Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Victoria Jones

My son Michael is the one who started me on my search for a great camp shirt pattern.  He, along with his beautiful wife Casey, were going to be taking a trip to Hawaii with their new little one.  After returning home, they knew that they wanted to have a Hawaiian luau to celebrate their little one's first birthday so my hunt began for the right pattern.   My daughter, along with her husband and kids were also going to Hawaii with Michael and Casey, so I was anxious to find the right pattern for all of them.  When I came upon Victoria Jone's patterns, I felt that I had at last found what I was looking for.  I actually made my purchase through an online shop located there in Hawaii.  The shop was helpful, quick, and not as expensive as I thought it would be.  Since Michael is an identical twin, I knew that I couldn't make him a shirt without making his brother and his two sons shirts as well so an easy pattern was a must.  All total, I made 4 adult shirts, 4 kids shirts, and 2 Vintage baby outfits...all out of Hawaiian print fabric...plus a blouse for my daughter.  My sewing machine and I became rather close in those weeks before they left.  I give Victoria Jone's an A for her patterns...the directions make sense, they are  easy to make and trust me... I needed easy!  (Unfortunately, Ms. Jones no longer makes the little boys' pattern.  She said the demand for them has diminished so much that she stopped making them all together...which is too bad.  I'm not sure if the online store where I made my purchases still has some left in stock or not, but it's worth a try.

Here is the mens' pattern number 220:

And here are a few of the shirts that I made using that pattern:

The patterns are nice and roomy with a great fit.  Here's a picture of the kids pattern number 235:

Here is one more picture of one of the kids' shirts that I made.  The shirt...along with matching cargo shorts, for my grandson's first birthday.

I will be gone a week beach camping with the kids so I will not be posting.  Have a great week! Until next time...

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Children's Corner and Petite Poche

Children's Corner and Petite Poche ( Wendy Schoen) will be my next to the last  pattern companies that I will 'critique' on my blog.  Victoria Jones will be the last.  These  two companies/designers were a true pleasure for me to use in my beginning steps of learning heirloom sewing.  In the early years when I first came across this type of sewing, Martha Pullen, along with these two companies, were favorites for those of us who were bitten by the bug known as heirloom sewing. Most of the techniques were done predominately by hand and took patience along with a lot of practice to achieve that end result that so many of us were striving for. For me it was Martha Pullen, who seemingly gathered each one of us up under her wings and flew us far away into horizons we never knew even existed!  My journey into heirloom began back in the late eighties.  The only shop that taught this wonderful art was located quite a distance from me.  Each trip to  class was 140 miles round trip for me...but I took every class regardless of how far I had to drive. I was homeschooling 5 of my kids at the time so I was forced to take either evening or weekend classes.  My daughter Nicole, attended  nearly every evening class with me so that I wouldn't have to travel so far alone at night.  She sat quietly in each class, watching and waiting at times,  to try and do everything the instructor was teaching each of us in that particular class.  Nicole's bullion roses were far superior than mine and she managed to outshine me in practically every stitch she took. (It was embarrassing!) I took ribbon embroidery, regular hand embroidery, smocking, heirloom technique, Brazilian embroidery, shadow work, Madeira Appliqué,  you name it, I took it. If it had anything to do with heirloom, I was there.  I had already been sewing for my kids for years, but I had never seen or experienced anything like this type of sewing before and I wanted to know everything...I was hooked and I didn't mind swallowing the bait completely!  Some of those patterns...

Children's Corner patterns are named after children...rather apropos.. I think every person who ever learned how to smock used the Lee pattern. (Don't forget to click on image if you want to see better.)

I'm not sure how many I made of this dress, but I do know that the very first one I ever made went to my niece Katherine.  I have no pictures of the dresses I made in my smocking days except for this one small picture below.  My daughters Nicole and Elizabeth hung the dress on the wall before I shipped it off to my niece.  They used an old Polaroid camera.  Thanks so much girls!

Another favorite was Madeline:

I only have one picture of this one.  But I know that I made more than one as I thought the pattern was absolutely darling.  I used Liberty of London fabric and decided to make contrast piping when attaching the ruffles to the collar and skirt of the dress.

Robin's Little Jacket was another one that I thought was pretty cute but have no pictures to share with you.  (How I wish I had learned the value of taking pictures!!)  I made this jacket using a light pink, rosebud, minkie on one side and a beautiful matching floral, flannel on the other.  My granddaughter worn that jacket out I think! 

