Wednesday, September 30, 2015

National Sewing Month

In 1982 President Ronald Reagan declared September as the National Sewing Month "In recognition of the importance of home sewing to our Nation."

On this last day of "National Sewing Month", please enjoy a few pictures...

Isn't this just beautiful?

We've come a long way...

A gift of sewing from - Acts 9:39 ....All the widows stood beside him weeping and showing coats and garments which Dorcas made while she was with them.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

September Program

Shadow Work

Joy Welsh of Applique for Kids gave a fantastic program on "Shadow Work by Machine". Everyone was delighted to receive their own kit with fabric, stabilizer, a flash drive with embroidery design and full instructions. THANKS Joy!

As her machine stitches away at the first step of the design, Joy explains how shadow work can be done by machine.

Here are just a few of her shadow work designs that can be viewed and purchased on her website.

This Wee Care gown was made from 2 men's handkerchieves,

What a darling little lamb.

Is there anything more precious for a baby than baby ducklings?

This product comes highly recommended from Joy to stiffen fabrics in preparation for embroidery.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


Midnight Oil Members provided a variety of items for
Show and Share

Using hardanger fabric (28 count) Barbara hand stitched with perle cotton #8 this beautiful Bible cover. The Bible place marker was made with hardanger and stitched with perle cotton # 12 and 8. The wedding handkerchief was made for a daughter's wedding.

The needle lace was done by hand and is stitched all the way around the hanky.

Susan cross stitched this lovely picture for someone special.

The smocking insert was purchased from Flutterby and then used to create this precious dress. The pattern for the dress was from AS&E issue 85.

The red gingham was the perfect choice of fabric for the dress.

This cotton fabric was purchased from Joanne's Fabric store. A Children's Corner pattern, Adelaide produced this precious dress, made special by adding simple embroidery to the collar and sleeves. 

The collar for this  linen outfit was made by Marisol's grandmother. She used a pattern from "Old Fashioned Baby" to keep in harmony with the heirloom feel of the collar.

She hand stitched the 'feather stitch' around the sleeve.

What a beautiful quilt Susan made, if I recall correctly, this is only her second quilt...

This darling "Old Fashion Baby" pattern, a Baby's Layette was smocked and constructed by Ann. Such a sweet fabric.

Who's already doing Christmas? Brenda is using her time wisely and planning ahead with her stitching time. This is just too CUTE!

Is there a little girl out there who wouldn't want to receive this fairy doll for her birthday? I think this grandmother has set the benchmark for us all. She shares that it was GREAT FUN to make!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

September Meeting

Shadow Work by Machine

This precious shadow work design can be done by machine.

Add shadow work to a newborn day gown or  Wee Care gown. These and other designs can be seen on Joy's website...

This program will inspire you to learn new techniques!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Vaune Pierce on Bias

Beautiful Bias

Bias is a diagonal or oblique line. In sewing terms, it is across woven fabric. True bias is a diagonal line that runs 45° from the straight of grain. As a reminder, the straight of grain runs parallel to the selvedge, along the warp threads. The cross grain runs across the fabric (the weft threads) from left to right.

OK - so now we know what bias is..... why does it matter? In general, garments are made to hang with the straight of grain, just as the fabric was woven. Picture a blouse pattern - the front and back pattern pieces are put on the fabric following the straight of grain. When pattern pieces are cut on the bias, the drape is different than that of straight of grain, and it hangs or ‘drapes’ differently than if it were on the straight of grain. Bias has ‘give’ or stretch, even on a woven fabric. When you have a location that is curved, using bias is preferred, as bias can be shaped to curve without causing ripples. That is why piping and bindings are created with bias. 

Think about piping that is put around a Peter Pan collar - it has to shape to the curve of the front and back. When you use bias to make the piping, it can be shaped and curved so that the piping lays flat and does not pull up the fabric of the collar. Bias is also used as a finish, from sleeve seams to quilts, to edge finishing (think bibs, jackets, etc.).

Bias can also be used as a decorative trim - bias spaghetti and plain bias can be shaped and stitched on to garments and embellished for some great looks!

I have been playing around with bias lately - both as an edge finish and a decorative trim. I had to make some Chair Pockets for my daughter’s classroom - they slip over the back of the chair and have a pocket to hold folders, composition books, library books, etc., as the school only has tables, not desks. I (machine) embroidered an identifying number on each pocket, finished off the top and bottom of the chair pocket with bias binding. I tried my bias attachment for my sewing machine for the first time. There are a couple of different types - one used pre-folded bias and the other (the one I have) uses a bias strip and it folds and attaches the bias strip. To see the pictures, please visit Vaune's website and view the September Newsletter. 

The first one shows the attachment hooked up to my machine with the bias strip feeding into the chute. The 2nd picture shows the big view of the fabric feeding into the bias. The 3rd view is a close up - you can see the bias feeding in from the right and the fabric coming in from the left. The attachment is pricey, but after making 30 of these pockets, I was glad that I had it!!!!

Please visit Vaune at to view the pictures of her bias attachments and to read her newest newsletter or visit her at her blog

Sunday, September 6, 2015

California Confection

Cindy Foose “Foolery”

Can you spot the problem? 
Cindy Foose was preparing to demonstrate a few techniques using the front and back of this bodice she had already sewn together and discovered she had had one glass of wine too many the night she was sewing in preparation for the retreat.

Here she is chatting about the technique while holding the bodice sample

Now she can't figure out why the bodice center back will not meet up. She finally laid it out and discovered her problem. Needless to say, it is nice to know even the experts  make mistakes...

Vaune explaining the pattern lay out to some of the students.

A few samples of the embroidery that was completed for either the dress or nightgown.

Two of Midnight Oil Smockers members who had the opportunity to experience this wonderful retreat held at the St. Mary's Seminary in Santa Barbara, CA.

The view from the class room

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Show and Share

Summertime cotton for a sundress
The pattern "Erin-Lindsay" by Yvonne Denise was used to create this darling dotted swiss dress.
Using the smocking design "Jennifer" Roberta accomplished the needlework in a soft lavender color.
Another smocking source for the summer dress is AS&E # 82

Another member who attended the 'Kinsey' sew along workshop has completed her version. Cynthia used a Liberty of London fabric, a variation of an AS&E smocking design where she substituted cast on flowers (knowledge acquired in a Gail Doane class) for the bullion roses. If you look carefully you will spot the pearls used to accent the flowers.
This precious bishop dress was constructed with imperial batiste. Teresa is pleased with the results as she learned a new technique of applying the neckband from our own President who lead a bishop workshop for our members.
A closer look at the smocking

Midnight Oil Smockers are multi-talented!

The two baby quilts were sewn from kits, one with flannel fabric and the other from Minky...these quilts will look sweet on any crib.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Schmetz Color Chart for Needles

Why did it take so long for them to come up with this idea?

You may go to the Schmetz website and download a PDF of the color chart for yourself! If you are like me, an experienced sewist with fading eyesight and have trouble reading the size of the needles even with the assistance of a magnifying glass, this will be the answer to your frustrations.