Monday, December 27, 2010

Last Bit of Sewing for 2010

I finished the bonnet for my class. Isn't it the bonnet cute on my baby doll "Madeline Grace"? The baby doll is from Ashton Drake and she wears preemie clothes. I got her a few years ago. I can smock for her for years to come. Here's a close up of her dress and bonnet.

AS&E issue 69 "Mirror Image"

AS&E issue 79
And here's the embroidery on "Madeline's" blanket. It's from Inspirations Baby.  I used rayon floss for the word "baby" and on the rest of the embroidery I used silk floss. The blanket is from a tone on tone flannel and edges finished with crepe back satin, which was a bear to do on the bias.  I've made this blanket a couple of times and will probably make it many more times.

And for everyone who is going to do my smock along sessions. The first one will be posted Tuesday, January 25, 2011. I will be doing smocked socks. The project can be completed in an evening. So here's your shopping list if you will be participating:

1 pair dress socks (you can purchase socks with lace already attached if you want)
1 skein embroidery floss, your color choice
Milliner needles (Hancock Fabrics, Hobby Lobby do carry these)
Blue wash-out marker
1" acrylic ruler, like those used for quilting
2 ribbon roses or bows
Sewing thread to match the ribbon roses or bows
Optional: needle threader

The week of February 1, 8 I will doing a smocked bonnet. The same one that my baby doll is wearing above. I will post a shopping list next week. If you want to order a ready to smock bonnet go to Martha Pullen's website. She has them for about $10, which I think is a very affordable price.
I'll talk to everyone next week. Happy smocking everyone!

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Thank You From a Friend

A few posts ago I shared with everyone the dresses I made for a lady who comes into Hancock Fabrics where I work. As a thank you, she was very thoughtful and made me these padded hangers on her embroidery machine. She tried to insist that the dresses I smocked for her granddaughters were better than these beautiful hangers. And I insisted that the hangers were just as wonerful. I think we mock argued for a few minutes. I love, love, love these! I'd like to say "thank you" to a soul sister, Leola. You're great!

Here are some baby socks I smocked for my one of me classes I'm doing in February. I still need to add the lace and a bow. For anyone who wants a quick and easy gift idea, this is definitely it! I timed myself to see how long it would take to smock, only 1 1/2 hours. Not bad at all.

New Project. I found this print at a local quilt shop last week. Isn't it pretty? I love it. And like anyone who is creative (everyone reading this post is creative), I'm going to change a few things on the dress. I usually can't leave well enough alone. But that's the great thing about sewing, the sky's the limit or maybe it's the budget.
The smock plate is from Sew Beautiful, issue 133, entitled "Peppermint Sprinkles" by the very talented Janet Gilbert. Love to meet her someday. The dress pattern is "Pascale" from issue 114 of Sew Beautiful. I think the dress I'm making needs to have beads along the sleeves like I did for one of the dresses I entered into the fair last summer. I'm happy I can borrow a petal sleeve from AS&E. Now to go iron my dress fabric, get it pleated and start smocking.
All my best to you creative ladies out there in blogland. Happy smocking!

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Love of a Friend

Here's another dress for little sis of another dress I resently finished. The smock plate is from Gail Doane's book Sew Cute Couture. Doesn't she just have the greatest designs. Anyway, I can't remember what pattern I used for the rest of the dress, just something from one of the issues of AS&E. I made a size 2.
My friend, Jerri, is moved back to Boise and we've worked together a couple of times. Yeah! I just love her to death. We went to lunch today and got to spend some time just chatting. Even though we now work together again, we have 7 years to make up for not being able to chat whenever we pleased. Being 1000's of miles from each other sure puts a cramp in your style. Email and phones do help loads, but it's just not the same as visiting face to face with one of your "bestest" friends. And we only live about 6 blocks from each other. I think we are kindred spirits. So I think I will dedicate this blog post to my friend Jerri! I love you tons my friend.
Happy smocking girls!

