Author Archives: Kathy

Teaching, Sewing, Cleaning and Wedding Stuff! Yikes!

You might wonder where I’ve been for the last month or so since my last blog post.  Well, it’s been rather busy!  I spent 2 weekends in a row teaching, which is something that I really enjoy!

My first weekend was in Savannah with the Waving Girls SAGA guild teaching my “Suzette” dress.

The ladies in the class were delightful and I enjoyed meeting many of them for the first time and seeing others that I’ve met before as well.  They did a great job with their handwork and sewing!  Aren’t they a great looking bunch of ladies!

An additional benefit was being able to stay with my aunt Lil and seeing my cousin Martha and her husband and one of their boys!  It was so wonderful to catch up with them and share a meal and fellowship around the table!  She and my late uncle Jim have always been such a blessing to me!  I definitely stole this picture from her FB page – this is my aunt Lil and my cousin Martha.

The following weekend I spent with the Palmetto Pleaters in Greenville, SC.   This was another great bunch of ladies!  I have yet to meet a group of sewing ladies that I didn’t like!  We spent the first day working on the “Annalise” blouse.

The second day was spent constructing my Prince/Princess diaper set.  There were many cute versions that were worked on in this class since the students brought their own choice of fabric for the set.  A couple of the ladies even finished theirs!

I enjoyed my time with them, met some great ladies and had a wonderful hostess there as well!

After 2 weekends away, I returned home and helped with moving our daughter into her new place.  She and my husband had done the heavy stuff while I was gone, but there was still plenty of work to do and boxes to move and unpack.  That also involved some heavy duty cleaning, furniture moving, etc. on the home front.  I spent an entire week cleaning and putting furniture back in place!!!  Not my idea of fun, but it was work that needed to be done.  I’m enjoying a VERY clean house at the moment.

Then it was time to get serious about wedding stuff – the wedding is right around the corner!  I started with the ring bearer’s outfit.  I just knew that this would be quick and easy.  Well, it was quick and easy, but it didn’t fit my big guy!  😲  He is tall enough that the shorts looked like “hip huggers” on him!  LOL!!!  Not the look we were going for.  So, I’ve completed the second version of the outfit and I’m confident that this one will fit just right.   I used the Children’s Corner “David” pattern for the shorts and the sleeves and the “Michael” pattern for the shirt, though I changed up the shirt front a bit.  I fear that both of these patterns are now out of print, but they are still available on the second hand market.  I highly recommend them.  Of course, I’m sure that there are other similar patterns currently available at your favorite heirloom shop.

The color of the shorts is really more of an oatmeal/khaki color – but I edited it so that they show up darker – that was the only way that the embroidery on the shirt would show up!  I’m no photoshop expert, for sure!!!

The shorts are linen and the shirt is a cotton broadcloth.

After completing the shirt, I felt that the center of the shirt needed something else – a touch of embroidery.  So, I used a vintage embroidery design for inspiration and came up with this simple design.  I’m quite pleased with how it turned out, even though my hand stitching isn’t as perfect as I’d like it to be!  I used size 30 pearl cotton for the embroidery, which I think is normally used for crochet.  It worked quite well and I like the simplicity of the running stitch!

Next up is making the ring bearer’s pillow.  Surely I won’t need to make 2 of those to get one successful pillow, right???   Needless to say, I’m busy!   You may not hear from me again for another month!!!  We’re keeping fingers crossed that the weather will warm up in the next 3 weeks.  We went from warm, spring temperatures (with everything blooming!!!) to frigid cold this past week.  With an outdoor wedding, warmer would definitely be better!

Hope you’re enjoying some fun spring and Easter stitching!

Kathy

 

Just Some Fun Stitching!

Sometimes I have to take a break from designing, making kits, teaching, etc. and just want to slow down and stitch something fun.  I started one of these fun projects Wednesday evening and hope to have it finished in the next few days.  😃

My new and fun project is a bishop dress with a solid smocking band at the top.  I see these all the time on all the different websites that sell smocked children’s clothing and it’s been a long time since I’ve made one of these, so this was the time.

I chose this fun print for the project and am in the process of smocking an apple on the center front.  We’ll see how it goes!

In case you’re interested in how I do my smocking these days, I’ll show you my setup.  I am using the apple design that I created for the Fall issue of Classic Sewing magazine.  I’ll modify the file to fit the fabric design – hopefully!  LOL!  I pull up the file on my iPad, and then can enlarge it so that I can see it better with these “mature” eyes.  I also have my Dazor magnifying lamp to look through so that I can ensure that all the stitches are perfectly smooth.  Amazing all the technology that I need these days to continue to enjoy my smocking!

Once I finish up this dress, I plan to start another one with a slightly different method of color blocking the neckline.  Then I’ll decide which method I prefer.  I’m sure both will be acceptable, but I know that I will prefer one over the other!

So, that’s what I’m up to this morning – sitting in my living room enjoying the morning sun and smocking a spring dress.  I hope you’re enjoying some stitching time as well!

