Category Archives: hand embroidery

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!

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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).


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.


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


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.


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!


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!!!



Retreat soon!!!

I’ve been busy sewing the last couple weeks, with a wonderful workshop with Gail Doane squeezed in the mix.  That was a nice break from the less exciting sewing.  I did manage to get my dress sewn together as well as did a bit of embroidery on the jacket, but that was set aside to finish up other things.

I wish I had something to show for all the time in the sewing room, but alas, most of it is pretty boring stuff – samples of techniques that have been stitched for class.  In the end, what I have is several different garments, at totally different stages of construction!   Nobody wants to see those, except for students in the classes.  LOL!

I have done quite a bit of embroidery lately and discovered a stitching dilemma when I’m out on our porch stitching, or in the leather recliner stitching.  In my other (upholstered) armchairs, I stick the pins and needles into the arms of the chair.  However, that doesn’t work with leather or wicker – at least, not well!  So a sewing caddy  seemed to be the solution to that.  I had made one of those in my first quilting class in the early 80’s.  Of course, I no longer have it.  So I decided that if I did some of my fun embroidery on one, it would make a wonderful SAGA stitching class.

I tend to enjoy the fun and funky styles as opposed to the more traditional, so I stitched up some fun flowers and used some interesting stitches.  It looks so pretty on my chair!  Though, hubby managed to sit in “my” chair and stick himself this morning.  Whoops!


I’m really pleased with the results.  It was a challenge to figure out how to photograph this appropriately since I cannot carry an arm chair up a flight of stairs for photo purposes.  So, pardon the chair-less photo of an arm chair caddy.  I did manage to rig up a sort of display.


The inside front pocket of the caddy has other pockets inside of it to hold my embroidery scissors, ruler, marking pen and also has some loops for holding the embroidery threads.  So far, it is working just as I had hoped.  This one is my class sample.  The first attempt a couple weeks ago is equally as pretty, but my fabric selection didn’t work out quite as I had expected, so it was back to the heavier pique which handles surface embroidery so well.  Sometimes you have to try different things to affirm that you just need to stick with what works!

This was such an enjoyable project to work on and it’s great to have something that is useful as well.  It’s a win!  Now I need to figure out how else I can stitch some fun flowers on……..   I’m open for ideas.  LOL!

So, that’s about it for “show and tell”.  My bags are packed and I’m ready to go ……  the SAGA retreat in Chicago is next week and I’m looking forward to it!


Another UFO finished!

This past week I tackled yet another UFO and got it finished.  🙂  So happy to have another one checked off my list.  The results are different from the intended pattern, but I’m OK with that – nobody will ever know that when it is being worn.

This project was from a Wendy Schoen workshop that I took last year.  She is such a talented designer and does the most beautiful embroidery!  Her patterns always have a vintage feel to them, which I love.  This dress is made of cotton pique with tiny pin dots – a fabric that is perfect for summer – always crisp and fresh looking.  The piping and bias bands are done in the reverse print.  The details on the pattern are ones that only someone who does a lot of hand embroidery would think of – tiny running stitches surround the neckline and peephole in the sleeve.



I am calling my dress “inspired” by Wendy’s since it bears resemblance, but isn’t the same.    Picture is from Wendy’s blog.



Because of some problems encountered during construction and my unwillingness to spend lots of time “un-sewing” my dress, I did not end up with the crisp, sewn down pleats but rather soft pleats at the waistline.  I do love the real pleats and will do those if I make the dress again now that I know what needs to be done differently to make that happen.

Wendy’s kit had the most delicious assortment of wool felt flower pieces included in it, and she showed us how to make the pretty pink flower, but we didn’t get to that part of the dress during the workshop and it is beyond my limited ability to recreate her pretty splash of flowers on the belt and jacket of the coat, so I chose not to add that element – I will save those for a wool coat (that is currently in my dreams!) after I practice some with felt flowers.  So, my dress needed some other detail for interest on the front and I chose to do a few embroidered flowers to mimic what was done on the sleeves – which happen to be my favorite part of the dress!


Aren’t these the cutest sleeves!!!




