Sunday, February 7, 2016

February Newsletter just posted with GREAT Fabric Finds!!!

February Newsletter

     I was in the LA Garment district last week, and found these that I would pass along!  100% cotton, 60" wide, and only $3.50 /yd!
I also found a great piece of fabric that is a remnant from the bolt that they used to make one of the costumes on Dancing With The Stars!  It is a powder blue, polyester, silky, and has a faint shimmer here and there.  There is only 2.75 yds, so I will only sell that as 1 piece.  
`I also have news about the OOP (out of production) scissors from DOVO for 2016.  See this and more in my February Newsletter that I just posted.

     I am going to be doing a S²titch Along (Smocking and Sewing), later this spring.  I will be using the double dot fabric that I posted before.  I will be pleating by hand, using the dots.

      For the Sewing part, using a basic yoke pattern, I am going to show you step-by-step how to alter the back of the dress to put a placket all of the way down the back, with some decorative touches.  I have a very full schedule the next couple of months with traveling, teaching and projects with deadlines, as well as a trip to the Boston area for one of my daughter's graduation, so I will not start to post anything until sometime in May!  Stay tuned.......

Until next time,
Happy Stitching,


Thursday, December 17, 2015

Mood is having a Sale on their Gift Cards!

Thought I would pass this along to you!!!


Mood is having a sale on their gift cards (and who says you  can't give a gift card to yourself?!)
Until Sunday, their gift cards are 15% off.  This is one of the rare times that Mood Fabrics has something on sale, so if you live in the LA or NYC area, or shop for fabric online, this may be for you!

Happy Stitching,

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Visit to the Past, and my December Newsletter is posted!

December Newsletter is Posted!*
Big December Sale
*Please feel free to pass my newsletter along
A Visit to the Past
     As I  was writing my December Newsletter, I decided to include some information on sewing machine needles.  I had covered this topic once before, but I thought it had been a while and with a little updating, could be informative or a firendly 'I forgot I knew that!'.  When I was looking at my archives, I realized that the Sewing Machine Needle article had been written in early 2000,

   yes, 15 years ago!!!!!
It is hard to beleive that it was that long ago, that time has passed so quickly, and that I have been doing this for more than 15 years (21 years, to be exact).  So here is your needle info, with the updates!

      When I learned how to sew, we always changed the needle when it broke!  Sometimes it would be weeks or months before my needle would break and I would just keep on stitching, happy as a clam, until I heard a crunch or a pop, and then it was time for a new needle!  Now that I have been sewing for a while and have lots of practical experience in this area, I can tell you to please change your needle after every 4 – 5 hours of sewing or with every new project!  Sewing machine needles do wear, and can have burrs, chips, and dullness.  These can lead to missed stitches, snagging threads, tension problems, and a stitch that doesn’t look nice!
When you change your needle, you want to make sure that the needle you choose matches the fabric you are sewing on and the thread you are using.  There are many different types and sizes of needles to choose from, and making the right choice will help you stitches look their best! 

(Although there are several machine needle manufacturers, the machine needles that I am referring to are made by Schmetz.  Schmetz needles will fit most machine,  Please note that Singer needles are made for Singer machines ONLY!). 

The sewing machine needle consists of :

Shank – the top of the needle with one side that is flat.  This end of the needle fits into the machine.
Blade – the long part of the needle.  It has 1 or 2 grooves that guide the thread.
Groove – is on the blade on the same side of the needle as the rounded shaft.  The groove acts as a guide as the thread lays in it.
Scarf – the indentation above the eye of the needle
Point – the point contains the eye of the needle and can be one of several designs, depending on the purpose of the needle.  These include sharp, rounded, and ballpoint.

            The thread that you are using needs to match the needle.  If the needle is too small, the thread won’t be guided by the groove and the thread will shred.  If the needle  is too large for the thread, the holes in the fabric (from the needle) will be visible because the thread is not large enough to fill them.  You can test the thread to see if it fits the needle by doing the following:   thread a 15 inch piece of thread through the needle. Hold the thread vertically and taut with the needle at one end of the thread.  Spin the needle.  If it slips down the thread, YEAH!  If not, your thread needs a larger needle!