Some Tiny Gowns

This past Saturday our SAGA Dogwood guild had a Wee Care workshop.  As the chair of this committee, I typically don’t sew at the workshops, but make myself available for any help that is needed.  We had a fabulous turnout and I also had some beautiful gowns turned in!  What a lovely, caring group of ladies that give of their time and talent making these sweet gowns.  As always, I come away from the workshops inspired to work on some gowns as well.  It probably comes as no surprise that I always have several in different stages of completion.

Because I had several gowns that were nearly completed, I decided that this morning was the time to get those finished up.  I’m so pleased with how they turned out and now I have 3 more that are done and 1 more that only needs to be smocked.  I’ll do that one quiet evening.  They don’t take any time at all to smock!

I love this teeny, tiny size – it is for under 1 lb. babies and measures a mere 8-3/4″ long (including the lace).

Because our guild sends gowns to Camp LeJeune, I wanted to try one gown with a nautical design.  I would think it could be used for a boy or girl.  I liked the tiny sailboats (my own design).

There’s always a call for gender neutral gowns, so a white on white with no flowers, lace, etc. works well and is quite elegant looking – or so I think!

I smocked a simple design and used “dots” instead of flowers to keep this gown neutral.

So, that has been what I’ve been sewing lately.  Well, that as well as some things that I’ll have to show you later.  😛  I don’t want to spoil the surprise!

Enjoy some lovely stitching time – it’s such a great way to relax and ready yourself for a busy day/week ahead!

Kathy

Busy January! SATB, Flower Girl Dresses….

January is flying by – does anyone else feel like this?  I no sooner got the Christmas decorations down and it was time to start packing up for Sewing At The Beach.

If you aren’t familiar with Sewing At the Beach, you’re missing out on a wonderful sewing retreat at Myrtle Beach, SC.  This event has grown so much over the last 25+ years.  It was started by SAGA‘s Grand Strand Smocking Guild and has grown each year – without any outside advertising!  Teachers are brought in from all over and although it is strongly focused on smocking and heirloom sewing, there is also quilting, machine embroidery and even tuffet making classes.  There’s something for everyone!  You can take classes for a couple of days, or for the full 6 days.

Because of an ominous weather forecast, I chose to head to the beach 2 days early to avoid the “snow” and stayed at our daughter’s beautiful beach house just north of Myrtle Beach.  I enjoyed my personal “retreat” for a couple of days!  Who wouldn’t enjoy a few days of R&R here? I read and smocked during the day and enjoyed a glass of wine and a “girly” movie at night!  It was quiet and very restful.  Oh, and we got no snow at home!

After my  2-day personal retreat, I headed for Myrtle Beach.  I enjoyed a wonderful time teaching again this year.  I had some of the most delightful students in my classes and I think they enjoyed taking the classes as well.  I love teaching and hope that this love of sewing, smocking and heirloom is evident to everyone.  The best part is when I hear a student have an “aha” moment when they learn something new or different.  Unfortunately, I neglected to take any pictures during my classes the entire week I was gone, thought I did get a beautiful picture of a morning sunrise – what a beautiful picture of God’s creation!

My last day at SATB I was able to take a class from Trisha Smith – a popular teacher with a very sweet disposition and great teaching style.  Though I had to leave early from my class, I enjoyed meeting her and being in her class.  Hopefully the dress will get finished up soon and fit one of the girls this summer!  As always, it was nice to be home again.

Since returning home, I’ve been busy working on flower girl dresses for the April 8th wedding of our youngest daughter.  Once the little ones were asked to be in the wedding, I immediately had thoughts of smocking, heirloom, lace, etc. and was dreaming up the most beautiful confections to create.  However, that dream was quickly changed as our daughter showed me what she envisioned for the little girls to wear.  She loved the fabric on the bodice from this dress ( from WedLuxe):

But she wanted the tutu type full skirt as in this dress (from Jen Jar Photography):

Of course, I could make that happen, right?  😝  So, fabric was ordered and was stashed for a few months until I was ready to start.  I need to get these done and out-of-the-way.  Once finished, it will be on to the ring bearer’s outfit, which will be a more traditional button on suit.

I’ve been working on the 3 dresses and have a couple of them to the point where I’m ready to do buttons and buttonholes and then decide on sashes for the back and any kind of flower or such for the front.  I did add pink piping to the neckline and armholes for a touch of color.  Can I just say that working with layers of netting and tulle is like wrestling an octopus as you try to attach all these layers to the dress bodice!!!

Here’s what I’ve got so far!  The worst is over for 2 dresses – well, actually 3 dresses!  LOL!  Unfortunately, the first dress that I made I somehow managed to cut the lining too short.  Clearly, math and I don’t get along well.  I obviously didn’t think through my solution either!  I figured I’d add a ruffle to the lower edge of the lining and all would be well.  Wrong!  While that added length, I neglected to take into account the fact that you can see through the tulle and netting layers.  🙄  While it looks fine, and the little girls were delighted to try them on, I am not happy with a ruffle at the hem of the lining, so I’ll be making another one.   Ugh!

All I can see with this dress is the ruffle!  I know, we seamstresses are our own worst critics!!!  At least I know that they fit well.  LOL!  Hopefully this dress will be remade today and then I can decide on the finishing touches for these dresses.  There will be an update when I am finished!

The highlight of this past week was to receive my issue of Classic Sewing Magazine and see my dress on the cover!!!  How exciting is that!!!  Needless to say, I was thrilled.  I had just finished teaching this dress at Sewing At the Beach.  😃  This issue is packed with the most delightful sewing projects for spring.  You definitely will want to get this issue!  I would say that even if my dress wasn’t on the cover.

So, if you’ve wondered what I’ve been up to this month, you now know!  I hope you’re enjoying some peaceful stitching time to start out your year!

Keep on stitching……

Preemie Cloth Doll Sewing

It’s boxing day (what we called it in Canada) and I certainly won’t be shopping anywhere today!  So, for anyone else staying inside, I thought I’d provide some reading material.  😛

img_0061This was one project that I wanted to complete before the year end.  While at the SAGA Convention, I spotted a tiny, preemie doll.  The doll belonged to Wanda, the SAGA Wee Care co-ordinator.  I already owned the pattern, but had not taken the time to sew it.  Seeing the tiny doll was incentive for me to find time to make one.  I believe that it is always helpful for other to “see” just how tiny some of these preemies are and perhaps give them the extra push to get a few Wee Care gowns sewn.

Having a few spare minutes, I decided to head out and find supplies – 2 days before Christmas!!!  What was I thinking??? That was no small task! Traffic was horrible and the crowds in the store – oy!!!  Somehow, I foolishly thought that I could get everything at one store.  Wrong!!!  After visiting 4 stores, I had everything needed for the doll – knit fabric, fleece, plastic pellets, etc..  Just FYI – the plastic pellets used for stuffing the doll were found at Hobby Lobby.  Other craft stores didn’t carry them or they only carried them online.  On to the pattern.

The preemie pattern is from The Cloth Doll Market.  I was unable to find any reviews of the doll.  The pattern makes up so nicely and quite accurately on sizing/shape of preemie babies.  Included is a master pattern which you have to copy and shrink it by percentages to get the smaller sizes.  I did this.

You should be aware that this method of adjusting sizes does cause some problems. When you shrink a pattern that has a 1/4″ seam allowance, your seam allowance also shrinks, so I ended up with a generous 1/8″ seam allowances to make the 2 lb. size doll.

Be aware that the pattern is hand drawn and has very little in the way of markings/guides (aka: no notches) on the pattern pieces to aid the seamstress in matching up pieces before stitching.  I followed the directions, but because there are no illustrations, some directions were challenging.  I had to read through some of the instructions multiple times to “get” what the instruction was.  I am more of a visual learner, so no pictures is challenging.  Because of this, I would sat that this probably isn’t a pattern for a beginner.

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The instructions say to use a knit fabric that doesn’t have too much stretch.  That is rather vague.  I think that giving some fabric types to look for may have been more helpful.  The only fabric that I could find with our lack of fabric stores was a knit jersey.  While it worked, I wasn’t a fan and won’t use it again.

Each piece of the doll is cut out of both the skin colored knit fabric as well as another piece cut in white fleece.  The fleece is then inserted into the skin fabric.  This is a good plan because it helps with the plastic beads that are used for the filling – it keeps the “skin” softer and works out much nicer than stuffing the doll with stuffing.  It does take a bit of forceful pushing to get the fleece pieces inside the knit pieces and I found that the jersey began to run in a few places (like pantyhose type of runs).  I put fray check on the runs and hopefully that will keep the runs in check.

After some research, I found that many cloth doll makers use a knit doeskin, which is a suede type of knit fabric.  I’ll have to order some of that if I decide to make another doll, though I’m seriously thinking about making the doll from Kona cotton if I try it again.  I have seen a picture of the doll made by another FB friend and it was in a woven fabric.

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The facial features were supposed to be painted on with acrylic paint.  I don’t paint!  🙁  So, a Sharpie had to do.  The knit wanted to stretch as I “drew” the features.  Ugh!  I was pleased to find that when the doll was finished, the 1 – 2 lb. Wee Care gown fit very well.  It’s nice to see how well these are proportioned.

Once the doll was finished, I had to get rid of the blue wash-out maker that I used to mark the darts and to draw in the fingers, etc.  Obviously, you don’t want to soak the doll after it’s finished.  That was a lengthy process.  It took many, many spritzing to get all the marks out.  I would think that they were gone, and when the spritzed area dried, they were back again.  Ugh!  Next time I’ll use one of the air-erasable markers and be sure to stitch the same day!  I did find that dotting along the stitching line worked better on the knit fabric.   Trying to draw in the lines caused the knit to stretch.

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Because of the way that the arms and legs are attached, they are somewhat posable, which is  a nice feature.

The little diapers pictured on the doll are from the Teeny Tears group.  They make diapers and donate them to hospitals for tiny babies that don’t make it.  The larger size diaper fits the 2 lb. sized doll.  I made the stockinette cap from a toddler size 5-6 sock.  I cut the cuff off the sock right above the heel and tied a ribbon in it.  It’s a snug fit, but it works.

