Friday, June 13, 2014

The Basics of Silk Ribbon Embroidery

Silk ribbon embroidery is one of the most unique and elegant forms of needlework. Great for embroidering garments, linens, trinkets and more, this age-old art adds romantic and vintage charm to any heirloom project. Below, we'd like to share a couple of ribbon work tutorials from one of the world's true masters of embroidery: Gloria McKinnon.

Gloria is the owner of Anne's Glory Box in Newcastle, Australia and the author of numerous books. She's shared her handwork talents at sewing seminars around the globe, including the Martha Pullen School of Art Fashion, as well as on several of our Sew Beautiful instructional DVDs.

NOTE: Silk ribbon widths may be chosen according to size flower or leaf desired. Calico Braided Rug Needles (medium and large) and Mary Arden Leather Needles (sizes 3 to 7) are used for the silk ribbon and thread work embellishment.

Ribbon Stitch

Ribbon Stitch (Japanese Ribbon Stitch)
(4mm, 7mm, and 13mm silk ribbon)
Probably one of the most common silk ribbon stitches, this stitch is simply a straight stitch with a curl at one end.

1. Bring the needle to the front at point A. Lay the ribbon flat against the fabric. Without twisting the ribbon, pierce the ribbon at point B at the desired length of the stitch (figure 1).

2. Pull the needle through to the back until the ribbon begins to curl at the end (figure 2). Keep the tension loose.

Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemum
(13mm silk ribbon)
This stunning flower takes approximately two yards of silk ribbon. It is made using a ribbon stitch.

1. Stitch one layer of overlapping ribbon stitches (figure 1).

2. Stitch the second layer of ribbon stitches slightly shorter than the first (figure 2).

3. The center may be filled with seed beads or French knots (see figure 2).

The French Sewing Box

Learn more about silk ribbon embroidery and needlework on our newest DVD, The French Sewing Box with Gloria McKinnon. This DVD will show you how to sew a beautiful set of sewing accessories for yourself or a friend as you master gorgeous stitches like silk ribbon fuchsia, chrysanthemums, daisies, asters, lilies, roses and more.

Sew On, Sew Well, Sew Beautiful,
Cyndi and Amelia

Thursday, June 5, 2014

How to Sew Entredeux to Fabric

This tutorial from Sue Stewart was featured in our Favorite Heirloom Sewing Designs edition.

Summertime is nearly upon us, and that means it's time for sunny days and plenty of light-and-breezy sewing projects. In heirloom sewing, there are a handful of basic techniques we use time and time again, project after project. We've been sharing tutorials for some of these periodically to help those of you new to heirloom sewing. This week, we'd like to continue that series with a how-to for sewing entredeux to fabric.

Before you begin, keep in mind that the stitch settings given are not absolutes. Different machines stitch out differently. Use the settings given as starting points, adjust up or down as needed and use what works best for you.

1. Do not trim the entredeux. Place the entredeux and fabric right sides together, with raw edges even.


Photo 1

2. With the entredeux on top, use a straight stitch (L=2.0) to stitch in the ditch right along the "ladder" of the entredeux (see photo 1).


Photo 2

3. Trim the seam allowance to 1/8 inch. Roll and whip this seam allowance by zigzagging (L=1.0; W=4.5) so that one needle swing goes into the fabric right along the previous straight stitching, and the other needle swing goes off the edge of the fabric, rolling the seam allowance (photo 2). HINT: I usually do this roll-and-whip stitching with the entredeux on the bottom.

4. Press the rolled hem away from the entredeux. Stitch a tiny zigzag (L and W=1.0) from the right side so that one needle swing goes into the "ditch" right next to the "ladder" of the entredeux, and the other needle swing just catches the fold of the fabric. Starch and press one more time.

For more heirloom sewing inspiration, check out our new Heavenly Bliss Round Yoke Gown, Booties and Slip Kit. The kit includes everything you need to create the lovely "Heavenly Bliss" daygown set featured in our book Precious Baby Daygowns - Round Yoke Collection.

Sew On, Sew Well, Sew Beautiful,
Cyndi & Amelia

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Add Detail With Pin Stitching

When we talk about heirloom embroidery techniques, no discussion would be complete without the famous pin stitch. Also known as "point de Paris," this decorative stitch is designed to add detail along the edges of lace and appliqué. It's a gorgeous addition to garments and linens alike, and it can be stitched by hand or machine. If you've never tried pin stitching by hand, or if you simply want to brush up on your technique, follow our tutorial below. Once you've mastered it, this stitch is one you'll want to use often!

NOTE: Use lightweight thread. This hand stitch is used along the edges of lace and appliqué in place of a machine pin stitch. The drawings shown are enlarged for better viewing. The stitch is actually very small.


Figure 1
1. Work on the right side of the fabric from right to left. Bring the needle to the surface of the fabric at point A close to the lace or appliqué edge. Make a backstitch to point B. Slant the needle under the fabric and come up at point C in the lace or appliqué piece directly under point A (fig. 1). Pull the thread through.


Figure 2

2. Return to point A and insert the needle back down in the same hole previously made. Bring the needle tip up through point D (fig. 2) and pull the thread through.


