Saturday, March 7, 2009

A Patternmaker/Designer Finds Inspiration...

Our customers are a talented bunch of folks. There is not a day that goes by when we don't get treated to your wonderful stories and projects via email. We are always amazed and delighted. The skill and passion of our customers are reflected in the stories we share with you. We have been working diligently on our community page, which is an online place for our customers to go and be inspired by the Mary Jo Cloth Community. Have you checked it out? Would you like to submit a story or your favorite project? We would love to hear from you, send us an email today!

A few weeks ago we received an interesting note from Joanne Butterfield. She is new to the area and was delighted to have stumbled into Mary Jo's Cloth Store.
"We moved here 2 years ago, from Connecticut. I am a Patternmaker and Technical Designer, and had worked in CT & NY City for the garment industry all my career, until moving to Charlotte. I have always shopped the New York City fabric stores for
wedding dress and special occasion fabrics. Your store is 10 of those NYC stores all rolled into one here in Gastonia! In addition it is the BEST quilting fabric store I have ever seen!

Soon after moving here I promised to make a Christening dress for my new
niece back in Connecticut. I told a friend that I would love to do old fashioned smocking. I had never done it before, and my friend had a smocking pleater she told me I could use. Everyone I worked with kept
telling me about your store. This Christening dress was my first reason to check out your store. I spent the first 2 - 3 hours just walking up and down every aisle, to take in ALL that you had. My first stop was your pattern
department, to see if I could find a ready made pattern. I stumbled upon your binder full of children's smocking patterns, and fell in love with the " Christening Ensemble, by Grace I. Knott". Wow! It was EXACTLY what I had in mind! I found beautiful white batiste fabric, and bought satin ribbons, and venice lace to embellish it. I was so excited! I bought embroidery thread, and pearl beads.

I beaded the smocking with tiny pearls, and set a beaded cross at the center of the smocked yoke. I also wanted to give tribute to Blessed Mother Mary, so I embroidered tiny blue rosettes along the yoke line, and attached a holy metal of Blessed Mother to the slip yoke line. I piped the neckline of the dress, and the
yoke of the slip with satin covered cording. The ruffle seam is trimmed with a
1/8'' wide satin ribbon, and a second row of 1/4'' picot edge satin
ribbon. The venice laces attached to the sleeve and ruffle edges are
also trimmed with 1/8'' satin ribbon. I loved doing the smocking and embroidery, and was so inspired by the pattern and all the fabric and trims in your store.

My Mom visited me here in Charlotte soon after the Christening, and our "must see" destination was Mary-Jo's! She is 83 years old and still a
prolific and talented quilter / fiber artist! We spent 8 hours in your store that Saturday! My Mom came prepared to buy fabrics for two full
size quilts she was making for her twin 12 year old grand daughters. She found everything she needed that day in one trip! In Connecticut it
Would have taken months, and trips all over the state to several quilt fabric
stores to collect that assortment of fabrics. She was thrilled, and an
instant fan! Mom was back again last spring and we were in Mary-Jo's
again! All of her CT quilter friends have heard about your legendary
store, and are very jealous! One of these quilts is just recently
finished, and the other is in the final quilting stages. When they are
complete soon, I will photograph them, and send pictures and their

I have also introduced my Daughter and another Sister-in-law from CT to
your store. Last week I brought a friend, another new Charlotte
resident to Mary-Jo's. All of them were blown away!
Thank you Mary-Jo and keep it going!"

Joanne Butterfield

Thanks Joanne, please keep us posted on your future projects you are one talented gal.

1 comment:

Cindy said...

Joanne - please join us for our meeting of the Smocking Arts Guild of America. We are the Palmetto Pleaters in Greenville, SC and we'd love to have you in our group. Check out for more info. Your gown is beautiful. Warmly, Cindy Hayes