Saturday, July 30, 2016

Sewing Machine Ready to Travel

A friend asked me to write this blog post. She is impressed with my (on the surface) organizational skills. I told her is is all smoke and mirrors, but none-the-less she says she is trying to get herself more organized too.

So what  in particular has impressed her? Well a while back she borrowed my Bernina 160 sewing machine to see if she liked the brand. How could I let her take my baby? Well, it is my second 'child', and a machine I use for attending classes or to travel with.  I have my first 'child', my Bernina 930 (great works horse; pre-computerization); a Bernina 160 (my first computerized model) and now I have a third, my Bernina 640 (computerized and embroidery unit).

When I gave her the machine to borrow it was, of course, in it's case, along with the manual, foot pedal and power cord, but it also had a plastic box with it which contained spare machine needles, bobbins, cutting out scissors, paper scissors, tape-measure and some pins. Oh! and an extension cord.

It was this box that impressed my friend. After all, to go to a sewing class or retreat all I have to do is pick up my machine and head out the door (well, okay, I do need to pack whatever supplies are required for the class). My 'travel' machine is all ready to go somewhere without too much thought.

I guess that is more organized than some people. How did that come to be? I guess it comes from always having a travel wash bag ready to pack for a trip at a moments notice. That travel wash bag came from my first trips to Europe when I had to save my money for the holiday and save for my spending money. If I didn't have something in my wash bag I would have to spend precious spending money on something essential like toothpaste and that wasn't going to happen! So I had a travel wash bag with everything in it I could possibly need (and more) which I could keep stocked up throughout the year and was ready to go anywhere at any time.

So my travel sewing machine is like my wash bag- packed and ready to go at a moments notice- so where can they both go next?

PS My friend did indeed like the Bernina machine and is now the owner of her very own.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Fur Exchange

 While in St. Louis I saw this building and was intrigued as to it's origins, so thanks to the Internet, I can let you all know the history behind it!

The seven story International Fur Exchange Building at the corner of 4th Street and Market Street was built in 1919 after a record two years of fur trading in St. Louis. It was the world’s largest fur trading auction floor in the 1920s and 1930s. The seven-story building was designed by St. Louis architect George W. Hellmuth and boasted the latest electric lighting technologies to highlight the sales floor. The building offered buyers the convenience of viewing pelts and bidding in the same location. In the 1940's, eighty percent of the world's fur seal pelts along with beaver, fox and other pets were auctioned in the facility.  Furs were traded in the building until 1956.

The building was scheduled for demolition in the 1990's, however it was spared the wrecking ball when it converted to a Drury Plaza Hotel.

Saturday, July 23, 2016


Here is the cocktail napkin for Leo the stat sign for the up-coming month.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Smocking Inspiration

This is the front grill of a vintage Maxwell car.

Inspiration for a smocking design?

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Vive le 14 juillet!

Bastille Day, the French national holiday, commemorates the storming of the Bastille, which took place on 14 July 1789 and marked the beginning of the French Revolution. The fact that the prison only held seven inmates at the time was not significant. It was the fact that the prison, in the centre of Paris, was a symbol of the King’s power and by capturing the prison, the people signaled to Louis XVI that his power was no longer absolute.

Le quatorze juillet (Bastille Day) was declared the French national holiday on 6 July 1880, by which time the Republic was firmly entrenched. Bastille Day has such a strong signification for the French because the holiday symbolizes the birth of the Republic.

In 1790 Lafayette gave the cast-iron, one-pound and three-ounce key to the Bastille to American President George Washington. The key remains on display at Washington's residence of Mount Vernon.

 And this post came about because I thought about Bastille Day when I found this wonderful hankie while I was rummaging through a box in an antique shop recently! The famous Parisian landmarks are stitched using the tambour technique (chain stitch using a tambour hook).

Monday, July 11, 2016

A quick Q & A with Trish Smith

1   Trish Smith will be teaching at the SAGA National Convention in Hampton, Virginia. Here we have a quick Questions and Answer interview with Trish and showcase the projects she will be teaching in September.

     When do you find time to embroider/sew?
Everyday of my life, except for Tuesday (which is the day I spend with my babies).  It may be drafting a pattern, sewing a garment, or writing a class handout, but you can be sure that each day has something to do with sewing.

1     What inspires your designs?
Oh my, it is funny where ideas come from, a pleated lamp shade, a pillow in a department store, a garment that I see on an adult in a TV show has inspired a technique to place on a child’s garment.  I love vintage clothing and get ideas from looking at them.  And of course a child never goes by that I am not checking out what they have on and thinking, Oh that would be even cuter if it had … on it. 

On average, how long would you say it takes for you to complete a piece from design concept to end?
Let’s just say, longer than I would like.  I enjoy every step of the process but I am not a fast seamstress.  But having said that, it seems that almost everything I make is a new garment and I am figuring out the design and steps as I go so therefore it slows down the process.  Sometimes I think I want to do it a certain way and then once I am into it, I change my mind because I decide another way will be better.  It’s all just a part of designing.  Also, all of my patterns are drafted and drawn by hand, by me, in all sizes, one size at a time.  This takes a lot of time but the final result is worth it. 

7      Do you smock?
Yes, I love to smock.  Before I started my pattern line and started traveling so much I smocked a lot.  Not having a daughter, I smocked some for my second son and then I smocked to be smocking.  Every time we went on a trip I smocked all the way there and back.  I smocked while I watched my boys play at the playground, I smocked by the pool, I smocked for friends.  I also smocked for a local store on their custom made garments.  Now I have two granddaughters (be still my beating heart), and even though traveling and teaching prevents me from doing as much as I would like to, I smocked for them when I can fit it in.

What do you do to recharge your creative spark?
Sometimes just sit still and think, other times look at vintage garments or browse through a rack of clothes in a department store.  And don’t forget, I always look at lampshades and pillows for ideas.

Where can we get to see your projects (magazines, stores etc.)?
Past issues of Sew Beautiful magazine.  Upcoming issues of Classic Sewing Magazine.  I have two Facebook pages:  Personal – Trisha Owen Smith, Business – Patterns by Trisha’s Treasures.  Various stores as they post about my future classes.  I hope to have a website in the near future.

Have you registered for SAGA Convention yet? Visit www. to view the brochure and the links to registration and hotel information.