Author Archives: Kathy

Adorable Boy Diaper Sets!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy stitching!

Kathy

Easter Sewing and New Pattern

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I hope everyone has a blessed Easter!

Kathy

A French Machine Sewing Primer & Pattern

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy stitching!!!

 

Spaghetti Bias “Dolly”

Friday and Saturday our SAGA guild hosted Cindy Foose.  As always, Cindy was a delightful and very knowledgable teacher and guided everyone along as we made the Dolly dress.  This classic dress has a pleated front as well as a pleat in the back under the buttons.  It offers the perfect pallet for embellishing, which is exactly what I did!  I am quite pleased with how it turned out.

The 2 days were enough time for me to get the dress almost finished, and with just a bit of sewing yesterday and hemming the dress today, it is done!

I used spaghetti bias trim for the bodice and sleeves.  I love using spaghetti bias and purchase mine from Farmhouse Fabrics.  It is so easy to use and is a quick way to decorate any part of a dress.

While I love using the spaghetti bias, I don’t love the pressing afterwards.  I have always had quite the time pressing the bias on the finished garment after it has been laundered or after soaking out the blue marks needed for construction.  During one of my sleepless nights, it occurred to me that I should shrink the bias.  Duh!!!  I shrink everything else.  Who knows why this thought hadn’t come to me before.  So, to test the theory, I measured off 12″ of spaghetti bias, wet it and left it to dry.  When I measured it again, it was 11-1/8″.  Yikes!!!  I think that it must stretch quite a bit during the process of creating it and winding it on the cards for the shops.  I have now wet ALL of my spaghetti bias so that I won’t be hindered with the next project that will use it.  I am still quite embarrassed that I have been using this without pre-shrinking!!!  Oh well, life!  LOL!

The back of this dress has such a cute pleat under the button placket.  It allows for a little more fullness in the skirt.

I’m sure I’ll be making another one of these dresses!  If you have a chance to take this class from Cindy, sign up right away!  You won’t regret it.

Now, back to Easter dresses – 2 down, one to go.  Just a sneak peek!!!  More later….

I hope everyone else is busy with Easter sewing!!!

 

 

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How To Change A Neckline Tutorial

Like so many seamstresses, I have a plethora of patterns that I have secured over many years of sewing.  My sewing is primarily for children and mostly for girls.  Styles change, but the basic lines of classic styles don’t change much.  Most changes are seen in the size/style of collars and sleeves.  Dresses in the 50’s sported sweet tiny collars and small sleeves while the 90’s had large collars and huge sleeves.  I’m pretty sure that a beach ball could have been stored in some of those sleeves!  LOL!

One of the more significant changes that I’ve observed  recently has been in the comfort factor of children’s clothing.  Most children are used to the comfort of knit clothing.  The result of that is that children find anything with a true neckline to be uncomfortable and it is perceived as too tight.  This became obvious when I gave dresses that our youngest daughter wore to the granddaughter’s to wear – the classic style would still work, but they said that the neckline was too tight.  Children’s necks have not gotten larger, they have become used to less constrictive clothing.  I believe that this has also resulted in seeing fewer collars on the dresses that the little girls are wearing.

With that in mind, I thought it would be useful to share ways to adjust the neckline of a dress/blouse.  While it is a very simple process, many find alterations of this kind to be intimidating.

The first thing that should be done is to trace the bodice front and back pieces of the garment on paper so that the original is preserved.  Once the bodice is traced, remove the seam allowance and cut the pattern pieces at the finished neck – shown in blue.

Once the seam allowance has been trimmed away, the neckline can be redrawn to whatever shape is desired.  Decide on how much to remove from the neckline.  It doesn’t have to be exactly the same from front to back, though it can be done that way if desired.  The following drawing shows the neckline only slightly lower in the back but gradually increasing at the front (shown in pink).  It is imperative that the amount removed at the shoulder seam is EXACTLY the same on both the front and the back bodices – shown with the green arrows.  Once the neckline looks good to you, remove the excess paper beyond the  newly drawn line (pink).

Double check the new neckline by placing the front and the back bodices together at the shoulder seam (pieces will overlap) and ensuring that they align.  Remember that some patterns allow a little ease in the back shoulder seam while others don’t.  Check the original pattern pieces to see if the shoulder seams on front and back are an exact match – if they are, then they should also be an exact match with the neckline alterations.

