Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Back at work again.....

I've been away from my computer and now I'm home again and ready to get back to work. 

The class in Cayuga last weekend was a lot of fun and certainly kept me on my toes! These ladies are seasoned smockers and heirloom sewers so the challenge here was to present the pattern Summer Breeze in both modes and to show them alternate ways of working it. 

We discussed how to fit the pattern which by the way is very easy but you might need help to see the back and do some pinning. Everyone's body is unique and although there are measurements given to help you to choose your size, a person can have a narrow back but large bust so there may need to be some adjustments made. I suggest cutting out the armhole bands and fitting them first. The shoulder seam should be on the shoulder and the band should fall naturally to that it is not too high or be too narrow under the arms in width. You might find through doing this test that you need to lengthen or shorten or add or subtract width in the under arm area. That  is easily done. Then you need to check the width between the bands in the front and in the back. Compare this measurement to the measurement in the pattern instructions for letting out the pleating to smock. This does not include any seam allowance. 

We also discussed how to reduce the amount of fullness in the skirt. May people have said they don't like such a full skirt. The easiest way to do this is to either use a design plate that takes less fullness (by employing stitches like the Vandyke) or strip smocking or one of the styles of smocking like Lattice or Lozenge or Flower smocking. If you are making the heirloom version it is very easy to reduce the fullness of the front and back panels to one and a half times fullness. Another way would be to smock only the  front and make the bodice band used in the heirloom version on the back of the smocked version. That way the skirt is simply gathered onto the band and you can make it as slim as you wish. As I say there are so many ways to make this gown!!

Cayuga is on the banks of the Grand River which meanders its way though the most lovely rolling country side. My hostess, Betty, lives on a property which also overlooks the river. When I rose on Sat. morning, I was treated to the most magnificent sunrise. The horizon was glowing pink which faded into purple and then into blue. There had been a frost overnight and there was a mist rising from the ground. I took a photo from my window but as with any sunrise or sunset the chances of capturing the full beauty is chancy.

Fri night three of the ladies from the Guild and I dined at at restaurant called the Twisted Lemon. The building had been a church at one point in time but there was no evidence of that any longer. The place was packed which was a good sign as Cayuga is not a huge town. Our meals were beautifully presented, the menu was exciting and the food was melt in your mouth delicious! I had the salmon which was cooked to perfection and topped off my meal with coffee and a chocolate mousse with fresh berries that was wonderfully rich and rewarding.  I left the restaurant feeling mellow and only slightly guilty.

The class was held in the Cayuga Mutual Insurance building on King St. The building a fairly new and the insurance company had a special room put in for community meetings. This facility is more than any guild could hope for. It is huge with excellent lighting, Lots of large meeting tables and comfortable chairs, a fully equipped kitchen through a door, washrooms, storage closets where different groups can store their equipment and lots of power outlets around the perimeter. I've never seen such wonder facilities offered at such a great price which included adequate free parking and no stairs! Don't you wish more large companies could see their way to donating to the community this way. 

Of course I didn't think to check the batteries in my camera before I left home and they were very very low but I was also so absorbed in the class that I forgot to take photos to show you what the ladies were doing. If anyone remembers to send me a few photos, I promise to post them for you to see.

My goodness I've gone on for a bit! I'll leave you now and hope you are busy stitching.
Till next time, then.....