Monday, January 7, 2013

Princess Designs by Jan

Just wanted to let everyone know I'm now on Etsy and have a Facebook business page. I've just listed a few items to start. My business name on both sites is: Princess Designs By Jan. Heres a link to etsy:
I will eventually be offering all Ellie Inspired smocked dresses. Right now I just have Alice Blue and Sugar & Spice. I also am offering smocked princess socks. And let me tell you, these are so cute you won't be able to stand it!
Now for some dumb reason, I'm having problems loading photos for this post. Hopefully, the problem will be resolved soon. I will post some pics soon. Until then, happy smocking everyone!


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Rainbow Dress

Well, here it is; the rainbow dress. Since the print is bright and a little on the busy side, I kept the smocking simple. It's just a baby wave, cable combo. And how do you like the button accents?! Adds a little flair w/o being too fussy.
I used "Wild At Heart" from AS&E for the pattern. The plate I made up myself. And btw, I started over 3 times on the smocking. I also took off 9 inches on the bottom of the skirt so that I could add a band along the bottom.
The ribbon sash is completely removable if the princess's mom wants to only wash the dress. The sash keepers are a detached buttonhole stitch. Now to get this dress and the previous one sent off to my friend so two little princesses can have some new dresses for xmas.
I'm glad I didn't try to do more xmas dresses than what I did.
Next up is finishing the holly embroidered nightgown.
Did you all know Country Bumpkin is coming out with a new smocked party dress book next year. Yay! I need some new inspiration from them.
Happy smocking everyone!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Simple Smocked Dress

It may not look like a simple dress, but it totally is!
I only used two stitches, cables and baby waves. Small turquoise beads were added as I smocked. Just pick up a bead and take a stitch. The larger sparkly beads were added after smocking was done, just like you would if adding embroidery. Just make sure you double the knots on the back to assure them not coming off later. The princess who's getting this dress loves turquoise.
I decided to not make a traditional belt. I think it's more fun, something a little different. Now, I'm off to the fabric store to get fabric for this princess's little sister. She says rainbow is her fave color. So, a rainbowish print it is!
Keep watch over the next few weeks, as I will be starting smocking tutorials. I will be posting them in my new Smocking Tutorial at the top of the page.
Til later, happy smocking everyone!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

New Nightgown

Here's another pattern being tested for Ellie Inspired. It's a new nightgown. This is totally what a princess would wear to bed don't you think?! (oops, like like it's hanging a little wonky on the hanger.)
Here's a view of the back. The buttons look kind of yellow, but they are just an off white.
The nightgown pattern doesn't have any smocking instructions, but I decided to add that. I looked through some of my plates, but didn't find anything I liked. So I made up my own. The diamonds are 6-step trellis with 7cables in between. I love the little rosebuds on the bottom row scallops!
Here's the sleeve before I sewed the gown up. The smocking is a simple trellis. When adding lace to the bottom of your sleeves; you will need to flatten out the pleats before doing any smocking. After lace is added, pull your pleats back up to the desired width.
Here's sneak peak of another nightgown I'm using with the same pattern. The next part I need to get done is some shadow embroidery. I'm going to use holly leaves on the bodice and around the bottom of the skirt. This gown will have long sleeves.
You may have noticed I now have tabs at the top of my page. I've decided to put my tutorials up there. Just learned how to add pages to my blog. I'm not very literate with computers. But I wanted everyone to be able to have as much fun with their creations as I do. I will be doing tutorials for smocking as soon as I get some time. Hahaha, am I just kidding myself. Actually, I will make time for these tutorials.
Happy smocking everyone!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Sugar and Spice

I have to say, isn't she the sweetest "princess"?! Here's the latest dress from Laura is featuring this pattern on sale today. Laura's patterns are easy to stitch together. You can also get a paper pattern and fabric in a kit from Fine Stitchery.
When I first saw the smock plate, I knew I had to add bling to it. And the design is not too fussy as to be overwhelming.
The hem is madeira and kind of a challenge with the satin I used. If you are new heirloom, I would say use cotton. The white is cotton sateen from Fine Stitchery. Everything Laura says about it true. It's my favorite fabric to smock/sew with.
I have to say Laura really flattered me in her blog post today! It makes me want to be friends with "me". My wish is that all you readers have a friend as sweet as Laura. She's a wonderful designer. I'm always anxious to see what she will dream up next for us to sew.

Here's another dress from the same Sugar & Spice pattern. Oops, looks like the collar was up when I snapped the pic. I can say that it doesn't do that in real life. Today I will be finishing the hem and buttonholes on this dress. Then I need to get going on some xmas dresses I started as gifts a couple months ago for a friends two daughters. After that I will doing some smocking tutorials.
Till next time, happy smocking everyone!


Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Sorry I'm late with this blog post, I was way too tired yesterday.
This I one of the dress patterns I tested for Laura at Ellie Inspired. Isn't it fun for xmas?! I made a size 3 out of flannel. I'm going to give it to my friend, Jerri for her granddaughter. The same little princess I made the Tinkerbelle costume for.

