Saturday, May 25, 2013

Announcing the Winner

Sorry I didn't make it back here yesterday to let you know who the giveaway winner is. Life exploded; as in the grandchildren have arrived. If this tells you anything, I was asleep last night by 9:15! Mimi gets tired really fast in the beginning of a visit. You forget about how much energy it takes.

Without any further distractions, the winner is:

antcan commented:
I think geometric smocking is my favorite form of hand needlework. A friend taught me many years ago and although I don't smock as much as I used to, I enjoy smocking the little preemie dresses for the hospitals.

Vaune has a very nice website. I "lust" after all the thread clubs. Enjoy using all of those threads but especially the floche which is what I learned to smock with.

Congratulations. Look for an email.

I hope you have big plans or at least relaxing plans for the holiday weekend. I'll be reading, snuggling, chasing and giggling.  

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Sweet Baby Stitching


I totally forgot to post the other sweet treasures I had made for my daughter's baby shower. Found these photos looking for something else. Anywhoo, here they are. My local chapter, The Spirit of St. Louis Smockers, was fortunate enough to host Debbie Glenn this spring for a workshop. One of the classes she taught was her Banded Diaper Shirt and Nappy Cover. It is pattern #139. Cute and QUICK project.

Her class kit comes in blue gingham with cotton pique. Generous kit and great directions. This project is so quick, I came home and finished the set that evening.

The provided embroidery design is a sweet little bluebird singing of spring.

Did I mention this set is quick? I finished the second set the next day! I had some of the same pique in my stash along with some spring green gingham. My love of gingham is known far and wide. Her kit was generous enough to include enough fabric for the second diaper cover.  Debbie teaches an interesting method of doing the appliquéd bands on the diaper shirt. I did change up my order of work for the second shirt though. I stitched my side seams before satin stitching along the outer edges of the bands to enclose that "tail" of the French seams along the bottom of the sleeves and hemline.

And a future DZ houseboy needs a little green turtle! This cute little guy, came from Michie' Mooney's book, Heirloom Embroidery. He was quick to do. Not sure he is my finest embroidery, but he is kind of cute.

If you need a quick gift, these are just the ticket. You could also substitute macine embroidery or applique.

Don't forget to comment on the post below to enter our wonderful giveaway of DOVO scissors.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Anniversary Celebration Continues- Another Giveaway

Our celebration continues. My girlfriend's mother used to celebrate her birthday "month." So why can't we do that with an anniversary as well?

This time our giveaway is sponsored by Vaune. The owner, Vaune Pierce, is also a teacher, pattern designer as well as a contributo for Sew Beautiful. She teaches for chapters, shops as well as nationally for SAGA. She is a long time supporter of SAGA. I am fortunate enough to say I count her among my friends as well.

Are you a scissor lover? Well I am! I need a recovery plan but don't plan to seek one. I have quite a few scissors, mostly Gingher and Dovo. As well as some other inexpensive embroidery scissors.

 first posted

I have lusted after this set of Dovo scissors for years! Years, I tell ya. There is something about the scissors and the velvet lined case that makes my heart sing. 

Vaune also has a variety of Thread of the Month offerings. A great way to be able to build a stash of threads you might not encounter at your local shops. A very affordable or at least managable way to build a stash. Few of us can afford to buy an entire line of floss at one time but would love to have every color. With that in mind, I recently signed up for the Anchor Floss of the Month. I did opt out of the bobbins for the floss. There is one shop here in town that carries Anchor, but it is a hike and not a part of town I frequently go to. I often prefer Anchor over DMC threads because I am more drawn to their "cool" undertones as opposed to the "dustier" undertone of DMC. Also many times, Anchor will cover better when picture smocking. Don't get me wrong, DMC is still a viable choice and I have a selection of both and use both. I do prefer Anchor though over DMC for hand embroidery because it has a glossier finish. It is the little things in life!

Vaune has graciously offered to sponsor a giveaway that I think you will all be excited to see. It speaks to my love of scissors. 

A pair of DOVO scissors! These are a pair of nubbed embroidery/lace scissors. They can be found here on Vaune's site. Thank you Vaune for the very generous offer for my readers. The lucky winner will LOVE these scissors as much as I do. I happen to own two pair, one DOVO and another unmarked pair. 


That little nub makes them perfect for both lace work as well as machine embroidery. They are also sharp all the to the end of the scissors, so are wonderful for hand embroidery work as well.

Since I had some duplicates of Anchor Floss I decided to throw in a few skeins for the lucky winner to try. I can see some beautiful bullion roses with some of these colors.

