Sunday, December 18, 2011

So Much to Share

AS&E "Autumn Gold" size 6

I have lots and lots of pics to share with everyone and some very awesome news to share. But that will have to wait until the end of this post. (And don't you dare speed ahead and look)

I can't remember what issue "Autumn Gold" is from, but if you go on the Country Bumpkin website, they most issues, designers, etc listed.

Here's a dress I've done many times, it's one of my faves. It's from Gail Doane's book, Sew Cute Couture also published by Country Bumpkin. Please excuse my not ironing before taking pics.

If you've seen other designs from Gail Doane, you'll agree she's one of the best out there. Course, in the world of smocking, there are many, many talented ladies who tirelessly share their wonderful creations with us.

This dress is also a size 6

This dress is from issue 139, 2011 of Sew Beautiful. I used the Baubles & Glister smock plate by Laurie Anderson. She's another wonderfully, creative lady who is generous. She has great tutorials on her blog.

(Did you race ahead to see what my surprise is?) Okay, I won't keep all you followers and friends in suspense any longer. In last week's newsletter from Country Bumpkin, this little blog got a mention. Here's the exact words they sent out:

An honourable mention of Jan's Smocking I feel is also needed.  I noticed a number of our AS&E garments showcased on her blog and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to acknowledge what a

wonderful job she has done.

As you can see I'm pleased as punch with those absolutely awesome ladies at Country Bumpkin. I endorse anything they put out as the best you can find for smocking and embroidery. Country Bumpkin rocks. They've given me some new followers and I hope all you new ladies will enjoy all my new projects in the coming year. Happy smocking everyone!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Baby Challenge Dress

Didn't this dress turn out so sweet? I used it as therapy after our kitty passed away. Smocking and embroidery certainly do a great job of that. Well, anything we can do with our hands.

Dress is "Mignonette" from AS&E 89. I made a 6 mos. size. I used poly/cotton batiste from Hancock Fabrics. Smocking and embroidery is DMC floss. You'll notice that the bodice is a "T" and it was not so nice to put in. Should have done a little more handwork on that part.

Love the shadow work bows.

Here's a pic of the inside. I don't usually show a pic of that, but I thought it was a good idea to share that every once in a while. I've had a few people ask who I'm going to give it to, but I don't have any idea. Maybe it will just be something that goes in my stash of baby items. Haven't decided yet. The issue I got this dress out of is one of my faves. There is a great tutorial in it on crocheted lace edging. I have the next 2 days off work and a couple of other smocked dresses to work on. Sounds like a plan for fun, fun, fun to me! Happy smocking everyone!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Little Miss Cutey

Look at this little girl. Isn't she absolutely the cutest thing in my prize winning dress! My friend's granddaughter didn't quite fit into the dress (I'm now making the next size up for the granddaughter), so she decided to look around at church for someone who would fit into the dress. She made a great choice of princess.
The next item I need to get finished is my baby dress I'm making for a Facebook challenge at Adorable Heirlooms. Maybe I will win this time. Laurie does a new challenge each month. If you haven't gotten involved in one yet, I saw take the plunge. It's lots of fun and there are some great prizes. Here's a sneak peak of the smocking on the dress. I'm using an old issue of AS&E for the baby dress.

I was going to buy buttons today, but phooey I forgot. Gotta try to remember to get them tomorrow. The bodice had a "T" yoke on it and I'm not very happy with how it went together. But I know I'm my own worst critic, so I'll just have to be happy with the results, which aren't all that bad. It's just when the smocking and embroidery come together so easily for me, it's hard to not be judgemental on something else that's not going as I would wish. I'll just have to get over it and move on.

I'm feeling much better now, thank's everyone for your kind comments.
Happy smocking!

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Sad Note

I haven't been to busy with anything for the past week. On Sunday November 13th at 9:45pm our kitty passed away. She was very much loved and will be sorely missed. She was 14 years old and lived a life any cat would have loved. I thought my daughter would be the most upset on her passing, but instead it's me who's cried the most. Rachelle sat by our kitty (I just couldn't) and petted her. I on the other hand sat in my room and cried my eyes out. Rachelle was very worried over me and asked my mom if I was okay. I have the best daughter anyone could hope to ask for.
I am on the mend emotionally, but I still have tough times. How long does it take to feel sort of normal again? I'll just have to let myself grieve over our little cat.

I have taken up my needle and worded on my smocking and embroidery for comfort. It's amazing how much. I hopefully will be back to my old self soon.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Another Xmas Dress

Pattern from Ellie Inspired "Alouette" size 7. I had to size the pattern up from size 5. If you haven't checked out any of Laura's patterns, go to her website and blog. She's an amazing designer!

