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

 

 

Lots of Sewing Fun

Getting ready for the beach trip always means lots of sewing for me.  I love making the little girls matching outfits.  They are young and still enjoy matching each other, so I love to sew for them while they are still excited after the mermaid outfits, I made the girls matching watermelon dresses from the Children’s Corner “Jacqueline” pattern.  They turned out so cute!  I do think that this pattern runs slightly larger than their other patterns, but maybe that’s my imagination!  LOL!

Then I completed a Bonnie Blue “Claire” outfit with an insert that I had smocked years ago.  I love this flamingo smocking design from Frances Messina Jones.  It is called Fancy Flamingoes.  I was thrilled to be able to finally use this smocked insert!  I do find that the Bonnie Blue patterns run significantly larger than the Children’s Corner ones and need to remember that before I use them again.  The outfit has been a big hit with Ella and she wears it quite regularly.

My last sewing venture prior to the beach was making up a “test” sample dress of the Felicity pattern called Sunny Dress and Bloomers.  I made this several years ago for the girls and they looked adorable in it, so I thought I’d try it again.  I remembered it running very wide, so I made a size 4 dress for Ella (she wears a size 6X).  It has plenty of growing room in it!  I will have to see what it looks like on her before I make more of these.  I love the ruffles and it’s a cute dress.  As always, the larger sizes look better on the little girls rather than on the mannequin.

While at the beach, I was able to get a cute picture of Livvy in her mermaid outfit made from my Mermaid Dress and Top pattern.  She looked adorable!!!

Eva had her mermaid outfit as well, but it was harder to get a picture that shows it off.  They were having such fun with the telescope, even though it wasn’t working!  (we didn’t put the money in it!!!)

Since being home, I’ve enjoyed some relaxing sewing and have been able to be creative.  I finished up 20 sets of diapers from the Teeny Tears pattern.  You have to request the pattern from them to sew these up.  Our SAGA guild includes these diaper sets with the tiny gowns that we make.  While these are tiny, so one would think that they are a quick sew, they actually take longer than you would think.  They are quite fiddly to stitch, clip/trim and turn and then topstitch, but I still enjoy making them.  My friend gave me all of these scraps of flannel that she had left from her quilting projects, and there were enough to cut out about 100 diapers!!!  Obviously, I still have more to sew.  LOL!

Then I had Ella over this week for her first sewing lesson.  She was so excited about it and couldn’t wait to start a project.  I chose a pillowcase as her first project and pulled out 6 different complimentary fabrics for her to choose from.  She did such a great job with her sewing and was quite proud of the finished pillowcase!

Ella was totally focused on stitching straight.  She went nice and slow and was very accurate.

She told me that this was going to be her favorite pillowcase!!!  ❤️  She can’t wait for her next lesson.

I hope that all my sewing friends are enjoying a wonderful summer and stitching up some pretty things!!!

 

Princess Slippers

I’ve finished my next set of 3 matching dresses for the girls.  This time I chose the Children’s Corner “Mary De” dress – one of our favorites!   I have the older version, so I have to adjust the bodice when I do an insert.  The newer pattern has been revised so that the insert option is in the pattern.

While I know that princess shoes aren’t necessarily a beach theme, they are always popular with little girls.  That, however, wasn’t the driving factor in my smocking choice.  😂  What drove the choice was that I had 2 matching inserts that were purchased from Beaux Et Belles when they used to sell inserts after the season was over.  I am thankful that I still have some that I can use.  It makes for a quick sew when you don’t have to do the smocking!!!  I always get questions about where to purchase the inserts.  They don’t sell them anymore, so the only place is on the second hand market (Ebay, Etsy, etc.).  You’re on your own if you wish to find inserts to purchase.  They always had original smocking designs, so that is nice as well.

Thankfully, I had the smocking design from Frances Messina Jones that is also a princess slipper!  It is called A Perfect Fit.  I chose to do different borders only because I’m trying to make it a point to try things that I haven’t done before, and this seemed to lend itself to trying out curved smocking.  I’m happy with the way it turned out – the plate is adorable and I enjoyed the curved smocking.  Frances has the cutest smocking designs – you need to check them out if you enjoy picture smocking!!!

I know that I’ve mentioned this before when I’ve shared inserts that I’ve purchased from Beaux Et Belles.  I find it amazing that the picture smocking on these inserts is done with TWO strands of floss rather than the 4 that we normally use!  Amongst the smocking community, both new and seasoned smockers, there is always discussion regarding how many strands of floss to use for picture smocking and such.  Most often today, 4 strands of floss are used.  However, I have seen many comments suggesting that 5 strands of floss are needed for good coverage.  As you can imagine, there are as many opinions as there are smockers!  LOL!  And many of the opinions are quite strong.

My opinion is to do what works best for you.  That said, the evidence is clear that 2 strands of floss do a wonderful job – it is a matter of technique and practice to get the 2 strands to lay smooth and do the job well.  Pictures don’t lie!  Here is a close up of the 2 strand smocking.  It’s beautiful!

