Monday, August 27, 2012

What Do I Name This Post?

Anyone else get tired of picking names for their blog posts? I know I do. I'm not a writer, I'm a smocker and a sewist. Anyway, on to smocking.
Here's some pics of one of my fair entries. I made this dress for my friend, Sivje, to give to Princess Ahnalin.
Here's a close-up of the smocking and you can see the crystals I added in. I used a smock plate from issue 26 "Titania". I had wanted there to be puffing in between the rows of smocking, but didn't add extra rows between. It still turned out beautiful.
Sorry the sash is wonky. I had just got home from collecting my items from the fair, but I wanted to post some pics for you. Fabric is from Hancocks. And I did use any AS&E pattern.

This is a little jacket to go with a dress. I tea-stained the white fabric using P&G Tips tea. I think I should have photographed it with a white hanger.
 I am going to brag on myself a little bit. Here's a pic with all my ribbons and plaques. This is the first year the fair has had a wooden plaque made to give to recipient. Past years it's just been a piece of printed cardstock. The plaque is the "Clothing and Textile Award". The purple ribbon goes with it.
I'm pretty happy with myself. As you can see off to the left side of this pic, I'm already to smocking another dress. I'm going to stitch the cover dress from issue 99. It's such a sweet dress!
Happy smocking!

Monday, August 20, 2012


First of all, I have to say thank you to everyone who left such sweet, lovely comments on my last post. I appreciate every one of them. You are a kind bunch of gals! Here's what I finished today to share with all of you.

Yes there is another hanger in the pic just behind the Cinderella dress. The first set of pics I took looked blurry. This didn't turn out so bad, but I realize I forgot to remove the other hanger.
I can't remember what pattern out of AS&E that I used, but you can use any that fits the princess you are sewing for. Just remember to add in seam allowances above and below the insert and also on the front bodice. I can see that my collar isn't as perfect as I want it to be. But I think I'm the only one who is going to care about that.

I think next time I should use a different collar, but since this dress is going to be for dress up, it doesn't matter as much. I went to get buttons this evening and chatted with my friend who's getting the dress for her daughter. I said maybe she won't have to get a separate costume for her daughter this year for Halloween. Just add a tiara and some sparkly princess shoes and you're ready to go.

I got the fabric at Hancocks and on the insert stitched in beads and also used some blending filament.
I finished smocking an insert a couple days ago for an xmas dress to give to my hairdresser's granddaughter who I just found out has a form of epilepsy. She is a quiet, shy girl and I feel happy to make dresses for her. It's a red print with snowflakes on it. Hopefully I will have it finished this weekend and be able to share another creation with you.
Happy smocking!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Ribbons, Ribbons, Ribbons

Yep, ribbons galore at the fair!
In this pic, mine is the white smocked doll dress in the center. Ribbon was for "Best of Division" Doll Clothes. The first place ribbon is covered up. At the right of my dress is a crocheted victorian doll. I chatted with the lady who made her.  She got a special award. Isn't she beautiful?! And at the bottom of the pic is some black bobbin lace. I have to say I think those can make bobbin lace are amazing. I don't think I could keep all those bobbins straight. I would always be wondering "now where am I at again".

This dress won "Best of Division" Special Occasion Sewing. Also got a special award. For what exactly, I don't know. I'll probably find out when I pic up my stuff. There were a couple of puckers on the scalloped hem. Maybe the judges were overwhelmed with all the beads I stitched in, not sure. I'll post a better photo after I pick it up in a couple weeks. But I'm not about to argue with the judges. I'll take the ribbons and run! I used an AS&E pattern originally designed by Gail Doane. I just love her designs.

Here's my fish dress with a "Best of Division" Casual Sewing. First place ribbon for "Simple Dress" is covered up. Simple dress to the judges meant no zippers or button openings, just elastic.

Here's the ensemble I entered in the "Ensemble" Casual Sewing and received a blue ribbon. The jacket is from an eyelet I tea-stained to match the dress.

And here's my "Casual Dress" sewing with a blue ribbon for my red button dress. This dress was one of my more favorite ones I entered. Although, I do love all my creations.

Second place "Party Dress" Special Occasion Sewing. You can't see them very well, but I did add crystals into the smocking. Again, I will post better pics after pick up day.
This dress is for my friend at Goosegirl Sews. Hope Miss Ahnalin will like it.

Second place "Any Item of Merit" Casual Sewing. On this jumper I designed the smock plate myself because I couldn't find any published design I was happy with.

First place "Blouse" Casual Sewing. I love the lady bugs on this blouse. I'm happy they hung the blouse with the buttons down the back. Sometimes the volunteers aren't sure what is the back or front of a garment.

First place "Any Item of Merit" Special Occasion Sewing. I have to say, I really hate how this bonnet is displayed. But I do know that the ladies who do the displays for the fair have tons of work to do. So on that note they are forgiven. Maybe next time I need to bring it on a doll that is for display only.

This quilt was made by my best friend, Marie. She got second place on her quilt. Yay Marie!