The smock plate is an easy one to accomplish. The buttons I found at Walmart, but try any craft store or scrapbook store. The different scrapbook stores in Boise have lots of things that those who sew will use to embellish cute clothes with. You'll notice I did double piping at the waist. I thought it needed to have that little of something extra.
Here's an up close shot of the upper bodice and the collar. I can see that I need to lower the right-hand button just a tad.
At the cuff I decided to use giant ricrac. I thought it would be cute to maybe stitch tiny buttons on the the ricrac points. It's cute without the buttons.
Here's a view of the back of the dress. I chose to put a belt on instead of a sash. The ribbon at the bottom of the skirt had wire in it and I took that out. I stitched more of the giant ricrac to the top and bottom of the ribbon. Cute, right?!
And here's the original dress Laura designed. Isn't it the sweetest, dreamiest dress?! And her daughter as the model is darling. I'm going to HAVE to make one like this for spring. One of the other testers, Angela did the most outstanding job on this dress. She was lamenting all the bullion roses, 81 I think, that she needed to stitch. But look at the statement this dress makes. All those bullions were worth it in the end. She is definitely an expert at them now.
The other dress I tested, "Sugar & Spice" is due to be released. I can't wait to see how Miss Ellie looks in it.
Happy smocking everyone!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

How To Make Piping

I decided it was time for a tutorial. I'm one of the pattern testers for Ellie Inspired. A few girls in the group have never made piping. That got me thinking about how many other ladies might want to learn how. I'm not claiming to be an expert, but this is how I make piping and hopefully I can explain it well enough that any who want to learn can do so. I don't like putting the regular maxi-piping you find in the Wright's brand tapes into kids clothing. It's just too big.
There is also continuous bias, but I can never get the hang of understanding it.
So anyway, here we go with making mini-piping:
Step 1:
I always use a self-healing mat, rotary cutter and ruler. I've squared up my fabric and I do have two layers her on the mat. My ruler has a 45* line and I've lined that up with the straight line on the mat. Since I'm left-handed, I will cut on the top of the ruler. If you are right-handed, you can move the ruler so it is headed in the opposite direction.
(If you've never used a rotary cutter, it's VERY sharp. Please practice on some scrap fabric first. We don't want to have anyone going to the emergency room to get stitches. I don't even want to think about that; it makes me cringe. So please be extra careful and always have the blade in the protected position when on cutting.)
Step 2:
I moved the remainder of my fabric aside. Turn your fabric so the it looks like a side facing triangle. This edge is the "true" bias. If it's not on the true 45* line, it can wavy bumps in it when you go to fold over. I have the ruler lined up to cut 1 1/2 inch strips. You can thinner strips, but I'd rather cut slightly fatter strips and cut my piping afterwards.
A note about my ruler: I like using the Olfa brand as it has yellow lines that are easier for me to see both light and dark fabrics. It is also 6 inches wide and allows me to put my non-cutting hand flat on the ruler so it doesn't slip. There is also non-skid rulers, dots you an adhere to the bottom of your own rulers or film you can put to the bottom of the ruler. All these items will help the ruler to stay put.
Here are actually 6 strips waiting to be sewn together.
I cut two layers of fabric, right-sides facing out.
Step 4:
You'll see that the bottom strip is facing up and the top strip is facing down.
I've lined up the diagonal sides together.
Here's a pic with the diagonal line going the opposite direction. I will usually do 1/4 inch seams.
You can make them bigger if you want and trim them down afterward.
I wanted to show what happens when the diagonal lines don't line up.
It's okay, cuz you can just trim it off after you've stitched the seam.
Step 5:
Next is pressing the seams.
This is the cording I use to put inside my piping. This is less expensive than the poly cording and since the cording will be "floating" inside the bias; I don't care if it shrinks a little bit.
Just make sure it says "worsted weight" on the skein of cotton.
If you have a piping foot to your machine use that, but since I don't; I use a foot that has a little groove on the bottom. It makes sewing it easier to snug your needle up to the cording when it's inside the bias.
I have a button on the top of my machine I can lessen the tension the presser foot applies to my piping. I have mine set to 3/4.
Step 6:
Fold the bias in half and put the cording inside. You will notice it is now about 5/8" wide.
I will trim it down to approx. 1/2" wide before I sew it into a project.
After you are done, you will see there are these little tags, trim those off, they are just a nuisance.
Step 7:
The next thing I do before I stitch the piping in is pull out about 5/8" of cording, cut it off and then tug on the opposite side and the remaining cord will slide back into the bias. I always cut off at the beginning and end so I can avoid a big lump at those two ends when I sew the collar onto the neck.
And last of all, make sure you clip your piping about every 1/2 inch or so before you stitch to curves. It will go much easier. Just be careful to not clip too close to the cording as you will end up cutting the stitching line.
I hope this was easy to understand for you and that you will try making your own piping.
Soon I'll be able to show you the dress this is going on. It's another of Ellie Inspired patterns. She is releasing a new one each day on her sight. The first two are so darn cute you should check it out.
Happy smocking!