Saturday, September 26, 2009

Almost time for SAGA convention

It is that time to start compiling my belongings to pack the car for SAGA convention. Whew. This is what a Wee Care jungle looks like before it is tamed and packed up. Sorry for the fuzzy picture, I was in a hurry. We won't even talk about whether class supplies are together or laundry done. The answer to both of those is NO! Have to run, lots to do before I leave Tuesday.

Parting shot, a tiny 1-2# size Wee Care gown with a picture smocked rocking horse. There is a lot not right with this little gown but it is still sweet.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Need a laugh?

Now I am not usually a proponent of showing babies in just a diaper, but this sweetums is just too adorable. You know it has gone viral when you have it emailed to you more than a dozen times in one day. I love how he tries to lift his legs to dance along. And let me tell ya, he's got great rhythm.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A treat for you

 A tiny peek at the smocked dress quilt that my SAGA chapter has made for the SAGA Convention Raffle basket. Each year at convention, chapters, businesses, individuals, teachers etc. compile and donate baskets to be raffled each year at convention. The baskets are given away on Saturday night of convention at the annual banquet. It is always a highlight of convention. Grown women squeeling like little girls to win one of these baskets. Sometimes there are well over 100 raffle baskets.

Our chapter always enjoys putting together a basket. This year our chapter has done another smocked dress quilt. I only put up a couple of tiny pictures to tease you. Not all of our chapter members have seen the whole quilt, so I wanted to wait until after our chapter meeting on Monday. It is too stinking cute!!!!

Convention starts next week, so I have been busy getting ready to go. Sorry for the lack of postings. I will try to be better. I hope to be able to post from convention, but I have to make sure my camera can hook up to the laptop. Until next time.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Continuous piping

Sorry I have been "absent" for several days. Just a thing. Thanks to all who emailed to make sure I was okay. Since a friend asked me about a method of piping application I use, I decided it was a good thing to write a tutorial post about.

We already know that I have a plethora of pet peeves. :) One of them is lumpy, bumpy piping. For me this goes hand in hand with sleeves that are inserted flat. I HATE that seam allowance that is visible at the sleeve cuff or edge. HATE IT! I always, even in doll clothes if I can, insert my sleeves into the garment in the round. In other words, I sew the garment side seam, construct my sleeve and then insert it into the garment. I think it looks and feels more finished as well has to be more comfortable. 

I also seem to enjoy making things more "fiddly". Why do it quick and easy when you can take the long road around? One of the finishes I do that could be considered more fiddly is continuous piping. Nothing screams "loving hands at home" to me more than bumpy piping joins. So this is how I do it. Lots of pictures to follow. You know me, if one picture is good, a dozen must be better.And as always, click the photo to enlarge and descriptions are below the photos.

First assemble your supplies; we will assume we are making a lined cuff with piping at the edge. Shown in the top photo.
A note about piping, I almost always make my own piping. I can use a smaller preshrunk cord and a better quality fabric than Wright's does. That said there is some premade piping that I do like, Susie's Ready to Sew piping is made from Imperial batiste and or broadcloth. It is often available at your favorite heirloom shop. I am not knocking the Wright's if that is what you like. Just not my thing.

Assemble your piping by inserting cording inside bias strip lengthwise, fold strip over cording and stitch by machine. I use an edge stitch foot, so I can ride the blade of that foot along the cording that is encased in the bias strip. You can also use a piping foot, open toe foot, buttonhole foot or applique foot. Whichever you are most comfortable with. I use the bamboo skewer to hold the sides of the bias together. There are specific tools for this that you can purchase but will admit that I can usually lay my hand on the three cent skewer more often than the $3 special tool. And if I lose the skewer I am not upset. I just grab another one.

Trim the seam allowance of your completed piping to 1/4". I use the piping magic tool and a rotary cutter. My cuff is using a 1/4" seam allowance.

I have already sewn and pressed open the seams of the sleeve cuff to form a continuous circle. Do the same to the cuff lining. On small baby clothes I find it easier, to turn the cuff or sleeve wrong side out, then stitch from "inside" the circle. Matching your raw edges, stitch piping to cuff. I don't start at the beginning of the piping, I start about 1/2 to 3/4" in from the end. You will see why later.

Continue stitching to within 1/2 to 3/4" of the end of the piping. Take cuff out from the machine. This will be the result. You will have partially attached piping to your cuff. Don't panic.

Fold back and butt the folded piping ends together where it will join. Mark with a blue pen.

Unpick the stitching that you used to make your piping only far enough back to be able to stitch a seam where you marked the piping bias strip. If you look closely you can see where I removed the stitches in the piping. Pulling the cording out of the way, stitch on your marking, trim the seam and press open.

Laying your two cording ends next to one another, trim both. 

Ta-da, your piping cord is ready to encase again as you finish stitching your piping to the cuff.

Fold the bias back over your cording, holding with your tool. Stitch the rest of your piping to the cuff to complete the circle. 
Insert the cuff lining, with right sides together encasing the piping between the cuff and lining, match raw edges. Here is where my skewer comes in really handy. I "mark" with the skewer the lining fabric right up next to that cord that is underneath. It forms a valley of sorts. I run the blade of my edge stitch foot right along that valley. I find this more successful than using the first stitching of the piping to the cuff as a guide. There is only one layer of fabric here over the piping, so it is easier to "see" the impression of where the cording is under there.

Turn it over and you can see where my second stitching of attaching the lining is inside my orginal piping attachment. So no pesky stitching showing on the right side. (You guessed it, another peeve.) Turn right side out and press.