Now it is time to decide on how the neckline will be finished.  If a bias band will be applied around the neckline, then the pattern is ready to use just as it is.  The finished neckline will be covered with the bias band.

If a plain neckline, piped neckline, or collar is desired, then a seam allowance needs to be added to the neckline edge on both the front and the back bodice pieces.  A 1/4″ seam allowance is a good choice for a neckline seam allowance.  You can add up to 3/8″ for a seam allowance, but more than that is undesirable.

I have been leaving collars off most dresses I make, however, if a collar is desired, it can be drafted at this point.

Don’t feel limited to limit the neckline change to just lowering the neckline slightly, try some other neckline adjustments and have fun with them.  There’s no limit to what can be done – a lower, scooped neckline, a sweetheart neckline, a square neckline, etc.  If you don’t feel confident in the redrafted neckline, test the newly designed bodices with a muslin or some scrap fabric and try it on the child to ensure that the new neckline is pleasing.  Cutting and stitching up a bodice take much fabric or time.  It is better to test it out and ensure that all was done correctly and the finished results are pleasing rather than to being disappointed with the results of the finished garment.

I hope that this has inspired you to consider pulling out some of the patterns that aren’t being used because of the dated styles and getting creative with some simple pattern redrafting!  Of course, adding your own heirloom touches will make it special!

Easter will be here soon – it’s time to get started!

Keep on stitching!!!!

 

 

 

Wee Care Week

Last week I celebrated my birthday – another year of life that the Lord has blessed me with.  I chose to celebrate my birthday by sewing tiny gowns for babies that would never celebrate a birthday here on earth.  I prayed for the families of that would receive these.  I have been blessed already by doing “for the least of these” as Matthew 25:40 says.

I wanted to do a variety of patterns, so here is the result of that.  I’ve been saving preemie patterns for years, but never tried any of them.  I enjoyed stitching some different things for these babies.

The first 2 gowns were very quick and easy to make.  I used the pattern downloaded from a blog.  These are the size for 2.5 – 4 lbs.  Because I made these from a tea towel, the hemline was already decorated and finished.  On the first gown, I matched the neckband to the stitching on the hem, but decided that the second gown was getting a pink gingham neckband.  I did not line the gowns as the pattern directs.

I liked the quick stitch and simple design of this gown pattern but wanted to add some embroidery, so I adapted the pattern and added a box pleat to the center so that I could machine embroider tiny designs to the front of the gowns.  The box pleat protects the babies fragile skin from the embroidery stitching.  Again, the are unlined.  I chose French seams instead of lining and it works quite well.

The dress with the blue gingham trim is the smallest size (1.5 – 2.5 lbs.) and the dress with the red trim is the next larger size.  The sweet embroidery design comes from Appliqué for Kids and is a perfect size for these tiny gowns.  I neglected to write where the anchor comes from – I have so many designs to choose from.

I drafted a tiny hat to go with the little gown and embroidered the hat.

One of our guild members brought in some tiny quilts with her gowns last year and I thought that was a lovely idea.  So, I found just the right tiny print in my stash of fabrics and cut 2″ strips and pieced together a tiny quilt to match the red trimmed gown.  The finished quilt is 18″ square and works well for a baby this size.

I have also made another identical quilt sized for the 1 lb. babies.  It is not pictured because it looks exactly the same, but measures 15″ square.  I think I will eventually make a gown to go with that quilt as well – I would prefer a gown with the turquoise stitching for that one.

I like using a nautical theme because our guild sends gowns to Camp LeJeune and it just seems appropriate.

I also drafted a tiny hat to go with the gown and embroidered it as well.

As I looked for other patterns in the files I’ve collected over the years, I found a pattern for a smocked boy’s cap, but it had no picture.  I was intrigued and had to make it.  It was labeled “preemie”.  It drives me crazy when the size cannot be identified!!!  I will eventually make a tiny gown to go with the boy cap, but I’m not thrilled with the finished look, so doubt I’ll use it again.  The finished size would fit a 1 lb. baby.  I think I just don’t care for an open back with a bow for a boy.  Call me picky!  LOL!  The pink hat is similar to my preemie pattern, but sized for a 1 lb. baby.  I will definitely be making a tiny gown to go with this.  I just ran out of time.