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I did learn a few things making this little doll.  I definitely need to work on my hand sewing technique.  😂  The doll head is hand stitched to the doll body – not an easy feat between the stretchy knit and the head flopping around.  Maybe I’ll be better at this the next time.   LOL!  Pulling out the fingers after stitching was a super challenging task on the 2 lb. size doll.  I immediately decided that I’d never make the smaller sizes with fingers.  Others have told me that they make the hand with only a thumb and then a mitten style for the other fingers.  This would be much easier and is a technique I’ve used on other cloth dolls!  She does suggest this method for the tiniest sizes.

I’m pleased with how the doll turned out.  It is only going to be used as a visual aide at workshops where the smocked Wee Care gowns are being made.  Our guild is doing the next workshop in the community room at a retirement village.  I’ll have the doll out for the residents to view along with some of the finished gowns.  I suspect that we’ll have different ladies drop in to check out what we’re doing.  The doll will be a nice addition and maybe even promote some interest for some new seamstresses to join us!

My overall review of the pattern makes up really well and is an accurate representation of the size/shape of a preemie baby, but the instructions are lacking in the way of diagrams/pictures of any of the sewing techniques.  There are only 2 diagrams total and there is an assumption of sewing knowledge, so some techniques aren’t described (ie.  “sculpt the toes”).

The designer of the pattern does seem to have some first hand knowledge of preemie sizes and proportions.  That is what makes the pattern of value.  Instructions are also given if you want to make the doll a weighted doll (accurate weight for the age/size), which some do want.  This doll looks very much like the preemies that I saw in the NICU when our granddaughter was there.  There’s not another proportionally correct preemie doll pattern that I’m aware of.  So, for this reason it is a great pattern if you want proportionally correct preemie dolls.

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Perhaps today I’ll stitch the 1 lb. size (with no fingers!) out of Kona cotton and see how that works.  I’ll keep you posted!

I hope you enjoy some stitching today!

Smocked Dresses for Dollies!

The last week before Christmas found me fixing up the dollies and dressing them for the 3 little girls.  It would be a special gift.  Their Auntie Lo had a huge collection of Gotz dolls (all are around 18″) that she played with as a little girl and that I saved.  So I selected 3 of them that I thought were just perfect.  However, after many years of being packed away, they needed some serious “work” done on their hair.  It was a mess!

 

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I consulted several different websites and tutorials on how to detangle and fix their hair.  I thought I’d share the process in case there are dolls in your home in need of some TLC.  The detangling is done by first soaking the hair in a bowl of laundry softener.  Since the hair is synthetic, not human, softener works better than shampoo.   After getting the hair saturated, you massage it into the hair, then rinse out thoroughly.  This leaves the hair with a powerful smell of the softener, so make sure that you choose a fragrance you like!  LOL!  After the rinse, the hair can be brushed out, starting at the ends and working up towards the roots.  It takes a bit of time, but it does work.   Then leave it to dry.

After doing the first doll, I got smarter and wrapped the doll bodies in saran wrap to keep the body dry.  I also found that it helped to stand the dolls up in a large bowl or plastic pitcher to dry.

This method worked well, but if I do it again, I think that I will dilute the softener with 2 parts water to 1 part softener.  I think that this would be plenty of softener to do the job and would tone down the perfume smell.

Once it was dry, the hair ended up smooth, but very straight (sorry for the blurry pic).  

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Next, I spritzed the hair lightly with water, rolled it in some sponge rollers and left it for a couple hours to dry.  This left the hair with nice waves.  I’m sure that you could leave it for a day and the curls would be tighter.

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Each of the dolls got a pretty, smocked bishop dress.  While cleaning my sewing room, I discovered several ready-to-smock bishop dresses that had been aging for 15+ years as well as shoes, cowboy boots (who knew that these would be worn with dresses!) and hats.  😱  Please tell me that I’m not the only one that has UFO’s that are this old!!!  I was delighted to find these and made quick work of smocking them and putting buttons/snaps on the back.

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These 3 dollies are ready to go home on Christmas day with 3 happy little girls!  I hope that they will be excited to see these dollies in their special dresses and new shoes!

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All of these dresses were made from fabrics that I had used for our youngest daughter’s smocked clothing – what a sweet memory!

I thought I’d share my tip for getting the lace collar to stand out nicely from the dress.  It always bothers me when you pleat the lace with the bishop dress and then the 2 pieces want to “stick” together so tightly.  I think you know what I mean.  To get the lace to stand out from the fabric it is pleated with, you need to smock a row on the dress fabric so that the lace won’t sink into the pleats.

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Pull up the lace and smock on the dress fabric following the same path as the last row of smocking.  Smock as closely as possible to the lace.  The end result is a lace overlay that stands away from the dress, which I think looks much prettier.  😀

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I’ve enjoyed squeezing in these last 3 smocking projects just before Christmas!

I hope that you and your family have a blessed Christmas rejoicing in the birth of our Savior!

 

Sewing Accessories!!! Sew Much Fun!!!

It was time for something new and different to sew – something fun, relaxing and non-garment.  For some time now I’ve wanted to make some sewing accessories – especially the ones that are invaluable when you go to workshops or seminars.  I knew that I’d saved patterns or links to patterns that I wanted to make, so the search began.  I found them quite quickly.  Whew!   I chose to make a sewing machine mat/cover, a travel needle case and an iron caddy/mat.

Next was choosing fabrics.  All the patterns that I had chosen used several co-ordinating prints.  I’m not as clever as quilters with matching prints, but I managed to come up with some combinations that I liked.    It did involve some serious stash diving!  Does that count as exercise?  I settled on the brown/aqua combination – these fabrics are left overs from making the nursery decor for our first granddaughter  (she’s 6 now!).  Win!!!

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The first pattern I selected was a sewing machine mat, which doubles as a sewing machine cover when the machine isn’t in use.  You can see the ribbon ties on the sides that keep the cover secure on the machine.  There are lots of sewing machine mat patterns, but I chose the free one from Lillyella, which you can also get as a free download from Craftsy.  It looks beautiful and the instructions turned out to be excellent.  I would highly recommend this pattern!  You’ll also enjoy all the pictures of all the different mats and their fabric combinations!!!   Lillyella also has a removable thread catcher that buttons on to the front of the mat.  There’s plenty of pockets on the front of the mat to hold your scissors, rulers, marking pens, threads, etc.  I was really pleased with how this turned out.

To sew on the doubled bias, I followed this tutorial from Moda Bake Shop.  I was familiar with sewing the double bias, but turning the corners was new to me and her instructions for that worked out perfectly!

The only recommendation that I would have for anyone that wants to make this pattern up is to measure your sewing machine (front, over the top to the back) to make sure that this is long enough to cover your machine.  So many machines are much bigger today and this might be skimpy as a cover if you have a taller or bigger machine.  Changing the dimensions for a taller machine is simple, but changing the width dimensions will require that you also change the pocket dimensions.  🙂

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I also stitched some travel needle books.  These make wonderful gifts for your sewing friends!  The needle book is about the size of a paperback.  Again, I used a free pattern for this and the instructions for the needle book were very well written!  I love that it has a zipper pocket inside to hold things that would otherwise easily fall out and get lost.  With a place for your thread, scissors, needles and pockets for the rest, this is a well thought out pattern!  You can see that I enjoyed both patterns so much that I made them twice!

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The last project that I tackled was an iron caddy that doubles as a mat for ironing.  I love this caddy!!!  It has the heat resistant fabric so if you take this to class to carry your iron, when you’re ready to pack up and go home, you don’t have to wait for the iron to cool off – you can pop it right into the caddy and carry it home with you.  Perfect!

This was also a free pattern download.  I first saw this pictured on a chat forum years ago by someone that had made up the pattern.  Everyone on the forum was so thrilled with her caddy that she generously shared the pattern instructions and dimensions on the forum.  I cannot remember which forum it came from, however, I believe that this woman eventually  made a pattern available for this caddy because I’ve seen it for sale several different places and it looks like the exact same pattern/design.   There’s also a pattern for the mini irons available.  I used the free pattern that I’d downloaded, but there are some corrections that were needed on that original free pattern.  It turned out great and I love that it doubles as an ironing pad!

I promise – the pattern is correct – I didn’t realize until editing the pictures that I didn’t have the caddy closing situated nicely.  Perhaps that’s due to the fact that it’s stuffed with a huge roll of gift wrapping tulle and not an iron!  LOL!
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I still need to make a second iron caddy and also another thread catcher.  I wasn’t sure I was going to do that, but the sewing was such fun, I have the supplies on hand, so I’ve decided to complete the second set with these last 2 items as well.

The mental break from designing, drafting, writing instructions, etc. but still doing what I LOVE – which is sewing – has been very refreshing.  I have a plan for one of these sets and will probably either keep or save the second set.  I hope to make a 3rd set out of different fabrics that I pulled out during the stash dive.  😛  Then I’ll chose which set to keep and which one to put away for future use.

The best part of all of these projects is that with the exception of the heat resistant fabrics, everything else has been made from my “stash”.  I’d like to think that this was a stash buster project, however, with the size of my stash, that’s not the case.  It’s more like a drop in the bucket!  LOL!  That said, I do enjoy having enough fabrics in my stash that I could start sewing and not have to stop to make a purchase of something in order to complete the project!

So, if you still need a little last minute gift for one of your sewing friends, you may want to consider one (or all) of these!  They stitch up quickly, don’t take a lot of fabric and are really fun to make!  The added bonus of free patterns with great instructions make these just perfect in my book!

Enjoy your holiday stitching!!!

Kathy

Thanksgiving and Sewing

It certainly has been a busy month or so and promises to finish the year out being just as busy!  I’m sure that many are experiencing the same thing!  Right after my last post I flew up to Michigan and enjoyed a week visiting with my mom and dad and my sister.  The weather was unseasonably warm there, as it has been here, so it was a beautiful week to be there.  This time was especially nice for my folks since our daughter and grandson spent the first couple days with us as well and then at the end of my visit our son and daughter in law drove up from Chicago for an afternoon.  It’s been a long time since my folks have seen the kids and this was the first time that they met their great-grandson.  What a special blessing!  I’m so thankful for the time that we were able to spend with them.  🙂

Since returning home I have been sewing a bit as well as preparing for our Thanksgiving meal with family and friends.  We had 23 for dinner!!!  My sweet husband cooked 2 very large turkeys for the day.  Food and fellowship was wonderful!  We have so much to be thankful for!!!

My first jumper completed was made to match some cute leggings.  I sewed the Children’s Corner “Lucy” dress – it’s so quick and easy and I know it fits so well.  The embroidery design comes from Bunnycup and I stitched it out on a frame from some other designer.  It’s been a while and I’ve forgotten whose frame it was.

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The next sewing project included making 3 matching jumpers for the 3 little granddaughters. Again, the leggings were purchased – I believe from Target – so that drove the design choice for the embroidery.  I went to the “Lucy” pattern again.  The embroidery design was from Digistitch – the reindeer seemed to be a perfect match for the leggings.  The little girls are loving the jingle bells stitched to the ribbons!  I wonder how long they will stay attached?  Hahaha!!!!

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After completing the 3 jumpers, I decided to work on something different.  I chose this partially completed pinafore and blouse.  It has been languishing in a partially completed state for at least 3 years now.  I knew if I didn’t finish it now, Eva would outgrow it without ever wearing it (I started it thinking Ella would wear it – that was 4 years ago!!!).  Students will recognize this pinafore since I’ve used it to demonstrate some of the construction in my Bee-Utiful Pinafore class.  This is a different version of that pinafore.  I’m thrilled with the way it turned out.

The pinafore fabric is line piqué and is trimmed with gingham.  I used the matching gingham to line the bodice as well as to make the matching blouse.  This will be so sweet on Eva and will look especially great with her big, blue eyes!

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The bodice embroidery is a Martha Pullen embroidery club design from many years ago.  It stitches out beautifully and seemed to be perfect for this bodice.

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I love the sash/bow on the back of the pinafore – it makes the outfit adorable from both the front as well as the back.  🙂

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The scallop hem detail is similar to the original class pinafore, but with a slightly different shape to it.  I don’t always like making the same thing twice!  LOL!

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Today I believe that I’ll finish up the Christmas decorations!  I’ll be pondering my next sewing project as I decorate.

I hope everyone had a blessed Thanksgiving with family and friends and has had the opportunity to squeeze in some sewing time as well!

Kathy

 

Something Quick!

Where does the time go?  I have such good intentions to post sewing things, but then life happens and weeks go by.  I have continued to sew and have been working on some new ideas, classes and sample garments.  I won’t show those yet – not until they are ready!

My favorite event of the past month has been a workshop with Cindy Foose!  Our guild had her come and teach for 3 days – it was such fun!   Cindy is a wonderful teacher and I enjoyed her class immensely.  If you have a chance to take a class from her – go for it – you won’t be disappointed.

Yesterday I decided I was going to sew ONE thing.  LOL!  So I did.  Between cleaning, sorting out things that I need to let go of (sewing supplies!), printing class materials and meal prep, I managed to cut out and sew a pair of pants.  Not a huge accomplishment, but I met my goal.

I found this cute top at a consignment store and paid only a couple dollars for it.  It is by Orient Express and is well made, very lightly worn and the smocking is so pretty!

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I’m not a fan of the bias band being sewn down by machine, but I’m not about to correct that.  In my stash was some wonderful pants weight twill from Patsy Aiken.  It has been aging for a few years.  🙂  It was a perfect match for the top, so it was chosen for the pants.

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I thought that the top was a bit plain, so I added the rick rack to the top.  Just like that I have an outfit!  Score!!!

Today I hope to cut out and sew a quick jumper.  I hope to quickly find the embroidery design that I’ll use on it.  I don’t know about you, but I can spend hours looking for the perfect embroidery design.  😛  After that, I have a few Christmas outfits to complete – only a couple weeks until Thanksgiving, so I’d better get on it!!!

Happy stitching…..

Convention Fun!

Last week I attended the SAGA convention in Hampton, VA.  What a fun week it was!!!  I had the opportunity to take classes from some wonderful teachers – Phyllis Brown, Claudia Newton, Jeannie Baumeister and Vaune Pierce.  I took home some tips from each one of them.  I can highly recommend each of these teachers!!!  They are all professional, knowledgeable and excellent teachers.  If you have the opportunity to take a class from any of these ladies, jump on it!!!

Here are some pictures of their class projects that I hope to get finished:

Claudia’s diaper shirt set:

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Phyllis’ classes:

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Now, if only I can get my bullion stitches to look as fabulous as hers!!!

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Jeanie’s class – I have serious doubts that I’ll ever get my featherstitching to be as tiny as hers is!