Voila!!!!! The dark line is under the piping seam so you can tell where it is.  Now doesn't that look better than that trying to tuck in the piping ends or overlapping the ends?  I think so too. 
I hope this helps you. Let me know if you have any questions.

Monday, September 7, 2009

IBOL must be in the mail tomorrow!

If you plan to send a bundle for the IBOL project,; get it ready tonight or in the morning. It must go in tomorrow's mail, September 8 in order to arrive before its coordinator's unit comes back to the states. It is going to be exciting to see how many bundles they come up with. They have a warehouse now!

New blogs for inspiration

Don't know if you noticed on my blog list in the side bar but I added a couple of new blogs.

Jeannie Baumeister of the Old Fashioned Baby has a new blog. The Old Fashioned Baby Sewing Room. Jeannie also has been featured in Creative Needle (::sniff:: we still miss you.) and Sew Beautiful magazines. I love Jeannie's patterns and have had the privilege of taking several classes from her. I plan to take another one at the end of the month at SAGA convention. She may ban me from any future classes after I spend two days grousing about rolling and whipping by hand. I am not good at it, I hate the way mine looks and will admit that I don't hold out much hope that I can improve. But... I am going to give it another go. I was looking for a picture to post because as I told Jeannie, I can't write a post without a picture or several, and realized that I have completed four items from Jeannie's classes or patterns in the past year. Not bad I don't think.

The gown at the top was from this post.

This little onesie type bubble was from this post.

This little bonnet was a 10 year old class UFO from this post.

And Wally here was the baby gift I talked about here. I still love that little whale. Just makes me smile.

Another blog that has come on the horizon recently is Lulu and Annie by Gail Doane. Gail is the author of the recently published

as well as a sought after teacher and is featured in Australian Smocking and Embroidery often.

The little jacket above is featured in her book. Again I had the pleasure of taking this as a class at SAGA convention. It is made from wool blanketing and embroidered with bullion bunnies. I swear you use a ten penny nail to embroider those bunnies. I love this, they are so fun. I won't allow myself to put away the fabric I have ready to make a bishop to match. Love those little bunnies. And for all of its cuteness it really is quite quick. It takes longer to whip down the binding on this jacket than it does to cut it out, embroider it and construct. Lots of bang for your buck when it comes to time.

One of my favorite projects I have ever done, was this class with Gail, making a lace jacket and a pintucked dress. The dress and jacket were made for a friend's daughter. I loved every minute of this project. There are no bad lace combinations. As you can see from the below picture. And not all of the laces were expensive ones.

So please drop by and see these two great talents. Tell 'em the Southern Matriarch sent you. :)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The amazing work of others

by Dru Blair

I am in the midst of reveling in my clean sewing room. A clean sewing room does one of two things to me. One, it makes me want to get started on something immediately or two, it makes me want to do nothing but sit and enjoy the fact that you can see the horizontal surfaces, the floor is vacuumed and you don't risk bodily injury by walking in there. The chair is empty as well which means that the boys in my life have a place to sit when they come a hunting me.

So while taking a break between loads of laundry and gazing at my clean sewing room; I jumped online to check my email and to run through the regular stops on my "check it almost everyday" list. We all have those; they might be email, bank balance, favorite forum, favorite heirloom shops, my blog and other favorite blogs.

This is the path I took that led to the AMAZING painting above. Yes painting, NOT photograph.

The Deacon's Bench

which led me here,

The Toy Zone

and I ended up here

Dru Blair's Art of Technology

Amazing isn't it? This link will show the progress of the painting. And that is a brief lesson once again how blog surfing sickness strikes. But the things you find are truly worth the trip.

ps Have you gotten your IBOL ready yet?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Sending my Iraqi Bundle of Love

Here are my two IBOL boxes ready to tape shut and send. This was such a small thing but I can't begin to tell you how gratifying it was. I am the wife of a retired career military man but all I could think of was "This is how wars are won. This is how peace is found; not through bombs and bullets." I don't care what your politics are, there are people in this situation who are hurting. There are people who are mothers, wives, daughters, sisters, friends just like me, who just want to love their families and find peace in their world. Perhaps these supplies will make clothing, or quilts to cover and warm their families, or maybe it will be something as simple as having a way to escape for a few minutes just creating. Even creating what appears to be a useless "chotchke." (I have made lots of "useless" things in my day, that have no other purpose than to be pretty or cute.) We know that sewing, knitting or stitching are good for the spirit and the body. It calms us, it lowers our blood pressure, it soothes our spirits. If these supplies don't do anything but give another woman a way to find a few moments of quite to calm her spirit, then so be it.

I think we get lost in the "if its not large, grand or eradicates an entire problem or situation then it is not good enough." So not true, reminds me of the saying, "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time." These are my bites.

I can take no credit for the serendipity of this part of one my bundles of love. When I went to grab a fabric to build my bundle, I grabbed this piece because it was large enough. Take a closer look at the fabric below. Now friends and neighbors, that is what I call a God thing.

Have you sent your bundle yet? Hurry, you have until Sept 8. Go to IBOL and leave a comment anywhere to any of the posts. You will be sent an address to send your package. It can be fabric, notions, scissors or even knitting supplies. It can be what you have or you can purchase supplies to send. There is even an Etsy seller where you can buy a bundle that the seller will send. Whatever works for you. Just do it.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

My heart

Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle
Everything I do is stitched with its color.
~W.S. Merwin, "Separation"

Sept 2, 2004
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