Tuesday, August 23, 2011

New Project - The Golden Pomegranate

I had a few hours on Sunday to spare so I started a new project, the Golden Pomegranate by Margaret Cobleigh. This is a kit from an Inspirations magazine, No. 61, published in 2009.  I managed to trace the design on the silk and cut out the felt and stitch the pieces onto the fabric. You can see that the left red piece is a bit narrow, but I'll cover that with stitching and the gold threads.

The kit comes with all the materials shown above. Look at those gold threads! Won't this be fun to play with? The floss is all Au ver a Soie, Soie d'Alger, which I just love to embroider with. There are also, red and gold beads and spangles for even more bling.

Many of you may recall that Mary Corbet of NeedleThread stitched this project in October 2008, and it came out beautifully. She gave it away as a bridal gift, but so far I plan to keep mine. But we'll see.

I did manage to cover the left skin before having to quit as we leave for vacation in a few hours. I took the project out of the hoop, spritzed the fabric lightly with water to relax the hoop marks, and covered it with some fabric to protect it while we're away.

I really want to get this finished in September. You see, I'll meet Margaret in San Diego at the end of the month at a Jane Nicholas workshop I'll be attending. I'll post more on that when I'm back from vacation. But if I find I'm having issues, I'll wait and bring it along.

The Super Shuttle will be here in an hour to take us to the airport. We are flying to Hartford, Connecticut, meeting our son, then driving to Bar Harbor, Maine for a couple of days. Then it will be on to Colorado to visit my daughter, her husband and of course, our darling granddaughter. Maybe I'll be able to get her to model a couple of dresses I made. I'm taking my Waterfall Christening Gown to try and get some of the bullion flowers completed. I only have 14 to go, and each flower has about 10 bullions in it! 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Some Cutwork

Lisa at Mommy's Apron Strings recently posted about some absolutely beautiful cut work place mats she had acquired, so I thought I would share my own feeble attempts at this technique.This is a bib and booties set from a Wendy Schoen class at a SAGA convention. I have no idea when it was, but I do know it was within the last seven years. You can still get the kit from her website. It is made of linen, with a Madiera applique cut work piece sewn onto a double thickness of cotton made to (I think) withstand baby drool.

A closeup of the cut work and Madiera applique. I love doing point de Paris, or pinstitching for us Americans, by hand and will incorporate it into as many projects as I can. As you can see, the buttonhole scallops at the very tip are a bit uneven, to say the least, but I have been improving over time.

Aren't these booties precious? They even have buttonhole stitch button loops.

The back seam is sort of a felled stitch seam, with point de Paris on both sided of the seam. Looks great, doesn't it?

And here is the really pathetic part. This is from an old Inspirations magazine, one of those deceptively simple "Pocket Projects" that are supposed to be easy. Right. This doesn't really look that hard, but I had a lot of trouble with it. I used white linen from an old blouse with ecru floche. I probably should have used the regular cotton floss that the magazine recommended, as I had a terrible time with the floche getting pretty ragged. But since then I've learned to use a large No. 7 between when embroidering with floche, to leave a big enough hole for the floss to pass through without getting frayed from passing through the fabric. I'd like to make this again to show that I really can do better!

It's now Sunday evening, and the Disneyland fireworks have just finished up for the night. We get the boom without the sparkle. We will be going on vacation to visit children and grandchild, so I won't get too blog too much.

See you in September! 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Baby Shower Goodie Bags

I've been up to my eyeballs lately preparing for my niece's baby shower tomorrow, and haven't been posting as often as I should. In fact, I should be preparing food and ironing linens right now! But I thought I would show you the goodie bag that I am making for the guests to take home with them.

I'm using a "French countryside" theme, with lots of my vintage embroidered linens and lavender (not original - the idea is from MS).  I found the bags, ribbon, stamps, tiny clothespins and little paper flowers at Michael's and put everything together last weekend.

The contents are candles found on special at the drugstore, my lavender hanky sachets, and an organdy bag filled with lavender bath salts. I grew the lavender in my garden last year and managed to get a pretty good harvest before the plants died from all the rain. Evidently lavender thrives in well drained soil, and last winter we had standing water a lot of the time. The salts are a mix of Epsom Salts, salt (I use Ralph's Kosher salt), lavender and some essential oil of lavender for extra fragrance. I found the bags at Michael's in the baby shower section next to the bridal crafts. I didn't even realize they had a baby shower section!

I think they are rather cute. I hope the guests like them!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Bullion Wrap Dress Completed!

