Friday, September 8, 2017


 Info for September Meetings

Evening meeting:
Tuesday, September 12
7 PM
It Seams to Be Sew, Sugar Land, TX
Program will consist of (1) September plate challenge and (2) Lucy sharing construction tips for Children's  Corner's Lillian pattern

Morning meeting:
Monday, September 18
11 AM
Program will consist of (1) September plate challenge and (2) Tawn sharing tips for perfect picture smocking

Friday, August 18, 2017

JULY Meeting


Last month's meetings, both day and night, were full of information and fun. Attendance was excellent for both, and the programs were outstanding. There were several Sew & Share garments, some of which are posted below, and others which will be posted next week.


Tawn H presented the day meetings, and not only taught everyone how to do Italian smocking, but also shared several beautiful, sweet Christmas ornaments. The Italian smocking was a little challenging, as it is quite different from English smocking, but it was fun to learn something new.

This beautiful ornament was smocked with Italian smocking. Simply beautiful!

Tawn, showing us her Christmas ornaments. Look for directions in the November issue of SAGANews, as well as this blog.


Stewart W showed us how to make better plackets in garments. She had an ingenious way to show us how to do this without using a machine. She had us use paper instead of fabric, and we folded it to get the desired effect. Very creative and smart!
Stewart, showing us how the perfect placket can be achieved.


Teresa made this cute dress using Cheryl Loehmann's Kimberly pattern. So cute for summertime!

Susan made this adorable summer dress using Children's Corner Jacqueline. So much fun!

Susan also made these boy shortalls. The top one is a Children's Corner Johnny and the bottom one is Maggie's Classics #179. Great work, Susan!

This is Trena's first bishop, and what a great job she did! The pattern is Children's Corner Bishop and the fabric is from Bear Threads.

 To go with the bishop above, Trena made this slip. The pattern is Martha Pullen's Fancy Slip. Precious ensemble!
 See the pompoms attached to the hanger? Trena uses these to put in the bishop sleeves to help the dress keep it's shape. She made them from bathing pompoms you buy in any store that carries bathroom supplies. Ingenious!

Susan made this adorable US flag with Miyuki Delica beads and square stitch. (Sorry for the orientation!) She used  a pattern from Don't you just love it?

Another of Susan's creations. She made this bookmark for her son. It is also made with Miyuki Delica beads, using the Peyote stitch. The pattern can also be found at That would inspire anyone to read!

It's hot in the Houston area right now, so it's a great time to stay inside and smock, smock, smock! Create something lovely today!!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Kathy Dykstra Class

2016 Reward Class

Every year, the Midnight Oil Smockers have a class that is a reward for those members who have worked hard to make the SAGA chapter a success. Different efforts receive different point counts, and at the end of the year when the points are counted, those who have hit the threshold set by the board are rewarded with a free 2-day class. Others, who haven't had the opportunity to participate as fully, are rewarded with discounted tuition. Every year, the reward class teachers never fail to surprise us with their ingenuity and skills. It is always wonderful sitting under such gifted instructors.

This year, on May 19 & 20, the reward class teacher was Kathy Dykstra. She taught her Stephanie pattern, a lovely dress that incorporates curved pintucks and madeira applique to twenty MOS members, who all soaked up her knowledge.

Kathy's pattern and sample dress

Kathy, teaching a technique for trimming seams. Teresa and Brenda are watching intently.

Madeira applique in the beginning stages.

Close-up technique instruction

MOS members hard at work, but also time was taken just to enjoy being together while sewing.

Finished dresses will be brought to a chapter meeting later in the year. Those pictures will be posted in a Sew & Share.

Sewing is great fun for all of us. Sewing with friends makes a fun activity even better. Sewing with friends for free.........well, it just doesn't get much better than that!

Friday, June 30, 2017

JUNE: Here Comes the Bride!

June. While weddings do take place in every other month of the year, June is traditionally thought of as the wedding month. On this last day of June, 2017, here are some smocked takes on weddings.

Smocking can be haute couture! When a bride is fortunate enough to have an unlimited budget for her bridal gown, she might choose Ralph & Russo's Haute Couture to design and construct her dress. This smocked sleeve is from the Fall 2016 collection of the designer. 
Thanks to Atelier de Modelagem & The Embroiderers' Guild of Victoria for sharing this image. 

