Flower Girl Dresses

I continue to stay busy in the sewing room making one thing or another.  A few weeks ago I decided that I needed to make a walker bag for my upcoming surgery  – I’ll need to use a walker for a few weeks.  I couldn’t find a suitable pattern that had all the pockets that I think I’d want.  So, I made up my own pattern and now it is for sale in my Etsy shop.  Click on the link if you think you might want to make this for someone special.

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The other side has just as many pockets:

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I actually made 2 walker bags – one to use on our upper level and one for the main floor, so now I’m all set.

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After that, it was time to move on to some fun sewing.  Ella & Eva are going to be flower girls for an October evening wedding in the mountains.  The bride requested white dresses.  I had some fun sketching and then designing the dresses and then it was time to make them.  I went stash diving and was able to find white bridal satin, minky, and a variety of different laces were auditioned for the dress.  I only needed to purchase the organza overlay fabric, dress lining, beads & sequins.  We all ended up choosing the same lace.  That was quite serendipitous because the lace was rescued from my wedding dress and repurposed for these flower girl dresses.

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With both dresses finished and more time, fabric & lace left, I decided that I’d make a short cape to go with the dresses.  After all, it could get chilly in the evening and they would need something to keep warm in.

For the cape, I underlined it in flannel and then lined the inside with minky fabric.  They will love that AND it will be warm.

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While I realize that a shorter bolero length is fashionable, these are made to be functional – as in, to keep those arms warm!  So, I made them elbow length.  the come to the bottom of the dress waist, which I think will be perfect for the girls.  I can’t wait to try them on the girls!

So, this is what I’ve been up to for the last few weeks.  Now to decide on the next project…..

I hope that you’re able to keep busy and be creative during these strange times of having to stay in more than usual.

Kathy

Still At Home…..Sewing, Smocking, Designing

Like most people around the country, I’m still at home for the most part, and using the time to do more sewing for the grandkids, add more patterns to my Etsy shop, etc.  I have been productive, but probably not as productive as I’d like.  It’s hard to stay motivated.

I’m thankful to have been able to add several patterns that I hope will motivate, teach and encourage others as they stay home more than normal.  I’ve added a beginning smocking book as well as a shadow work embroidery book.  They are both for beginners and introduce the basics.

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Then I wanted to add more patterns that I have either taught over the years or were in past magazines.  Some are easy to make, some are more difficult.  All have very thorough instructions with lots of detailed pictures to enable the seamstress to complete the project – difficult or easy – without problems.

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As you can see, I’ve been busy with that!  LOL!  Adding additional sizes as well as getting the instructions ready for a PDF pattern is very time consuming.  However, right now I have PLENTY of time!!!

What has been more fun is creating outfits that the girls can wear!  When adding additional sizes, I add sizes that are the right size for our growing granddaughters (ages 7 & 10).  Thankfully we are able to see the girls since we are all practicing social distancing, so I’ve been able to take pictures of them in the newly created, newly sized outfits!

Ella loves her new Perfectly Pretty dress and I’m already working on a second one for her!

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Livvy loved her Perfectly Pretty top with the parade!  I made matching shorts for her outfit.

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Eva agreed to try on the outfit, but didn’t want it.    It went to Livvy.  LOL!  She has chosen other fabric and I’m ready to put that together now – the smocking is done!

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Ella also loved her smocked halter dress.  I think this is a great pattern for older girls!

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Even the back has cute options!

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I then moved on to some other patterns, this one is Primrose Lane’s “Annie” pattern.  Sometimes it’s nice to not have to think about anything but to just follow someone else’s instructions and sew.  🙂  The smocked insert on this dress was purchased years ago from Beaux et Belles.

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Next I decided to make all 3 girls matching dresses, though there isn’t much need for them.  They are big enough to wear again next year!!!  The pattern is Children’s Corner “Lillian”.  The girls do love them and are wearing them.

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This morning I finished the smocking on the 3rd Perfectly Pretty dress so that the girls will have matching/coordinating dresses for our upcoming beach trip.  Can’t wait to put these together and see them on the girls.  🥰

As you can see, though I haven’t been updating the blog, I’ve been busy!!!

I hope you’ve been able to keep busy enjoying your hobbies, whatever they are!  I look forward to the time when we will all be able to safely get out a bit more!  Until then…..

keep on stitching!!!

Kathy

 

Home Confinement Sewing

No explanation needed – we’re all supposed to be practicing social distancing and staying home as much as is possible.  So, what does my “tribe” do when confined to home?  Well, designing, drafting, sewing, smocking & embroidery are all on the top of my list!!!