I loved the comments from the last giveaway and can't wait to read the comments this time. To enter, leave a comment on this post only, answering these two questions:
  1. What is your favorite stitching pastime? Hand embroidery, heirloom sewing, smocking, machine embroidery etc. And why?
  2. Also visit and let us know what your favorite find was.
I can't wait to hear what you have to share. To enter:

  1. Leave a comment here, no email entries please. Remember, it is a two part question.
  2. If you share this giveaway on your blog or facebook page, come back and leave an additional comment saying you did so, to be entered twice. 
  3. Each entry must have a valid email or blog address with which to contact you. This is especially important for those "Anonymous" commenters. 
  4. The winner will be announced on Friday morning.
Again thank you to Vaune for being so generous. Good luck to you all. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Love Lives On...

I have mentioned many times how fortunate I am to have a "village" that sews for my darling grandchildren. Let me tell you about a bright star in that village. This is a picture of my friend Barb. Barb was a lady in every sense of the word. You wouldn't find a kinder, more generous, smarter or more talented woman. She never hesitated to share with those she met and her stitching skills were over the moon spectacular. I met Barb through SAGA and an online sewing forum. She even traveled to attend workshops at my local chapter. And she gave great hugs! Everyone who met her, loved her in an instant.

Sadly, Barb died last year. She has been missed so much in our small, tight knit group of heirloom sewists and smockers. I can't count the number of times she is mentioned and remembered. A friend just mentioned her on Monday after seeing a Wee Care Gown that Barb had donated to the traveling SAGA Wee Care Trunk Show. My friend's chapter was hosting the trunk show and once again, Barb was there to inspire through the needlework she left behind.

Anyone who knew Barb knew she had a shining star in her life, her husband Robert. She never missed a chance to sing his praises. They were devoted to one another. He supported her in so many ways and understood what her artistic endeavors meant to her. In short, he loved her beyond measure. Our hearts have been full of thoughts and prayers for Robert as he grieved his bride of almost 48 years. Robert has kept up with her email account and her online membership of that sewing forum. Every now and then he pops in to let us know how he is doing and gives us a chance to say hello.

Imagine my surprise back during the winter when in my inbox was an email from Barb! My breath caught in my throat and I was almost afraid to open it. I am so glad I did. It was a wonderful surprise from Robert. Through the forum and my blog he had heard that we had a new baby boy on the way.  He had something he wanted to send the baby. My heart was overflowing.

A few years ago on the forum we had done a "Taylor" challenge. Stitchers used the Children's Corner pattern, Taylor as a base for a new creation. This was Barb's.  How adorable is that? I was thrilled to find this when I opened the box.

Barb had used a striped denim for this cute bubble, lined with a bandana print. A darling little train is embroidered on the front. (Barb could make an embroidery machine sit up and yodel.) I love the "kerchief" she pieced on the front.

She even stitched a little surprise on the back, a pocket with another kerchief at the ready when needed by a weary little train engineer. I loved it all and my daughter was touched that Robert had thought of her baby and wanted to send along this treasure.

Of all the touches she put into this little bubble, what I loved most was the tag she sewed into the cap. I could hardly read it through the tears.

Love of friends and a stitching sisterhood lives on. Thank you so much Robert, and thank you Barb for once again touching our lives.

Thanks for letting me share my friend Barb with you.  And stay tuned, we have another Anniversary giveaway tomorrow.

Friday, May 17, 2013

And the Winner

The winner of the Anniversary giveaway is....

Lindsay commented:
For years I have struggled to learn how to do the beautiful heirloom sewing techniques I see in Sew Beautiful and on many of the blogs I follow. My sewing machine was an older model but had all the bells and whistles when I purchased it. 
Last fall I had the good fortune to attend the SAGA convention in Atlanta. I took a great many machine classes from Carol Ahles. May I just say she is a godsend! 
As I struggled through one of her wonderful classes feeling like a total dunce, she stopped by and quickly noted my machine did not have the capability to do the stitches we were learning the techniques for. It wasn't me! Yeah! I was so relieved!
I came home, did some machine research and purchased a beautiful new machine. I love that I can sit down and easily make beautiful heirloom items. I even went back to the shop and purchased the embroidery module! One simple class with one wonderful teaching has so changed my life!
My first embroidery class is this weekend and needless to say I can not wait!!
This just makes my heart sing. To read about someone learning a new skill they had dreamed of learning just inspires me so much. Added to the fact that it was at SAGA convention is just a delight! I am so sorry I missed meeting you. I would concur that Carol Ahles is a gifted teacher. It is also no secret that SAGA is near and dear to my heart. Thank you so much for sharing your story Lindsay.

