Thursday, January 29, 2009

Big Three Down to Big Two?

These are the Big Three when it comes to heirloom sewing magazines. Rumblings allude to it soon being the Big Two.

Australian Smocking and Embroidery sets the standard. They are expensive but worth every penny. Each issue comes with a pullout of patterns for everything shown in the issue. There is no going out and buying a pattern once you are inspired by this magazine! Their instructions are utterly clear. Their designers are contemporary. The photography is often breathtaking, peopled with the most beautiful children you have ever seen. They are published by Country Bumpkin in Australia, but often available at B&N or Borders. Oh, they are also addictive!

Next is Sew Beautiful magazine. This is published in the deep South and the connection is always evident. There is a folksy sermon with Bible book and verse from its editor, Martha Pullen, in every issue. It is laden with children in frothy, batiste and lace encrusted creations. This is not sewing for the real world of child play. The garments in this magazine are milestone garments. You make them for a first grandchild, a Christening, a graduation. There are attempts at being contemporary but they never quite pull it off as well as their competition. But that is not who they are. They are eye candy with a Victorian sensibility. Most heirloom sewists so not have enough milestones in their lives to use up even one issue of these confections. But it is fun to look at, in a quiet cup of tea moment way.

And then there is Creative Needle. The clothes in this magazine are wearable, to school , to play, to the beach, to church too. There are milestone garments in this magazine but best of all is that the designs work in this modern world and are an excellent showcase for fine needlework. The designers are top notch as is the instruction in each magazine. Here's the rub, or should I say facts: Their website has not been updated since November. Their copyright has not been renewed. Subscriptions are late. And there are grumblings from vendors. It appears the writing is on the wall. According to some the hand has written and Chapter 7 has been filed. I have yet to find that in any official publication or site but signs do point there. I truly wish their owners some sort of reprive and the best of the future whatever the outcome.

I will really miss Creative Needle if it goes. It certainly will leave a deep hole to be filled in the heirloom world but in our current economy there are deep holes everywhere. My real concern is that this could be a portent of things to come. Heirloom sewing uses the finest fabrics and expensive imported laces. It is high end kid sewing for sure. On line purveyors and small shoppes must be pacing thru the floor boards . This is such a wonderful form of sewing and I would hate to see it enter a dark age. It is so important to keep these skills alive .

If the demise of Creative Needle is not just a re organization, I would pray Sew Beautiful would take a serious look at its editorial content and start publishing some more realistic, wearable, and beautiful children's garments. Otherwise I think it could go the way of the dinosaur as this economy continues spiraling.....Bunny



A few weeks back I came across a blogger, who I apologize for not remembering, who evidently does a Friday Flashback to garments she has made in the past. I just couldn't get that bug out of my head. So we will have here, while they last, Throwback Thursdays. I have kept so much of what I have made over the years that it might be fun to have a review. I did some digging today and this is a pic of the oldest garment I will show you, then it will be on to more contemporary efforts. This is my wedding gown I made. I copied the gown from an artist's rendition in the Boston Globe in an ad for Filene's. The veil was a copy of one that was in Vogue and designed by Dior. It was peau de soie and guipure lace. I did make a muslin first for this one. And yes, I am 21 in the picture! I love this picture because everyone in it is so doggone happy. Next Thursday's garment will be more recent and more artsy, a hand painted affair. More coming,,,,,,,,,,,,,


  1. Your wedding picture is priceless (what year, may I ask?) and your dress & veil are beautiful. You're right, everyone is happy. Love the bridesmaids hats, too.

  2. I agree with your magazine reviews, AS&E is so wonderful. Wonderful wedding dress, your pictures is such a happy, fun one. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Love the wedding photo! Look at your ringlets!

    I'll be bummed if Creative Needle goes. It always inspires me.

  4. About 5 years ago, I decided that I had too many magazines coming in and needed to drop at least one. I kept Creative Needle and dropped Sew Beautiful. If CN does stop publishing, I think I might have to have a good cry! I love every issue and mainly because they do have everyday clothes for children.

    Sharon from Adventures from the Sewing Studio has a Flashback Friday. Is that who you're thinking of?

  5. It would be very sad if CN goes under. But truthfully, I haven't bought it in a long time. Then again, I haven't bought ANY of them in a long time. JoAnns in my area used to carry AS&E, and I would buy it there, but I haven't seen it lately. Bummer! Now I don't really have anyone to make their garments for right now, but I'll be a grandmother SOME day! And besides they are eye-candy that makes me happy!
    Your wedding dress is lovely! Compared to what's the norm now, and WOW there's a LOT more skin showing today. My oldest dd is 21, and I'm hoping she doesn't get married for a few years.

  6. What a great wedding photo - everyone looks so happy! How marvelous that you were able to copy those high fashion looks for yourself.

    Would you mind telling us what year this was? I'm curious because my mother used to do my hair the same way with the long ringlets, back in the early/mid 70's. I even have a portrait of me when I was four years old, with that hairstyle. While we lived in the States, my mother had my portrait done to send to my father who was on a remote assignment in Thailand at the time.

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  8. Sorry for the mess above - double post!


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