Finally, after just over a year, it's finished! The Bullion Wrap Dress arrived on my doorstep in June of 2010 and I've been working it on and off ever since. If you remember, I had some issues with the bullion flowers puckering, but after a reader, Robin Hart, pointed out I was taking too small a stitch I took quite a few out and redid them. Thanks, Robin!

The certainly do look a lot better!

Now for the likes and dislikes:

The embroidered bullion flowers and the scallop edging are lovely, but extremely time consuming. I made the dress a bit longer and skipped making the panties, just because I like long dresses. The fabric is a fine baby lined pique which handles like a dream. It also wrinkles just by my looking at it. My daughter isn't much of an ironer, so I doubt this dress will get worn too often. Or else she will just put it on her daughter and she will look like a little ragamuffin. What makes the ironing worse is that it needs to be ironed over a padded surface so the high relief bullion flowers will since into the padding and the cloth around it will come out smooth. I use a four layer pad of cotton batting, which works so much better than a towel.

I made the scallops by machine first, describing how I came up with it in the same post in which I complained about my bunchy bullions. This worked like a charm. I will do this from now on whenever I make a scalloped edge. I just have to make sure I feed the fabric through the machine dogs evenly or the scallops will be skewed.

The instructions for constructing the dress aren't the best. I had to figure out how to sew in the ties myself, and add snaps to keep the inside of the dress together. As I was putting it together, I discovered that I wasn't finished after all!

I still had a long row of scallops left to work. I couldn't find the fabric piece with my notes, but luckily I had posted the stitch information so was able to retrieve it. I have really got to start a better note system. This week I should get most of this done while riding in my carpool, but if not, I can finish before I see her.

Later this month we will be visiting my daughter so my granddaughter will have her new dress. I hope to get pictures and will post them when I get back. As I'm busy with my niece's baby shower this coming Saturday and leaving for vacation three days later, I won't be posting too much until I get back. And I've promised my son that my highest priority will be his quilt!

Have a great week!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Bullion Wrap Dress - Starting the Construction

It's been a whole week since my last post, and I do apologize. I have made some progress on my projects, but it has been quite slow. I have managed to cut the fabric away from the scallop edging on the Bullion Wrap Dress, and even put the bodice pieces together, not that you can tell from this photo.

A bit of a close up of the scallop edging. This is not the easiest stitch in the world, taking quite a bit of practice to do really well, but I do think I'm getting a little better at it. It is such a relaxing stitch. Yards and yards of making the same stitch, always yearning towards perfection. It is worked in DMC floche, and working with floche always makes me happy. It is such a delight to use.

And I actually made the belt ties! I know, it is a pretty lame post. Soon the dress will be finished, because, thank goodness, I have a deadline. In just two weeks we fly to Connecticut to visit our youngest son, then on to Colorado to see lovely daughter and granddaughter, so I have to have it finished by then. And don't forget, I'm hosting a baby shower just a few days before we leave.

And in case you are wondering, youngest son is at Yale, working on a PhD in Physics. Only one more year to go! I wonder if I can sew his robes...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Heirloom Potpourri Daygown

Working on the Waterfall Christening Gown is going to take a very long time, so here is a post of a dress I made for my granddaughter when she was a tiny one. This is called Heirloom Potpourri Daygown and is from a class by Claudia Newton sponsored by my local SAGA chapter. The photo is notoriously bad, but you can see the stitching a bit better in the closeups.

The embroidery is pretty simple, just stem stitch stems, detached bullion chain leaves, and bullion flowers, all done in DMC cotton floss. The lace is stitched onto the fabric, which is carefully cut away from behind the lace and folded to the edges. Then point de Paris is stitched around the edges by machine. You can see that the center flowers on the bottom look a bit yellow. It needs a good washing before being passed on to anyone else.

The blue Madiera applique hem is also attached by machine.

I even added point de Paris along the back facings. I used stitch D46 W and L = 2.0 on my Viking Designer I, with a size 100/16 needle and Madiera Cotona No. 80 thread. (Believe it or not, I took notes, to determine which combination of thread/needle/stitch length I liked best.). See that bias binding at the neckline? Was it ever tiny! No fun to stitch down.  I made a bonnet to match, but I'll be darned if I can find it. 

And here's the little sweetheart in her dress, before she got hungry and let everyone know. We were at my nephew's college graduation party and it was 105 in the shade of the huge oak tree in the back yard. My brother had misters going to help keep everyone relatively cool, so between the humidity and the shade of the oak tree the colors of this photo are just perfect. She was exactly two months old and trying to figure out how her tongue works.