Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Pretty Pillows

So by now you know I have been making squares for a 'Paper Doll Dress' quilt and I have used my own scraps of fabric and lace and also re-cycled fabric from a ladies blouse for one square. Well, a friend asked me if I would make something for her two granddaughters from blouses she no longer wears-so I did. I made pillows.

I used the front of the blouses for the back of the pillow and the placket became to pillow opening.

I then made the 'Paper Doll Dress' as usual.

I made piping from the left over blouse fabric and put it all together.

I think she will like the finished pillows and her granddaughters will have a lovely keepsake.

Friday, September 23, 2016


Libra is this months star sign-keeping the balance!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Sewing with Seveldges

Todays post is a project from SAGA member Davene Hutchins. Davene has been smocking for 20 years but is a newer member of SAGA. She belongs to the Lone Star Smockers chapter in Texas. Davene has been married for 48 years and has two grown children. She and her husband are grandparents to seven and great-grandparents to one. Davene is a retired Registered Nurse.

Davene's project uses something that we usually discard- selvedges.

Sewing With Selvages

Collect numerous varied selvages. Cut an extra ½” to 1” of fabric as you desire. I especially
love the fabrics that have words and fancy color dots on the selvages. Save selvages from your
own fabrics, and collect from willing friends, to get a wide variety of colors and patterns.

Most selvages will have a nice bound edge to them. Some will have a “fringey” edge. I use
these too! It gives a nice texture to my projects. If you don’t like the “fringey” edge, simply tuck
it under when you sew on the piece.

- Start with a 6½” square of muslin. This is a somewhat arbitrary measurement. You can make
your square any size you want really. I have found 6½” to be a nice size that works well.

- Mark 1” up on both sides from one corner with your marker of choice. Connect the marks
with a ruler.

- Use any color thread you choose. I usually use white or off-white, as most selvages are light
in color. Even if the selvage is dark, the light thread seems to blend in fine.

- Place a piece of selvage on the line. Stitch across the TOP of the selvage piece. This is the
only time you will stitch across the top of the selvage strips!

- Lift the bottom of the selvage and place another one below it. Stitch across the BOTTOM of
the same selvage, catching the lower piece. Continue down until the corner is covered.

- Place a piece of selvage at the top, overlapping the first piece you stitched down. Stitch
across the BOTTOM catching the underlying selvage. Continue up until the entire square is
covered. Press periodically as needed.

- Turn the square over and from the back, cut off all the extra selvage beyond the muslin.

- Make several of these squares and sew them together with a 1/4” seam. Press the seams
open. Note that the strips will connect at an angle. Don’t try to match anything! You can’t!

Be aware - the squares will be directional because of the lettering and most color dots will be

Now you have a unique wonderful piece of fabric from which you can make almost anything.
Imagine what you can do!

Thank you Davene for this idea -what will you make with your selvedge scraps?

Thursday, September 15, 2016

What to pack for Hampton

So, have you started packing for the SAGA National Convention in Hampton, Virginia?

Here is a reminder of some things you might find useful:

1. Basic Sewing Supplies

2. Writing materials and tools.

3. Name labels for your raffle tickets (or I will have some you can use :) )
This attendee at a previous Convention wishes she had remembered her labels!
4. Tote bag (especially useful for market).

5. Sewing Machine-If you are taking machine classes and don't forget the power cord and foot; machine presser feet; needles; bobbins; manual; wheels to get it to and from class.

6. Chapter raffle basket.

7. Wee Care items to donate.

8. Table favours-if your chapter offered to donate them.

9. Any pre-class homework?

10. Light and magnification.

11. Spare glasses.

12. Camera

13. Show and Share and/or Design Show items.

14. A smile and money for market!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Museum Textile Treasures

I recently took a trip to Wethersfield, Connecticut to visit the Webb Deane Stevens Museum and take the Textile Treasures-Digging Deeper Tour. The day was one of the hottest and most humid of the year but that did not deter the ladies that came with me!

We had made reservations and when we arrived we joined the other ladies in the small museum shop (which had A/C) to wait for the start of the tour. As there were 20 ladies signed up the group was divided into two and each group looked at items in a different house before swapping places. Bearing in mind the heat and humidity and the fact the house did not have A/C, just fans, the items had been removed from their second floor settings to make it more ‘comfortable’ to view them.
Our group started with the oldest pieces in the textile collection, a bed covering thought to have been made in India, made of pieces of embroidered fabrics joined together in no particular way. The designs were flowers, birds and butterflies and the colours remained very bright. The designs were worked in tiny chain stitches, most likely with a tamour hook, as they were too tiny and even to have been worked with a needle. 