I used red cotton sateen, tulle and organza from Hancock Fabrics. If I could do anything different I would have put French Fuse on the back of the bodice fabric before pleating. Oh well, live and learn. Cotton sateen goes through the pleater super easy and stitches up like a dream! If you haven't tried using it yet, go, buy, stitch!

Sorry the pic is so orange, I forgot to put the flash on for this one. The dress is really the color of the previous two pics.

This is a costume I stitched up for a customer who came into the store where I work. She is a novice sewer and was not going to be able to finish it before her daugher was going to wear it for Halloween.

Daughter and friends decided to be the Ingalls' girls for Halloween. How cute is that?! Doesn't she make the cutest "Carrie Ingalls"?!
Well, my next project is a baby challenge on Facebook for Adorable Heirlooms. I'm going to use "Mignonette" issue 89 from AS&E.
Till next time, happy smocking everyone!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Outfit For October Challenge

Here's my outfit all finished for the Facebook Challenge on Adorable Heirlooms. I think it turned out pretty cute considering I wasn't sure what I was going to do with the fabric in the first place. I read there are only 4 people involved in this challenge. At least that's how many emailed in a pic of fabric they chose. Everyone else is just going to do the voting I guess. Do you think it's wrong to vote for my own project? I won't make up my mind yet, as I have not seen the other projects yet.

I used "Kewpie" from issue 93 of AS&E in size 6 mos.

Here's the little bloomers to go with. Aren't they cute? No ugly diapers showing with the baby who wears this outfit.

And this is what both pieces look like together.
I had a girl I used to work with email the yesterday and ask if I would be willing to smock her matching dresses for her 18 mos old and 4 year old nieces. Well, I said anything for a good friend like you. Now I wonder what she is going to pick out. She did say she wanted to pay me, but I said I will do the dresses for the cost of the supplies and whatever else she wants to give me is up to her.
Happy smocking everyone!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Alice Blue pattern

Here's my news I wanted to share with everyone. I'm so excited to share this with everyone! I can't even tell you how much. My dress is on the front cover of the pattern sleeve. There's going to be a kit available at Fine Stitchery. And the designer of the pattern is the wonderful and talented Laura Johnson with her darling daughter, Ellie modeling the dress. Isn't she just the cutest kid?! There are more pics, some close ups on Laura's blog. I hope to one day do more testing for Laura. She has some really great ideas in the creative mind of hers!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

From Gail Doane's Book

The fabric I got a couple weeks ago at Craft Warehouse. It's "Willow" Fleur - C 4794 from Timeless Treasures. Since it's a tone on tone, it makes a great canvas for smocking and embroidery. I usually don't have to worry about fabric fighting with my smock plate. This top pic is more true to color.

If you want to use the same smock plate, it's "Summer Garden" from Gail Doane's book "Sew Cute Couture" also named "Cute As a Button". I've used this plate a few times and it always turns out great! You can look back to my December 6, 2010 post and see another dress I stitched up. And just a couple months ago at this year's fair a lady used the same pattern for a smocked dress she made. And I did use crystals as flower centers and the rosebuds on the vine. I love using crystals, they add the right amount of bling to a princess dress.
And using Gail Doane's book, well I've said before I LOVE THIS BOOK. I do, absolutely love it. I now think the next thing to work on is the collar, cuffs and belt. I've got lots more embroidery and I am going to finish the sleeves and collar with faggoting insertion. At least that's the plan at this point. I'm also planning on attaching a border along the hem out of the same fabric as the collar, which at this point I'm thinking of using my favorite white sateen. But as you know, when designing a dress, all your thought out plans can change at the drop of a hat. And I may even make a jacket to go with the dress. Happy smocking everyone!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

October Challenge on Facebook

I just found out what the new challenge for October. Laurie at Adorable Heirlooms has posted the rules for the challenge. If you want to be involved go to the discussion tab and post. One of the rules is to find an "ugly" piece, new or stash. I picked a piece out of my stash. I wouldn't say it's ugly, I don't buy ugly fabric. Yah, now I can hear everyone laughing. Well, I don't know what to do with the piece. And I will have to wait til later to know what we are supposed to make with it. Anyway, here's what my fabric looks like.

Exciting News!

I can't tell you yet, but I have some exciting news coming soon about the dress I tested for Ellie Inspired. I bustin' to spill the beans, but I'm holding myself back. I will be able to tell you are more like show you on Oct 8. So everyone will just have to sit tight until then. Me especially!

Happy smocking everyone!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Dress Finished!

I strapped myself to my sewing machine this morning and sewed like a dog to get the tester pattern done. It was fun be on the ground floor of a design. I wouldn't mind being involved with another one. But maybe I should wait awhile. The sewing season at Hancock's is in high gear. So we are busier now, it seems like back to school happens and then everyone is in a rush of costumes, Thanksgiving and Christmas all at once. But then again, smocking and sewing is a stress reliever if I ever saw one. The store manager is back at work about 80%. I'm so thankful she's able to be back at work. I don't think I was cut out to be a store manager. At least, not of a chain store. Maybe of my own store would be easier or would that be just another set of problems. Hmmm. . . .

