Category Archives: heirloom

Sewing, sewing, sewing…..

I’ve been sewing a LOT since my last post, but many of the things aren’t quite finished, which is why I haven’t posted about them.  😛  However, without having deadlines, who knows when they will be finished, so I’ll go ahead and post the nearly finished things.  LOL!

First, I thought I should sew one of the Tamarack jackets from Grainline Studio that we are making in the class with the refugee women at Project 658’s Make Welcome Sewing School.  I felt better prepared after making the jacket.  Of course, it is lacking the closures.  The pattern recommends snaps.  We’ll see – might be buttons.

There are many of the instructions that I don’t care for, so some of them I did my way, while others I went with the pattern directions, but would do them my way next time.  I love the fabrics that I chose for the jacket, but I’m not sure that I’m a fan of the jacket.  Perhaps that’s why it isn’t finished!

If you decide to make this jacket, I would recommend quilting rectangles large enough to accommodate the pattern pieces and then cutting out the pieces after they have been quilted.  Quilting does shrink up the fabric a little and if you follow the pattern directions, which have you cut the lining, face fabric and lining of each piece, then sandwich them together and then quilt – well, the pieces don’t end up matching correctly at the edges, no matter how carefully you cut and stitch.  Then the quilted piece isn’t the same size as the pattern piece. I quilted first, then cut – much more accurate.

I chose to bind the seams inside, but am not a fan of how the bound seams match up with the bias outer edges (which has the very edge cut and unfinished).  Next time I’ll do a Hong Kong seam and I’ll finish the edges of the bias binding properly.  The pattern indicated to stop the side seam stitching at the “dot”, which is above the bias band.  I didn’t like that look so I stitched to the bottom of the bias binding.  I followed the pattern directions for the welt pocket, but will never use that method again.  I don’t believe that it is durable enough for constant use of the pockets.  One of the other volunteers teaches a more traditional way to stitch the pocket, which is how I’ve done them in the past.  I’ll continue using the traditional method in the future.  I like to try the pattern directions, but after that, things are done the way that I prefer.  Anyway, this is project #1 that is “nearly” finished.

Then, the next projects were supposed to be stitched while enjoying a sewing retreat at the beach with some special friends.  After a week of getting projects planned and supplies kitted, meal planning, grocery shopping and meal prep, hurricane Florence arrived and changed those plans!  Since I’d made kits for each dress, all the fabrics, trims, threads, etc. and the hard decisions were made, the kit made it easy to take out one project and move forward.  I had my “retreat” at home.

The first project I cannot show since it will hopefully make its’ debut in Classic Sewing magazine next summer.  Here’s a sneak peek – ignore the stray thread!  Hahaha!!!!  How did I miss that one???

Then I moved on to more Vida dresses that will be Christmas gifts.  These are for Ella and Eva, so the same prints in different colors.  You may remember that Livvy has the Minnie Mouse dress.  Of course, both of these are missing the buttons and buttonholes and I’m still deciding if they need a monogram or appliqué somewhere.

This was my quick, unprofessional cell phone picture of the dresses carefully placed on the coffee table!  LOL!  I love the Tilda fabrics and have been saving them for the right dresses and these were just the ticket!  Once I decide about what else is needed, I’ll have those finished and put away until December.

I also started another Minnie Mouse Vida dress for Livvy’s other cousin, but had to set it aside as I’m waiting on the last of the fabric to arrive.  So, another UFO – we’re up to 4 now.  🙄

In addition to all the fun sewing for the grandkids, I’ve been doing some sewing for Caleb Ministry, which is such a wonderful ministry to women suffering miscarriage/loss.  I have made 4 boy gowns with matching caps (the tiniest size doesn’t get a copy).  Thankfully, these are all finished!!!  No UFO’s.  I tried different thread colors to try to get the best match for the corded pintucks.  I think my favorite is the middle gown.  Now, to mark that one so that I know the next time!

The next thing I  tackled was embroidering hankies that are put in the memory boxes.  I think I embroidered about 20 of these.  The stitching goes quickly, but the prep work and set up takes forever.  The hankies need to be washed, ironed, starched and then marked for embroidery.  They do seem to take forever just to get little feet stitched on them.  I’m not a fan of production style sewing or the amount of stabilizer used for these, so these are definitely a labor of love.

