Sewing, Stitching and Spring

Spring has arrived in the south and I am enjoying every bit of the beauty of it!!!  Everything is in bloom.  The new season has me ready to create new things!!!

I have done some machine embroidery – beautiful towel sets for newlyweds.  I always enjoy giving monogrammed towel sets and the bride is usually thrilled to have something with her new initial/name on it.  The pretty background of the design is an embossed design from Embroidery Library and the initial is from Embroitique.  Both stitched out nicely.

Spring is a time of numerous birthdays and anniversaries in our family, so there’s always a get together.  This year the weather was spectacular for our celebration – sunny and warm.  I had 2 dresses ready for the little girls to enjoy wearing and they happily put them on and twirled away!  I neglected to take a picture of the 2 girls wearing the dresses as they twirled away.  There is a video, but I don’t think I can post videos.  Just imagine the twirly fun!!!

Here’s a picture of the white dress being twirled in – so, so twirly!!!  This picture is several years old – back when I made the dress the first time.

As I’ve enjoyed the beautiful blooming flowers this spring, it has invited me back to some hand embroidery, which I’ve enjoyed doing.

A few months ago I started looking at pictures of  traditional Scandinavian embroidered clothing.  I wanted to try some of the beautiful stitching, but chose to do something small so that it would likely get finished.  I chose a traditional style Scandinavian bonnet.  Because I was making a bonnet for a little one, I didn’t want to go with the usual black or red background and brightly colored stitching, rather I chose softer spring colors.

After seeing the beautiful Wisteria in bloom, the green and lavender colors won the day!

I really enjoyed building and combining the stitches to create the look that I was going for.  A traditional bonnet would have been stitched in wool threads and a different sort of design, but this is my interpretation of the style.  I felted a wool sweater and embroidered both sides of the bonnet.  There’s plenty of blank canvas to embroider the back/top as well, but I chose to only stitch over the back seam and leave the rest of it plain.

I stitched the Hungarian Braided Chain stitch over the side seams and then embroidered the back seam of the bonnet with the Palestrina Stitch.  Both were fun to do and I continue to sharpen my embroidery skills while working on these.

The inside of the bonnet is lined with a knit fabric with a sweet rosebud print – it is what I had on hand and the colors were right.  Unfortunately I neglected to take a picture of that.

I’m not sure what I’ll be stitching next, but I think it will be finishing up an embroidered project from a recent class that I took.  Here’s a sneak peek – a quick shot with my phone.  I was practicing my granito stitches – still room for improvement, but I enjoyed stitching them!

I’ll leave you a picture from our trip last weekend to Savannah for the wedding of a young couple that we know.  The bride has been part of our family for the last several years and we were so thrilled to be part of the wedding!  We enjoyed some beautiful weather in Savannah and I loved watching the cargo boats coming in to unload – I’ve never seen such huge ships!!!

I hope you’re enjoying some beautiful spring weather as well as some spring/summer stitching!!!

 

Day 2 in the NY Garment District

As promised, I will continue showing pictures of the garment district in NY.  On day 2, after a delicious breakfast in the hotel, I headed to the garment district to visit the stores that were on my list.  I was bundled up warmly since the temperature was in the teens.  Well, I got about 1/2 mile from the hotel and my legs and bootie were freezing, so I ducked into Macy’s and found the lingerie department.  I purchased some Cuddle Duds long johns and put them on under my jeans to keep warm.  LOL!  That was exactly what was needed!!!  Back out into the freezing weather.

There are so many stores to see and such a variety of fabric available to buy, it’s almost overwhelming!!!  I enjoyed window shopping along the way.  I did duck into a few stores just because the fabrics looked interesting.  One of those stores was A & M, Ayazmoon Fabric Store.

They had LOTS of beautiful African Wax cottons in the front window and I immediately thought of one of our refugee women in the sewing school where I volunteer.  I thought I might make a purchase for her.  However, the instant I set foot into that store, the 2 men started in on me.  One of the men followed me through the entire store – walking just 3 feet behind me.  Grrr!!!!  What?  Did he think I was going to run out of the store with a bolt of fabric?  The fabrics were beautiful and the prices were good, but being watched and followed like that was very offensive to me and the verbal harassment to purchase something was equally bad.  I left without purchasing anything!  I would not recommend going there.

I found another store called Gray Line Linens.  This store was all linen fabric – every color, weight, weave that you can imagine!!!  Of course I had to make a purchase there!  I have a beautiful piece of blouse weight aqua chambray linen from this store!  I am thinking a tunic of sorts would be pretty.

There are stores that are so specific to particular things, like the store front that was just feathers and sequins.  I didn’t go in, but couldn’t resist taking a picture of the store front.

I also visited notion stores, including Pacific Trimmings and SIL Threads.  The amount of zippers and buttons in all of the different notion stores is unbelievable!!!  You really have to have something in mind when you shop.

Rows and rows of zippers in every different color and style.

You can find any kind of hardware for making purses, totes, etc. as well as every imaginable tool for pressing.

One of the stores with the most beautiful fabrics that were displayed so nicely was Elliot Berman.  They had gorgeous cottons for men’s shirts and every bolt had samples attached to it that could be taken.  They also carried beautiful wools for suiting.  I could have purchased LOTS there if I was short on fabric!

There was no shortage of trimmings to purchase in the various stores.  Floor to ceiling trims of every kind imaginable!!!

Another store with just as much to offer.

More zippers!!!

The buttons available at the various stores was incredible!!!  So, so many to choose from.  Look at the beautifully painted wooden buttons!!!

I did manage to find some pretty aqua, mother of pearl buttons that had to come home with me.

I am thrilled that I got to visit all these stores and look forward to the next time I’m in NY city!  I will go with a plan.

I managed to get back to my hotel room just before the snow started!

I was glad to be inside where it was warm!