Friday, December 3, 2010

For Those Without Snow

Here's some snow for all you girls who don't have snow in your part of the country. I would gladly give it all to you. As you can tell by the first pic, the cat is the only one in my house who wants to go outside in the snow. You can see her cute little paw prints. The other pic is of my little car. The roads are not so nice to drive on.
My favorite season is spring with all the beautiful flowers, can't wait for us to get new fabrics in at Hancock's! So I am counting down the days until then and enduring the snow til then.
In the meantime, I'm still working on the samples for my classes I doing in the spring. I've finally finished the "Indiana" bishop. Isn't it just the most darling dress?! I'm so pleased with how this dress turned out. Time to get started on a bonnet for class.
Happy smocking everyone!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

First Snow of Winter

Brrrr! It has snowed most of the day here in Boise. Unlike some people I'm NOT a fan of winter, but I have to go thru it to get to my favorite season . . . . Spring! I'm not one for temperature extremes, hot or cold. We are supposed to be getting more snow tomorrow with 30 mph winds. In another month and a few days we will be setting out new spring fabrics at Hancocks. Enough about the weather, I'm sure to have more than I want to talk about over the next couple months. On to something better like . . . . smocking!
I've finished up the hem to my bishop for my class and will soon need to finish the neck binding. Alas the busy purchasing season is upon most people and we are sky high in fleece at the store! Good for the paycheck, but very bad for time smocking or sewing.
I'm going to need to purchase the fabric for my American Girl dress soon. It won't be difficul to stitch up this dress. It has no smocking, but has holiday written all over it! Just what every girl needs. If any get the catalog or look at the AG site, it's the red dress with the hat. And my friend's daughter, Kitty (short for Catherine) will be darling in it! Though like the past couple of dresses I've done for her, I'm going to have to rework a pattern a little to get it to look like the catalog dress.
Okay everyone, here's to all girls and their dollies! Happy stitching everyone!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Bishop For My Class

The past few days I've been smocking the sample bishop I'm going to use for one of my classes next spring. I've got all the smocking and embroidery done. I've been keeping track on how many hours it takes for each part. That will let me better assess how many sessions I think students will need. I've told the girls in my chat group I will posting lots of pics for a smock-a-long if they are so inclined. It will also help my students for when they are not in class and they want a little help. There are some who are nervous and just need a little extra "you can do it" kind of help. Which I'm great with. I say that they just need a little emotional support. Don't we all sometimes?
Anyway, I think everyone will love the finished product. I certainly am happy with the smocking and embroidery! The smock plate is "Indiana" from AS&E issue 92. I used batiste.
I can't wait for 93 to come out. The cover dress looks to be right up my alley. It's pink of course! Just my kind of thing.
My friend, Jerri, who has lived in Paducah, KY for the past about 7 yrs. is packing a uhaul and going to be moved back here to Boise next week! She also is going to start working at Hancocks again with me. It's great when you love the people you get to work with. All the girls I work with who've met her just adore Jerri. They can't wait for her to work with us. She's one of those ladies who you feel like you've known all your life after being around them for a short while.
Okay girls, I'm going to sew. I was going to sew on my bishop, but I want to get the dress done from two posts ago finished. I think the two girls will be getting xmas presents with the two dresses I'm sending out.
Happy smocking everyone!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Gonna Teach Classes

Sorry no pics this time. Haven't done much in the way of smocking or sewing. But I have done some planning on the classes I'm going to teach. I'll start with smocked socks, a bonnet class and a bishop. As this is not by any means smocking country in Idaho, I'm not going to have any students learn how to pleat, just the smocking and some embroidery.
For the bishop classs demo dress, I just finished getting a bishop ready to smock. I think I will do something similar to "Indiana" from AS&E issue 92, it's latest issue. Even though I love the double needle pintucks, I'm thinking about changing that to some shadow embroidery instead. Haven't decided exactly what the finished gown will look like. There are no rosebuds in the smocking, so I'm playing around with the idea of adding them.  I picked white batiste and will do the smocking in white with pink roses. I've just got to have my pink!
Since I want to start with classes in late February, I need to get my samples done for display. I think the finishing on a bishop is easy enough for a beginner to learn. The hem is a tucked hem. And I think I will do french side seams. Usually I just finish the sides on my serger, but I think french seams is a good "know how" for any sewer.
I have a close friend, Jerri,who had moved to Paducah, KY about 7 yrs ago. Well, she will be moving back right before Thanksgiving. Something to be very thankful for. She is an amazing quilter! I few years ago she won "Best of Show" in the St. Judes' quilt contest. Well, anyway, I love to brag on her and now Jerri has a grandbaby for me to lavish smocked clothes on.
Okay, I need to get smocking on this dress. Happy smocking girls!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Summer Garden Smocking