Figure 3

3. Once again, go back down at point A through the same hole. Slant the needle under the fabric and come up at point E in the lace or appliqué directly under point D (fig. 3). Pull the thread through.

For more heirloom inspiration, check out our Baby's Breath Dress Kit! This kit comes with everything you need to create a beautiful ballet-inspired dress in sizes 2-12.

Sew On, Sew Well, Sew Beautiful,
Cyndi & Amelia

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Tips & Tricks for Hooped Appliqué

This "Anchors Away" dress featured in our June / July 2014 edition was designed by Monica Bellard.
The appliqué design is from Designs by JuJu.

Appliqué is the perfect way to add character to a sewing project or to a ready-made item. It's always cute on children's clothing, and in some cases it allows you to sew an intricate design on a garment that would not ordinarily support this type of embroidery - such as a sweater or a golf shirt. Although the term "appliqué" can apply to any motif that is created and then applied to another surface, the type of appliqué we would like to talk about today is appliqué created in-the-hoop on your embroidery machine.

Before embroidering, we suggest washing and drying your fabrics. Shrinkage problems will be minimized, as well as other potential problems such as color bleeding. For best results, both the decorative fabric and the garment should have the same care instructions for laundering. You should prepare your appliqué fabric by applying a paper-backed fusible webbing (such as Wonder Under or Aleene's) to the back of your appliqué fabric.


"Edward's Sailor Bubble" and sailboat appliqué are featured in our book, Sewing for a Royal Baby.

How to Embroider:
1. Hoop fabric and begin embroidering.

2. When you see thread color change that has a description of appliqué guide stitches (description found in your design instructions on or in packaging), embroider this thread as a template to show placement for appliqué fabric.

3. Place your appliqué fabric on top of thread template that was just sewn, making sure fusible side is down against your hooped fabric. Begin embroidering appliqué securing stitches with desired color, making sure that appliqué fabric is smooth.

4. Take hoop out of machine, being careful not to disturb fabric in hoop. Gently cut away fabric from outside edges of appliqué securing stitches. Place hoop back in machine and continue embroidering your design. 

5. When design is done, remove fabric from hoop and press according to your paper-backed fusible webbing manufacturer's instructions.

Helpful Hints: 
• Practice first before trying on a garment.
• Pay attention to precision cutting.
• Be sure to press the paper-backed fusible webbing properly and according to manufacturer's direction.

If you're looking for some great appliqué designs for baby and children's clothing, be sure to check out these designs from our 2012 Internet Embroidery Club! All previous year collections (2001 to 2013) are available to purchase on our Internet Embroidery Club site.

Sew On, Sew Well, Sew Beautiful,
Cyndi & Amelia 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Add Piping to a Tucked Shirt


Belle Heir shirt and button-on pants constructed by Amelia Johanson.

We just love seeing photos of little Prince George dressed up in all of his fashionable baby attire. From the sailboat-smocked rompers and button-bar shoes to the cardigan sweaters and pull-on shorts he donned during the royals' recent tour of Australia and New Zealand, it's evident the 9-month-old is a trendsetter in children's clothing much like his father Prince William was at a young age. In honor of the tiny style icon, we'd like to share a technique with you from the Belle Heir shirt featured in our Royal Baby book.

This pleated-front shirt is an antique reproduction designed with a V-shaped yoke and the added interest of piping set into every tuck. We made our reproduction with short sleeves and paired it with classic button-on shorts for a little boy, but pair the sleeveless option with a button-on skirt and the ensemble will have little girl written all over it. 

Piped tucks

Below, you'll find instructions for recreating the shirt's unique piped tucks. Patterns and complete instructions for constructing the Belle Heir shirt and button-on shorts can be found in Sewing for a Royal Baby.

1. Create enough piping to accommodate all six tucks. Trim piping seam allowance to 1/4 inch (6 mm) (a DARR piping ruler is perfect for this task). Cut six 4-1/2-inch (11 cm) long strips of piping.

2. Fold along the first tuck line; press. Place the fold to the straight line and press the tuck all the way down.

Figure 1

3. Open the tuck and run a line of basting glue from the top edge to the marked dot. Position a piece of piping on the glue so that the stitching line of the piping is aligned to the straight line marked on the shirt. Begin at the marked dot and work upward; leave the excess piping extended at the top edge, which will be trimmed after stitching. For a clean end, cut the end of the piping piece at an angle and bend the raw end to the inside of the tuck so that the curved end touches the marked dot (fig. 1). Finger press to secure the glue to the piping.

Figure 2

4. Flip the shirt over the piping so that the right sides are together and the piping is sandwiched between the fold. Stitch the tuck line, catching the piping seam allowance inside; stop at the marked dot, securing the end of the tuck and the end of the piping at the same time. Skip a distance and start stitching on second mark and continue to the bottom of the front shirt (fig. 2). Repeat for all six tucks. When complete, trim off the piping strips even with top edge.

For more projects fit for your little prince or princess, be sure to check out Sewing for a Royal Baby. The book features 22 royal-inspired designs complete with patterns, smocking plates, step-by-step instructions, technique tutorials and much more! 