Today the painters are supposed to return to finish up in my kitchen.  I’m ready to have this project finished and my kitchen supplies back in place.  I will be sewing something while they work!

I hope you have a wonderful day stitching something that you love.

Bringing A Dress Up to Date

Just a break from the NY shopping adventure.  😊  There’s extra blog posts while I am forced to be less busy.

Upon our return home, we had 2 of the granddaughter’s for the weekend while their folks were away.  The weather was beautiful and we enjoyed a nice time with the girls.  We were soaking up the sunshine!

Monday morning the painters arrived to work on our kitchen cabinets.  Needless to say, the kitchen is off limits for the moment – no cooking, which I don’t mind, but it is a bit inconvenient to have the entire kitchen taped up!  LOL!

At the end of the day, I did ask that the refrigerator be unwrapped and later that evening I had to bust into the microwave.  LOL!  But, progress is being made.

In the meantime, I’m keeping busy around the house – specifically in the sewing room.  However, with our gorgeous Carolina weather (72º and sunny today!), I am also taking advantage of some quality time in the back yard and relaxing with both hand sewing and reading.

While the girls were here, I took the opportunity to go through the closet and try on some of the samples as well as some of their Auntie “Lo’s” dresses.  This beautiful silk dress fit, but it had those HUGE 90’s style sleeves.  I love this dress, and someone should be able to wear it, so I decided to update the sleeves so that it was wearable.

This is the original dress with the HUGE sleeves.  LOL!  Yep – Auntie Lo wore it like this!

I removed the sleeves and bias band and recut the sleeves to something more in line with both traditional as well as what would be worn today.  Working with silk duping isn’t for the faint at heart – all that fraying!!!  However, I am very pleased with the updated version.  I removed LOTS of fullness as well as some of the height of the sleeve.  The new picture is more accurate colors.

This pattern was a favorite to make for our girls in the 80’s and 90’s.  It is the Little Sunday Dress for Big Girls.  What I love about the dress is that the back yoke wraps around to the front of the dress, allowing the pleats to stay closer together on the dress front without needing to add more fullness to the skirt widths.  Notice that there is no side seam under the arm, it is wrapped to the front.  The back also has dart options for a closer fit and you could also add a belt or sash, which I didn’t do either.

Another detail to point out, because I know I didn’t always remember to do this in my early smocking years – the back yoke should end at the same place as the smocking, so frequently adjustments were needed.  I chose to have the piping end at the center of the purple design, not at the bottom of the tiny wave as I thought that looked a bit odd.

For this special dress, I made a lace block and then cut the collar out of the lace and added the lace ruffle around the outside of the collar.  I love how it looks on this dress – it makes it so special without being too over the top.

The smocking plate is “Ashes of Roses” by Oliver Goodin.  She has beautiful smocking plates and I’ve done quite a few of them.  This is definitely a favorite of mine.  I chose to do silk ribbon flowers and leaves on this dress.  I cannot remember if the plate uses silk ribbon or something else, and I cannot get to it at the moment – kitchen construction.  Hahaha!!!

So, I’m feeling quite relaxed today, resting my leg (per dr. orders) and enjoying the weather and the sewing.

Don’t overlook some of the vintage patterns and plates – they frequently have some wonderful details that you certainly don’t seem to get in any of the big 4 pattern companies.

Just a little Easter inspiration for everyone!  We found enough dresses in the closet that I don’t really need to make anything for Easter for the girls.  But, that doesn’t mean that I won’t!

So, while the kitchen is off limits, I’ll enjoy some stitching.

What are you dreaming of for spring and Easter?

A Crazy Busy Week!!!

So, last week was just crazy busy, but a fun busy!!!  I headed up to NY City with hubby for a work event.  He worked and I shopped!!!  What a perfect combination.  LOL!  The time was short and the weather was stinking cold.

We got in Tuesday at around noon, had lunch and then checked into our lovely hotel.  He headed to work and I headed to the garment district.

My first stop was to the exhibit at the Fashion Institute of Technology.  It was a small exhibit, but the gowns on display were exquisite and the information about the gowns, fabrics and history was very interesting and well done.

Look at the beautifully draped skirt and bodice on this dress!  If I remember correctly, it was silk chiffon.

Of course I had to take a picture of the fabulous smocked bodice of this dress – just exquisite!

This pair of dresses were equally pretty.  The embroidery on the sheer cotton silver muslin was executed perfectly and done in silver filament thread and it was gorgeous.  I wish I’d been able to get a closer picture, but alas, that wasn’t allowed.  The gown next to it was a sheer cotton organdy.

I immediately thought of Kari Mecca and her embellishment techniques when I saw this dress.

I did manage to get a closer view of the embroidery at the waistband.  I wish I’d taken a notebook to write some of the details on these beautiful dresses!  The beaded embroidery was stunning and the embroidery at the waistline set it off beautifully.

This was a very unusual dress because of the very open weave of the fabric.  They referred to it as a “knit” because of that.  The fringe at the hem was part of the fabric and not something that was sewn on afterwards.  Very interesting.

This dress was another beauty and the description of it was all about the fabric details.  I was drooling over the lace!!!

Yet another gorgeous dress with beautifully draped bustle in the back and more gorgeous lace!!!

There were many more dresses and each had their own history of fabric, stitching techniques, etc.  I was thrilled to be in NY to see this exhibit!  I heard that the next exhibit will be even more fabulous than this one, so I am considering another visit later this year – hopefully when the weather is warmer!

From there, I headed to the fabric shopping.  Oh my!!!  I had some places selected that I just had to see, and then others that I just passed by and walked into.  It was like being a kid in a candy shop!!!

