Wednesday, March 27, 2013

An antique silk gown and a photo shoot

Last week I met with Carla Canonico at A Needle Pulling Thread magazine for a photo shoot. This wonderful needlework magazine is produced right here in little old Newmarket!            

We were photographing the Christmas decorations for the Festive issue, well John, the Art Director and so much more, did the actual photography but Carla and I set up each shot. I of course never thought to bring my own camera to record any of the process...

Yes, the Festive issue and it is only March! Carla and John work so far ahead to bring you this wonderful magazine. I brought in a set of three silk ribbon embroidered decorations making use of some slightly different stitches along with the tried and true. There is a traditional ball, a Christmas tree and a Drummer Boy's drum.

Then a few weeks ago, inspiration struck again and I did up some felt 'cookie cutter' decorations that employ only two stitches for the designs. These are so easy you could even get your little people stitching if they are comfortable with a needle and thread - well maybe it is more like it to say if you are comfortable. After all needlework, particularly embroidery is a hand skill to be passed on the next generation and what better way to spend precious time with your children or grandchildren.

Please go to A Needle Pulling Thread magazine to check it out. From there
you can catch Carla's Face book page and 'like' her beautiful photos!! You might even sign up for a subscription or check out the "needlework pages" a listing of shops and services that you are bound to find helpful.

This is the cover of the newest issue that has just hit the news stands. Preview it on the web site and look for it next time you are out shopping.

Also last week a parcel arrived in the mail from my best friend in England. She always surprises me with these wonderful packages. Inside the gold tissue tied up in the prettiest ombre ribbon, was the most delicate Christening gown in champagne gossamer-fine silk embroidered in ecru silk or rayon thread. It has been made from an embroidered border which has not been trimmed to the edge of the stitching. There obviously was an embroidered insertion made to match.  

For those of us who use heirloom sewing techniques this gown is an anomaly. It is an antique gown from the Victorian or Edwardian era which has been sewn together by sewing machine - French seams of course. The hemstitching that was used to turn up the hem is absolutely perfect and exquisite.
The odd thing to me is the way the designer used the insertion pieces on the bodice and sleeves. Hope you can see this in the photo above. The 'waste fabric' has not been removed nor hidden by turning it to the back. Instead it has been used as an edging with part of it turned inside for application. In the CF, it has been made to look like these edges are pin tucks and a second pin tuck sewn beside each edge.
At the waist in the photo it looks like the 'waste fabric' has been turned to the back but on further examination, there is a huge tuck on the inside - an alteration was made but nothing was cut away so next baby could be accommodated.

All the embroidery on all the pieces is also perfect - not a sign of puckering. This is quite a feat considering how fine the fabric is and they wouldn't have had all the stabilizers the modern embroidery machines require. Look closely at how perfectly it has been stitched. I simply marvel!
The lace edging on the sleeves looks much like some of the fine lace edgings still available from Capitol Imports. Here is a close-up of the sleeve.
The designer even made an attempt to math up the pattern of the embroidery in the centre back the only seam in the skirt. But I imagine she was limited by the amount of fabric there was.
We can learn so much by studying antique garments. How did they make use of the different parts employed in the garment, what kind of seams, and their size, allowances for alterations and so on.
The design is simple enough for anyone to copy. All you need is a basic yoked pattern. Why not turn you had to creating such a gown for some wee babe!
So until next time, keep stitching.....

Saturday, March 16, 2013

A gift for you....

Sometimes when we are designing a pattern one element or another doesn’t always work.

I usually file these little nuggets away for future use in some other form or pattern but this time I thought you might enjoy this design graph. It is just too sweet to store away. I hope you will this the same.

Smocked on double layer of Imperial Batiste

Why when this is such a pretty little design? Well if you look carefully at the photo you will see how the yoke bubbles slightly. I did everything you are supposed to do, let out the pleats to match the area of the yoke  to which it was to attach, spread my pleats, smocked more loosely at the bottom than the top. But when the seam was sewn, oh no!, it wouldn’t sit right.
Out with the steam iron and spray starch but no matter of work with these two was going to solve my problem. Of course it may have been that the piping in the seam was the problem but I was not going to take a chance and publish a design that wouldn’t work.

If it was the piping, I may have stretched it ever so slightly  so that when it relaxed, it ‘bounced back’ to its original length. Nothing short of new piping (I had trimmed off the end of course) and taking everything apart  to re-stitch it all, would have solved this problem.  I am too fussy and yet at the same time too impatient to re do all that stitching. But you are the winner!

I used iridescent seed beads and the faintest variegated floss for the borders and matching pink floss for the central section. You could make bullion roses in place of the seed beads.

Send me a photo of how you have used this design and I will post it here.

So until next time, keep stitching……

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Great news! The patterns I've been working on for what seems forever are finally ready for you.

Yes, the little Infant Tuxedo Jacket which coordinates with the Infant Wardrobe I and the little Infant Snowdrift are now both posted on the web site and on the new order form.

 Here are the covers of both. I think you have seen some of the work I have been doing on the samples in past posts to the blog.

If you go to the web site, you will find a full selection of photos with each pattern in the children's section of the Atelier. It would be wonderful to have photos from you of either of these patterns made up as you interpret them to post in the on-line Gallery.

We have a new Order Form and new pricing on the "ComPleater Boxes".

If you are browsing, check put our new Pleater Rods. Bob has created four categories of rods, all hand made and hand finished in wood with the most silky finish. There is even one specifically for travelling to class or convention! You need to see them with their description to determine which would best suit your needs.

Here are a couple of the finished samples from the Infant Snowdrift pattern.

View A with heirloom touches, button back
View B smocked, button back 


The Diaper Cover Panties with monogramed tab

Please take a minute and check out all these new things at
I think you will like what you find.
So till next time, keep stitching!