"Sewing With Whimsy"

Kari Mecca, designer of children's clothing, has always been an inspiration to me. I think of her as the Queen of RickRack. Her approach is fresh, contemporary, and yes, whimsical. There is no stuffiness in the way she re-interprets classic childrens clothing. Her use of bright pastels, sometimes retro fabrics, pattern mixing, and unique embellishments really set her designs apart.

This book is a 96 page soft cover that you can get from her site or from Martha Pullen. In it are also included full size patterns clearly printed out on heavy stock for all of the garments in the book. At 24.95, I think it's a value.

Mecca takes three very classic children's designs and kicks them up notch after notch with her various interpretations. She gives easy to understand, thorough directions for all of the garments that could make even a beginner pull these off. Also included are detailed instructions for the many creative embellishments that she is famous for. Her modern interpretations of rick rack and ribbons should liven up any little girl's outfit. Even you non-sewistas of children's clothing could find inspiration for your own interpretation of the embellishments. I hope too use some on my own clothing and certainly on my granddaughter's.

So it's a thumbs up for "Sewing With Whimsy" by Kari Mecca from this sewista. NAYY


While we are reviewing here, I thought I would also throw in my two cents on the latest issue of Sew Beautiful, issue #120. Over all, I like it. Here are my cons first: The cover has a rather tabloid look to it. I guess I am just used to a beautiful child on the cover. While there are two beautiful children on the cover, there is also their Mom, Nancy Grace. Being the good Southern gal that she is, Nancy's children wore christening gowns fabricated by the staff at Sew Beautiful and the gowns are exquisite. But it kind of rankles of a little exploitation, you might say.
Next, and I know I am a nit picker about this stuff, I really wish they would get their grammar right. Let's just say Martha's letter had a blaring mistake, not one you'd expect from the publisher. Or is she editor at this point? Whichever, there should be better editing as this is not the first time for this faux pas.
And finally on the cons, Is there any real smocking in this issue? Almost every thing is embroidery machine smocked, just too much, IMHO. I thought this was an heirloom magazine. But then again, marketing is rearing its ugly head here. After all, MP is in the business of selling embroidery CDs. The magazine has taken a major shift in that direction since she started selling them. I really think that dilutes her magazine market in the long run.
Will someone please make sure the clothes on the children fit and are well made before publication?
While every issue has its share of flipped up collars, the little coat called Coco is just a dreadful picture. I would never let my child go out the door in a outfit that fit like that. Besides she couldn't breathe and her coat looks like it has a wedgie somewhere.

Now for the good stuff: There is a gorgeous article on some garments remade from vintage lace. There is some real eye candy in that one.
Finally, finally, there is a really wearable, very attractive smocked Woman's garment featured. It is designed by Vaune Pierce and I would wear it in a heartbeat. It fits right, is up to date, and beautifully made. In the past, womens garments in this magazine have been far from the latest fashion and basically remakes of christening gowns. Do any of us really wear these fluffy and beautiful non fitting garments while we are sipping our juleps on the veranda? I think not. Well, Pierce's garments are wearable and fashionable. Also along the vein of adult clothing, there is a great article on North American Lattice Smocking with a beautiful bag project well worth making.
Lately the issues have been featuring young sewistas of major sewing accomplishment. I applaud this addition to the magazine. It is so encouraging to see high schoolers WANT to make gorgeous clothing and give it all they've got. So Kudos on that one.
And last but not least, there is one gorgeous silk dupioni smocked, beaded vision called "Ice Princess" that is the type of garment most have come to expect from this magazine. Why just one?

All in all, I think it is one of their better issues lately and I really enjoyed it. I do get the feeling this magazine is in some sort of state of flux but other than the machine embroidery business, I think it is headed in the right direction. JMHO.

I thought I would get my dress pleated yesterday and it did actually make it to and through the pleater. About 2/3 ds of the way into the pleating I thought to myself, this is awfully thin and I should have interfaced it. Then the big light bulb went on. I forgot to do the lace overlay which needs to be pleated in at the same time. So all the threads were pulled, the smocked area backed with FusiKnit, and the lace overlay basted to the front. NOW, I am ready to pleat. Haste makes waste! (as in my time).....Bunny


  1. In reality I would take the basting out and pleat it without it. You get a lot less split pleats that way. Just a thought. Can't wait to see it though, it is going to be beautiful.

  2. Hmm...I'm going to have to check my library to see if they haved that book.

    I think all magazines these days suffer from a serious lack of proofreading. I prefer to think that rather than the "professionals" just don't know.

  3. I think I will start it with the basting and if I get one y pleat, out it will be pulled.Thanks for the heads up, Martha.

    Paula, this book has some yummy things just right for your granddaughter.

  4. Your fabric is gorgeous, I can't wait to see the final product!

  5. Thanks, Kristine. It's coming slow but sure.


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