You can see in this pic how lustrous the satin batiste is! I did a little embroidery on the cuff to tie it into the collar.

Here's what my version of the hem looks like. There was embroidery I could have put just above the top most tuck, but chose to put on lace instead. Check out Fine Stitchery for fabric and lace. And she will soon have pattern and/or kit for this dress.
Well, you may think I'm crazy, but I pleated up a dress front for another dress. This one is for my friend Leola. I'm using Gail Doane's book again. I love that book!
Happy smocking everyone!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Collar for Pattern Testing

Isn't the collar lovely?! I love it. The embroidery doesn't exactly match the embroidery on the pattern I'm testing for Ellie Inspired, but Laura does want it to be a little individual. I love the satin batiste, again as with the previous post, it's a dream to stitch on. And don't you just love the luster of it?!
Well, tonight I will be a little more sewing on the dress. I need to attach the bodice lining and sash ties. I decided to use satin ribbon. My daughter never liked fabric ties as they made her back hurt when we went to church and sat down. I had never thought about that when making her dresses, but she is right the know on the bow would make my back hurt. I figured a little princess should not be complaining her dress hurts her to wear it. After all, I want a little girl to wear the dress. So no more big knots on the back of dresses. I will use ribbon or organza. Organza gives you a nice giant bow, but without the huge knot in the back. Well, onto the sewing machine.
Happy smocking everyone!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Pattern Testing

I finished the smocking on the tester pattern for Ellie Inspired. If you like in the pic, you'd love it in person. The pic just does not do the crystals justice. Not one bit. I'm thinking of stitching some bullion roses in the hearts at the bottom, but first I'm going to work on the embroidery on the collar. I'll know more of the direction I want to go after that. I'm pretty pleased with the dress so far.
The fabric is from It's satin batiste, isn't it beautiful fabric?! It's a dream to stitch on and I did fuse French Fuse the the back to plump up the pleats. I used silk floss from Splendor #S995 and the white floss is DMC B5200. Oh, I can't forget the swarofski crystals I think every girls gotta have some bling, esp. the little princesses we sew for. Okay, now on to the collar.
Happy smocking everyone.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Stash Challenge Dress

Finally finished my dress. I stitched the buttonholes by hand while I was watching Hallmark Channel tonight. Got my fabric in the mail today for the pattern testing dress I'm going to do for an Ellie Inspired pattern to be. I'm going to use a satin batiste. It's wonderfully soft fabric in the palest shade of baby pink. Yum!
Tomorrow is going to be a very busy day for me. I've got to go into work for a couple of hours and work on unpacking some freight. Our freight truck is coming Monday afternoon. I also have a dress front to pleat up for a customer to make an blessing dress and trace off a pattern for her. Then I need to pleat up a dress front for me to work on in my new fabric. I think I'm going to use silk floss for the smocking. I'm sure it will look wonderful with the satin batiste.
Happy smocking everyone!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

For the Stash Challenge

I've had the smocking finished for a couple of days, but hadn't had time to take a pic. Usually I don't use a flash when taking pics, but I had to on this one. The pic w/o a flash was way too orange, yuck. I don't do orange anything.

My inspiration was "Angel" issue 88 AS&E and fabric is from Hancock Fabrics.  One of these days I will smock up a match to the original dress in the magazine. I did change the smock plate some. In the past I've mixed cottons and organza and the dresses have turned out lovely. But I couldn't find any ribbon, organza, satin, velvet, nothing except solid poly/cotton broadcloth that I was happy with on the color. Such is life when designing a dress. I used one strand red metallic floss and one strand cotton floss for the smocking. And an xmas dress just has to have bling, so I stitched in beads. I'm thinking of using some gold lame piping for an added zing. But I may change my mind later. Sometimes what we envision and what reality holds are on opposite ends of the spectrum.
Hopefully I will get to sew this dress up tomorrow. The store manager is on a leave of absence right now. So I'm kind of playing boss. Gotta keep sewing to keep myself grounded.
Happy smocking everyone!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Picture to Share

Gramma to girls asked I not share girls faces, so out of respect for her and concern for kids safety, I'm not posting that part of the pic. But I think the girls dresses turned out great and I think the girls both love their dresses. I love giving gifts to cute girls like these.
I've had a cold to deal with this last week. Don't you just hate a summer cold. Miserable if you ask me. The next thing I'm working on is testing for Laura over at Ellie Inspired. I've chose to make the dress out of sateen and it's going to be beautiful just you wait. Well, I'm off to the grocery store. Happy smocking everyone!

