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Heirloom and Hunstville

As many others know, traveling to one of Martha Pullen Company’s events is well worth it! I attended the Heirloom I Licensing in September ~ this was my third licensing (+ one School of Art Fashion) in Huntsville, AL and, as always, I loved every minute.

Side note: There will be a change in the way Licensings are presented, beginning in 2015. Licensings will now be at other locations than Huntsville, AL. They have two Licensing Events planned to take place in the Southeast in the summer, plus two more planned for Orange County, California, the first part of November. For more information, visit http://www.marthapullen.com/licensing/?et_mid=708107&rid=237592293.

Connie Palmer
Connie Palmer
kathy
Kathy McMakin

Kathy, Connie, Alicia and all the staff are fantastic! We got (notice I said “got”) to *play* with wonderful fabric, glorious trims and learn new techniques. The “icing on the cake”, for me at least, is all the new friendships formed during the week.

classrom
classroom

40+ ladies filled that room with the lovely sounds of sewing machines, delightful conversation, “that looks great!”, “can’t wait to do that myself”, “look what I did!”, and prayer (of course!).

finished projects
Pillow, Thread catcher & Roll Pillow cover

Included in the 20+ projects were everything needed to produce 2 christening gowns, bibs, bonnets, place mats, laptop cases, nightgowns, and more! I focused on the techniques, not the finishing, which I did once home. Techniques included lace shaping, incorporating embroidery, lace, and ribbon with batiste, gingham or knits to create a “fabric”, pinstitching, shark’s teeth, pin tucks ~ and lots more. I love to do Heirloom!

martha and sue
Martha and Sue

We had a surprise visitor as well! Sue Hausmann came through town and Martha asked her to stick around for a few days. She gave a very entertaining presentation on the history of the bra!

martha_dr joe
Martha and Dr. Joe

Martha Pullen visited with us at lunch, presenting a session on business acumen. Dr. Joe Pullen accompanied her to two of our dinners as well. They are such a sweet couple!

martha and me
Martha and Me

I will always have fond memories of my trips to Huntsville. We really did sew “from can until can’t” as Martha once said, and I came home exhausted, exhilarated, energized and eager for more.

“She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.” Proverbs 31:13

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Silk Christening Gown & Slip

A few weeks ago, my fingers got to itching to do one of my Christening Gown projects. I came across a length of ivory Silk Dupioni and just KNEW it would make a wonderful gown!

bodice
bodice

The bodice features lace insertion, puffing and gathered lace.

skirt closeup
skirt closeup

I modified the original design a bit, leaving the puffing strips off the skirt panels. The center three panels of the skirt are embroidered with ivory and 34″ long.

Swiss Batiste slip
Swiss Batiste slip

The slip, of quality Swiss Batiste, is gathered at the waist with a full, gathered ruffle, embellished with 12+ yeards of matching lace.

Silk gown
Silk Dupioni Christening Gown

Overall the gown has almost 20 yards of lace accenting the front panels and along the bottom edge. This ensemble may be purchased on my Etsy store (https://www.etsy.com/shop/Old2NewHeirlooms?ref=hdr_shop_menu).  You may contact me for this gown or other orders.

 

 

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Useful Accessories for Heirloom Sewing

Many times, after telling others about my passion for heirloom sewing, the response I get is “I don’t have a fancy machine”. Trust me, ANY machine that has a straight stitch and zig-zag can be used to create wonderful heirlooms!

Of course, having a top-of-the-line machine gives you a wider array of decorative stitches to choose from. Great to have but not required!

Another useful “tool” is the presser foot but, again, not absolutely necessary to have more than the standard to create elegant fancy bands and trims.

foot box

I am lucky to have a Bernina 830 and a wide array of feet. Each one was designed for a specific use but can be used for other purposes as well. I am going to talk about the ones I used in creating the Fancy Baby Dress (see related post).

feet
assorted feet (numbers refer to Bernina feet only)

Everyone has a ‘favorite’ foot for general sewing and I have two: #1 and #34. In the photo, #1 is mounted on the machine and #34 is just to the right. On the #1 foot the indentation in front of and behind the needle opening allows for easier forward and reverse stitching. #34 has a transparent sole which ensures a good view of the stitching and needle area. I use this one quite a bit for sewing laces and trims together.

Foot #37 is the Patchwork foot, developed for projects with 3mm (1⁄8”) or 6mm (1⁄4”) seam allowances. As the name implies, it is used mostly for quilting.

#32 (7 grooves) and #46C are the pintuck feet. I also used #46C for the corded piping. It has larger grooves which makes sewing the piping easier.

pintucks
pintucks with grooved foot

#54 is a zipper foot with a non-stick sole. I also used this foot to attach some of the piping.

#20C is called the open embroidery foot but I use it when combining laces, entredeux and trims. The open foot allows for greater control of the delicate fabrics and a clear view of your stitching.

lace to entredeux
lace to entredeux

I tend to switch feet often, trying for the best combination and ease of sewing.

beige dress
beige dress

Remember, you DO NOT HAVE to have all these feet to create heirloom garments or gifts. Just start stitching and enjoy the creative process!

“For nothing is impossible with God.”
– Luke 1:37

 

 

 

 

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Fancy Baby Dress

Last Sunday I attended a baby shower for a new member of our church. The baby was 1 month old and a little doll. I thought the suggested gift of children books, so the family could learn English, was great!

