Okay, that would be me, but now that I've got your attention I want to first address a couple of questions that were posted in the comments from last week's post. I thought I'd answer them here, rather than there, because the answers might be of interest to many of you.
For LolliConn, who asked if Catalog XPress could convert BLF files. The answer is no, it can't. There are 2 kinds of embroidery files, working files that work only with the software that generated them, and stitch files that can be converted to other stitch file formats. BLF, a Designers' Gallery file like Brother's PEM files, are working files. In order to stitch them you need to convert them into stitches, in both of those cases PES because Designer's Gallery is a Babylock product and both Babylock and Brother embroidery machines read Brother's PES file format.
For mspacman, embroidering on stretchy spandex and lycra fabrics is a challenge. I haven't done it very often myself. Sometimes I acknowledge my limits! I would recommend hooping a sticky stabilizer, pressing the stretchy fabric down solidly on the stabilizer and putting a layer of disolvable stabilizer on top. Use a fine ballpoint needle and 50 weight thread or lighter. Choose a design with minimal underlay. And, of course, sew out a sample before embroidering on your grandaughter's gymnastics leotard. Oh, wait, that was me . . .
For cleme, who asked about my James Dean doll, and how I can stand having him staring at me. It's not so much a long story as a boring one. A dear friend and embroidery colleague was staying with me for a few days. Before she left for home we stopped at Toys R Us to pick up a gift for her son. I saw the specialty Barbie dolls along one wall and mentioned that someday I was going to get one of those James Dean dolls for myself. Keep in mind that Barbie dolls didn't come out until I was in high school and, although tempted, I was really too old for them. As my friend was leaving she handed me a package and, lo and behold, there was James Dean, looking right at me. So I've kept him on my desk as a connection to my friend. It was a long time before I realized that the doll resembled my college sweetheart, my first great love. So how can I stand his staring at me? Because when I look back into those eyes I'm a slim, pretty 20 year old riding side-saddle on the back of a motorcycle, long hair flying in the wind, holding 2 sets of books in one arm, the other clutching tightly around the young man in front of me. The question isn't how can I stand his staring at me, it's how do I get anything done.
The bio about me at the bottom of the page and throughout my site says that I began sewing doll clothes as soon as I was able to hold a needle. That's not quite true. I started sewing as soon as I was old enough to hold a needle without poking my eye out. Anyway, I see that paragraph so often that I don't even notice it anymore, but today I rooted around on the top shelf of a closet and pulled down a wooden box. I think the box had held 3 bottles of wine at one time, but I know that my father gave it to me when I was 8 or 9 years old. (See, I was stockpiling boxes even then!) I opened the top and there, right where I had put them more than 50 years ago, were 2 little dolls lying on a pile of doll clothes. I thought you might be interested in my first efforts at haute couture. Those little 8" dolls were the fashion dolls for the generation before Barbie. Mine were Vogue dolls from Madame Alexander, though Ginny dolls were much more popular. I just thought the Vogue dolls had prettier faces and even then I wasn't a crowd follower. I wanted a boy doll, but there weren't any. But there was a Mary Martin doll. So Mary Martin became my little boy doll. Here are a couple of those early efforts. Oohs and aahs are appreciated, but no laughing, please!
Here they are, in some of their finery:
I thought you might get a kick out of the fine button detail and the evening glown with matching evening cloak. I think the charms might have come from the penny gumball machine in the supermarket.
The summer of my 12th birthday my father brought home an old Singer sewing machine that had belonged to my grandmother. It was a very heavy portable machine with a rounded wood case.That summer my father, who had owned a blouse factory, taught me how to use the machine and I made several of those circle skirts that were so popular. I sewed on that machine all through high school and took it to college with me. For college graduation my parents presented me with a new-fangled Kenmore machine that used cams to create fancy stitches. Imagine! That machine sewed all my dresses, then all my maternity clothes, then lots of baby clothes and nearly everything DD wore through college, including formals and party dresses. It went on to sew rompers for my first grandchild, dresses for my second, DD's maternity clothes, more baby clothes and rompers. Then,one day, my sister came down from Tallahassee to shop for bridal fabric. I took her and her future DIL to a local high end fabric store. While they were shopping in the back of the store, I was standing in the front, spellbound by machines that were embroidering lovely motifs all by themselves. A salesperson walked over to my side and, well, I guess the rest is AnnTheGran history!
I hope you've enjoyed this trip down memory lane as much as I have! TTFN