A while back (and shared in a previous post) I did an experiment to see if I could picture smock with 2 strands.  The answer is a resounding YES!   But, the results will vary if you take a smocking design that was designed for 4 strands and then use only 2.  Here is my experiment picture.

For the experiment, I chose a smocking design by Creative Keepsakes.  This design recommended 3 strands of floss for the sailboat.  The center boat is smocked with 3 strands. The boat to the right is smocked with 4 strands and the boat to the left is smocked with 2 strands.  As you can see – ALL have adequate coverage on the same piece of broadcloth.  The only difference is the size.  I do not “treat” my floss in any way other than separating the floss into individual strands and then putting them back together, threading the needle and stroking the threads as many times as is needed to remove all the kinks.  You can feel the thread becoming more smooth as you stroke it more.  In addition, some of the oils from your skin will aid in conditioning the floss.  I don’t starch, iron, use wax or any other of the numerous methods that are done.  30+ years of picture smocking has given me plenty of practice.

I’m looking forward to the beach trip and I hope to get 3 more outfits finished next week!  Fingers crossed…….

Happy stitching!!!

The Mermaid Dress and Top & New Pattern

I’ve been busy stitching outfits for our upcoming beach trip!  I’ve had such fun with all these designs and outfits!!!  I may have to make several more.  😊

The first outfit was a popsicle set.  I chose the popsicle colors based on the polka dots in the fabric I was using for the shorts.  The smocking design is called Chip’s Frozen Pops.  It is an older design from the 80’s/90’s.

Of course, I thought it was adorable.  However, when I tried it on Eva – my granddaughter with a definitely sense of style – she vetoed it in favor of a “sea green” top with pink pigs smocked on it!  Ack!!!  After finding some aqua domestic dotted Swiss in my stash, I did manage to talk her into mermaids, so all is well.  Mermaids are a better theme for the beach than pigs.  LOL!

While there are several cute mermaid smocking plates, I decided to create my own design for this summer’s beach trip and came up with the mermaid and dolphin.  I really like it!

This was the first one, and my fingers are crossed that Eva will love it!!!  She also chose the fabric for her shorts, which was a stretch twill and perfect for shorts.  The contemporary design seems to go well with the water/mermaid theme.

As you can see, I got quite carried away with the pattern and the beach-y theme.  A dress was requested for Ella, so I made the mermaid dress out of piqué.  I had fun with the hem and stitched jumbo rick rack under the tuck and then stitched on top of the stitching line with a coral stitch and variegated thread (#5 pearl cotton).

The white top is a sheer voile, doubled and with a self ruffle on the top.  I wanted to smock it with the same design I did many years ago for a special Ebay outfit.  I loved it then and I still love it now.

This has now become my new Etsy pattern and I’ve called it the Mermaid Dress & Top.  I have drafted it in sizes 1 – 7 and there are 3 options for the dress/top – a bias band finish at the bodice top, the 2nd option is quicker to sew with a yoke in the back – so the back can be smocked or left unsmocked and just gathered into the yoke.  The 3rd option is the self-ruffle finish seen on the white top.  I’m happy with each version and can’t wait to see all the little girls wearing their new mermaid outfits when we are at the beach.  Here’s the back variations:

I am sure that I will get questions about the shorts pattern – it is not included.  You can choose your favorite shorts pattern and if you are so inclined, scallop the hem.  Drafting shorts patterns doesn’t excite me the way that smocked outfits do!

I have several more on the design table now.  I can’t wait to start them.  What are you stitching?

Kathy

 

Adorable Boy Diaper Sets!

I’ve been absent for too long.  What have I been up to, you might ask.  I’ve been pattern drafting and testing. I’ve finally finished up the diaper set pattern for infants and included NB – 12 mo. sizes in the pattern.  I have at least one request per month for my preemie pattern in larger sizes, so now it is done!  Whew!  That was some work.  Of course, before I would consider listing the pattern, I had to make it up in each size.  I now have several sweet sets that I can save for future grandkids or use for baby gifts.  I love how each one turned out!

I love red, white and blue – especially for little boys!  I worked on the shadow work anchor embroidery while we drove to the mountains on Sunday to visit the inlaws and spend Mother’s Day with my MIL.  The 2 hour drive was ample time to get the embroidery finished.  However,  I don’t recommend shadow work embroidery in the car!  LOL!  It was quite the challenge to get that needle back into the same hole while riding in a car.  However, it did turn out cute!

I

Another set was made in green seersucker and I had to include the frog embroidery on this set!  One of our SAGA guild members had embroidered these frogs on a Wee Care outfit and I loved them, so I did them on the diaper set.  If you’re interested in the design, it comes from the A – Z Bullion embroidery.

Then I did another outfit with the tiniest bit of embroidery.  I appliquéd the boat with a blanket stitch and then added just a little hand embroidery to finish up the boat.

After 3 boy outfits, I decided to make a fun little girl outfit instead of the frilly lace one like I did for the preemie set, though the instructions are included for the frilly lace set in the pattern!

