Category Archives: French Machine Sewing

Bringing A Dress Up to Date

Just a break from the NY shopping adventure.  😊  There’s extra blog posts while I am forced to be less busy.

Upon our return home, we had 2 of the granddaughter’s for the weekend while their folks were away.  The weather was beautiful and we enjoyed a nice time with the girls.  We were soaking up the sunshine!

Monday morning the painters arrived to work on our kitchen cabinets.  Needless to say, the kitchen is off limits for the moment – no cooking, which I don’t mind, but it is a bit inconvenient to have the entire kitchen taped up!  LOL!

At the end of the day, I did ask that the refrigerator be unwrapped and later that evening I had to bust into the microwave.  LOL!  But, progress is being made.

In the meantime, I’m keeping busy around the house – specifically in the sewing room.  However, with our gorgeous Carolina weather (72º and sunny today!), I am also taking advantage of some quality time in the back yard and relaxing with both hand sewing and reading.

While the girls were here, I took the opportunity to go through the closet and try on some of the samples as well as some of their Auntie “Lo’s” dresses.  This beautiful silk dress fit, but it had those HUGE 90’s style sleeves.  I love this dress, and someone should be able to wear it, so I decided to update the sleeves so that it was wearable.

This is the original dress with the HUGE sleeves.  LOL!  Yep – Auntie Lo wore it like this!

I removed the sleeves and bias band and recut the sleeves to something more in line with both traditional as well as what would be worn today.  Working with silk duping isn’t for the faint at heart – all that fraying!!!  However, I am very pleased with the updated version.  I removed LOTS of fullness as well as some of the height of the sleeve.  The new picture is more accurate colors.

This pattern was a favorite to make for our girls in the 80’s and 90’s.  It is the Little Sunday Dress for Big Girls.  What I love about the dress is that the back yoke wraps around to the front of the dress, allowing the pleats to stay closer together on the dress front without needing to add more fullness to the skirt widths.  Notice that there is no side seam under the arm, it is wrapped to the front.  The back also has dart options for a closer fit and you could also add a belt or sash, which I didn’t do either.

Another detail to point out, because I know I didn’t always remember to do this in my early smocking years – the back yoke should end at the same place as the smocking, so frequently adjustments were needed.  I chose to have the piping end at the center of the purple design, not at the bottom of the tiny wave as I thought that looked a bit odd.

For this special dress, I made a lace block and then cut the collar out of the lace and added the lace ruffle around the outside of the collar.  I love how it looks on this dress – it makes it so special without being too over the top.

The smocking plate is “Ashes of Roses” by Oliver Goodin.  She has beautiful smocking plates and I’ve done quite a few of them.  This is definitely a favorite of mine.  I chose to do silk ribbon flowers and leaves on this dress.  I cannot remember if the plate uses silk ribbon or something else, and I cannot get to it at the moment – kitchen construction.  Hahaha!!!

So, I’m feeling quite relaxed today, resting my leg (per dr. orders) and enjoying the weather and the sewing.

Don’t overlook some of the vintage patterns and plates – they frequently have some wonderful details that you certainly don’t seem to get in any of the big 4 pattern companies.

Just a little Easter inspiration for everyone!  We found enough dresses in the closet that I don’t really need to make anything for Easter for the girls.  But, that doesn’t mean that I won’t!

So, while the kitchen is off limits, I’ll enjoy some stitching.

What are you dreaming of for spring and Easter?

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!!!