I'd love to read what the judges said about some of my entries. I received a package in the mail a couple days ago from Hoffman Fabrics. It was my prize of 7 yds of fabric. There were 1 yard cuts in two coord. groups. I will definitely be making something from those beautiful prints. I also received a signed letter from the president of Hoffman Fabrics, which I didn't expect. I have been wearing a special pin sent out to all participants of the challenge. Proceeds from this year's challenge went to the Alzheimer's Foundation. Next year's proceeds are going to the Humane Society. Even though I'm not thrilled with next year's fabric, I may have to do something anyway. Who knows, I might win again. That would be kind of funny I think.
Happy smocking everyone and please enter in your local fair if possible. It's so much fun and everyone that attends loves seeing all the lovely entries. If you don't want to enter, at least go see all the wonderful items displayed.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Access Issues

I have to apologize to everyone for not being able to see my blog. I've had trouble accessing my google account. Since I was finishing up things for the fair the past 5 days, I didn't have time to fight with google to reinstate in blog page. I turned in 9 entries to the fair this afternoon and came home to fix my page. I was very frustrated to have it go down. Such are the joys of the computer lives we lead. Thanks goodness for facebook. I would have been out the loop on everything. Well, I'm back up and running again. Yay! I will have many items to share with you from the fair Friday. Hopefully with ribbons hanging on everyone of them!
Until then, happy smocking everyone!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Here Fishy Fishy

Another entry for the fair is done. I got the pattern from SB issue 102. It has tropical fish on the cover. Since stacked cables are not my fave smocking to do, I chose to download the free goldfish design from Kathy Dykstra. It's on the Martha Pullen website. You can use any pattern for a sundress. This one is a halter dress and is shirred in the back with three rows of 1/4" elastic.

I used a M'Liss print from Hancock Fabrics. It's from the "Josie's Aquarium" group; perfect for this dress! I used the instructions for a size 5/6. I thought the fish needed to have bubbles coming out of her mouth, so I added some pearls in graduated sizes.

Here's a shot with the goldfish out of the bowl. In the SB article, they used clear plastic for the fishbowl. I chose to use organza. I wanted the dress to be easy care. For the little goldfish, there was a print of underwater fish fabric, also from Hancock Fabrics. I cut out two fishies, used iron-on interfacing, zigzagged around eat fish, trimmed them and then hand-stitched them together with a blanket stitch. I used a pen to stuff polyfill into my little goldfish. The pocket is a little skued, but still really cute!
Now before I can dye the fabric for a jacket to go with another dress, I need to go by more tea. I drank the last of it this morning stitching up the goldfish. Well, I better get a move on or I will never get finished!
Happy smocking!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sewing for the Fair

For the smock plate I used AS&E issue 87 "Summer Blooms". For the dress pattern, use any you like. You can interchange sleeves and collars on all AS&E pattern. Just find the size you want. I've used this same smock plate before. I changed the bullion daisies in the original plate to button flowers.

If you want to add a hem band at the bottom of a dress, this is all you do. Subtract the amount for the hem and any extra you use for growth tucks. I usually use a 9" strip cut the width of the fabric for front and back. So make sure you have 1/2 yd extra fabric for the band.

The ricrac you see peaking out on the belt and collar pieces was hand-stitched on through the points. I used baby ricrac, so it had to be hand-stitched. A little time consuming, but I'm hoping to edge out the competition with a little something extra.
I was planning on using some yellow daisy buttons. But since I chose yellow gingham for the contrast, they would have just blended in. When I went to choose red buttons, there were none to meet my standards, so I covered button forms with red cotton sateen.
I'm thinking of giving this dress to my hairdresser for her granddaughter. Except I think she's in a seven now. It will fit some little girl one of these days.
I want every little girl who wears my dresses to feel as beautiful on the inside as they look on the outside. I was told as a kid that I was overweight more times than I would like to remember. I think to a child that means you are less deserving of love than a thin child. I still fight with body issues. But helping a little girl feel pretty is a way to help me fight against those who would treat a child less than they deserve. Now days I'm much more stubborn and vocal with those who would heap emotional and mental abuse on another who can't defend themselves. If a child is shy (like I was) it's almost beyond them to be able to fight back. Okay, I'm done with my bandwagon speech for now.
I found out a few days ago that our state fair is starting a week early this year. Yikes! Turn in day is a week from this coming Tuesday. Now I usually take the week before the fair starts as vacation to finish up all the stuff I'm making. But since I didn't pay very close attention, I took off the week of the fair. Phooey! My dad asked me what I was going to do. I said I would just have to sew faster.
I have the next 3 days off work, so sewing it will be. I'm hoping to get a sundress finished. I'm using the fish dress from the cover of the current SB (sew beautiful) magazine for my pattern. I also have a dress that just needs to have sleeves and buttonholes made. I'm also in the middle of smocking a dress front for the "Party Dress" category. Already have finished a jumper, bishop blouse and a dress that needs a jacket and bloomers for the ensemble I'm entering. I've never cut it this close on my entries. Course that's what happens when you don't pay close attention. Let's keep our fingers crossed that I get everything done that I planned!
Happy smocking everyone!