Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Embroidered Blouse

Like many of you, as well as being a member of SAGA, I am also a member of the Embroiderer's Guild of America (EGA). My chapter is quite large and meetings are well attended. Many of the members have been in the chapter for many years and one such lady is Holly. Holly is over 90 and still stitching. Her work is quite lovely and one thing she loves to do is stitch on greeting cards. She draws a simple design and stitches through the light card to embellish it.

Holly models her blouse and matching sweater
As well as her needlepoint and card making Holly embroiders her blouses. She takes a plain blouse that she has purchased and turns it into a one-of-a kind creation with her stitching. I have seen many of her creations and much of the time not realized that she had executed the embroidery. It was at the Annual Meeting of the chapter that my eye was caught by the blouse she was wearing and the fact she also had a sweater to match the colour of the threads! (I forgot to ask which came first, the sweater or thread colour choice! I suspect it was the sweater that dictated the thread colour). On this blouse Holly had also swapped the buttons to match the embroidery /sweater colour.

Detail of the design on the collar of the blouse

Holly's embroidery down the blouse front 

What an easy way to make a plain blouse stand out and be something unique.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Old Iron

A member of my chapter was helping sort through items donated for a sale at her local historical society's tag sale and came across this item.

She brought it along to  a chapter meeting for Show and Share, but also in case any one in the chapter would like to become its new owner. Someone indeed did wish to be the new owner and it went home with her to join her collection of unusual kitchen equipment.

So what is this item? It is an iron and the tank at the back is to hold fuel. The fuel is then ignited and the iron heats up as the burners are inside the oval part of the body, heating the bottom plate to enable the iron to do its work.

Gas-pressure irons were manufactured as early as 1900 and some were still around in the 1970's. They were popular before electric steam irons were more affordable and a safer alternative! Some of the gas irons manufacturers made the mistake of having a wooden handle which got hot very quickly and even caught fire!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


Today sees the start of the star sign Virgo's month.....

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Little Black Dress

According to the fashion world, every woman should have 'a little black' dress. I don't actually agree with that statement as black does nothing for me or many of the women that actually wear it! But the little black dress is the subject of a display at the Missouri History Museum in St. Louis (ends September 5).

The display features over 60 dresses from the museums extensive textile collection and shows how wearing black went from mourning to night.

Prior to the early twentieth century, wearing black was reserved for mourning and the strict rules that entailed.

Full Mourning- A widow would wear a dull black dress for one year and one day

A crepe two piece full mourning circa 1904
Second Morning-Some non-black was allowed, but it was primarily dull and dark.This period lasted 9 months.

Half Mourning- Colour could be added, such as grey, mauve or lavender. This period lasted 6 months
Two piece silk taffeta lilac dress circa 1882

The exhibit follows the black dress from its start as mourning and goes onto the black evening wear we are more familiar with. It even has a section showing sewing tools and a sewing machine.

Well worth a visit if you are in the area and admission is free.

Monday, August 15, 2016

SAGANews Volume 37 Issue 3


This is the cover of the latest issue of SAGANews.
It is in the mail.
The PDF will be posted on the SAGA website.


Thursday, August 11, 2016

Recycle, Reuse, Repurpose

Any one of the title words would describe a couple of my recent projects.

I hate to throw something out if I think I can re-use or re-purpose it, but at the same time, I do not want to hoard things! So, when, on the same day two friends from my EGA group asked if I could use the fabric from two items of clothing they no longer needed, I said yes, but only because I knew what I would do with them!

The first was a Brooks Brothers ladys blouse that was made from pima cotton. This friend thought I could make a 'paper doll dress' for one of my quilt squares from the fabric.

So I did.

But before I made the quilt square, I made a baby girl romper, using the original front button placket as part of the design.

I started by cutting the blouse apart up the side seams. Cutting the sleeves out around the armhole and then cutting up the sleeve seams. I cut the back apart from the front along the shoulders. Now I had flat pieces of fabric to work with.

I used the centre of the button placket as the centre fold of the front of the pattern piece. I cut the back of the romper from the back of the blouse and the sleeves from the sleeves of the blouse-easy peasey! The neck bias strip was cut from the lower piece of the sleeve.

I trimmed the sleeves with some lace and used the same lace to trim the neckline once the romper was completed. The romper was gifted to another EGA friend for her youngest granddaughter.

Recycled, reused, repurposed!

The second item was a cotton knit sweatshirt. The fabric had worn where the seams were bulky and had rubbed against the ribbing. The friend thought it would make linings for bibs or burp cloths, which, of course it would have, but I had other ideas!

Again, I cut the sweatshirt into pieces of fabric and set about cutting out a jacket. I cut the largest size I could from the fabric I had 'created'. I then raided my stash and found a cute fabric to make the jacket lining. Next I found a packet of pre-made bias binding (bought at a thrift shop for 50 cents). Then I found some cute buttons (some were part of a table favour at a SAGA event).

The result is a cute jacket that I gave back to the donor of the sweatshirt for her granddaughter!

Recycled, reused, repurposed!

PS. The romper pattern was Drew and Erin's Bubble by Sew Beautiful magazine.
      The jacket pattern was from Sew Cute Couture by Gail Doane (but I removed the back pleat so I could make the size 3 jacket from the 'created' fabric).

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Fabulous Featherweight

I have been the very lucky recipient of a Singer Portable Electric Sewing Machine, more commonly know as a Featherweight.

My Featherweight before the 'Spa' visit

My machine was purchased on October 28 1950 from the Singer shop in Pratt Street, Hartford, Connecticut for Mrs. Willard C. Jones. I know this as it came with the original coupon booklet that contains coupons for classes on either dressmaking or home decorating at the shop. (All of the coupons are still in the book-do you think I could still use them?!).

Original Coupon Booklet

I found this photo of the very shop in Hartford, which is now on the National Register of Historic Buildings (not because it was a Singer shop, but because it is known as the Dillon Building and the front facade and certain parts of the interior are of note).

71 Pratt Street, Hartford, CT January 12 1982
Mrs. W.C. Jones was the mother of the friend who gave me the machine and it came, not only with the booklet, but attachments, the original oil can and tube of motor lubricant and it's original carrying box.

My friend had also purchased a buttonhole attachment for the machine which she gave me. Definitely from the late 1950's early 60's!

I took the machine to a man who specializes in servicing them and it now has new rubber feet; a new electrical cord (nearly 70 year old cords are a little unsafe!) and a LED light (will last longer and stay cooler in the light bulb housing) and is all ready to go!

More about Singer Featherweights in another post!