County Fair Spotlight on Home Arts View All Posts

photo of Dorothy Martin

About County Fair Spotlight on Home Arts

Dorothy R. Martin is an author, designer and educator who routinely shows her work at the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair. Every year you can find her amazing work at the Home Arts Building. Dorothy will guide you through the fun and inspiration in the Home Arts Division. Entries will delight... Read more

Discover Other Local Blogs

We have a great number of amazing blog posts contributed by our local bloggers. Discover what is happening in your neighborhood by reading their latest posts.

George's 80th&Sewing 005

Spotlight on Home Arts: Clothing (Videos)

We are less than a week  from entries at the Fair!  I hope many who read this Blog are preparing their projects, and we look forward to seeing you there!

The promised virtual visit to the Home Arts Clothing Department continues, and is the final post before the Fair opens.  I hope to post once the Home Arts is open, when I can show you current entries.

I located an interesting fabric the other year: a white polyester with roses twirled and stitched to the fabric.  It practically screamed to me, “This could be fun!”  So I made a simple washable jacket and added crystals to add to the festive feeling. It has been fun!



IMG_1207 Moving on in Clothing to more demanding projects, we will start with tailoring.  Three years ago K made this lovely Chanel jacket of burgundy wool, lined in silk charmeuse.  She visited us and made it at our home; we had a fine time watching it emerge with her eager hands.  She checked out the pattern fit by making muslin with one inch check cotton gingham.  Then she proceeded with the real fabric, and did a bang-up job!







IMG_0018 - CopyWhile we are addressing jackets and suits, this is one of wool from Florence, lined in silk brocade.  It has embroidered roses on the jacket front, back yoke, and flared skirt, front and back.  The seams are Hong Kong finished – bound with narrow bias, with no stitching apparent. (The stitching is done in the well of the seam.)  The embroidery is in a rayon thread with color very close to the wool.







IMG_9769To give an idea of what the interior of a suit like this entails, this photo shows the wool/goat hair canvas interfacing extending across the upper bodice and under the arm. The puffy white strip is a strip of woven lamb’s wool which helps shape the top curve of the set in sleeve. The set in sleeve has been stitched to the bodice and a zig zag stitch protects the trimmed seam from fraying.  In tailoring, we ‘build’, layer by layer, to achieve the durable, smart look and fit that make tailoring so desired.



This suit is lined with light weight silk brocade. IMG_9762 If you look carefully, you can see the Hong Kong seam finish where the lining is joined to the front facing.  This gives a professional look.







IMG_9809The embroidery motif is printed from the PC to a sticky back stabilizer and placed where the design will be stitched.  This guarantees placement in the hoop for stitching.  Once, certain of the placement in the hoop, the top stabilizer can be removed.  There remains a stabilizer on the back.  Selecting the correct stabilizer is important, as the finished motif should sit beautifully on the surface and not pull the fabric or make it stiff.  Completing a sample prior to stitching the project is important.



The completed rose motifs on the skirtIMG_0049 flow diagonally across the skirt.









A long sleeved blouse for the suit is in silk charmeuseIMG_0017 print and made from a designer Vogue pattern. The gathered mandarin collar closes with hand stitch loops and pearls.  The interfacing is silk organza.











Laces have always interested me, and one in particular: Carrickmacross Lace.  The Irish women of County Monaghan worked this lace during the famine in order to earn money for their food.  The local rector’s wife brought samples of Italian lace back from a trip to the continent, and presented the idea to the women of the county. The women appreciated the idea, and these Irish women modified the materials and designs.  Carrickmacross lace is worked on a net base and features appliqued perimeter of cambric (similar to organdy) emphasized with picot stitches and embroidered surface motifs. That work was done completely by hand, often with the stitcher huddled by a candle that reflected light through a water-filled globe known as a lace lamp.  They washed their hands every ten minutes. The lace became very popular when it was included in royal weddings, including Kate’s wedding to Prince William.

I planned a simple blouse with this lace in mind and had a wonderful time stitching the motifs and setting up the perimeter of appliqued organdy with picots.  Everything was worked on the sewing machine.  Below you will see how I hold the picots in place for top stitching with a zig zag stitch.  I programmed the machine to stop every 6 stitches at which point I held the picots to the side with a wooden stitch.  It was time consuming, but the results were rewarding.  It truly resembled Carrickmacross!





Completed blouse worn with a silk charmeuse shell.  My granddaughter also wore it over a bright solid colored long sleeved top, and it looked just fine.






IMG_1455A close-up shows the stitched motifs and the picot edging.






Viking Class 015Vests are included in clothing.  The front of this one is woven ribbons stabilized with metallic threads.  The folded ribbons are small replicas of ribbon work used in Victorian women’s hats.





Viking Class 014The polyester satin vest back has several ribbon sprays embellished with bits of lace. It is fun to wear. The vest is washable.







K fell in love with a plaid silk fabric that wentGeorge's 80th&Sewing 005 on sale online, and we went for it!  She constructed a 1940’s style dress and carefully matched the plaids on the skirt.  The bodice took a great deal of work in fitting, but she accomplished it.  Seams are overcast to avoid fraying.







George's 80th&Sewing 021The narrow hem is hand stitched.  The lining hem is machine stitched using the intermittent zig zag stitch to form picots.







Fair#5 & Hillwood 029


A long sleeved Pendleton wool man’s shirt required a lot of matching plaids, but was fun.  Note the collar, collar points, yoke meeting front, etc.  It was wonderful fabric to work with.


Close-up of the buttonhole placed on a  stripeFair#5 & Hillwood 027 of the plaid shows the plaids meeting across the front.







Fair#5 & Hillwood 025A machine stitched monogram placed discreetly on the pocket adds a personal touch.







This man’s wool jacket also sports plaids thatFair#5 & Hillwood 037 require matching.







Front and back!Fair#5 & Hillwood 044


Here is a peek at the machine work on a prairie IMG_1067style night gown in fine Egyptian cotton.  The purchased motif sets the basic color.  Pin tucks are in soft blue.  The faux smocking is achieved by stitching over cording and pulling the cording.  Self-piping sets off the skirt where it joins the bodice. The hand tatting in variegated blues adds another handmade touch, in the selected color hue.



And that tells me it is time to retire for the night.  I have enjoyed sharing the Home Arts department with you.  I now look forward to completing my entries for this year.  Then, I shall have a Blog post when the Home Arts Department of the Montgomery County Fair opens!





Dorothy Martin

About Dorothy Martin

Dorothy Martin is a master seamstress who routinely shows her work at the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair. Dorothy will guide you through the fun and inspiration in the Home Arts Division. Entries will delight your eye. Highlights include arts quilting and baking to knitting and sewing and lots more. Everyone leaves this building with a smile, a gleam in their eye, and the memory of a favorite entry.


2 Responses to “Spotlight on Home Arts: Clothing (Videos)”

  1. On August 4, 2014 at 1:40 pm responded with... #

    These examples make me wish I could do the same! Best wishes! s

  2. On August 4, 2014 at 1:43 pm responded with... #

    8.4.2014 1:30PM
    Your skills and creativity with needle arts are superceded only by your ability to take good care of 40 patients all night, distribute all meds appropriately, give those 40 AM care, record all vital signs, get out in that kitchen and prepare 40 breakfasts of coffee/eggs/toast/cooked cereal, tally all intake/output charts, complete and sign off all detailed nurse’s notes, empty and record all drainage bottles, and be ready to give a clear report to the day nurse at 7am….50’s women were, and remain, real multi-taskers……thank you for sharing your beautiful, neat work……from Janet K

Engage us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter