Saturday, February 7, 2015

Sweet Vintage-inspired Baby Frock

Vintage baby frocks and vintage patterns are my most sought-after treasure! Yes, I am all about the thrill of the hunt and nothing is more satisfying than unearthing a truly incredible piece (or five) from another era! 
Often times the vintage garments and patterns I find come with unknown facts about where it came from. Many times I find a spectacular piece and wonder how a particular unique technique was done. This just intrigues me to purchase the garment to figure it all out! Just wait till you see some of the Vintage pieces I've purchased that I plan to re-create this year! I thrive on the challenge and it's all about seeking incredible treasures and letting my creative juices flow in re-creating the piece!
Such was the case with this little frock. The 1930's vintage pattern was an incredible find and had never been cut into or used at all! The instructions were very sketchy (like one small paragraph on tissue paper in multiple languages) and I had one little confusing diagram to follow...the rest was left to me to figure out!
As with most vintage patterns I find, I made changes to the original - I always like to put my own twist on something to make it unique. With this one, I decided to try to re-create all the embroidery with my Bernina 780. I started out by making some design changes and then digitizing the embroidery for the dress. The results were incredible!
Center Front of skirt
Front Yoke
Back Yoke
Sleeve Cuff
Dress Front
Dress Back
As you might expect, it took multiple hoopings to create all the embroidery on this little frock. Careful repositioning and lining up of the hoop was also something that takes a bit of know-how and patience. This is where printing off templates is a must. Much of this frock was created in-the-hoop!
I am extremely pleased with my first test stitch out of the designs and I have little, if any, tweaking that needs to be done. The vintage design makes this modern-day gown look like a true heirloom piece!
This little frock will soon be offered as an eClass at Southern Stitches. I will be teaching several techniques in the eClass; using templates and lining up designs in multiple hoopings, entredeaux on a curve, painless plackets, wing stitching and more! All machine embroidery designs along with my revised pattern will be included. More info coming soon! Follow me on Facebook and please subscribe to SewNso's Sewing News Journal.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Forever-an-heirloom...

If there is a way to soil a christening or special occasion garment just before the ceremonies, it's probably been done -- splashed by a puddle in the church parking lot, speckled with coffee or a soft drink, marked by lipstick in the back seat of the car, or imprinted by sticky little fingers from a curious toddler. Yep, if there is a chance it will get dirty, you can pretty much bet on it that it will happen.
A custom-made bag is the safe and easy way to transport clothing to and from special event. My forever-an-heirloom garment bag ePattern can be made from specially purchased fabric with elaborate detailing or simply whipped up using scraps and embellished with machine embroidery motifs, which requires minimal cost or time.
This bag is so quick and easy to make, you will be amazed! I have included extra instructions for making the bag any length you desire and also with a gusset to allow for multiple garments in the bag.
The ePattern instructions are for an off-center opening that is zipper-less. Zippers always concern me in a garment bag, as it's just too easy to get a gown or worse yet, delicate lace caught up in the zipper teeth. Instead I recommend using snaps, snap-tape or even buttonholes and buttons on my garment bag. 
This was the very first bag I made, 
when creating my garment bag pattern. 
I used an off-white feather wale fabric...
...and added vintage buttons over where the snap tape is.
The monogram and embroidery on my sample bag is from Martha Pullen Company and is not included with the ePattern. However, I have created a special button ornament for my ePattern and used a font (KK Monogram) that I had in my computer. 
 The above design is included in all machine formats.
With creative placement using the same motif, you can
create a frame for a monogram to be used on the front of bag!

My Forever-an-heirloom Garment Bag ePattern is now available! It is an instant download after purchase! Click on the photo below to order!
Storage Tip:
Never store an heirloom gown in plastic, which traps moisture or cleaning chemicals and does not allow the garment to breath. I recommend that you never hang a gown for long-term storage; instead, wrap the gown in acid free tissue paper, place it inside a garment bag (or pillowcase if not making a special matching bag), then place inside a storage box with a piece of cedar for moth and insect protection.  Before storing, wash, air dry and press the gown without starch. Customized keepsake boxes can be ordered from "Baby Keepsakes" at www.babysakes.com


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year ~Sewing goals of 2015!