Yes, I know it's becoming winter for some girls out there, but this past week in Boise, ID has been the perfect fall weather. It's been in the low to mid 60's and sunny! I'd love to have this lovely of weather all year round. I'm not an outdoorsy kind of gal, but I certainly have nothing to complain about, except not enough time to smock and sew. Oh well, I guess we can't have everything.
Since my last post I've been working on a smocked bodice from Gail Doane's book 'Sew Cute Couture'. The name of the dress is Summer Garden. I absolutely adore everything in that book! As you can see I'm not quite finished with the embroidery. Where the rose buds are going to be embroidered I am going to use bicone crystals. I think every girl needs a little bling in her life, don't you? The skirt will be a stripe from Hancock Fabric in pink, purple and lime green and I think I am going to use an eyelet underskirt. Haven't decided just yet. This dress is kind of a work in progress. As to the differences in colors, the top pic was with a flash and the bottom one was w/o a flash. The top pic I'd say is a little closer to reality of te colors in the striped fabric. I think I will send a pic of the finished dress to Gail when I have it finished. If I was the designer I'd want to see what others come up with. I love seeing what customers are making when they come into my store. Since I always share with my projects with others that can snowball into so much fun for everyone.

I had a lady in Thursday who had found a couple pairs of really cute printed tights and then decided to make some dresses to go with the tights. She said she wasn't much of a sewer or coordinator of fabric prints/colors. Well, I was in design heaven. I didn't want to make things too complicated for her, so I showed her a couple of options for trims on one of the dresses and Wonder Tape to make putting in the zipper on one of the dresses a piece of cake. Me, I hate putting in zippers, much rather do buttons and buttonholes. Since I'm partial to old fashioned dresses, then zippers don't really fit with that. When I can't get out of doing a zipper, I always use Wonder Tape.
Okay, back to my story. She went home with an 'I can't wait to get started' kind of attitude. I love to inspire people to do just that! I suppose my enthusiasm rubs off on them, everyone wins.
The other day I bought Disney's Beauty & The Beast; love that movie. The movie is for me! Since I've said in the past that I make princess clothes, I love Disney princess movies. My faves are Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and of course, Beauty & The Beast. I have a wistful sigh at the end of those movies. The girl gets her handsome prince. What more could a girl want, except more time to smock maybe. What's your favorite princess?
Happy smocking everyone!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What's a Girl to do When . . . .

AS&E 72 "Autumn Gold" size 5
You feel the world closing in on you? Why take a few days off work and spend time with needle and thread of course. That's what I did this past weekend. And it's just what I needed. I tell you, smocking and sewing can save your sanity! It was 4 days of no work, although I really like my job at the fabric store. But sometimes us girls all need down time from a busy life. I'm sure all you will wholeheartedly agree with me. I had a customer tell me a few years ago that one trip to the psychiatrist is about $150 and of course they need to see you a couple times a week to start with. I'll go smock/sew thank you very much. I'm positive touching fabrics and picking out floss colors is much more therapeutic for us sewing ladies than sitting on a couch talking out our problems. Somehow pulling thread through each of the pleats just makes any problems seem not so bad.  Of course, after finishing a beautiful dress; stress is melted away. My little 4 days mini-vacation was just what the doctor ordered. I went back to work today with a new lease on working life without spending $150. Think how many yards of fabric, lace, floss, smock plates, etc. you could buy with that money. I know that therapy with a professional does many people lots of good, but I will stick with smocking and sewing.

Fabric is from Hancock Fabrics. When I sew the print, I knew just the dress I wanted to make.

