An Old Magazine, and a New Class!

I have some very exciting news to share! I had this blog post all ready to publish, then got the news that I could now, finally, make this public. Scroll to the bottom of this post if you want to see it right away…

Last week, I had to look up an old Sew Beautiful article to check some yardages. Issue 101, from summer 2005. I looked through it, and was amazed at how many things I had in it! I was sewing and designing full-time, and then some, for Martha Pullen Co. at the time. Here is some of what I was doing a little over ten years ago.

The cover…


and the article to go with it.



These two cute little pique sundresses modeled after an antique garment.


Installment number four in my beginning heirloom baby quilt series


Two versions of the same pattern in the Designer Details section


And, finally, “Sue Says,” my regular column for eight years.


All together, 21 pages plus the cover! This issue may have had a few more of my things than most, but, really, not much. I usually had multiple articles and garments in almost every issue for many years. I was sewing for Martha’s Sewing Room, and class samples, and my own and Annie’s clothes, as well. Oh, and I had also started working on show quilts by this time!

Now, another chapter! I can finally announce that I will have a new Craftsy class available very soon, “Heirloom Sewing Essential Techniques!”


I had so much fun filming this class!

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It’s a new way to reach a new audience with this lovely genre of sewing.

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There’s exciting news for you, too! Do you want to win this class for free? Click on this link and sign up for the drawing for the giveaway! Craftsy will contact me with the lucky person, and I’ll contact the winner just before the class goes live. Good luck!





Christmas Outfits 1987 – 1989

Here are some brother/sister Christmas outfits from years ago! These are from 1987. Annie was four, and David was a little over a year old.22

I didn’t sew these; my Mom did. The red-and-black-plaid-with-pandas fabric was a soft cotton flannel. I have no idea what patterns she used. The knit shirts were purchased.

The next year, 1988, I made red jackets for them.


The jackets were made from an easy-care twill, probably poly/rayon. They were lined, of course. I made Annie’s pleated skirt, but not David’s pants. I don’t think I made either of their shirts. My Mom and I always thought that in this picture, David looked like he was scared that he was about to fall off that rocking horse! I love his little saddle shoes!

Here they are in 1989.


During that year, I had discovered heirloom sewing! And I still have these garments. (But apparently, we didn’t have shoes that Christmas!) Annie’s dress was made from Imperial broadcloth. I don’t know what the smocking plate was, but I loved the way the ribbon sash was woven through slits in the smocking.


She had a gray ribbon sash (in the photographer’s picture) and the pink ribbon shown here. I made tiny light gray piping for the yoke and collar. The sleeves were smocked, and the cotton lace was some I found at an old Ben Franklin store! (I had no sources for heirloom lace locally, and this was before the internet.)


David’s overalls were made from fine wale corduroy. I’m not sure what pattern I used. The insert was smocked with what I think was an adaptation of Candy Canes by Ann Smith.


Like Annie’s dress, both the shirt and overalls were piped with tiny gray piping.


Cute outfits, cute kids! 🙂




Argentum is the Latin word for silver. That seemed an appropriate name for this little quilt!Stewart_Argentum_full_2

It’s a miniature – just 16.5 inches square, and was completed in 2014. It was juried into the Road to California contest, and was shipped yesterday. It’s already been in two other shows; it won 1st Place, Miniatures, at the 2014 IQA Houston show, and an Honorable Mention, Miniatures, at the 2015 AQS Paducah show.

It was made from silver gray silk/cotton Radiance fabric on both the front and back (I have a story about the back…) The machine embroidery is from Zundt.


The design is for two colors – the first, a satin-stitched design, and the second, an outline around all the satin stitching.


Here you can see the corner design stitched four times around the center, and you can see the metallic outline stitching, on this sample in gold. I skipped the first color – the satin stitch portion – and stitched only the outline. Done with antique silver metallic thread, it creates a very light, airy filigree look. (See other things I’ve done with this design here.)


The same four designs as above, stitched only with the silver outline, then turned on point, form the center of the little quilt. The corner design was stitched individually in the corners,

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then stitched side by side, mirror imaging each time, to form the border. Just this one machine embroidery design, stitched multiple times, was used in this quilt. I used water-soluble stabilizer so there would be no stabilizer remaining in the stitching to make the quilt stiff.

Okay, the machine embroidery was the easy part! Next came the applique of teeny-tiny bias strips. These are less than one-eighth inch wide, too narrow for me to make a stitched, turned tube. To make these tiny strips, I cut bias strips of the silk/cotton fabric about one inch wide, pressed the fabric in half lengthwise, then stitched one-eighth inch away from the fold with very short straight stitches. I pressed the narrow folded edge over the stitching, so that the stitching was just on the under side of the fold and didn’t show on top. Then, I trimmed the fabric very close to the stitching, so that the raw edge was hidden under that less-than-one-eighth-inch-wide fold of fabric (that’s why I needed those very short stitches, to prevent fraying.) This fold wouldn’t stay pressed for me (it was too much bias and way too narrow) so I used a toothpick to apply just the tiniest bit of water-soluble glue to hold that fold in place, then pressed the glue dry. Finally, I hand-appliqued those tiny little strips to the quilt top using Superior Threads Kimono silk thread. (The scallops along the binding were appliqued on after the quilting was done, but before the binding was applied.)

Next – time for quilting. The back is the same fabric as the front, and the batting is Hobbs Tuscany wool. First, I stitched in the ditch of every bit of the silver embroidery with monofilament in the needle and silver metallic in the bobbin. The rest of the quilting was done with the silk Kimono thread in the needle and Superior Bottom Line in the bobbin.

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I finished all the quilting. The little parallel lines are about 14 per inch! Almost done! Ready to soak and apply the binding, right? Wrong!

After I soaked the quilt, look what I found on the back!

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(Yes, this is the back.) See that red spot? Did it wash away? No! Aaargh! I could have just placed the label in an odd place on the back and covered it, but the red showed through faintly on the front. What had happened?

Just before I made this quilt, I had made a quilt for a benefit for Libby Lehman from red, orange, and turquoise silks. Apparently, a tiny thread of the red silk stuck around, and floated onto the back of this quilt after I had soaked and as I was blocking it. Red silk bleeds terribly! So there, on the back of my little quilt, was a bright red splotch! Tiny, but obvious. I asked for advice on facebook, and tried some of the suggestions, all to no avail. Finally, I decided I had nothing to lose, and poured Chlorox 2 directly on the spot. After several hours, it lightened slightly. I rinsed the quilt, and put the peroxide bleach on again. I repeated this several times a day for almost a week! Finally, the spot was light enough so that only I could tell where it was, and I was afraid that I would irreparably damage the fabric, so I called it quits. Even I can’t find the spot now!

Whew! Onward… I blocked it one more time, marked where the binding would go, appliqued the little bias scallops, and applied the binding, which is just over one-eighth inch wide.


Because it still needed a little something more, I used the silver metallic thread and stitched by hand an outline stitch just inside the binding. I added the sleeve and label.


See, no red spot! 🙂

This was at Houston, and will give you a better idea of the size.


You can read about the flower pins I’m wearing in this post. And, of course, I made my top! It’s StyleArc’s Gina Tucked Top.

Wish my little silver quilt good luck at Road to California!

Update 1-19-16: This was part of the e-mail message I received today – “Your entry #12256 titled “Argentum” has been awarded “Excellence In Machine Quilting” by our judges.  You will receive $1,500.00 in prize money.  This award was graciously sponsored by Primitive Gatherings.”