The last group of embroidered items are the blankets.  I was given these blankets to embroider – someone else stitched the blanket edges.  They did such a nice job with the rolled hem edge – something I haven’t been able to master on my serger!  I think that there’s about 15 of these – 3 different sizes.

So, you can see that I had my personal sewing “retreat” and loved spending the time sewing with few interruptions.  It was good to have all that distraction from the hurricane happenings.  My thoughts and prayers go to all of those whose lives have been affected by this disaster!

After all that stitching, I cleaned up the sewing room and last night I cut out 2 dresses for the little girls.  I hope to start on them this week but need to do some cleaning in the rest of the house first!

What have you been stitching?  Have you started Christmas sewing yet?

Kathy

 

A New Dress

The last few weeks have been interesting and full of smocking as well as some travel.  For a couple of weeks I was limited in what I could do, having to keep my leg elevated.  Thankfully I had several smocked pieces that I could work on during this time!

Then we headed up to Michigan for my parents 65th wedding anniversary celebration.   What a blessing to have their example in our lives!!!

My sister knows how to throw a party!!!  She had all the decorations displayed so nicely, beautiful flowers and delicious food for everyone.  There were 60 people at the party – family members, church friends as well as their long time friends that were able to attend.  My husband was able to take some nice pictures for us.  It was so nice to see cousins that I haven’t seen in 35+ years as well as to see my brothers and their wives/families.  It was a great get-together and my folks were thrilled to have such a wonderful turnout!  They even had some of their original wedding party members attending!!!

I love that mom’s wedding dress was included.  It was made by her aunt, so it is near and dear to my heart knowing that sewing is part of my heritage!

Here’s a picture of my mom and dad and my siblings.  We have only gotten together about every 5 years due to all of us living so far apart.

Once I returned home, I was able to sew again.  Whew!  I stitched up 3 of the diaper covers that I had smocked the week before and then started working on the dress.  All that time spent doing very little left a lot of time for me to peruse Pinterest!  Dangerous!  While on Pinterest, I found a gorgeous smocking design that I knew I had to do, and again, was thankful to have an insert already pleated and ready to go. I managed to track the photo back to a youtube video.  With the video, I found the Facebook page, Instagram page and managed to get the email address of the lady that produced the video.  I have tried every way possible to contact her, to no avail.  So, I did what any smocking enthusiast would do – I tried to recreate the smocking design.

It wasn’t hard to recreate, but it did take quite some time to smock the pink “ribbon” before embroidering the flowers.  Hahaha!!!  I’m quite pleased with the results!

For the dress, I used the Children’s Corner “Libby” pattern.  I’ve had this pattern for years, but never used it.  ???  Why?  Who knows.  It’s adorable and I love that this can be worn with a blouse underneath to extend the wearing time into cooler weather.  I tried to locate this pattern to provide a link, but it seems it is out of print.  It is probably still available at a few heirloom shops – you’ll have to search if you want this one!

I am thankful to have such a huge stash of fabric and was able to use what I had.  There was just enough of the polka dot to squeeze the dress out, but not enough for a large hem.  No problem – I like the use of a French bias for the hem.  The French bias hem adds a touch of color, which I think it perfect for this dress.

I continue to enjoy sewing children’s clothes – it helps me avoid making the window treatments for our kitchen!  LOL!  Maybe I’ll get to those soon.   What’s up next?  That’s still in the planning stages.  Stay tuned!

 

“Sweet Cheeks” Smocked Diaper Cover

For the past year I’ve seen pictures on Pinterest of smocked diaper covers, but when I searched for a similar pattern, I couldn’t find any.  Our smocking guild issued a challenge which included using red gingham and spaghetti bias on anything, so that was my incentive to get a pattern finished for this diaper cover.  I loved the results!

I’m looking forward to bringing in my “challenge” item and also to seeing what everyone else has completed for their challenge.

After completing my challenge diaper cover, I proceeded to draft the other sizes.  I couldn’t stop!  I ended up with 9 different sizes for the diaper cover!!!  The smallest 2 sizes are for dolls – a 12″ – 15″ doll, and then a 15″ – 18″ doll.  Then the sizes move on to Preemie (4 – 5 lb.) all the way up to XL (21- 24 lb.).  That larger size could fit many 2 year old still in diapers.