Happy New Year! I don't know about you, but 2014 flew by, just like the entire month of December. It seems like the older I get, the faster the years pass by. One of my favorite quotes is:
When I reminisce about this past year and think about time and how times have changed, along with how quickly it passes by, it's a little mind-blowing! Last year at this time I was working on several designs for Sew Beautiful Magazine for the coming months. I was clueless that in just a few short months, Sew Beautiful Magazine would no longer exist and I would no longer be designing amazing garments for a National magazine. It was the end of an era.

When I look at machine embroidery designs and ePatterns I created last year, I quickly notice how times have changed in one year. I realize how much work and time it takes creating fresh new designs. It's hard to keep up with the fast pace of current trends and keeping up with today's market and what customers are seeking. Sometimes my business takes all kinds of detours, due to the fact of trying to keep up the pace - it's exhausting!

Today is the 1st day of 365 days. I know how fast those days will pass and I know how many changes will take place in those 365 days. I want to make the most of each and every one of those days to the best I can! This year my goal is to take my business down a little different path. Rather than trying to keep up with the fast-paced, ever- changing trends of the day, I am going to focus on timeless, classic designs. 
My focus in 2015 is "vintage-inspired" heirlooms. From machine embroidery to ePatterns, my focus will be timeless, classic designs, inspired by genuine vintage garments, patterns and embroidery designs.
I will also be making handmade vintage-inspired garments for babies that will be available for purchase. Many of these handmades will be one of a kind or available in limited quantity and size. 
I will also be creating more eClasses, focusing on Hand Smocking and Heirloom Sewing! My Smocked Bonnet eClass has been very popular and such a great option for those who can't physically attend a sewing class or conference. The first new eClass of 2015 will be The Smocked Bishop Dress from start to finish. The bishop dress will coordinate with the smocked bonnet eClass. After that, my focus will be Heirloom Sewing eClasses, teaching unique techniques and proper hand-sewing technique. 
I will also be creating new ePatterns in 2015 - all vintage-inspired, timeless classics that you will love! Some of these designs will include both hand and machine embroidery. I will be creating new machine embroidery designs including monograms, ornaments and other machine embroidery designs inspired from vintage designs.

Happy New Year - I wish you well in 2015 and I hope that you will follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest!



Monday, December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas!

I hope you were able to get all your Christmas sewing completed! I don't know about you, but I didn't do as much Christmas sewing this year as I have done in the past. I had plans to make more smocked Christmas ornaments, but that just didn't happen. Next year I will start earlier and plan to make a few new smocked ornaments, as I love seeing them on my tree!
There is just a few more days for BIG savings at Southern Stitches! Save 40% using the coupon code NOEL - this coupon code is good thru Christmas Day! This is a GREAT time to get my online smocking eClass at a great discount and then you will have it to work on in the cabin fever time of the winter! All my smocking plates and machine embroidery designs are included in this sale!
From my home to your's - 
Wishing you a very 


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Christmas Stocking Traditions and Inspiration


The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

I don't know about you, but each year I love getting out my Christmas stockings. It brings back memories of when I was growing up. All the stockings at my house where handmade felt stockings with hand-stitched felt appliqué Christmas designs on them and the initials of our first name at the top. My great Aunt Helen made each one of them. 

When I was asking my Mom about our stockings, she told me how when she was a little girl and would go visit Aunt Helen, all the girls had long white stockings that they wore and that is what they used at Christmas to fill - she never had a decorated stocking. The photo I used at the top of this blog post seemed to perfectly depict the story my Mom told me about Christmas Stockings when she was a little girl. She said their stockings were typically filled with lots of fruit and candy, of course.

I have 3 older brothers and I am the only girl, so my stocking was different than the boys and I loved that! The boys had red stockings with green & white trim and mine was green with red and white trim. The only photo I could find is this one and my stocking is not pictured in this photo. Typically my stocking would be put at the other side of the fireplace. I know there are many more photos at my Mom's of our stockings and next time I am there, I am going to spend some time digging thru old photos...and I think I might even confiscate my old stocking!
I remember our stockings also had fruit in them; usually an orange and an apple in the toe, along with lots of candy and a few toys.