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As you can see, I focused on handwork/embroidery type classes.  I have a long ways to go before my embroidery is as beautiful as any of these ladies!  😛  Of course, now I have several UFO’s that will need to be stitched up at some point.  LOL!

Since I’ve been home, I’ve worked on my sample dress to get the shadow work embroidery finished.

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What you probably don’t realize is that I only stitched the bows on the front of the gown for the picture and to submit the class to SAGA for approval.  🙂  So, there were several bows that needed stitching.  I’m happy to report that they are all finished now!  Whew!!!

Now I’m anxiously waiting for the next Classic Sewing magazine to arrive.  Think Christmas!!!  Don’t you just love silk!  It’s one of my favorite fabrics!!!

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If you haven’t subscribed yet, you’ll want to!

As you can see, I’ve been busy.  🙂  I hope everyone enjoys the weekend!!!

 

More Tiny Sewing

I’ve been busy the past few weeks trying to complete my charity sewing.  After finishing up some Wee Care gowns for our SAGA group, I moved on to sewing diapers to match the gowns.  I signed up to work in conjunction with Teeny Tears – another organization that provides tiny diapers to hospitals all over the country.  They send the diapers in pairs so that there is one for the baby to wear and another for a keepsake.  The little diapers are darling!

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I completed 20 sets of these diapers to co-ordinate with the SAGA gowns that we were sending to Camp LeJeune!!!  These are fun to make and don’t take much time or fabric.  If you’re interested in an easy ministry to be involved in, I’d highly recommend Teeny Tears.  If you don’t sew but still want to participate, they accept donations as well.  🙂

Being on the Teeny Tears Facebook page, I saw how pretty so many of the ladies package their items to send to the hospitals and I immediately brought my suggestion to our local Dogwood chapter to improve our presentation.  All members agreed, so we purchased organza bags for the gowns/diapers and I repackaged all of our gowns from their ziplock bags to the organza ones.  Now families will receive this pretty package of handmade items.

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As I worked on all of these SAGA things and reorganized them, I discovered that the SAGA gown also comes in a very tiny size – under 1 lb.! How have I not realized in all these years that there is a tiny size???  I’ve been sewing these gowns for more years than I can count, but have never noted or smocked the tiny size.  So, I immediately had to try it out.  It is as sweet as ever!

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Having made this extremely tiny smocked gown, I have decided that I will make more of these, but I won’t be smocking those tiny sleeves again!!!  LOL!

With that big project behind me, I moved on to sewing for Caleb Ministries.  I had been given several beautiful knit blankets, booties & bonnets and they needed a special gown to go with them.  The larger gowns will get flannel blankets since the knit ones would be too large to fit into the gift box that Caleb Ministry provides for the families.  This is another wonderful Christian organization that provides a needed service for women.  They also accept donations if you would like to support this type of ministry and don’t sew or knit.

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So, what’s next???  Well, next week is the SAGA national convention and I plan to go as a student this year!  I’m busy packing and making sure that I have every supply needed for all the different classes.  I’m looking forward to a fun sewing week!!!  When I return, I think it will be time to start some fall and Christmas sewing for the little ones.  🙂

I hope to see some of you at the convention!!!

A Sweet Little Dress

After all the preemie clothes, it was time for some different sewing.  I had big plans, however, as often happened, plans change.

Last week, in preparation for a class, I needed to retrieve a previously made outfit with a specific picture smocking design .  I was thrilled that I had a sample already made!!!  I only needed to retrieve it from the closet of clothes that the granddaughter’s have outgrown.  Easy, right?

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Of course, after looking it over, it needed a serious pressing, so I chose to wash it and press it.  I threw it in the wash with a load of whites – good choice since it was pastel pink.  However, also in the wash was an ORANGE top!  Yikes!!!  You know where this is going – and it’s not a good place!  The ONLY thing in the wash that took on some of the orange dye was the romper!!!

No amount of soaking, stain remover or anything else made a bit of difference, so the decision was made to remove the smocked insert, which suffered no damage, and put it into another garment.  So the un-stitching began….

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With the insert removed, it was time to find a pattern with the same chest width as the insert – that would be easiest.  I found that the Children’s Corner “Elliott” pattern (out of print) was perfect across the chest, and the armhole curve matched as well.  Score!  But, I wanted a dress, so some modifications were needed.  Easy.  I’ve done that many times before.

The sewing began. However, when all that was left to sew was the facings, I realized that things were amiss.  Ugh!

More un-sewing, and then I walked away for the evening.  Finally, I fixed the problem and finished the dress.  It’s cute, but it sure has been a problem right from the get go!

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I love the yellow rick rack with the gingham.  I did “see” that I ended up cutting off more of one side of the insert armhole curve than the other, but it’s going to stay that way!  LOL!  No more un-sewing of this dress!!!

I know we’ve all had days like this, so I know that there’s at least one person out there that can relate to my sewing woes.

More Little Things….

In case you can’t tell, I’ve had so much fun creating so many sweet little things.  I though I’d share some more of them.

