Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A Heavenly Whisper

At long last the requested details of my latest christening gown. I wasn't holding out faithful reader, I was waiting on the release of the design in Sew Beautiful. I wasn't deliberately keeping the details from you. :)

The embroidery design, pattern adaptations as well as additional photos can be found in the June/July issue of Sew Beautiful. I am really proud of the article. I hope you will pick up a copy.

I used an out of print pattern by The Old Fashioned Baby aptly called Old Fashioned Baby Gowns as the base for my gown. It can still be found at many heirloom retailers but you have to be diligent in your search. I found this copy listed at Peanut Butter n Jelly Kids.

The yoke was shortened to allow for the smocking and to be a bit more proportional with the overall design for a twelve pound baby. Though I am not quite sure how 39" of gown can be called proportional for a twelve pound baby. My girls like lonnnng gowns. That is okay, so do I. The yoke is interlined with a layer of silk organza. It is difficult for a bit over 3" to support the weight of the 35+" skirt without some extra support. The interlining was added after the tucks and featherstitching. My original intent had been an embroidery motif on the bodice. After three attempts not working I took that as a sign that it wasn't meant to have embroidery there. The antique mother of pearl sequin buttons were the perfect finishing touch.

It is VERY difficult to photograph a white gown and I can't find the professional photos I had done. So you will have to endure my taken in the window pictures. This is in the hotel room after I spent a tad over two hours ironing the gown. It has three quarter length sleeves edged with beading and lace tied with silk satin ribbons. The hem of the gown uses the same lace that was used on the bride's garter posted here.

The monogram is adapted from a custom monogram the bride purchased to embellish stationary and accessories.

The original monogram is shown here on a table runner and posted here.

I love tucks! So there are three additional tucks above the hem as well as tucks down both sleeves. All of the tucks are framed with my favorite antique double feather stitch ala Jeannie Baumeister. That is the only correction to the magazine article. The illustrations for the feather stitch in the article are for traditional feather stitch not the antique double feather stitch that Jeannie teaches. There is also featherstitching featured on the slip bodice as well as tucks and featherstitching on the hem of the slip. I told you, I love tucks and feather stitching.

To learn that antique double feather stitch, Jeannie has great illustrations in her book. Her book is available through The Old Fashioned Baby or many heirloom retailers. Or better yet, take a class from Jeannie and watch her stitch this delightful stitch.

The embroidery design is framed with applique cord. I have a tutorial for this fun and distinctive stitch posted here. You can also find it on the sidebar listed under "Tutorials". The applique cord is done in a stylized shape of a fleur de lis, it also runs the width of the skirt above the top row of featherstitching.

Some familiar sacramental symbols I have used before: the shell and water, doves, wheat-

a cross, and trinity symbol of the three intertwined rings. The embroidery is all a mix of shadow work, raised satin stitch, stem stitch and lazy daisies.

The back of the gown opens down the back and is fastened with two sterling silver beauty pins.

This gown like all of the ones I do are a labor of love. A Heavenly Whisper took 250 hours worth of work. And yes I timed it! The entire month of July last summer was spent on my screened in porch stitching at the speed of light. Every minute, hour and day of work is worth it when you see it framing that sweet baby face. Isn't he precious. And yes it is a HE! Many have heard of my edict to future son in laws. "If your son can't wear a christening GOWN, you need a new girl." And so far they have upheld their end of the bargain.

Some random "outtakes" the day of his portraits.

oops, forgot the paci. Probably the best photo of the gown I took.

"I wonder if his eye works if I stick my finger in it." And I haven't seen that set of car keys since that day. 

"I am sick and tired of this!" And older cousin saying, "Why is he crying Momma?" That photographer was worth her weight in gold. She was cool and collected, the women in his family were drenched in ladylike "glow".

I hope you enjoyed seeing A Heavenly Whisper as much as I did stitching it. This little Peanut's first birthday is next month. Back to the sewing room.