I first saw one of these sweet buntings at the SAGA convention in Hampton, VA.  One of the members had made several.  I had saved the pattern for the bunting prior to that, but hadn’t made it.  After seeing it in person, I knew I would have to make some of these.  I made 3 of them using chenille from my stash.  These are designed for babies smaller than 1 lb.  The doll inside the bunting is 5″ – just for reference.  These take a bit longer to make, but are well worth the effort.  The pattern is free.

The next gown is the smocked gown  rom AS&E #29 – a favorite pattern of mine.  I decided to do some machine embroidery at the hem and used a bodice design from Kathy Harrison’s Gals and Dolls pack.

Thought these are designed to be stitched on sheer fabric so that they will mimic real lace, I was very happy with the stitching on the batiste.  The smocking design is one that I made up as I stitched.  I rarely follow a published design when I smock the tiny gowns/bonnets.

The last 2 gowns were made from the SAGA Wee Care #1 pattern.  I used the pattern adaptation that was published in Sew News Volume 35, Issue #3 and the bonnet from Volume 36, Issue #3.  The corded pintucks add sweet detail and a touch of color.

The hem embroidery bear is another quick stitch from Appliqué For Kids.  I didn’t do the shadow work, but just stitched the outline – it was stitched in less than 2 minutes!

The tiny bear is another embroidery design that I forgot to note when I was choosing designs, but I’m sure that it would be easy enough to find a tiny design that is similar.

That wraps up a week and a half of stitching.  I have enjoyed every minute of it and hope that this inspires others to do some charity sewing as well.  There are so many organizations that would welcome additional items for their hospital donations.

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Easter Sewing

Yep, that’s right.  Now that Christmas is past, it’s time to think about Easter dresses!  Easter comes early this year – April 1st.  With that in mind, I chose to work on a dress that I started considering months ago.

Last year (maybe the year before) I found a beautiful Strasburg lace dress at a thrift shop for $4.  Why was it there?  Well, there was a section of melted lace.  😕  Strasburg lace dresses have always been beautiful.  They are made from quality fabrics and have beautiful smocking and/or hand embroidery on them.  However, although the laces are soft and look very much like the cotton heirloom laces that are typically used on heirloom dresses, the lace is a man-made material – probably nylon.  To iron these dresses, high heat is needed for the cotton, but if the heat is too high, the lace melts, rendering the dress useless.

I snatched up the dress and immediately removed the lace collar, including the lace around the collar that had been attached with a perfectly executed fagoting stitch.  Then I removed the embroidered panel around the hem of the dress.  It was surrounded with a cheap beading, which was also at the edge of the sleeves. At this point I set it aside to work on later…….

Months and months later, I rediscovered the dress as I cleaned up in my sewing room.  I pulled out my stash of white fabrics and found a cotton lawn that was the closest match in color and weight to the fabric used in the original dress.   I’m so pleased with the finished dress!!!

The original dress appeared to be around a size 6, so I made a size 7 dress for Ella to wear this Easter.  I used the Children’s Corner “Margaret” pattern (out of print) and shortened the bodice by 1″ and redrafted the sleeve to be less full.  The original dress was a float dress with a high bodice, but I chose a lower one since Ella will be 8 this spring.  It seemed more appropriate for her age.

The collar has beautiful shadow work and surface embroidery all around the collar.  I replaced the plastic lace with heirloom lace that was the same width and kept the same look, attaching the lace with #12 pearl cotton and the fagoting stitch.  I was very happy with the results.

The hem also had matching shadow work and surface embroidery and was well worth the effort to remove it and use it again.  I chose to use Swiss beading to attach the lace as I felt it would hold up better than using a soft, French Val lace.  I like the way that it looks without any ribbon running through the beading, so I may leave it that way.  I used the same Swiss beading for the arms, but did use ribbon there.

The embroidery design on the collar and hem band alternate with a shadow work bow design and then a surface embroidery design – both are beautiful.

I am so pleased with the finished dress.  It was a quick project with the use of the already embroidered collar and hem band.

With the dress finished, I realized that a slip was needed.  That was today’s snow day project. Now I have the Easter dress and slip finished and have a beautiful dress with a minimum amount of effort!  Win!!!

I did take a picture of the sleeve from the Strasburg dress as I found it interesting.  The sleeve is not gathered at the bottom edge of the sleeve, rather the beading is attached flat and the sleeve is then pulled up with the ribbons.

Upcycling a beautiful, but damaged dress has been a fun project!  Now I need to decide what I will do for the other 2 girls.  What will you be working on for Easter?   It’s time to start!

Kathy

 

Merry Christmas!!!

So, the 2 weeks before Christmas and what have I been up to?  Well, since I’m ready for Christmas 🎄, save the last bit of baking and cooking, I decided to sew something for spring!  After all, following Christmas comes spring, Easter, summer sewing – those are my favorite seasons to sew.  I love the colors, styles and everything else about spring/summer sewing!

I browsed through my AS&E magazines and was looking for something different to make.  I have so many of the magazines and thought I should start sewing some of the patterns!  I chose Flight of Fancy from issue #93 (this is still available as a PDF download from the Martha Pullen company).  I loved this sundress and the construction of it was very different from most dresses.  I was ready for the challenge!

This looked like a perfect summer dress for Ella.  The pattern came in sizes 6, 8 & 10.  Because I know that the patterns in AS&E tend to run big, I chose to make the size 6 (Ella is 7-1/2).  While her body measurements were smaller than the pattern measurements, her height was spot on.  I figured she could wear a blouse with it in the spring and then without the blouse in the summer.  Perfect older girl dress!

I chose one of my favorite European fabrics purchased years ago and paired it with some polka dots for the ruffles.

I did run into a couple of issues sewing the dress.  Though the insert was cut to size, when I went to sew the dress, the insert was too long to match the back bodice.  Thankfully I hadn’t smocked the first 2 and last 2 rows.  So, if you are going to make this dress, be aware of the insert size and back bodice and adjust as needed.  I also added width to the insert since I felt that the pleats were spread too far apart with the suggested length.  Of course, that meant many more pleats to smock!

I didn’t smock the design in the magazine but rather smocked a combination of 2 of the other smocking designs in the same magazine.  I felt that the fabric was too busy for the smocking design from this pattern and the other 2 worked better.  I was quite pleased with the outcome.

This dress back is also very pretty and perfect for our warm summers.

When the dress was finished, I thought it looked very big for a size 6, but waited until Ella was over to try it on.  Sadly, I was right – it’s huge on her!  The width is roomy, but would work with a blouse underneath, but the back waist is well below her waist.  That was a surprise since she is the correct height for the size 6 in the AS&E measurements.   The dress also was extremely long on her – it looked nothing like the picture in the magazine and hit about 3″ above her ankles.  I guess I’ll be saving that for next year!

Of course, it hadn’t occurred to me to look for errata for the pattern.  Today I found that AS&E had posted corrections for the skirt tier lengths.  😳  Apparently the measurements in the magazine were for the size 8, which explains the frumpy length for the size 6.  However, with the back waist being too long as well, even the length correction wouldn’t make the dress fit her correctly.  At least she can grow into this one.

So, I’ve put away the pink print that was going to be for Eva’s dress – sister dresses are nice if they co-ordinate but aren’t exactly the same.

Now, what to do next?  Do I dare try another AS&E pattern and hope for a better fit?  Hmmmm……

This was just a sew for fun dress, so although I’m disappointed that it won’t fit this year, it’s not a disaster.  Now I can choose something else to stitch and sew while listening to my favorite Christmas songs.

I hope everyone has a blessed Christmas season celebrating the birth of Christ!  May the peace, joy and love of Christ be with all of you this Christmas and in the year to come!!!

Kathy

Delightful Dolly Clothes

With Christmas right around the corner, I have been busy with the last few dolly outfits for the little girls.  When I make them, I can customize them so that they work best for the girls.

The first set of outfits are doll jumpers and blouses that will match Ella and Eva’s jumpers.  I used the same featherwale corduroy.  The pattern is the Mary De pattern from the Children’s Corner Dolly’s Wardrobe book..  I love how quick and easy the jumper is to make.  I could only eek out the 2 jumpers with the fabric left and ended up piecing together one of the bodice pieces, so I disguised that with some lace and ribbon trim.  The blouse is also from the same book.  I hate making the doll blouses – those collars are something that I just don’t enjoy making!  So, for the gingham blouse I made a ruffle around the neckline and I also changed the sleeves slightly.

