Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Our Blog Has a New Home on MarthaPullen.com!

We've moved!

Our blog has a new home on the Martha Pullen website. Be sure to update your bookmarks to stay in the loop for all future blog posts. All previous posts have been moved to the new blog as well.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Back-to-school = Back to 'me time'

Editor’s Note: With the kids back-to-school, there's more time to sew! From Sept. 6-15, we’ll be celebrating “back-to-school” season in a number of different ways -- from ideas for sewing for children to inspiration for sewing for yourself!

Back-to-school isn’t just for kids! In fact, for those of you with empty nests, it’s a wonderful opportunity to find some creative “me time.” For today’s post, we’ve gathered together some of our favorite clothing designs for women. Whether you’re looking for an heirloom lace blouse or a comfy knit jacket, there’s something to suit any style:

Daisy Top (left) and Timeless Lace Heirloom Blouse

Daisy Top – When we first spotted what has come to be known as the “Daisy Dress” hanging among a collection of Martha Pullen’s antiques, we knew our readers would fall in love with a reproduction dress. What we didn’t know was that it would inspire Helen Lively to make an irresistible top for adults, but here it is. The clever designer worked up a contemporary version in black voile with ecru cotton trim. She changed the shape of the sleeve to fan out a bit more than the original girl’s dress and added a drawstring inside the lower bodice seam for a more fitted silhouette at the hips. Download the Daisy Top instantly and start working on this project today!

Timeless Lace Heirloom Blouse – For the past few seasons, a number of highend designers have infused their collections with touches of heirloom sewing. But as to be expected, at the same time they’ve made purchasing an age-old tradition extremely fashionable, they’ve also made it a very expensive proposition. You, however, have the goods and the sewing talent to capture this trend for little expense using scraps of lace and fabric in your stash. It’s a very savvy and stylish way to use up those small yardages you’ve been accumulating. Here, Andrea Birkin used the pattern "Vogue Basic Design Custom Fit 8689 View C (multi-sized)," and created lace panels for each side of the center front placket and one down the center back. She also created lace blocks for the yokes. Instructions for recreating the lacy embellishments are in Sew Beautiful issue #152.

Cape Cod Jacket (left) and Shana Tunic

Cape Cod Jacket – This basic, stylish Cape Cod Jacket designed by Nancy Zieman can be made quickly, and it looks and feels great. The garment has three variations and was designed specifically to work with knit fabric.

Shana Tunic – The Shana Tunic from Sis Boom combines a comfortable fit with a classic appeal. The design features a unique keyhole neckline with delicate tucks. This top is free fitting, yet gently curves in just the right spots to accentuate the figure. The bell sleeves add flair and femininity.

Patricia (left) and Fleecy Rose Scarf

Patricia Tunic – The Patricia Tunic from Sis Boom is cool, comfortable and elegant. It is just as perfect for running errands as it is for an evening out on the town. Wear with cropped white pants, jeans or even a skirt. With lots of size, length and finishing options, you can create a range of looks for yourself and your friends.

Fleecy Rose Scarf – We can’t leave out the accessories! This simple-to-sew scarf featured in Kay Whitt’s Sew Serendipity Workbook will keep you super warm while looking stylish, all at the same time. The construction is so easy that you will find reasons to make more than one! The scarf is composed of two layers of fleece, so you could easily get a totally different look by using two coordinating or contrasting colors. The addition of elastic down the center with a hidden opening to pull the end through makes the scarf slightly springy in nature adds to the comfort level. The roses are optional, so if an unadorned look is more your style, simply leave them off.

Shop our "Back-to-School" sale for a variety of women's patterns at 50 percent off - plus the fabric, notions and more you need to complete your "me time" projects!

We're hosting a huge “Back to School Sale” in our online store. Almost everything is 50 percent off, including the patterns and products mentioned above! Click here to shop and discover the savings!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Making and Applying Embroidery Patches

Editor’s Note: With the kids back-to-school, there's more time to sew! From Sept. 6-15, we’ll be celebrating “back-to-school” season in a number of different ways -- from ideas for sewing for children to inspiration for sewing for yourself!

What's cuter than an embroidered lunch box?

What do you do when you want to add embroidery to something that cannot be sewn on or will not fit in a hoop? With this solution from Evy Hawkins, you can create a machine-embroidered patch and then apply it permanently and professionally to a variety of different surfaces. Originally featured in issue #132 of Sew Beautiful, this creative method works on suitcases, leather totes, straw purses, wooden boxes, glass containers, plastic bins ... even lunch boxes!

What you'll need:
• Chosen machine embroidery design with smooth, simple lines
• Very Firm cut-away stabilizer by Pellon or Vilene D0102 wash-away or for a sheer cutaway, use Sheerstitch *Patches can be created by using two layers of silk organza instead of heavy cut-away stabilizer. The organza color should closely match the color of the item to be decorated.
• Applique fabric, backed with Wonder Under or Steam a Seam 2 fusible web
• 90/12 embroidery needle
• Embroidery thread
• Permanent glue (see "Which glue to use?" below)
• Very sharp, small scissors with curved blades
• Clover Mini-iron

TIP: Apply a bit of rickrack, tiny pom-poms or other edging to the perimeter of the patch by gluing in place before applying the patch.