Each diaper cover that I made became my new favorite!  I just love all of them!!!  LOL!  It was so fun taking pictures.  I wish that I had a NB baby to do portrait pictures wearing just these sweet little covers!  How cute would that be???  Of course, I love ruffles and couldn’t resist adding ruffles to the back of these!

I can also see these as being a quick way to dress up a onesie.  I’m not a fan of onesies and was glad that my granddaughters were never seen in them.  However, I do see the appeal from a busy mom’s standpoint – soft, comfortable and easy wash and wear.  That said, onesies are in the same category as PJ’s to me – not something you wear out in public!  LOL!  Definitely am showing my age with that comment.  Anyway, I thought that a quick pull on of this sweet diaper cover and they go from “PJ’s at home” look to “boutique”.

These diaper covers are cute no matter what you smock on them – from the simplest smocking design to something with cast-on flowers or bullion flowers!!!  They are quick to smock and quicker to sew.  With only 4 rows of smocking, that can be completed in quick time.  Add a little more time to embroider flowers and then about 1-1/2 hours (max) to sew and you have an adorable diaper cover to bless a little girl with!!!

I was so fortunate to have Lisa test the pattern for me and we bounced back different ideas for design, sizing, etc.  She created an adorable set and dressed her reborn doll in it – just too cute!  I enjoyed working with her and her help was invaluable!!!  Thank you Lisa!!!

I think that the preemie and doll sizes would work beautifully for Wee Care items as well.  I can see the tiniest size with a bonnet or blanket going to the hospital for a loving remembrance of a precious little one.

I added lace to the back of one of the diaper covers – it doesn’t show up well in pictures, but it is so sweet in person.

There are so many possibilities with this pattern!  I hope that I’ll be seeing lots of cute versions!  The pattern is available in my Etsy shop for anyone interested in smocking their own cute little bloomers!  You can click on the link to find it.

As always, keep on stitching…….

Kathy

 

The Mermaid Dress and Top & New Pattern

I’ve been busy stitching outfits for our upcoming beach trip!  I’ve had such fun with all these designs and outfits!!!  I may have to make several more.  😊

The first outfit was a popsicle set.  I chose the popsicle colors based on the polka dots in the fabric I was using for the shorts.  The smocking design is called Chip’s Frozen Pops.  It is an older design from the 80’s/90’s.

Of course, I thought it was adorable.  However, when I tried it on Eva – my granddaughter with a definitely sense of style – she vetoed it in favor of a “sea green” top with pink pigs smocked on it!  Ack!!!  After finding some aqua domestic dotted Swiss in my stash, I did manage to talk her into mermaids, so all is well.  Mermaids are a better theme for the beach than pigs.  LOL!

While there are several cute mermaid smocking plates, I decided to create my own design for this summer’s beach trip and came up with the mermaid and dolphin.  I really like it!

This was the first one, and my fingers are crossed that Eva will love it!!!  She also chose the fabric for her shorts, which was a stretch twill and perfect for shorts.  The contemporary design seems to go well with the water/mermaid theme.

As you can see, I got quite carried away with the pattern and the beach-y theme.  A dress was requested for Ella, so I made the mermaid dress out of piqué.  I had fun with the hem and stitched jumbo rick rack under the tuck and then stitched on top of the stitching line with a coral stitch and variegated thread (#5 pearl cotton).

The white top is a sheer voile, doubled and with a self ruffle on the top.  I wanted to smock it with the same design I did many years ago for a special Ebay outfit.  I loved it then and I still love it now.

This has now become my new Etsy pattern and I’ve called it the Mermaid Dress & Top.  I have drafted it in sizes 1 – 7 and there are 3 options for the dress/top – a bias band finish at the bodice top, the 2nd option is quicker to sew with a yoke in the back – so the back can be smocked or left unsmocked and just gathered into the yoke.  The 3rd option is the self-ruffle finish seen on the white top.  I’m happy with each version and can’t wait to see all the little girls wearing their new mermaid outfits when we are at the beach.  Here’s the back variations:

I am sure that I will get questions about the shorts pattern – it is not included.  You can choose your favorite shorts pattern and if you are so inclined, scallop the hem.  Drafting shorts patterns doesn’t excite me the way that smocked outfits do!