My first stop was Mood Fabrics.  Endless bolts of fabric to look at, touch and dream about!  There was everything from home dec to bridal to leather hides and everything in between!  It was so overwhelming that though I thought I took a picture, apparently I didn’t!  I walked through the bridal section/floor, but then headed to the cotton floor and I did have to take home one piece of fabric.  Isn’t this a fun piece of dotted Swiss fabric!  I don’t know what I’ll do with it yet, but it looks like a summer sundress  or top for one or 2 of the little girls to me!!!

I stopped in a few other stores and managed to snag one more piece of fabric before heading back to the hotel.  The hotel was about a mile from the garment district, so not a bad walk.  My second fabric purchase was from a shop on the 9th floor called Metro Textiles.  You have to already know about these places.  It is a pretty eyelet that I see as possibly the summer beach dresses for the girls.  It is cotton, eyelet and already has a wrinkled look to it, so no ironing required!  Perfect!  And it’s turquoise, so I LOVE that!

I also loved the color and weave of this lavender fabric, so bought enough of it to make a couple dresses as well.  The color is much prettier than my sideways pictures shows.  LOL!  All little girls love lavender, so I’m sure that this will be a hit.

After a short rest and a change of clothes, we headed to a little French restaurant nearby called Le Parisien Bistrot where we had dinner reservations.  It was a tiny restaurant with delicious food!!!  I would highly recommend it if you’re in the area.

All in all, day 1 was a great day with 2 happy purchases, dinner with hubby and on the way back to the hotel we stopped and got a nice bottle of wine to enjoy in our room.  Perfect day!

Stay tuned for day 2!!!

Kathy

 

 

A New Year, A New Pattern

It’s been too long since I’ve posted about my sewing adventures!!!  I was busy with Christmas sewing and couldn’t show the gifts and with all the extra activities that happen around the holidays, well, blogging just didn’t happen.

Last weekend I was in Houston, TX with the Midnight Oil smocking group and had such fun!  They are a great group with such talent!  I can’t wait to see their finished dresses – there were so many beautiful fabrics and laces chosen for the project.  Of course, I forgot to take pictures.

I have stayed busy sewing, designing and teaching – all things that I love.   My latest project has been finishing up this bonnet pattern!

I first made this bonnet years ago for Ella.  She looked adorable in it, as I’m sure that any little princess would!   The bonnet can be hand or machine embroidered on the bonnet brim and back as well, just adding to the sweetness without taking too much time to complete.

Over the years, I’ve had requests for this pattern, so I decided that this would be the first thing on my agenda for the new year.  I’m quite pleased to offer it in sizes 6, 12 & 18 mo. in my Etsy shop.

Need a cute and relatively quick gift idea for a new mom – this is perfect!

I am also working on new things for the Classic Sewing Magazine.  If you don’t subscribe, you’re missing out on so many wonderful patterns and ideas from a variety of fabulous designers.  You should consider checking it out!  Of course, I’m biased!!!  LOL!  You’ll have to wait to see pictures of those things.

If you’re interested in the dress pattern that matches the bonnet, that can be found in the Spring 2017 issue of Classic Sewing Magazine and was printed in sizes 1 – 5.

It’s time to be thinking about Easter and spring sewing if you haven’t already started!  I’m staying inside on this chilly day and making plans for some fun sewing for warm weather!!!

Happy stitching!!!

 

 

Pattern Winner and Projects

I’m sorry for the delay in posting the winner of the Vida pattern.  I wanted to wait until I had more sewing projects to share, and that has taken some time.  Our pattern winner is Denise!!!  Congratulations Denise – I hope you’ll enjoy making some of these Vida dresses for the special little girls in your life!

I’ve been busy sewing more Christmas things for the kids.  I have 2 more Disney outfits finished for Livvy and Liam.

For Livvy, I made the Children’s Corner “Callie” pattern, but shortened it to be a top rather than a dress.  I’m pretty sure that this pattern has been discontinued, though you may still be able to find it at some of the heirloom shops.  I loved the princess carriage embroidery design and I’m sure that she will as well.  Every princess needs a knight in shining armor, so that’s what Liam is getting.  I’m sure that he will enjoy the fierce knight!

 

 

I also managed to finish up some of my Sweet Cheeks diaper covers.  The pattern is available in my Etsy shop.  These were complete, only lacking the ribbons.  I don’t love those tedious little hand sewing jobs, so after months of sitting on my sewing table to be finished, I finally have them done!

These 2 are the tiniest sizes, appropriate for preemies or Bitty Baby size dolls.

I do like adding the gingham bias for the leg casings!  That little bit of color is so sweet!

The next diaper cover is the largest size – a 24 mo.  I was thrilled to have the perfect 2-color ribbon in my stash that I could use for the bows.  I think they really set the diaper set off beautifully!!!

In addition to that sewing, I’ve been working on class material for the Make Welcome Sewing School.  I have taken on the challenge of creating small projects and then writing up the instructions so that the could be followed by anyone – even those with limited or no ability to read English.  I hope to have someone test them and let me know if I’m on track with these.  The students will make this up in class, so the instructions are so that they can make them again when they get home if they want.  Here’s what part of a page looks like:

Writing instructions such as these take time to get written and illustrated properly.  I am enjoying the challenge and hope that many of the ladies will benefit from them.  I have stitched several projects, but have only written up 2 class instructions so far.  I’ll continue working on those as time permits.  Some of the projects need to be tweaked to make them easier to sew, such as this table runner.

The next runner will just be a simple pieced rectangle.  I think that will be easier for the beginners to turn those corners rather than have these odd angles to work with.

At the end of our class last week, we had a woman come in with a suggestion to make a simple apron that could be used for post-mastectomy patients to hold their drainage apparatus.  She told us how helpful it was to have the apron.  She gave us the one that she had, which was falling apart, and I took it home and made up an apron and have since written up instructions.  These should be easy for our ladies to stitch up.  This is a great way to use up small pieces of fabric and trims and it’s fun to decorate them as well.  I am sure that there will be lots of creative decorating once we get the ladies sewing these!  I should have used a darker thread to stitch out my “hope” word. In person it’s easier to read, but it certainly doesn’t show up well in my picture.