Before you begin:
• Embroidery designs that have smooth, simple lines work well for patches.
• Decide on the position of the patch before beginning to be sure the chosen design will fit.
• It is not necessary to always have a blank canvas - busy prints can showcase embroidery patches very nicely.
• Patches adhere best to items that have smooth, flat surfaces.
• Backing appliqué fabrics with fusible webbing and fusing the appliqué to the patch base creates a sturdy, professional patch.

1. Hoop a piece of sturdy cut-away stabilizer in appropriately sized hoop; stitch out first outline stitch of embroidery design.

2. Place appliqué fabric over outline stitching, fusible side down; stitch second outline.

3. Remove hoop from machine (but do not remove stabilizer from hoop), place it on a hard, flat surface and carefully trim away excess appliqué fabric. Trim very close to stitching line, but take care not to cut into it.

4. Place hoop on a heat-protected, hard, flat surface and fuse embroidery to stabilizer using a Clover Mini-iron. Return hoop to machine and finish stitching design. NOTE: For framed embroidery designs, choose an appliqué frame that will easily contain the chosen embroidery motif. Follow same steps listed above, stitching frame first. Should extra stabilizer be necessary to support embroidery design, slide a piece of regular tear-away stabilizer under hoop. Remove excess stabilizer before proceeding.

5. Remove stabilizer from hoop. Carefully cut away excess stabilizer. You will notice that the needle has created tiny holes in the stabilizer all around the appliqué, right next to the satin stitch outline. Cut directly on top of those holes. TIP: If you accidentally cut a stitch or two, it will be OK; stitching will eventually have glue behind it, which will prevent unraveling. If you cut more than a couple of stitches, use a drop of seam sealant to secure thread.

6. Following manufacturer's directions as listed on glue package, apply a layer of glue to wrong side of patch. Firmly apply patch to item. A thin coat of glue usually works best and helps keep glue from oozing out around patch. Allow item to dry completely before use.

Shop our "Back-to-School Sale" for a wide variety of machine embroidery designs at 50 percent off! From elegant floral designs to festive holiday motifs to cute children's embroideries, there is something to suit any project.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Back-to-School Sewing Ideas

Editor’s Note: With the kids back-to-school, there's more time to sew! From Sept. 6-15, we’ll be celebrating “back-to-school” season in a number of different ways  — from ideas for sewing for children to inspiration for sewing for yourself!

With September officially underway, we're feeling so inspired to sew for autumn and the upcoming holiday season! From school clothes to seasonal décor to holiday garments, there is much to keep us busy. Since school clothes are on most parents' and grandparents' minds this time of year, we perused some of our fall issues of years past to put together some of our favorite back-to-school looks. Rather than heirloom finery, we tried to restrict this list to garments that are cute enough for picture day yet practical and comfortable enough for a child to wear to school any day of the season. Enjoy!

Frannie (left) and Jack & Jill's Bibbed Romper

Frannie - Lyn Week's "Frannie" pattern is a classic. This version made by Barbara Olsen in colorful coordinating floral prints was featured in issue #131. The collar and packet flap are ecru batiste and are scalloped and embroidered by hand with bullion roses and granitos.

Jack & Jill's Bibbed Romper - Martha Demere and her sewing students stitched up this version of our "Jack & Jill's Bibbed Romper" pattern in issue #132. Made from an apple print corduroy in combination with pink micro check, the outfit is embellished with pinked-edged ruffles as well as wool felted apples appliqued with blanket stitch.

Robots & Rocketships

Robots & Rocketships - The cute smocking plate pictured here is Janet Gilbert's "Robots & Rocketships," featured in issue #126. The little boy's romper is made from the same pattern as the previous project, "Jack and Jill's Bibbed Romper" (you can also use the "Jack and Jill's Overalls" pattern). The older boy's button-up bowling shirt is made from Simplicity 5581 (or you can use any short-sleeve camp shirt style you like).

Hemstitching is Hip (left) and No-Pattern T-Shirt Dress

Hemstitching is Hip - Sometimes the simplest details can make all the difference. This floral print blouse for an older girl features a series of box pleats and tucks topped with hemstitching - an embellishment that is both sweet and economical. The pattern used is "Bias & Blooms Blouse" by Kari Mecca, and Amelia Johanson's hemstitched box pleats instructions are in issue #126 and our Heirloom Sewing Favorites for Summer special edition.

No Pattern T-Shirt Dress - Turn a simple, long-sleeve T-shirt into this adorable dress designed by Dawn Wilson in issue #149. The comfort of the knit top combined with a coordinate print creates an easy-wear option for occasions that call for something a bit dressier than play clothes. They're so fun to make, you'll want to whip together a different color combination for every day of the week.

We're hosting a huge “Back-to-School Sale” in our online store! Almost everything is 50 percent off, including the patterns mentioned above! Click here to shop and discover the savings on books, DVDs, embroidery, fabric, laces, trims, notions and more!

We also have 30 specially selected products on sale for $9.14 the entire month of September in honor of National Sewing Month — click here to see a list of products included in this offer!