Category Archives: Fine machine sewing

Vintage Cobbler Apron

I have finally finished all the work required for a new class.  Yippee!!!  I’m thrilled with the finished apron!

This adorable apron pattern is inspired by a vintage pattern that was called a Cobbler Apron.  No idea why they would call a child’s apron a cobbler apron – children certainly aren’t cobblers.  LOL!  I adore this style!  It is just so cute and I couldn’t resist recreating a version of this apron that would be suitable for today.  I chose to maintain the vintage inspiration and call it a cobbler apron.

This is a new class that I’ve submitted to SAGA (Smocking Arts Guild of America) for approval and the pattern will accompany the class.  If you have an interest in needle arts, I would encourage you to consider joining SAGA!  You can learn so much and enjoy stitching time with fellow enthusiasts!  There are always plenty of stitching options available around the country each year – both at local guilds as well as retreats and conventions.

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I don’t offer patterns for sale.  Just thought I’d put that out there since I always get questions regarding the patterns.

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Please disregard the “stuffing” on my form.  LOL!  I don’t have a form for a size 1, so a padded wire form is the current display.  I need to find another option for displaying smaller sizes!

I’ve embroidered a fun flower garden around the hem of the dress and surrounded the flowers with spaghetti bias for some extra interest and pop.  I just love this little apron!  Of course, I also can envision this as a cute skirt for older girls!  I will be working on something like that next!

The back is as cute as the front!  No two flowers are alike – that would be too boring!!!  Hahaha!!!

While I love the idea of this being worn alone as our children did and as was done for many years, it would also look so sweet over a yoke dress!  Pretty much any print, solid or gingham would work!

Pictured above and below is the first version of the dress. This version was stitched in pearl cotton.  The new version uses stranded floss, which is much easier to obtain and has many more colors available.  I do love the first version as well though!

I hope everyone else will be as excited about this new class/pattern as I am!!!

Now, off to begin a skirt…..

Kath

Just breathe!

So, the wedding is less than 2 weeks away and we’re in the last days of all the little details to attend to.  Although we’re so excited about the upcoming wedding, there’s always stress involved.  My plan is to add nothing to my calendar for this week and next week and to enjoy some relaxing sewing time as time permits.  This is relaxing and enjoyable to me when it doesn’t involve drafting/sewing for new classes or magazine articles.  LOL!  I started this process on Saturday and had a delightful weekend!

My first nearly finished project only needed a couple of rows of smocking and some buttonholes and buttons to be sewn on.  I enjoyed finishing the little dress and look forward to trying a different method of using a contrast fabric at the top of the bishop.  I believe that each method will have benefits as well as challenges.  I am OK with this method, but think the there may be a better option.  After I try a couple of others, I’ll be back to report and share my findings.

I used the apple design that I did for the Classic Sewing magazine‘s fall 2016 issue and eliminated the color changes and added a chain stitch around the outside to mimic the apples in the fabric.  I graphed the bird to match the fabric.  What a funny little bird!  I also backstitched the smocking area with a 4 step trellis stitch and like the wavy effect that it gives.

As always, I used my practical 2 button back closure.  I find that this method actually stays closed while the dress is being worn.  😜  That’s always a plus with active toddlers!

With the bishop dress completed, I moved on to the next nearly finished project.  As I have moved clothing around in the bedroom closets and rearranged space after our daughter moved out, I found several projects that needed only a little attention to be finished.  One project was a sample “Suzette” dresses that was made when I designed the dress.  I made 5 samples – the blue dress was one of them.  I recently taught this dress and it’s one of my favorites with the simple lines and smocked sleeves.  This dress only needed a hem and a button and button loop on the back.

I machine stitched the hem in the dress and then added the featherstitching.  I can say that I’m not totally thrilled with my featherstitching at the hem!  On the bodice I use a grid to get the stitch uniform.  For the hem, I decided to try it without a grid.  Oh my!!!  Wrong choice.  However, I’m giving myself some grace and recognize that nobody will be down at hem level inspecting this dress, so as Elsa says “let it go”.  That’s exactly what I’m doing!

I do love this dress and will love seeing both this one and the bird/apple dress on the little girls.

Today I’ll dive back into the closets and see what else can be finished easily and hopefully enjoy some fun stitching time between the wedding errands and such.

I hope you’re enjoying some spring sewing!  Our weather has warmed up and I think spring is here to stay!  Soon it will be time to start the summer sewing!!!

Keep on stitching……

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

 

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.

 

 

Sewing For Preemies…….

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I’ve been absent from blogging for a while.  Summer has been busy with travels, vacations as well as working on sewing projects/classes/patterns.  I have gotten a lot done, but don’t have a lot of sewing to show for it.  More of the work has been on class notes, pattern drafting, etc.  All of which are needed things, but not the fun sewing that I enjoy.

After several weeks of not touching the sewing machine, I just had to sew something.  I’ve had so much fun these last few days working on some preemie baby things.  A dear friend of mine will soon has some grandchildren on the way!  I’m so excited for her and have been praying for those little ones.  I suspect that the babies may be early.  Of course, they would need some preemie sized clothing.  I went on the search for some cute preemie boy patterns.  I was so discouraged at what I found, or rather, what I didn’t find!

When searching for preemie patterns, there are plenty of freebies out there, but they are mostly hand drawn kimono type garments.  I was looking for something that looked more like real clothes and not something to be worn for bed.  I finally gave up and decided to draft my own diaper shirt and diaper covers for the little guys.

