Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Cherry Dress

The Cherry Dress was originally created in 2008 and has undergone several revisions as PDF patterns become more advanced. When Cyndi Mays, editor of Sew Beautiful Magazine contacted me about featuring The Cherry Dress, I knew it was due for yet another revision and adding sizes! I am so very honored to have it featured in the Summer 2014 issue of Sew Beautiful Magazine!
The Cherry Dress is a classic and sure to be a hit with summer sewing! It is a button-front, knife-pleated dress with piped puff sleeves and a piped Peter Pan collar. The center back of the dress has an inverted pleat with the same knife-pleats across either side of the inverted pleat. 
The button-front has cherry stems and leaves embroidery in which the button holes are built into the embroidery motif. The red buttons create the cherries! The embroidery motif is a free download at Sew Beautiful Magazine! The design file is also included in the ePattern and is available at Southern Stitches.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Grant's Vintage One-Piece Romper

I love the classic, yet playful designs that are found in vintage garments for children and I am always eager to give new life to a vintage piece by recreating it. Being a commissioned designer for Sew Beautiful Magazine, I have had many opportunities to do just that and it's where I find great joy in sewing. I was so thrilled when editor, Cynthia Mays, sent me a very unique vintage piece to recreate. The label inside reads "Florence Eiseman, designed for Neiman-Marcus", which I found very interesting and immediately started researching online for more of her designs. 
This was a fun little piece that I really enjoyed drafting a pattern for. It's always fun to try to figure out how a garment goes together while leaving the vintage piece completely intact. Often times it's a challenge, but it's all a part of the design process that I really enjoy doing. I also just love that I got to recreate a garment for boy and that my sweet grandson, Grant got to model it! Doesn't he look sweet?
The pattern for this romper can be found in the upcoming June/July 2014 issue of Sew Beautiful Magazine and is drafted in sizes 6 months to 24 months. 
The romper is a very unique design in that it is 
all in one piece, yet it appears to be 
in two pieces when worn. 
The belted waistband wraps around the waist 
and buttons in back.
I hope you will add this to your summer sewing list and that you enjoy making it as much as I did in recreating it!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Hannah - a vintage-inspired toddler dress

I am so excited to share with you a darling little vintage-inspired dress that I recently made as a test-stitch. 
Hannah is a sweet one-piece dress that looks like it is two pieces! I was contacted by a client who hired me thru my Pattern Digitizing Service to take her hand-drawn pattern and turn it into a PDF pattern. When I completed the PDF pattern, she asked me to make up a sample, which I was so excited to do. I had the perfect fabric I wanted to use with this sweet dress! The fabric I chose is from one of my most favorite designers, Sarah Jane. From Michael Miller Fabrics, the name of this fabric print is Children at Play on Parade.
Hannah is a classic toddler dress with a vintage feel, inspired by an antique dress of yesteryear. The unique front pleated panel buttons to a built-in shirt underneath. This design eliminates the the need for back buttons, which can sometimes be uncomfortable to wear in a car seat. The pattern has an option for two different back treatments as seen on the pattern cover. Three sizes are included: 9-12 months, 18 months and 2 toddler.
When I posted a pic of my sample dress on my Facebook page, I immediately had many inquires on what pattern I had used. I am very excited to tell you that "Hannah" is now available in Tookie Tots Etsy Shop, where are more photos showing close-up detail of this sweet vintage-inspired dress.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Spring Sewing & a giveaway!

Easter is a bit later this year, which gives much more time to sew! Southern Stitches has some great Easter and Spring designs for you, and here is just a sampling of a few items.
All the designs at Southern Stitches are instant downloads once payment is completed, which gets your designs to you quick and allows you to get sewing immediately!
Many of my ePatterns are great for Easter Sewing, here are just a few:
Smocked Tapered Bonnet ePattern
Smocked Bishop Dress ePattern
Jack 'n Jill Bubble and Dress ePattern
I also have many smocking plates, which are instant downloads. One of my most popular is "Caleb's Cottontails", which was featured in Sew Beautiful Magazine!
One of the cutest things for Easter are my in-the-hoop Bunny Slippers! They are so much fun to make!
You can win a design file to these darling slippers in my Spring Giveaway on Facebook! Click the photo below and go to my Facebook page, like my page and find the photo and then like and comment to be included in the giveaway! Four lucky winners will be chosen on March 1st!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Resurgence of Sewing!