The second piece was a silk dress of woven fabric which had been re-made. Fabric was imported from the UK into the US prior to the revolutionary war and so a silk fabric would have been very expensive and dresses were often re-made to fit another family member. Again, the colour on the fabric was still very bright.
Other pieces shown were items that were made using crewelwork and several cross stitched samplers were on display along with mourning pictures, stitched on water colour painted silk backgrounds.

Not too overcome by the heat in that room, the group moved to the house next door, braving the heat outside, to view more items from the collection. Here we saw a bargello stitched bag, a pincushion with the pins spelling “March 17 1761” (these were often given as gifts to commemorate events), another bed cover worked in wools, a few items of men’s clothing and a beautifully stitched man’s pocket book that opened to reveal pockets for masonic items. Several of the internal pockets were made from knitted pieces rather than embroidered.

I urge you to check the websites of your local historical homes as quite often they have collections that they hide away for most of the time and then have special exhibits to share them with the public. Sometimes the advertising for these exhibits is not as good as it could be, but the items are so worth seeing up close and personal! 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Heirloom Sewing on a Singer Featherweight

When I was given my Featherweight sewing machine I was very interested in the detailed instruction book that came with it. The book is 55 pages of how to use the machine and the attachments. Of course it covers the basics like threading it and winding a bobbin and setting the needle in place, along with detailed instructions on setting the tension and lubricating, but it was the instructions for using the attachments that really caught my eye.

The machine has a hemmer foot and as well as details on how to make a narrow hem with this foot, there are instructions on hemming and sewing on lace in one operation.

Then there is the multiple slotted binder foot that allows you to attach  unfolded bias binding and pre-folded bias binding. Directions are given on making a piped edge and also piping and binding an edge in one operation!

The edge stitcher foot is shown sewing two pieces of lace together and also making a French seam and pin tucks!

The gathering food is shown making shirring but also making puffing strips. The directions also suggest using a coloured thread in the bobbin so that the shirring resembles 'smocking' when used on a collar or cuffs.

The really complicated looking ruffler attachment can be used to make gathers on a single piece of fabric or ruffle and stitch the piece to a garment in one operation. The ruffler can also be set to make pleats in even sizes.

Now I know that many of todays machines also have these feet and capabilities, but it was interesting to see that a simple straight stitch sewing machine that is over 70 years old could also do these heirloom sewing techniques. And the fact that it is heirloom techniques that are featured in the manual for the machine.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

What to do in Hampton

So, you are going to be attending the SAGA National Convention in Hampton, Virginia and you have some free time and are wondering what you can do in the area. Well here are a few suggestions.

Virginia Air Space Museum
600 Settlers Landing Road, Hampton, VA 23669
The visitor center for NASA Langley Research Center and Langley Air Force Base. This world-class facility features the Adventures in Flight and Space Quest galleries and more than 100 “hands-on” exhibits that tell the story of air and space exploration. See the Apollo 12 Command Module, a Mars meteorite and a three-billion year-old moon rock! Make a crater, travel to Mars and fly an airplane. Visit the technologically advanced 3D IMAX® Theater and see a film on a five-story screen with 16,000 watts of digital-sound.

Aberdeen Gardens Historic Museum
55 and 57 N. Mary Peake Boulevard, Hampton VA, 23666
Free Admission
The museum celebrates the history, heritage and future of historic Aberdeen Gardens. Built for and by African-Americans in 1935 as part of Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal program, the neighborhood provided modern homes to African-American workers. The museum, dedicated in 2002, represents an original Aberdeen Gardens dwelling. The 440-acre subdivision consisted of 158 single family homes along with gardens for sustenance, a school, and a commercial center.  The Hampton Institute-initiated project was designed as a model other African-American communities could emulate.
The community, which is listed on the Virginia State Register of Historic Landmarks as well as the National Register of Historic Places, and the museum that celebrates its history are a testament to the great accomplishments possible when a group of people work together to achieve a common goal.
For tours, call for an appointment.

Casemate Museum at Fort Monroe
20 Bernard Road, Hampton, VA 23651
The largest stone fort ever built in the U.S., Fort Monroe is the home of the Casemate Museum, which chronicles the history of the fort and the Coast Artillery Corps. During the Civil War, more than 6,000 slaves escaped to Union-held Fort Monroe, earning it the nickname, “Freedom’s Fortress.” Highlights include the cell where Confederate President Jefferson Davis was imprisoned.  Additional Fort Monroe sites to note are Quarter’s Number One, Old Point Comfort Light, Chapel of the Centurion and Lt. Robert E. Lee's quarters.
Admission is free for self-guided tours. Guided tours by reservation and the cost is $3 per person.

