Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Pagoda Pleaters

Today, 5 of us Pagoda Pleaters met at the Exeter Library to take over their lovely display cabinet. They are allowing us to display smocked items along with information about our guild in the cabinet for the next month. We already met one prospective member as we were finishing up.

Our first official meeting at the Pagoda Pleaters will be next Wednesday, September 14th at the Exeter Library from 1:00 - 3:00.

My contributions to the display are smocked socks and two t-shirts with smocked inserts.

One of our members, Eileen, contributed her SAGA Design Show winning dress. It is stunning!! She also contributed 3 gorgeous smocked ornaments. I have wanted to learn how to make snocked christmas ornaments for years and have tried many times, but they've never turned out! Eileen will be teaching us how to make these in November. I am so excited about that meeting.

Other members contributed smocked doll dresses, a smocked hanger, an adorable back to school dress, and more. We also added a SAGA News, Sew Beautiful, and AS&E to the display.

We're hoping people will take notice of our display and join us for our guild meetings.

Every time we meet together, I am always so inspired. After dinner, I plan to smock on this rainy Wednesday evening!

Seasonal Smocked Socks

These are the socks I smocked for our smocking guild's display case at the library where we meet. I had a lot of fun with them. I decided to make them seasonal in black and orange for fall. I had not made little girl's smocked socks before - only ones for me. I learned that bigger socks are easier to smock! It was a lot of fun though. I actually listed these for sale on etsy. You never know....

Thursday, September 1, 2011

I am back

Wow - what a busy few months it has been, but guess what? It's Labor Day weekend, my oldest son just started his senior year, my younger two start charter cyber school on Tuesday, and that means we can finally settle into a routine. I have been smocking off and on all summer, but haven't completed anything other than designing and smocking a pagoda for our smocking guild's logo. Speaking of our smocking guild, the Pagoda Pleaters officially kicks off on September 14th! We have a great year planned, and it's going to be so much fun. We meet on the 2nd Wednesday of each month from 1:00 - 3:00 at the Exeter Pubic Library. If you're in the Reading, PA area, please join us!
For labor day weekend, my plans are to finish my current project which is an insert smocked with Ellen McCarns Seabrook Scallops. I was originally going to make it as an insert in a t-shirt for myself, but decided I would get more use out of it as a purse, so I am making a denim purse with the insert. I am hoping to have it finished by the end of the weekend.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Pagoda Pleaters

I'd like to introduce you all to the Pagoda Pleaters!! We are a newly forming SAGA chapter (smocking guild) in the Reading, PA area. So far, there are 5 of us who are eager and excited about starting a local guild. We met together for the first time yesterday and shared lots of great ideas. We already have a pretty impressive line-up of classes/meeting topics to cover in the fall. More details will be posted soon!

Missing In Action

Yes, I've been missing in action for the past month. On March 17th, we welcomed Buster the Beagle into our family. We adopted him from our local animal rescue league. He's a great little dog, but he has certainly added some more activity to our family. He is 2 years old and as sweet as can be. He does have a few "issues" that we are working on with him. Needless to say, my days have been a bit busier than before with taking care of him.
Now that he is settling in, has been neutered, and also treated for an infection, life can come to the place of a new normal for us and Buster. Tomorrow evening I will be publishing a new podcast!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Care and Feeding of Your Pleater

My pleater was pampered today. She had been in need of a good pampering for a while. She's quite a work horse and serves me *very* well!

I have a Pullen Pleater, and I love her to death, but while I have been giving her a workout, I have been neglecting to give her a good pampering. So today, while doing the grocery shopping, I picked up a $2 roll of wax paper, came home and gave my pleater a spa treatment.

Running wax paper through your pleater is the best way to lubricate it and keep it working properly. Just like any piece of machinery, a pleater's gears get tight and need lubrication.

Try it, and the next time you pleat, you will find the fabric just slides through the grears and off the needles almost effortlessly!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Martha's Dress & My Smocked Socks

I did it -- barely, but I did it. Martha is all dressed and ready to go, and I have my smocked socks tucked away in my suitcase to wear this evening.

For Martha's dress, I made my own smocking design inspired by the fabric --of pincushions and thread spools. It went really well.

As for my socks.... I have only done it once before and got this idea at the last minute. I decided they would look cute with my denim skirt and loafers. The hardest part was finding the socks. I looked at Walmart, Target, and Boscovs (a high-end department store). Only Boscovs had the socks I needed, but they were $6 for one pair. I don't think so!!!

