Friday, June 29, 2012

Sis Boom Style Summer to Fall

Make a dress with Sis Boom cotton prints

 Photographed by Jennifer Wiggins of

I just adore these precious dresses from Judy Buchanan.  I am working on an article for the September magazine focusing on how Judy uses her sewing talent to create beautiful pieces for her Etsy store (Hickity Pickity).  I thought you all would love a sneak peek and the opportunity to get your hands on the fabric before it is out of print. Sometimes, that can be the case by the time we go to press with an issue.

The photographer, Jennifer Wiggins of Forty Toes Photography, actually shared the photos with us and told us about Judy’s work. The combination of Jennifer’s photography and the cool colors chosen by Judy made us think of fall transition and back to school. In most of the country, children return to school while it is still very warm outside.  However, these dresses can extend into fall with a sweet t-shirt underneath or a cardigan sweater on top when the climate turns cooler. Get started now to get the most out of your sewing efforts this summer, then push it right into fall with a few added layers.

Judy made these dresses using the “Liddy” pattern from Juvie Moon and fabrics from Sis Boom fabrics by Jennifer Paganelli (available at While you can buy these ready-to-wear dresses from Judy’s Etsy store, you can also buy the pattern and fabric to make them like she did. We thought you might enjoy the inspiration.

Fabric prints are in limited quantity, so buy now before this collection is out of print. To view all the prints, patterns and books by Jennifer Paganelli at Martha Pullen Co, click here Jennifer Paganelli .
Dress pattern is Liddy from patterns

FABRIC (see yardage chart at bottom of page)
Blue/Green Combination

Substitute Daneille (below)for Nelly



Substitute green for sapphire


Monday, June 25, 2012

July Issue Sneak Peak


Spring and Summer sewing ideas!

Friday, June 22, 2012

DIY Bishop Correction (SB July 2012 Issue)

DIY Bishop Correction
July 2012 Issue #143

I am so sorry, I mislabeled the graphics for the DIY Bishop article by Claire Meldum on page 53 and 54 of the current July Issue )#143). Figure 1 (front) and figure 3 (back) from top raw edge to line 1 should be 3-1/4 inches. Line 1 to line 2 should be 1-5/8 inches on both front and back.  Some sweet ladies from Fabric Works in Mobile, AL called my attention to it.  If you have already cut yours 2-3/4 inches, just omit one row of 1/2 inch lines (see figure 5 on page 54). You can actually choose to add more rows to add more width, or to delete rows to make the band more narrow if you like, it just needs to increase or decrease by 1/2 inch increments. I will post this correction on our website’s corrections page as well and it will always be there should you ever need to find a reference for it. 

Kathy Barnard (editor)

Correct diagrams for DIY Bishop Dress by Claire Meldrum

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

How to Sew a Fancy Band

How to Sew A Fancy Band


Fancy bands embellish dress hems and can be
used to extend the wear of an out-grown dress.

For this blog post, I wanted to share how to make a simple fancy band hem. Shown is my favorite dress from the July 2012 Issue of Sew Beautiful magazine page 58.  

This adorable cotton lawn smocked dress is the work of designer Susie Gay of Berryhill Heirlooms ( She created this “Double Dip Sundress” for our Summer issue.  For the printed floral cotton lawn shown, order from Chadwick Heirlooms. Other materials are available at Martha Pullen Company.

To make this dress, you will find all of the instructions featured in the July issue along with the Susie’s FREE smocking design.  Susie’s unique construction method promises to impress. The strap casings above the smocking are a clever use of the fabric fold (trust me, you will just have to read it completely to appreciate it). To quickly sum it up, she folded a block of fabric in half on the cross grain and pleated across the top portion, leaving two layers all the way to the hem; one layer serves as the outside of the dress and one layer serves as the slip. She did this twice to make a front and a back. The outer dress layer is embellished with an heirloom fancy band stacked with lace, Swiss insertion, Swiss edging and 1-inch strips of printed cotton lawn. The slip layer of fabric is embellished with a wide band of the same printed Cotton lawn that hangs a bit lower than the fancy band.

We actually do not share the instructions for making the fancy band in the magazine, as this is a common practice among many of our readers.   For our blog family, however, we wanted to give you something a little extra.

This particular fancy band is constructed from the bottom up and measures 6-1/2 inches to the seam. We recommend cutting each strip a little longer than the skirt’s full circumference to allow for shrinkage from the machine stitching; cut to fit once assembled. Each cotton print insertion strip is cut 1-1/2-inches wide and on grain from selvage to selvage to equal two full bands around skirt circumference; the strips finish 1-inch wide in band. One dress side seam is sewn and one remains open, as it is easier to apply the full length of the fancy band to the entire bottom edge of the skirt and then sew up the second seam after the band is attached. The slip’s folded cotton print band is 7-inches finished (cut 15 inches assuming 1/2 inch seam allowances).