I love stitching bullions!
Tonight I finished up most of the dress. I still need to do buttonholes and buttons. I will take needle and thread to work tomorrow and do buttonholes by hand. This dress is for a store manager at the West Jordan Hancock's. She has a bunch of girls, but the sizes for smocking cute dresses will be worn by the youngest two. A five year old and a dress I haven't finished yet for a 2 1/2 year old. The next one has a lavender bodice and a striped skirt in hot pink, lavender and a little lime green. Smocking is about 1/2 done.
A lady I had made a couple of dresses for called me today at the store and told me how wonderful the dresses were. She says she almost drove off the road because she couldn't quit looking at them. She even took them with her to share with a friend she was going to visit. The granddaughters will get to have them Thursday. That's when they come to visit gramma. I told her I had lots of fun making them. Now if I can just get a couple of pics to post.
One of the girls I work with said she would have looked at the fabric and just pasted it by. I was unpacking freight and didn't even let is get put away before I got some cut for this dress. Sometimes you find a fabric that just screams for you to stitch it up. I really like the challenge of using prints to makes my dresses. Seeing what combination of floss colors, fabric choice and smock plate can make.
About a week ago my mom was watching the local news and they do a human interest story every Wednesday evening about someone who is making a difference in the community for those less fortunate. This time is was about a lady who runs a shop for expecting teen moms and those teen moms raising there babies. The shop is attached to the school that houses 40 teen mommies right now. Three gave birth just last week. They take clothes and other baby items up to 4T. Well, I now have a place I can give me creations to and I know they will be worn. My heart went out to those girls. They get points for good grades and attendance. Then they can redeem the points in the store for their baby/child. I'd love to see my clothes on a baby/little one sometime. I'd have to go introduce myself. Well, I'm off to work on the next project. Hopefully it won't be so long between posts this time. Happy stitching everyone!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Summer Blooms

Here's the other dress I just finished about 30 minutes ago. Isn't it sweet?! It's from a cotton print my mom gave me a couple months ago. She said she didn't really like it anymore. Well, I've been eye-balling it for a couple of years now. It was crying out of this design. I made it for a customer at work who I've become friends with over the years. I showed her this when it was just a dress front along with the dress from the previous post and she wanted to take them home immediately!
Pattern and plate are from AS&E issue 87 page 38, I made size 4. I stitched the buttonholes today at work on my lunchbreak by hand. After doing the sew-a-long with Jeannie, buttonholes by hand are not hard to do at all.  And it's a little tough to haul my very heavy old Kenmore machine with my to work.
I hope this lady comes into the store tomorrow, because I'm dieing to give her the completed dresses. I might have to give her a call anyway. She is a very lovely person, but very loaded down with responsibilities taking care of her husband who has alzeimers. He's still in the beginning stages, but things are difficult for her. So I thought she could use some TLC. Both granddaughters fave color is pink, but the dresses had to be different.
I read the funniest thing today. It was a saying for knitting, but I'm going to put smocking in place of knitting. Here's what I read: If smocking were a drug, I'd be in rehab! I think that about says it all.

Happy smocking everyone!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Have You Ever Thought?

Have you ever thought after sewing up a dress "this is my favorite" only to turn around a few weeks later and say that about another one? I don't know about you, but I do that often. Sometimes, everthing just comes together right and the dress turns out wonderful. Some others . . . . not so much. But I think this dress is one of my favorites.
The fabric is from a local quilt shop here in Boise, ID; The Quilt Crossing. I've been in enough and shared my smocked garments that some of the girls know who I am. Not necessarily by name, but I've had some of them ask: "Aren't you the one who does the smocking?" I always answer happily, "Yes, I am! Want to see what I want to work on next?" Of course, they say yes. I love going into an establishment and having people know what I like and what I represent. Makes a person feel like they belong.
Anyway, the dress is out of AS&E issue 72, page 22 entitled "Coconut Ice". I changed the collar and cuff design a little. The original has madeira applique. Since I don't have a pinstitch (applique stitch) on my sewing machine, it's a little hard to make is come out the way I want it to. So I did some feather stitching instead. Inside the rosebuds I used swarovski crystals. Girls gotta have bling! I spent Friday stitching up the dress, then I went to smock night at my store. Unfortunately, nobody showed up. But that's not the point, I'm there incase anyone wants to come and play.
Last week I finished the smocking on "Summer Blooms", issue 87 from AS&E. My mom gave me a pink print that she decided she didn't want. I've been eye-balling it for the last year, but didn't say anything. Well, she asked me if I wanted it a couple weeks ago and of course I HAD to say yes. Today she offered me a piece of orange print, but I told her she should know better than offer me an orange print. I'm sorry to offend any who love orange, but I can't stand it. I'm a pink girl all the way. If you adore pink like I do, then you are a girl after my own heart!
Just received my copy of issue 92 of AS&E and there is a baby bishop I'm dieing to smock! On the front cover is a peasant top for teen's that is smocked only using feather stitching. Any who have read the Old Fashioned Baby blog know Jeannie loves feather stitching.  I haven't used this stitch in any of my smocking yet, but maybe one of these years I will do a project with it.
I need to get another piece of fabric pleated for smocking. Can't ever be without something to smock. I did purchase a piece that I'm going to use for "Hearts and Flowers" from issue 87.  One of these days I need to get back to my monkeys and get that sewn up. So little time! Happy smocking everyone!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Victoria in Her Dress