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Last of the Easter Sewing

The last of Easter for this year. Its still the Easter season! We have until Pentecost to celebrate all that is Easter. I am fortunate enough to belong to a local SAGA chapter that hosts a teacher once or twice a year. Lately it has been twice a year. Last fall we hosted Gail Doane. She taught a class I have long wanted to take, Primrose.

It is the cover garment on Country Bumpkin's Beautiful Bishops book. I love this little set. Even if it did about do me in.

I was fortunate enough to be able to stitch this in blue and pink as opposed to the white with yellow for our our blonde, blue eyed girl. The collar really does lie down in person, my mannequin has a neck issue I guess.

She has just woken up from a quick nap in the warm car ride home from mass Easter morning, but you can see the collar does lie flat. Her fairy wand firmly clutched in her hand. The fabric is Swiss voile so even though she had just gotten out of a carseat it is not nearly as wrinkled as Swiss batiste would be. I am not sure what it is about voile that makes it less resistant to wrinkles, but I will take it.

I didn't realize until AFTER Easter that I had left the thread marking the center in place. You can see the yellow shadow. No secrets here! I had blogged before about those rayon cast-on pansies here. The ones on the jacket look much better than the ones on the bishop. It never did get the bows done on the bishop. If you enlarge this picture you can see that some of my pansies looks as if someone stepped on them. The mistake I made was trying to tack down the petals as I went instead of when I had finished the flower. So it splayed some of my flowers. I am going with the galloping horse theory here. I will say that if you want to improve your cast-on stitches do 100+ of them in rayon. When you go back to cotton they will seem like a breeze!

This design is beautiful and classic in its simplicity, but don't let its simplicity trick you into thinking quick. Not true! But I love it. She loved it. All were happy. And I adore the blue with pink.

The hem has something else I love, tucks.

The jacket also features lots of tucks on the front and back. I realized I neglected to take a picture of the back. It is a small miracle that the fabric of the left front of the jacket is intact. Because a mind is a terrible thing to lose, the tucks on the left front were done and re-done four times. Yes you read that right, four times. I about lost what was left of my mind. There are also tucks down the center sleeves. I didn't do a very good job of photos taking this time, did I?

All in all even though it took many more hours to complete than expected, seeing it on Princess made it worth it. Again clutching her fairy princess wand. 

That concludes the Easter stitching for this year. Happy Easter!

Next up in the sewing room, Young Master's First Birthday is next month. Here comes Peter Cottontail, again! This time I am stitching Gwen Milner's Revised Version from Sew Beautiful Issue #152.

Until next time, faithful reader. Keep on stitching.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Happy Birthday Southern Matriarch

Wow, SIX years! I would have never believed when I first posted on May 14, 2008, that six years later I would still be here. I will admit those first years the posting was more prolific. Life is just plain busy, what can I say? There were no grandchildren then and two of our four kids still lived here. Now everyone is scattered from hither to yon, so I spend a lot of time in the car. Or stitching trying to keep up with these 3.5 grandchildren. What else can I say?

FOUR HUNDRED TWENTY FOUR! What is that? That is the number of items I have made in the past six years. That is a LOT! That number doesn't include this year. That is one thing blogging has done for me, it has allowed me to keep a log of the things I make. Granted some of those 424 were multiples of small items like table favors for chapter classes etc, but still 424 is pretty impressive to me. I need these reminders when I feel like I don't get anything done.  I probably have almost that many UFO's as well.

Part of what keeps Southern Matriarch going is the emails, the questions and the comments. I love answering your questions and I want to do more tutorials. I love the emails that ask "are you okay" when this page has gone quiet too long or "I enjoy your blog". I love the comments that you leave, though comments don't seem to be as frequent on any blog as they used to be. Not sure why that is. There has also been the chance to mentor other stitchers who found my little place on the web. That is ALWAYS a thrill. It is a real charge to get photos back of the garments others have made with my help.

I have met some incredible people through this simple format. So many people walk up and introduce themselves when I attend classes, workshops and stitching events. I even have had people come to my front door to introduce themselves. It is always a pleasure.