Photographing these peek-a-boo sleeves was quite the challenge!  This was the most pleasing picture that showed the details without some weird mannequin or seam allowance or such showing through the peep hole.  LOL!  Notice my running stitches!!!  We used Coton a Broder thread for the embroidery and running stitches.  It was the first time I’d embroidered with this thread and I really enjoyed it.  It is much like floche, but not quite as soft as floche is.  I am adding that to my “embroidery favorites” threads list and hope to purchase more of this!  I wish I’d had some green – I would have added that to the bodice embroidery as I feel it could use a touch of green.  Oh well – it’s finished and I’m ready to move on.

Wendy manages to think of every detail of design, down to the buttons, and included polka dot buttons in the kits.  Just perfect!  Even with my flash shine, you can still see the cute buttons.


The dress has an adorable jacket that goes with it, and mine is well under construction, but I had the same challenges with the jacket as I did with the dress and to fix those issues would require hours of “un-sewing” and then resewing.  I’m not willing to invest that kind of time.  Un-sewing is my least favorite way to spend my time.  So, that project is being removed from the UFO stash and the sewn fabric into my fabric stash – I hope I can repurpose the fabric in another project – perhaps even a smaller jacket.  I will make her jacket up one day, but probably not soon enough to be worn with this dress.  I’m fine with that.  Her jacket is definitely on my future to do list.  it is adorable, just as her dress is.  Perhaps by then I will know how to make the pretty corsage of felt flowers!

Picture from Wendy’s blog.



So, my dress is finished and I can’t wait to try it on Ella.  Keeping my fingers crossed that it will fit and she can wear it this spring.


My next project will involve smocking.  After completing a few UFO’s that all have hand embroidery, I need to smock something!  If too much time passes without me smocking something, I begin to miss it.

Until next time, keep on stitching…..


Finishing up a UFO

This week we kept the grandkids for a few days while their folks had a little “get-away”, so I knew that no serious sewing was going to get done.  However, during nap times and in the evenings I took the opportunity to finish up the end embroidery on an unfinished project.  Once the embroidery was finished and buttons covered, I could hem the dress and do buttonholes and sew the buttons on the dress and jacket.  I was able to do that after they were gone.  It didn’t take long at all.  I’m so glad to have this finished and will try it on our oldest granddaughter this week.  Hopefully it will be a good fit.

The dress and jacket are a Gail Doane project from a summer sewing retreat. So, it hasn’t been sitting unfinished for too long (unlike some other projects)!

The dress is a nice weight cotton print with accents in featherwale corduroy – a great combination for fall/winter weather.

The dress bodice has a cute pleated treatment, but even in the close up picture, it doesn’t show up well.  I like the pleated treatment, but don’t think that I’d bother doing it again on a dress where it doesn’t show up at all.  If I put the effort into details, I do like them to be seen!  LOL!  I can think of many other ways to use this same treatment to add interest to other projects, so was glad to have tried it.  The scalloped waistband adds such nice contrast to the dress and I really like the soft pleats in the skirt – just a little different from the usual gathers.

What you don’t see well is a pleated strip of fabric on both sides that are covered with a strip of narrow fabric.  Cute idea, right?

I’m including a picture of the dress back only because I wanted to show how a well drafted collar should look.  I continue to see so many new (mostly PDF) designers that have oddly drafted collars that rarely meet up in the back.  A well drafted collar should sit well on the dress – not flat like a dinner plate, and should meet in both the center front as well as the center back.

What excited me most about this project was the jacket.  I had seen a similar jacket on Pinterest and fell in love with it.  Leave it to Gail to draft such a cute jacket with scallops down the front and then add her signature embroidered buttons as well as lots of contrast piping to put it over the top.  Featherwale corduroy is perfect for our mild winters in the south, so I expect this will get a lot of wear.

The back is equally as cute as the front!

With this project finished, I’ve pulled out yet another UFO dress and jacket for spring.  It has more work than this one did to finish it up, so we’ll see how quickly that will get done!

If you haven’t had the opportunity to take a class from Gail, you should put that on your wish list.  She teaches regularly around the country.  Her patterns are so well done and she is an excellent teacher.  I think anyone would enjoy a class with her!

I hope you will enjoy some sweet stitching time this week as well.