I was so impressed and inspired with everyone's comments. Not only the breadth of different projects but your pride of accomplishment expressed. I feel inspired to stretch my own skills as well as reach out to others to help them continue to learn and grow. 

You all have used your skills to bring joy, hope, love and friendship to so many that you encounter through each project. Thank you for sharing your stories.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Happy Anniversary and a Giveaway

I can't believe it. Southern Matriarch is Five Years Old! It has been an amazing ride. My goal was to share sewing, smocking and a little life thrown in. I hope I have accomplished that. Sometimes the life has gotten in the way of the sewing. That is nothing new is it? Life has a tendency to do that. For a recap, I went back and found the year in review posts I had done. Life might have been busy, but man oh man, there has been a lot of sewing too!

  • 5 Wee Care Gowns
  • 2 Wee Care Bonnets
  • 4 Silk Ribbon Embroidered Make Up bags with matching Kleenex holders
  • 2 Doll Dresses
  • 2 Daygowns
  • 2 Rompers
  • 1 Embroidered Bib w Matching Embroidered Hanger
  • 1 Lace Jacket w Pintucked Dress
  • 1 Hemstitched Bonnet
  • 1 Felt Candlemat
  • 20 Embroidered Needlebooks

For a total of 48 items. Not too shabby for a partial year. I don't have pictures before March of that year. 


  • 47 pattern weights
  • 16 pincushions 
  • 6 Sewing tutorials
  • 1 christening gown
  • 4 bubbles (2 smocked, 2 not)
  • 4 Wee Care gowns
  • 3 smocked dress quilt squares
  • 2 embroidered needlecases
  • 2 ready to smock daygowns
  • 2 smocked Easter eggs 
  • 1 arm chair caddy
  • 1 diaper shirt
  • 1 bonnet
  • 1 apron
  • 1 Christmas ornament
  • 1 reticule (just the embroidery)
A total of 98 items! Now I realize the pattern weights weren't a very time intensive thing, but still 47 of them!!!!! Now that sounds impressive. Besides, the christening gown and tutorials more than make up for the pattern weights. 

  • 6 Covered Hangers
  • 4 Daygowns, unsmocked
  • 1 Completely handsewn daygown, sorry, it gets its own count
  • 3 Doll dresses, 2 smocked 1 not
  • 1 Doll Apron
  • 4 Smocked Bishops
  • 2 Smocked Basic Yoke Dresses
  • 4 Bubbles
  • 1 Diaper Shirt
  • 5 Slips
  • 6 Machine Embroidered Diaper Covers
  • 6 Machine Embroidered Burp Cloths
  • 2 Bonnets
  • 1 Diaper Cover, no embellishment
  • 1 Christmas Ornament
  • 1 Embroidered Journal Cover
  • 15 Scissor Fobs, beaded not sewn
  • 80 Beaded Pins for Pincushion Jewelry
  • Christening gown!!
in addition to that include 
  • 2 trips abroad
  • 1 sewing school
  • 1 SAGA convention
  • 5 tutorials
  • 2 chapter programs
  • 1 child moving back home
  • Same child moving back out
  • 1 sewing room dismantled, sorted, moved and remodeled
add it all together and NONE of it equals

the birth of the most beautiful grandchild ever! So if you are counting, you would need to add
  • 26 million snuggles
  • 14,200,335 photos taken
  • 1,020 hours spent gazing
  • 4,320 hours being thankful
Update: I think I should have made that 8,766 hours being thankful!

  • 23 pincushions
  • 20 snip bags
  • 7 Silk Ribbon Embroidered Pencil Holders
  • 5 bishops
  • 3 Children's Corner Lucy jumpers
  • 3 Blouses
  • 3 Rompers
  • 3 Aprons
  • 3 Chef hats
  • 2 Daygowns
  • 2 Slips
  • 2 Wee Care gowns
  • 1 Basic Yoke Dress
  • 1 Smocked Full Bodice Dress
  • 1 Embroidered Summer Dress
  • 1 Christening Gown
  • 1 Coming Home Gown
  • 1 Overalls
  • 1 Doll Dress
  • 1 Jacket
For a total of 84 items. Not bad. In addition to that 
  • 1 Sewing School
  • 1 SAGA Convention
  • 2 Bathroom remodels
  • 2 Chapter Programs
  • 3 Tutorials
  • 1 extra trip to Louisiana
  • 3.5 kids of varying ages moving in
  • Same kids moving out
  • Birthday party of the decade
  • 1 Family Portrait with grown children from all over (Try it and see if you don't consider it a big accomplishment)

  • 1 design being published in Australian Smocking and Embroidery!!!!! Go me!
Once again it doesn't compare to the time spent with this Princess

and just as wonderful

welcoming baby brother right before Thanksgiving. What a gift to be thankful for. 


