Monday, October 12, 2009

Tara's newest obsession...

This week at Kelly's Korner the theme of "Show Us Your Life" is to show off whatever you make or sell...another topic I looked forwarded to posting.

Many years before Ruth Ann was born I think God was preparing me to be the mother of a little girl. I went to school in the heart of the South (Auburn, Alabama) and at freshman orientation (Camp War Eagle) I met Amanda (Ray) Newman who became one of my best friends. My mom has said more than once that I learned all my Southern ways while living in Alabama & Amanda definitely played a big role in my indoctrination into all things Southern. One thing she introduced me to is what I consider the most southern form of needle work...smocking. I took a smocking class as senior in college at a small locally owned sewing store...who does that?? Here was my first project...

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I only learned how to smock, not sew (the sweet lady who taught me to smock also assembled the dress for me for a small fee). Obviously being able to sew the dress together is a very important step in the completion of a bishop dress. So a full year before Ruth Ann was born I asked for this for Christmas...



I can't not put into words exactly how much I love and have enjoyed this machine. It's a Baby Lock Ellure Plus sewing & embroidery machine and I could sing its praises for days! It is a great machine for a beginner sewer like myself and the embroidery features are so easy to use. I actually learned how to use the embroidery aspects of the machine before I learned how to sew on it...I'm still learning how to sew to this very day. My husband nearly choked when I told him how much it was going to cost (plus computer software, plus embroidery lettering software, plus it's own personal lap top)...until he went into The Creative Sewing Center and saw how much more some of the other machines cost. I almost decided to forget about purchasing a machine that embroidered too and just stick with the sewing machine only...but again, I was being prepared for a little girl and as a good southern mama I want everything ( or at least every other thing) she wears to be monogrammed...so I went with my gut and got a machine that sews and embroiders...a decision I have never regretted!

So now that I had the machine...I needed to learn how to sew a bishop dress. So I smocked a dress and signed up for a class. My niece, Ada, wore this dress for her 3month pictures...

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But I didn't practice what I had learned, so after Ruth Ann was born I took another bishop construction class and produced this dress...

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I think I can finally make one on my own, but I've learned that smaller sizes are more difficult to assemble, so the dresses I am working on now are all for next fall.

Although I do monogram very often on my machine, my current obsession is applique. I've started making and selling things to very close friends and wish I could make a profession of it...however, audiology is a much more lucrative career and I can't justify quiting my job to start up a new career. I would love to one day own a children's clothing store and then I could offer this service to the public at large. Right now what it provides me with is a little extra cash to buy my embroidery supplies and to off set the cost of the clothes I buy for Ruth Ann. If I was fortunate enough to be a stay-at-home mom (because I am very envious of you ladies) it would be a great way to earn a little extra cash...that being said, if you're stopping by my blog via Kelly's Korner, I'm not looking to take on extra business at this time, but I'll tell you where I get my patterns & t-shirts so you can either do it for yourself, or find someone in your area to help you out. For those of you who are good friends...and you know who you are...get in touch with me and I would be happy to help you in whatever way I can.

I purchase my applique patterns from The Embroidery Boutique. There is not a single pattern I've ordered that I have not loved...I want one of each! I get most of my t-shirts from Monag. They offer lots of different styles and the quality of the shirts are excellent. I also pick up blank tees at Target almost each and every time I'm in the store. The boys shirts usually have a tiny pocket...which I think is silly...I've read these pockets are very easy to remove with a seam ripper, but I haven't tried to do this yet.

I use this scallop patch a lot because you can use it on long sleeve shirts, short sleeve shirts, for any holiday or occasion and I've even used it on towels...

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With the height of the holiday's approaching, I've been working on Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas...

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I also love this applique because it combines a monogram and an applique...

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I made these shirts for Ada and Ruth Ann for our Disney trip last summer...I didn't see another shirt at Disney that I thought was a cute as these were. I purchased this design from Pegasus Embroidery


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And my favorite by far...

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As soon as I saw this tiger pattern I knew Ruth Ann had to have it for football season!

All of these shirts are so easy to make...I promise! I highly encourage anyone reading this blog entry to look into learning how to smock, sew, monogram or applique...even if you don't have little ones just yet...getting a head start is never a bad idea. I grew up with a mom who sewed dresses for me throughout my childhood so I knew one day it would be important for me to do the same for my children. The more I sew, the more I feel like it's a dying art form since we've become a society where it's easier to run out and buy whatever you need instead of making it for yourself. Since more people are becoming "fiscally responsible" these days, maybe sewing will see a rebirth...I sure hope sew...ha, pun intended!



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10 comments:

Malinda @ A Gift Worth the Wait said...

Love your dresses and cute t-shirts. I just ordered one of the Disney appliqued shirts from someone on etsy for my little girl.

Auralee said...

Great post Tara!

Michelle said...

Love it! I would like to learn how to smock. I am a huge fan of Embroidery Boutique. I buy a lot of my designs from there too!

Shayna Mills said...

I love all of your items, I do hairbows and need your shirts to match for my little one. :)

shelly said...

Hi! I hopped over from Kelly's Korner. I love your smocking! I just learned to smock within the last year and so wish I would have learned earlier. My little girl is 6 and will probably begin to protest bishops before long. :(
Your little one is such a cutie!
Shelly

Allison said...

Wow! I love your clothes! do you have a website or etsy store? Did I miss it?

The Five Fares said...

Where do you find your applique patterns? Where do you buy the fabric for the apliques?

Torie Chipman said...

I love the appliques. Do you have to have a specific machine to attach these to shirts? Thanks so much for sharing. We are big war eagle fans so I have to have that tiger!

Kelli Kegley said...

Well I am now inspired to take sewing classes! I love, love, love smocked dresses, but they are so expensive in stores. It would be so great to know how to do that! Thanks!

Hillary @ The Other Mama said...

I am egg-STREME-ly impressed with your smocking and sewing!
WOW! Those are great dresses and I'm just really glad I have boys. :) I guess I could still learn how to smock and sew them things and your post really encouraged me to!!

And WAR EAGLE!!