As you can see, I’ve been busy sewing!!!  I’ve also been busy working on new patterns/classes.  Now, what will be next?

Kathy

More Vida Dresses for Christmas!

I’ve been lazy about taking pictures lately.  These dresses were completed a few weeks ago when I was supposed to be enjoying a sewing retreat at the beach.  Well, I’ve finally added the appliqués to the dress, so thought that they deserved some decent pictures.

I’m pretty sure that the girls will love the dresses since they are bright colors.  I’m thrilled that I had the co-ordinating prints for the dresses!  These are the Vida dress pattern from Farbenmix.  Unfortunately, the pattern is out of print.  However, I’ve managed to snag an extra copy on the second hand market and I’ve decided that I’ll do a drawing for it!  Anyone that comments on my blog will be entered in the drawing for the pattern.  I will choose from the names on Monday, October 15th at 9am EST.  So, if this is a pattern that you’ve bee searching for, please leave a comment!

I wish I could remember whose embroidery file I used for the flower, but alas, it was weeks ago and has left my memory.  I’m sure that it would be easy to find something similar online. The monogram font is from Embroitique.

One of the things I enjoy the most about making these Vida dresses is choosing the fabrics and trims that I want to use.  These colors were a challenge!  I did manage to find some soutache in good colors for this dress, so I wove 3 different colors together to create a braid.

For the pink dress, I actually had some of the trims that were designed to go with the fabric, so they match perfectly!  I’m happy about that.

Now, if I can finish up a few more things and get them photographed, I’ll be able to post more ideas!

These are Christmas gifts for 2 of the granddaughters.  I hope you’re getting some of your Christmas sewing finished!!!

Kathy

Matching Dolly and Girls

I’m still busy stitching up a storm and enjoying every minute of it!  I have just finished dresses for Eva and Livvy and made matching doll dresses.  I know that they will love these!

I had this corduroy in my stash and all of the little girls have pointed it out and said that they loved it.  😊  I think it is the bright colors that they love.  I had a pink corduroy that also matched, so I chose the Children’s Corner “Rose” pattern.  It went together quickly and easily!  I chose to line the sleeves because I preferred a more finished inside to the sleeve.  Aside from that, I made it exactly as the pattern indicated.

Of course, the yoke needed a monogram!  I chose the Fancy 1 Monogram set from Embroitique.  I have always had beautiful stitch outs from any of the designs purchased from Embroitique!

 For the matching doll dresses, I went to my Genniewren patterns and chose the Jessica pattern.  Genine’s patterns always go together so well and fit nicely.  I did make a few changes to the pattern.  For easier dressing (aka: mom doesn’t need to help!), I changed the back so that it opened all the way down the back.  That is also how the girl dresses are made, so it also makes them more match-y.  LOL!

The Jessica dress has a puffed sleeve with a cuff, and I wanted to make it straight, just like the girl dresses.  To accomplish this, I folded out a little of the fullness in the sleeve and straightened out the lower edge.  While this isn’t pattern drafting at its best, it was an easy way to do it.  It’s a doll dress after all.  I was going for a quick fix, not perfect drafting.  To do this, I made 3 small folds in the sleeve – each being slightly less than 1/4″ – and then drew a straight line along the sleeve bottom.

It worked well enough for me.  This eliminated all the gathers in the sleeve, but leaves gathers in the dress front and back.

I like to close the doll dresses with snaps, and I always use the snaps from Snapsource.  The tool works well and I’ve never had an issue with the snaps coming out.  It is an easy tool to use and I highly recommend it.

I didn’t have enough of my corduroy fabric to make Ella a matching dress, so hers will be a coordinating dress instead.  That will work well – then Eva won’t have to wear the same dress again in a couple of years, though I’m sure she wouldn’t mind.

After completing these cute dresses, I did a quick sew and stitch on Sunday of another sweet Wee Care dress.  This dress was featured in the SAGA news in 2001 and again in later issues. I’ve been told that they are working on republishing the pattern for the Wee Care issue next year, so if you don’t have the earlier issues of SAGA news, you can wait until next year and then you’ll be able to stitch it as well.

That’s it for now.  I’ll be working on Ella’s dress as well as some Christmas sewing next!!!

Kathy

Sewing, sewing, sewing…..

I’ve been sewing a LOT since my last post, but many of the things aren’t quite finished, which is why I haven’t posted about them.  😛  However, without having deadlines, who knows when they will be finished, so I’ll go ahead and post the nearly finished things.  LOL!

First, I thought I should sew one of the Tamarack jackets from Grainline Studio that we are making in the class with the refugee women at Project 658’s Make Welcome Sewing School.  I felt better prepared after making the jacket.  Of course, it is lacking the closures.  The pattern recommends snaps.  We’ll see – might be buttons.

There are many of the instructions that I don’t care for, so some of them I did my way, while others I went with the pattern directions, but would do them my way next time.  I love the fabrics that I chose for the jacket, but I’m not sure that I’m a fan of the jacket.  Perhaps that’s why it isn’t finished!

If you decide to make this jacket, I would recommend quilting rectangles large enough to accommodate the pattern pieces and then cutting out the pieces after they have been quilted.  Quilting does shrink up the fabric a little and if you follow the pattern directions, which have you cut the lining, face fabric and lining of each piece, then sandwich them together and then quilt – well, the pieces don’t end up matching correctly at the edges, no matter how carefully you cut and stitch.  Then the quilted piece isn’t the same size as the pattern piece. I quilted first, then cut – much more accurate.

