Sunday, January 30, 2011

Issa's Easter dress

I am just loving this little dress. Or frock. It does look like a little "frock" to me! I have finished everything except the slip. I did buttonholes, instead of beauty pins in the back, and I think Issa's mommy and daddy will be appreciative on Sunday mornings as they are getting the girls dressed and approaching the "where did we put the beauty pins" hour. You can't see the little buttons on the front of the bodice too well, but they are called sequin buttons, and have two tiny holes at the top of the button instead of the center. They are pearl and precious on the dress.

The slip will be slightly longer than the dress, with another row of lace peeping out from the bottom, and I may gather the lace. I am hoping my next photograph will be of a precious curly haired little girl modeling it. I have visions of 75 degress, her hair pulled back and little bare feet. I am so ready for spring!
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

inch by inch

This photograph shows the "fancy band" that goes around the bottom of the skirt of my little dress. It consists of 3 parts, the top is a strip of entredeux, the next is a small band of lace insertion, and the bottom is a larger lace that mimics one of the laces in the bodice of the dress.

I had been calling this fabric a dotted swiss, but when I looked back at my notes it is call hailspot voille. It is very sheer, and the dots are a little larger than those on a regular dotted swiss. It is also very soft to the touch. This band is attached to the skirt with a method that was new for me. Carol says that since the voille is so sheer, the entredeux could tend to pull away from the it. Instead of cutting the last strip of batiste from the entredeux, she sews it down in two steps. First time around is just a straight stitch in the ditch, then she turns the tiny batiste strip under an eighth of an inch, presses it, and sews it to the dress. Easier said than done, believe me. Her dress was perfection; the strip was pressed and sewn in such a narrow, even strip. AMAZING. It almost gives the effect of a ribbon. I used a number 10 edge foot to do it, and while it is not as neat as Carol's, I am still pleased with it.

Carol also uses a different method for a french seem. The first seam is a tiny zig zag that is trimmed right up to the stitch, then it is pressed and sewn right sides together with a straight stitch. I love the look.

I have finished the placket so all that is left is buttons, buttonholes and attaching the skirt to the bodice. And like Carol, I am savoring this experience!
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Carol Harris at Beth's Heirloom

This was just a really nice way to spend a weekend. I have finished most of my embroidery projects and can return to what I love, making little girl dresses. I went to Wetumpka, Alabama to Beth's Heirloom Shop to take a workshop taught by Carol Harris.
This is close to the lake so it couldn't have been a more relaxing weekend. Sewing and Lake Martin...2 of my favorite things! Carol is such a talented teacher, and we were a group of about 10 women making beautiful dresses for our daughters, granddaughters, and as one friend put it...anyone I can give it away to! In her soft Tennessee accent and gentle manner, Carol encouraged us in our efforts and showed us many of her techniques to make our dresses professional and beautiful. She says that she savors the time spent sewing, and it did make me stop and realize that fastest way may not always be the best way. The classroom at Beth's Heirloom is roomy and bright, making it a great place to sew.

I took my machine back to the lake with me on Friday evening so that I could work before returning on Saturday. I decided to use Carol's hand method for the lace neckline. I did not have my lace shaping board, but a beach towel and old pillow case on the kitchen counter worked just fine. I pinned the entredeaux in a circle the size of the neckline, then steamed it before attaching it by hand. It took about an hour while I watched TV, and it was fun to see such nice results in much less time than I would have guessed. I have always pretty much taken the "quickest way" when deciding which method to use, but Carol presented choices in construction, and would show us the way that she used to "get the best result". She constantly moved about the classroom offering assistance as we needed it and giving impromptu demonstrations whenever we asked. It was evident when looking at her beautiful dresses that her methods surely give beautiful results. Her trunk show of dresses was

This is a photograph of the bodice after I had done the lace insertion and attached the little lace sleeve, but before the gathered lace neckline. I chose laces that were a little different than I usually choose, and I love the combination of ecru and white. The fabric is a soft dotted Swiss and it is lined in pimacotton.

My hand sewing was a little rusty, and I am not sure that my method was just like Carol's, but after I attached the lace it was evident that it was truly the best method to get the prettiest neckline. I tried the bodice on Issa this evening and the little cap sleeve is so sweet on her shoulders.
I cannot wait to finish this little dress!

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Hemstitched napkins

I cleared another project off my shelf this morning.
I bought these old linen luncheon napkins at a flea market long ago, and they have been sitting on the shelf. I decided to monogram them in a creamy white using a new font. I have had an Embroidery Arts cd but never used the Arabesque font because all of the letters were the same size and I usually like the last initial in the middle. I really am a slow learner; I just used the artista software to just enlarge the middle initial. You bring the letters into the software one at a time, so you can manipulate the size of each individual letter. I used a soft tear away in the hoop and just a little bit of 505 to attach the corner of the napkin to the stabilizer.

The hemstitiching on these old napkins is so pretty, and I love them with my old mismatched napkin rings.

If I only had a few snow days once a month or so, I might actually catch up. So many little time!
Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 17, 2011

All Done!

I finished up the hankies this morning. Joe now has 12 monogrammed handkerchiefs. The top two show more of the petite monogram from embroidery arts, and I decided to try something new on the last one. I just used the monogram icon on the artista software, did the Diamond 3 font, and reduced it to about 18 mm. I was pleased with the way it cut down the number of stitches, and I like the angular look of the lettering. Now I wish I had experimented with some different fonts in the software.