Wendy Schoen of Petite Poche is a powerhouse filled with unbelievable talent.  Her handwork is far superior than anyone I know and in fact is internationally known for her fabulous work.  This is how she is described on her webpage:

Wendy’s international studies include Madeiran embroidery with the masters at the Imperial de Bordados in Madeira, Portugal, a brief study of Aryshire embroidery with renowned embroidery master, Agnes Bryson in Glasgow, Scotland, and extensive studies in White Work, Stump Work, Silk Shading, Black Work, Wool Embroidery and Gold Work at the Royal School of Needlework at Hampton Court, London, England.She has completed the Royal School of Needlework Certificated program and is currently working towards a diploma.

(Need I say more?)

Ms. Schoen's patterns are also named after children.  I have made Logan, Melissa, and Vintage Baby Bubbles. I don't have any pictures of the Logan outfit or the Melissa outfits but I loved how both came out!  (I made the Melissa three times because I liked it so much.)  Vintage Baby Bubbles was and still is a favorite of mine.  Here are a couple of pictures of that pattern.

I will critique Victoria Jones on the next blog.  I didn't realize that this one would end up being so long!  

But traveling back down that road of when I first met Martha, Kathy, Angela, Peggy, Charlotte, and more, brought back some truly wonderful memories.  How precious you all are to me. On this exciting, sewing journey I have been blessed to be surrounded by some of the most inspiring, creative, and incredible women that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.  Hugs,  smooches, and lots of love to you all!

Until next time.....

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Olive Ann Designs

Today I am sharing Olive Ann Designs with you.  She's another newer designer out there, but her designs are adorable.  My granddaughter loved the little outfit that I made for her along with the one I made for her American Doll.  (Several of OAD's patterns do include an 18" doll size pattern to match.)  I made my granddaughter's outfit first then went to work on making the adult size blouse pattern for two of my daughters.  The adult pattern is a separate purchase and NOT included in the child's pattern.  FYI,  the adult size pattern runs rather small so take that into account if you should decide to make a blouse for yourself.  I have made a total of 5 or 6 of the adult size blouse pattern but had to make  major adjustments for the ones I made for my daughters.  I also made three  adult size blouses for the shop where I used to work.  I made each size according to the pattern directions from the smallest size offered to the largest.  Every woman who tried the blouses on had a hard time finding the right fit.  Even the medium size was a hard fit.  As far as the child size goes, it was a perfect fit for my granddaughter.  All of that being said, I give Olive Ann a B.

Here is the pattern:

The outfit I made for my granddaughter and her American Doll:

And one of the ones I made for my one daughters:

I have also been working on a girlie, girl quilt for the new little one that is heading our way from my son and daughter-in-law...can't wait!  Here is a little  peek.  I just can't find the right minkie for the back of the quilt...but I will!  Once done I'll repost.

And last but definitely not least, I have also been working on an 'I Spy" quilt for my grandson Logan.
This one is taking me a lot longer than I had originally anticipated BUT I am determined to get it done for my little guy:

Until next time.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Janet Pray - Islander Sewing Systems

Familiar with Craftsy?  If not, you should be!  This is probably the best online site out there in regards to online classes.  They offer EVERYTHING.  You will find Janet Pray on Craftsy teaching industry secrets  and more.  I will be honest with you and say that I have made a plethora of shirts, but none have compared to Ms. Pray's classic fit and detail.  I love her patterns.  When I found that hers' was another one of those company's where you run off the pattern on your computer and then tape it together, I was rather leery. I've done that before with other patterns and the end result was disastrous. (Ms' Pray does offer the paper version as well.)   The lines actually matched up on Ms Pray's patterns... and the shirt came out perfect. Like I've already shared, this pattern is more tailored  and includes a collar stand piece which I like....its that narrow piece that the collar 'sits' on to make the collar 'stand' up better.  You can't go wrong when using Ms. Pray's pattern..especially if you are truly looking for that classic, tailored fit.  I give Ms. Pray an A+.

The pattern:

The shirt from this pattern:

I included a close up of the collar so that you could see the collar 'stand'.

Her plackets are beautiful and so well designed...I have never sewn anything like it.  Please click on images if you want larger view of them.

Until next time......

Sunday, August 30, 2015

A Word From God's Word To Begin Your Week

 I happen to read God's Word every single day.  I love it, I believe it, I stand on the Truth that is written within It's pages.  Every now and then, I share something with all of you because I feel a need..this is one of those  days.  The verses that I am sharing with you are from the book of Ephesians using The Message version of the Bible.  I find it rather apropos, especially in the days we are living.  My prayer is that you will be blessed by reading them.  Here they are:

Ephesians 6:13-18,  "Be prepared.  You're up against far more than you can handle on your own.  Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it's all over but the shouting you'll be on your feet.  Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words.  Learn how to apply them.  You'll need them throughout your life.  God's Word is an indispensable weapon.  In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare.  Pray hard and long.  Pray for your brothers and sisters.  Keep your eyes open.  Keep each other's spirit's up so that no one falls behind or drops out."