Want a dress based on a vintage gown? Go to the Victoria & Albert Museum in London to do your research. That's where you'll find this beauty and several others. Learn more at

A sweet souvenir for a daughter's wedding. It's what we smockers do. See this one on Pinterest by searching Mosaic Magpie. For more info, see her blog at (There's a really interesting post about sheep-shearing time, and the process the wool goes through to be spun into thread. It has nothing to do with weddings, but it is fun to read!)

While most weddings these days don't include smocking, it's still fun to think of ways to incorporate it. Have a great summer smocking whatever brings you joy!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

May Sew & Share

May Sew & Share

This month's Sew & Share was wonderful, as always. Enjoy!

Roberta's granddaughter has to be one of the luckiest little girls ever. Roberta brought in three exquisite outfits for her.
 This adorable outfit is  "Vintage Baby Bubble" from Wendy Schoen's Petitue Poche. It is a 3-month size made from batiste-weight floral from Roberta's stash. The embroidery design, which just MAKES the outfit, is from Applique for Kids. Roberta says the machine embroidery is very easy to do.

This pretty little dress is Cheri Williams' "Baby Bishop" in a floral lawn bought from Fabric Finders.
 The bloomers peaking out from under the dress are made from the bloomers pattern in "Grandmother's Hope Chest."

 The smocking design is "Baby Hearts For Kerry" by Ellen McCarn.

This precious dress is "Delicate Daydreams" by Lyn Weeks made out of silky cotton from Bear Thread. The pattern can be found in Sew Beautiful, Issue #72.

The beautiful machine embroidery shadow work bow is a design from Applique For Kids, and the rest of the embroidery was done by hand. The bullions flowers are so sweet!

The perfect summer outfit! This cutie, sewn by Leslye, is from a Butterick vintage pattern in a size 4. It is made out of quatrefoil and baby pique. She made several of them for her granddaughters, each with the unique initials of that girl. Can't you just see the picture of all the girls in their sunsuits?!

This delicate beauty was made by Barbara, and is a smocked variation of a plate Barbara got from an online class with Maggie Bunch. The fabric is fairy batiste.

Lesley made this fun outfit from plisse. The top is a sundress top made from Michie's pattern #121. The shorts are Bonnie Blue's Lydia, which runs large.

Marisol brought in these cute in-progress outfits for her nieces and nephew. They'll be mailed off by the time the June meeting rolls around, so they had to come this month.
The bodice in front is from a "Sew Beautiful" pattern called Pascale. The applique is "For the Seashore" by Applique for Kids. Marisol says she has made this pattern a few time and has never had any issues with it.
The little girl's dress in the back is Children's Corner "Carol" and is made from Imperial batiste and pique (as are the other two). The applique is the same Applique for Kids pattern. She says this is a pattern she has made several times and loves it.
The boy's outfit if Miche #148. It went together easily.
This is another time when it's so easy to imagine the wonderful photography that could result from three cuties dressed in these adorable matching outfits.

Stewart made this gorgeous dress out of linen with pima batiste lining. The pattern is "Toddler Summer Dresses" from The Old Fashioned Baby. The fabric and laces were purchased at Buttons & Bows. It seems like a perfect dress for a summer tea party!

Trena has been busy, and has had a lot of fun creating! The above zipper bags were created from class samples after learning how to make Gelprint fabric. Doesn't that sound interesting?

For this bag, Trena used another class sample. She took an Alice Kolb class and learned how to use decorative stitches and make fabric windows.

Don't you love how she took class samples and turned them into something adorable AND useful?!

Susan is great at sewing clothes for herself, and she never fails to wear a new creation to the meeting. We're all pretty jealous! This is a tunic made from "The Tunic Bible" out of fabric from Buttons & Bows ( and her stash. This is the third tunic she's made from this pattern and she says she loves it. So do we!

Teresa completed this batik quilt from a kit she bought at a quilt show in 2015. Don't you love the colors?

Pictures from the Kathy Dykstra Reward Class

Friday, May 19, 2017

May Meeting: Sock It To Me, Baby!!


Remember the television show "Laugh In"? If so, you're a Baby Boomer or perhaps older (or you found it on Netflix). If not, think "Saturday Night Live" with a lot more skits (and not quite as funny), but still somewhat controversial. "Sock it to me, baby!" was one of the sayings used frequently. How in the world does that apply to the May meeting of the Midnight Oil Smockers? It doesn't, but BABY SOCKS do!

