February - National Smocking Month!

February is National Smocking Month, so, as is the custom of the Dogwood Chapter of SAGA, a display is featured in the lobby of the South County Branch of the public library.  Members Beth Sartori and Kathy Dykstra put together a display that showcased a variety of needlework talent along with meeting information for the guild.

It is difficult to get good pictures of the display due to the glass reflections, but below are the pictures taken of the display.  

Hopefully the display will generate some interest and result in visitors in upcoming meetings.  Everything from smocking, shadow work embroidery, Brazilian embroidery, silk ribbon embroidery and whitework embroidery are all shown on a variety of items that are not exclusively children's clothing.  

As always, the Wee Care gowns with a brief description are displayed - purposely at eye level.  We want others to know that we give back to the community.

Virginia Martin is a long time/charter member of the guild and has become extremely talented in many areas of embroidery over the years.  She recently sent in pictures of a gown that she had completed for the new baby of a family member.  Because she is traveling and will be unable to attend the meeting this month, we asked if we could share picture of the gown on our blog.  It is quite exquisite and the embroidery is beautiful!!!

The pictures were taken by professional photographer, Nancy Williams.  As you would expect, a sweet slip was also made to wear underneath the gown.

Thank you to Virginia for allowing us to share your beautiful work!

The Dogwood Chapter will meet again this coming Thursday evening, 2/4/2016 and we will be enjoying a program learning about bonnets and seeing some lovely examples.  We hope that everyone that can join us will bring in any special bonnets that they may have.

2015 Wrap Up

The Dogwood Chapter members enjoyed a final gathering for a holiday celebration at the home of Virginia Martin this week.  Members brought delicious appetizers to enjoy and an evening of friendship/fellowship closed out the 2015 year for the guild.  The fellowship time was relaxing and enjoyable - so much that no pictures were taken!  Thank you to Virginia for hosting a wonderful evening for the members!

2015 has been a wonderful year of participation and growth for the guild.  Membership has grown to 30 members - this is more than doubled!!!  Members new to smocking as well as others that have had a long hiatus and now have or are anticipating grandchildren have joined.  It has been great to see so many new members jump in and join older members enjoying the art of smocking and other needle arts.  We began the year with invitations to perspective members to join us and learn or re-learn to smock!

The guild has had 5 Saturday workshops during the year - 4 that were Wee Care workshops and one that was a magic Madeira hem treatment on tea towels.  Thank you to Barbara O'Brien, Phyllis Brown and Kathy Dykstra for leading these workshops and for all the other seasoned members that came along side and helped the newer members master techniques.  We have been blessed with not only talented members, but so many that are willing to share their knowledge.

One of the highlights of the year was the weekend workshop with Gail Doane.  Members and SAGA members from other guilds enjoyed learning from Gail.  We are still waiting to see some of the finished projects from that workshop!  Hopefully 2016 we will have many garments to show.

Wee Care gowns have been turned in and we've enjoyed seeing some very creative gowns with beautiful embroidery and techniques.  We have had 11 members that have turned in a total of 52 gowns!!!  What a blessing these will be to so many families!  Thank you to Barbara O'Brien for her donations of fabric and laces to the guild.  A huge thank you to Renee, Virginia, Sharon, Janice Sandra, Beth,  Rebecca N., Liz, Brenda and Cris that have given of their time and talent to bless these families in such a sad time.  We are looking forward to more of our members participating in the Wee Care gowns in the coming year - many of our newer members have checked out gowns and are working on them.

The guild has also added an education committee this year as we've grown.  We are looking forward to 2016 being an even better year than 2015 with more interesting programs, workshops and SAGA teacher workshops.

Thank you to all our members that have participated this year to make the guild an enjoyable evening out with interesting programs, workshops and most of all the friendships formed with sewing sisters!  May 2016 bring blessings to all of our members!!!

November and Finishing Ornaments

The Dogwood chapter met last Thursday, Nov. 5th and had 2 great demonstrations on different ways to finish the smocked ornaments that were started at the October meeting.  A lot of members were in attendance and enjoyed both demonstration!

Beth showed the group how to finish the ornaments with ribbon treatment at the top and bottom of the ornament.  This was the quicker way to finish them and didn't require any embroidery skills.

As you can see - nobody wanted to miss the demo!!!

After Beth finished her demonstration, Virginia showed how to do a spider web embroidered finish to the top and bottom of the ornaments.  Again, their was a captive audience.  

How fortunate to have such talented ladies that are willing to share their skills with the group!  I'm sure that there will be some pretty ornaments decking the trees this year with the newly acquired skills.