Victoria and her gramma, Bonnie, came and got her dress. You should have seen her. She made a feeble attempt at not wanting to show everyone her dress, but we didn't believe her. And I said that every dress I give her, she has to model for everyone. Even the customers got in on it. She looks so darling in her dress.
Earlier in the day I had a customer ask if I sell my stuff and I said no. I make them and give them to little girls. She looked at me like I had grew horns or something. I get more happiness out of giving the princess clothes away than if I got paid. If someone insists I take money I will let them give me something for it. But I'd rather it was a gift. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a happy little girl is worth a million dollars.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Princess Bling Galore!

Victoria's dress is done. And let me tell you, it's alot of dress. With lining, dress fabric, and 2 layers of tulle over the top. Kind of makes me tired thinking about it. I don't normally do a dress with this many layers, but when this little girl puts this dress; it will all be worth it. I'll post a pic when I get one. Bonnie is going to bring her granddaughter into the store tomorrow evening and we will do fashion show. That will fun! Bonnie had told me yesterday when she saw the dress mostly finished that Victoria will want to wear it on Friday for picture day (picture a happy me) instead of the sundress she had made her a couple of weeks ago. I can't help puffing up with pride. I make all my dresses with loads of love.
I did have a pic of the hem, but the pic turned out really fuzzy, so I dumped it. Same with a close up of the smocking. I need to get a manequin to put my dresses on for pictures. Hmmm . . . maybe that's some good to go look for.
Today, I have been at Hancock Fabrics for 9 years. Doesn't seem that long to me. I guess the old saying of time flies when you're having fun is true. Most days I really like my job. In the spring I'm gonig to teach smocking, I'm thinking of a one evening class of smocked socks, I love those. Then probably a bonnet, after that a dress, can't decide between a bodice dress or a bishop.  I started with a bodice dress, because pleating a bishop intimidated me. Didn't pleat anything bishop until 1 1/2 years ago, then I did an angel top for a 4 yr old. Got over my trepidation after it turned out so nice.
Okay, now I'm gonig to work on my surf monkey romper. Can't say how soon I will get that one done. Hopefully it won't take too long. I'm anxious to get started on some xmas dresses. Especially one with snowflakes on it. I love changes of fabric prints as the seasons change, but I don't love the extremes in temperature. I'd be perfectly happy with it staying around 65 to 70 all year round, but hold the humidity please.
Ok, I'm off and sewing again. Maybe I will take time and pleast up a dress front with the snowflakes on it. Can't go too long without smocking somthing you know. Happy stitching girls!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Wish I Had More Time to Sew

I have so many projects I want to work on, but at work we are now into the busy retail season. Everyone is either making Halloween costumes are they are working on xmas gifts. BUSY, BUSY, BUSY! So busy in fact that I've only been able to sew one day this week. I'm afraid with extra hours at work me only time sewing will be on my days off.
I did get my daygown all finished including rinsing out the blue marker for the embroidery stitching, doing a final pressing. I wasn't too thrilled with the hem at first, but after getting it all pressed, I'm satisfied with the results. The scalloped trim is crocheted. I really hope Jeannie B does another sew-a-long, I will be involved. It was so much fun reading everyone's comments and of course doing all the hand sewing. She has inspired with this sew-a-long to start a smocking class in the spring. So in the back of my mind, I have been thinking what exactly I want to do with my classes.
My cover issue dress is have finished. Now I just need time to sew sleeves, hems and buttons. I've shown the smocking to the little girl, Victoria, who is getting the dress when it's done and she loves it. In my area there is a place that does princess tea parties at a replica of a castle; as well as weddings/receptions. Well, I met the guy who owns it and he says they are going to do a tea party next month. All the little girls dress up in princess dresses. At the castle Snow White answers the door. About halfway through the party, Prince Charming rings the door bell and all the "princesses" get to try on the glass slipper. Of course, none of the little girls fit the slipper and then Cinderella descends the staircase and there is happily ever after. "sigh" I so want to be a princess. The owner says that all the moms and grammas dress as princesses also. I would like to get this cover dress done and borrow Victoria so I have an excuse to go to this princess party. If anyone wants to see what this castle looks like, here's the link:

Maybe with all the crazy buzy time at work, I will have to do another hand-stitched baby gown. Hmmm.
Well, I will always have some smocking project going. Hopefully with my next post I'll have a princess dress done! Happy stitching everyone.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Hippity Hop

                               Pattern from the book "Sew Cute Couture" by Gail Doane
                                    Smock plate is "Bunny Lace" from Pat Garretson
I just finished a bunny dress. I'm fairly happy with it. I've had a hard time feeling like being at the sewing machine the past couple of weeks. Kind of tired and I wasn't any more energized when I sat down at the sewing machine after work today. But somehow sitting at the machine and sewing my mood changed and now I feel so much better. Of course, now I'm sharing with all of you and I love doing show-n-tell! So that brings out the sunshine in me so much more.
I love Gail Doane's book! I would love to do every dress and jacket in there. She just put up some new pics of two new dresses on her blog. I adore the white dress with the purple beads. Here's the link if you want to check it out.
I finished the pleating on my lavender dress with the overlay of tulle. I was a little nervous at first to put it through the pleater, but I went slow and unloaded the needles about every 6-8 pleats. Now I'm about 1/2 done with the smocking. I always seem to have so many dress fronts all smocked up and ready to be sewn into a finished garments. I'd have to say it's much easier when you've had a long or rough day to just pick up smocking or embroidery than it is to go to my sewing machine. Handwork helps me to de-stress.
I belong to a yahoo chat group "Learning to Smock" and had one of the nicest emails from one of the girls in the group. So Marcia, if you are reading this post, here's a shout to you. THANK YOU!
I've already said thanks earlier to her, but I thought it deserved repeating. Here's wishing everyone a few hours of lovely stitching time to destress.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Lots to do Today

I was thinking of everything I need to do today and it's going to crowd into my sewing time. Here's my list of stuff to do today:
Grocery shopping (rather be sewing)
Take Rachelle to renew license (rather be sewing)
Go buy more bling for new dress front (ok since it has to do with sewing)
Add items to my Etsy page for sale (for my go to 2011 SAGA convention)

Maybe I can get away with minimal groceries. Hmm . . . . mabybe not. Don't think I better skip that, gotta eat sometimes.
We got the next lesson in Jeannie Baumeister's Sew-A-Long. Stitching side seams and attaching lace to entredeux. I'm going to do a crocheted trim on my daygown. I've done that once before on a dress and it turned out beautiful. Since I chose to do my gown in cotton sateen, I need a little heavier trim; so the crocheted trim should go nicely with it. As you can see from the pics I will have to rinse out the soluble pen lines. I'm been having lots of fun with the sewalong. I hope Jeannie does another one. I will definitely be part of it. I just love her stuff.
The past week I've been working on hand-basting 2 layers of tulle to a layer of dull satin for a dress for a granddaughter of a lady I work with. The dress is lavender with sparkle tulle overlays. It's the dress from the front cover of AS&E issue 90.
Don't know if I will get time to stitch together my Surf Monkey romper today. I also need to finish up a size 3 bishop with bunnies smocked into it. I always have more projects going that I know what to do with. At least I'm not board!
I ordered some patterns from Fairytale Frocks and Lollipops this morning. They are from Olabelhe and you can download them and start sewing right away. Less expensive than patterns you have to ship and I saved a copy on my computer. I only printed off the actual pattern pieces. I think look at instructions later if I have a any questions. The patterns are simple enough for beginners, though they would need to print the instructions also. I think the patterns from Olabelhe are so darling. Can't wait to make some hats. Maybe I can smock some. Hmmm . . . . have to see about that one.
Oh, anyone whose interested, on SewNSo blog, Laurie is doing lessons on a smocked bishop and I just read that Lesson 2 is up. She is doing the lessons on video. That's great for all the new smockers and she gives tips for some of us that are experienced. Well, I better get my errands done so I can have a date with my sewing machine. Happy smocking everyone!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Surf Monkeys