This blog also brought me the opportunity to be published a few times. Though I will admit to feeling a little like the kiss of death, both publications have ceased publication or will soon after I had designs published. I would like to believe that its not me but a girl wonders. A thrill none the less.

Thank you for your faithfulness to Southern Matriarch. If there are things you would like to see me cover besides my most perfect and beautiful grandchildren let me know. Happy stitching.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Easter Sewing-Verse II


More Easter. Don't love those little blue hands in the background? Two years old aren't really versed in the fine nuances of dying Easter eggs. They don't finesse them when they are hunting them in the yard either. "Craaaack" was heard on several occasions. That is okay. He had fun.

Once again when looking for something else, I found what I wanted to make for Wildman this year. It is a Cindy Foose design called poetically enough, Raglan Sleeve Boy's Shirt. It works.

It came from an old issue of Creative Needle again. Seems to be a trend. This is a great issue.

It is made from Imperial Broadcloth for the shirt and shorts lining, the shorts are a 100% cotton broadcloth. Both from the stash closet. I love the French bias trim on the collar, sleeves and cuffs. As well as the doubled up buttons. Though his mother wasn't too fond of those doubled up buttons. I think they are cute.

The shorts are Children's Corner Michael. I like the flat front waistband though I did have a bit of a fiddly time with the back waistband.

I used buttonhole elastic in the back of the pants. It allows the waistband to fit more snugly for a skinny little Wildman. Tall and lean like his Dad. It is available at many online retailers. I was not able to find it locally. 

It is tough to get a decent picture of a boy that never stops moving. Here he has begun to dig in the planters at the mall and his shirt tail is hanging out. They have spotted the train so 4 full size adults will cram their way into teeny tiny train cars. And look excited about it.

Two year old "fits" are in full swing. I don't remember what sin against mankind had been committed here but he was not happy. Look at the size of those feet! His parents are going to have to take out a loan to keep him shoes.

More Easter on the way.....

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Easter Sewing-At Last

At long last the particulars of my Easter sewing marathon. I really need to get a better handle on this time management thing. I'm not really sure how to do that. As I have said before, I can't spend time both here in this chair and at my sewing machine at the same time. If I could cure that little problem I would have it made. Well that is just the beginning of the problems I need to fix. None of those are any easier. Here is the littlest bit in his Easter button on suit. First off because I have had a couple of emails asking, his shoes come from J-Ray Shoes in Mobile, AL. Best service, hands down! Don't you love those chubby knees?

Momma went shopping in the stash closet and came up with this aqua micro check. Perfect color for Easter. A little departure from the usual blue for a little boy. The shirt is white Imperial broadcloth. Thanks Rita for that pleated insert I won as part of the "Pot O Gold" at our chapter meeting. Didn't have to pleat, could get started right off with the fun, stitching. I hate prep work. I am not usually a big fan of finish work either. I want to do the middle parts.

Children's Corner Patterns

The pattern is an oldie but goodie. Children's Corner "David". Available from many heirloom retailers as well as Children's Corner Inc itself. I have not made this pattern since my 31 yr. old son was 2. So a long 29 years. Suffice it to say, my collars and piping have gotten much better in 29 years. This too was Momma's choice. I did redraft the collar to make it a smaller.

The smocking plate came from an old Creative Needle. Mar/Apr 1990.

Just when you thought it was safe to throw those old magazines out. I actually stumbled across this looking for something else. Isn't that always the way? Momma liked it and we ran with it. I did smock it with three strands instead of four to make him a tad smaller, and squeezed the borders in for the same reason. If I had been thinking, I would have taken a couple of rows out of his egg to make him even shorter. A 9 month old doesn't need 12 rows of smocking across his chest.

Excuse the bad cell phone picture of a picture but that is all this Mimi has. I think he outshines the Easter Bunny in cuteness. Those dimples are just killer.

Next up, Wildman. Have you signed up for your Sew-Cation? SAGA's National Convention in Orlando? I have. I plan on taking a faggoting class with Phyllis Brown, also her eyelets class, collar drafting with Lyn Weeks, and a redwork class with Jeannie Baumeister.

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