Tuesday, August 27, 2013

New Dress in Work

One of my retirement goals is to work off the inventory of UFO's in my sewing room, and there are lots of them! In April I attended a SAGA workshop in the LA area taught by Lyn Weeks on construction of her Frannie pattern suite. The fabrics I chose were this darling unicorn/castle fabric and the diamond patterned mauve fabric for piping. I wasn't happy with my choice of bodice fabric so after arriving at the workshop I visited a local quilt shop and picked up the butterfly fabric you see in the lower right. The color is perfect and there are even butterflies in the green fabric.

Frannie comes in three size groupings. I'm using the largest, and making a size 5 to fit my granddaughter, who by the way, started school this week. Where does the time fly? This pattern is modeled after a gown that Lyn found in an antique shop and she drafted the patterns from it. It has an unusual bodice/smocking treatment that you can see above. In fact, we had to curve the fabric in the pleater, which was pretty tricky. In addition, the pleating did not stop or end at the edge of the fabric.

You can see how I marked the end of the smocking. Gotta love those washout fabric markers.

There are three different collar options in the pattern. I'm using the same collar as on the flowered dress on the envelope cover, shown upside down in this photo. Although the one on the cover seems to have an embroidered scallop edge on it. I opted to pipe this one with piping made from the diamond patterned fabric in the first photo.

The pattern came with a smocking plate was rather plain. So I'm merging bits of smocking patterns from different sources, so we'll see where this leads. I also plan on some bullion roses in the mauve colors, which I hope will look nice. The row of cable on the top is to hide my somewhat uneven sewing. Originally I had a row of cables in light green that was supposed to be covered up by the piping, but there were a few spots where it peeked out. So I added the cable row to hide it, and I like the effect. I think it would have looked a bit bland without it.

In the class we constructed the dress first and now I'm smocking the almost fully constructed dress. Normally you would smock the pleated fabric first and construct the dress after all smocking and embroidery was finished. As this class focused on the tricky construction of the bodice to skirt the teacher reversed the order. But it seems to be working out quite well.

Back to work, I want to finish this and send it off so she can wear it to school while the weather in Colorado is still warm.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Hand Sewn Baby Slip Finished

Goodness, but I love being retired. I'm actually ahead of the curve on a project, the first time in a very long time. As I mentioned in a previous post on this project, I decided to make this baby slip entirely by hand. This month at our SAGA meeting we will be working on buttonholes.

I did most of the construction in the car while riding to my niece's wedding, but did all the feather stitching both at home and while flying to Michigan for another niece's wedding last weekend.

I did make the buttonholes by hand, but did not make a machine buttonhole and work a hand stitched one over it as I mentioned in the last post. There just would have been too much thread build up for that. So I practiced a few and went ahead to the actual slip. They don't look too bad, and if I were a decent photographer you could see them a bit better. So I'm actually finished with the project ahead of schedule. What a nice feeling!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Transforming the Flower Girl Dress

Remember the Flower Girl Dresses from last month? If you look at the second photo in the post you'll see my great niece off to the right. She will be baptized next month and her mom wanted to use the dress for this occasion. I removed the sash and overskirt, luckily I didn't follow the pattern directions to sew everything into the seams. I found this tulle in my stash, starched it so it had a bit of body, then made a new overskirt. I used a zig zag to finish the hems and sew the seams together and it worked quite well on this flimsy fabric. The dark with thread at the top is the gathering thread. It is Mettler gimp with a zig zag over it. All I had to do is to pull on it and the skirt gathered beautifully. After whipstitching the overskirt to the dress, I cut the end of the gimp and pulled it all out. Perfect!

I made a self fabric sash and attached it to the dress. That tuck in the center really bothered me, so I took it out. This is polyester, so it doesn't gather as nicely as silk does, and I thought the tuck would be needed. It turns out that it looks fine without it.

And the back. Yes, I did follow the sash tying instructions in A-Z of Sewing for Smockers, I just need a lot more practice.

A note about the wedding. The little girl who wore this dress has an abundance of energy, more so than the average toddler. During the reception, she would go out onto the dance floor and dance around by herself, so many of the guests, including the bride and groom, formed a circle around her and danced away. I love weddings like that! After all, those little darlings are an important reason for getting married.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Butterfly Needlework Nibble Finished

My latest Needlework Nibble finished! This is a little pin pad, and I suppose it's meant to have pins stuck in the sides, but I can't bear to do that with this silk. I'm afraid it will rip the fabric too much. I dug up some gold beads to add a bit more bling.

The pin pad is a foam core that is sandwiched between two cards with batting and the needlework or backing fabric attached. All the fabric is supposed to be glued to the cards, but I found it much easier to lace it with threads. It was fairly time consuming for such a little project but it did go together nicely. It's only 2 inches square, and it makes a lovely little thing to look at. It's just a tad too big to use as a scissors fob, so for now it will be just little pretty thing.