This week I got right down to it and decided that my Sandpiper dress that was published many years ago in Australian Smocking and Embroidery should be a dress that I (eventually) offer in my Etsy shop.  I think that the style is just as current and relevant today as it was when it was published.  This was the picture that was used as the cover picture for the magazine.  It’s a perfect beach dress and if I remember correctly, the photographer’s daughter was the model.

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The magazine published sizes 3, 4 & 5.  This was one of our granddaughter’s favorite dresses when she wore it, so I wanted to possibly offer sizes 2 – 8.

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I loved everything about this dress and had probably made a dozen of them (sold on Ebay) before the dress was ever published.  My  favorites were the ones made in the fun fabrics!

I had been thinking about these for Easter dresses, but we may be still under home confinement when Easter rolls around, so they may be our beach dresses.

First up is the size 6 dress.  A little stash diving and I came up with cotton sateen and a lovely cotton lawn that I believe might be a Liberty from several years ago.  I can’t even tell you how many fabrics were auditioned before the choice was made.  LOL!

I graded up  a size yesterday morning and then got to work.  Today I finished up the dress and I’m hoping that Eva might just like this one.  Fingers crossed!

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I love the back with all the ruffles!!!  I like to add a pop of color by using Wooly Nylon thread in the serger – it gives the hem a ribbon effect.  The floral border was pinstitched to the apron.

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Seriously – who doesn’t love pink and green for girls???  The easy fit style makes this dress very comfortable to wear.

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Obviously, I’ll be home for a while, so there was no need to rush the smocking design.  I enjoyed creating the base design sitting in the bright picture window of our living room.  The pretty flowers are cast-on stitches – also a favorite of mine.

Tomorrow I’ll be stash diving again after I size up to a 7 tomorrow.  I’m thinking of white linen with pastel border.  We’ll see what the mood brings tomorrow.

I hope you’re enjoying some special stitching time while confined to home!  Why not make the best of it!!!

Stay home, stay safe & healthy and keep on stitching!!!

Where Has The Time Gone???

I can’t believe that it’s been several months since my last post!!!  Where has the time gone and what have I been doing?  LOL!  Sewing, creating patterns, smocking, teaching, etc. – I’ve been doing all of these things.

After creating the first of my  Kathy’s Ultimate Travel Case, I actually made another one and tweaked the pattern a bit before listing it in my shop.  The second case was stitched in my favorite colors – blues!  I even added my monogram!!!  Can’t wait to use this case!

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I also wanted to share pictures of my little girls in their special dress for the daddy/daughter dances they attended.  I was glad that both girls got to wear the dress.  Aren’t they adorable!!!  Not that I’m biased or anything!  LOL!

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They both loved the dress and had such fun at the “dance”!

The next on the agenda was getting a favorite pattern ready to list in my Etsy shop.  I regularly have had requests for this pattern, so it was time to offer the Suzette pattern in the shop.

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This has been a favorite of mine and the girls looked so cute in this dress when they wore it a couple years ago for Easter!

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Once that pattern was complete and listed, I moved on to a favorite summer dress – the smocked halter dress which includes the Shabby Roses version.

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Seriously, could anything be cuter!!!

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The Shabby Roses version doesn’t require a pleater or any smocking knowledge.

Of course, creating additional sizes required making up the dress in all sizes to ensure accuracy – so that was a LOT of sewing!

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I have smocked one of these dresses for Ella – it only needs a hem.  Let me just say, this was no easy task!!! (excuse the bad picture!)

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This smocking plate is the Beaufort Bow by Laura Jenkins Thompson.  I’ve smocked it before, but many years ago.  Let me just say that my aging eyes had a really hard time deciphering the graph and I ended up re-graphing the picture smocking design in my Adobe Illustrator software so that I could read it well enough to smock it.  No simple task!!!  I think that there may be an error or 2 in my smocking, but nothing that is obvious.  LOL!  Now, to smock the blue dress for Livvy.

Then there was yet another pattern to get listed in the shop  – this one is a reversible crop top 💕 which I created specifically to go with the reversible twirl skirt.  The girls absolutely LOVE this top and can’t wait for the warm weather to come so that they can wear it!  This pattern has either a curved back or a straight back to it, but it’s reversible, so the other side can be something different.  😊

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Livvy was quite the willing model and she couldn’t decide which side of the top she liked best!

I’ve had the privilege of teaching for both the Savannah smocking guild as well as the Atlanta smocking guild in the last 2 months – both groups were such fun and they did so well with their chosen classes!  I look forward to seeing pictures of completed projects soon!!!

Now I’m working on something special for the Classic Sewing Magazine.  If you don’t already subscribe to it, you’re missing out on a lot of beautiful patterns, embroidery & smocking designs and LOTS of inspiration!!!

So, you can see I’ve been quite busy in the sewing room!  I’ll try and do a better job of keeping up with the blog in the coming months!

I hope everyone is busy working on spring/Easter sewing – it will be here soon!!!

Happy Stitching!!!

Kathy

 

Kathy’s Ultimate Traveling Craft Case

I’ve finished my first project of 2020.  It has taken me a few weeks to get this done because I was making up the pattern as I went along.  The finished project is perfect for taking to retreats, conventions, workshops, etc.  I’m happy with it!

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I wanted a case with plenty of storage as well as LOTS of pockets to keep all of the many notions in place and this case meets the criteria.

One of the outside pockets showcases a simple smocking design that I have had stashed away for a while.  I had the perfect red/black/white fabrics to work with the smocking design.  this pocket is large enough to slip a magazine or notebook inside.

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The other side of the bag has a pocket large enough for my iPad as I almost always have that with me when I travel and/or take a class.

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I considered adding a sleeve that would slip over the handle of my sewing machine tote, but then decided against it.  If I decide that this is something that I need, I’ll sew up another case and include the sleeve.

The inside of the case is large enough to accommodate 3 – 4 project bags, which makes it perfect to take to a sewing venue where more than one class will be taken.   Below is the bag with the removable page before I started filling it up.

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The inside of the tote, without the removable pocket page has lots of pockets.  This is the inside – without removable page and without supplies.

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I’m showing the notebook on the left side and on the right side behind the pocket is 2 class kits comfortably stored away.

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I just LOVE ❤️ all of the pockets in this case.  If I make it again, I may choose some different arrangements, but these really work well.

Here are each of the sides (Velcro page removed) with supplies stashed away safely.  As you can see – there’s room for so much stuff!!!

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In the center of the bag (as it is opened up) is a Velcro strip.  I made a removable page that has more pockets as well as a clear zippered bag that can hold a project or whatever else.

This is one side of the page – it includes lots of small pockets that are perfect for machine needles, machine feet and thread.

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The other side of the page has 2 larger mesh pockets.  Of course, the vinyl side is just one large pocket.

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Here the page is inside the case and the pockets are filled.

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I love having all the smaller compartments for my sewing machine needles and threads as so many times several different sizes or types are needed in a class and this makes them easy to find.

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I’m considering adding another page with different pocket configurations.  Because I stitched the Velcro pieces on both sides of the page spine, I can add as many as I want.  However, after spending a few weeks working on this, I’m ready to move on and start thinking about Easter dresses for the granddaughters.  😊  Sewing clothing is much more enjoyable for me than sewing totes, cases, etc., although I do like the challenge periodically.  I’ve kept my instructions and also made notes in case I want to make another one.

So, the new year sewing has gotten off to a good start!  I’ve now cleaned up the sewing room, stashed away the bag making supplies and am ready to dream up my next project!

I hope that you’ll be sewing some fun things this new year as well.

 

 

 

Closing Out 2019

As 2019 comes to an end, I have my last sewing projects to share.  It’s been a busy month for me, as I’m sure it has for everyone!

At the last minute (which means AFTER Thanksgiving), I decided to make all 3 girls twirly skirts.  They were such fun to sew!!!  I made patchwork skirts that were reversible.

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The first skirt was a Christmas patchwork on one side and then a tiered Dr. Seuss on the other side.

The next 2 skirts are identical with a Christmas patchwork on one side and a summer patchwork on the other side.   I chose a print for the top layer that wasn’t so Christmas-y for these 2 skirts.  The skirt on the left shows the summer a fabric with hula girls and beach girl patches.  Those fun fabrics were from a border print.

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The girls have enjoyed wearing the Christmas version (sharing some quick phone pictures) and now can turn them over and wear the opposite side.

As you can see, I had to make some Christmas t-shirts to go with the skirts.  😊  Then Liam needed a Christmas shirt as well – can’t leave him out!

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As often happens, one thing leads to another.  I decided that Ella should have a patchwork summer skirt that matches Eva’s, so yet another reversible patchwork skirt was made.  Then I got the idea to make a reversible summer top to match.  LOL!  I do love how it turned out!

The reverse side of the skirt and the top are equally cute!!!

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As you can tell, I’ve had a great time creating these outfits for the girls and they are loving their twirly skirts!!!  I have also listed the patchwork skirt in my Etsy shop in case anyone else wants the instructions on making a reversible patchwork skirt.

After finishing up these outfits, I gave the sewing room a thorough cleaning which was desperately needed!!!

While everyone else was out doing their last minute shopping for Christmas and then their after Christmas returns, I was able to head into my very clean sewing room and start a new project.  In the next couple months, both Eva and Livvy will be going to a father/daughter dance.  Because the dances are at different times and the girls are close in size, I decided to make one fancy dress for them to share.  That way, the dress will be worn twice.  After shopping in my personal “stash”, I came up with the perfect fabrics and pattern.  I did have to buy the sparkly tulle for the hem ruffle.

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In case you can’t tell, there’s LOTS of glitter on the bodice as well as on the tulle ruffle at the hem!!!  Both girls love it!

With the dress finished, I thought I’d try my hand at making some ballet type slippers to match the dress.  I was pleased with how they turned out.  However, when Eva tried them on, she let me know that they felt “funny” (aka:  she won’t be wearing them if they feel funny).  I think that it is the seam inside that is bothering her.  So, my project for tomorrow will be to add a suede insole that will sandwich the seam between the sole and the insole.  Fingers crossed that it will work well.

Needless to say, my very clean sewing room took a serious hit and looked as if the glitter fairy had visited!  😂  Actually, the entire house now has been dusted with glitter.  LOL!

That about wraps up my sewing for 2019.  It’s been a good year with several projects, few challenges, a couple new patterns in my Etsy shop and nearly everything made this year was from supplies in my “stash” with only needing to purchase the odd buttons or zipper to complete the projects.

I am looking forward to 2020 and what it will bring!  Of course, I look forward to more enjoyable sewing projects in the coming year as well.  2019 has been a year of many blessings and I thank God for his provision for us and our extended families.  I hope that family and friends will enjoy a year of blessings, health & joy in 2020!!!

Keep on stitching!!!

 

Bishop – Tips to avoid a Turtleneck and a Thanksgiving Gift

Today I thought I’d do a post with some tips specifically for the bishop dress.  The bishop dress is the easiest to construct, so it is a popular style to make for baby gifts, for all the special holidays, etc.  In a busy season, the smocking can be enjoyed and the dress made up relatively quickly.

Around holidays, I always enjoy seeing beautiful bishop dresses that are being made for the little ones.  However, as I look at the creations posted on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram, I have noticed a plethora of the dreaded “turtleneck” bishop dresses.  If you aren’t familiar with the term, it is used for a bishop dress that has been smocked so tightly that the smocked area sticks up, like a turtleneck.

There are 2 basic methods of smocking a bishop.  One method is to smock the bishop with the threads tied off straight, which I will call straight smocking.  The other method is to smock the bishop with the bishop blocked, or fanned out, the way that it will be worn.  I would put ready to smock bishop dresses as a sub category of this.  There are pros and cons to both methods and both methods have avid followers that fiercely defend their method of choice.  🙃  Both methods will be discussed.

First, lets cover basic anatomy.  I’m sure that everyone already knows this, but a picture review doesn’t hurt.  Any child, doll, preemie, etc. has the same basic shape.  Notice the angle of the neck and shoulders.  A properly smocked bishop dress should sit at the neckline and fall over the shoulders.

Just as a brief reminder, the smocking should stop at the shoulder line – the same place that a set in sleeve seam would be.  If the smocking falls further past the shoulder line, the dress will tend to look frumpy (my opinion).

Unfortunately, when a bishop is smocked too tightly, thus creating the turtleneck, it doesn’t sit that way.  The bias band will be higher on the neck and will stand away from the neck.  Not wanting to steal anyone’s picture and embarrass anyone, I have done a quick sketch/mock-up.  I left the turtleneck style sketch so that the neck/shoulders underneath would be visible.

There’s a couple of problems with the turtleneck bishop.  First of all, it will always remain that shape and will not sit properly on the child.  Some will attempt to correct the shape by stretching and blocking it after smocking and before construction, which will make it look better for the short-term.  Unfortunately as soon as the garment is laundered, it will return to its original shape.

