Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Taming Pleater Threads

How do you keep your pleater threads from getting tangled?

The first time I used my pleater, my spools of thread were left to their own devices-not a good idea as they soon got tangled and rolled everywhere and even become a plaything for the household cats!

Then I saw a board with individual pegs for each spool and my husband was very good and made me one. A great solution and not very expensive. It sat on the counter in front of my pleater and the threads were always neat and the spools stayed put (sorry cats!).

Spool pegs on their board

But as great as that was, I then saw a better solution. I saw a board with the pegs attached and the pleater attached to it too, so then nothing moved or slipped when you were pleating. You can still remove the pleater when necessary, which is great. My father, visiting from England, helped with this version. He used the previous peg board and screwed it to one end of a larger board. He was thoughtful enough to cover the base board with sticky back plastic so the fabrics do not get caught on the rough surface and it can be wiped clean. He also added rubber feet on the underside to stop it scratching the table surface and also help keep it in place when pleating.

My Sally Stanley attached to its board 
with the spool board attached at the back.

So I had a great item to help me pleat and not have to worry about the threads running a-muck-
thanks to my husband and father. I have been happy using it for many years.

Then a few years I was given a 16 row Read pleater by someone who no longer required it. It is a little smaller than my Sally Stanley and easier to use if it needs to be transported (pleating at a Wee Care workshop or demonstrating at a Smock in Public day). It fits nicely in a plastic shoe box, but there is  that problem again-how to tame the pleater threads! It just so happened that my husband was given a bottle of malt whiskey in a rather nice box. I was loathe to throw the box  out as I felt sure I could find a way to re-purpose it. And I did! It is a great pleater thread box for the Read pleater. I purchased some thin dowel and cut it to fit tightly along the length of the box. My spools of thread slide onto the dowel and then when the box closes, the magnetic edge holds the threads in place outside the box. The box is about the same size as the shoe box so they sit on top of each other nicely when they are not being used.

Inside the box, showing the dowel and threads.

The closed box

So let me know how you tame your pleater thread spools.

Pleating 'washing-line' style getting 
ready to teach a smocked ornament class to my EGA chapter!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Valley Forge Retreat

The last SAGA Retreat held in Valley Forge was another great event. The SAGA board worked hard to make the event run as smoothly as possible. Of course unforeseen hitches always occur-like the loss of power to half a sewing machine class, but any problems were soon corrected. This retreat was a little different in so much as their were five teachers, more attendees and the annual meeting, coupled with the board holding their annual board meetings.

So, here are a few highlights of the retreat:

Over 50 raffle baskets-lots of wonderful goodies donated. I actually won a basket donated by Wee Care- a porcelain doll with patterns to use to make her a wardrobe of outfits.

Jann Young receiving her Artisan Master in Smocking certificate. Jann's projects were on show at the Market and will be featured in a future issue of SAGANews.

Joy Welsh won the Smock Across America 'Blue' Contest with a beautiful girls dress. Joy will be writing about this piece in a future issue of SAGANews.  There were 15 entries in the contest and each one very different.

There were 10 SAGA Past President's at the banquet on Saturday evening. Some of whom get together each year and made the retreat part of their annual event this year.

SAGA teachers taking classes, as Judith Adams, Susie Gay and Claudia Newton all took on the roll of student rather than teacher.

If you didn't make it to one of the retreats (and there were quite a few members who made it all three retreats) plan on attending next years event, the SAGA Convention to be held in Hampton, Virginia 20-25 September 2016. I know you will have a great time!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Some vintage finds...

I am lucky enough to live within easy driving distance of the historic town of Sturbridge, Massachusetts. Sturbridge Village is a tourist destination as it replicates life in the 1800’s, with houses, businesses and costumed docents. A popular place for school trips and interesting for adults also.

Outside of the Old Village, the town of Sturbridge has attractions also, such as gift shops, restaurants, a couple of quilt fabric shops and three times a year a huge vintage textile show at a local hotel. The show is held, one day only, on a Monday and marks the start of another, even bigger event in the next town, Brimfield. Brimfield is fields and fields of antiques, bric-a-brac and craft items, along with the food trucks and masses of people buying and selling!

The vintage textile show is held inside the hotel and is much easier to walk around and get to enjoy the eye candy of everything from buttons, lace, clothes from the last century and the ones before; military clothes; denim jeans-you name it you can find someone who has it! But if I am able to go, I tend to look at the booths with the lace, whitework, table linens and such.

And this year I was able to go, along with SAGA President, Lisa Hawkes and we both enjoyed a day of browsing and deciding if we needed to add to our stash or collections! We went to the last show of the year, held in early September and of course, neither of us left without a few, carefully selected, purchases. Even if we didn’t buy too much, just looking at everything is very inspiring and simulating. I came away with some ideas to think about using.

One of the most silliest, but fun items we spotted was a mink coat-for a doll!! Talk about the ultimate in dolly clothes. I don’t know if anyone purchased it…… Unfortunately, you are not allowed to take photos inside of the event, so I couldn't share that 'find' with you.

So if you are ever in the Sturbridge area in May, July or September check the website for dates of this event and maybe you might be able to attend and add to your stash or collection or just be inspired. 

Vintage Textile Show website :

Old Sturbridge Village website:

Friday, October 16, 2015

Patron Saint of Lace

A while ago very long time ago, SAGA member Jane B. emailed me a piece about the Patron Saint of Lace, actually something her son had found. Going through my emails to delete a few I found it and will now,finally, share it with you!

The information came from The Ladies Treasury magazine from 1882.

The item says that St. Francois Regis is the patron saint of lace-workers and how he became such is as follows:

In January 1640 the town authorities of Le Puy, France, posted up, at the four corners of the streets, an ordinance of the Parliament of Toulouse, forbidding under pain of heavy fines, all persons, of what degree soever, to wear lace upon their garments after the seventh day of the month of February following.

