Category Archives: hand embroidery

Beach and Bonnets!!!

Last weekend was spent at the beach with friends.  We had a wonderful time and great weather!!!  I can’t wait to go again!

During the 3-1/2 hour drive there and back, I was smocking bonnets!!!  I love a sweet bonnet and all our little girls (daughters and granddaughters) wore bonnets.  After returning home from the beach, I got busy putting together the bonnets so that I could get my new pattern listed on Etsy.  I’m thrilled to offer this bonnet pattern.  I’ve named it Bella’s Vintage Smocked Bonnet.  It was inspired by the many vintage bonnet patterns that I’ve seen.

I’ve included 2 different styles for the bonnets – the bonnet on the left has more smocking and bias trim details while the bonnet on the right is a quicker and easier style with just a bit of smocking at the bonnet brim, narrow hemmed sides and a casing with ribbon for the back closure.

Because baby head sizes vary so much, I’ve included 4 sizes in the pattern.  A Preemie (5 lb.) size, which also fits the Bitty Baby dolls, a NB – 6 mo. size, a 1 – 2 and a 2 – 3.  I believe that pretty much covers all sizes that would wear a bonnet.  LOL!  It is just as sweet on a doll as on a baby!

This is the NB sized bonnet being modeled by a Lee Middleton doll.

This is the Preemie size modeled on an American Doll Bitty Baby doll.

Graphs for all the sizes are included in the pattern, so no need to figure out how to downsize the graph.  I’ve had such fun making each of these bonnets!

All of my bonnets were made from Imperial batiste for easy wash/wear.  I know how quickly a little drool can “decorate” the bonnets, so something easy to wash and put back on the baby was planned, though it would be beautiful in the special heirloom fabrics as well. I look forward to making more of these to have for baby gifts!  I hope that others will also enjoy making them as well!!!

So, that’s what I’ve been stitching lately – what have you been up to?.

Happy Mother’s Day!!!

What a wonderful thing to have a day when we can celebrate the mother’s that helped form us into who we are today.  I have been blessed to have a godly, loving mom who has always been a great example to me.  She taught me what it was to be a child of God, has loved me unconditionally and encouraged me to do my best.

My aunt (mom’s sister) was also very influential in my life, as were both of my grandmother’s.  All godly women.  I took this picture of myself, mom and her sister last year shortly before my aunt passed away.  It’s not the best picture, but I’m glad that I have it.

Be sure and take time to celebrate you mom today!  If you mom is no longer with you, enjoy and celebrate the memories!

This past week I had plenty of time to play around in my sewing room, cleaning, organizing, etc. while hubby was away.  I did manage to finish up a couple of projects that were nearly finished.

The first project finished was a dress from SATB in January.  The dress is “Vintage Visions” by Trisha Smith.  It is the sweetest dress.  I had set it aside due to my questions about the embroidery design and pocket placement – thinking I had lost the embroidery template.  Once I realized that it was a freehand drawing I went ahead and drew in my design.  Fingers crossed that the pockets are in the right place!  I can’t wait to see this sweet dress on Livvy.

The next project was finishing up a top that I used for demonstration purposes at SATB.  The top is the Jane pattern from Classic Sewing magazine.  I finished up the top and made some shorts to go with it.

Ellas was excited about this outfit and I’m sure it will look so cute on her!  The whale design is from Junebug Designs, “Whale of A Tale” – if you can find it at and heirloom shop, snatch it up as it is out of print.

I hope to finish a few more UFO’s that I found this week!  Until then……

Happy Mother’s Day!!!

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.

******************************************************************************

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

******************************************************************************

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

Wedding, Chicago and Workshop!!!

So, it’s been a little while since my last post.  Well, we’ve been busy!!!  Our youngest daughter got married on 4/8 and it was a perfect day for it.  The weather was outstanding and she was a beautiful bride!  Of course, I’m prejudice.

The little ones looked adorable in their outfits and did their jobs well.  LOL!

After the wedding weekend we celebrated our Savior’s resurrection on Easter Sunday and had the kids/grandkids over for a meal and some fun activities.  The kids looked adorable in their Easter outfits!

Easter Monday we flew up to Chicago to be with our son and daughter-in-law for his heart procedure.  Monday evening we were able to go out to eat with them and enjoy a delicious meal!!!

Tuesday morning we headed to the hospital early in the morning.  We were so thankful that many prayers were answered and they were able to repair the heart with no damage!  It was a rather stressful LONG day waiting, but the hospital had lovely waiting rooms and the staff were so very helpful.  The dr. was one of the best in his field.  We praise God for his wonderful provision and for the outcome of this.

I love this picture of Steve with Lauren at the wedding!

After the quick trip to Chicago, I headed up to Maryland to do a workshop with the Chesapeake Treasurer’s guild.  What a fun group of ladies to teach!!!  They were enthusiastic about the classes and techniques they learned and I had a great time with them.  It was so fun to see the different choices that the ladies made for both the dress class as well as the embroidered jacket class!  I’m looking forward to seeing some pictures of the finished outfits on FB soon!!!

Now that I’m home again I’ll be working on my next new project as well as managing the home front and preparing for the next workshop.  I am loving the next project and hope to share it soon!  Until then, keep on stitching!!!

 

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

 

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

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!

 

img_0046 img_0048

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).  

img_0049

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.

img_0054

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.

img_0050

img_0051

img_0053

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!

img_0056

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.

smocking under lace

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.  😀

img_0050

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!

 

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!

IMG_9966

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

IMG_9964

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.

IMG_9950 IMG_9949

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.

IMG_9970

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.

IMG_9974

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!

IMG_9982

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!

IMG_9950b

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.

 

 

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.

IMG_9840 IMG_9844

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.

IMG_9857

IMG_9855

IMG_9849

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…..