• First, determine how long you want your band to be; this is sometimes determined by the strips of goodies you want to stack together. Sometimes you might work with a set length in mind, like 4 inches, and then stack the right sized strips to add up to that predetermined length.

• When adding to a dress pattern that does not call for a fancy band, you will need to remove the fancy band length from the length of the dress. Then when you apply it, it will finish to the desired finished length. Remember to leave a seam allowance on the skirt for attaching the band. If you apply a band to an existing dress (to lengthen it and stretch it’s wearable life), you may need to cut away some from the bottom of the skirt.

• Determine the circumference of the hem and cut all strips a little longer just for good measure – It is better to trim off 2 inches than to be 1/2 inch short. Fabric strips will have to be joined with a seam, but laces can be purchased in adequate yardage.


Entredeux to Fabric
            Use this method to attach a strip of entredeux to the Swiss edging and printed cotton strips. Our edging is 6-inches wide, so you will have to trim away 2-3/4 inches for it to come out to 3-inches finished (assuming a 1/4-inch seam allowance). Place the entredeux to the trimmed edging and stitch in the ditch of the “ladder.” Trim seam and roll and whip as directed here:

1. Do not trim entredeux. Place entredeux and fabric right sides together, with raw edges even
2. With entredeux on top, use a straight stitch (L=2.0) to stitch in the ditch right along “ladder” of entredeux.

Stitch in the ditch of the Swiss "ladder"
3. Trim 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 fabric right along previous straight stitching, and other needle swing goes off edge of fabric, rolling seam allowance. 

HINT: I usually do this roll-and-whip stitching with entredeux on bottom.

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

Attach a printed cotton strip to the other fabric tape edge of the entredeux using the same method. The Swiss insertion has its own entredeux. Treat the same way to attach to floral bands. Finish the last raw edge of the second cotton strip with a strip of entredeux.

Entredeux to lace
Use this method to attach the lace insertion to the entredeux on the printed cotton strip.
First, trim the remaining fabric tape edge from the entredeux. Butt lace edge to “ladder” edge of entredeux and zigzag as directed here.

1. Starch entredeux well, and press dry. This is important, because it helps to pre-shrink entredeux. If this step is omitted, when the piece with entredeux stitched into it is washed, entredeux will shrink and pucker fabric. 
2. Trim batiste edge off one side of entredeux right next to heavily embroidered “ladder.” There should be no fabric remaining on that side; entredeux will not ravel (photo 1).

Trim away one side of seam tape.
3. With lace and entredeux both right sides up, butt trimmed edge of entredeux to heading of lace insertion.
4. Zigzag (L=1.0; W=2.5 – 3.0) together so that one needle swing stitches over heading of lace, and other needle swing goes into holes of entredeux (photo 2).

Zigzag stitch shown in red thread. Use white on garment
Add another strip of entredeux to the remaining edge of lace, leaving fabric tape on other side of entredeux. You will use this tape to attach the whole fancy band to the bottom of the dress using the entredeux to fabric method above.

It’s that easy. Fancy that!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Organdy Fishbowl Pockets

An Original Idea

Organdy Fishbowl Pockets Free Dress Pattern
and Free Smocking Design Offer

In the latest Sew Beautiful issue #143, and incidentally on the cover, you will find a precious free pattern of this summer dress with a colorful free smocking design of tropical fish created by Kathy Dykstra. On the dress is a little machine embroidered fish swimming in a see-through fishbowl pocket made of vinyl. The fish design is from our new Beneath the Sea machine embroidery CD Beneath The Sea Embroidery Disk from While vinyl is suitable for a casual cotton dress made of inexpensive quilting cottons, we certainly would not condone it for a more heirloom style made of cotton batiste or lawn. In that case, it is also best to hand embroider a fish if you are going for a purely heirloom quality garment.  Kathy’s original pockets were made of two layers of cotton organdy and were stitched to a little dimity-striped bishop. On the casual dress the organdy was traded for a clear alternative. For those of you who are “purist” and would prefer not to use a synthetic material on your cotton dress, here is the best natural option. Imagine a child’s delight to open the pocket and discover a fish inside! See below for a free smocking design offer.

Cotton Organdy Fishbowl
1. Trace the pocket pattern from the pullout centerfold to one square of organdy and place another layer behind it.
2. Follow the marked line with straight stitching.
3. Cut out pocket with a 1/8-seam allowance from stitching line.
4. Turn pocket inside out and press the curved seam (like a tiny pillow).
5. Stitch across the top edge to close.
6. Create a single layer organdy ruffle and cover with ribbon or bias. Place ruffle and ribbon on top of pocket and fold in raw ends of ribbon to back side. Stitch along edge of ribbon to attach to top of pocket.
7. Pin organza pocket over fish and straight stitch along seam edge and on both ends of ruffle to apply to skirt.

Vinyl Fishbowl

Stitch up this cute goldfish design by Kathy Dykstra. 
Click on this link and choose "Fishing for Compliments."