Smock plate is "Sock Monkeys" from Little Memories
Last Sunday I had some how hurt my ankle (have no idea how), great excuse to do some smocking, like I need any. Just after the Fair I went to a local quilt shop, The Quilt Crossing, and found the cutest surfing monkeys. After seeing that fabric, nothing else was speaking to me, so I just had to get some. It goes perfectly with the smocked insert in the pic don't you think? The smock plate originally had 2 monkeys, but I think for a baby romper, which this is going to be, would be too much. Don't want to overwhelm the baby. I spent most of Sunday stitching and finished up the monkey. Backsmocking was done the previous week on my lunch break at work.
Since I have no time with the sewing machine this week, I got started on hand-basting 2 layers of orchid tulle atop lavender dull satin, both purchased at Hancock Fabrics, where I work. Originally I was going to do the dress up in crystal blue from the same line of fabric, but we were out of one of the fabrics. My inspiration dress is the one on the cover of AS&G issue 90. I love that dress! The pattern calls for rayon floss, but I love using silk floss. There's nothing like the luster on silk. I already have the crystals I need for the beadwork, so all I have to do is finish the hand-basting.
As you all know, I've been part of Jeannie Baumeister's Sew-A-Long. Today we get to do the embroidery on the daygown. YEAH! That's my favorite part of this whole project. Not to say that the rest of it hasn't been a learning experience. I've always done hems, stitched on buttons, finished the self lining on my smocked dresses by hand. So I feel a little more knowledgeable. What I should get is a french hand sewing book. Hmmm . . . . well, Ebay and Amazon would be a good idea I think. Okay, now to go embroider. Happy stitching everyone.

Friday, August 20, 2010

My Ribbons!

Today was the first day of the Fair and I just happened to have the day off. I didn't ask for it off, I have a nice boss. Okay, here's my listing of fair ribbons:
2 - second place
5 - first place
1 - Best of Show

I'm quite happy and excited over the Best of Show. Seven out of eight items placed, I didn't expect it to place, I just wanted to share with all the fair goers what I made. Isn't that supposed to be the reason we enter things in the fair anyway, to share with others, not just to win ribbons? I think if everyone were to keep that kind of perspective, they would not be dissappointed or angry. I would never argue over judgement. I don't want to be a judge, that's too much pressure for me!
I did have one of the ladies working at the fair who said she might nominate me to be a judge next year, but I said please don't. I think that's a nice thougt, but I really don't feel I could. People put there hearts into those projects and I would feel like I was dashing their hopes. That would be a terrible feeling. I don't consider myself an expert sewer, most all of my experience is self taught, with the help of sewing magazines, books and sewing shows. If you read anything in Sew Beautiful or by Country Bumpkin (A - Z books and Australian Smocking and Embroidery) you wil improve your techniques a ton!

Friday, August 13, 2010

I'm Project Crazy!

Here is one of my creations I'm putting into the fair, only a few more days left. Turn in day is Tuesday. I used the smock plate from issue 90 of AS&E, The Garden Party;  with a little bit of a change. The dress pattern was from the same issue only I used Indigo Child. The collar was from any size 7 dress you want. I had to lengthen the dress to a size 8. The fabric is a cotton print from Hancock Fabrics from clearance. The collar was out of Dull Satin also from Hancock's and the ties (although you can't see them) are out of Shiny Organdy, both in the BFF line. I think I will but this in the "Party Dress" category in the fair. It's not as fluffy as last year's "Fluff Dress", but I had fun making it.
Opps, forgot to add the bit about the daygown. As you all know, I've been part of Jeannie Baumeister's blog sew along. I'm having loads of fun hand stitching the baby daygown. We are using Jeannie's Old Fashioned Baby pattern, Embroidered Raglan Daygowns. The pic shows the back of the gown. Since I am kind of on a time crunch this week, I decided to finish the shoulder seams on the serger. Everything else is hand sewn, even the buttonholes. I did those late last night. I can't wait to move on to the embroidery. The fabric is cotton satteen in baby blue. I'm going to use white floss for the embroidery. I had thought hand stitching the entire thing would have been harder than it is, but that just goes to show that we sometimes make things to complicated. The instructions Jeannie has are very easy to follow. Well, I've got to get back to sewing. My next project and maybe the last one for the fair is an ensemble of gathered waist jumper (with picture smocked scotties), white blouse and a hot pink chenille jacket. I feel like I'm off to the races! Happy stitching everyone.