Little Sister’s Dress

I was quite surprised when I brought Ella her dress that Eva said she liked it as well!  Of course, that means that she needed a white dress as well.

For this dress I used the Children’s Corner “Lillian” pattern.  The simple shift style is a perfect pallet for some creative stitching.  I chose to use spaghetti bias to create a grid that would allow me to do some simple embroidery inside the grid.   The green spaghetti bias was purchased at Farmhouse Fabrics.  I wanted the turquoise spaghetti bias to be slightly wider, so I made that by cutting 1-1/4″ strips and sewing them into tubes.

The dress is a size 6.  I marked the dress front with vertical lines 6″ apart (turquoise gingham) and then drew in the diagonal marks 4″ apart.  This gave me 3 large areas to embroider inside.

I kept the embroidery simple.  The outside circle is 2″ and the inside flower 1-1/4″.  The flower alone seemed too small to fill the space, so the outside 2″ circle was added.  I think it softens the geometric design.  All of the floss are the same as on Ella’s dress, so they will co-ordinate nicely.

I’ve been trying to use up this poly/cotton fabric so that I don’t have to put any back on the shelves.  There’s still more of it!!!  I guess that means that Livvy will also be getting a white dress.  LOL!  That’s on the cutting table for the next project.

I hope you’re enjoying some summer sewing as well!!!

Summer Sewing Continues!

With my set of 3 dresses completed, I was ready to move on and create something different. I have a plethora of pretty patterns, but seem to always go back to the same ones.  This time, I chose something different!  Of course, it goes so well with my current fixation with scallops!!!

After reorganizing all of my fabrics and putting them on shelves rather than in totes (which were very heavy to pull out of the closet), I found many fabrics that I’d forgotten about.  This was one of them – a poly/cotton basket weave piqué.  Perfect for summer.  Moms will appreciate the fact that it requires no ironing!!!

I decided to use Wendy Schoen‘s “Hannah” pattern.  This is such a timeless, classic design!  I believe that the pattern is out of print, but perhaps she could be convinced to bring it back as a digital pattern!  If you aren’t familiar with Wendy, you are probably new to heirloom sewing.  Wendy’s designs and talent was a regular feature of Sew Beautiful magazine for all of the years that it was in production.  Now her designs can be seen in some of the Classic Sewing magazines!  She is a prolific designer and extremely talented!!!  She is someone who I have always admired and hope to be half as talented as she is!

Because I didn’t plan to make the jacket that goes with the dress, I felt that the bodice needed some detail on it.  I added pin tucks and embroidery to the bodice and then also piped around the neckline and sleeves, which required a different sewing order than what was suggested in the pattern.

Wendy’s patterns have wonderful instructions and lots of detail – it was delightful to work with her pattern and I believe that the fit will also be just right!

The back is as cute as the front with the cutout design!!!  I love this!  I can’t wait to see this on Ella!

I also strayed from the pattern a bit and chose to line the skirt so that a slip wouldn’t be necessary.  I think that was a good choice given the back cut out and the lack of slips available these days.

Wendy does gorgeous hand embroidery, including pin stitching!  I chose to machine pin stitch the hem and didn’t do any of the other embroidery at the hem.  I’ve included a picture of the stitching at the hem, only to show that it IS possible to pin stitch on poly/cotton.  Obviously, natural fibers are much prettier for this type of work, but I’m pleased with the results and feel that this is just enough for the dress I’ve made.

This is the perfect dress for Ella, who is now 9 years old.  The pattern starts at a size 7.  This is definitely something to add to your pattern collection if you can!  The older girls will love it!

Now, what to make next……..

 

Let’s Start Summer Sewing!!!

Memorial day always marks the beginning of summer for me.  As a kid, that’s when school got out and summer holidays began.  I feel much the same about it today.  So, this past weekend I had cleaned up in my sewing room and was ready to start.

I began by finishing up a skirt that I’d started quite some time ago.  When I brought it over to try on the girls, Eva asked if I would make her a dress.  😊  She told me her favorite color was turquoise.  As it happens, I had turquoise fabric on the cutting table and a plan for it already!!!  So, I started on the turquoise dress when I got home.

My inspiration for the dress was this little Lilly Pulitzer dress that Ella wore when she was 2 years old.  I adore the style!

I had to do some figuring out on this!  Thankfully, all the girls wear a size 6 – Ella’s just needs extra length since she’s 9 years old.  Whew!  Only one draft needed. I wanted to copy all of the elements of the dress, down to the scalloped pockets and the zipper in the back.  The zipper was installed like they do in mass produced garments – it is encased in the neckline as well as both the lining and the dress seams of the zipper are sewn by machine.  It’s a nice, clean finish.

 I’ve managed to make it work – x3.  That said, I have to do some more thinking on the steps in construction.  I still don’t have it working as easily as I’d like.  There has to be a better way.

By the end of the day yesterday, I had 3 of these finished!!!  I have loved this print and been saving it for the right dress.  I loved this fabric so much, that I purchased in in all 3 color ways – turquoise, pink & lime green.  I’ve already made dresses in the other colors.

The fabric is wonderful – it’s a lightweight denim that it poly/cotton – so, no wrinkles and no ironing needed!!!  I know that will be appreciated!  What doesn’t show up in the pictures is that the center of the palm trees has silver sparkles.  The girls will love the sparkles!!!

I did managed to put the zipper in production style and am quite pleased with the way that it turned out.

I’ll be doing a little more math to get the lap slightly narrower.  Overall, I’m very happy with it.

My favorite part of this dress is the pockets.  I chose to pipe them rather than have a band of fabric like the Lilly dress features.

I used a monogram in the same hot pink color.  I like this monogram font so much, I’ve bought the identical font from 2 different sources.  It is either Fancy Monogram 1Font from Embroitique or it is Elegant Font from Applique Corner.  I’m not exactly sure which this one is, but I’ve used both and they both stitch out beautifully!

I decided to scallop the hem of the dress to match the scalloped pockets – that is where I made the dress a bit differently than the sample dress from Lilly.  I used the method that I described in an earlier post.

I’ll definitely be making more of these dresses for the girls.  Summer is here!  School is out at the end of next week, so I’d better hurry!

What does your summer sewing look like?

Pretty Pillow!!!

I continue to have fun with embroidery!!!  It’s something that I can work on for a bit, put down and then pick up again and work some more.  I’ve really enjoyed stitching so many different stitches.  Figuring out which stitches to place where was quite the challenge!  I don’t consider myself an embroidery expert, but I continue to learn and improve with every project!!!

My latest project has been a pillow.  This pillow has colors that will work in my living room, bedroom or outside porch (it’s covered and protected).  I don’t think it will end up on the porch because it’s too special for that casual atmosphere.

When I talked to our youngest daughter about making an embroidered pillow, she quickly pointed me to Anthropology, Pier 1 Imports and World Market – all of which have cute embroidered pillows that are just a little more trendy and stylish.  I loved the idea!  So, that’s what I went with.

Choosing a word to stitch proved to be a little more of a challenge – I wanted it to say something that resonated with me and not phrases that would go out of vogue in a few years (you know, “Farmhouse”, etc. – I don’t live in a farmhouse!).

I ended up with BLESSED – because I am reminded each and every day how blessed I am!!!

I was able to find the perfect trim at Hobby Lobby.  Thank goodness!!!  We’re living in a fabric store desert here with only HL and JoAnn’s.  I chose a simple rope design with all the right colors.  I felt that tassels, hanging bobbles and such would take away from the embroidery.

I used some beautiful Ulster linen but machine washed and dried it first to give it a lived-in look.  This was a plus for many reasons.  Now the pillow cover can be washed if needed.  It also allowed me to use wash away markers on the fabric – a definitely bonus.  And it softened up the fabric, making it easier to embroider.

I have to thank my sewing friends – Angela and Margaret – both of whom helped me when I ran into construction problems with the cording.  The cording was so stiff that I had real problems getting it attached properly.  Angela had great advice, pointed me to a great tutorial on finishing the ends of the cording and let me know what type of foot and machine would work best for the sewing.  Margaret  had the right equipment and was local and willing to help me out.  I’m blessed to have such wonderful sewing friends both far and near!!!  Aren’t sewing friends the best!!!

I’m busy writing up the instructions for all of the embroidery and sewing of this pillow and hope that it will be a class that students will enjoy taking!

I’m not sure what I’ll be stitching next.  I’ll ponder that over the weekend.  I hope everyone has a lovely weekend!!!

May Musings….

May is Mother’s day month and I am keenly aware of how blessed I am to have such a wonderful mother!  She has always been there for me, always loves me and has always been the best example of a godly Christian woman.  Her love for God, family and others has been constant and she lives out this love daily.   She has been a constant encourager to all of us, expecting us all to be the best that we can be and pointed us to Christ at an early age.  For that and so many other things, I’m so blessed!   I hope that I can be the same example for everyone that I am in contact with as she has been for me!