The next dress that was made was stitched from some piqué scraps and I love the way that this dress turned out!  The pattern is the Betsy dress from Genniewren.  As always, her pattern instructions are excellent and the finished dress is adorable.  Genine gives wonderful tips for the new seamstress so that the pattern is also a tool for learning new techniques.  I chose to leave off the belt and used red piping at the waistline instead.

The next winter outfit is a featherwale corduroy jumper and the same blouse from the Mary De pattern, but with the ruffle neckline.  The jumper pattern is the A-Line Color Blocked dress from Genniewren, but I didn’t use color blocking.  It made the jumper very quick and easy to make.

I decided that Livvy also needed a Christmas dress for her doll and I had this cute Christmas fabric in my stash.  I had this brilliant (NOT!) idea to make the Mary De jumper but add the blouse sleeves so that I didn’t have to make a blouse.  In my mind, this was going to be quick and easy.  Well, it didn’t exactly work out that way!  😂  I did add the sleeves, but doubt that I’ll be doing that again right away as it was rather tricky.  LOL!  I do love the way the dress turned out though.  Livvy will love the sparkly rickrack used at the hem.

The last outfit that I stitched was the coat and hat – again from Genniewren.  This is called the Carla coat.  There are several options and lengths that you can make this coat.  I chose to make the long coat and I do hope to make one of the shorter versions as well.  After all, I’m sure that all the dolls will need coats!  The coat is completely lined and has an adorable hat to go with it.  I used some brushed twill from my stash and trimmed the coat and hat with sparkly rickrack as well as some lime green cord.  Now it’s time to get wrapping these up and putting them under the tree!

I’m sure that there will be more doll clothes sewing in the near future.  I have plenty of the polka dot fabric used to line the coat left and I think it would be so cute to make a dress to go with the coat!  That may be next on the sewing table for me.

Is your Christmas sewing finished?  Next up is Easter!!!  I can hardly wait to start that sewing!

 

Jumpers For Christmas and Beyond

I haven’t been in the sewing room much lately, so I haven’t had anything to write about.  However, with Christmas fast approaching, and some pretty emerald green corduroy on the cutting table, I decided it was time to get going on jumpers for Ella and Eva.  They still have fancy silk dresses from last year that will fit again this year, so the casual corduroy seemed like a good choice.  After much though, I determined that smocking a design that would work for Christmas but wasn’t so Christmas-y that it could be worn again later would be just perfect.

I chose to make the Children’s Corner “Mary De” pattern.  I’ve been sewing this jumper for so many years and can practically do it in my sleep.  If you don’t already have this pattern, now is the time to buy it.  They have revised the pattern to include instructions for an inset, which I’ve done in the past, but it requires some math.  Not my strong suit, so always a challenge for me.  Now no math is necessary as they have already done the hard work for you!

I’m quite pleased with how the jumpers turned out.  This time I actually made blouses to go under the jumpers as well.  I had broadcloth that was a perfect match for the piping, so that’s what I did.  The blouse pattern that I used was also Children’s Corner – the “Meg” pattern.  I am pretty sure that this pattern has been discontinued, but there are so many that you can choose from. What I love about the CC patterns besides the wonderful fit is that the sleeves and collars can be interchanged.  These sleeves look a bit long to me – but I rarely sew long sleeves, so they may be just right!  The elastic wrist will help keep the sleeves in place if they are a bit long.

For the smocking, I stitched an original design and made each one a little different, but used the same colored threads.  It’s so much nicer to not have to smock the identical design twice.  😊

The addition of the pink to the smocking makes the dress look a little less Christmas-y to me.

I loved finding the perfect buttons in my stash as well.  If everything comes from my stash, that pretty much makes these outfits “free” right?  LOL!  I love having everything that I need on hand when I start sewing.  With no fabric stores other than JoAnn’s and Hobby Lobby in town, a stash is a real advantage!  I keep telling myself that!!!

In the spirit of Christmas and giving, I am sharing both smocking graphs with my readers.  I hope you’ll enjoy them.  If your Christmas dresses are already finished, you can use the graphs and get a head start on your spring sewing!  As you can see, I wasn’t too creative in naming the smocking designs – I named them after the little girls that they are going to!