  • Four Rompers
  • Two Machine Appliqued Sundresses w/bloomers
  • One Sundress no bloomers
  • One Slip
  • One Appliquéd CC Lucy
  • Three Toddler Bibs
  • Two Under-machine Pocket Mats
  • Two Machine Embroidered Jackets
  • Six Monogrammed Scarves
  • Twelve Luggage Tags
  • One Bridal Garter
  • One Monogrammed Table Runner
  • One Monogrammed Silk Covered Hat Box
  • One Smocked Bodice Flower Girl Dress
  • Embroidery on "Liberty Rose" Inspirations #71 as well as signature square to insert into a friend's throw.
  • One Appliqued Long all
  • One Appliqued Jumper
  • Two Aprons
  • Two Doll Garments
  • NINE pair of Santa PJ's.
  • One Smocked/Embroidered baby dress
Total 58 items all along with
  • One Rotator Cuff Repair and 9.5 months of rehab
  • One SAGA Convention
  • One Half of a Local chapter Workshop
  • Two trips abroad
  • ANDDDD One Wedding for our youngest daughter


Once again a very busy year sewing and smocking for three grandchildren. 
  • 1 Smocked Bishop
  • 1 Smocked Longall
  • 1 Machine Embroidered Jacket
  • 1 Embroidered Daygown
  • 1 Smocked Ready to Smock
  • 1 Machine Embroidered Dress w Bloomer
  • 2 Machine Embroidered Rompers
  • 6 Machine Embroidered Burp Cloths
Add to that 2 trips, 2 workshops, 2 baby showers and it promises to be a busy year.

All in all I am overwhelmed to see just how many items I have sewn in the past 5 years;

It has been a wonderful ride, I hope you have enjoyed it as well. 

In honor of Southern Matriarch's Anniversary I decided to host a giveaway. It would be wonderful to give away 351 items but that isn't happening. This is the first of this week's giveaways. The giveaway is blue in honor of blue Prince on his way next month. The giveaway consists of:

  • One Yard of Heirloom Imports Pique, 60" wide
  • Antique Mother of Pearl Buttons
  • Two yards of baby size Whip Stitch Piping
  • Two yards of regular Whip Stitch Piping
  • Two yards Silk Satin Ribbon
Five items to celebrate five years! In order to enter the giveaway leave a comment here answering this question:
In the past five years, what has been the biggest sewing accomplishment you have achieved? Did you learn a new skill, finish a challenging project, start a sewing business? What was your highest achievement sewing wise in the past five years?
I can't wait to hear about your adventures. To enter:

  1. Leave a comment here, no email entries please. 
  2. If you share this giveaway on your blog or facebook page, come back and leave an additional comment saying you did so, to be entered twice. 
  3. Each entry must have a valid email or blog address with which to contact you. This is especially important for those "Anonymous" commenters. 
  4. The winner will be announced on Friday.
Look for more giveaways coming. 

Thank you so much faithful reader. It has been you that has made it so fun over the years. And Good Luck! 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Spits Happen

Or burps I should say. These are the collection of burp cloths I did for our new peanut.  I used pre-fold cloth diapers from Cotton Babies. These burps are a tad different than the ones I did for Princess, THREE years ago. (How did that happen?) Sadly, I never got the ones made for Wildman I had intended. Oh well, moving on.

The tutorial I used this time was from Notes from the Patch. My older daughter conveyed that she liked the flat burps she had gotten as a gift instead of the ones I had made into a tube. More coverage.

That presented a problem. How to cover up the back of the embroidery. It didn't look very finished to me. So I was in a quandary. A solution presented itself one day while strolling the aisles of my local fabric store, Jackman's. I found in a hidden spot some birdseye fabric. I found it online, here.

Jackpot! A way to cover the back and give even more absorbency.

It is VERY important to prewash the birdseye fabric with hot water and dry in the dryer to preshrink it. After doing so, I cut it to the size of the diaper and stitched in the ditch down the two lines of existing center stitching of a pre-fold diaper. This with the stitching down of the trim fabrics on the front, kind of quilts the backing. And the backside of the embroidery is not visible or scratchy. Score.

They do end up being thick but for their purpose, I think that will be good. Sure could have used some extra absorbency for Wildman who was a reflux baby.

