn collar perimeter. Do not stretch the piping while stitching.

3. Matching fabric grain lines lay the collar backing, right sides together, over the piped collar front. Pin in place. Neither the collar front, or the collar back is cut out yet. Using the stitching line from Step 2 as a guide, stitch again, (1.5L) around the collar perimeter.

4. Stitch again, (1.5L) in the seam allowance 1/16” from the stitching line in Step

5. Trim through all layers right next to the second stitching line.

6. Cut out the neckline curve, through all layers, approximately ½” from the pencil line and turn the collar right sides out. Gently press the outside edges of the collar keeping the tip of the iron on the piping.

7. Make a ¼” turned bias tube the measurement of the outside of the collar plus at least 2”. Work over two layers of tissue paper and use the edge of your sewing machine foot (adjust needle position as necessary) to make a stitching line 5/16” away from the fold line of the 1 ½” wide bias strip.

8. Tear the tissue paper away and trim the seam allowance down to 1/8”.

9. Turn the tube right sides out with a ‘Fasturn’ and gently press rolling the seam line slightly to the wrong side.

10. Baste (5.0L) the piped collar onto a double thickness of notebook paper, stitching just inside the piped edge of the collar. Backstitch to secure at the beginning and the end. Stitch a second time, ¼” away from the piped edge of the collar using a 3.5L stitch.

11. Using a steam iron, shape the turned ¼” bias tube around the ¼” stitching line. Machine baste (5.0L) down the center of the bias tube, backstitching at the beginning and the end to secure.

12. Trim both layers of notebook paper to within ¾” of the turned bias tube.

13. Using a #8 crewel needle and #80 tatting thread, faggot the piped edge of the collar to the ¼” turned bias tube. Keep a consistent tension around the collar. Work with a long thread so as to not have too many tie on's and tie off's. Use the machine stitches on the ¼” second stitching line as a guide to place your hand stitches at the turned bias edge.

14. Be sure to start the hand stitching below the cutting line so the hand stitches will not be cut when the collar in sewn into the neckline.

15. Remove the basting thread lines from the piping and the
turned bias tube to release the stabilizing paper. Press well.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

P.S. - Oh to be fifteen, flying, and fearless. My youngest son is permanently attached, except in this picture to his much loved Flying Bhangra.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Floofys, Floofys, Everywhere

If you thought I was never coming back to post anything on my blog I have to confess I thought the same thing. Sometimes life just happens but hopefully my life will once again allow me to check in here more often. I firmly believe that knitting is good for the soul. It's a rhythmic, quiet, individual process that suits me just perfectly. I can't stop making Floofy's. If you read back several posts I got hooked on these while teaching for the Bewitching Stitchers SAGA group in Boston. Lucky for me, I will be going back to teach for the same guild in March and will get to revisit 'Yarns In the Farms' where all this started. The photos are of my two favorite Texas girls (oldest daughter and oldest grand daughter)wearing their birthday Floofy's and my gorgeous, good natured twelve year old wearing hers.

Teaching Schedule for 2018

6-11 Sewing at the Beach
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

22-26 - Private Class

19-23 Teaching Studio
St. Louis, Missouri
(or text 314 974 7561)

7-8 Bewitching Stitchers
Boston, Mass

10-14 Children's Corner
Nashville, Tennessee
Contact; www.children'

20-22 Bewitching Stitchers

30-June 2 Private Class

4-9 Private class

23-27 Private Class

7-8 New Orleans/Baton Rouge SAGA

17-23 SAGA National Convntion
Winston/Salem North Carolina

4-10 Beating Around the Bush
Adelaide, Australia

29 - Nov 2
Teaching Studio
St. Louis, Missouri
(or text 314 974 7561)

6-10 Private Class

I have several open dates in 2018 for private or public groups.
For teaching information, a current class list, and available dates, contact