Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Classic Yoke Design

     Here is the plate that I am using for the Yoke tutorial, and yes, I know it is too tiny to see here!  I have run into a glitch posting it on my website, so if you are going to follow along, just send me an email ( and I will attach and send it to you.  I am making a Size 3 Yoke dress frm my new pattern, Classic Yoke from Classic Couture for Children.  If you want to follow along with me, you can use your own pattern or my yoke pattern (I will explain how to do things and then give the measurements I have, using the size 3).  I am hoping that the patterns will be ready next week - once I have them, I will begin!

Ingredients (as used in the sample):
Classic Yoke pattern (includes size 2-6)
1 1/2 to 1 3/4 yd fabric, depending on how long you want to make it
1/2 yd White 100% cotton pique'
piping cord
German interfacing for collar and sleeve cuffs
One skein each of coton a broder #798 (blue) and B5200
Thread - to match the fabric (I used white DMC 50)
Schmetz Size 60 Microtex needle
Needles for smocking

Kits are available, and include everything listed above.  The kit fee is $70 - email me to let me know if you would like me to send you one.  The kit includes 1 3/4 yd fabric.  If you are making a larger size, and require more yardage let me know.

     This design has 8 rows:  Row 1 and Row 8 are the border rows and Rows 2-4 and 5-7 are the center of the design, baby waves.  I designed this plate specifically with this tutproal in mind.  While this sample is stitched in a size 3 dress, you can add or subtract rows, depending on the size garment you are making.  Remember, you always want to think about and keep your garment in PROPORTION!
     For instance, If you are making a 12 month size, 8 rows may be too many.  Too alter the design, you still could keep the border rows, but only stitch one series of bay waves, leaving you with 5 rows instead of 8.  If you are making a larger size, you could alter it in several ways:
1.  You could add an extra row of cables at the top or the bottom (adding 2 rows)
2.  You could stich an extra series of baby waves  (adding 3 rows/wave series)
3.  You could add extra rows of baby waves in each series (adding 2 or 4 or 6 rows)

I can't stress enough - proportion is the name of the game!

If you are going to pleat your fabric now, I pleat 3 holding rows: 2 at the top and 1 at the bottom, so I pleated 11 rows for this design.

Happy Stitching,


Monday, January 17, 2011

Snow vs. Sunshine!

     Annie went back to Boston to this!  Awesome was how she described it, and I must say I am a little jealous!  I grew up with 4 seasons, and I miss them!  In southern California, we have almost summer, summer, and just past summer (and 1 week of cold).  It is 91 degrees here today, which is WAY TOO HOT for January!
     I am working on the graph for the smocking design for the basic yoke dress that will be my tutorial that starts in February.  I will have my new pattern in the next couple of weeks - Classic Yoke from Classic Couture for Children.  I will be making the size 3, so the measurements I will be using will come from that. We will be starting with blocking the skirt front (th pleating tutorial is already posted).
     I will post the fabric and notion requirements this week, along with information if you want to purchase the kit.  My dress is smocked and I am diligently taking pictures of the condtructio every step of the way.  I would much rather be sewing than doing the taxes!  College kids abound at our house and they are all emaling me to remind me that they have to get their FAFSFA filled out.  The one good thing about that is that I can just laugh on April 15th (and you will not catch me dead at the post office that day)!
Happy Stitching,

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Mood Fabric, Here We Come!

     A group of us decided to foray into Los Angeles for a field trip to Mood, a fabric store in L.A.  You may be familiar with it - the New York store is the fabric playground for the contestants on the show "Project Runway".
     Mood had a wonderful selection of quality fabrics.  While you probably won't find Swiss batiste or voile, they have many cottons, silks, and wools, as well as leathers and other specialty fabrics.  They had a wonderful collection of Ralph Lauren wools the day that we were there.

     They also have some beautiful silks that are wove for ties.  They are not quite as wide - 27" and 36", but some gorgeous prints and stripes.  You can see here they also have some different trims that can add a bit of pizzazz to your garment.
     Here are some of the silks.  The store has silks on the left, wools in the center and cottons on the right, and then the fancy embroidered fabrics are towards the front.

     More and more fabric!  Make sure you do not come for 'just a minute'!  As all of you fabricholics know, you have to touch and feel, and there is plenty to feed your stach here.

     Button, button, who had the button?  Plenty to choose from here!

     Happy shoppers!  Lisa Shepherd, Elaine Daly, Roseann Saldinger and Elisa Centera (I have the camera).  Youcan also see the nice display of ribbon in the background, along with the feather boas.  A wonderful place to have a play date!

      This was one stop on our trip - I will save our other stop for another day.  Needless to say, I have added more fabric to my stash and have lots of ideas spinning in my brain.  If you are going to be in the LA area, let me know and I will give you address and directions.
Happy stitching,

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Trellis Stitch

     Now it is time to learn the next stitch, the trellis stitch.  While the cable travels in a straight line, the trellis travels between rows.  A cable stitch is used as the pivot stitch, when the trellis changes direction.  Each trellis is defined by 2 things:
1.  The space it takes up (can be a half a space wide, a whole space, etc.)
2.  The number of stitches or 'steps' it takes to go from one side to another.
If you look at this picture, the long trellis is a 2 space (travels over 2 rows), 6 step (it takes 6 stitches to travel the 2 rows).
The next picture is of a baby wave.  This trellis is a half space, 1 step trellis

The distance each trellis travels is a half of a space and it only takes one step to get there.
     There are few things to remember when stitching a trellis.  The thread has to go in the opposite direction that it wants to go.  If you are stitching to the right, the thread has to stay to the left.  If you are stitching to the left, the thread has to stay to the right.  An easy way to remember this is Trellis is Trouble! 
     If you look back at the cable tutorial, Cable is Correct!  The thread goes in the direction it wants to go.  For Trellis is Trouble, the thread has to go in the opposite direction that it wants to go. 
     Another thing that has to be taken into consideration is the needle placement in the pleat.  If you place the needle right over the pleat, when the stitch is finished, instead of butting against the pleat, it will be over the pleating thread, whch will throw the spacing off.  Place the needle in the pleat a thread's width away from where you want the stitch to finish.
Basic smocking ettiquette remains the same:
*The needle is alway parallel to the pleating thread
*The stitch should be about 1/3 down the pleat
*The threads should lie straight and untwisted
*The needle should always point towards you
*Each stitch covers 2 pleats- an old pleat and a new pleat

     To start, we are going to stitch a one space, one stitch trellis (often called a wave).  Hold the fabric over your finger, and stitch a left cable. 
     Run the threads over your thumb as you pull the stitch and make sure the threads are straight.
     After the cable is stitched, move one space to the right.  The thread will want to go the the right also, but you need to hold it off to the left (see picture).  Remember to put the needle into the pleat a thread's width away so that when you complete the stitch, it will butt against the pleating thread.

     Stitch the right cable (remember this is the pivot stitch where you change directions).

     Now we are trellising to the left again.  Remember to hold the thread to the right as we are moving to the left.

     Stitch a left cable and continue trellising.  Remeber to wrap the thread over your thumb and straighten the threads!

     Here is a picture of several waves that I have stitched.

     Starting a baby wave.  That is a 1/2 space, 1 step trellis.  Look at how I am placing my needle just short of 1/2 way - when I pull the stitch, it will end up being right in the middle.

     Here is a picture of a completed baby wave.  Now it is your turn!  Remember - practice!  If you have any questions, remember to post them to the comments and I will be sure to answer them.
Happy Stitching,