Anyway, needing a gift for the shower allowed me to do what I absolutely love – heirloom sewing 🙂

The fabric I chose was a bright white Satinella Batiste by Stylecrest; it has a slight sheen and a wonderful feel. I selected a simple square yoke pattern with a gathered sleeve and smocked skirt.

On the bodice, I created a verticle “fancy band” with lace and entredeux inserts alternated with pintucks.

fancy band bodice
fancy band bodice

The sleeves have one row of the lace and entredeux framed with pintucks down the middle.

sleeve band
sleeve band

After cutting the front skirt piece to length, I pleated 10 half-rows across the top. This was then blocked to match the bodice yoke, the pleats startched and steamed into place. I ran a row of back-smocking on the first and 8th rows of the pleating. {I will cover pleating in more detail in another post}

pleated skirt
pleated skirt

After the smocking was completed, it was time to assemble the dress. The bodice is lined and piping was added to the yoke (front and back) and neckline. Small pink pearls accent the bottom row of smocking.  I finished the sleeves with a simple band, trimmed by the piping.

yoke and skirt
yoke and skirt

The back placket is closed with clear plastic snaps and accented with white “pearl” buttons.

back of dress
back of dress

I cut the skirt long, to allow for a 3″ hem. I then added piping along the hem stitch line by creating a tuck. This enclosed the raw edge and gave the dress a finished look. As a side note, I believe in enclosing as much of the raw edge as possible. The side seams are a modified french seam and the yoke is stitched over the skirt gathers.

The fully-lined bonnet is very simple, with pintucks and piping accenting the front band. I finished it off with a satin ribbon bow and tie.

bonnet
bonnet

And here it is!

dress and bonnet
dress and bonnet

Love and prayers for a long life were included in every stitch. I thoroughly enjoyed this project!

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Darling Dress for Baby or Doll

This dress features a full skirt, cummerbund with bow and wide collar in matching gingham, embellished with pintucks, French lace, satin ribbon and embroidery. The back closes with small mother-of-pearl buttons. This pattern will fit either a 24” Middleton Doll or 6-9 month old baby.

The center front of the wide circular collar is embroidered with a delicate floral vine then trimmed in lace and ribbon. The Heirloom techniques used are stitching lace to gathered-lace and lace to fabric, which is then accented by a narrow strip of ribbon. The neckline is trimmed in gathered lace and entredeux.

collar
collar

Entredeux is a “ladder” trim used in Heirloom sewing as a “bridge” between lace and fabric, fabric to fabric, or lace to lace, as well as a trim all by itself. In the picture, you will see I am using Tiger Tape to hold the gathers in place until stitched. The same technique is used to stitch gathered-lace to lace.

gathered lace to entredeux
gathered lace to entredeux

Pintucks are created using a grooved foot and a twin needle. A slightly stiffer fabric works best, so if your fabric is light-weight, such as batiste, spray starch before stitching. Following the groove on the foot creates even spacing between pintucks.

stitching pintucks
stitching pintucks

On this project, the pintucks are also scalloped. Work slowly as you are using a double needle. Pivot at the top of the scallop, with the needle down. Drawing the curves and pivot points on the fabric will allow for uniform scallops and points (make sure you test that your lines will come out!).

scalloped pintucks
scalloped pintucks

I modified this dress for an Easter outfit. The client wanted a pink dress trimmed in white, no lace or collar. I used quality Swiss Batiste for the pink and white cotton sateen for the trim and cummerbund. The skirt is finished with the scalloped pintucks.

baby Easter
baby dress for Easter

The sleeves are gathered and trimmed with a band of the matching gingham fabric.

doll_baby dress
doll_baby dress

Regardless of trims or embellishments, this is a cute dress for dolls OR babies!

Note: I have a few of the 24″ Middleton Dolls still in stock. Contact me if interested.

 

 

 

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Smocking and Scallops

This dress began as a blank with the pleating already in place. The smocking is a simple trellis design in colors to match the ribbon roses used to embellish the dress.

yoke smocking
yoke smocking

I created the piping and attached it to the sleeves and collar. A lace beading trim was stitched on the sleeve with satin ribbon for “gathering”.

The hem features a Madeira Scallop technique using Wash-Away Thread, in both the bobbin and top thread. Cut your piece for the scallops a bit wider and longer than needed and fold in half. Mark the scallops and stitch 1/4″ away from that line. To make turning a bit easier, take one stitch across the point of the scallop. Turn the piece and press lightly to set the edges.

turned scallops
turned scallops

Now, the next few steps are the IMPORTANT ones! Do NOT pull apart yet! Spray starch the turned edge until fairly wet. Press until COMPLETELY DRY. Once dry, gently pull the pieces apart.

scallops after pressing
scallops after pressing

This process sets the 1/4″ turned edge. Pretty neat, huh! Place the scallop onto the hem – right side of scallop to wrong side of dress. Stitch the long edge of the scallop trim and turn to the front of the dress. Press and stitch (I used a pinstitch) the scallops to the dress.

pinstitch scallops
pinstitch scallops

Small ribbon roses complete the embellishment, with one rose on each scallop point and at the center of the collar.

finished dress
finished dress

This was a fun and easy project. The dress can be customized with colors of your choice!