Category Archives: heirloom

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!

 

Thanksgiving and Sewing

It certainly has been a busy month or so and promises to finish the year out being just as busy!  I’m sure that many are experiencing the same thing!  Right after my last post I flew up to Michigan and enjoyed a week visiting with my mom and dad and my sister.  The weather was unseasonably warm there, as it has been here, so it was a beautiful week to be there.  This time was especially nice for my folks since our daughter and grandson spent the first couple days with us as well and then at the end of my visit our son and daughter in law drove up from Chicago for an afternoon.  It’s been a long time since my folks have seen the kids and this was the first time that they met their great-grandson.  What a special blessing!  I’m so thankful for the time that we were able to spend with them.  🙂

Since returning home I have been sewing a bit as well as preparing for our Thanksgiving meal with family and friends.  We had 23 for dinner!!!  My sweet husband cooked 2 very large turkeys for the day.  Food and fellowship was wonderful!  We have so much to be thankful for!!!

My first jumper completed was made to match some cute leggings.  I sewed the Children’s Corner “Lucy” dress – it’s so quick and easy and I know it fits so well.  The embroidery design comes from Bunnycup and I stitched it out on a frame from some other designer.  It’s been a while and I’ve forgotten whose frame it was.

img_0019

The next sewing project included making 3 matching jumpers for the 3 little granddaughters. Again, the leggings were purchased – I believe from Target – so that drove the design choice for the embroidery.  I went to the “Lucy” pattern again.  The embroidery design was from Digistitch – the reindeer seemed to be a perfect match for the leggings.  The little girls are loving the jingle bells stitched to the ribbons!  I wonder how long they will stay attached?  Hahaha!!!!

img_0021

After completing the 3 jumpers, I decided to work on something different.  I chose this partially completed pinafore and blouse.  It has been languishing in a partially completed state for at least 3 years now.  I knew if I didn’t finish it now, Eva would outgrow it without ever wearing it (I started it thinking Ella would wear it – that was 4 years ago!!!).  Students will recognize this pinafore since I’ve used it to demonstrate some of the construction in my Bee-Utiful Pinafore class.  This is a different version of that pinafore.  I’m thrilled with the way it turned out.

The pinafore fabric is line piqué and is trimmed with gingham.  I used the matching gingham to line the bodice as well as to make the matching blouse.  This will be so sweet on Eva and will look especially great with her big, blue eyes!

img_0027

The bodice embroidery is a Martha Pullen embroidery club design from many years ago.  It stitches out beautifully and seemed to be perfect for this bodice.

img_0028

I love the sash/bow on the back of the pinafore – it makes the outfit adorable from both the front as well as the back.  🙂

img_0026

The scallop hem detail is similar to the original class pinafore, but with a slightly different shape to it.  I don’t always like making the same thing twice!  LOL!

img_0029

Today I believe that I’ll finish up the Christmas decorations!  I’ll be pondering my next sewing project as I decorate.

I hope everyone had a blessed Thanksgiving with family and friends and has had the opportunity to squeeze in some sewing time as well!

Kathy

 

More Little Things….

In case you can’t tell, I’ve had so much fun creating so many sweet little things.  I though I’d share some more of them.

After smocking one of the SAGA Wee Care bishop gowns, I made up the diaper cover pattern as well as a smocked bonnet to go with it.  For the preemie smocked bonnet, I used the free pattern that has been graciously provided by Laurie Anderson.  She has excellent instructions!  If you don’t know how to smock and would like to learn, she also has some fabulous u-tube videos (for those visual learners like myself!).  It’s easier than it looks!

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!!!