I hope that you enjoyed a blessed Thanksgiving with your loved ones.  What a joy to set aside a day to be able to praise God for the unmeasurable blessings that we enjoy each and every day!!!  Follow that with the Christmas celebration – what a wonderful season this is!!!

Hopefully you’ll find a little time to enjoy some stitching these next few weeks!

Kathy

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Fall At The Beach

I just returned from a beautiful weekend at the beach!!!  The beach in the fall is wonderful!  There are very few people on the beach, so it is very different from going in the summer when everyone is out enjoying the sun/sand.  I had the beach nearly to myself when I went out for a walk.  It was very quiet and peaceful.

When I arrived at the beach, I unpacked and then enjoyed a lovely walk on the beach.  This is what it looks like from both directions during the off-season.  Beauty – just as God created it!  It was just me and the birds!  LOL!  They didn’t seem to mind.

After my walk, I went out to the porch swing and enjoyed some stitching time while there was still sunlight to work by.  As you may be able to see, I’m working on my next Alabama Chanin style garment.  It doesn’t get better than this – a glass of wine and stitching as I overlook the canal!!!  I could hear the ocean waves as well.

Friday and Saturday I spent time teaching the Stranded Smockers and Stitchers Guild.  What a delightful group of ladies!  We all had fun and they were a great group to teach and we had a nice room for the class.  These ladies work so hard to put on Sewing At The Beach each January – it was really nice to be able to spend time with them when they weren’t “working”.  I’m so glad that they invited me to come and teach!

After class I returned to the beach house and enjoyed one last evening and morning there with a walk on the beach.

Sunday morning sunrise was just spectacular!  With the temperatures in the 60ºs and the ocean breezes, I was able to just enjoy God’s creation.  After seeing this gorgeous sunrise from the rooftop deck, I had to head to the beach for my walk and I knew the sunrise would be equally beautiful there!

I’ve returned home again and have unpacked.  Now to decide on what to do for today and my next project.  It was so wonderful to spend a quiet weekend away at such a peaceful place.  Next time I believe that I’ll have my husband join me and maybe spend longer there!  😊

 

 

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Stitching – Alabama Chanin Style

Recently I finished up my first garment that was stitched in the style of Alabama Chanin.  This is a far cry from heirloom stitching, but I love the look and enjoyed the process.  Everything about this was new to me.  I’ve never stenciled before.  I’m not great at the stenciling!  But I will persevere and hope to improve on that front.  Thankfully, most of what is stenciled is cut away!

When I first came across this style, I quickly bought a couple of her books – they come with patterns included.  The first book had paper patterns included in the back of the book while the second book had a CD with some of the same patterns, but some newer ones.  Be aware that if you choose to have the patterns printed, it can be expensive as they are on large paper.  One of the ones that I had printed ended up being $13.  I may try tiling them on the home printer next time and see how that works.  The books include detailed explanations on how to achieve the look.

To create the garments, the pattern pieces are first cut, then stenciled and then layered (stenciled fabric on top of base fabric) and pinned or basted together.  Then the handwork begins.  Each stenciled design is stitched around – I chose the easiest method, which was a running stitch.  After stitching around all the stenciled designs, the inside of each design is cut away, leaving just a bit of the stenciled area behind.  I love the resulting effect!

After all the stencils are stitched/cut, then the garment is hand stitched together.  There are many options for this as well – I chose a traditional (inside) seam allowance and then topstitched the seams for additional strength.

I ended up using a pattern that I drafted for my first garment.  It has been quite a learning experience, but a delightful one.  I know that the second garment will be better and I’ll do some things differently.  However, this one is one that I am happy to wear – it’s comfortable, and I am proud to have completed it.

I have my fabric, paint and stencil chosen for the next outfit.  I need to decide on the pattern so that I can get started!  However, last night I discovered that Alabama Chanin is offering a new class on Craftsy, so I immediately signed up and will be watching that before starting the next project – I’m sure that I’ll learn some new things from her – even if it is just watching her hands while she is stitching.  I can’t wait to start!

Since this is a slow process, I’m undecided if I should sew for cooler weather that is coming, or sew another warm weather garment since there are so many hours involved.  Decisions!

I hope you’re continuing to try and learn new things!  It’s always an adventure!!!