Sew On, Sew Well, Sew Beautiful,
Cyndi & Amelia

Monday, May 5, 2014

Project How-To: Pretty Storage Pockets

This fabric hanger cover provides plenty of pockets to store accessories.

Mother's Day is this coming Sunday, May 11. If you're looking for a project to sew for a special mother in your life - whether your mom, sister, daughter, aunt or friend - we have a great idea to share. This pretty cover designed by Rosina Cassam for our sister magazine Stitch Craft Create's gift edition transforms an ordinary clothes hanger into a practical storage unit. It takes no time at all to make, and it's a perfect present for ladies of all ages who can use it to keep all their favorite fashion accessories at hand.

What you need: 
• Patterned fabric 
• Plain fabric 
• Coordinating thread 
• Wire hanger 
• Pencil 
• Paper 
• Ruler 
• Scissors 
• Sewing machine 
• Iron

How to create:
NOTE: Seam allowances are 3/8 inch.

1. To make hanger cover pattern, trace around top of wire hanger and lengthen bottom line to about 12 inches. Add a 3/8-inch seam allowance around perimeter. To make pocket pattern, fold over top part of hanger cover pattern and use lower part only (about 8 inches deep).

2. From patterned fabric, cut two main hanger cover pieces and one pocket piece.

3. From plain fabric, use main hanger cover pattern to cut two lining pieces and one pocket piece.

4. Place pocket pieces right sides together and sew along top edge. Turn through to right side and press flat.

5. Place one of main hanger cover pieces right side up on your work surface and lay pocket on top with lining facing down, aligning raw edges along bottom edge. Sew along pocket sides and bottom edge.

6. Measure 5 inches in from sides to mark pocket divisions and machine stitch to make three pockets.

7. Place hanger cover lining on top of pocket with front right sides facing, and machine sew along bottom edge only. Press; fold open along seam edge and press. Repeat with remaining fabric pieces to make hanger cover back.

8. Pin linings to hanger cover pieces and sew around top edges.

9. Place lined back and front together, right sides facing, and sew along top edge, leaving a 2-inch gap. Turn right side out and press flat along seams.

10. Insert hanger through gap.

Shop the Mother's Day Sale in our Martha Pullen Online Store for more great gift ideas!

Sew On, Sew Well, Sew Beautiful,
Cyndi and Amelia

Monday, April 28, 2014

How to Add a Center Panel to a Basic Bodice Dress

Blue Italian Organdy Dress

A center panel can add such a lovely and unique design element to a garment. In this how-to from our March/April 2012 issue, Pat Goldman and Susan Newberry of Chadwick Heirlooms will show you how you can adapt any basic bodice dress pattern to include a center panel. The concept is easy - you simply need to remove the middle section of the bodice pattern and replace it with a long rectangle cut from straight grain fabric.

The center panel pictured here on the Blue Italian Organdy Dress has six 1/4-inch tucks edged with 1/4-inch lace edging. Once you determine the finished width of the center panel for the size you are making, add 1 inch for seam allowance and 1/2 inch for every tuck you wish to stitch (3 inches in this case). Allow at least 1/4 inch at the top and bottom edges for attaching entredeux. TIP: You may want to give yourself a couple of inches extra length, as you can always trim to fit later.






Basic Construction:
• The back of this dress remains unchanged from the pattern. Follow pattern as directed for back.

• Prepare center panel: Sew tucks, lace and embroidery to center panel. Finish top edge with entredeux and set aside.

• Sew new side bodice piece to back bodice pieces at shoulder seams.

• Prepare sleeves with lace edging and sew to bodice arm curve before stitching side seams.

• Stitch side seams of bodice and sleeves.

• You should have two front skirt pieces. Sew a front to each side of single back skirt piece. Sew a placket in center back skirt. Run gathering threads in top of skirt on each side of placket.

• Gather skirt to fit bottom edge of bodice (side front/back bodice). Stitch and finish seam. Sew entredeux to neck edge, and down entire front bodice and skirt on both sides where center panel will be inserted.

• Make sashes (cut approximately 5 by 35 inches): Stitch gathered lace edging to one end of each sash. Roll and whip a tiny rolled hem on each long edge of each sash.

• Pleat ends of sash and either baste to front side seam of dress over waist seam before center panel is inserted, or hand stitch under last tuck after center panel is inserted.

• Sew center panel to entredeux on front of dress.

• Remember to mark where the panel should end at neck in same spot on both sides so that it ends up perfectly straight across the top.

• Sew lace edging to entredeux along neck and across top of center panel, mitering front corners.

• Trim center panel even with skirt along bottom edge. Sew entredeux to bottom edge.

• Create a fancy band of two lace insertions and a lace edging, then attach to entredeux to finish skirt.

• Sew buttons and buttonholes to back bodice.

For more sewing ideas, check out our new 2012 Sew Beautiful Collection CD. This CD includes all seven issues of Sew Beautiful magazine from 2012 - the six standard issues plus our special 25th Anniversary Edition. These issues are complete with printable patterns, project templates, sewing tips, technique tutorials and endless inspiration!

Sew On, Sew Well, Sew Beautiful,
Cyndi & Amelia