Sewing has been with us throughout history, passed from generation to generation, and recently (even in the midst of economic hardships) it has had a resurgence, being picked up en masse across the generations. Here's a look at the recent changes in the industry and why people love sewing so much!
Used with permission by

Although much of the information above pertains to the UK, it also very much applies right here in the USA as well. I have seen a huge resurgence of sewing in all parts of the USA.  Nation-wide sales of sewing machines are booming. Interest is picking up on a daily basis for sewing classes in sewing shops, as well as online courses. PDF patterns are also a booming business and readily available.
In part, the heightened interest can be chalked up to the popularity of reality shows such as Project Runway on Lifetime and Fashion Star on NBC, however women of all ages are embracing sewing as a form of self-expression and a way to assert their independence. What once was considered a "womanly task" is now a way of defining oneself thru creativity in sewing. Women enjoy making something that is unique to them and sewing allows so many choices in fabric, design and embellishment.
Blogs and social-sharing websites, such as Facebook and Pinterest connect sewers and turn what might otherwise be a solitary activity into a group effort. The social aspect of sewing is so important. When you get people together, whether it be in person or thru the internet, you are able to share and enjoy your passion. I have met so many wonderful people online that I might not have otherwise ever met and gained valuable information from so many different sources.
Sewing is both fun and empowering.  I also get such a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment when I sew. How about you?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Pleating Gingham...with success!

I think one of the most challenging types of fabric to pleat is gingham, especially if you are {like me} a perfectionist. Pleating gingham can cause you all kinds of fits, out-bursts and can almost cause you to lose your religion. Really, just ask me! Nothing is worse than pleating gingham and having it get off course. You have to stop, take out the roller, remove all the needles and thread, put needles back in, replace roller and thread needles again. After about 3 or 4 times of doing that, sometimes you just have to walk away, take a deep breath and calm down before you throw the pleater out the window! Yep, I've been there!
I've learned a few tricks thru the years in pleating gingham that have very successful results for me. My hope is that my tricks will help you perfect your gingham pleating with success!
One of the most important things in this process is to make sure your fabric is torn on the straight grain. If it's not, it will be a disaster!
Roll your fabric on your dowel as perfectly straight as you can. If your fabric isn't perfectly straight, your pleating won't be perfectly straight.
It's very important to make sure fabric gets started perfectly even vertically and horizontally. Line up torn edge with a groove in the roller - for me, that is one groove past my last threaded needle. Make sure your fabric edge follows that groove the entire width of the fabric, on the vertical as you pleat. It's equally important to watch your fabric the entire length, making sure it goes thru the pleater evenly on the horizontal.
Engaging your left hand is very important as you pull that fabric thru, keeping it taut as you pleat and making sure the horizontals of the gingham are not getting off grain as it pleats. In the insert photo your needles should be all following the same "row" of the gingham the whole width of the fabric.
If you follow my steps, then your pleated gingham should turn out like mine! All your pleating guide threads should follow the same line of the gingham the entire width. You will also have very little moire effect if you keep everything perfectly straight as you pleat.
I hope the next time you pleat gingham you can do it with success and that my tutorial has been a helpful tool! :)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

{Winter Rose} Chevron Blanket Stitch - a little tute!

As always, I am so very honored to have my designs featured in my favorite heirloom sewing magazine, Sew Beautiful. My Winter Rose Smocked Coat was featured in Issue No. 151, which hit the newsstands back in October of 2013.
There are so many details with this little coat that I want to share with you and one of them is the Chevron Blanket Stitch that I created on the edges of the collar and cuffs.
I can't say that I have ever done the Chevron Blanket Stitch before. I was working my design from a vintage garment, so I had to do some research first to figure out what stitch it actually was and then how to create it. I found a wonderful tutorial at the Purl Bee.
I used Perle Cotton #8 {anyone that knows me well, knows that I LOVE using Perle Cotton #8 in smocking!} seemed to be the perfect weight of thread for this little project on the Ivory Wool Challis fabric.
Keeping your stitches consistent is the key in this stitch! You basically start with a basic blanket stitch. You are then going to take a 2nd stitch in the exact same hole as your previous stitch, however, you will offset it at the top about 1/16th of an inch. You will then take a 3rd stitch in the exact same hole and offset it again 1/16th of an inch at the top. This will create the darling little chevron!
Isn't it beautiful? It adds so much beauty to the edge of anything that is just otherwise plain. Notice the difference it makes on the sleeve cuff in the upper right corner photo above!
I hope you have enjoyed the little details of "Winter Rose"...more details of this sweet little coat will be coming to my Sewing Journal soon!


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