And because I am the nerdy old lady that I am, a favorite:

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day and a great big "Thank You" to this crazy bunch for giving me the best job ever!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Clang, Clang, Clang Goes the "Streetcar"

Now I know the lyrics say "trolley" but our little NOLA babe won't know them as trolleys. To him they will be streetcars. An iconic symbol of the Big Easy is stitched here alongside the equally universal New Orleans symbol, the fleur de lis. What says New Orleans better? This is baby's "Coming Home" gown.

Embroidery is worked with Cascade House silk floss. The fleur de lis are shadow work and the streetcar is a combo of shadow work and backstitch. A granito is his headlight.

The gown is a combo of Kathy Neal's "Neal's Nightshirt" and Old Fashioned Baby "Baby's Summer Clothes." Fabric is a ribbed pique I purchased from Old Fashioned Baby a couple of years ago.

Swiss trim edges the off-set placket and sleeves. I used blue piping for the collar and antique glass buttons. Baby's mom loves it. I will admit, I am less than thrilled with it. I haven't convinced myself I won't re-do the whole thing. We will see.

And for your enjoyment, a little clip about "streetcars."

Monday, May 6, 2013

Learning to Picture Smock

Sarah posted a comment under the previous post asking about picture smocking.
I've not yet tried smocking anything other than geometric patterns- how hard is it to catch onto?
In answer to your question Sarah, I think it is very easy to catch onto. To be honest, it didn't occur to me when I first tried it that it should be more difficult. Ignorance is bliss. I had smocked one geometric Christmas ornament in a class, my second project was picture smocking. I jumped right in oblivious that it would be any different.

That being said, my first picture smocking attempts were very simple designs. Probably a key to my success.

I can't remember which one of these I did first. The scissor dress is shorter, so perhaps it was that one. Plus the backsmocking is much better on the balloons.  Both of these jumper/blouse sets are Children's Corner Amy. Little did I know we would have an Amy in the family within two years.

There is so much wrong with these yokes. No interfacing in the yoke, I obviously hadn't heard of piping a yoke yet and they could have used to be under-stitched. The facing flops forward on both of them. Hey, you work with what you know and when you know better, you do better. These dresses are both 30 years old and were worn a lot by three little girls. Picture saddle oxfords and black patent leather shoes. Not sure if Princess will be able to wear them. I hope so.

The scissor plate is Kindergarten Scissors by Mollie Jane Taylor. I am not certain it is still in print but I did find it at several online heirloom shops with Google. The booklet on the right is Playtime, I am certain it is out of print. I found it on eBay. (Click the links to find them.)

As I mentioned, my first attempts were simple shapes with few, if any, color changes. The process of picture smocking is called stacked cables. So if you can stitch a cable stitch you can picture smock. Trust me!

via Farmhouse Fabrics

There are also several books that would help. Michie Mooney has a Beginning Smocking book available at Farmhouse.

via Farmhouse Fabrics

Ellen McCarn's book is also a wonderful resource. It has some beginning plates included in the book. Also available at Farmhouse.

Country Bumpkin has also reprinted their book on smocking. Available at Vaune.

Laurie Anderson at Southern Stitches also has video tutorials on Youtube. Here and here and here.

So Sarah, give it a go! Picture smocking is fun and very versatile. You can picture smock on bishops also.

Parting shot: Amy wearing "Amy". It is obviously her fifth birthday two weeks before she started kindergarten herself. Almost 23 years ago.

That is it for today, faithful reader. I hope you have picked up a needle today to take a stitch or two.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Sweet "Dunkin Duckies"

Do you have patterns or plates that you just knew you would use, only to come upon them almost twenty years later and realize you never did? Well I do, and lots of them! This sweet plate was one of them. I gave a sneak peek of this project here.

The plate is called Dunkin' Duckies by Ellen McCarn. It is still available from many heirloom retailers. It is a favorite but every time the occasion arose it never seemed quite right. I do love it. Mommy's favorite part was the ducky bottom in the center. She squealed when she saw that. My favorite part is the water drops.

I had been so up to my neck getting Easter outfits across the pond that I wanted something quick yet adorable for our new little peanut. This was the perfect blend. A "Ready to Smock" from Sew Beautiful. They were on sale when I attended the Martha Pullen School in February. There are other "Ready to Smocks" available at local shops and online. Google it! It is a perfect blend of handmade by you and need to be quick.

If you want a quick gift, this is the way to go! It didn't take me long to smock this cutie. I found the romper to be well constructed, the shirt is a tad shorter than I expected, but that could be me. We will see how it does once he wears it. I smocked most of this in the car.  I need to be better about pre-constructing garments. I always say I will, then I get too anxious for the fun part, the smocking.

A sweet duckie paddling his way into your heart!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...