I know many ladies that use the smocking straight method and have been able to create beautiful garments that lay perfectly once the pleating threads are removed.  However, for many, this isn’t the case.  Many that favor the straight smocking method will state that without a doubt, if a bishop plate is chosen for the smocking design, when the pleating threads come out, the dress will automatically fan out as it should.  I disagree with that.  All of the smocked “turtleneck” bishops that I’ve seen have been smocked with a smocking design designated as a bishop design.  The problem lies with the tension – it is too tight.

The straight method is definitely easier to smock.  However, just like with the blocked method, the tension on the stitches needs to be looser as you stitch the lower rows.  If they are smocked equally as tight as the upper rows, the turtleneck is bound to happen.  There’s no way that smocking a dense bishop design will end up well if the tension doesn’t relax as the lower rows are smocked.  This takes practice.  If you struggle with the turtleneck effect, it may be helpful to tie the straight bishop off at a longer length and smock the lower rows first and then tighten up the pleating threads as the top of the bishop is smocked.  Regardless of how you choose to approach this, the tension has to be looser on the bottom rows to avoid the turtleneck situation.

The second method is to block the bishop, which just means that it is fanned out (sometimes over a blocking guide or smocking pillow) in the shape that it will be worn.  Some will also starch it at this point.  Blocking guides and starching seem to be quite time-consuming to me and I have never felt that this is necessary, but it certainly won’t hurt .

I find that the easiest way to block is to use a piece of paper as a guide and fan the bishop out around the paper.  This is the method that I always use.  It’s convenient, no special tools are needed, etc.   and I can do this wherever I happen to be – I can always find a piece of paper.  LOL!

If you prefer to use a guide or one of the smocking pillows that are available, that is certainly an option.  However, based on the hundreds of bishops that I’ve made over the years, I don’t really feel that it is necessary.  By the time that the band is attached to the top of the bishop dress, the pleats are so tightly packed at the neckline that it really doesn’t make a difference (again, my opinion).

Smocking while using the block method (or smocking a ready to smock garment) is a little more difficult.  The pleats at the neckline are very tight and there is more space between pleats at the lower edge, which requires thoughtful tension as you smock.  I always make my bishops as ready to smock because it gives the advantage of getting the first row of smocking to sit perfectly next to the neckband.  That said, it can be challenging smocking all of the really tight pleats.  But notice how close and even that first row of smocking can be!

It is important that if you are smocking using the blocking method that you don’t habitually squish the pleats together as you smock.  It’s easy to do this without even realizing it, but it defeats the process of learning to loosen tension as you smock the lower rows.

Whatever method you choose to use, be mindful of tension – it matters.

Now, while everyone is busy frantically finishing up the holiday outfits, I am already looking to spring.  No, I don’t have all of the Christmas dresses finished.  I just prefer sewing spring and summer things!  With that in mind, I thought I’d offer a free smocking plate to encourage you to do some relaxing smocking over the holiday season.

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This is a PDF download.  Hope it works!  I’ve used this to make a sweet bishop dress in the past.

The graph doesn’t show the detail of the smocking design, but after the smocking was complete, the flower and flower center were outlined with the outline stitch and 2 strands of floss and a French knot was stitched with 4 strands in each flower petal.

I hope that this has been helpful and will allow for everyone to be successful with their bishop smocking designs!  I welcome any comments.  Perhaps others will chime in with comments that help them achieve successful bishops!

I hope everyone has a blessed Thanksgiving!!!

Kathy

Sewing For Older Girls – New Pattern

Fall has finally arrived in the south.  We went from record high temperatures in October (mostly 80’s and even 90’s) to an arctic blast in November.  Baby, it’s cold outside!

Just in time for the cold weather, I finished up a couple smocked shirt dresses for the girls.  I am quite happy with how the pattern and the dresses turned out and the girls are as well!  Eva especially likes the pockets!

The girls stayed with us for a weekend, so I had some willing models available!!!  Aren’t they adorable!  When did they get so big?

The dresses are just as cute from the back view as they are from the front.

In order to keep smocking for older girls (they are 9 and almost 7 now), it takes a bit of creative thinking.  I had seen a picture of a similar dress on Etsy, but was unable to find a similar pattern, so I went to work creating my own.

This pattern is my slightly contemporary version of the shirt dress with a more open neckline, which is also more comfortable, and a touch of smocking on the front and back of the dress at the yoke.  It smocks up very quickly and the dress is easy to sew as well!

The dress features a casing in the back and self belt to pull in the fullness, though a purchased belt or ribbon would be equally cute.

I designed the dress to be made from slightly heavier fabrics because I know that the girls aren’t fans of wearing slips.  However, if someone wanted to make the dress up of lighter fabrics, there are instructions for that as well.  My first test dress, a wearable sample, was made of Imperial broadcloth.

In this fabric, I chose to smoosh all the pleats to the center of the dress – I like how that looks as well.

To make the dress a pattern for all seasons, instructions for making the dress sleeveless are also included.  The sleeveless version is made of piqué fabric.

The last dress that I made is probably my favorite – I’m not sure if it is the color combination, the fabric or what, but I do love this one!  Sadly, I don’t think this will fit anyone except my mannequins.  That’s probably OK because the girls love the wild prints!

I’ve offered 3 slightly different smocking designs in the pattern as well.  All are very simple and smock up quickly.

Of course, you could always leave off the pockets & belt and shorten the top and it would make an equally adorable top to wear over dress pants or jeans!!!  After sewing up 6 different dresses, I didn’t have it in me to make up a blouse length version as well, though I definitely will do that for the girls for when the weather warms up.  Wouldn’t it be cute in flannel for the cold weather though!!!

It goes without saying that the pattern could be made without smocking for an even quicker project.  The dress could have gathers where the smocking is.

As always, there are lots of instructions with plenty of pictures and extra tips and techniques included in the pattern.  You can pop over to my Etsy shop (https://www.etsy.com/shop/kathysheirloomshop) and buy the pattern – it’s the perfect dress for an older girl.  😊  It is available in sizes 5 – 10.

I’m ready to smock something different now.  What will you be smocking?

 

Fall Smocking

The fall weather in NC has been so hot for so long that it was hard to get into the mood to do any type of fall sewing/smocking.  However, I had this beautiful cotton lawn print that I knew would be beautiful with smocking on it.  A few different trips, with hours in the car, gave me the opportunity to get the smocking finished on this dress.

The pattern is Children’s Corner “Amy” – which has been out of print for several years.  I love it because it is smocked both front and back.  The blouse is Children’s Corner Blouse pattern – again, an out of print pattern, but there are so many blouse patterns that you could use.  The Mary De comes with a blouse included in the jumper pattern.  😊  I did switch the sleeve and used the Ruthie sleeve – sorry, another OOP pattern.  However, I recently learned that the Eleanor sleeve is nearly identical to the Ruthie sleeve, so, problem solved!

You will have to excuse the poor “fit” on the mannequin – she is a size 5 and the outfit is a size 7 – it’s the best I can do.  🤣

On the back, I chose to not do the embroidered flowers.  However, smocking on front and back means that one will look fabulous both coming and going!!!  LOL!

I didn’t want to have to refer to a smocking plate while in the car, so I did my own thing and am quite happy with the outcome.  Initially I had embroidered smaller flowers, but they didn’t show up well on the print, so I went to larger flowers.  Much better!

Although I’m not particularly a fan of adding pockets to a smocked dress, I had to do it!  Livvy loved her welt pocket dress because the pockets gave her somewhere to put her change/tithe for the collection at church!  💕  How could I not add a pocket to this dress?

I’ve had other projects in the works as well, but nothing to show yet.  The weather has finally cooled some (if you consider 70º cool!) and I will start on another project soon!

What are you smocking for the fall?

Sewing Wee Care Sets

‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ (Matt. 25:40)

October is National Infant Loss Awareness Month, so in honor of our 5 grand babies in heaven and their strong mammas, I’ve chosen to work on sets for these little ones that will be donated to both our local Smocking Arts Guild (the guild donates to local hospitals) as well as to Caleb Ministry (they provide memory boxes as well as counseling for women that have suffered infant loss).

I have had several gown sets in the works and living on my dining room table while waiting for the finishing touches – this month was the perfect time to start finishing them.  All of the gowns are made from the SAGA Wee Care #1 pattern, available to all SAGA (Smocking Arts Guild of America) members.

I have taken this opportunity to work on the pleated sleeve option for the gowns as well so that they are a better fit for these tiny babies, so I cut out boy gowns in all the sizes from under 1 lb. – preemie.  The cute frog embroidery was from the A to Z bullion book, but revised to be slightly smaller.  The diaper set is from Teeny Tears.

This set is a preemie size.  The cute sailboat embroidery is from appliqueforkids.com.

This sweet set is also a preemie size.  The smocked bonnet pattern is the tapered smocked bonnet  pattern by Laurie Anderson.  The hem & blanket embroidery design is from Fromtheneedleofanne.com, though I cannot remember the name of the set.  I use it all the time because it takes only about 8 minutes to stitch out and it is beautiful.