This month, Karen M. shared how to smock on baby socks. This was in a 1994 issue of Sew Beautiful, and is surprisingly easy. Karen got everyone started, and then a lot of laughter ensued while members explored this new smocking technique and visited with one another.

At the night meeting, Cathy T. shared information on how to clean a pleater, which she also shared during the day meeting in April. Cathy has a wealth of info, and everyone learned helpful hints from her. This author cleaned her pleater after Cathy's demonstration, and found that it wasn't as scary as imagined. Fortunately the pleater wasn't as dirty as imagined either, but it does pleat nicer now. Thanks again, Cathy, for helping us keep our pleaters clean and tidy!

Clothesline Bowls! Check the June newsletter for details.

Monday, May 8, 2017

A Mother's Day Tribute

Saying Goodbye: A Tribute to Ann Nichols & Patsy Summers

The Midnight Oil Smockers lost two long-time, faithful members this year. Both had been attending meetings for as long as anyone can remember. This week before Mother's Day, we remember and honor them for their faithfulness to the Midnight Oil Smockers and the encouragement they gave us all.

Anna Elizabeth Lawson Rutledge Nichols 
October 19, 1921-March 18, 2017

Ann was born in Charleston, West Virginia. She was the seventh child in her family, and the first of the children to graduate from high school. She married Herbert Lynn Rutledge on January 5, 1940 in Greenup, Kentucky. She and Herbert were the parents of 3 daughters: Mildred, Mary (also a member of MOS) and Evelyn. Herbert died in 1979, and Ann moved to Richmond, Texas. There she met William Henry "Bill" Nichols and they were married in 1983. Ann loved to smock, sew and quilt. Many of her creations, including the ones pictured below, were made for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Besides her daughters, she leaves behind 13 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren and 21 great-great-grandchildren!

Daughter Millie tells a great story about Ann when she was a young girl. She wanted a red dress in the worst way. Her father was a carpenter, but times were hard so the family didn't have much money. Getting the dress of her dreams wasn't very likely. Somehow, someway, her parents managed to get her the new dress she wanted; however, it wasn't red. Ann took care of that! She went into the basement where her father kept the tools of his trade. She found a can of red paint and painted the dress red. Problem solved! Dream realized!

Ann and her daughter Mary often made MOS members laugh at meetings. They were totally themselves, and fussed or teased each other, often surprising visitors who didn't know they were related. Not only was Ann Mary's mother, but she was also her best friend, and seeing their relationship each month was delightful. Ann mothered many of us and made us feel so special. She always made us feel our work was the best, even if we didn't think that ourselves. 

Her sweet smile and encouraging words are definitely missed.

Patsy Kay Taylor Summers
November 5, 1940 - April 2, 2017

Patsy was born in Baytown, Texas. She married William Alton (Bill) Summers on August 7, 1959 soon after graduating from high school. She then followed Bill to Austin, Texas where he was finishing his degree in Petroleum Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. She began her college education there as well, but that education was interrupted when Patsy found out she was pregnant and when Bill accepted a job with Texaco in Liberty, Texas. In December of 1960, Patsy began her career as a a mother with the birth of Arlene Kay. Her family grew with Valerie Fay, who was born in 1962, and again in 1965 with Kelly Doyle.  Patsy loved her children and grandchildren unconditionally, and as any of her friends would attest, Patsy did not hesitate to share her children's and grandchildren's stories with anyone who would listen.

When Arlene was born, Patsy began sewing clothes for her. Patsy studied patterns, talked with other seamstresses, and began to build her collection of patterns, material, and notions, as well as machines. She loved learning more and more about sewing--learning how to make men's suits, how to sew boat cushions to save money for her husband's hobby , and when she became a grandmother, how to smock. She joined the Midnight Oil Smockers chapter of the Smocking Arts Guild of America, and was a very faithful member. She attended every meeting she could, until her health would not allow her to do so any more.

Patsy was preceded in death by her husband of 44 years, William Alton (Bill) Summers, Jr. and her parents, James Harvey Taylor, Jr. and Brooksie Janice McElroy Taylor. Survivors include daughter Arlene Meyer and her husband Chris Meyer and their children Lauren, Andrew and Scott; daughter Valerie Taylor and her husband Kerry Taylor and sons Brian and Sean; son Kelly and his children Travis and Erika; and her cousin Kelly Charles Mudd.

The Midnight Oil Smockers offer their sincere condolences to the families of these two ladies. They made our members, and our chapter overall, much better. We are thankful for the chance to know and experience life with them.