TIP!  I usually use a 60 or a 70 Microtex / Sharp needle for all of my sewing.  If I am sewing on my favorite fine fabrics, such as Swiss voile, Swiss baby flannel, Swiss pique’ or Ulster handkerchief linen, I will use a 60 Microtex and the corresponding thread (usually Madeira Cotona 80, YLI Heirloom Sewing Thread 70  or Mettler Fine Embroidery 60).  If I am sewing on a fun fabric, such as a K.P. Kids, Hoffman, or Kaufman print, I will use a 70 Microtex with the corresponding thread (usually Mettler Silk Finnish 50).

The Number Metric or NM system is used to size the needles.  The Number Metric is the diameter of the needle blade in hundredths of a millimeter measured above the scarf (the indentation above the eye of the needle).  A needle with a blade diameter of 0.70 mm is a NM size 70 needle.  If you see a needle that has a low number (8-19), these needles are numbered using the American system. 
The conversion chart is as follows:
NM      American
60          8
65          9        Remember!  For Machine
70        10        Needles, the higher the
75        11        number, the larger the
80        12        needle, the larger the eye!
90        14
100     16
110     18
120     19

 Schmetz has added a dual coding system - one color for the Needle type (microtex, quilting, etc.) and a 2nd color for the needle size!

Types of Needles:

Universal (H) – the most common type of needle.  The point of the needle is not sharp and not rounded, but somewhere in the middle.  As its name indicates, this needle was designed as a basic machine needle to sew on woven or knit fabrics.  Available in sizes 60/8 thru 120/19.

Microtex / Sharp – purple stripe on the round side of the shank – this nnedle is wonderful for microfibers and lightweight and silky woven fabrics.  The needle is slender and has a finer point.  These come in sizes 60/8, 70/10, and 80/12.  This type of needle is wonderful for heirloom sewing!

Denim / Sharp – blue strip on the round side of the shank – this needle is used for firmly woven fabrics, such as denim or gaberdine.  These needles have a sharp point and can easily pierce the fibers if dense fabrics.  Available in sizes 70/10 – 110/18.
Stretch  - yellow stripe in the round side of the shank – this needle is used for knit fabrics.  The tip is slightly rounded, which allows the needle to separate the fabric instead of piercing the fabric.  This helps to prevent skipped stitches.  Available in sizes 75/11 and 90/14.

Ball Point – the ball point needle is used on heavy knit fabric, such as spandex.  Available in sizes 70/10 – 100/16.

Embroidery – red stripe on the round side of the shank – the embroidery needle has a light ballpoint tip and a larger eye to accommodate the heavier threads used for machine embroidery.  This helps to reduce skipped stitches and to keep the threads and fabric from being damaged.  Available in sizes 75/11 and 90/14.

Quilting – green stripe on the round side of the shank – quilting needles are specifically designed to penetrate multiple layers of cloth, which is often found when sewing quilts.  Available in sizes 75/11 and 90/14.

Topstitch – this needle has a larger than average eye, which is used with the heavier topstitching threads.  Available in sizes 80/12 – 100/16.

Leather – used on leather.  The wedge shaped point on these needles enables the needle to cut through the leather instead of tearing it.  Available in sizes 80/12 – 110/18.

Spring – these needles are for free motion embroidery, monogramming and quilting.  It has a spring around the needle, which acts like a flexible presser foot. The spring needles are available in universal, stretch, denim, machine embroidery, and  quilting, in various types and sizes.

Metallic – specifically designed to use with metallic threads.  They have a fine shaft, a very sharp point and an elongated eye to accommodate the thread.  The groove on the shaft of the needle is larger, to hold the thread and help prevent skipped stitches.  Available in sizes 70/10 thru 90/14.