This next set is a 1 – 2 lb. size.  The smocked bonnet pattern is by Judith Marquis called The Preemie Baby Boy’s Bonnet.  It compliments the rest of the set perfectly.

This sweet gown set features embroidery by appliqueforkids.com called Nap Time.  The bonnet pattern is now available in my Etsy shop.  I had previously had only the preemie (4-5 lb.) size available but now offer the micro-preemie sizes (1 – 4 lb.) as well.

The embroidery design from Appliqué for Kids was so cute that I had to use it twice.  The smocking design on this gown was the giraffe from the Little Memories S. S. Noah plate – just revised a bit to use for the tiny gown and stitched with 3 strands of floss rather than the usual 4.

I have a few more gowns in the works and will complete them as time allows.  However, I wanted to share these sets and hopefully raise awareness for all of those families touched by infant loss.  If you are a seamstress and looking for a worthy cause, there are so many organizations that would love to have you sew these tiny gowns for them.  There are plenty of non-smocked options such as this one for tiny gowns.  This kimono pattern comes from 7pinedesigns.com and the bonnet pattern is my micro-preemie pattern.  Other organizations accept hand knit blankets.  If sewing or knitting isn’t your thing but you still want to participate, Caleb Ministry accepts donations so that they can buy the supplies needed to create the special boxes that they provide (for free!) to all of the area hospitals in Charlotte.

I pray for the families that will receive these sets in the future.  I am happy that I can do something that might help them during this difficult time.   I hope that this post will inspire others to use their talents to bring a measure of healing to families that have lost their precious little ones.

Annalise Pattern Now Available!!!

Annalise has been one of my most requested patterns for the last 10+ years.  I started making it in the early 2000’s and sold many of these tops on Ebay.  I made more of these than I can count!  So many options – some with shorts, many with capris and some with skirts – all looked so cute!

After many years of selling, I submitted the pattern to AS&E magazine.  They chose to publish only the 3/4 length sleeve.  They called the top “Temily”.  It was published in sizes 2, 4 & 6 and was in Issue #80.  The picture below was that sample that was sent to them.

After our first granddaughter was born, I sized the top down to infant sizes so that it would work for crawling little ones.

I loved this cute and practical top for the little girls.  Made from Imperial broadcloth, they could be washed and worn regularly!  Of course, as our girls have grown, I’ve added larger sizes as well.  The pattern is available in sizes 6 – 12 mo. to a size 8.

Because of the continued requests for this pattern, I’ve now published it in my Etsy shop.    Click the link and you’ll be taken there.  Not only can it be printed on a home printer (8-1/2″ x 11″ paper), but I’ve included an A0 file for those that prefer to have a full size copy printed at a print shop.  Honestly, it doesn’t take long to trim (with paper-cutter) and tape the 12 pages together, but I do understand that there are many that would prefer not to do that.  Now both options are available.

More eye candy for you to enjoy!!!  I hope this inspires you to whip up one of these adorable tops for your special little girl or young lady.

I’ve saved my favorite one for last!!!

I hope that this will get your creative juices flowing!!!  The pattern has lots of tips for working with rickrack, making pretty gathers, etc.  You’ll be able to create a stunning top in no time at all!

Keep on stitching……

Summer Sewing Wrapping Up

Since our beach trip, I’ve done plenty of sewing, but haven’t done any blog posts about it.  I guess that makes me a blogging failure.  LOL!  Part of my problem is that I’m having issues with photography in the studio.  I will have my technical support guy (hubby!) look at that this weekend.  So, you’ll get my iPhone pictures instead.  Not great, but the best I’ve got!

First of all, I made a casual version of the Spanish Lace dress that I photographed at the beach.  I like the casual version as well and see potential for it as a top!  I think older girls would love this.  I need to draft this in the smaller sizes.

Upon returning home, I had a package delivered to me from a SAGA group in MI that needed bias bands placed on the little gowns to finish them up.  Some needed hems.  All needed ribbons and snaps.  It was so nice to finish up these little gowns and have them ready to deliver to a hospital.

Another package arrived from Claire Meldrum (fellow SAGA teacher) who sent things to use for Wee Care as well.  One of the items was a lovely piece of handkerchief linen with the most beautiful hand embroidery on it!!!  Initially I thought I’d make it into a blanket, but then decided to take it as a challenge and make it into a little gown – placement was challenging due to the location on the piece of fabric.  I found the perfect pattern in a past SAGA News issue and made the dress showcasing her embroidery.  I was very pleased with how it turned out.

