Sunday, September 22, 2013

Smocked Bishop dress and a card

A wonderful young woman with a love of old fashioned needle arts is in my knitting group. She recently gave birth to a daughter and while pregnant, commented on her love of smocked garments which aren't prevalent in this area, in this era.

Once upon a time I would have bought Imperial Batiste and gathered the fabric on my own smocking pleater.
Quality fabric is important when running it through a pleater. Joann's is fine for many things, but this level of quality isn't found in their yard goods. I suspect my long unused pleater may need new needles before tackling another project and they would need to be ordered. The needles are fine and if you run roughshod through the process of turning the pleater wheel, they will crunch and break. Not good, not good at all.

Thank goodness I discovered Meredith's Closet, an Etsy shop of ready to smock items. I order a 12 month size dress in a color called Butter. I pulled out my stash of long unused smocking designs which are called 'plates' rather than patterns. This is not the design I used, but is a sample of what a plate looks like.
Before I could begin to smock, the center of all those pleats had to be found. Each pin represents 10 pleats. The threads you see are gathering threads, usually quilting weight threads that are tied off on either side of the area to be smocked.
Here you see the pleats both scrunched up and spread out. The pleats should slide easily on the gathering threads. Smocking is worked from the left side of the garment to the right, but the needle enters the top of the pleat from right to left.
Reading the plate came easily to me when I learned to smock because I was accustomed to counted cross stitch and knitting charts.

The color is a bit off (too strong) in this photo, but shows the completed dress with a deep hem which is traditional in these dresses.
Here is a close up of the smocking itself. I was pleased with how it turned out, and more importantly, the mommy who received this dress was very happy.
The that I made to accompany this gift was another tri-shutter card. I seem to be stuck on them lately but they have been turning out well and use a variety of cute scraps and embellishments.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Corrugated paper Tiki-ish decor

I love Pinterest. I hate it too.

My son and daughter-in-law are having a luau themed party. I saw Tiki-like décor made out of corrugated paper. Not corrugated cardboard that has a flat finish on both sides, corrugated paper. This paper has one finished (smooth) side and the other is hills and valleys. The site on Pinterest did link to a source for this paper, but I thought (hoped) I could find it locally since time was running out.

Craft stores, office supply stores and shipping centers were unsuccessful searches. I settled on 12x12 sheets of scrapbook paper from Michaels that was the right construction, just not the size I had hoped for.

This is what I made from the paper, red foil and dark brown distressing ink on the edges of the cut outs.

I'm not sure that they will be used, but I had fun making them. I like the texture and the contrast of adding layers with the corrugation running in different directions. I would have done more detail, but the store only had four sheets and I used all but a few slivers to get this far.

If I had been able to make a column out of the paper, I would have put the red foil on the rear interior and used a battery operated candle inside, below the mouth of each one.

Do I really hate Pinterest? No. I never would have thought this on my own. It isn't Pinterest's fault that corrugated paper isn't sold locally in rolls. If I ever do find it though, I am buying some. If that happens and I still haven't opened it 13 years later, I hope someone will remind me that I thought this was a good idea.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Mic-key M-o-u-s-e......pillowcases

If you grew up watching the original Mickey Mouse Club with Jimmy Dodd and Annette Funicello in the late 50's, it is hard to spell Mickey Mouse without separating the name as it was sung.

One of my great nephews just turned four. He loves Mickey. He is the second son in my niece's family so the house is full of boy toys. My sons are 22 months apart, I know what that is like. Ethan loves Mickey, but what doesn't he already have?

Part of his gift from us will be these pillow cases, made in record time out of two Disney prints.
The directions for this style of pillowcase are all over the internet, often under the "million pillowcase challenge" or "roll up method". This link will take you to a video tutorial or you can click to download step by step directions. For these pillowcases I cut the body at 3/4 yd (27 inches), the band at 1/4 yd (9 inches) and the blue starry trim at 2 inches. The band and the trim are folded in half, resulting in a standard size pillowcase when complete.
I've followed this pattern before. Each time I make one it seems to go faster. After the "roll" part of assembly was done, I closed the side seam with a French seam and the bottom end was a regular seam with an additional row of zigzag stitching on the raw edges. How you finish the seams is up to you. A serger would be great for both.
The card for Ethan could not have been simpler, thanks to a perfect cardstock choice from Michael's. All I did was cut the paper down to 8x6 and fold it into a 4x6 card with a hand written greeting inside. I've discovered I don't always need to reinvent the wheel when making a card.
 Mic...See you real soon!  Key...Why? Because we like you!  M-O-U-S-E.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Hanging onto summer

People who create for craft shows need to craft ahead of the current date. I don't participate in craft shows but do try to get things done so that I can enjoy the fruits of my labor for as long as possible without having Halloween décor displayed in December or Easter in August.

I love summer. Even though it isn't officially over for another 3 weeks, Labor Day seems to symbolize the end of summer to many. Does anyone else feel we rush into Fall, then rush into Winter and Christmas instead of enjoying whatever the current climate and time of year?

The next wave of décor in our home will be Halloween and general autumn related. I'm not ready for that yet here in SE Michigan, and hope our weather doesn't lead me to feeling fall-ish until October. Considering a few leaves have changed already, I'm not holding my breath.

I am holding onto summer as long as possible though. This table runner, made a few months ago remains in place.
The colors make me happy. Although you can't see it in this photo, the leaves and ladybugs were done by machine using an appliqué stitch that looks like a continuous row of the letter E. I love using that. I zone out and could do that for hours.

In other crafting news, I am almost done with the second sock of a pair. I hope not to need them until next month, but just in case the temps dip much lower at night or early morning, I'll be ready.