Charles H. Taylor Cultural Arts Center
4205 Victoria Boulevard, Hampton, VA 23669

The Charles H. Taylor Arts Center is one of the most familiar sites in downtown Hampton. Built in 1925 the building served as Hampton's public library for over 60 years. After careful renovation and restoration, the building now presents changing exhibitions of the best of local, regional, and national artists, as well as classes for children and adults. The Arts Center is also the meeting space for the Hampton Arts League, the Tidewater Artists Association, and the Peninsula Glass Guild.

Gallery Hours:
Tuesday-Friday 10 AM - 6 PM;
Weekends 1-5 PM;
Closed Mondays.

Air Power Park
413 W. Mercury Boulevard, Hampton, VA 23666

Visit this outdoor park and see the air power that played a vital part in America’s early space exploration and aircraft testing. Admission is free to this 15 acre park that includes a children's playground. Many of the displays have connections with nearby Langley AFB and the NASA Langley Research Center. A time capsule was filled and sealed in 1965 and will be opened in 2065. Soar through aviation history! Learn about the vital role Hampton played in America's early space exploration and aircraft testing. Conduct your own self-guided tour of the park displays featuring jets, missiles, and rockets. Kids may enjoy the playground area. Launch your paddle craft or simply relax on the floating dock, enjoying the view of wildlife on Newmarket Creek.

Hampton Carousel
602 Settlers Landing Road
Open Seasonally: Tuesday - Sunday: 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Closed Monday.
Rider fees are $1.00 per ride. Tickets on sale at the Hampton History Museum and at the Hampton Carousel.
Housed in its own pavilion, Hampton's Carousel is a whirling tribute to the skill of its creators. It still boasts its original mirrors and oil paintings, as well as 48 intricately decorated horses.  Rising and falling to the strains of the original band organ, many of these carousel horses are so finely carved that the veins in their necks and legs are visible. With the popularity of antique carousels at its peak, Hampton's restored 1920 merry-go-round has drawn thousands of visitors to the city's downtown waterfront. One of only 170 antique carousels still in the United States, the Hampton Carousel is a rare and beautiful example of American folk art. Its prancing steeds and stately chariots were painstakingly carved from fine-grained hardwood and painted by German, Italian and Russian immigrant artisans.

Hampton History Museum
120 Old Hampton Lane, Hampton, VA 23669
Galleries represent Hampton history, including the city's early inhabitance by the Kecoughtan tribe and contributions of African-American residents. View ten permanent galleries that bridge the past with the present, spanning Hampton's settlement to the city's role as the founding site for the U.S. space program.
Experience four centuries of national history and view how Hampton evolved as “America’s Gateway” from Native American days to the Space Age. Ten galleries illustrate a narrative beginning with the Virginia Colony and continue through phases of Coastal Virginia life with surprises along the way. Meet Blackbeard the Pirate, experience the burning of Hampton during the Civil War and see how the Contraband decision was the first step toward freedom for millions of African-Americans. The museum also shares space and gift shop with the Hampton Visitor Center.
Museum Hours: Mon.–Sat., 10 am–5 pm and Sunday, 1–5 pm. Closed major holidays.
Admission: $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, active military, active NASA, AAA and children 4–12. Children under 4, free.

Free visitor parking is available in the parking garage located at 555 Settlers Landing Road and accessed from History Museum Way, across the street from the museum entrance.
Highway exit: I-64, Exit 267 to Settlers Landing Road.  Continue to History Museum Way.

St. John’s Church
100 West Queen’s Way, Hampton, VA 23669
Free Admission
Established in 1610, St. John's is the oldest continuous English-speaking parish in the U.S. The worship building has been at its present site on Queens Way since 1728. A recorded message introduces visitors to the church and its history, which includes a stained-glass window depicting the baptism of Pocahontas.

Peninsula Town Center
4410 E. Claiborne Square, Hampton VA 23666
Peninsula Town Center features over 70 stores and restaurants located within Hampton's Coliseum Central Business District. With top retailers such as Target and JC Penney, the center also features luxury apartments, specialty retail, two public parks, and Bryant & Stratton College.

Thanks to the This is Hampton Virginia website www.visithampton.com for the photos and information.