After smocking one of the SAGA Wee Care bishop gowns, I made up the diaper cover pattern as well as a smocked bonnet to go with it.  For the preemie smocked bonnet, I used the free pattern that has been graciously provided by Laurie Anderson.  She has excellent instructions!  If you don’t know how to smock and would like to learn, she also has some fabulous u-tube videos (for those visual learners like myself!).  It’s easier than it looks!

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Laurie also includes a simple smocking design with her pattern.  🙂  It works up quickly and is very appropriate for beginners.

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I thought that this made a beautiful set for a preemie baby!

The next girl set that I finished I have already shared a picture of the gown, but without the bonnet since I didn’t have that pattern ready yet.  This bonnet pattern is now available.  The embroidery design is from “Designs For Shadow Work Embroidery and Fine Embroidery” – designed by my late friend Lane Edwards and  published by her daughter, Donna Krezelak.  The design on the bonnet is as it appears in the book.  I modified it for the corner design on the dress – a simple matter of rotating half of the design.

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I love everything about this sweet set!  I chose a simple embroidery design so that it could be completed quickly and sent out to the expectant mom.

Not wanting to leave the boys out with the pattern, I also included boy designs as well as a girl design with a brim, though my favorite is definitely without the brim.  There’s a total of 4 bonnet styles, all lined, in the pattern The pattern also includes instructions on how to apply piping so that it is as tiny as possible and how to apply the gathered lace with plenty of tips for that.

What father would love this little bonnet with the embroidered horse?  Unfortunately, I cannot tell you where I purchased this design.  During my early machine embroidery days I lacked the computer skills/knowledge required to adequately file and note designers.  Thankfully, I’m past that now, but I have thousands of designs that I have no clue where they came from.

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This is another sweet embroidery design.  I though that it may be from Martha Pullen, but I didn’t couldn’t find it online.  Perhaps someone else knows.  Both the horse and the puppy designs were shrunk somewhat to make the size more appropriate for these 4 – 5 lb. bonnets.

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The last bonnet to design was a girly one with a brim.  For this embroidery, I used a design from Joy Welsh.  She has some beautiful and very reasonably priced embroidery designs.  I particularly liked this design with the featherstitching and hope to make a matching dress or diaper shirt to go with this.  She also includes tips on how to make this a continuous design that can be used all around a hem, or can be made into insertion lace.  I haven’t tried that yet, put it’s in the plans!  Hopefully soon!

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I’ve enjoyed creating these special little things for some special little babies.  I had never intended to offer patterns, but several ladies requested the patterns, so I decided to offer them.  There’s very few tiny preemie patterns available.

I hope others will enjoy sewing some of these patterns as well.  For all those women that don’t have little ones to sew for , these make wonderful gifts and are also much appreciated if you choose to donate them to a hospital or to the Wee Care project of SAGA.  The piped bonnets can be made up in no time at all!

Enjoy some fun stitching!!!

 

Preemie Pattern Options

I am still playing with the preemie clothes/pattern and enjoying every minute of it. The pattern is available on Etsy.  I most recently finished up another asymmetrical diaper shirt, but lengthened it to be a daygown length.  This was so simple to do and the dress is so sweet!

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To lengthen the gown is a simple process.  Extend the side seams another 5″ longer than the pattern piece on the back as well as both of the front pieces at the side seam as well as the front seam.  Then slide the front piece down and draw the hem curve back in on the right front piece.  Voila!!!   You’ve now got a daygown!!!  Of course, the longer length will require more entredeux and lace.  🙂

The lengthened dress needed some embroidery on the front.  In honor of my dear friend, Lane Edwards, I used one of the embroidery designs from her book, “Designs For Shadow Work Embroidery and Fine Embroidery”.  This book was published by her daughter, Donna Krezelak.  There are some exquisite embroidery in that book as well as the other 2 books she published under her own name.

Lane went to her home in heaven last month, July 13, 2016.  She was someone who I admired not only for her exquisite embroidery skills, her unending talent with the needle and thread, but also her unshakable faith and love for the Lord and her family.  She was one of the most godly women that I know and I will always treasure the friendship that we had.  I wanted to embroidery one of these gowns in her memory.

If you don’t have any of Lane’s books and you enjoy embroidery, you can often find them on Amazon or Ebay – snatch them up!  They have lots of beautiful embroidery designs, most included in 3 different sizes.  I use mine often and I’m sure that you will as well.

 

 

Preemie Sewing Pattern Available!!!

Well, I’ve done it – I’ve ventured into selling a PDF version of my diaper shirt outfit.  I had many people express interest in the pattern, so I’ve ventured into this new arena!  I added a girly version and had to add plenty of lace!!!  I do love how they all turned out and hope that there will be some beautifully dressed tiny babies wearing special clothes made from this pattern.

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I had to get some picture advice from hubby since my other pictures didn’t look great.  These look better.  Here’s the “cover” picture for the pattern.

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I’ve listed this pattern in Etsy, but cannot seem to add the link.

If you happen to buy the pattern and have any problems (or even suggestions), please let me know!  This is a first for me, so I’m sure that there’s room for improvement!

Hope everyone enjoys a beautiful weekend!!!