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.  

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Corduroy Swing Jacket

I have had lots of requests to expand the size range of the swing style jacket that was published in my Sew Cute Couture book (Cute As A Button if you have the Australian publication - the content of both books is exactly the same)  The original jacket was sized 6 months through 3 years and was styled with a full cut sleeve and a back yoke with a 2" center back pleat for width to accommodate the fullness of the matching bishop dress.  Here's a couple of different fabric variations made up from the pattern in the book.

My new project is made up in black feather wale corduroy with lots (lots!) of periwinkle blue corduroy piping. Because the feather wale corduroy is not really heavy enough to be jacket weight I fused light weight interfacing to the back of the uncut yardage prior to cutting out the pattern pieces.  It gave the corduroy a beautiful  'hand' and great stability which I think saved me when trying to pipe around all the scalloped edges.

 The jacket has a more tailored two piece sleeve and allows for a turn back cuff in the contrast fabric.  This turn back sleeve also buys adjustment and growth room.  The back of the jacket has lots of visual interest with a scalloped, piped yoke overlay and a 3" box pleat down the center back. 

 I had enough of the coordinating dress fabric left over so I chose it as a lining for the jacket.  This jacket goes together completely on the machine with the exception of the little bit of hand work involved making the cast-on stitch flowers on the self fabric covered buttons. 

The coordinating under dress has a sewn in piped corduroy belt and shaped corduroy cuff on the sleeve to tie in with the scalloped and piped edges on the jacket.  The button down the back skirt of the dress is pleated rather than gathered onto the bodice.  It gives a nice tailored look while still keeping the 'twirl' factor in the fullness of the skirt.  

I used two very helpful items making this project.  The first is this applique foot to make and apply my piping.  It's not sold as a piping foot but it is perfection for making and applying mini piping -especially around curves.  It has a center groove that holds the cord perfectly in place and is very short to allow easy movement around curves.  The second is a little gadget called a 'perfect pleater' which I used to attach the skirt to the bodice of the dress.  I am also in love with my new Pfaff Creative Performance.  After 20 years of sewing on a Pfaff 7550 a new machine is showing this old dog a few new tricks!    

I will size this jacket and dress in a 4-8 for classes in the fall.  I'm getting ready to try another one in this fabric combination.  I am making a concentrated effort to use up some of my stashed Liberty prints.