I have several more on the design table now.  I can’t wait to start them.  What are you stitching?

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!!!!

 

 

 

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

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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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?.

Sweet Baby Bishop

I have finally had some time to do some relaxing sewing/smocking!  While we were away at the beach, I smocked such a sweet bishop dress that I wanted to make for a baby gift.  Another couple in our Bible study group just had their first granddaughter a few weeks ago.  So, this was the perfect opportunity to stitch a little dress for the baby.

It was so relaxing to sit and stitch without the pressure of deadlines.  I knew once we got home that I would be stitching with a deadline again, so I enjoyed every minute of this relaxing, no-pressure stitching.  Of course, being at the beach certainly helped!

After stitching the dress, I decided to keep my illustrator skills sharp and graph the design.  For my dress, I loved the pink/yellow combination, but any combination of pastels would be lovely.  I used DMC#963 & 3078.  I thought I’d share the smocking plate with my readers.  😊   I gave this smocking design the same name as the baby it was gifted to!

The hem treatment was so easy – I folded up the hem depth twice and then stitched the tuck, encasing the hem at the same time.  I added ribbon and a bow above the hem just for interest.  I think it’s a nice option to add just a bit of color.

I also stitched a couple of bonnets while I was at the beach, but I’ll save those for another post.

Upon my return home, I got right down to sewing the next dress for the Classic Sewing magazine.  If you enjoy smocking and heirloom sewing, you should consider a subscription to the magazine – it provides so many patterns and free downloads with each issue.

I just received my fall issue of the magazine last week and was thrilled to see how beautifully they photographed the dresses that I’d submitted for this issue!  Could the models be any cuter!!!

I guess that means that it’s time to think about some fall sewing!!!  What will you be stitching?

 

 

Busy! Sewing, Teaching and Drawing!!!

This is my busy month of travel.  Two weeks ago I was in Houston teaching for the Midnight Oil smocker’s guild and had a wonderful time with that group of ladies!  They did a fabulous job working on their techniques and dresses and I’ve seen a couple of pictures of the finished dress already.  No grass is growing under their feet!   This is the dress that they were making:

I’m heading out today to teach in Virginia for the Seaside Smockers guild.  I’m looking forward to a good workshop with them.  We will be doing the Annalise top and some picture smocking.

With my busy schedule, I haven’t had a lot of sewing time.  So, between classes I decided to do a bit of my charity sewing for the tiniest of babies.  I made several sets of the Teeny Tears diapers to go with the Wee Care gowns that our SAGA guild makes.  These were already cut out, so it was just a matter of sewing them.

Next up was a sweet little gown made for an under 1 lb. baby.  A set of diapers was made to match this gown as well.

The last project was for the Caleb Ministry and features some pretty, pin-stitched lace details.

In addition to sewing, I have been hard at work learning how to draw on the computer.  Several years ago I learned (with the help of Claire Meldrum) how to graph smocking designs on the computer.  It took several years along with many tears and frustration, but I finally “got” it.  I’m definitely NOT a computer person.

My goal at the beginning of last year was to become more proficient in Adobe Illustrator so that I could diagram stitches and techniques in my class notes.  I worked hard at it and have been able to do many of the stitches and diagrams, though not all.  So, these last couple weeks I’ve been working at learning some of the different “tools” available in the software.  I have really enjoyed the process and have learned more in the last couple weeks that I believe will make my drawings even better.

My first drawings were for a new correspondence class that I have been working on.  It is a French machine sewn bonnet, so involved drawing many illustrations of lace joining, which I’ve done before.  I expanded the illustrations and when the bonnet was finished, I drew a picture on the computer as well as took a photograph.  I’m quite pleased with the results.

The computer drawing of the bonnet:

I still can’t draw gathered lace very well, but that will improve with practice.  LOL!

Taking the drawing even further, and with the new brush tools I’ve learned, I have drawn a bishop dress.  I’m really happy with the results and think that they look very much like a charcoal sketch.

So, that’s what I’ve been up to!  Hopefully when I return I will be able to sew a bit more!  I hope that sewing is on your summer schedule!

Keep on stitching…..

Kathy