It is great to have another project off the shelf and into the drawer!
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, January 13, 2011

More Manly Monograms

These handkerchiefs have been on my shelf for over a year, and it took the 4th day of a snow in for me to consider embroidering them for Joe. Shame on me! I did 4 and there are 8 more to do. These are not so much fun.

The top two were done from embroidery arts designs, the petite monogram. There are 3 different fonts on the disc, and I used the first two. I like the size of them best. The next is the empire font from another embroidery arts collection, and I reduced it to 25 mm, or about an inch in length. The bottom one is the King Charles font that is on my Bernina and it is also about an inch in length. The bottom two are just a little too large and even with the reduction in stitches in the software, I think the designs are a little too dense. I am going to ask someone at the sewing center just how tiny the software will let me make the monograms.

I used a heavy sticky stabilizer and moistened it, laying the handerchief on top. I patched what was in the hoop after removing the handerchief and reused it.

This project brings up the question, why would a man want to use a handerchief instead of a Kleenex? The only answer I can come up with is OLD AGE. I cannot picture my son or son in law whipping out a hankie when they feel a sneeze coming on!
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Note to self!

I am including this post so that I can remember exactly what my fix was for this problem. I have a pair of knit slacks that I like, but they had HUGE legs. I wanted to cut them down, but have not sewn much at all on knits. I missed the "stretch and sew" phase that many of my sewing friends did back in the late seventies!
I chose the #10 stitch on my Bernina artista; it is a double overlock stitch and looks a little like a serger stitch to me. I used the #2 foot; it has a little finger on the right side of the foot to catch the thread and hold it on the right side as you stitch. The stitch takes a few straight stitches, zags to the right to stitch on the right side over the raw edge for a few stitches, then zigs back to the left to start all over again. My seam is nice and flat. For the hem, I turned them under about an inch and used my twin needle. It gave a pretty double line of stitching on the front of the hem.

Who knew? Such little things, but I am so excited! Now I have a record of it to look back to, and I won't have to scratch my head and say, "Self, what stitich did you use to fix those pants?"

Now I just need to figure out how to focus this danged camera.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow Day, Sew Day

I had a great time in my sewing room (closet) today. I could look out my window and see about 5 inches of snow covering everything in sight. It was quiet because very few brave souls ventured out in the cold. Just a nice day to sit and sew.

As I was rocking Sarah last week, I noticed a need for a little pillow in her rocker. I found a travel pillow in my closet and started to cut out a cover for it but remembered some dish towels that I had in my stash. LeAnn had made a really cute Christmas pillow from a dish towel and I thought this might be something to try. I came up with this pale yellow dish towel with big white polka dots, and thought it would look much better as a pillow in Sarah's room than it would in a kitchen. I had to search online to find the easiest way to put it together. I found directions on the All About Blanks web site, and they were simple to follow. I just wrapped the dish towel around the pillow to determine the placement, marked my stitching lines with a water soluble marker, embroidered "sweet sarah", added the ball fringe and the row of rick-rack, topstitched halfway up the sides, added the ribbons to tie it, stuffed in my little pillow form and called it done!
Posted by Picasa

Rock a bye sweet baby Dylan, and Toby too

I had fun once again doing burp cloths for little boys. The kite and sailboat came from a cd by Martha Pullen, Martha's Minis. The teddy bear is one that I did for Issa when she was a baby, and the tennis rackets came from the sports folder of the Artista software.

I had some difficulty stitching out the tennis rackets. This cloth is my second attempt. The strings look like they need to be restrung; they are very wobbly. When I checked the right hand bottom of the computer screen, the software showed that it was an Art design with a rating of C. hmmm. So as I was talking to LeAnn today, she pulled up the same design on her computer and it showed that it was an Art Design with an A rating. I think this is a great question for the software gurus at the Atlant Sewing Center!

I need to find another source for my diapers. I had found a great company online, Thirsties, but they no longer make prefolded diapers. Sometimes the Gerber diapers are too thick and combersome and the birdseye diapers seem to be a little gauzy and don't stitch up quite as nice. I guess it is time to put the computer on my lap and spend a few hours hunting for some really nice (and not too pricey) diapers.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Bridget Hill Kennedy

This monogram is on a set of chocolate brown sheets that are a wedding gift for Bridget. I seem to be stuck on the anniversary font these days, but I added the ornament at the bottom to change it up a little. I used the artista software, arranged the lettering, and then in the drop down box, went to ornaments, then monogram ornaments and found this little design. The software makes it easy to place, giving a choice of 9 placements around the monogram. I used Isacord thread, in an icy blue, and it looks really pretty on the brown. I used a dark tearaway stabilizer on the back.

The wedding was one of the most elegant celebrations I have ever attended, at the Carrington-Davies house in Birmingham. It was a wonderfully diverse wedding in so many ways, but mostly I remember the same kind and loving look on the faces of the bride and groom. I know they will have a happy, happy life together.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 3, 2011

Shirt for Pop Gunn

I tried an old shirt first, so we have a frayed cuff. I had LeAnn's help when I did this monogram, and I think it is time for him to have some more monogrammed shirts. We did the left cuff, on the top of the sleeve. I used a font from an embroidery arts disc, the petite monogram and I like the simple font on a man's shirt. I have some hankies that I am going to do for him, and I think I may experiement with fancier fonts for those.

The holidays are over so I think it is time to get back in the sewing room!
Posted by Picasa