I chose to bind the seams inside, but am not a fan of how the bound seams match up with the bias outer edges (which has the very edge cut and unfinished).  Next time I’ll do a Hong Kong seam and I’ll finish the edges of the bias binding properly.  The pattern indicated to stop the side seam stitching at the “dot”, which is above the bias band.  I didn’t like that look so I stitched to the bottom of the bias binding.  I followed the pattern directions for the welt pocket, but will never use that method again.  I don’t believe that it is durable enough for constant use of the pockets.  One of the other volunteers teaches a more traditional way to stitch the pocket, which is how I’ve done them in the past.  I’ll continue using the traditional method in the future.  I like to try the pattern directions, but after that, things are done the way that I prefer.  Anyway, this is project #1 that is “nearly” finished.

Then, the next projects were supposed to be stitched while enjoying a sewing retreat at the beach with some special friends.  After a week of getting projects planned and supplies kitted, meal planning, grocery shopping and meal prep, hurricane Florence arrived and changed those plans!  Since I’d made kits for each dress, all the fabrics, trims, threads, etc. and the hard decisions were made, the kit made it easy to take out one project and move forward.  I had my “retreat” at home.

The first project I cannot show since it will hopefully make its’ debut in Classic Sewing magazine next summer.  Here’s a sneak peek – ignore the stray thread!  Hahaha!!!!  How did I miss that one???

Then I moved on to more Vida dresses that will be Christmas gifts.  These are for Ella and Eva, so the same prints in different colors.  You may remember that Livvy has the Minnie Mouse dress.  Of course, both of these are missing the buttons and buttonholes and I’m still deciding if they need a monogram or appliqué somewhere.

This was my quick, unprofessional cell phone picture of the dresses carefully placed on the coffee table!  LOL!  I love the Tilda fabrics and have been saving them for the right dresses and these were just the ticket!  Once I decide about what else is needed, I’ll have those finished and put away until December.

I also started another Minnie Mouse Vida dress for Livvy’s other cousin, but had to set it aside as I’m waiting on the last of the fabric to arrive.  So, another UFO – we’re up to 4 now.  🙄

In addition to all the fun sewing for the grandkids, I’ve been doing some sewing for Caleb Ministry, which is such a wonderful ministry to women suffering miscarriage/loss.  I have made 4 boy gowns with matching caps (the tiniest size doesn’t get a copy).  Thankfully, these are all finished!!!  No UFO’s.  I tried different thread colors to try to get the best match for the corded pintucks.  I think my favorite is the middle gown.  Now, to mark that one so that I know the next time!

The next thing I  tackled was embroidering hankies that are put in the memory boxes.  I think I embroidered about 20 of these.  The stitching goes quickly, but the prep work and set up takes forever.  The hankies need to be washed, ironed, starched and then marked for embroidery.  They do seem to take forever just to get little feet stitched on them.  I’m not a fan of production style sewing or the amount of stabilizer used for these, so these are definitely a labor of love.

The last group of embroidered items are the blankets.  I was given these blankets to embroider – someone else stitched the blanket edges.  They did such a nice job with the rolled hem edge – something I haven’t been able to master on my serger!  I think that there’s about 15 of these – 3 different sizes.

So, you can see that I had my personal sewing “retreat” and loved spending the time sewing with few interruptions.  It was good to have all that distraction from the hurricane happenings.  My thoughts and prayers go to all of those whose lives have been affected by this disaster!

After all that stitching, I cleaned up the sewing room and last night I cut out 2 dresses for the little girls.  I hope to start on them this week but need to do some cleaning in the rest of the house first!

What have you been stitching?  Have you started Christmas sewing yet?

Kathy

 

New Sewing Opportunity with Make Welcome!!!

I’ve been busy working on a dress for the magazine, so I have nothing that I can show now for my sewing projects.  LOL!  You’ll just have to wait to see this one.  Maybe next summer!   But, in the meantime, I’ve found a new ministry that can use my sewing skills and I’m so thrilled to be part of it!

This week I had the opportunity to spend 2 mornings sewing with the refugee women at their sewing school.  This is the most wonderful, well thought out ministry that falls under the umbrella of Project 658.  Beth Pickney and Julie Caminesch started this sewing ministry and more recently it has joined with Project 658.  Project 658 encompasses so many areas that minister to the needs of the refugee population.  It is located close to neighborhoods where they live and has multiple ministries, including ESL classes, culinary classes, a medical clinic, Bible studies for homeless, after school enrichment programs, the Make Welcome sewing school and much more!

They provide childcare in the mornings so that anyone participating with little ones can still attend any of these classes free of charge.  At lunch time, the culinary students serve a delicious meal (and plenty of it!) to anyone that has been involved that morning from the little ones to the homeless and all the employees.  The food is delicious!!!  I’ve been so impressed with everything about this ministry and know I’ll be blessed by being part of it!

There were 7 ladies at the Tuesday morning beginner sewing class.  Beth did an amazing job teaching them, starting at the basics of the sewing machine and the sewing tools and then moving on to let them test drive the machines.  There are 8 machines for students to use.  They did a great job!

The Wednesday class is making the Tamarack jacket by Grainline Studio.   They spent the morning cutting out their fabrics and batting for the jackets.  Next week the sewing will begin.  Almost EVERYTHING that these ladies use has been donated except for the sewing machines which have been purchased.  EVERYTHING!!!  Check out the wall of fabrics.  One of the other volunteers, Lisa, spent much of the summer organizing the fabrics!  Doesn’t it look great!

The sewing school has a dedicated space at Project 658, so at the end of the class, everything is put in the proper bins and ready for the next class.  Classes are currently Monday – Thursday mornings and there’s a waiting list of ladies that want to participate!

Even if you aren’t in Charlotte, you can still participate by supporting this wonderful ministry!  I hope you’ll consider it!  You can go to the this link.  I know that every dollar donated will be appreciated and will go towards supplies for the classes.  This is a non-profit agency, so all donations are tax-deductible.

