This past Friday and Saturday I enjoyed a two day class sponsored by my SAGA (Smocking Arts Guild of America) chapter! It was two glorious days to sit and stitch with my stitching sisters, all led by wonderful embroidery teacher, Phyllis Brown. Phyllis is an amazing teacher from Charlotte, North Carolina. Her work has been featured most recently in Classic Sewing Magazine and of course, SAGANews, the membership magazine of the Smocking Arts Guild. She also recently led an embroidery lesson on the SAGA Smock-along Facebook group page.
Phyllis teaches both "project" and "notebook" classes. A notebook class means that we spent our day learning and stitching different samples that we can incorporate into future work of our own design. My chapter choose 2 notebook classes; one on feather stitch and one on faggoting. The feather stitch is an old stitch, often found on children's clothes from the turn of the century, with multiple variations, including double and triple. I think this would look fantastic on a striped blouse and give it that special, one of a kind, I can't get in the store, special detail.
According to The Complete Encyclopedia of Stitching by Mildred Graves Ryan, and the Textile Research Centre, "Faggoting is a technique of sewing two hemmed pieces of textile together with (decorative) stitching, creating a zigzag pattern, but leaving a narrow gap in between." Various insertion stitches were used. Again, this is a technique often found on children's wear from the early 20th century. Phyllis, and our own Julie Stilwell had multiple examples for us to examine, and it got our creative juices flowing! I plan on using both of these techniques in future projects!
If you are interested in taking a class from Phyllis, she is teaching at the upcoming SAGA Retreat in St. Louis, October 12-15, 2017. There are still some spots left in the two classes she is teaching: a beautiful Madeira Applique Tea Towel and Alison Dress Class.
She also holds her own school once a year in the Charlotte area. You can find out the details and see more of her lovely work on her website, Heirloom Beginnings.