Monday, October 25, 2010

Celebrate Halloween with Sew Beautiful!

Happy Halloween from the staff at Sew Beautiful! It's that time of year, and whether you're aiming for spooky or sweet, we have lots of ideas for you to create your own holiday magic. This autumn, we celebrated the release of our new vintage-inspired Halloween Stitchin' machine embroidery CD, complete with 20 multi-format designs (eight 4x4 words or phrases and twelve picture designs in both 4x4 and 5x7 sizes). You can snag one for $40.00 in our online store.

For some ideas on how to use these fun new designs, we featured a spread of projects in Issue #132, including a cute embellished pennant (templates available on the pullout centerfold of that issue), a custom treat tote (instructions and templates also on the pullout centerfold), and simple embellished linens (linen blanks available in our online store). Once you have your Halloween Stitchin' disc in hand, all you need is some ribbon, rickrack, buttons and felt baubles to get creative.

TIP: Don't have the time or patience to sew on all that trim? We are fans of using products like Steam-a-Seam 2 and Fabri-Tac glue when in a pinch! Or use our old favorite, Roxanne's Glue-Baste-It - you can tack it in place now, and sew it later for a permanent finish.

In Issue #132, we also shared some easy costume ideas from designers Audra Kennedy, Kari Mecca and Sis Hutchison that would be perfect for trick-or-treating, or even just playing dress-up.

The top three costumes pictured above are made using our blank skirted bubbles and embellished with sewn-on chiffon ruffle tutus and Whimsy Stick trims, while the bottom tutu is easily made with strips of tulle netting and elastic. Easy instructions for both tutu styles are available in Issue #132; information on the "Not-so-scary Witch" costume is available on our website.

For even more Halloween ideas, we referred back to our Pumpkin Parade feature in Issue #126, September/October 2009. Appropriate for both Halloween and autumn alike, free downloadable instructions are available in the Freebies section of our website for these smocked jack-o-lanterns, embroidered tea towel, stuffed pumpkins and pumpkin pillows.

We hope you feel inspired to create a few last minute Halloween projects with these easy ideas! Sew on, sew well, and Sew Beautiful.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Our Reversible Bonnet Tutorial at Sew, Mama, Sew!

Our friends at Sew, Mama, Sew! are celebrating two weeks of Baby Shower goodness, and we are thrilled that they asked us to be a part of it! Head on over for a free tutorial on this super-sweet reversible baby bonnet, courtesy of our Martha Pullen Company president Kathy MacMakin. Be sure to enter to win a print from Belle & Boo while you're there.

We have also prepared bonnet kits for you in both red and green, available in our online store for just $8.00 each. Grab one or two to make your own cute bonnets! They're the perfect go-to baby gift.

Amelia's Silver Lace Dress

"In September, I had the good fortune of being invited to the Kent State University Museum in celebration of its 25th anniversary – the dress code – “Cocktail with a Touch of Silver.” I had been working over the summer on an early ‘50s-inspired dress I had cut from a steel gray stretch suiting; I hadn’t put in the zipper, tacked the lining or the hem. With this special occasion looming, I knew just how I was going to finish my dress. Martha Pullen Company had purchased all that remained of silver-dipped lace edging from Jennifer Osner. (Kathy Barnard and I had snatched it up at the Vegas market a few years back.)

"This vintage trim turned out to be the perfect feminine frill to dress up my fitted silhouette and mannish fabric. I outlined the neck, bust and waist lines of the dress with the ½” edging and added two rows of the 1” edging to the hem. The heading of the lace is beautifully woven in the silver threads, so to attach it, I simply straight machine stitched down the center with a metallic Sulky thread (color #142).

You can still purchase the lace (limited availability) at; click “Shop our Products, and then “Issue #132). The dress pattern is a discontinued Vogue (#9668), but a Google search reveals that there are some copies still out there. (Great pattern, by the way.) And I did do a little research on cleaning the silver lace. has a section from Henley’s Twentieth Century Formulas Recipes Processes Encyclopedia by Norman W. Henley and others, which offers tips ranging from the use of very fine alabaster power to curdled milk."

– Amelia Johanson, Associate Editor, SB