Self-threading – a general purpose needle that has a slot on one side so that the thread can slide into the eye of the needle.  Come in size 80/12 and 90/14.

Wing / Hemstitch – the side of this needle’s shank are flared and looks like a wing.  Used to create openings in the fabric to look like hemstitching.  Wing needles come in 2 sizes, 100/16 and 120/19.

Twin and Triple – these needles are constructed with either 2 or 3 needles on a crossbar.  They are used for decorative sewing and making tucks.  The sizing on the package consists of 2 numbers:  the first number is the distance between the needles and the second number is the European of NM size.  For example, 2.0/80 would mean that the needles are 2.0 mm apart and a size 80 needle.  Twin needles are available in various sizes and types.

Remember!  Change your needle often and use the smallest needle that is appropriate to help keep your stitches looking fine!  

Lots of information - I hope you can put it to use!

Have a Wonderful Christmas 
Happy Stitching,

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Vaune's Fabric Finds!!!

Please pass this along! 
     I am running into problems when I send out my newsletters!  I am in the process of trying to figure out if it is from the 'sending' point or the 'receiving' point - about 40% of my emails are getting bounced.  It seems to be anyone who has sbcglobal, Comcast, aol, or ends with a .net suffix.  While I attempt to get this taken care of, please feel free to pass along to your friends when I have posted a new newsletter!

     I just posted a quick Fabric Find announcement, which I am posting here as well!  I found 3 great fabrics in LA last week and am passing these along to you.
2 of them are Liberty of London tana lawns, and the 3rd is a purple silk organza with a swirl pattern.  The Liberty's retail at $45, but until they are gone, these are just $30/yd,  (54" wide, 100% cotton)
                                   Blue Liberty of London
Raspberry / Blue Liberty of London
     The Silk organza has a swirl pattern and would make a gorgeous little shrug or an overskirt for a cream or silver dupioni dress, (or an over-blouse for me!)
It is 45" wide and 100% silk, retails for $42/yd and I will have it for $30/yd until it is gone. 

For those of you who don't know about my fabric finds - these are end lots usually from a manufacturer that has used the fabric in a production run and has fabric left over.  (These are coming from clothing manufacturers, NOT fabric mills).  Because this is leftover, I get it at a great price, which I pass along to you.  The only catch is that when it is gone, it is gone and I can't get it at the special price any longer.  I give my newsletter/blog post readers first chance.  If I still have fabric left after a week or so, I will post it on my website, but most of the time it does not make it there.

     If you are interested, just email me ( and let me know how much of which kind you want, along with your phone number. 

Happy Thanksgiving, and
Happy Stitching,

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

On Your Mark...Part 2

                     More Marks

     This is a continuation of marking utensils.  Ina previous post, I went over chalk, wax, tracing wheel/paper, etc.  Today I am going to add a couple of more marking options.

     To start with today, I am going to go with the very basic pencil.  I am showing 2 different pencils here (although they are both mechanical) - one is a regular size lead pencil (blue) and the other looks like a 1st grade pencil (chubby), but it is still a mechanical pencil and it has a thick lead.
     If I am tracing an embroidery design that needs to be done in pencil and with a fine lead, then I use the standard mechanical pencil.  Another option if I need it to be more noticeable is the thick lead option.  I also use this when I am redrawing pattern lines.  

     The best fine tip water soluble (erasable) on the market, and it is made by Clover.  The fine tip really is a fine tip and better yet, these markers last for years, as long as you keep the lid on.  Mine usually last for a couple of years before they wear out.  The other erasable markers that I use dry out in a couple of months, but these last for ever.  Clover also makes a regular tip water soluble marker - looks just like this except the cap is blue like the pen.

     While not technically a pen, it looks like a pen and works on the water soluble markings.  It is a Mist-It pen - sprays a fine mist of steam to make the ink disappear.  Just remember that just because you don;t see the ink, does not mean it is still not there.  You have to actually get the fabric soaking wet in PLAIN water - no detergent!  Rinse and the ink will disappear.  This is also great on water soluble interfacing and thread, if you are trying to make them disappear.