Not only do the ladies learn how to sew in this school, but they have the opportunity to “earn” a sewing machine just by attending classes!  They have to pay only 1/4 of the cost of the machine after they have attended enough classes.  Many women have done this and now know how to sew AND have a sewing machine at home.

The ministry works hard to find sewing opportunities for the graduates of the school that are interested in employment.  These 2 ladies come in each morning and sew on 2 of the other machines doing all sorts of sewing projects.

One day they were making men’s ties for a cottage industry that sells them.  Here they are sewing labels into t-shirts for another company.  There is a mother/daughter team that sews headbands at home (1000 or more each week!!!) for another cottage industry.  Holly and Sage owner, Jennifer not only volunteers, but also employees 4 of the ladies to make her line of children’s clothing.  There are other businesses that provide opportunities as well – I’m still figuring all of this out.  But, what an amazing ministry for these women!!!  They are paid fair wages for their work and can work from home or can come in and sew on site.

This is truly showing hospitality and the face of Christ to so many of the refugee and immigrant population in Charlotte!!!  I am so thrilled to be a small part of this ministry and look forward to getting to know the ladies as well as everyone else there.

So, to keep up with the ladies, I’ve purchased my pattern, have it taped and ready to trace off my size and I’ll be making my jacket at home so that I can be one step ahead of the group and be able to answer any questions that might come up.  Of course, the other fabulous volunteers have already been involved in teaching this class and have answers for everything!  I know I can count on them.  🙂

Keep on stitching!!!

A New Dress

The last few weeks have been interesting and full of smocking as well as some travel.  For a couple of weeks I was limited in what I could do, having to keep my leg elevated.  Thankfully I had several smocked pieces that I could work on during this time!

Then we headed up to Michigan for my parents 65th wedding anniversary celebration.   What a blessing to have their example in our lives!!!

My sister knows how to throw a party!!!  She had all the decorations displayed so nicely, beautiful flowers and delicious food for everyone.  There were 60 people at the party – family members, church friends as well as their long time friends that were able to attend.  My husband was able to take some nice pictures for us.  It was so nice to see cousins that I haven’t seen in 35+ years as well as to see my brothers and their wives/families.  It was a great get-together and my folks were thrilled to have such a wonderful turnout!  They even had some of their original wedding party members attending!!!

I love that mom’s wedding dress was included.  It was made by her aunt, so it is near and dear to my heart knowing that sewing is part of my heritage!

Here’s a picture of my mom and dad and my siblings.  We have only gotten together about every 5 years due to all of us living so far apart.

Once I returned home, I was able to sew again.  Whew!  I stitched up 3 of the diaper covers that I had smocked the week before and then started working on the dress.  All that time spent doing very little left a lot of time for me to peruse Pinterest!  Dangerous!  While on Pinterest, I found a gorgeous smocking design that I knew I had to do, and again, was thankful to have an insert already pleated and ready to go. I managed to track the photo back to a youtube video.  With the video, I found the Facebook page, Instagram page and managed to get the email address of the lady that produced the video.  I have tried every way possible to contact her, to no avail.  So, I did what any smocking enthusiast would do – I tried to recreate the smocking design.

It wasn’t hard to recreate, but it did take quite some time to smock the pink “ribbon” before embroidering the flowers.  Hahaha!!!  I’m quite pleased with the results!

For the dress, I used the Children’s Corner “Libby” pattern.  I’ve had this pattern for years, but never used it.  ???  Why?  Who knows.  It’s adorable and I love that this can be worn with a blouse underneath to extend the wearing time into cooler weather.  I tried to locate this pattern to provide a link, but it seems it is out of print.  It is probably still available at a few heirloom shops – you’ll have to search if you want this one!

I am thankful to have such a huge stash of fabric and was able to use what I had.  There was just enough of the polka dot to squeeze the dress out, but not enough for a large hem.  No problem – I like the use of a French bias for the hem.  The French bias hem adds a touch of color, which I think it perfect for this dress.

I continue to enjoy sewing children’s clothes – it helps me avoid making the window treatments for our kitchen!  LOL!  Maybe I’ll get to those soon.   What’s up next?  That’s still in the planning stages.  Stay tuned!

 

Baby Britches – Another Diaper Cover

I’ve been enjoying these smaller, quick projects lately.  The diaper covers fit the bill perfectly! After finishing up the Sweet Cheeks diaper cover pattern, I started working on a similar one that would work for baby boys as well as baby girls and came up with this version and called it Baby Britches.

Can’t you see this set on some little twin babies!!!   I love picture smocking, so that would always be my first choice for little boys and is often what I choose for little girls.  The smocked cars are from a Pat Garretson smocking plate called Danny’s Toys.  That smocking plate has several different small designs that would work on the diaper cover.

I had fun making these little diaper covers in all the sizes, including the doll size!  The smaller doll sizes take no time at all to make – perhaps 1 hour for smocking AND sewing them!

For the 2 diaper pictured above with the tiny sailboats, I smocked my own tiny sail boat design and am putting the design here so that others can smock this design as well.  You can download the graph by clicking on the blue words below.  🙂

tiny sailboats

Even for the picture smocking “challenged”, this is a simple plate with only 2 rows to picture smock.  The sails are trellis stitches, as is the flag.  I honestly think that anyone ought to be able to smock this tiny design!

I went out and purchased some little shirts to photograph the diaper covers with and think that both the onesies as well as the shirts look good with them.  Of course, I’m probably biased!  LOL!  I felt like I had my “Vineyard Vines” vibe going on with these with those pineapples and whales.

For easy dressing and a no-iron option for the tops, choose onesies!  Though I’m not particularly fond of them, they do allow the diaper covers to shine!!!