While the demonstrations were going on at the front of the classroom, 2 of the newer members of the guild were getting some sewing/construction help at the back of the classroom.  Rebekah and Kathy were helping with some of the instructions that seemed confusing to the ladies and demonstrated an easy way to finish a placket.  With the extra help, both of these members should be able to finish up their projects!

Several members of the group brought along some beautiful things to show/share as well. Rebekah brought some bigger girl Christmas dresses that she'd made for her girls several years ago.  One was machine embroidered and the other was smocked and twinkled with beads in the smockin - unfortunately, the sparkle in the beads doesn't show up in the picture..  Both were quite stunning!

Rebekah also brought in a bigger girl smocked top.  This had to have been a favorite!  It also included beads in the smocking.

Janice brought some beautiful ornaments that she had made.  The technique is called Temari and is a Japanese art of thread wrapping to create beautiful designs.  Janice is a lady of many talents!

Janice also brought in the most delightful baby dress.  The picture just does't do it justice. The embroidery on the dress was beautiful.

The guild is looking forward to our last meeting of the year in December and will enjoy dining together at the Red Rocks Restaurant on Thursday, Dec. 3rd.  If you didn't have the chance to sign up at the meeting, be sure and contact Sharon to let her know that you plan to attend.

This has been an exciting year for the guild.  We've gone from 10 members to 30 members, have enjoyed some great programs, had lots of fun workshops, enjoyed a 3-day workshop weekend with Gail Doane, donated many gowns to the Camp LeJeune as well as to Be Not Afraid, and we're looking forward to another great year next year!  

If you are in the area and would like to visit and/or join our guild, we'd love to see you!

October Meeting and Upcoming Workshop

The October meeting of the Dogwood group was held on 10/1.  Chris and Renee lead the program on smocking ornaments.  It was an industrious group all working on their ornaments!   The November meeting we will learn how to finish off the ends of the ornaments so that they are ready for the tree!

Virginia worked with our left handed visitor at the meeting - we're so thankful to have her expertise and willingness to help out whenever we have a leftie needing help!

Wee Care News and Workshop

We've had a lot of participation with our Wee Care gowns this year and were able to donate 6 gowns recently to Be Not Afraid as well as 15 gowns to Camp LeJeune  Naval Hospital.  Both organizations are so thankful for our donations.

A Wee Care workshop is going to be held on Saturday, 10/24 from 9am - 12pm at the Keller Williams teaching classroom.  We have many members that are in the process of working on a gown and are "stuck", so this workshop will be a general workshop that will offer hands on help for everyone needing help in different areas.

New members that haven't yet worked on a gown are encouraged to attend the workshop.  For those that don't have a "kit", they will be available along with help to get started.  Members should bring all their usual sewing supplies (scissors, pins, blue wash out markers, etc.) along with their sewing machine, 60 wt. sewing thread, pleater, dowel, pleating thread, etc.

If you have any questions regarding what to bring, please contact kathy:


Because members have had difficulty locating and identifying the 60 wt. thread, pictures will follow.  The Mettler/metrosene thread is the one with the green writing on it (the black writing is 40 wt.).  It is available at Creative Sewing and Vacuum Shop at Stonecrest  Shopping Center and probably other machine dealers as well.

The other 60 wt. thread is the Dual Duty fine thread.  It has the purple plastic and is with the specialty threads at some of the chain shops.  If it doesn't look like the picture, then it isn't the fine thread needed.

Members should also go to the SAGA website and download and print the Wee Care pattern and instructions and bring them to the meeting as well.


We will be working on the Wee Care gown #1, as shown with the pink gown on the website.

Hope to see lots of members at the workshop.  It's always a fun time of sewing and fellowship!

Wonderful Workshop with Gail Doane

This post is rather overdue since the workshop with Gail was a couple weeks ago.  The 3 day workshop was wonderful.  Participants came from as far away as Texas to New Jersey!  We also had the pleasure of having our past SAGA president, Tawn Hunka in attendance.  She brought along some out of print books from the organization that were won in a drawing by member, Janice Stokes.

All different ages and levels of seamstresses participated in this workshop, and Gail was able to keep things running smoothly.  She clearly demonstrated techniques, including her hand stitching on the jacket as well as pleating of the bishop dress.

Participants stayed on task, working on their projects.

While nobody went home with a finished project (does anyone ever finish projects at workshops?), I think it's safe to say that everyone enjoyed the workshop.

A big thank you to Gail for a wonderful workshop and also to MaryJo's for allowing us to use their wonderful classroom for our workshop!!!

Hopefully there will be pictures of some finished bishop dresses and matching jackets in future posts!