Fun Play Clothes

The past week and a half I’ve enjoyed plenty of time in the sewing room.  I always enjoy sewing fun clothes, so it’s been relaxing.  I had 2 partially completed “Annalise” tops that I’d used as demonstrations for different techniques when I taught that class earlier this year.  I don’t think it took an hour to finish both of them.  That’s a bonus!

After a bit of stash diving, I came up with the exact fabric that inspired the smocking design many years ago!  I love when that happens!  A pair of capri pants (Children’s Corner “Abbie) were cut and stitched to match that cute top, but with a ruffle instead of contrast band.  The second top got a pair of shorts (Children’s Corner “Lettie).  I can’t wait to see these on the little girls!

Both of the smocked sections were done many years ago when I sold a lot on Ebay.  It was a great “find” to discover the already smocked pieces since that made the completion of the tops so much quicker, though smocking such a small section goes quickly anyway!

IMG_9826 IMG_9829

This is a picture of my Ebay outfit from back in the early 2000’s.  I may have enough of the butterfly fabric to make one more outfit like this!

butterfly 2

This smocking was also from my Ebay selling days.  I am sure that I have a picture of that somewhere as well, but wasn’t able to find it quickly.

IMG_9830 IMG_9831

I also lengthened a bishop dress – this little ones keep growing so fast!!!  It’s so nice to see them looking so cute in their smocked things, I don’t mind the re-hemming!

Because of my busy schedule this spring, I haven’t had a lot of time to sew special gowns for the Caleb Ministry, so I took several days and competed a few gowns, bonnets & embroidered matching blankets for them as well.  I love sewing for this wonderful ministry, though I wish it wasn’t needed.  The boxes that they provide for families suffering the loss of a child are really special.  I consider it a privilege to sew for these precious babies.

This gown and bonnet were made to compliment the blanket with beautiful lace.  Another volunteer made the blanket.

IMG_9819

One of the other volunteers made this blanket also, so I made the gown to go with it.  This one required a tiny gown.  though you can’t tell from a picture, this gown is only about 6″ long and designed for a 1 – 2 lb. baby.  I put just a touch of hand embroidery with tiny bullion flowers on this gown and on the blanket.  We don’t make bonnets for these very tiny gowns.

IMG_9822

There were many of these ecru blankets made with donated fabric.  We only make white gowns and bonnets, so I added corded pintucks in ecru and added machine embroidery to make this set go together.  I love this beautiful cross design from Fromtheneedleofanne.  Her embroidery designs stitch out beautifully.

IMG_9824

This is another gown featuring corded pintucks and a cross design.  I don’t remember where this design came from.

IMG_9820

This last gown is another tiny one.  Another talented member knit these precious booties, bonnet and blanket, so I made just the gown to go with them.  I used pink ribbon down the center of the lace strip, though it’s hard to see in the picture.

IMG_9823

CI count children and grandchildren as my most precious treasures here on earth.  My thoughts and prayers are with all those families that have suffered loss this Mother’s day.  I know that it is a particularly difficult day for anyone that has lost a child.  Don’t forget about these women this Mother’s day and say a prayer for them.  God cares for them.  Psalm 56:8 – You have…put my tears in a bottle.

I still have a few more UFO’s that need to be finished up for the little ones and several more things that I’d like to make for them.  Until next time, keep on stitching!!!

Some Simple Sewing Projects

This past week I’ve been doing some simple sewing projects.  Having found a completed top as well as a partially completed top, both which would fit one of the little girls right now, I thought I should finish some pants or capris to wear with the tops.

This first top was partially completed.  It was rather plain, so I added some hand embroidery to it.  I thought it was sweet, but Ella – well, she wasn’t sure about it.  We’ll see.  LOL!

IMG_9816 IMG_9817

The second top was sewn many years ago when I sold children’s clothing online.  This wasn’t sold due to the initial.  I was thrilled when I went stash diving and found the polka dot pique that was a perfect match to the top!  Of course, this is for Livvy (Olivia).

IMG_9818

Then I also finished up a couple sweet Wee Care gowns.  The white one is simple and will work for a boy or girl, but I loved smocking the tiny rocking horse on the second one!  I know it will be sweet for a precious little boy.

IMG_9803

The smocking design for the horse is Tiny Rocking Horses by Ellen McCarn.

IMG_9802

In addition to some of the enjoyable sewing, I’ve had fun with the grandkids this past week, having some “sleep-overs” with some of them!  That trumps sewing any day!

I’ve been busy sewing other things as well, but those have yet to be photographed.  I’ll save that for the next post.

I hope you’re enjoying some relaxing sewing these days as well!

Pretty Pillow

This past week I’ve been busy getting ready for the Sewing At The Beach retreat.  I’m so thrilled to have been asked to teach at this event.  One of the classes I’ll be teaching is a North American smocking technique – otherwise known as fabric manipulation – on a sweet halter top.

IMG_8597b

I recognize that not everyone sews for little girls, so it had been my earnest desire to make another sample that was on a pillow.  I could see this on pillows made in a variety of fabrics.  Silk is one that comes to mind.  I have yet to try this on silk.

However, I did make the time to do the smocking on a piece for a pillow, using the same white sateen fabric as I used for the top.  I finished up the pillow and am quite pleased with the results.  Of course, the pillow was much more smocking than the halter top!

IMG_9722

So now I have something to show with this interesting technique that anyone could make.  If I had more time, I’d be bringing samples of the technique on different fabrics.  But alas, I am making up some last-minute kits, so that’s not possible at this time.  Maybe next time.  🙂

I head to the beach tomorrow and will be there for a week.  I know this will be a fun event and I’ll be sharing it with many other women that love all types of sewing and needlework.  Hope to see some of you there!!!