The little whale smocking design is a Kathy Crisp miniature design called Babies Ahoy.  You may still be able to find her plate online.  It has several tiny designs featured on the one smocking plate.  It was hard to choose which one to smock!  There are other small designs available to smock as well – just look at some of the smaller figures on picture smocking designs and you will see that you probably have more in your personal stash than you realize!

I like embellishing the back of the diapers as well and the little girls nearly always get some sort of ruffles while the boy covers can be monogrammed or they can have an appliqué design stitched.

I couldn’t resist doing some embroidery on the waistband for the little girl diaper cover – it offers a small area to embroider and took only a few minutes and I think adds a lot!

There are so many ways to embellish both the waistband as well as the diaper cover back!

With 2 doll sizes offered in the pattern (Bitty Baby size as well as a 12″ – 15″ size), I think these would also work well for Wee Care items for the hospitals.

I hope to see some creative ideas from all my smocking friends!  Until then, keep on stitching!!!

“Sweet Cheeks” Smocked Diaper Cover

For the past year I’ve seen pictures on Pinterest of smocked diaper covers, but when I searched for a similar pattern, I couldn’t find any.  Our smocking guild issued a challenge which included using red gingham and spaghetti bias on anything, so that was my incentive to get a pattern finished for this diaper cover.  I loved the results!

I’m looking forward to bringing in my “challenge” item and also to seeing what everyone else has completed for their challenge.

After completing my challenge diaper cover, I proceeded to draft the other sizes.  I couldn’t stop!  I ended up with 9 different sizes for the diaper cover!!!  The smallest 2 sizes are for dolls – a 12″ – 15″ doll, and then a 15″ – 18″ doll.  Then the sizes move on to Preemie (4 – 5 lb.) all the way up to XL (21- 24 lb.).  That larger size could fit many 2 year old still in diapers.

Each diaper cover that I made became my new favorite!  I just love all of them!!!  LOL!  It was so fun taking pictures.  I wish that I had a NB baby to do portrait pictures wearing just these sweet little covers!  How cute would that be???  Of course, I love ruffles and couldn’t resist adding ruffles to the back of these!

I can also see these as being a quick way to dress up a onesie.  I’m not a fan of onesies and was glad that my granddaughters were never seen in them.  However, I do see the appeal from a busy mom’s standpoint – soft, comfortable and easy wash and wear.  That said, onesies are in the same category as PJ’s to me – not something you wear out in public!  LOL!  Definitely am showing my age with that comment.  Anyway, I thought that a quick pull on of this sweet diaper cover and they go from “PJ’s at home” look to “boutique”.

These diaper covers are cute no matter what you smock on them – from the simplest smocking design to something with cast-on flowers or bullion flowers!!!  They are quick to smock and quicker to sew.  With only 4 rows of smocking, that can be completed in quick time.  Add a little more time to embroider flowers and then about 1-1/2 hours (max) to sew and you have an adorable diaper cover to bless a little girl with!!!

I was so fortunate to have Lisa test the pattern for me and we bounced back different ideas for design, sizing, etc.  She created an adorable set and dressed her reborn doll in it – just too cute!  I enjoyed working with her and her help was invaluable!!!  Thank you Lisa!!!

I think that the preemie and doll sizes would work beautifully for Wee Care items as well.  I can see the tiniest size with a bonnet or blanket going to the hospital for a loving remembrance of a precious little one.

I added lace to the back of one of the diaper covers – it doesn’t show up well in pictures, but it is so sweet in person.

There are so many possibilities with this pattern!  I hope that I’ll be seeing lots of cute versions!  The pattern is available in my Etsy shop for anyone interested in smocking their own cute little bloomers!  You can click on the link to find it.

As always, keep on stitching…….

Kathy

 

Christmas Sewing in July

I love getting a head start on Christmas sewing!!!  I was told that there is a Disney trip planned for Jan. 2019 and that the kids could use some special clothes for the trip.  While I’m sure that the intent was for 1 or 2 outfits, I have had so many different ideas in my head that who knows how many they will end up with!  LOL!

My first thoughts took me to the “Vida” dress by Farbenmix.  It continues to be a favorite of mine because of the fun in designing the dress with different fabrics and trims.  I definitely have to think outside the box for me.  My box tends to be classic, heirloom and smocking.  This dress is none of the above!  That said, I still have LOVED every Vida dress that I’ve made. The newest one is a Minnie Mouse dress, complete with a monogram.

Before starting the dress, I had to wash all the fabrics.  That slowed me down only for one day!  Then I got started on the dress the following day and had it finished by the end of the day.  I love it!

Since it is a brother/sister going to Disney, little brother needed something as well.  I chose a more masculine monogram for him and I think he will love it.  I purchased shorts to go with it, but my mannequin is too small for his size and the shorts fall off.  LOL!  Suffice it to say that he will not be without some cute shorts to wear with his shirt.

I spent countless hours on the computer looking through my thousands of embroidery designs.  Unfortunately, after looking for all the perfect appliqué designs for both outfits as well as the other outfits in the works, I can only recall that the fonts came from Kabo Designs on Etsy.  However, when I went to search for a link to share the fonts, I discovered that they are no longer selling embroidery fonts, but have changed to die cut outs.  So sad – the fonts stitched out beautifully.  I’m glad that I have so many to choose from.

Next up in the sewing room is another t-shirt for Liam.  I have Livvy’s princess carriage outfit finished and have selected his appliqué design.  I just need to stitch it out.

I am having such fun with this sewing.  I’m definitely going to make all the little girls a Vida dress for a Christmas gift.  I had forgotten how much fun it was to sew this dress!

Moving forward…..hope to get more things done!  I hope everyone else is enjoying some fun summer stitching!  Remember, Christmas isn’t that far off!  LOL!