The history of the Christmas stocking is an interesting read and I am sure many families carry on their own tradition with stockings.
While there are no written records of the origin of the Christmas Stocking, there are popular legends that attempt to tell the history of this Christmas tradition. In some Christmas stories, the contents of the Christmas stocking are the only toys the child receives at Christmas from Santa Claus; in other stories (and in tradition), some presents are also wrapped up in wrapping paper and placed under the Christmas tree. Tradition in Western culture threatens that a child who behaves badly during the year will receive only a pile of coal. However, coal is rarely if ever left in a stocking, as it is considered cruel. Some people even put their Christmas stocking by their bedposts so Santa Claus can fill it by the bed while they sleep. 

I think handmade stockings are just so special and so here is just a small sampling of Christmas Stockings I have made in the past. Several of them I have had the honor of being featured in Sew Beautiful Magazine! 






The machine shadow work stocking is available at Southern Stitches and the design set includes a PDF for making the stocking!
I hope I have inspired you to start or carry on a Christmas Tradition of handmade Christmas stockings!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing you and yours a very Blessed Thanksgiving!
Give thanks for unknown blessing already on their way. 
~ Native American Saying

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

There is a BIG-BIG Black Friday SALE at Southern Stitches
Click HERE to read all about it!


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

lost and found...

“We all get lost once in a while, sometimes by choice, sometimes due to forces beyond our control. When we learn what it is our soul needs to learn, the path presents itself. Sometimes we see the way out but wander further and deeper despite ourselves; the fear, the anger or the sadness preventing us returning. Sometimes we prefer to be lost and wandering, sometimes it's easier. Sometimes we find our own way out. But regardless, always, we are found.” - Cecilia Ahern

In case you haven't noticed, I've been on a brief hiatus from sewing and designing lately. I'm not sure if it's been by choice or circumstance, but one thing is for certain, I've been wandering with no clear destination in sight. I think for a time, I lost my focus. With the end of Sew Beautiful Magazine, I've kinda been in search of the next path I should follow. I really enjoyed having projects I worked on for months on end. I enjoyed finishing those projects, attending photo shoots and then the thrill of seeing my creation published in a National Sewing Magazine. I looked forward to starting the cycle all over again as a new box of "goodies" arrived full of fabric, lace, buttons and sketches and having the freedom to put my own unique spin on it. It not only was a thrill working on those projects, but in a special way it gave me purpose. After that was gone I began to wander...
One day it's embroidery, then the next it's smocking, online teaching, heirloom sewing...then it's designing and digitizing. Sometimes it's all of the above in the same day, hour or even blocks of minutes! I get completely distracted with endless ideas that pour into my head and I think I want to do this or that. I will stop right in the middle of a project, only to start another one that I get distracted with and begin yet another. I feel like I never finish anything anymore or it takes me much longer than originally planned. 
I thought I wanted to make multiples of pretty little garments and sell them, then I thought I wanted to do heirloom sewing for clients {big mistake}. Then I have the whole photography thing going on that takes me down yet another path partially separated from my sewing, but also very much connected. After all, everyone knows that good photography is what helps to sell beautiful creations. I really enjoy doing all those things, however there comes a time when one needs to seek clear direction when all these things pertain to a business. It's time for the process of refining!
This brief hiatus has given me time to sit back and really take a look at my sewing business and how it fits into this whole wide world of sewing before me that continues to grow by leaps and bounds each and every day. My head spins with ideas and refining is a process I need to must take before I continue in this business. There are so many paths I could take in my sewing business, however in the midst of being "lost" in this huge sewing world, I have "found" that I don't want to do what everyone else is doing. I don't want to "do it all" and I certainly don't want to be chained to my sewing machine by sewing for clients either - it totally takes the enjoyment out of sewing. I don't want to be just another sweat shop making the same things over and over. I've wandered down that boring path many times...it's a tough road to follow and stay competitive. It almost becomes a race...and I don't want to be in that Rat Race! In the process of getting a little lost, I am finding my way by seeking the path that made me who I am...or perhaps, who I was.
I've spent the past several weeks looking what I do and where my business fits in with the others out there. Am I lost in this big world of sewing? If so, how can I be found? What can I do to make my business stand out from the others? Is there anything that makes me different from the common ordinary? If so, how can I refine it? I think the key answer to that can be found in the word "unique", and that is the clear focus I am taking as I move my business forward in 2015 and beyond.
I hope you will follow this unique path with me and stay connected thru facebook, pinterest, instagram, my news journal and here at my blog as I start to reveal new and unique things coming to Southern Stitches!


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