This picture is 2 years old, but I love it – this is my sister and mom – 2 lovely ladies in my life.

This is a more recent picture of mom, dad & their 4 kids at their 65th wedding anniversary party last summer.

I’ve also been blessed to be the mother to 4 wonderful children, the mother-in-law to 4 terrific spouses and the grandmother to 4 beautiful grandchildren here on earth and 5 more that I will meet one day in heaven.  I’m thankful that God has entrusted me with the role of mom & grandma and love all of those that he has placed in my life, including my loving husband of 42 years (we just celebrated our anniversary yesterday!).  I hope that I will have the positive and godly influence in their lives that my mom has had in mine!!!  This is a picture of our gang at the beach last summer.  As always, spending time with all of them is so much fun!!!  We’re looking forward to another beach trip this summer.

I have spent the last few weeks sewing tiny gowns and bonnets in memory of our precious grandchildren in heaven, in honor of their moms and in the hope of bringing a small measure of comfort to the moms that will receive these gowns for their little ones.  This is something that I try to do each year as I celebrate Mother’s day and recognize that for some it is a hard day due to losses.  I donate gowns to both our SAGA guild, which passes them on to area hospitals as well as to the Caleb ministry – a local ministry that provides wonderful support and has many resources for those that have suffered loss.

I have recently been blessed to receive fabric & laces from others that are no longer able to make these little gowns.  I have used all of the gifted fabrics and laces for these recent projects.  Thank you to all of those that have participated with me in this endeavor by sending me the fabric and lace.  ❤️

I have been trying to make more “sets” as opposed to just gowns.  The first set is a blanket, bonnet & gown in pale yellow.  the accent flowers were done in lavender.  The smocking design on the gown is one that our local SAGA guild donated to convention as table favors one year.  This gown is the SAGA Wee Care gown pattern and the bonnet is a free download from Laurie Anderson – unfortunately, I cannot get the link to work.  The pretty cross design was purchased at From The Needle of Anne.  Her designs always stitch out beautifully.

My cell phone pictures are so much better color than the ones taken in the studio.  Definitely need my technical support guy to check out the “problem”.  LOL!

The next set is done in pale pink, though for some reason I couldn’t get the colors just right when I took the pictures.  The same gown and bonnet pattern were used and the cashmere flannel blanket is so soft and sweet.  The smocking design was one that our local SAGA guild donated one year for convention table favors.  I don’t remember what embroidery design I used for this, but I suspect that it was from Martha Pullen.

The last 2 gowns don’t have matching bonnets as there was only enough fabric for the gowns.  You know how whites don’t all match!  I didn’t want a mismatched set to go to a family.  The white cross design is another From The Needle of Anne and the smocking design was my beaded design that was featured in a SAGA news magazine.

The aqua and white smocking design is an out of print design from Kathy Crisp called Tiny Baby Bishops – it is a favorite of mine to smock on these little gowns.  The cross on that dress is a Martha Pullen design from many years ago.

I have 4 more bonnets and gowns made up and ready to smock.  These are easy to pick up and work on when I’m traveling.  I like to have several on hand since they smock up so quickly.  I smocked all of these little sets while we traveled and enjoyed a weekend in the mountain with our friends.  I’ll leave you with these beautiful pictures from that trip.  Nothing can trump God’s beautiful handiwork!!!

The first waterfall we visited was spectacular!!!  We were able to walk behind it as well.

The second waterfall we visited was also pretty, but not nearly as impressive as the first.

We also did a small (2 mile) hike up the mountain.  We were up 4,000 ft.  The views were breathtaking from all angles!

I look forward to more stitching this week!  I’m working on a pretty embroidered pillow that I hope to share soon!!!  I pray that you will be able to count your many blessings as you stitch something beautiful!

 

 

 

My Kaleidoscope Tote

I’ve been on a hand-stitching binge lately and have had the best time embroidering a tote bag.  I wanted to make something that was fun to stitch, useful and something that a stitcher could enjoy.  I think I hit the mark on all levels and am very pleased with the end result.

I love the way that the flowers pop on the black denim!!!  It’s a festival of bright and colorful flowers.  Many have been created with simple stitches while others are more difficult.  I enjoyed every stitch!!!   I have submitted this as a potential class to teach – I think many would enjoy it and would especially enjoy making something for themselves!

I have used this tote pattern for many years – it’s a favorite of mine – my own pattern.  In the past, I’ve only done machine embroidery on the front.  This has a totally different look.  I add pockets as I envision they will be used.  For this tote, I wanted a pocket large enough to carry my iPad.  I have that on the back of the tote and it carries on the bright and fun theme.