Dressing Dollies

In preparation for Christmas as well as a birthday (this week!), I have been sewing some doll clothes for the little girls.  This is such fun sewing!  I have several more on the cutting table, but thought I’d share a few before they leave the house.  These are for the 18″ dolls such as the American Girl dolls, Gotz dolls, etc.

I have my wonderful Dolly’s Wardrobe book, which has patterns that match the Children’s Corner patterns.  You can still purchase this book from Children’s Corner store.  I used these patterns to make doll clothes for our daughter, and used them again for the granddaughter’s.

I had a couple blouses cut out and partially sewn from when our youngest daughter still played with dolls.  They are vintage now!  LOL!  So, I finished one of them up to go under a jumper.

The jumper pattern is from Genniewren and goes together very quickly.  Her patterns are excellent as are the instructions.  I used the a-line dress pattern, but didn’t do the color blocking for this dress.  It’s an easy change to make.  If you don’t want to change up that pattern, her Melanie pattern top could be used – just add length.

I have another jumper made, but need to make a blouse to go with it yet.

The next dress made turned out so sweet!  I love smocking and was thrilled to make up this Lucy dress pattern.  I made up my own smocking design, though Genine has a pretty smocking design included with the pattern.  I think this is my new favorite dress pattern!

Instead of embroidering small flowers, I used tiny buttons from a craft pack.  That worked out great and was very quick and easy.

The last finished outfits are pants and a smocked top.  Genine made the top pattern to match my Temily top that was in the Australian Smocking and Embroidery magazine several years ago.  It has just a bit of smocking in the center.  Her top pattern is called Kataya.  The pants are a very quick sew with an elastic waist.  I used the Melanie pattern and added length to the pants.  The pants can be worn with either of the tops.

I did make a change to the top pattern and had it open all the way down the top for easier dressing.  I wanted to make this as easy as possible so that “mom” didn’t have to be involved in dressing the dolls.  LOL!

Again, I did my own smocking design, though Genine provides a pretty smocking design in the pattern.  This is such a small section to smock, it can be finished in about 1/2 hour.

On this white top, I decided to try the neckband without elastic and with only a bias band.  It worked out well, but in the end, I prefer the elastic.

For all the doll outfits, I used snaps for the closures.  I like the Snap Source snaps – they come in so many colors and with either a closed cap or an open cap.  For the doll clothes, I used the size 14.

Today I’ll wrap up a couple of these for the birthday party, and save the others for Christmas.  I have many more needed for Christmas!!!  Next up for sewing is the doll coat pattern!  I can’t wait to sew this up – it’s cut and ready!!!

Have you started your Christmas sewing yet?  If not, I highly recommend the Genniewren patterns as well as the Children’s Corner Dressing Dolly book.

Sewing For Boys – The Pants Problems….

The weather will soon be cooler, and Liam will need pants to wear.  Shopping for pants for him has proven to be quite the challenge.  Why?  Skinny pants won’t work for him.    Ideally, some pull-on type of pants would be perfect so that he can get them on/off easily.  Have you tried looking for a pull-on pant that isn’t athletic wear?  They are almost impossible to find!!!

Naturally, I thought I could make pants for him.  However, finding a pattern that would fit was equally challenging.  I have many, many pants patterns from our favorite heirloom pattern companies as well as patterns from the big 4 companies and the Ottobre magazine.  Ottobre definitely has the most stylish clothing for boys and stitch them with plenty of the same details that you find on ready to wear garments.  But going through all my magazines and then tracing – ugh!

I have found that nearly all my pattern from heirloom sewing companies as well as the big 4 companies have “issues” – either the crotch ends up too low or the rise is way too high, coming above the belly button or both.  🙄  Also, the legs tend to be quite wide.

In the end, I decided to use a pair of Izod pants that I had purchased (the only pair suitable that I found) for reference.  With Liam’s measurements  and the sample garment, I made my own pattern.  Well, the first go at it was an epic fail!!!  😂  They ended up in the trash!  But, I stuck with it and the second pattern was a winner.

I used some royal blue poplin that was in my stash.  I didn’t spend time on many details since this was a test of the pattern.   I did add the same waistband treatment with the buttonhole elastic across the back.

With the sample finished, I tried the pants on Liam.  He wasn’t too thrilled with trying on clothes.  LOL!  But, we did manage, though you will need to excuse the silly poses – I love this funny boy.