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This was the first outfit that I finished.  I used the sweet bonnet pattern that was included in a recent SAGA News for a matching bonnet.  Judith Marquis designed this bonnet and the pattern is available for purchase and has multiple preemie sizes included.  I can’t wait to get to the SAGA convention and purchase the pattern so that I have all the sizes!

I just love these diaper covers!!!  They are designed similar to the vintage pattern styles with no elastic in the legs.  They are my favorite!

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Here’s what I have discovered as I’ve looked for preemie patterns.  The few that I found available were sized either 3 – 7 lbs. or 4 – 7 lbs.  Therein lies the problem that I have with those patterns.  If something is large enough for a 7 lb. baby, it’s going to be enormous on a 3 or 4 lb. baby.  The seamstress in me cannot wrap my head around how a 3 lb. baby could wear anything that is something that a 7 lb. baby could wear.  Here’s a visual:

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The doll on the left is the size of a 7 lb. newborn – same length, torso length, chest, waist, etc. while the doll on the right is the same size and has the same measurements as a 5 lb. preemie.  (Just for reference, I don’t consider a 7 lb. to be a preemie but a , so also don’t consider clothing that goes to 7 lbs. to be preemie sized but a NB size.  Yep – I’m strange!)  It doesn’t take much to figure out that the same sized outfits will not fit both of these 2 dolls.  I didn’t have a doll the same size as a 3 or 4 lb., but the difference there would be even more significant.

I also was unable to find any diaper shirts and diaper cover sets in a pattern for the preemies, and that’s what I had my heart set on.  So, after a pattern draft, a trial garment, some minor corrections and more sewing, I’ve been able to create 2 outfits and make 2 slightly different shirts.  I’m quite pleased with the little outfits.

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I love the asymmetrical shirt and think that the blank space would be perfect for a monogram.  Not knowing what the boys will be named, I opted for a cute rocking horse design.

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Now that I have the pattern drafted, I hope to get instructions written up.  We’ll see how that goes.  I’d much rather be sewing than writing instructions and taking pictures!!!

Until I can find other preemie (as in, up to 5 lbs.) patterns, this will be my go to pattern for preemie boys!

I have no problem with preemie dress patterns.  The SAGA Wee Care gown is a wonderful smocked bishop dress and I know it fits little ones great!

Several years ago my niece was born prematurely weighing 1 lb. 12 oz.  She spent  time in the NICU until she was big enough to go home.  I made her some 1 – 2 lb. size smocked Wee Care gowns.  This is a picture of her at 5 weeks in one of those gowns.

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The little gown fit perfectly!  As she grew, I also made her some 3 – 4 lb. gowns and she wore those as well.  I think she may have been the best dressed little girl in the NICU.  🙂  We thank God that she’s a healthy teenager now!  I cannot say enough good things about this SAGA gown.  If you know of a preemie that needs a tiny dress, this SAGA one is sure to be a good fit.

That’s the extent of my recent sewing.  I hope you’ve been able to fit some sewing in this summer as well!

 

 

 

Two New Dresses!!!

I’ve been busy the last couple weeks with designing and then sewing two new dresses.  I love the entire process and am really happy with the end results!

I had a vision for what I wanted to make, sketched it out on the computer, and then set it aside for a few weeks months.  When it finally came down to sewing, I relied on my stellar memory.  LOL!  That was a providential mistake.  I had the entire skirt constructed before pulling up the sketch.  At that point I realized that I’d made a different skirt than what I intended to make.  Hahaha!!!!  Oh well, in the end it was an opportunity to create 2 beautiful dresses – one is an easier to make dress, the other one a more challenging one.  So, I now have 2 dresses in 2 different sizes.

Dress #1 – the pretty mistake dress.  Because this was going to be my test sample dress, I made it out of Imperial batiste.  That alone makes this a dress that will get plenty of wear.  After rinsing out the blue wash out marker, then a light hand washing and time in the dryer (yes, I was impatiently waiting to photograph!), it only needed a slight touch of the iron before photographing!  Honestly, for wearing, I wouldn’t iron at all – I only did it for the photograph.

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I love madeira hem treatments and I love pinstitching wherever I can use it!  The shadow work embroidery is the icing on the cake for this dress.  🙂

Upon the completion of dress #1, I moved on to dress #2 – the sketched dress.  Dress #1 didn’t need any changes to the pattern or process, so this dress was made from heirloom fabrics – satin batiste!  That is such a beautiful fabric to work with and I love the sheen.  This is the hem and bodice treatment that I had sketched and planned to do the first time.  LOL!  It is equally beautiful, but definitely a bit more challenging to create.

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I love everything about this dress as well!!!  It turned out exactly as I’d hoped.  Madeira hem, pinstitching, pintucks and a little hand embroidery – what’s not to love?!?!?!

Because there was already plenty of interest already in this dress, I kept the embroidery simple.  I think that was the right choice.  It also made it easier to get it finished once the dress was completed.

With the dresses finished, I’ve been hard at work on the computer, getting the pattern pieces drafted on the computer rather than my usual hand drafting.  I’m much slower at doing it on the computer, but I love the results, so I’m sticking with it.  I know I’ll be happy when all the bits are finished.  It’s going to take a while.  I have Claire Meldrum to thank for her patience in teaching me how to use Illustrator several years ago.  She has written the best tutorial on graphing smocking designs in Illustrator.

So, now you know why I’ve been away from blogging.

What’s next?  Perhaps some summer sewing for the little ones…..