Monthly Archives: March 2017

Heirloom Sewing…A Unbeliveable Learning Experience

   For many years I was what could be called a “plain jane” sewer… simple and practical…my mantra “was” at the time if it is easy go for it. What happened, was “the new embroidery sewing machines” .  In the late 1900’s (you know 1995 or so) I was able to acquire one of these beauties!! Never again, in my mind, would I ever do hand embroidery…now we know that is not true now…but was then…!

   The sewing machine dealership where this machine was purchased had some wonderful classes on how to use these new computerized machines, that included projects making Heirloom clothing. Heirloom sewing uses those gorgeous fabrics such as silk, handkerchief linen, swiss nelona, batiste, silk organza and others…just stunning! Laces galore made from cotton (not the polyester lace a lot of us grew up with!) I had no idea that these “cotton” laces even existed! I was taken in completely and have never looked back. Now knowing what is the best, it has been hard to satisfy my ever growing need for quality in materials. 

    These images are from a Martha Pullen/ Viking Licensing that I took in the early 2000’s .  Of course a wedding gown for an 18 inch doll! Machine embroidery and laces, entredeux (the embellishment with the small holes) , gathering laces, lace shaping, and also twin needle pintucks. You made all of this first, then cut out your pattern and added the entredeux and other embellishments. Cotton bastiste was used for the gown. Then for the fancy dress, machine embroidery on silk organza, silk for the dress and then organza for the hem.


   Below you can see decorative machine stitching around the silk organza window and on the silk organza of the gathered ruffle of the top of the “fancy dress”. I was glad to learn about what needles and threads can be used in a sewing machine. It was and still is amazing to me what a sewing machine can do when you have the tools and teachers to guide you…

  The classes made me aware of a lady who started the school in Huntsville, Alabama.. The schools name was “Martha Pullen’s School of Art Fashion”.  Basically a shy person I got myself to go by myself. Then going changed my life. As a confessed technique geek this school was fantastic! The teachers were wonderful. All that was said about “southern hospitality” was beyond anything I had experienced in my life. I just soaked up the atmosphere and all the learning one could get… The best takeaway for me was because of the “way” these machine techniques were taught …understanding how to do them was easy for me…thank goodness…!

    These next pictures are of a class project that was taken at the “School of Art Fashion” one year with a very talented teacher named “Connie Palmer”. The pillow below is made from handkerchief linen and ‘again’ with silk organza, machine embroidery, lace and entredeux. Even the closing on the back has decorative stitching going down each side. It was a blast to learn what you could do with your machine… If you look a the first picture …a wing needle…was used to create the entredeux effect around the edge of the lace on the pillow. The machine embroidery was fairly easy because you embroidered it first on a separate piece then did your lace shaping and /or decorative stitches. A lot of work being precise! My greatest takeaway in the years since was that my “hand embroidery” became easier for me because I was seeing how machine embroidery was stitched out as well as designed in the software..I will say I will always be in awe of all the artistry that goes into designing any type of embroidery/sewing designs and have the highest regards for those who do this for all of us so we can relax and make something beautiful!



Fire Pinks..Silk Ribbon

   Just as a quick note…”Fire Pinks”grow wild in my backyard during the summer months and I have always been drawn to them because of their growing in the heat of the season.  They are not a clumpy flower just usually one stem and a few buds and flowers. I think the cultivated ones have more together in a clump. It is always been nice to take a walk in our woods and spot one of these in bloom!

  Today is the day to work on finding the ribbon I want to use for this project. The plan is to stay with some red/pink color variations…with deep green for stems and yellows for the centers. Not a real happy camper so far.. Tested some of my ideas and they were a “bust” in my opinion…(no pictures) Need to feel pleased about the choices. Understanding now that it will take me some time to truly decide how to proceed with this project. I need to sleep on it some more. 

     So on the next day I tested some “varigated” 4mm silk ribbon …the answer is a maybe “yes”. I like the look but will definitely have to tweak it as the ribbon is applied. Sooo here is what I did for a petal as a test with some pink varigated ribbon…am hoping to find some “hot redish pink” colored 4mm ribbon because I want to do this in a deeper redish also…below is a partial picture of Nicola Jarvis’s petal…then a photo of my idea with the 4mm ribbon.  I am already thinking I might decide to hand dye some of my white 4mm ribbon to the colors I want…(psst..I get to play…!)  I know all things will take time but I am enjoying the process. I am looking forward to doing some ribbon embroidery and I think this flower will lend itself nicely to this medium.  Since I was testing for style and the  piece of ribbon used was a remnant I didn’t press the creases out so just ignore that..