Dear friends, in these times make sure you are surrounded by good friends....and learn the importance of being a good friend.  Have a great week.

Until next time........

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Gooseberry Hill

If you want a great, little jacket pattern, here's one  that I have made countless times over the years. The fit is spot on and it has been a winner on every child that I have ever made it for.  There are various ways that you can change up the look of this jacket, so let your creative genes simply take over.

I must confess, this was another one of those purchases that I felt I absolutely 'needed' to make when visiting Zoelee's  years ago.  She had made a sample using this pattern and  had it hanging in her shop...it's still there today in fact.  Once I laid eyes on that little jacket  it instantly captured my heart and sent my mind whirling as to what I could do with it!  You know when you see a pattern and you just intuitively  know what you are going  do with it  and even if you don't right then, you know you eventually will??  That's the affect that that pattern had on me...I just had to have it!   Zoelee, at the time, also carried this beautiful lace that was perfect to sew on the bottom of the jacket.  Unfortunately, she ran out due to its popularity and  I was forced to go online to find more.  I did find some beautiful lace in the UK as a replacement until Zoelee was able to get more lace in.  Trust me when I say that the lace enhances the jacket  big time so it is imperative that you get the right one.   I give Gooseberry Hill and overall A for fit, design, and directions.

I wish I had better pictures to share with you, but I will share what I have.

First up,  the pattern:

And here are the pictures that I do have of some of the jackets that I have made.  What's nice about these jackets is that you can dress them up...or down.  They look adorable with a cute pair of jeans or over an outfit, your choice.

Instead of hand embroidery, which I dearly love to do, I used my embroidery machine and embroidered on the backs of some jackets especially when using denim fabric.  My fabric of choice however will always be 100% cotton, waffle weave fabric.  Sadly though, this fabric is difficult to find anymore...and when I have found it, it has a blend of polyester in it which I don't care for.  The look, feel, and use is so different than the 100% cotton only fabric.  Should you ever find the cotton, it is also superb in making kitchen towels as gifts for Christmas ...or for yourself.  I have made lots of these kitchen towels using the cotton version of the waffle weave due to its ability to actually dry dishes with ...and as a bonus, it looks great hanging in your kitchen with an embroidery design on it along with a ruffle gracing the bottom.  So cute!! Just make sure that you always pre-wash that cotton before embroidering on or sewing with it as it does tend to shrink.

Until the next post...have fun creating!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Side Note

Good morning friends.  I wanted to make sure that I clarify something....these critiques are merely MY opinion and what I have found when using the various, patterns, books, and ideas that are out there.  Your perception may be completely different than mine... and that's okay.  My aim is to simply share what I have experienced in my over 50 years of sewing.  I enjoy sewing immensely as I am sure you do or you wouldn't be here.  Prayerfully my blog will be of some help to those who may be new, getting back into sewing, or simply visiting my blog just for the fun it. I will continue my critiques tomorrow but here is what I have shared with you so far.... in a nut shell:

Martha Pullen    A- fits slightly big, has great directions, many patterns work well for beginners, but many are definitely for intermediate and advanced as well.  Easy patterns to teach.

Izzy & Ivy   C- darling designs and good fit but the directions are lacking.  A beginner would be utterly lost.  You need to definitely know what you're doing before you start.

The Old Fashioned Baby   A-  This company has been around for a long time and is great when taking that first step into heirloom sewing.  These are more for the intermediate sewer and up.

Cottage Mama     A- A newer an upcoming pattern company. Lindsay works hard at making sure her directions are clear...at least with the pattern I worked on.  I can't wait to make more!  The pattern I used was great  for  beginners.

Kari Mecca     A- for passion, creativity and design, but definitely not for the timid or the beginner.  I have made a ton of Kari's patterns and have even taught them.  She inspires me.

Fiona Bell     D- Great ideas, but her patterns and directions are nearly impossible to follow.  I wish I could have given a better review.

Kwik Sew     A- This is another company that has been around for a long time.  It's a pattern company that is pretty much exclusive to using knit fabric.  Having a serger is maybe not necessary, but preferable.  Several of their patterns are great for beginners, but not all of them.  It's like taking baby steps while working with knits.  Start slow and build, you won't believe what you can accomplish.

So there you have it..again, my prayer is that this will not only help you but encourage you to grow in the area of sewing.  My upcoming posts will include, Children's Corner, Favorite Things, Olive Ann Designs, Petite Poche, Gooseberry Hill, Rob Merrett and more.

Any questions or comments?  Please share.  Thanks!   Until next time....