Notice how the pants are below the belly – just like ready to wear.  Why can’t sewing patterns keep up with the style/trends that ready to wear have?  No children are wearing their pants up above the belly button!  Even when/if they try, the pants will slide down below the belly – it’s just the way they are built!

Thankfully, in spite of his antics, I could see that these were a good fit.  I had some khaki fabric in the stash and it was just the right fabric for some casual church type of pants for him.  The mannequin is a bit small for these pants, but you get the idea.  That said, this picture is the best representation of the color.

Pockets were added to the back.  I think I may make them slightly smaller the next time.

Pockets in the side seam were also added and a lighter weight fabric used for the pocket bag.

The pocket was edge stitched on the front and then extra stitching was added at the base of the opening for durability.

The inseam was edge stitched for both appearance as well as durability.

A mock zipper was added to the front of the pants and then a button above it to give the appearance of a button/zip closure.

I think these will work well for Liam – he will be able to pull them up and down easily but they still have the appearance of a dress pant.  Just like that, we’re ready for the cooler weather – whenever it wants to show up!

Are you ready for fall?  What are you sewing???

 

Buried in the Sewing Room!!!

If you’re wondering why I haven’t posted lately, it’s because I’ve been buried in the sewing room!  It’s as if I have had ADHD in that room and it’s been chaos in there.  😱

After making the pillowcases for the little girls, I decided that Liam should get a pillowcase for Christmas as well, so I found some cute pirate fabric and whipped up a pillowcase for him.

Once that was completed, I decided to make a knit dress for Ella.  Well, that involved pulling out my tote of knits, going through patterns, Ottobre magazines, etc. and then tracing off patterns, washing knits, and on and on.  In the end, I couldn’t decide what to do as all the patterns I traced off were going to be too big.  Ugh!  I shoved that in the corner and then started working on doll clothes.

I found that I had several doll outfits cut out from when our youngest played with dolls.  Hahaha!!!!  Talk about nearly vintage!  These were 20 years old.  So, I completed a few of those, found more patterns and printed those out and made several, but then got distracted with making purses for the SewPowerful project (due to the affiliation with the doll dresses I was making). If you don’t know about the Sew Powerful project, you need to read up on it and (hopefully) participate!  Cinnamon and Jason have done a wonderful job helping these young girls stay in school with the purses and supplies that they provide as well as helping the moms work.  It’s a fabulous project.

I used some fabric that I had used previously for a tote bag and managed to whip up 7 purses and got them sent in.  Sadly, I only took pictures of the 4 matching ones.  I’ve since seen pictures of so many cute and creative designs and I’ll be doing more with trims and such when I make these again.  This is a year round project, so feel free to jump in and make one or many to send in!!!  I hope to hear that many of you will be supporting this wonderful cause.  The purses are easy to make and don’t use much fabric – it’s a wonderful way to use up stash.

With the purses completed, I started working on something for the Classic Sewing magazine. Of course, that involved pulling out more fabrics, drafting supplies, etc.  At this point there was stuff all over the sewing room!!!  It’s a small room, and the mess was monumental!  So, with a good start on that project, I turned to my Alabama Chanin style project.  I’ve worked on that for a couple of weeks – mostly because it is hand sewing and that way I could avoid the mess in the sewing room.  LOL!

I find this to be such a fun project!  I am not good at the stenciling of the fabric – I sew, I don’t paint.  So that was quite the challenge.  Embroidering on t-shirt fabric is different from any of the other type of embroidery that I’m used to.  It’s been a learning process.  With the embroidery completed, the center of the stenciled part is cut away.

The top is now complete, and I’ll have to get hubby to take a picture of it since I’m pretty sure you don’t want to see the bathroom mirror pictures.  😂

Then I moved on to the next challenge – little boy pants.  Of course, more fabric, patterns, tracing paper, etc. came out.  Yikes – the mess continues to grow.  I have managed to get a great fitting pair of pants for Liam, but that will be my next post.

I’ve cleaned up in the sewing room a bit.  When you lose patterns and fabrics that you need – well, it’s time to clean up.  I am used to working on a couple of projects at a time, but this has been ridiculous.  I will be returning to working on only a coupe things at a time and hopefully won’t get into this mess again.  We’ll see how that goes!

I hope you’re enjoying some fun stitching time!