Obviously, I couldn’t exclude lace altogether!!!  I gathered up some flat lace and stitched it on using ribbon to cover up the raw edges of the lace.  I am quite happy with how it turned out.  Then I added piping and lace to the blouse.  The yellow flower buttons were such a great match to the fabric.

For the little girl blouse, I chose a fun bird to embroider.  After looking online for the perfect (in my opinion!) bird, I didn’t find exactly what I was looking for, so I took elements of different birds that I saw and drew my own.  It was fun to incorporate some different stitch combinations to make up this bird and I think it adds such a sweet touch to the blouse.  I did include the bird design in the pattern as well – it was too cute to leave out!

I think I’m going to have to have my tech support guy (aka: hubby!) check my photo set up – I’m not getting quite the right colors and seem to have some weird shading going on.  Maybe it’s because I’ve neglected the blog and haven’t done my photo editing lately.  😂😛  Now it is on to cleaning up the room and deciding on the next project.  I think it will have to be some summer outfits for the upcoming beach trip in June.  that will be here before long!

I hope you’re enjoying some fun, summer sewing!!!  If your sewing includes sweet babies, consider the diaper cover pattern this summer!  😊

Happy stitching!

Kathy

Easter Sewing and New Pattern

I have been busy for the last few months making Easter dresses from my new pattern which I have called “Juliette”.  Why not make samples and get Easter dresses sewn at the same time!  I delivered the dresses to the little girls yesterday – in the nick of time!!!  Of course, I had to have pictures for the pattern before they were delivered and worn for Easter.  Only Eva was available to model, so she is my cover girl.  LOL!  I hope to have pictures of both Eva and Livvy wearing the dresses on Easter Sunday.

 

I love this dress!!!  When I saw the vintage pattern picture, I envisioned the dress as an heirloom dress.  Of course, I had to wait until I had time to create the pattern and stitch up some samples.

I decided to change up the neckline a bit.  I didn’t think that the boatneck with ribbon ties was the most practical.  However, I love the overall silhouette of the dress and the scalloped hem is precious!  The straight sleeve looks sweet on, though a bit odd on the mannequin.

I love every view and sleeve option of this dress.  The gathered flutter sleeve is very traditional and heirloom looking and would be perfect for a portrait dress.

I had to do some hand embroidery on one of the dresses.  While I didn’t include the embroidery design in the pattern, there are ample options for embroidery designs available in books and even online (free) from vintage sketches.

When I had Eva try on the first dress, she didn’t like it.  LOL!  So, I let her choose some laces and made her dress with the pink bow lace that she chose for her dress.  I love the Swiss lace style dress as well.  The hem is straight, so a quicker one to make.

Being the practical person that I am, I made the slip from Imperial batiste so that it will not require ironing like the dress will.  That way, the slip could be worn to a photo shoot and the dress put on after arriving.  This keeps the dress pristine and unwrinkled.

I can’t wait to see the little girls wearing their beautiful dresses on Sunday!!!  I have had such fun creating this pattern and sewing these dresses.  I love using up some of the special laces in my stash for these dresses!  Does that make them free?  LOL!

If you are interested in making this dress, the pattern can be found in my Etsy shop.  I hope that I will be seeing some beautiful versions of this dress for beach portrait pictures this summer!!!

I hope everyone has a blessed Easter!

Kathy

A French Machine Sewing Primer & Pattern

I’m excited to announce that I have a new sewing primer available in my Etsy shop.  I have been busy working on a FMS (French Machine Sewing) primer geared towards those that want to learn how to do FMS but have very little or no experience and are intimidated at the idea.  The primer offers detailed instructions with pictures that I hope will allow the novice to muster up the courage and work with these beautiful laces!  I have finished up the primer and included not only instructions but I have also have included a sweet bonnet pattern to work on as a first project.

While working on the primer, I pulled out my beautiful vintage laces and thought that this was the perfect project to use them on.  I managed to find a box full of smaller pieces of vintage laces last year at an estate sale.  Some of the lace pieces are absolutely exquisite and made of the finest threads I’ve seen.  I cleaned the laces and have been saving them for something like this.  I hope that you can see the detail on the first and the 6th (from the front, just after the ruffle).  In person, these are breathtaking!!!  This will make a gorgeous baby bonnet for a very special baby!!!  I stitched these delicate and fragile laces to some silk organza for stability.  Because of the delicate nature of the lace and the age of them, I had to hand gather the ruffle for the front.  I believe that the ruffle is a coordinating lace for the 5th lace – they both have identical ovals stitched and the netting thread is identical.

Can you tell that I am excited to finally have a project to use these pretty laces on!!!

It is my hope that those who may have been afraid to try out FMS techniques will have the confidence to not only make a sweet bonnet, but move forward and create other beautiful heirloom garments as well.

If you’ve been on the fence about heirloom sewing, this may be the push that you need to start something beautiful!  The pattern can be found in my Etsy shop.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/kathysheirloomshop?ref=search_shop_redirect

Happy stitching!!!