Quilted Micro-Preemie Bunting Pattern & Tutorial

The last several months I’ve been sewing some of the adorable micro-preemie buntings that I found as a free download on the internet.  It is adorable and very functional.  Our SAGA guild has already been able to provide one of these buntings to a family that lost their precious little girl.  Of course, that made me want to make more of these, so I proceeded to cut out and begin to sew 16 more.  I have all but 8 of them finished, many are duplicates, so I only included a photo of different fabrics..  They have taken a considerable amount of time.

While I love the pattern and the style, I fount it to be very tedious with all the fiddly parts of it – the extra blanket inside, a pillow, etc.  After making quite a few of these and having to hand sew on all those tiny ribbons, I was determined to come up with something that had the same look, but was easier to construct and my goal was to eliminate the hand sewing since it took hours to stitch on all the little ribbons!

I am quite pleased with the gown that I came up with and am thankful for the inspiration that came from the first pattern that I made so many of.  I have been able to complete 3 of these buntings in the same time that it takes me to complete one of the other ones.  It also uses less fabric & ribbon and requires no hand sewing.  So, I’m offering it as a free download to anyone that wants to make these. (fingers crossed that the PDF download works!)  I know that they are much appreciated by both the families as well as the hospitals.

Kathys Quilted Micro-Preemie Bunting

Quilted Micro Preemie Bunting – For Babies Less Than 1 lb.

This sweet little bunting has been designed as a burial bunting for micro preemie babies.  It stitches up quickly and uses minimal amounts of fabric.  Quilting the fabric gives it the necessary body.  Small bits of lace or trim can be used for embellishment if desired.  A little hand or machine embroidery can be done very quickly.

Fabric for the inside of the bunting should be flannel, though any soft and absorbent fabric can also be used.  A variety of fabrics can be used for the outside fabric.  If pre-quilted fabric is used it eliminates the need to quilt the fabric.  Quilting cottons, broadcloth, satin, piqué, etc. all work well for the outside fabric of the bunting.  A lightweight minky fabric or cotton chenille also work for the outside of the bunting.  If using either of these fabrics, I would recommend using flannel rather than batting for the inner layer.

Small scraps of trims or lace can be used to decorate the front flaps of the bunting.  These would include ribbons, soutache braid, Swiss eyelet lace, Val lace, rickrack, etc.

 Supplies:

12” W x 15” L piece of fashion fabric

12” W x 15” L piece of batting

12” W x 15” L piece of flannel

12” W x 15” L piece of batiste (optional)

24” of ¼” or 1/8” ribbon

12” of lace/trim (optional)

Thread to match

Blue wash out marker

Print the pattern. Ensure that the pattern has been printed to the correct size by checking the 1” box.  Printing should be done from a computer, not a phone or tablet.  Cut out the 2 pattern pieces and tape together, matching the notch.  Printing 2 copies of the pattern and taping both together will give the full pattern piece, which is helpful for aligning patterns on the fabric.

To mark the fashion fabric for quilting, start on one side of the fabric and using a gridded ruler, mark lines at 1” intervals along both the length and the width of the fabric. The grids can also be stitched at 45º angles for a different look.

Place batiste with wrong side facing up.  Place the batting on top of the batiste, matching all cut edges and then place the fashion fabric, right side up, on top of the batting, aligning all cut edges. Pin to secure.  Starting at the center line of the 15” L, stitch along the line from top to bottom.  Moving out from the center line, stitch remaining lines until all the lines have been stitched along the 15” length.  Repeat for the process for the 12” W to complete the quilting of the fashion fabric.

Using batiste as the backing for the quilted fabric is optional, but I found it much easier to have the batiste backing on the fabric for cutting out and sewing.

Cut out the bunting pattern from the quilted fabric and another from the flannel.

I found that  cutting the top of the pattern straight across and then marking the “v” shape between the 2 taped together pieces as well as marking the circle worked well.  It was easier to cut out the “v” afterwards by folding the fabric in half and then cutting along the drawn in line.

For some fabrics (particularly the satin, which frays easily) I traced around the pattern piece, then stitched the layers together and cut out just outside the stitching line.  Having a compacted edge made it easier to sew.

With right sides together, stitch the seam for the hood of the bunting, stitching around the curve and stopping at the circle.    

Do any embellishing at this point.

Cut the ribbons into 6” lengths and pin the ribbons to the quilted fabric.

With right sides together, pin the flannel to the quilted fabric all around the outside edges. Stitch around the entire bunting, leaving a 2” – 2-1/2″ opening between one set of ribbons.

Trim seam allowance a little and clip curves and clip into the right angle, right up to the stitching line.

Pull bunting through the opening to get it right side out.  Press.  Pin closed the 2″ opening.   Edgestitch around the entire bunting, closing up the 2” opening.  An edge stitching foot can make this process easier.

Remove blue wash out marker by spritzing or soaking in cold water for 5 minutes.

Fold up lower section, bring outside sections together and tie the ribbons into a bow.

Tie ribbon ends into knots or heat seal or use Fray Check to prevent the ribbons from fraying.

Embellishing ideas:

A bit of Swiss trim with an entredeux edge was stitched about 1″ away from the seam (so measure 1-1/4″ away from cut edge to apply).  Floss was run through the ribbon and then used again to stitch French knots in the flower centers.

Pink and yellow tiny rickrack were braided together to give just a little complimentary color to this bunting.

Val beading with pink ribbon was used to trim this bunting.  The next time I do this treatment, I think I will move it a little away from the seam allowance and I think it will look better.

Two different sized rickrack was used for this bunting.  The smaller stitched on top of the larger.  If you find it difficult to keep the trims in place prior to stitching, use a washable glue to glue down the trim.  Elmer’s washable glue can be used and then press dry for a quick dry.

I hope you’ll enjoy making these sweet little buntings for your local hospital!  Please feel free to share this post with your sewing group, SAGA guild, etc.

Happy stitching!

Kathy