I came home, frustrated from that outing and went to the K-mart website and lo and behold - they had a 6-pack of the socks for $6. Now we're talking!! I went to K-mart Tuesday night and got them. They worked perfectly. I chose a dark blue thread to match my denim skirt. I will plan to smock the others as I have time.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Sew Beautiful #135

I got this issue of Sew Beautiful last week, but have barely had a moment to glance at it. If all goes as planned this evening with my dress for Martha and my 3 etsy orders, I am planning to do a podcast tomorrow featuring this latest issue of Sew Beautiful and all the great articles in it. If you already have this issue and have anything you'd like to share about it - your favorite article/garment and why, please leave a comment and let me know - I'd love to include it in my podcast.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Episode #5

So, now that I have come out from underneath all that black fabric, I can blog about the last episode of "The Smocking Bee." The jumper pattern that I mentioned I will be using for Martha's dress is "Seasons Change Smocked Insert Jumper and Jumpsuit for 17-18" Dolls" by Darcy A. Fechner. However, after doing some research, it appears that this book is out of print and not easy to locate. It's a cute little jumper pattern. I will post a picture of Martha in her dress when it is finished.

I told you I would give the information about the Martha Pullen Event in Ellicot City, MD. Hopefully, they still have a few places left. You can check out their website at I can't wait! I am counting down the days. If you're going to be there, please let me know!!!!

Also, I mentioned about the adorable smocking plate for a sock monkey from the latest SAGA News issue. I didn't realize it at the time because it arrived right in the middle of my podcast, but that design was created by Claire Meldrum - the incredibly talented designer who has been writing and sharing great tutorials on using Adobe Illustrator to design smocking plates. I feel like I know her -- and was so excited to see her design in SAGA News!! Congratulations Claire! If you visit the SAGA News blog, you can get a sneak peek at the darling dress!

Now, in the podcast, I asked about which way you pleat -forwards or backwards -- that means - do you sit with the needles facing you and pull it away as you turn the knob, or do you sit with the back facing you where you are watching the fabric feed into the pleater? I personally watch it being fed in so I can guide it better and make sure it doesn't get wonky. Leave a comment and let me know how you pleat!!

The Battle of the Black Fabric

My house was recently attacked by 68 yards of black fabric! I published a podcast on Monday and was prepared to update my blog accordingly. However, I got a call from our family ministries minister at church asking for some help. The next thing I knew, I had 68 yards of black fabric in my house and I was making huge panels for the stage for Family Fusion. When all was said and done, I made 7 panels -- 5 of them were 15 feet x 5 feet, and 2 of them were 15 feet x 10 feet.
I serged all the edges and then turned under the top several times to make it stronger so gromets could be set in to hang these panels. It was a lot of work, but it was a blessing to be able to do that for my church. You should have seen the pile of serger scraps.
The Family Fusion show is tomorrow night, so I will take a few pictures of what I actually made and post them. In the meantime, I will gather all the info from the latest podcast and get that up later on this evening - now that the panels are happily delivered to church!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wee Care Bishop for Dolls

Well, here it goes.... I am going to attempt to use a Wee Care Bishop pattern for my Martha Pullen doll. The girls on the Delphi Heirloom and Smocking Forum say that it'll work, so I'm going to give it a try. I have two patterns - and I think they are almost identical. One is from AS& Issue #48 (from 1999). The other is from SAGA.
I'm going to cut it out this morning and hopefully get it pleated too.
I'll let you know how it goes!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

What Shall She Wear?

My sweet husband bought me an original Martha Pullen Gotz doll last fall. She is still in her original dress and even has her certificate of authenticity attached. I want to take her to Maryland with me in two weeks so I can get a picture taken with me, Martha, and my Martha doll. I think she needs a new dress to wear. I want to do a basic smocked yoke dress, but I can't decide what fabric/smocking. Do I want it to be dressy or casual? Fun or fancy? Hmm.... tough questions.

I am off on Thursday and Friday (because I work all day on Saturday). I will have to get to work on it right away. I would *love* to make a bishop dress for her, but I can't find a bishop pattern for an 18" doll. I doubt I can find one in the next couple of days....
Does anyone have any suggestions? Do you know of a doll bishop pattern?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wow - that was fun!! I really enjoyed podcasting about smocking again. It makes me not feel so alone in my enjoyment of smocking when I am able to share my smocking chatter with you all. I wanted to share a couple of links to sites I mentioned in this latest podcast. The first is to the great tutorial on using Adobie Illustartor for making smocking plates. That address is:

Also, if you'd like to join us over at the Delphi Heirloom Sewing and Smocking forum, you can click here:

I'd love to hear your thoughts about The Smocking Bee podcast. If you have any ideas or suggestions, or would like a copy of my Sew Beautiful smocking plate index, please send me an e-mail at!

Happy Smocking,