Of course, there’s a pocket for a water bottle on the side.  I always have water with me, so that was a given.

Inside features many more pockets for holding all of those necessities that I carry when I pack up for a class or a trip and will have my stitching projects with me.

I have a much harder time getting a good picture of the inside that also has good lighting.  You’ll have to use your imagination!  There are pockets with elastic on both sides, a long pocket with elastic on the side that isn’t visible and then a smaller pocket with exposed zipper teeth to hold those smaller things that you don’t want to lose.

I reinforce the bottom of the bag so that it is sturdy.  I cannot stand soft and floppy bags.  This will hold up to lots of wear and tear.  I now wish I’d added some sort of loop with a snap that I could attach my scissors to.  Those always seem to get lost in the bag somewhere!!!  Oh well…..it’s always something.  Perhaps I’ll have to make another one and will include that.

I had to tweak my pattern a bit so accommodate all of the embroidery.  Here’s what the bag looks like with monograms.  With this fabric, it’s easier to see the pockets as well as the inside.

I did not include the side pockets inside on this version of the tote and the pocket on the outside isn’t large enough for a water bottle, nor is the back pocket large enough for an iPad.

I’ve made this tote so many times that I’ve lost count!!!

 

I’m not sure what’s on the agenda next, but I know I’ll be stitching something!!!

How To Make A Scalloped Hem Tutorial

Scalloped hemlines are all the rage and it’s no surprise – they are so cute!!!  This tutorial will focus on how to adapt a regular shorts pattern for a scalloped hemline.   It is best to use a pattern with no side seam if possible.  This eliminates bulk and creates a seamless line for the scalloped hem.  However, shorts (or dresses) with a seam can be used, the directions will be similar.  The side seam will need to be stitched first and then follow the directions for creating the scallops.

If the pattern chosen has a side seam, eliminate the side seam by placing the front pattern piece and the back pattern piece together at the side seam and pin or tape together. If there is a curve to the side seams, match up the seams at the widest part of the shorts, as shown (not drawn to scale).

It is important to keep the grainlines accurate on both the front and back of the shorts.   Draw a line (shown in red) across the upper edge as well as the lower edge creating a single pattern piece.  Note that the shorts front and/or back could have a curve, which will be eliminated when the line is drawn.  Cut shorts from fashion fabric and mark front and back.

Decide on the number of scallops desired for the shorts.  Measure across the hem of the shorts, from seam line to seam line and divide that measurement by the number of scallops desired (ie. 22.5” across hem divided by 15 scallops = 1.5” wide scallops).  The shorts pictured in aqua have a scallop that is approximately 2″ across.

Scallop depth is mostly personal preference.  However, using approximately the bottom 1/2 of a circle creates a pretty scallop (my opinion!) that is much like what is seen on most Lilly Pulitzer style hems.  Using more of the circle shape is less appealing (my opinion).

To create the scallop (sample shows a 1-1/2” scallop, individual scallop widths will vary), find a small circle object (small can, glass, etc.) or use a circle template and draw a scallop using only approximately the bottom 1/3 of the circle.  Create a template of the scallop shape from cardboard or plastic.

On the wrong side of the shorts, draw the scallops across the bottom of the shorts, starting at one seam allowance and stopping at the opposite seam allowance.  Do not cut the scallop shapes.  This will be done after sewing.

Always mark Front and Back.

To make unlined shorts, use the shorts pattern and make a facing by drawing a line up from the hem, 2-1/2” above the bottom line of the pattern (a different depth can be used if desired).

Cut out 2 facings and mark the front and back on the facings.  Sew the inseam.  Press seam allowance open.

Sew the shorts inseam and finish seam allowance.  Press.

Pin facings to the shorts, right sides together and stitch along the drawn line for the scallops, pivoting at the peaks.  Stitch carefully as this will be the finished shape of the scallops.

Trim the seam allowance to ¼”, trimming slightly smaller in the peak area.  Clip into the points.  There is no need to clip the curves.  The scallops will look smoother without clipping the curves.  Turn right sides out and press.

Press under ¼” at the top edge of the facings.  Stitch the hem with a straight stitch.  This is more durable for play clothes.  A ribbon trim can be added over the straight stitching if desired.

Finish crotch seam and upper edge of shorts following the directions in the shorts pattern that is being used.

The same technique can be used for creating scallops at the hemline of dresses – shift style or full dresses.

 

I hope that this tutorial will help you as you move forward and create your own beautiful scalloped hemlines!

Kathy

 

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