The reasons assigned for this ordinance were that so many women were occupied in working lace that it was difficult to obtain domestic service and also that is was desirable to do away with the class distinctions that the wearing of lace marked.

This naturally caused a great sensation in Le Puy and Velay among the merchants, as well as the unfortunate women who existed only by the proceeds of their lace making. They appealed to the great preacher of the day, Jean Francois Regis who procured a revocation of the edict and consequently when he became canonized, he became the patron saint of lace.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Liberty of London

An exhibit celebrating the 140 years of Liberty of London fashions is being held at the Fashion and Textile Museum in Bermondsey, London, England from 9 October 2015 through to 28 February 2016.

I was determined not to follow existing fashion but to create new ones.” Arthur Lasenby Liberty
Liberty has been at the cutting edge of design and the decorative arts since 1875.

“From the earliest imports and Eastern influenced and artistic dress to present day collaborations, Liberty has occupied a unique place in British fashion. Every garment in the exhibition has been carefully chosen to enable the Museum to represent the incredible range of textile designs created by the firm as well as to present an argument about why Liberty is always ‘in fashion’”. – Dennis Nothdruft, Curator of Liberty in Fashion
The exhibition will explore Liberty’s impact on British fashion, from Orientalism and Aesthetic dress in the 19th century, through Art Nouveau and Art Deco in the early 20th century, and the revival of these styles since the 1950s. Liberty Art Fabrics and the textile design studio take centre stage as the internationally recognised leader in floral, paisley and patterned prints and dress fabrics.

Featuring over 150 ensembles and accessories, this exhibition will boast the largest number of historic Liberty artefacts since the company’s centenary in 1975. Of the items on display, the oldest include a cape from the 1890s constructed form Chinese shawls, a Paul Poiret silk robe from the 1930s and a late 1960s Macedonia print dress. These archive pieces will sit alongside high profile contemporary collaborations including Vivienne Westwood and Nike.
So if you are in London and have some time, why not give this museum and exhibit a visit?

Fashion and Textile Museum
83 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3XF

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Just in case....

If you are at the last SAGA Retreat of 2015 in Valley Forge that is great!

But, just supposing you have forgotten something you need for class? Well, it just happens that right across the road from the DoubleTree Hotel is a sewing shop! Yes, directly across the road-Steve’s Sewing and Vacuum (Details at the end of this blog post). Of course, you do not need to have forgotten something to visit the shop, after all, it is just across the road and you need to get out of the hotel at least once, right?

Then, should you have won too many raffle baskets on Saturday evening and are wondering how best to get them home, there is a FedEx office a short walk from the hotel.  The office is open from Noon until 6 pm on Sunday-how convenient is that? (Details at the end of this post)

Steve’s Sewing and Vacuum

Steve's Sewing Vacuum and Quilting of King of Prussia offers over 3000 bolts of quality fabrics, perfect for quilting or garment sewing. Steve's services all brands of sewing, embroidery, and serger machines and sells quality Bernina, Baby Lock, and Janome machines.


268 W. DeKalb Pike (202)
King of Prussia, PA 19406

PH: 610-768-9453
PH: 800-585-9453

Store Hours:
Monday – Friday: 10am-9pm
Saturday: 10am-5pm
Sunday: 12noon-5pm
FedEx Office Print & Ship Center
99 Town Center Rd
King Of Prussia, PA 19406
(610) 962-0444
Cross W. Dekalb Pike (Route 202) and head east (away from the mall) to Town Center Road. FedEx is a block down on the right.
Store Hours:
Mon-Fri 7:30 am-9:00 pm
Sat     8:00 am -6:00 pm
Sun 12:00 pm- 6:00 pm

Monday, October 5, 2015

A little reminder.....

......of things you might find useful to take if you are heading off to the last SAGA Retreat of 2015 in Valley Forge.

-Basic Sewing Supplies

-Special class requirements (any pre-class homework?)
-Artisan Card
-Address labels for your raffle tickets (or I have some you can use!)
-Kit Fees-cash or cheques made payable to the teacher
-Pens and pencils
-Name tag holder

-Tote Bag

If you are taking a machine class:
-Sewing Machine- with foot pedal; power cords; presser feet; bobbins etc.
-Cart to help transport the machine

Your Mystery of the Five Diamonds smocked insert for Barbara Meger to see and sign your Artisan card!

Any Wee Care items for donation to local area hospitals.

Raffle Basket-if your chapter has one to donate or you have a personal one, don't forget to pack it!

Table favours-if your chapter made them don't forget to bring them! (Everyone loves seeing what goodies they have to take home with them!)

Friday, October 2, 2015

A Man, a car and lace

So, can you imagine where I saw lace being used on a car? Yes, you did read that correctly-lace and car in the same sentence! I was at the weekly car show held at a local diner, here in Connecticut during August and came across lace. There amongst the vintage cars, hot rods, gleaming engines, tyres and testosterone was one special car that caught my eye.

Lace had been used to decorate the car! How? Well the owner used panels of lace and sprayed paint over them. The image it created is the decoration on his car. Talking to him, Eddie said he obtained the lace from a local petticoat manufacturer for $3 and used each panel twice, as the paint made the lace too stiff to use after that. He was very surprised to have someone actually know what he used to make the decoration on the paint job of the body work.

Eddie has owned the car since he was in high school and it is tricked out with lots of fun features that make it a little unique to say the least (the seats fold down to make a bed; there is a drinks cabinet in the back, plus over 200 lights, dice used everywhere).  Eddie calls his car 'Earth Angel'.
All I can say is -
Summer days, drifting away,
To uh, oh those summer nights...
Tell me more, tell me more!
Like does he have a car?