     This brings me to rulers!  When I am drawing pattern lines, I like these C-Thru rulers, for several reasons! 
     First and foremost, is that they are thin and flexible.  I can actually stand them on their side and curve them to measure.  
     Also, because they are thin, I can put the point of my pen right next the the ruler and get and accurate line.  Quilting rulers are much thicker and are made to be used with rotary cutters.  It is harder to get your point right next to the edge, which makes for a less accurate line.
     These rulers come in a variety of sizes, so I have exactly what I need.  I have these in 1" x 6", 1" x 12", 2" x 12", 2" x 18' and 2" x 24".  Depending on what I am doing and where I am going, I can take them along with me, as they are very light and easy to travel with.


      Another thing I love about these rulers is that they are marked in 1/8 inch increments and are very easy to read.  You can see above that I have measured my mini post-it notes and it measures 1.5" (or 1 4/8") on the height.  Since most of the sewing measurements in the US is measured in inches, and eighths of an inch at that, these rulers are perfect!

     While we are on measuring................. this is a nifty little measuring tool that has every small sewing measurement imaginable - 8 measurements in all.  Handy dandy!

     This is a metal ruler with a slide marker - not bendable like the seam gauge. It has the conversions for changing inches to decimals, which comes in handy of you are re-sizing a pattern.

As you can see, there are many tools of the trade!  If they make your life easier, then use them! Besides liking gadgets and notions, if I find something that makes my sewing life easier, faster, or more accurate, then it will find its way into my sewing caddy!

More later, and 
Happy Stitching!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Vaune's May Newsletter is Posted

Happy Spring, May Day, and Mother's Day to you all!
     Better late than never - my May Newsletter is now posted!.  I will making more posts soon - all I can say is that it has been a VERY busy few months!
You can click here to see it:
***Please pass along this info - I have been having problems when sending out my newsletters.  I use a service, so that it does not appear as SPAM, but for the  last 2 newsletters that I have sent out, about 40% of them were marked as spam.  I am trying to find and fix the problem, but I the meantime, I will let you know through my blog when I post a newsletter.  You can always go to my website ( ) and click on the newsletter link at the top. If you follow my blog, you will get the link. 
     May newsletter includes several specials, some info and pix on Madeira Embroidery, and the dates for our June Sew-in in Santa Barbara.  No teachers at this event - just a weekend + of getting away, relaxing, and sewing!  If you are interested, please give me a call (805-529-5005) or email me (  We can arrive Friday afternoon, (June 26) and we can actually stay through Tuesday.  The base fee for your room and meals for Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon is $185.  If you want to stay Monday or Tuesday, it is an extra $60 / night for your room and meals.
     I have been doing some tidying up of my files - I am including several pictures of different pieces of Madeira embroidery and white work that I have found.  Just a little eye candy for you!

See you soon!

Happy Stitching,

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Santa Barbara Here We Come!

          Welcome to 'A Classic Confection'

 Our Brochure for our Santa Barbara Retreat is posted and registration opens on April 15th.

     Join us for our last event at St. Mary’s in Santa Barbara, CA, A California Confection - a sewist’s version of a kid in a candy store!  Over the course of 18 hours, you will start by learning several Delectable Design Choices, both hand and machine:  Petit Pintucks, Ambrosial Applique’, Exquisite Embroidery, Scrumptious Sleeves, and Confectionary Collars!  Next, you will Design your own decadent dress, choosing the elements that tempt you most!  Finally, you will create a California Confection of your very own using Swiss Lawn and Swiss voile.

Pre-Day Class is a Sweet White Sweater, Sprinkled with Embellishments.

  Optional Mon & Tues stay over available.  Registration opens April 15, 2015

For more information, you can email me at     Hope to see you there!