An English Silk Hank

I’m pretty excited about the yellow silk handkerchief that my husband might wear tomorrow.  It’s one that was unfinished and needed a hand-rolled hem along its edges.  It took about two hours to work the edges of this handkerchief yesterday afternoon.


Ultimately, my husband will decide what he wears tomorrow for Easter Sunday, but I was playing around with his available suits and ties.  The tie here is one we bought him a few years ago for Easter Sunday, and the suit he purchased in Owatonna when he was preparing for an important job interview.

The significance of the handkerchief is that it’s stamped “Turnbull and Asser“.  A friend sent it to us, suggesting that we might like to learn to hand-roll a silk hank, a technique that is seen rarely since fewer people are willing to do this kind of work.  He said it’s seen on the edges of ties and on silk hanks, but is rather expensive due to the labor involved.  I’m thrilled to give this finished hank to my husband, and thankful for the friend who shared this with us.

We found clear instructions for the hand-rolled hem in Claire Shaeffer’s Couture Sewing book.  Ginny at Ginny’s Fine Fabrics confirmed today that that is the technique she recommends.  It takes some time and practice, but it is a beautiful roll…  The made in England silk is also lovely.

Easter Sewing

I don’t usually do this to myself, or at least I try hard not to.  It’s getting more difficult to be conservative as my girls reach their teens.  At any rate, it seems to happen this way every year.  All it takes is one “do you think we can?”  Tomorrow is Easter.  Rachel’s princess seam dress in white Swiss cotton with an ecru lace overlay and a pink sash is done.  This was her project that she dreamt of in January and has been working on carefully ever since.  Sam’s brown RAF twill trousers are finished and ready to combine with a nice shirt, ready-to-wear.  Hannah’s currently sewing on the buttons to an “egg plant” Italian cotton shirt dress she started the day before yesterday.  Lydia finished a dress in blue batik that she started last summer, and now she’s helping Madeline cut a blue shirt dress.  Ben will wear his ready-to-wear cords and a nice shirt.

What a fun time.  I think this season will be one that I’ll look back on and have to laugh, but cherish none-the-less.  I’m enjoying the fact that my girls try and have no fear.

Yesterday, we visited Ginny at Ginny’s Fine Fabric.  She has moved completely to a new location, just down the way from her former store on Broadway in Rochester.  She now has easy-access metered parking right in front of her store.  She has a lovely new location, with nice lighting above the hundreds of bolts of beautiful fabrics.  She also has a great space for her cutting table and work area.  We knew Ginny was going through this major move a few weeks ago, so it was fun to visit and see….and we found beautiful buttons to go with an eggplant shirt dress.

Are you finishing projects for Easter?

We all know it’s not only all about the clothes you wear for the holiday.  But it is a lot of fun.

Blessings to all this Easter.

P.S.  Janice has been sewing….    Pretty & cute!


Inspiring Designs

I haven’t paid a lot of attention to Pinterest, but when I decided to check up on Wendy Schoen, I saw two fun things.  The reason she came to mind was that a while back, she told me that she was working on a new pattern she thought the ladies would love.  I didn’t see any new posts on her Sew Wendy blog, but take a look the following Sew Wendy Pinterest link.  There are some lovely and inspiring design ideas for those who love to sew for children.

Then I noticed a pin from Vaune.

How adorable is this?  Prince George during a visit to New Zealand, wearing a picture smocked romper.

Here’s the full story from April 8.

On a related note, Sylvia re-created a romper inspired by one worn by Prince William in 1982.  Take a look here, and scroll down a just little.

Bluebird Cheer

Since it’s been a tooth-pulling kind of week here, we need a little cheer.  Two of my children had to undergo not-so-pleasant dental procedures this week.  One child received a treasure chest to keep her two baby teeth in.


So for some cheer; last weekend our family traveled to Sauk Rapids, to the north in Minnesota.  Hannah and Lydia competed in a 4-H Quiz Bowl State Competition.  Their Dodge County team won third place out of eight teams.  Hurrah.

During the quiet drive home, with sleepy kids and passing through the lovely rural Minnesota, I worked on my picture smocking homework.  This is my cheery bluebird.


Cyndy Pond, from the Lakes & Prairies chapter of the Smocking Arts Guild of America, taught a very well-organized class on picture smocking at the Textile Center in Minneapolis.  Though I wasn’t able to attend the two-day class, I appreciated her class notes and kit.  She gave several tips to make picture smocking more precise.  A key to picture smocking is ensuring that the cable stitches are closely stacked onto each other.  The needle must be horizontal, that is parallel to the pleating threads; and the four strands of Presencia embroidery floss must also lay parallel to one another.  It’s also important that the pleats are not distorted by the cable stitches.  This short lesson was intended as a good learning tool and practice session, and I appreciated Cyndy’s complete kit, including this pleated piece of broadcloth, embroidery floss, and #7 embroidery needle.

Cyndy recommends the Texas Smocking Company’s archive files for a picture smocking tutorial.  (I’m currently only seeing part 6; I’ll look into that.)  She also discussed possible uses for this needle art.  I can see this cheery bluebird insert cropped and placed on the pockets of maybe a white or denim Spring jacket for a certain nine-year-old Perry girl.  We’ll see.




Just a quick update on our Ben.  He’s home now, just woke up from a very long nap, and doing quite well.  He’ll enjoy soft foods for a few days, but he’s ready to play and talking as usual.  Thanks for your prayers.


Pray for little Ben today.  He has to have a few baby teeth surgically extracted this morning at 10:10 a.m. (CST)