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Surprise For Me

Today after work when I picked up my stuff from the Fair; I had 3 notecards waiting for me! Two people want to purchase dresses I made. They may not like the price I'm going to quote them. Most don't realize how much time is spent on hand work items. Well, we'll see if what their reaction is to it.
The other is a lady who wants to learn how to smock. She has a pleater, but says that the needle keep falling out. I'm almost 100% sure what the problem is. I helped a lady last week with her pleater. She didn't have the needles sitting in the groove, so of course they kept falling out. :)  I'm sure this is the same problem.
I'm all signed up and ready to be involved with the Stash Challenge on FB with Adorable Heirlooms. I think it will lots of fun. I hope she posts the things that people make so we can all ooh and ahh over them. Or maybe she will just post the two winners. Something to look forward to seeing.
Happy smocking everyone!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Stash Challenge

On Facebook, Adorable Heirlooms, is having a stash challenge. There are a few rules. I'm going to be in on it. And she is going to have a surprise prize. I asked, but she wants to surpries us. I'm going to smock something I think. Maybe I better ask if there is any stipulation on that. Oh, glad I thought of that. I better go ask. If you are on FB, go on her page, click "Like" and then click on "Discussions". Well, I should get myself over to FB and ask my question. Happy smocking!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My Friend From the Bank

Don't these girls look so darling in their dresses! Remember I wasn't thrilled with how the baby's dress sleeves turned out. Well, it's looks much, much better on a little girl than hanging on a hanger. Which just goes to show that your creations should definitely be worn by a child and hanging in the closet. I'm thinking I will be making more dresses for these little angels and I think I need to make something fit for a prince. Maybe something with puppies. Hmmm, well now I have to go do some looking. I've started on some stuff for christmas. And I have to say a huge "THANK YOU" to the kids gramma, Janice, my friend from the bank.
Happy smocking everyone.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Other Things at the Fair

First of all, I have to tell you that none of these items you are going to see are made by me. Other very talented people made these items.

This smocked dress was made by a lady I don't know. Well, I should say, I don't know her yet. I did ask for a note card to be put with one of her items so she can get a hold of me. I'd so love to talk smocking with her!
The baby doll was made by a lady who lives just a few blocks down the road from me. Doesn't she do the most amazing job. And yes she did smock the baby's romper.

Same lady who stitch the previous dress and the one below. I think she's very, very good.

This quilt was made by my friend, Jerri. Remember she was the one who used to live in Paducah. She won first place. Go Jerri!

Here's another quilt she made and it won third place. She doen the most amazing work with her quilts! I can't say that enough!

I don't know the person who stitched up this parasol lady, but I just had to share this with everyone.  Well, I'm going to get busy on an xmas dress. For who, I have no idea. But I need to get smocking on a new project. I'm starting to have withdrawals from smocking. It will have beads and it will be red. That's all I'm going to say right now. Have to keep you guessing. Happy smocking everyone!

Friday, August 19, 2011

What I Won at the Fair

This wonderful dress won "Best of Division" Special Occasion, Smocking class.

The ensemble won 1st place Children's Casual Apparel, Ensemble class.

Christening gown won 1st place Special Occasion, Christening Gown class.

This won 1st place, Doll Clothes & Stuffed Toys, Doll Clothing class.

2nd place Embroidery & Crewel, any item class.

Doily won 3rd place in Crochet, Thread Doily over 17". (guess I'm not a one trick pony)

Out of everything I entered the two that surprised me the most was the doll dress and the doily, esp. the doily. I really didn't expect anything ribbon to be on it at all. I was kind of shocked really. But I guess that goes to show you can't second guess yourself or downplay your talents.
Over the next couple of days I will post more pics from this year's fair. There was another lady who put in a bunch of smocked dresses. So she was my competition and I have to say she's VERY good. I put a note on one of her dresses to have her contact me and I'm hoping we can get together some time and talk smocking; my favorite thing to talk about! This lady also won a "Best of Division" with one of her smocked dresses, but I think she entered it in the casual dress class. The funny thing is, I made the same dress at one time :).
All in all I wasn't surprised about my best of division rosette. If my attitude doesn't seem humble, I believe you should toot your own horn once in a while. I don't think it hurts to tell yourself you did good. One of the volunteers asked if I sell my stuff and I said sometimes. I also met one of the new superintendents. She was very nice, but said she was a bit overwhelmed taking over the Home Arts Dept. The other two ladies retired after many, many years. She said the retiring ladies made it much less stressful for them. That's great I think. This lady has been involved with Home Arts for 20 years. But I have to say, I wouldn't want the responsibility of it. So I admire those who can. And all the ladies who helped stage the whole dept. They did that all yesterday and they were back at the fair today for opening day. My hats off to them! Happy smocking everyone!