For inquiring minds, this pattern will be reprinted (I’ve been told) in the Wee Care issue of SAGA in 2020.

I’ve done a few pretty sets (blanket, bonnet & gown) for Caleb Ministry as well.  I forgot to include the blankets in the picture – whoops!

I then completed a few ready to smock gowns and bonnets that I can take with me when I travel.  They make perfect airport/airplane projects since they are so small.  I’ll share pictures of those when the smocking is complete.

These last few weeks I decided that it was time to complete some of my ancient UFO’s (Unfinished Objects).  The first one that I pulled out I had started for our youngest daughter, but obviously didn’t get it done in time!  It’s a size 4.  She celebrated her 27th birthday in July!  😯  It was time to finish this sweet dress.

I was quite pleased with how it turned out.  Although my sewing has changed and improved significantly over the last 25+ years, I didn’t want that to stand in the way of finishing this dress.  I am choosing to see the less than perfect sewing as a testament to how I’ve improved over the years and celebrating that!  The smocking design is something new that I designed.  If this is a style that you like, the Fall issue of Classic Sewing Magazine includes a pattern by Gail Doane that has the same pleated area in the front.  I would highly recommend getting a subscription so that you don’t miss a single issue!!!  I have a couple of dresses included in this issue as well.

Included in this issue is a download for a machine embroidered welt pocket that Joy Welsh of appliqueforkids.com created.  It is an AMAZING technique.  Who knew that a welt pocket could be done completely (and perfectly!!!) on an embroidery machine!!!  The gray dresses were done with Joy’s embroidery files.  The orange dress was done using the traditional welt pocket technique using a regular sewing machine.  Both methods are discussed in the magazine.  This dress pattern is included in sizes 2 – 7.

The next UFO was even older – can you believe that!!!  I started it when I was pregnant with our youngest.  😳  Well, now she will have it one day if she has a little girl!  Hahaha!!! I had obviously been inspired by a pleated front bishop – there had been an article in an old CN magazine with the directions.  So, yet another pleated front dress.  This dress is a size 6 mo. bishop day gown.  Again, I’m celebrating how far my sewing has come over the years.  I just love how this turned out.

So, what’s next on the list of projects – well, one more pretty day gown that has been started and is incomplete.  It has been all sewn, but needs a hem treatment.  The shadow work embroidery is completed down one side of the front, but not the other side.  It was also started for our youngest.  After sitting all these years, the blue wash out marker had faded away.  So, I’ve marked the embroidery on the side and am ready to start on that gown.  It is too pretty to not finish.  You can look for that in a future post.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed some fun sewing this summer as well.  What’s on your list of projects?

 

Vintage Bonnet Pattern

I’ve had such fun drafting and sewing up this new vintage bonnet!!!  It was the perfect bonnet for beach portrait pictures!!!

During the week at the beach, we had only ONE morning when the wind wasn’t blowing wildly.  Unfortunately, that was the day that the guys went golfing, so I was only able to get some cell phone pictures rather than some beautiful pictures that my hubby can take.  However, they did turn out quite nice.

This is the cutest bonnet!!!  It is a reproduction of a 1920’s style doll bonnet pattern that I have a copy of.  I just had to make it big enough for little girls!!!  This would be a perfect bonnet for Easter, weddings or portraits.  The bonnet crown frames the face beautifully!!!  Sadly, I didn’t get a good full-on face shot of the bonnet.

Not only is it a beautiful bonnet for special occasions, but it is a very practical bonnet for protection from the sun.  The bonnet brim goes fully around the head and is wide enough to offer plenty of protection.

The possibilities for this bonnet are numerous!  I made one with some hand embroidery and finished the edges with bias band trim.  I loved how it turned out!

The bonnet brim or crown would also look fabulous with a monogram!!!

I drafted the bonnet in sizes for both dolls and girls and with both the scalloped crown as well as the round crown.  My favorite is definitely the scalloped style.  The doll sizes start at 15″ and go to 20″, which is also a newborn size, though I doubt many newborns will need this sort of bonnet.  LOL!  That size will work for larger dolls though!

I have listed the bonnet pattern in my Etsy shop in case this is something that you’re looking for.  The sewing only takes a little over an hour, so it makes a quick gift.  I can’t wait to see what others will do with this bonnet pattern!!!

Now, on to more sewing, drafting fun!!!

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……..